Monday, 18 March 2013

Yurts up at Botelet for 2013 season

I've written many times before of my love of Botelet. Home to the yurt of our honeymoon and the yurt of our first family holiday with the baby, Botelet is my little corner of heaven in Cornwall. I saw today that the yurts are up for the 2013 season and they are taking bookings. Sadly, the baby now moving means we are unable to stay in the yurt this year but I am hoping to book a stay in one of the cotttages instead.

This is glamping at it's best and least pretentious. I really can't recommend more highly.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

life lately... places I have been in London

The Drapers Arms, Islington... this was our first stop of the day, for a lunch which started off as 3 plus baby and ended up as 8. one of those days which just works and people join in. I had a wonderful beetroot and pearl barley risotto which the baby loved so much she ate spoonfuls off my plate. I also had the best latte I've had in a long time. So good, that I had to have another one later on. in fact, the food was universally decried to be excellent and the selection of drinks good too. there was also plenty of room for the baby, and a lovely garden. just right for a rainy Saturday afternoon but, I imagine, lovely in summer too.

the rest of the party decamped to watch the rugby, but, such is the way sometimes with children, Pip refused to sleep in the pub after lunch and so I just couldn't take her to watch rugby over tired but not wanting to settle in her buggy either. so Pip and her godmother and I wondered idly round some of the shops of Islington, trying on a few unflattering dresses in the Whistles sale, testing out some new products in Aesop and fighting amongst the debris in the remainder of the Gap sale.

Duke of Cambridge, Islington, N1 Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub, Islington ... this was our second pub visit of the day; a lovely cosy way to while away a rainy miserable Saturday evening with friends. The Duke of Cambridge is Britain's first (and apparently only) certified organic pub. We sat round a big wooden table and interspersed our Kernal beers with various items from the bar and dinner menus, which are written up on big chalk boards. I'm hesitant to review the food, as such, as I only tried a starter and pudding, but wouldn't have recommended either. that said, the other people in our party enjoyed theirs, and the drinks were excellent. there was also water in pitchers on the bar, which was nice. the nicest things though were the little things; the changing table, highchairs, welcoming to the baby (who we popped into her pram in her pjs after food, and she went to sleep, allowing us to stay for a drink or two) and all the food information.

photo credits:

Drapers Arms here | Duke of Cambridge pub here

Friday, 8 March 2013

Life lately... & Other Stories

Sometimes one just happens to be in the right place. This lunchtime I was walking up Regents Street in the peeing rain, heading for the tube, when I passed & Other Stories, H&M and Cos's bigger designer sister and thought, ooh, I've read about that store in Vogue. I'll pop in and have a look. It seemed quite busy, but it was lunchtime, and it's been a while since I've been shopping on my own in town. I had a quick look round, admired some of the clothes, the dresses, colours, and some of the shoes and leather goods in particular but decided that I must try and abstain from any more purchasing.

In the end, I did buy a pair of black pants (lingerie, not trousers) which look faintly Stella McCartney-esque, like her range for Adidas perhaps, crossed slightly with more risqué styling, sort of black mesh. I can't find them online oddly or I'd share them.

And then, I thought I'd test out a cobalt coloured nail varnish as I love the colour but never want to spend too much on trendy colours. No time to test it yet but I'll report back. The packaging looks nice though, I like the way it looks like paint. And when I went to the till, I was given a free lip gloss as well. Which was a nice surprise. Which is where I found out that the shop had opened about an hour previous.

Which explains the crowds.

So, I thought the pieces were interesting and pretty reasonably priced. Some of the underwear was mor expensive than Cos, and, not quite as nice, but in general there looked to be lots of neutrals and useful wardrobe additions as well as lots of pops of colour including cobalt, neon coral and orange. I was quite taken with some of the brown/tan shoes but sadly the queues for trying them put me off. Another time perhaps.

Worth a visit, I think.

256-258 Regent Street
Near Oxford Circus tube station

Website here

Sunday, 3 March 2013

life lately... places I have been in London

Kipferl @ Camden Passage, Angel

Kipferl (Austrian and Viennese Cafe and Kitchen) Camden Passage, Islington - After a week of my own tonsillitis and then the baby developing her own illness, I was in desperate need of a couple of hours to myself this afternoon. Leaving the baby with her Dad, I popped down to Islington and met my sister and her boyfriend. We were after somewhere to sit down and have a quick chat and we ended up eating wieners with rye and mustard whilst we caught up on the week behind and ahead. They also had a variety of delicious looking cakes, but having made a chocolate and Guinness cake on Friday, I passed.

Goodbye Grey Sky

Raystitch (99 Essex Road) - Raystitch is a haberdashers and cafe set up by Rachel Hart and is just across the road from where I used to go to WI when I used to live in Islington, although it didn't open until 2011. I've been meaning to go there for ages and I finally managed to go today when I realised I had to give back the cot sheets we borrowed when Pip was born and that given I can't find any I like, that I should just make my own. Sadly, or luckily for my bank account, I didn't have much time this afternoon to browse, it was more a case of rush in, find some fabric, have a quick coffee and leave again. They sell all sorts of fabric, haberdashery, my favourite Merchant & Mills supplies and they run all sort of classes. And did I mention they serve coffee. And cake? I will be back.

Photo credits:

Kipferl | Raystitch

Material World (Perri Lewis)

I love to make things, but I rarely buy books about the subject. Beautiful though they often are, they are usually filled with projects that either are impractical or lovely in theory but no one needs. Perri Lewis's Material World: The Modern Craft Bible is a little bit different.

For starters, it's not just about making things. It's full of general guidance, quotes, ideas and techniques. Secondly, it's about a variety of skills - and how to adapt them. Take the quilting chapter for instance; basic guidance and then instructions regarding a chair, but also discusses making quilts and other more utilitarian options. The one thing it's not is a follow by numbers guide. The key to Perri's work is adaptation "I like to think of this as the Jamie Oliver approach to craft. Whack in a bit extra of what you fancy, cut back on elements that you don't like, or don't have handy. Don't fret too much about the rules along the way, so long as what you end up with is perfect for you." which is perfect for me. If I had to follow a project exactly I would never start or finish anything. All my most creative work is when I just sit down and get on with it, experimenting and making it up. That said, having Perri's guide to basic technique and instruction (as well as inspiration) is quite helpful.

I haven't had that much time for crafting recently and barely any time even for reading, but I've enjoyed dipping in and out of this over the past few weeks. I'm not going to lie - I don't have time for a big project at the moment but this book has inspired me to get my sewing machine out and whizz up a couple of (teeny) projects. I even went to a haberdashers today and bought some material to make some cot sheets and bits and pieces for Pip's nursery.

And, and, I got some more Liberty scraps online so I can finally start Pip's quilt. It's not going to be a chair (well, not this incarnation, anyway) but it will be thanks to this book that it finally gets going.


Thanks to Ebury Publishing for the review copy. All words, opinions and half finished projects my own. Find details of my sponsorship policy here.