25/06/2016

Little Monsieur's Pirate Party

Last Sunday, we had the annual party for Little Monsieur, not exactly his birthday, as he's a December baby, but the closest thing... We took to the south banks of the Thames for a Pirate themed party on the Golden Hinde II, a beautifully refurbished 16th century ship just a few steps from Bourough Market. As usual, I planned everything myself from the invitations to the goodie bags, but given how tormented I've been with other areas of my life lately, I was really glad of the last minute rush that I usually get 48h before each party!



The main attraction of the party was obviously the cake, a beautiful and equally delicious creation by the only baker I trust for novelty cakes, Lucy at Vanilla Frost Cakes. She and I had discussed the inspiration in the weeks leading up to this party and I'm truly in awe of how beautiful it turned out, together with the little assorted biscuits that she also prepared for us in the shape of Jolly Roger flags, little parrots, and mini treasure chests. I don't know what I would do cake-wise if I didn't know  Lucy, I am not  a particularly good baker and catastrophe is always just minutes away whenever I grab a piping bag...



The rest of the food was a mix of children party favourites (though no crisps here, they are a hard NO in my book), all presented with little buffet cards to complement the theme: tuna sandwiches were Shark Bait, free range chicken nuggets were Golden Nuggets, etc. I hope the parents of our little guests won't mind, but I think I found a way to have little ones eat fruit at parties: make little cups of fruit salad, call the whole thing Pirate Jewels, and then explain that only little pirates who eat a bit of fruit get cake. That's child-level negotiation for you!

At Little Monsieur's insistence (read, constant reminders whenever he saw me on my laptop ordering party goods), we had a Pinata, not something I usually go for but then I found this adorable little parrot shaped one on Etsy and I thought why not, once filled with chocolate coins and little fruity gums it looked pretty good hanging by the top of the table.  



I tried to keep the rest of the room as uncomplicated as possible, a few handmade banners from the same printable collection as the buffet cards, bottle labels etc, and lots and lots of jewels thrown on the table which the children were fast to snatch to take home as little tokens. This meant it was ok to use plain hessian as tablecloth, and black, red and white tableware which looked quite striking on the simple background.



We had drinks for everyone, as I can't fathom poor parents having to stand around a room filled with squealing young children and not having something to drink (preferably alcoholic)! Children had still water bottles with personalised labels and apple juice, and for the grown-ups we had little drink dispenses with Pimm's and jugs of San Pellegrino. 



We had two little side tables for the water and the goodie bags, and those I went a little to town with, with a mini treasure chest (cue more acrylic jewels and chains), a skull complete with headscarf which will work perfectly at our next Hallloween party, hopefully, and a little castaway bottle with a treasure map.



For goodie bags we had little skull and crossbones cotton puses filled with chocolate coins, but I also thought it would look quite cute to have mini gold ingots for the little ones to take home, filled with smarties (aka precious stones) and finally I found a lovely book called the Pirate's Handbook, which is funny and clever at the same time, a perfect complement to the sugar-filled goodies!



As fun as planning everything was, the main attraction for the children remained the ship itself, and the wonderful activities that the two duty Pirates had organised for them. The ship is absolutely stunning, and the team take charge of the children from the minute they get on board, with a list of super exciting tasks for little aspiring ship mates. 



First, the children got to push the anchor wheel to set sail... that in itself,  and checking if the anchor was coming up, was just the beginning. They were then taken under deck for more adventures, such as finding and putting together the pieces of a treasure map, hearing stories about long-dead pirates, and finding the treasure itself. A whole afternoon of adventures perfectly planned for my little munchkin's age group, meaning everyone could participate in the fun.



The whole afternoon was a roaring success, especially as I was lucky enough to have my little sister and her boyfriend on hand to help, meaning we had two extra set of hands to organise and serve the hungry little pirates after the ship activities, and two extra set of eyes to watch everyone! 




Sounds exciting? Here are some of the links to throw your very own children pirate party (or, if you're London based, send me an email, I'll be thrilled to help!):
- Ship hire and party organisation, Golden Hinde II
- Pirate party printables, Chickabug
- Parrot pinata, PinataPinatas on Etsy
- Party favor bags with skull and crossbones, GracefulGreetingCo on Etsy
- Party tableware, straws etc. Pretty Little Party Shop

15/06/2016

Back in the office... Classic shades and my favourite Mary-Janes

After a little hiatus which had me run, jump, box and climb up and down Ibiza (it’s less exciting than it sounds: I was on a fitness bootcamp which I will tell you all about during a week-end post, I promise), it was back to Canary Wharf on Monday morning…



Having spent a week wearing little bar leggings and sports bras, pulling together an office appropriate outfit didn’t come too easy, especially as London seems to be afflicted by the oddest of weathers this week: muggy, humid, warm-ish… Everything I dislike. In order to stay as fresh as possible I opted for bare legs (a favourite of mine from April to October, in case you hadn’t noticed), and kept the colours simple and classic. I guess I had enough of brights for a few days with all the neon lycra!



Cream, black and camel work really nice together, in particular in a more formal setting. The pleated skirt is a pick from J.Crew’s office collection, it is a nice shape for workwear and though it isn’t lined the fabric is heavy enough that I didn’t find it see-through… I know, sigh of relief from all corners of the room.

I don’t usually like wearing patent shoes outside of Winter, but for these peep-toe Mary-Janes I sometimes make an exception. They are a few years old now but I still love them as the first day I got them, and to be frank I use my shoes so little they still look pristine. The heel is the perfect height for work for me, not acrobatically so, but just high enough.



Up top I covered up with one of my (too many) macs… a short version this time. I find that with the passing of our years living in London, my collection of trench coats and jackets seems to increase to give me options to cope with the endless rain. This one is a short version which looks adorable with jeans but also looks the part with office separates.



Before I go, a word on the bag… this is my Milan by Milli Millu. I fell in love with the model when I saw it in the pre-collection lookbook, and I still adore its classical yet unique lines, its roomy shape and of course the uber classic colours. If you don’t know Milli Millu, you absolutely must check it out. Every bag is designed with the busy woman in mind, it’s roomy enough to accommodate a laptop or at least an ipad, as well as numerous day essentials such as papers, make-up bag etc. All in the softest luxe-est (is that a word?) materials… It’s a must.

Outfit details below:
- Cream wool pleated skirt (now on sale!), J.Crew
- Short trench jacket in camel, Comptoir des Cotonniers
- Camel and black shoulder bag, Milli Millu
- Black patent mary-janes, Jimmy Choo, these Rupert Sanderson ones are similar

30/05/2016

So, how was your week?

Hello friends... I'm cheating a bit on my weeklies today, as usually I look back on the week on Sunday evenings, but seeing as it's the Bank Holiday I thought I'd post about my week today...

Although I stayed in London all week, a rare feat in my schedule, it's been a full one, lots of work-outs, but also lots of delicious food (it's all about the balance, darlings).





I managed to fit a work-out every single day except for Sunday: Psycle / Model Method / Psycle / Model Method / Heartcore Pilates / Jump and then Psycle again this morning after rest day yesterday. As you can imagine I am trying to get to Ibiza next week in as fit a condition as possible, so that working out most of my waking hours doesn't feel too much like torture, but in reality I have become a bit of an endorphin addict (shh... bad word) and I'm really enjoying my daily 5:00AM wake-up calls which have all to do about health and nothing about work travel!

I can't say this week will be as good tough, as I have two trips lined up later on, but I am determined to keep up the good work.

On the food front, we had a bit of everything: good girl protein shakes from Protein Haus (the BEST thing to open in Canary Wharf since my office moved there four years ago), vitamin juicing at home, but also fabulous Ottolenghi cakes which I just had to have having spotted them on my Instagram feed on Friday morning, my weekly almost healthy bake, and of course a glorious spread for late brunch this morning after Psycle and a little visit to the office. We also squeezed in a breakfast  at Granger & Co on Sunday, it was delicious and healthy, and well worth all the hype around the place.

Sunday Little Monsieur and I went to see his favourite extinct friends, aka the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum after breakfast, it was brilliant as usual and we got to explore new areas of the museum like the cocoon, much to the little man's excitement.

Oh and I also managed to sneak in a little tour of the Chelsea streets adorned for the Flower Show. I can't say I'm much in love with this year's tropical theme, I thought the Wonderland style last year was far better. But I still adored the facade of the Ivy Gardens...

And you? How was your week? Any good snippets?

29/05/2016

Sunday's double denim and coral

Do you want to know what my favourite day of the week is? Sunday before a bank holiday Monday. I know, not so frequent an occurrence, just four times on any regular year, but still, that's my favourite day of the week. For me a three day week-end is perfection. I manage to relax enough and unwind in a way that I never manage to usually: on two-day week-ends I am still super wired on Saturday and Sunday I start to get stressed about the work week even before lunchtime. This is why I loved today...



Don't get me wrong, long week-end or normal one, Monday or Sunday, in our household we still wake up at the crack of dawn every single day, 6AM this morning to be precise... So no lie-in for either Hubby Dearest or me... but we haven't had one of those in a super long time so that's not really an issue, it comes with the territory of having two extra cute children, and it does have its merits, such as: you don't get to queue at Granger & Co for breakfast, seeing as you arrive literally within minutes of opening time!



So this morning, with no work-out planned for rest day (I did work out every single day this week, so I deserve a little rest!), I got up, ignored my leggings drawer, and planned a fun Mummy outfit for a busy day out. Breakfast in Notting Hill, then off to the Natural History Museum to visit Little Monsieur's dinosaur friends and other creatures, and finally a birthday party in Barnes... Phew. It's a good thing I opted for flats and comfortable denim!



I told you I have a thing with short-sleeved jackets lately, and I had been looking for a kimono inspired denim one for a while, and was so surprised to see how lovely this one ended up being, considering its price! I know it's a bright blue denim so it was risky mixing it with another shade but I figured dark jeans would be ok. It looked fine to me and the jacket was the perfect cover-up for today's undecisive weather, although it will look nicer with white jeans, I'm sure...



A word on my sandals... And please do not comment how ugly my feet are, I know it, you know it, let's move on and look at how fab these little flats are. They are super comfortable with the adjustable straps, meaning that the multiple straps don't dig into any part of my foot. They are hand braided in Spain with the softest leather, and although they are super flat they have a little cushion on the insole which makes them pillow-like! Sadly the gold ones are all sold out (but not the black and tan suede ones), as they were part of the May capsule on the Sézane website, where all the collections are teeny, but fear not, for Tuesday the June collection goes online, and I'm sure it will feature some pretty lust-worthy pieces!



More outfit details below:
- Kimono jacket in denim, See U Soon
- High-waisted skinny jeans, Frame Denim
- Printed peasant blouse, Antik Batik
- Gold braid sandals (also in black, green, and tan suede), Sézane
- Blood orange Trapèze bag, Céline at Vestiaire Collective
- Beaded charm bracelets, MeMe London
- Braided tie-up bracelets, Carolina Bucci

25/05/2016

Wednesday's beauty essential: A well-stocked travel kit

As the Summer approaches (at least in most normal countries, if not in the UK...) my mind is turning to holidays, and more practically to my next trip abroad. I'm off for a week in Ibiza for a fitness bootcamp with No1 Bootcamp in a few days, and as I'm trying to save as much space in my bag as possible for two pairs of trainers, hiking boots, and enough leggings for all the upcoming workouts, it's key that my beauty kit is minimal, but perfectly workable.

Which is why I thought I'd share some of my most recent finds, along with  some of my long-time essentials. In my mind, you need three items to make your day: a great hairdryer (and when was the last time you saw a good one in a hotel room?), a serious SPF CC Cream, and a transit-friendly but fabulous travel beauty pouch, because really the ones they give at airport security as just too drab to think of, right?

Anyhow here are some of my picks for this trip... Let me know if you think of any good picks you would like to share, I'm always on the lookout for a good beauty product!





From bottom left, clockwise:
- Pomegranate lip butter, Korres
- BB Correcting Cream with SPF 50, Kiehl's
- Clear zip pouch, Truffle
- Pink nail polish, Smith & Cult
- Luna Go skin cleanser, Foreo
- Anti-frizz hair essentials, Kebelo
- Make-up removal wipes, RMS Beauty
- Featherweight foldable hairdryer, T3 Haircare

17/05/2016

Friday casual: Bring on bare legs and short-sleeve jackets!

Summer is almost here... finally. I'm embracing tight-less skirts, tie-up sandals, and short-sleeved jackets. In fact, I think short-sleeved jackets are my obsession for this season. It's a fun way to wear a very classic piece, be it a trench, a parka or even a blazer... Watch this space, you'll see more of these!



I instantly fell in love with this one. It has a nice utility look which I love, because it works well in many situations. But I was also attracted to the quirky pocket distribution and belt, it's really original and it's quite lightweight so easy to wear. It's perfect for this time of the year as well, when the morning chill means I need a little more layering but then I tend to lighten up as the day goes by. It comes quite big though, so make sure you size down if you order it!



The other lovely thing about warmer days? Bare legs of course. There is something so nice and liberating about being able to leave the tights in the drawer, isn't there? Actually a few years ago that meant planning my outfits according to how long had elapsed since my last visit to the wax bar, but a few years ago I got laser treatment, and though it had pretty rubbish results elsewhere (a lady never talks, ahem), on my legs it's radical: I have maybe 2-3 resisting little fellows on each leg, but otherwise it's a smooth ride to skirts and sandals for me!



Obviously we still have quite a few chilly days ahead in London before the Summer arrives, but I will be milking every single opportunity to wear my legs bare, my sunglasses, and my sunny accessories... it just feels far too good to miss!



Full details of the outfit below:
- Military short-sleeve jacket, Marissa Webb
- Pleated faux suede skirt, Zara
- 140cm silk scarf and Etoupe Lindy bag, Hermès
- Lace-up suede sandals, Vince Camuto

15/05/2016

So, how was your week?

Happy Sunday everyone! Just a tiny post to tell you about my week. Work was pretty stressful and unhappy, but nothing new there... So, per my now well developed coping mechanism, I went off to Brussels and Paris to see clients, the one part of my job which is unstressful, happy and makes me feel motivated. And of course I worked out, quite a bit... That certainly helped!



For sure, sometimes when I'm feeling a bit low it is tempting to skip the work-out and just go to bed, but I have found that if I only give it 10 minutes, the endorphins kick in and soon enough I don't want to stop. You just have to kick yourself to the gym, and voila! The upside is I found out that I can still pull my splits, almost... and I'm sure in a couple of weeks they will be even better... Isn't that worth it?

Another way for me to cope when life gets a little stressful is a pampering session. Most often I opt for facials but this week I had enough of my long lank hair, and decided it was time to give it a chop. Cue a little visit to Alejandra at Rossano Ferretti's hair spa in Mayfair, and hello new choppy hairdo with bangs. Ta-dah!

We did finish the week with a little home baking, some healthy muffins free of gluten, refined sugar and dairy, and I am happy to say that I am ready for another week in the happiness obliterating black-hole... See you on the other side! xo

13/05/2016

Wednesday night... Back from Brussels, off to Heartcore

Unlike leisurely jet-setters, trophy wives and other time-rich gym bunnies, one of the biggest issues about my journey to a fitter me is that I need to fit (ha!) my workout sessions around a totally hectic work schedule. I often take flights and trains at the crack of dawn, and back again the other way well after most people's bedtime.

On the days when I am in London, I try to squeeze Psycle sessions before my morning meeting, Pilates classes after the children's bedtime, etc just so I can manage to spend a little time with my adorable little munchkins. So, as the phrase goes, the struggle is real!



Sometimes, I am lucky to catch an early return home, and when I do the temptation to roll around with the little ones and muck about is strong, but these days, with the days until bootcamp dwindling fast to single digits, my willpower has seen a real uptick and that's exactly how I found myself exchanging my Roger Viviers for Nikes on Wednesday night: it was time to hit the reformer!



It was a hot day in London, so I reached for my favourite leggings of the moment, with the double mesh panels and the lighter fabric they feel great even in a warm room! They feel amazing on, with tight compression which I need to feel comfortable working out (I don't like to feel lose around the legs). The fabric is sweat-wicking, which means they are perfect for Psycle, Power Yoga... In fact, I love them so much I'm considering ordering another colour, although my leggings collection is starting to be a bit large...



As usual I layered up top, that's my usual look: full support sports bra, long halter top (to cover my wobbly bottom!), and cropped tee. I topped it off with a lightweight jacket as it was overcast and raining on and off, with its leopard print this one is pretty distinctive, it has a little cinching around the waist at the back so it has a feminine shape, and it's lined in super soft jersey, so it's my perfect Spring go-to when I'm off to the gym.



I wore my favourite Nike trainers (in fact I love these trainers so much I ordered my 2016 NikeID in the same pattern!) and decided to go for a playful bow on my head by tying one of my silk scarves. It made for a little change from my usual high ponytail!



Full outfit details below:
- Leggings with mesh inserts, Lululemon
- Grey shirt-tail tank top, Victoria's Secret Sport
- White crop top in textured jersey, Sweaty Betty
- Leopard-print sport jacket, School Rag
- Photosynthesis trainers, Nike
- Falabella grey bag, Stella McCartney

10/05/2016

Three super easy healthy breakfast options for busy bees

Breakfast is my favourite meal in any given day... I love sitting down and indulging in pancakes and fruit juice with my little ones, but most days that is not an option. And, it is definitely not an option for me to have pancakes every day, as my metabolism isn't that of a marathon runner!

As you know I've taken to smoothies lately, and I love the convenience of taking my Nutribullet everywhere, from the office to the Eurostar... still, sometimes I am in need of something with a bit of oomph, so I figured I'd share three of my favourite breakfasts for the busy bees out there. I hope you like them!





1) The chia seed parfait
This one is so simple and yet delicious and filling… First, the science bit: originally, chia seeds are from Latin America, where they were grown and consumed by the Mayans (clever people, they not only invented a fabulous calendar but also knew how to eat good, clean food, just saying…), and they pack an astounding 40% fiber and 14% protein, not to mention magnesium, manganese, anti-oxidants, more omega 3 than salmon, more calcium than a lot of dairy products… in short, these little gems will deliver only good things to your body and keep you nourished for longer. Ok, that’s it for the educational minute of the day… Now, how do they actually taste?  Actually, they don’t taste of anything much, like most whole grains, so they make a perfect breakfast base. The texture is a bit gelatinous after you soak the seeds in liquid, a little like eating thick caviar.

For the base of the parfait, you need:
0.25 cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
(feel free to add a little bit of your favourite sweetener, such as agave syrup, though the recipe doesn’t really call for it)
Just mix everything together in a little plastic box, and leave in the fridge for at least 45 minutes, or overnight. If you want you can make a bigger batch, it will last 2-3 days in the fridge. 

Toppings which go well with this:
Fruit puree (pulse your favourite in a blender and pour over, no sugar required)
Sliced fruits (kiwi, banana, berries, the sky is the limit)
Chopped nuts (again, the choice is yours…)
Gluten-free granola
Low-fat yoghurt
Cacao nibs
Quinoa pops
I could go on and on… Basically the idea is to layer it, mix it up, have fun, and enjoy your food. Don’t think that just because you are eating healthy means you must let go of tasty food. 

2) Overnight protein oats
We all know how amazing oats are… and yes they are carbs but then so are all grains, fruit, quite a few vegetables (hello carrots and beets…), wine, bread, cake etc. My point is, if you’ve decided to give up all carbs, then good luck in your new life as a rabbit, I wish you and your leaves a long and happy, if a bit sad, life. If not, go on reading, this is a post about eating healthy, not torturing yourself... So, as I was writing, oats are carbs but they are the complex kind, and they are filled with fibers so good for you. Overnight oats are the perfect busy bee breakfast, you can prepare them the night before, put it all in a jar and take it with you in the morning.

Base:
0.5 cup oats
0.5 cup almond milk (add some yoghurt or mashed banana for extra creaminess)
0.5 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tsp chia seeds
Mix it well and leave in a jar in the fridge overnight (or at least 5 hours)

Topping options:
Like the chia seed parfait, you can pick and choose whatever you like, here are some combinations that work well together… Add them on your way out in the morning, and there you go, healthy, filling breakfast which looks amazing as a bonus!
Blueberries – Raspberries –  Strawberries – Honey
Dessicated coconut – Pecan nuts – Pineapple chunks
Apples – Cinammon – Maple syrup (classic, I know)

3) Smoothie bowl
Ok, so smoothies are great, as you can just grab your mixer cup with you and hop to your next meeting / workout / mummy play group. But, the reality remains that, in order to fill full, it’s better to chew, preferably slowly (true, it’s scientifically proven! So much science today, I’m getting a headache), so much so that slow eaters apparently consume less food than those who guzzle their food, not to mention they digest better. So, if you have a little bit more time in the morning but still want a healthy option, just make your smoothie a little thicker, and top it up to make a smoothie bowl.

This recipe is for a nutella tasting smoothie bowl, but you can adapt pretty much any smoothie recipe to make into a smoothie bowl (hint: add a frozen banana or half a frozen avocado to thicken the texture). 

Nutella smoothie base:
1 frozen banana
0.5 cup Greek yoghurt
0.5 cup almond milk
1 tbsp nut butter (almond is my favourite…)
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Blitz in your blender until a creamy consistency develops, a bit like soft ice cream. Pour into a bowl, and add toppings.

Toppings:
Half a sliced banana
Chia seeds
A small dollop of nut butter
Chopped hazelnuts
Cacao nibs

Add as much or as little toppings as you like, again don’t take it too seriously. Just enjoy it!

09/05/2016

Sunday at home with the bambini: white hot and summery

It's official, Summer 2016 arrived in London: it was yesterday... A cooking 26 degrees and sunshine so bright Little Monsieur decided it was perfect weather to go to the "Splash Splash", ie the water play urban beach in our nearby park. Alas it was not to last, and we're back to crazy weather once more, but hey, at least we had one good day, which is better than we can say some years!



I love a white dress on warm days, it's so fresh but it can still look quite put together, especially if it's a crisp shirt dress. I fell instantly in love with this one when I saw it on the Sézane website a few weeks ago. It's part of the Summer collection but like everything Sézane,  it keeps selling out. I think it's time the lovely Parisian brand upped its game logistics-wise. Don't worry, if you like it, just comment down, I'll do a little post on the best alternatives out there.



I accessorized this look more for the purpose of the pictures than to go out, as we spent the whole day between the garden, the roof terrace, and the park. Still, I thought the dress would look cute with some summer-ready accessories. The wrap sandals are from the resident cobbler who takes over at Henri Bendel in June, they make bespoke sandals whilst you wait... these are extra special for me: not because they show my ugly pointe-deformed feet, but because I got them a few hours after finding out I was expecting Little Madame, so that day will always have a magical memory attached to it, and so will these sandals, horrible toes or not!

The one thing that was a must was the Panama hat. This one is from a past collection but I have a few that I've collected over the years, some I got in Ecuador, some from designer brands. It's a classic shape that's very easy to wear, it doesn't look too beachy and its brim is still wide enough to protect my face from the sun.



In my eyes the clutch is the real winner of the outfit. It looks very "artisan" with its greek style embroidery, in fact it will be perfect for our trip in July (more on this on a later post...) and it really resonates with my love of improved neutrals. Simple but beautiful...



All the outfit details are below:
- Broderie anglaise shirt dress, Sézane
- Jute clutch with white embroidery, Mango
- Lizard wrap sandals, Tuccia Prima bespoke for Henri Bendel (during the Summer months only)
- Panama hat, from Tory Burch's 2014 collection, look at Sensi Studio for a similar style
- Reversible mini H belt, Hermès

08/05/2016

So, how was your week?

Hello dear friends... What a week! As you may know Monday was a bank holiday in the UK so we took the children to the Cotswolds, where we stayed in the lovely Calcot Manor. Although we had to endure some pretty wet and cold weather at first, it ended up quite sunny and between the bucolic beauty of England's countryside and the brilliant sunshine, we had a really fantastic few days away from London.



We came back too soon though, and I was back to my usual routine of work-outs and work travels... I have been indulging maybe a little too much lately, and so we're definitely going back to a more stringent diet... Week-end will continue to be times to enjoy meals with the little ones, but the week days are going to be much more filled with good proteins and green veggies all around,... that should be made easier by my new cold-press juicer, but in any case expect a slightly greener Insta feed in the coming weeks. Have a fabulous week everyone! xo

02/05/2016

Sunday casual for a day of grown-up fun in Soho

A few weeks ago, faced with yet another multi-week school break (this time, 3.5 weeks for Easter... the joys of private education in London) at Little Monsieur's school, I took him and his little sister to spend part of the vacations with my parents in Portugal, with nanny in tow. This meant Hubby Dearest and me (and the cats!) had totally empty house for a few days, so I figured I'd pack one with all the grown-up things we don't get to enjoy much in London these days, as our week-ends are spent in family brunches and children activities, rather than at museums...

That Sunday, we ended up going to the Royal Academy for Monet's Garden exhibit, then wandering over to Soho for a brunch of dim sum at Yauatcha, and finally down to the temporary stand of Yolk In Mac Ice, a place where we found the most delicious macaroon ice cream sandwich...



I wanted to be comfortable for the walking around but also a bit on trend, and I opted for layers to work around the changing weather in Spring-time London. I guess it's fair to say that this is another outfit that started with the shoes, and what fabulous shoes these are... They caught my eye on my birthday, when I popped out to Mayfair to order a new set of keys for my Globe-Trotter suitcase, and given my obsession with block heels these days, it took less than a minute for them to steal my heart. Isn't the colour absolutely striking?



I love the tie-up details as well, but these are the kind of shoes that absolutely need to be shown off with a dress, or possibly cropped trousers. Hence the choice of cropped slightly flare jeans, a look that I didn't embrace at first, at least not this winter when I saw it worn awkwardly with ankle boots, but now I totally see the point. Granted, my legs aren't nearly long or skinny enough for this to look perfect, but I've decided good is good enough.

Up top, I settled for a warm but Spring-like woven cotton jumper, very Brittany meets Scotland ... and then I kept it all short and sweet with a cropped trench jacket I've had for years, proving yet again that trenches are truly timeless and eternally easy to recycle.



Finishing touches on this outfit were all courtesy of the lovely people at Céline. Both the gorgeous blue embossed bag, called a Cabas Belt, and the sunglasses, are relatively recent acquisition, and I'm totally smitten. What do you think? Pretty enough for a Sunday?



Outfit details below:
- Crop flare jeans, sold-out at Banana Republic, these M.i.H. Jeans ones are close
- Woven jumper, Maison Kitsuné
- Cropped trench jacket, from an old collection at Comptoir des Cotonniers
- Cabas Belt bag and sunglasses, Céline
- Sandals, Wild Thing in red suede, Aquazzura

01/05/2016

So, how was your week?

Do you follow my Instagram feed? If not please do... First because I log on quite often to post about my day so it's easy to keep up rather than wait for a slow day in my household to enable me to sit down for half an hour and write a proper blog... But also because it would increase my followers a bit and I would really like to do a blog give-away when I reach 500 Instagram followers... Will you help me get there? In the meanwhile, here is a little recap of my week on Instagram.











It started off like most Mondays, at work... As often happens I gave in to frustration, and would have loved to be able to send some people to sit on a piece of spiky plantation, but thankfully the day was over soon enough and off I went to see my beautiful and oh-so adorable friends at Psycle, and my session with doctor-cum-instructor Amal drained me of all the negative energy accumulated during the day, filling me up instead with positive thoughts about my well-being.

I upped the ante a bit on the fitness front, continuing to build up my workouts since my surgery, with three sessions in total at Psycle and a couple of sessions at Heartcore and the Harbour Club in between. No wonder I took so many pictures of health juices and smoothies!!!

I popped over to Paris for a conference with clients, only to discover I'd forgotten all of my make-up in my bag for the afore-mentioned Psycle class. Thankfully at 11pm you can always count on Sephora on the Champs-Elysees, and I must admit I went a bit wild with all the make-up available. Cue the palette overload picture...

Back in London I finally decided to go on a fitness bootcamp, something I'd been mulling over for a while... but was always too afraid to book. It's pretty daunting knowing I'll be heading for a week of almost non-stop workouts, all on my own, with no friends to joke around with, but for some reason a part of me thought I could  do it, and in fact I needed it. I'll be moving to Ibiza for a week in just over a month. Stay tuned for my photo diary and review post when I come back (if I  come back?)...

Soon enough, the long Bank Holiday week-end was upon us. Instead of heading out on the crowded roads on Friday night, we decided to keep with our usual family routine (children classes, morning work-outs) and instead we will be heading out to the Cotswolds for a couple of days later on. Means we got to enjoy two beautiful sunny, if chilly, days in London.

How about you, how was your week?

Baking brownies with Little Monsieur, the healthy way

If you have followed me these last few months, you know I've started a new journey where I'm trying to be healthier and fitter, working out  more and trying to favour healthier choices (most times...) Still, this doesn't mean I am ready to switch to a diet of herbs fit only for a rabbit. I still like meat (organic please), wine (French preferably), and of course I have a life-long love story with carbs that just isn't going to go away because I've decided I'm going to stick to one size only in my wardrobe: 10.

Thankfully the world abounds with healthy living cooks and instagrammers, some better than others, so it's easy to switch to healthier recipes for all the things I love. Sadly though, most clean-food desserts I've tasted have been quite revolting (I won't get into the details but as healthy becomes the new foodie, I have had my share at dinner parties...) but there are some exceptions...



So far, my favourite health-food blogger / writer has got to be Saskia Gregson-Williams, aka Naturally Sassy. She is all about eating what's good for you but also what tastes good... I love her blog and her Instagram feed, which lacks the professional editing and the deliciously boring self-infatuation that have annoyed me to no end with some other posters. Seeing as I don't go on social media to suffer other people's smugness with their perma-edited lives ("I only eat sugar-free locally sourced snacks..." of course we believe you!), I had to trim down my list of follows over time... Thankfully with Naturally Sassy, it's all about wonderful recipes that are truly amazing.

These are called her Best Vegan Brownies, they are dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free and egg free, and yet despite all of this, they totally deserve their name. Absolutely a-ma-zing. In fact, a few weeks ago I took a box into work thinking I'd offer the girls a healthy snack, but in the end everyone had some and the junk-food loving guys couldn't get enough of these...

What's inside? Dates for sweetness, chia seeds for proteins and to make this a filling snack, nut butter for smoothness, etc. For the full recipe, you'll have to go to her blog (you might find it difficult to leave after a bit though,...): find the recipe here. It literally takes no more than 20 minutes of prep, and that's including chopping the dates and getting the chia seeds ready.

Little Monsieur and I love making this recipe together, it's so fool proof, and it tastes truly scrumptious. He enjoys it with a scoop of nice cream, which I created for him: frozen banana, coconut milk, some lucuma powder, and a little bit of organic vanilla powder, blended until the  perfect smooth consistency. Bon appetit!

30/04/2016

Saturday's shopping list: Summer espadrilles

Bring on sunshine! With less than eight weeks to go until the Summer (according to  the calendar at   least), my mind has started to turn towards warmer days, and what to wear when these eventually arrive (or, to describe it more accurately, when I travel towards them, seeing as the London weather has decided to anticipate the Brexit and form a special, very close alliance with Greenland, it seems).

I am totally obsessed with espadrilles, in fact I think this season I've ordered a good four pairs, maybe five even, from crochet-lace ones to suede beauties, and of course I'm lusting after a couple more... totally ignoring the fact I may not have more than 10 days in total to wear raffia-soled shoes this year. If you're lucky, then you don't need to consider the fragility of raffia soles, as you would be living in a drier climate, but if, like me, you live in a country loved by rain, then be careful, as espadrilles soles then get soggy, the rope material expanding and becoming quite hazardous as you thread your way through the streets. Consider yourself warned...

In dry weather though, espadrilles are wonderful. They look fabulous with jeans, dresses, shorts, and of course they are a wonderfully stylish alternative  to flip-flops on the beach. If you haven't already picked your pair for this season, here's a selection of my favourites on the web right now. Go on, you know you want  to!



From middle left, clockwise:
- Lace-up khaki flatform espadrilles, Zara
- Suede espadrilles (also in blue, black, silver and gold), Aquazzura
- Pony-hair leopard print slip on espadrilles, Manebi
- Pompom espadrilles, Uterqüe
- Cap toe cutout work espadrilles, Michael by Michael Kors
- Multi-colour woven lace-up espadrilles, Manebi
- Pow denim slip-on espadrilles, Chiara Ferragni

PS: On a budget but still loving those Aquazzura babies? Check out these ones on ASOS, they are identical and come in  tan, blue and blood orange. Happy shopping!
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