Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bank Holiday - Birthdays and Rainy Days

I love a long weekend. This Bank Holiday Sunday we travelled up to Richmond to celebrate my brother-in-law's and his twin sister's 40th Birthdays (coincidentally it's on the same day! Ha!) It was also my Father-In-Law's birthday on Monday, so it was a big group celebration. As usual, cake duties fell to me. So I baked a huge batch of my brownies and the Birthday Boy's specially requested favourite carrot cake. 

It was a glorious day - a beacon of sunshine in the midst of a week of solid rain. Much Pimms and white wine and delicious food was consumed. The children ran around together all afternoon, while the grown-ups chatted and laughed until the early hours. Perfect!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Pure and Simple - Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Cleanser Review

Well, this post is quite exciting for me as it is the first time I have been sent a product for review. So I am looking at this as my first legitimate blogger review! Hooray! Of course, as I haven't purchased the product myself this leads us into new territory and so, from now on if I am reviewing a PR provided sample I will mark the item with an asterisk (*). But, rest assured I will be as honest as ever. I will not blog about a product that I don't think would be of interest to you (or me, for that matter) and all opinions will be my own (good or bad) and not that of the marketing department. There - that's that little bit of housekeeping done!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

All Over the Overalls - The Wren Shops Dungarees

Ok. Now just wait. I know what you're thinking? Dungarees? I can see the images running through your minds - Huckleberry Finn, Charlene from Neighbours, Super Mario. But wait. If you haven't seen the legions of super-cool bods who have brought the denim dungaree back, then you are missing out. Dungarees are a major Spring-Summer look and I have become slightly obsessed with finding the perfect pair.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Summer Breeze - sunshine, weddings & celebrations

Well, that's more like it! Summer sun all weekend and today. There's nothing like a bit of sunshine to make me feel that all is well with the world. I have had the most wonderful weekend. A beautiful Cotswolds wedding on the hottest day of the year, a world-beating first barbecue of the season and to top it all off another pretty major reason for my family to celebrate. Today's is a pic-heavy post!

Dress - Diane von Furstenburg, Jacket - Rag&Bone,
Bag - ASOS, Shoes - Shoemint.

My wedding outfit was a riot of colourblock (although, in 23 degree sunshine that jacket was a bit surplus to requirements). My jacket and dress were Yoox designer bargain finds and that bag was a half price ASOS steal (still available too - link here.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Oh, the places you'll go! A plea for the bedtime story.

I was woken up on Tuesday morning as always by Chris Evans' breakfast show on Radio 2. After dancing out of bed to the soft rock sounds of John Parr's Man In Motion (the theme from St Elmo's Fire - classic! I had the 7"single) something he discussed stopped me in my tracks. He said that a poll had revealed that young parents are no longer reading books at bedtime to their children, that the bedtime story is dying out. And my heart sank.

Actually, the poll he was discussing looked specifically at Dads. He was referring to a survey by Booktrust which has found that only 19% of 18-24 year old fathers read stories to their children. But it's not just the Dads at fault here, because there was a similar survey in 2012 that found that less than a third of parents read regularly to their children.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Base Layers - Clarins EverMatte Foundation Review

I've fallen out of love with foundations in the last few years. Since the advent of BB and CC creams, I have tended to use those in place of a regular foundation. In spite of my being prone to the occasional breakout, I am not a fan of major coverage preferring to enhance and allow my skin to show through rather than cover it. I have also struggled to find the right shade and often, even when I think I have a match I have found it has oxidised and turned a bit orangey over the course of a few hours. This is especially common with us oily types.

But with my skin being so out of kilter lately, I have felt the need to cover up a little more. So, after

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Rainy Day Rhubarb & Custard

Well, talk about a wet weekend! It was rainy or cloudy for most of Sunday and at the same time I was in a mildly hungover fug. These two facts combined meant that I had to spend the day eating my own weight in carbohydrates. It was fried eggs with toast and pancetta at brunch, and we had macaroni cheese for tea (is there any better hangover food than mac & cheese?). Around midday, my background headache like a pushy shopper elbowing their way to the front of the queue began forcing it's way to the foreground. I needed cake.

I found a bag of rhubarb at the bottom of the fridge that my Mother-In -Law had picked from her garden. Not quite enough for a crumble. So I googled 'rhubarb and custard cookies'. No luck. I did however find a recipe on the BBC Good Food Magazine website for a Rhubarb & Custard Cake. Boom! And off I went.

I posted a pic to Instagram and Facebook of the cake about to go into the oven and I've had loads of people asking me for the recipe. So here it is. It is incredible. I urge you to make it. It will make everything better.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

A sea of coral - outfit of the day

Is it still Spring? Someone forgot to tell the weather. Last week I managed to get one outfit from my Spring/Summer wardrobe into our weekly half hour of sunshine. And my wardrobe is currently a sea of coral coloured clothes. Ditto my make-up bag. I must have about half a dozen coral/orange/tomato toned lippies and it is my warm weather nail shade of choice too in variant hues. My favourite colour to combine it with is azure blue, or turquoise. Two new purchases have added this much needed pop of accent colour to my much-loved, oft-worn Rag&Bone coral skinny zipper ankle jeans. Hands down, these are my best fitting pair of skinnies - a true skinny fit, perfect mid-rise waist, ankle-grazing at exactly the right point, with just enough stretch so that you can actually sit down in them, but without them getting saggy and stretched-out after a couple of wears. They are great Summer jeans for when it finally (if ever) arrives. On Thursday, I wore them with the new Marc Jacobs handbag I got on last weekend's London trip (read about it here). And my beautiful new Charles Philip Shanghai slipper shoes.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sunshine and Strawberries - here comes the weekend

Today has been a beautiful day and I was lucky enough to spend the whole morning outside in the sunshine. I have been busy assisting a very talented photographer (Aniko Towers - check out her website here) as she snapped the children at our school for the school calendar. They are wonderful children at a beautiful school and watching them relating to someone they don't know very well it's remarkable to see how well behaved they all are. These are good kids, but even so, witnessing the teachers' deft handling of them I couldn't help thinking that a career as a cat herder would be less challenging. I am exhausted. I have no idea how teachers do it calmly and patiently every day!

For everyone else out there who might also be flagging this Friday I thought I'd share with you one of my baking recipes. It's for a batch of Strawberry spelt muffins and they are sugar free, vegan and wheat free. Don't let that put you off, though - you would never know. These are divine - light and soft and sweetly delicate. A wonderfully indulgent feeling treat ideal for winding you down to the weekend.

This is the perfect recipe for when you've bought a punnet of disappointing early season or air-freighted strawberries. You know, when they are underripe and too firm and taste of nothing. Or even with the few that have gone a bit soft in the fridge. Somehow a little baking makes them more strawberry-ish. I reckon this would work pretty well with raspberries too.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Weekend in London - The Details (The Wren falls in love with The London Edition)

"When a man is tired of London, then he is tired of life"
                                                                     Oscar Wilde

What a weekend! It was at least two days too short, but our two day sojourn to the Big Smoke was a feast for the senses. It almost ended before it had begun with all trains cancelled from Worcester to Paddington (aaaaarrgh!) but a detour to Birmingham and a mad dash across New Street station to make the connection meant we arrived no later than originally planned.

A black cab took us the short distance to our hotel - The London Edition on Berners Street. When you walk into the lobby your jaw hits the floor. It is INCREDIBLE! The grand period features - double height ceilings, unbelievably ornate cornicing (there are angel carvings, for goodness sake!) and wrought iron balconies give the feeling of intense old-moneyed luxury whilst the furniture and fittings remaining entirely modern. Breathtakingly beautiful...

Photo by Nicholas Koenig

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Anniversary anticipation

Just a quickie post today, because I am running around like the proverbial headless chicken getting the house, myself, husband and children organised ready for Mr and I to set off on a night away in the Big Smoke. It's our anniversary tomorrow (11 years - count 'em!) and since we were living there when we got engaged we thought it would be great to spend a bit of time in our city of love - London.

The restaurants are booked:

Here for lunch


And here for dinner

Berners Tavern