Thursday, 27 December 2012

Marrakech, Morocco


I spent four days in Marrakech with my sister last week. Four wonderful days where no-one needed me and there was nothing to do but sleep, eat, read, go to the spa and spend time in the souks doing my Christmas shopping.

We stayed at the amazing Les Deux Tours, in the Palmeraie area. I cannot recommend this hotel more highly and if you are looking for somewhere relaxing and beautiful for a retreat from life, this is it. {I first came across the hotel on Liberty London Girl this time last year and thought it sounded a lovely place for a winter break}

In case anyone is planning or wanting to plan a short winter break, here's what we got up to. Marrakech makes a great choice (to my mind) for a winter break - it's warm but not hot (temperatures were between 18C-20/22C during the day time) but cosy in the evening. We were happy in short sleeves and in a bikini on our sun terrace, but it wasn't so hot as to be in any way oppressive. In the evenings, we were glad of the fireplace in our room and we required the extra blanket on our bed. Marrakech is also exotic enough to be interesting and out of the ordinary but is only a 3 1/2 hour flight from Gatwick. French is also widely spoken as well as Arabic, making it just that little bit more accessible.

As there were only 9 occupied rooms whilst we were staying at Les Deux Tours, we were upgraded to a private pool suite, complete with an enormous bed, working fireplace, huge bathroom with bath and shower and private sun terrace. We didn't actually use our pool, as it was shaded and unheated (although we could have paid to have it heated had we wished) and we had full use of the main pool which was heated and had barely any guests. 

We arrived on the Friday evening and were met by a driver from Les Deux Tours which was a treat in itself. Last time I arrived at Marrkech airport I had to haggle for a taxi in a dirt car park. Actually, they have built a new terminal there in the intervening years, so there is now a taxi rank. Nevertheless, arranging the hotel driver means that the price was agreed beforehand and it was delightful to step off the flight and into a waiting vehicle. After being shown to our suite and changing for supper, we went to the beautiful restaurant for supper. Our package included two meals in their restaurant and we ate a wonderful feast of freshly prepared traditional moroccan food. 

On the Saturday we awoke and headed to the sun dappled breakfast terrace for the buffet breakfast which was continental in style with additional traditional moroccan foods including pancakes made to order. It was a wonderful start to the day, and to the weekend, sipping coffee and eating fresh oranges and bread with butter and honey whilst soaking in much needed vitamin D and watching the breeze ruffling the leaves of the olive trees.

We spent the rest of Saturday morning in the spa/hammam at the hotel. We had pre-booked traditional hammams for 11am. We needed nothing at the hammam save for ourselves. We were provided with paper 'culottes' and dressing gowns. My sister and I went in together and had no issue with being naked in front of each other; if you visit with a friend and find that uncomfortable you might wish to book hammams at separate times. The spa is of ottoman design and beautiful. Contrasting soaring arches with squared off stone benches and straight edges. We spent some time relaxing in a hot steam room before being covered with savon noir and scrubbed whilst lying on a marble slab in another, slightly cooler room. I could literally feel my  tensions and anxieties being sloughed off with all my dead skin. We then returned to the first room for a rose clay mud wrap and finished the treatment in the plunge pool before relaxation in a atrium lying on loungers and drinking green tea. 

In the afternoon we headed into the town, getting dropped using the free hotel shuttle in the Guilez, or new town. We wanted to go to the souks in the medina, or old town, which is within the old city walls. It is a little surreal getting out of a mini bus near a McDonalds and other shops such as Aldo and then walking along a dusty road before joining throngs of people in the Djemma El Fna and plunging into a market place which sells a million of a few things over and over again, but goods aside appears not to have changed for hundreds of years.We sought out savon noir and argan oil, having the same conversations over and over again until we found a vendor from whom we were happy to buy from and liked his price. We ate our supper at stall 31 of the food stands at the Djemma El Fna, having walked around and chosen one where many locals were eating and the emphasis was placed on the people actually eating rather than luring in more and more people. The aubergines were amazing. 

(this post is getting rather long. I'll be back with part two later)

my sister swimming in the pool at Les Deux Tours | sitting by the fire | lanterns decorating the walkways | sunset from our roof terrace | floor tiles | Jardin Marjorelle | looking through doorways at Les Deux Tours {all images mine}

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Winter Holiday

palace walls 2
palace walls

Marrakech, Morroco. Turns out good things come to those who wait. Some how, the flights we wanted but weren't available are now, and the hotel we wanted to stay at announced a new, even better, deal. And so, we are indeed off to Marrakech for four days, for a small winter holiday. Four days, sans bebe. Four days to sleep, read, eat, have spa treatments and wander in the souks. Four days, to try and soothe my soul and lift my spirits.

I've been to Marrakech before, 5 years ago. A rather different kind of backpacking holiday. That trip I packed one carry on rucksack. This time, I can take a whole case. A whole case of books maybe. I don't remember the last time I read more than my google reader.

That said, I also would like to do a little sight seeing. Last time we didn't visit the Jardin Majorelle, so that is top of my list, but I would also love to hear any other recommendations. Likewise, any lovely shops or little cafes for lunch. We didn't really have anything on our list on the last visit, just wandered around and made decisions on the hoof. This time, I would like to have a back up of options, just in case.

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Photographs by the amazing Peonies and Polaroids


Loving lately: Aesop



These products have made my day. I hardly get any time to myself these days and showers are usually snatched when the baby is sleeping. Each weekend though I make sure to have a long shower and use Aesop's Geranium Leaf Body Scrub which is doing good things to help smooth both my arms and my mind. Small steps. Small steps.

Monday, 3 December 2012

An afternoon in Alexandra Park

Last week the baby and I walked the long way home from her swimming lessons, through the park and past Alexandra Palace. The sun was blazing and although it was absolutely freezing it was a beautiful afternoon. The baby, of course, slept through it all. Which meant I had more time to pause and look at the view and take photos. The building was catching the sunlight in a way that I just couldn't catch, frustratingly, but I thought I'd share these regardless.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Anglo-Welsh Canal Boat Holidays

Yesterday I was asking for your recommendations for weekends away in the warmth. A little break from winter.

If I had longer than 4 days though and wasn't so bothered about trying to find some winter warmth, I would seriously consider a canal boat holiday. It sounds quite cosy and romantic actually, snugging down on a boat among the frosty banks, warmed by a stove, seeing the world gently floating past the window. Frozen reeds. Low lying sun. Waking to other narrow boats tucked in a line against the banks. Migrating birds passing overhead. Glistening tow paths. Country pubs.

Hhhmm. Maybe a narrow boat holiday is what we need after all.

Barges moored along the banks of the River Kennet at Burghfield near Reading, Berkshire early on a cold and frosty winter's morning

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Photo by Robert Reed via Flickr

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Weekly


I think winter might be here. And despite winter often accompanying some of my darkest days it is one of my most favourite times of the year too. An oxymoron perhaps, loving those days in which I mentally struggle so, but I love the peaceful candlelight, the bright festive lights and cosy knits, blankets and fires. Perhaps I need the darkness to fully appreciate the light. Who knows.


Anyway, the dark evenings allowed us to fill our flat with both candlelight and our friends, in honour of our daughter's naming ceremony. I will write more about the actual ceremony over on The Little Pip, which should, crossed fingers, be back up and running, but as this is my diary blog etc etc, I thought it appropriate to mention it here too. Lifts the spirits somewhat it does, seeing your sitting room cleared of furniture and instead filled with nearly 50 of your friends and family. I rather recommend it, actually.

The other thing I have spent time doing this week is planning a potential trip away for a weekend with my sister in a couple of weeks. I would rather appreciate your help actually. Can anyone recommend somewhere that they have actually stayed which is warm(ish) in mid December, near enough that we can go for only 4 days, is lovely enough that we can stay in the hotel if the weather is miserable but is perhaps interesting enough so that we can leave it too. Ideally, there would be a spa or hamman in the hotel, or nearby. Crucially, it must be reasonably priced. And sadly, sadly, not Morocco as we are planning to fly using my Dad's airmiles and we can't fly to Morocco for the dates we have in mind on airmiles. I'm not counting out the UK either, so please, share anywhere nice that you've been in December...

{photos of Pip's party taken by my father}

The Splash

Regular readers will know that, where possible, I try and use green or chemical free products, toiletries and baby products. I also try and make an effort to use locally and sustainably sourced food. I am by no means perfect though and being a bit of a shopping junky I am always on the look out for new products and ideas. I was therefore really interested to find about The Splash. It's a site full of green/eco tips and eco fashion ideas; basically a round up of all things green and/or ethical.

I  was particularly interested in the section on ethical fashion and the compilation of ethical fashion labels, many of which I hadn't heard of. I especially liked this washbag made from de-commissioned fire hoses. It would make an excellent present (I am rather fond of orange accessories I have to say).


{wash bag by Elvis & Kresse via The Splash Ethical Fashion labels}

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

"I collect watches..."

"...because I'm always late, and I need to know exactly how late I'm going to be - in order to come up with a good excuse" (Colin Hanks)


I'm not sure I ever showed you this beautiful watch that Marto bought for me. Perfect for my little wrists, vintage inspired but yet actually works (unlike my old 1950s handwinder which was stunning but used to inconviently stop, usually about midnight and conned me into thinking the night was yet young). Having a child has required more, shall we say, efficient time keeping. What with multiple feeds, naps and appointments, it is far easier and pleasant to have a watch than to have to keep finding the old phone. Especially as an iPhone is to a baby as catnip is to cats. Or something like that. 

Anyway, this watch is just one of a gorgeous collection by Olivia Burton, available from Belle & Bunty and Harvey Nichols, among others. You're welcome.

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Photos from Olivia Burton

Monday, 26 November 2012

update (and introducing Ecover review)

First of all, I'm working at getting the blogs back on line. Hopefully thelittlepip.com will be back up and running by the end of the week, but, in the meantime, the majority of my posts can be found at the old wordpress site.

We've spent most of the last week preparing for, planning and then executing Pip's naming party, which took place this Sunday. My apologies if you've emailed or texted since Friday. I certainly read your message but it is very likely that I haven't yet managed to respond. I will, soon. I promise. (photos and write up coming soon - sneak preview over on Instragram)

I have also taken up a new hobby - knitting and crocheting. In an effort to overcome my baby brain and my general blues I thought taking up a relaxing but also thought requiring but repetitive hobby might be just the ticket. So far, I have already crocheted a snood/cowl from big fat wool - warm and also no ends for the baby to pull and strangle me with. Win win.

And lastly, an introduction to my Ecover review, which I wrote a week or two ago but never managed to post. I'll be back soon with the conclusion, but so far, I like it. Apparently, according to some of my more single friends, we totally give away the area we live by our choice of washing up liquid...




I was thrilled therefore to be asked to review Ecover's new range of products called Ecover Zero, which are their new fragrance-free range, specially crafted to give great washing results while being suitable for sensitive skin. I've been sent the washing up liquid, the washing liquid and fabric conditioner as well as a tea towel and two cloths. We ran out of our last bottle of lemon and aloe vera the morning I started the reviewing, so it seemed a perfect time to start the trial. Our washing machine is also newly mended, so as I write, a load of towels are testing the washing liquid and fabric conditioner. Such is my dedication to this trial, I had to use a syringe left over from the baby's antibiotics to get the fabric conditioner into the machine, as our toploader will not open fully in the space it has been squashed into, meaning that without the precision of syringe loading the liquid runs out rather than into the machine. Anyway, I will be back in a week or two with a follow up post with my thoughts.

I received the products from Ecover. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The weekly

i love autumn. The colour of the air and the leaves are beautiful. on saturday we walked across hampstead heath to hampstead village in the late afternoon sunshine. the baby slept in her pram, the wheels encased in mud & then we joined our good friends for hot mulled wine and beer, sitting at a table outside in the gathering dusk.

the baby has been driving me a little mad recently, and my little pip blog has been hacked for the third time, which is why it's offline again. i've been feeling a bit rubbish really, so the walk across the heath really helped. sadly, it was raining again this morning and my migraine still wouldn't shift. i tried to dose it with a strong monmouth coffee at my favourite scandinavian cafe followed by our weekly sing and sign class. no luck. i thought waiting in the rain for a taxi, accompanied by a baby in a carseat, shouting, and a cat in a basket, might do the trick. not even the taxi never arriving and having to hail a black cab for a trip to the vets to check on delilah's bloods helped. never mind, there's always tomorrow ...






Monday, 5 November 2012

The weekly











It's been quite the week, this past week. Delilah (our cat) went missing for 24 hours and thankfully returned without life threatening injuries, although instead of handing out clementines to trick or treaters we were sitting anxiously in pet A & E (with the baby in tow) waiting for Delilah's X-ray results to be analysed. She ended up spending the night being monitored and being given fluids. Her injuries, including all her nails being shredded and broken, were consistent with being hit by a car. Obviously we will never know what did happen but the worry when she was missing was terrible and the relief when she appeared home was enormous.

The baby has been ill with a cold, as has Marto. We have all been sleeping terribly. We did manage a few museums last week, including the Hollywood Costumes at the V and A and a quick whizz round the British Musuem on Saturday. Trying very hard to balance my tiredness and frustration of parenting with making the most of all London has to offer. The Hollywood Costumes exhibition is well worth the trip, personally. Another post on that to come I think.

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Photos by me: ice rink at the natural history museum/ late night at the V and A courtyard/ gathering dusk at the British museum

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sponsored Post: Ecover Direct

I clearly remember the first time I encountered Ecover. It was the summer of 2003 and I was staying with a dear university friend's parents in Rock, Cornwall, with our friend, Miss L (his then girlfriend), Marto and another mutual friend. It was the first of a recurring annual visit and the start of my love affair with that specific peninsula of Cornwall. Anyway, our friend's parents had Ecover products galore, although I mainly remember the washing up liquid. Fresh from being an impoverished student, I'd only ever bought washing up liquid on basis of cost, never environmental concerns. But from then on, I only ever bought Ecover washing up liquid.

I guess, not just for the environmental good, although that was the first reason. I think as a new graduate and adult, there was something pretty smug about using products such as Ecover. Remember, this was in the early 00s at the very start of the boom and explosion of it being socially acceptable in a mainstream way to be seen caring about such things as the impact of your products, both on the body and on the world once they left the drain.

As the years have come and gone, I've tried pretty much every Ecover product. Not all of them have fitted into my life so seamlessly as the Ecover washing up liquid did, but they've always drawn me in for a trial and I've been a huge advocate of their products.

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Triathlon: Completed

Just in case any of you were waiting with baited breath to hear how the triathlon went, well, yesterday was the day and I finished it.

I was last. 2 hours 16 minutes. Our whole family took part and we bookended the results with my brother-in-law winning in a time of just about an hour faster than me. But I finished.

And in case anyone is interested, here are some more thoughts...


{wearing/equipment}

adidas trainers nike running socks | running shorts | old nike 'run London' dri-fit tshirt | panache sports bra reebok running jacket | woolly gloves | Sweaty Betty swim suit & hat | speedo goggles 

I borrowed a 'specialized' brand mountain bike from a friend, with fat knobbly tyres. It was excellent and I felt really safe on it, aside from my woeful lack of cycling ability combined with inability to remember which gear lever did what, meaning I lost the chain on one steep ascent. I would also prefer a comfier saddle, but that wasn't any criticism of the bike. Thank you so much to my friend for stepping in to lend it me (and for my Dad for cleaning it this morning before it is returned).

If I were to do another triathlon, or actually, any cycling again, I think some padded bottom shorts (what I would call baboon pants) would really assist. Also, I think cycling shoes, not running shoes on the bike would be better. It was quite muddy and several times my trainers slipped on the pedals.

The sports bra was excellent and really helped. It was also perhaps a size larger than I needed, meaning that as my boobs expanded due to proximity to usual feeding time for the baby, there was room for them in the bra. It felt secure - a bit like a plate of armour. If I'd been shot, I think it would have been bullet proof.

The running jacket was also excellent. Light, windproof, breathable, with pockets for my map and jelly babies. I highly recommend.

{training}

as you might have expected, I didn't really manage to do any proper training. The one thing I did manage was a trial run of the swimming earlier in the week, which I found very helpful. Knowing that I could manage it, and what to expect, really boosted the start. I just wish I'd managed to do the same with the cycling. 

if you'd done a run and a cycle a week, then I think this event would have been pretty ok. the cycling part was quite track and mud heavy though, but just a little practice would have helped.

{improvement}

aside from training, I could have cut down the time on not getting dry/dressed after the swimming (although I am pretty sure that the few minutes I spent there, I saved by not being so uncomfortable on the cycle) and I could have for sure gone faster on the cycling by being less wimpy. aside from that, some training, no peeing by a tree half way round, not stopping to put the chain back on the bike and so on, and I think next time I can safely aim for sub two hours.

and that, I think, concludes the triathlon posts, unless there are any questions. until the next race, that is!

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I was sent the sports bra by Panache but if I didn't like it I would say so. In the interests of full disclosure, I was also sent the Reebok running jacket by Reebok back in 2009 but I wasn't overly impressed by the kit at the time, especially the PR organisation, who wouldn't swap the shoes that they sent which didn't fit, which is why I didn't write about it at the time. Having worn the jacket more now, it's the only part of the Reebok kit I would recommend. The Nike run london shirt was provided to me by Nike when I entered the Nike run London event in 2005 (? date). It is good quality, if a little small, post pregnancy.

You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here

Monday, 15 October 2012

Sponsored post: Woolacombe

Remember when we used to live in Somerset, back before we had a baby and moved back to London? Well, one of our favourite places to go for a day out at the beach was Woolacombe. It's actually in North Devon, just over the border, and a beautiful peaceful beach. We used to take our surf boards and spend the day messing around in the water before dining on fish and chips as the sun set.

If you are looking for somewhere to have a North Devon holiday, I would highly recommend Woolacombe. It's also just around the corner from Croyde, which is another lovely destination and surfing beach.

I was always really jealous that one of my fellow scout leader had a caravan at Woolacombe. In fact, down the other end of the same beach, there is a village called Putsborough where there is a campsite and carpark and place to park campervans. I used to dream of having a baby, buying a campervan and staying there for the weekend, surfing. If self catering is more your thing though, I understand that you can look for self catering in North Devon by following the link.

This is a sponsored post. You can find further details regarding my sponsorship policy here.


Monday, 8 October 2012

pinteresting

i read on ESB's blog the other day that it is possible to see which images from your blog are pinned to pinterest. makes fascinating viewing. who'd have thought (aside from a study of my blog stats) that my most pinned photographs are still related to planning my wedding, and, in particular, the search for a peacock themed or coloured bridesmaid dress. i must have spent hours, nay days, searching for peacock bridesmaids dresses... (and don't tell my sisters, but their b.oobs have made it onto pinterest too!)






Friday, 5 October 2012

Pink Fridays (in support of breast cancer charities)

Today's post is a bit of a mix. I don't usually post so much pink, but this is important. It's about supporting awareness of various breast cancer charities as well as A Safe Mooring and Pink Fridays. It may look just like things to buy, but these are easy ways to support such important charities. 

It's also a chance for an update from me; I've been a little busy of late. I know I'm always saying that, but, I've added more than parenting to the mix. I've started ballet classes again and am continuing with my triathlon training. I've been trying to find time to write. With little success. 

Anyway, the nice people at Panache who sent me a sports bra for my triathlon have launched a pink version to raise awareness and funds for their breast cancer charity, Coppafeel!.  It is being promoted by  Kristina Rihanoff, one of the professional dancers from Strictly Come Dancing - speaking of which, I am very much looking forward to this series of Strictly, far more than any other. Mainly because I love dancing, but also because Victoria Pendleton is one of the contestants and I admire her hugely. An almost girl crush if you will. Similar aged to me, an amazing athlete, an amazing woman. (The inclusion of Louis Smith doesn't hurt either...)



I also discovered the most amazing popcorn - Propercorn. I was given a bag of this at London Fashion Week and thought it was delicious. My favourite was the Sweet and Salty flavour - just brown sugar and sea salt. I happened to notice when bulk buying in Planet Organic earlier this week that Propercorn are donating 10% of their sales of the special packs with a pink ribbon to Breakthrough Breast Cancer this month.  (Propercorn can be bought at Waitrose, Planet Organic & various cafes including Benugo as well as work place canteens, art galleries, Harvey Nichols and all eurostar routes!) So not just extremely tasty, but a way to support the amazing work that the charity carries out as well.

So, to conclude. Support breast cancer charities. Buy products which donate. Hold your own fundraising events (see below). Turn your own blog pink. (and if you do, let me know).

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On Friday 5th October, bloggers are turning their blogs pink in support of Breast Cancer Care. Join them by turning a Friday pink this October!

Dress pink, eat pink, party pink or work pink. How you turn your Friday pink is up to you. It doesn’t matter how pink you go, we just need you to join the thousands who’ll be raising money during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And if a Friday doesn’t work, just pick a day that does! It doesn’t matter if you raise £20 or £200 at your Pink Friday as every penny will be help us support more people affected by breast cancer today.

SIGN UP NOW to receive your free Pink Fridays fundraising kit and help make 2012 the best year yet!

To see which blogs are turning pink for Pink Fridays, visit A Safe Mooring or follow #pinkfridays.

If you would like to support Breast Cancer Care but can't throw a Pink Friday of your own, you can donate here.


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PF&DR did not receive any payment or otherwise from Panache, save for the initial sports bra written about here. PF & DR received a free sample of Propercorn. All words and opinions my own (i.e. if I didn't like it, I'd say so)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

If this blog was a dress... (Burberry Prorsum SS13)








Cara Delevingne for Burberry Prorsum SS13 at London Fashion Week via style.com

(more soon over here)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Wear/Shop/Home

Since having baby Pip earlier this year, I've been having somewhat of a creative re-think, including addressing my blogs. Whilst I still love PF & DR, I'm not sure that it reflects where I am in life at the moment.

I'm still going to be posting here, but mainly to direct you to other places for the time being, whilst I decide what to do with the space.

For all fashion, lifestyle, beauty and interiors related things, I'm currently posting them at a new space which I have provisionally titled Wear/Shop/Home (which I may end up keeping). It is an edit of London centric inspiration in my search for a beautiful life. Long time readers will know that I love things and I love shopping and I love fashion. My current maternity leave means that I am really unable to pursue this physically in any way really but I have realised that collating them virtually is almost as good. Plus London Fashion Week and autumn are both nearly upon us, and at this time of year, my thoughts turn to a wardrobe revamp, edit and making space for the new season. It may not be back to school per se, but September, for me, will always be new beginnings.

For all family and parenting and baby related posts, well, those are over at The Little Pip which I am in the process of moving to it's new home.

Anyway, that's where I'm at right now. Let me know your thoughts...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Somerset by Alice Temperley





I was really drawn to the launch of Somerset by Alice Temperley at John Lewis today, not least because it is named after the county in which we used to live. I really love Alice Temperley's clothes and was really interested to see that she was collaborating with John Lewis to bring her high end pieces to the high street at accessible prices.

If I were working at the moment, both in terms of going to the office and in terms of affordability, there are loads of beautiful pieces which would work very nicely. Sadly (?) neither apply at present, so it is the more casual, stripy, slouchy pieces that I am drawn to as well as these boots, and this bag, both of which are in the lookbook outfits above.

John Lewis says "Drawing inspiration from established Temperley motifs, the collection will include a full range of accessories and fashionable pieces. An array of influences are present in the collection from Victoriana and Bohemian accents to military and print elements. Traditional materials are juxtaposed with pony skin textures, beads and sheers to create a feminine portfolio."

We may be having some beautiful weather at present, and I am making the most of my mint jeans before summer ends, but come September, my thoughts always turn to autumn and chillier weather and a colder palette of colours. Mint jeans aside, I do usually wear a fairly sludgy palette, in which black grey and navy feature highly, alongside some patterns and stripes. It is no surprise to me then, that this collection appeals. (You only have to look at my Pinterest boards, particularly my "Autumn Style Inspiration" to see this...)

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Photos via John Lewis

I was not paid for this post although John Lewis are an affiliate of PF&DR See here for further details regarding affiliate links.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Fashion Fringe 2012

I can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to posting this. It's one of those things where I didn't post because I wanted to write something properly and then life and the baby kept me busy, and then I never came back to the post. One day I will try and write something more interesting but for now, a link round up will have to suffice. 




My sister-in-law is a finalist in Fashion Fringe 2012. Fashion Fringe is a fashion business award and allows the winner to set up a fashion label. (Previous winners include Erdem, Basso & Brooke and Corrie Neilsen.)

Teija (Teija Eilola) is one of three finalists with the competition culminating in the presentations of the three collections at London Fashion Week in the middle of September.

If you are interested, Teija has been writing about the experience on her Fashion Fringe blog, with her first entries here and here. Her facebook page is here. Teija has also been interviewed by Fashion Fringe sponsor ShopStyle, where you can read more about her inspiration for her collection.

I am longing to see the finished collection - I am lucky enough to have worn one or two pieces that Teija has made in the past, both samples and pieces which she has designed for her previous job and I can honestly say that they beautifully combined precision cutting and draping with comfort and practicality of a garment which is actually designed to be worn. I cannot wait to see what she has come up with for this show.

“A Finnish girl arrives at the party: shoes in her bag and a huge, crisp mackintosh over her little silk dress. On the way to the party she crossed a forest and a couple of fields.” TEIJA S/S 2013

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image  - drawings from Teija's collection, layout by Fashion Fringe via FF Pinterest

Monday, 3 September 2012

triathlon training (week 0)

Remember my upcoming triathlon? Well, my training has been put on hold for a couple of weeks because I had a mole removed from my upper thigh, resulting in a couple of stitches and instruction to do no running or swimming or other vigorous exercise that was comparable with going to the gym. The stitches came out today so later this week, my training will re-commence. And luckily for you, I might even write about it to hold myself accountable.

I haven't just done eff all this last two weeks though. I've started organising some kit. First and foremost, a proper sports bra was in order, not only because I am breastfeeding and therefore have no previous kit which fits. The kind people at Panache stepped up and have sent me an Olympic inspired sports bra to trial. I plan to wear it for my training and for the triathlon itself. When I've had chance to try it out, I'll report back as to whether it functions as impressively as it looks (hopefully it will protect me like the armour it appears to be). 


I've also lined up a bike, subject to collection from a friend, and bought a swimsuit. Nothing left to do now but get on with it...

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Photo by Panache

Bra provided by Panache. Words and opinions my own.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Equestrian: Paralympics London 2012














Pip and I had a wonderful time at the Paralympics last week, accompanied by our friend, Miss L. I won't deny that being at Greenwich when the gates opened at 8am required an unusually early start especially with the baby, who thought it was the best thing in the world that we got up at 5am.

The games makers were fantastic and made the day one of the best sporting events I've been to. They were friendly, helpful, enthusiastic and cheerful, despite the alternating poor weather and my yo-yo-ing to and from my seat every time Pip objected to being stuffed down the front of my waterproof when it was peeing down and quiet was required for the rider to compete.

The riders were amazing. There's no way I could even control a horse to make it step backwards three paces, let alone with paralysis or a missing limb. It was truly inspiring. The British rider that we saw, Natasha Baker, did a great ride and was in first place. The place went mad, waving British flags and cheering and it was lovely to see all the young children thrilled to be supporting TeamGB.

The only downside to the day was the catering, which was sadly staffed by rude and incompetent staff. A huge contrast to the volunteer games makers, they made the eating side of the day dreadful. I overheard one manager complaining bitterly about parents requesting hot chocolate for the children, because it was raining, and swore several times, before noting me and looking slightly ashamed of her outburst.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

paralympics London 2012


Tomorrow, Pip and I are off to our very first sporting event. The Paralympics Equestrian. I was desperate to be involved by attending London 2012 but despite our very best efforts, tickets eluded us. Until, one lucky evening a few weeks ago when I managed to buy some tickets for tomorrow. I went to the Olympic Park at Stratford to collect the tickets last week, queuing in a very British queue for about 20 minutes. And so, we are going. Our bag is packed, our route selected and my Paralympic supporters scarf is ready to go.


(photo of Lee Pearson, Team GB's most decorated Paralympian rider via The Guardian credit Mn Chan/Getty Images)


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

a second supper



Tonight, we got home from a weekend away and despite having had supper before we left M's parents, we were so hungry after the train journey and getting the baby to go back to sleep (I think she thought it was morning) that we cooked and ate a whole pizza between us.

It was my father in law's 65th birthday so the whole family gathered to celebrate with him including his two grandchildren. We all got together and gave him a beautiful knife and some cookery books. Pip was teething for most of the weekend as well as recovering from her latest injections so kept waking up grizzling but it was lovely to spend time with the family.

And now, back to London for an exciting week of Paralympics, the start of the rugby season and a trip to see one of my favourite ladies in Brighton.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

More inspiration





After spending a few minutes (hours) on Pinterest this evening, ostensibly looking for pictures of the haircut that I am going to have next week, it will come as a surprise to no one that I got distracted by stripes and they are still one of my favourite looks. Despite reading that they are over and only worn by mummys in Salcombe.

I also seem to have pinned this top twice in as many minutes. Anyone know if Lauren Moffatt can be bought in the UK?

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Photo via Lauren Moffat

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Yurting at Botelet

































Awaking to the sound of light rain on canvas, a kettle boiling and the water being poured into a metal teapot, staying toasty and snug under a goose feather duvet with the baby sleeping peacefully in a bear suit, whilst my husband passes me a cup of tea in a cornishware mug, has to be among my favourite things.

We had a wonderful stay at Botelet in the first week of August. It was peaceful and for the first time, just the three of us. Staying in a yurt is our compromise between camping and cottages; all the beauty and outdoors of camping but with the luxuries of a cottage.

I don't think I can recommend the yurts at Botelet more highly. This is the second time we have stayed there, the first being on our honeymoon in 2009. This time, as we had Pip with us (you can take a baby if the baby is not walking) we opted to stay in the Lower Yurt which is much nearer the farm and feels a little less isolated. It also had a couple of plug sockets which meant we could plug in out phones to charge and the monitor to ensure that we knew the temperature to keep Pip warm at night.

Clever positioning of the yurt door though, and the yurt itself being in the corner of a meadow looking over a field of cows means that you cannot see the farm from inside the yurt. There is simply a glorious Cornish view, which can be partly seen in the photos above.

The yurt is equipped with a log burner and as much wood as you can possibly need stacked underneath to keep it dry. It is lovely and cosy inside even for the baby. We cooked some wonderful meals, eating on deck chairs looking out towards the cows, listening to the Olympics on the radio. One night we had steak, another a simple tomato and broccoli pasta. M cooked what tasted like restaurant quality food using only the top of the wood burner and the one gas ring, helped by local produce.

One night was a full moon and the only night where the wind dropped completely. I don't know whether it was the full moon or just the sound carrying but we stood outside the door of the yurt, just listening, to owls, sheep baaing, the cows chewing their cud (and one in the field behind letting out the occasional bellow, which woke us up a couple of times later that night too). The moonlight illuminated the fields beautifully and it felt a really special moment.

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Top 5 photos by Botelet; remaining photos by me

This is not a sponsored post of any kind, We booked and paid for our holiday.