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


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


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


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


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.

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.

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!


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


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


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


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!


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!


Thursday in the office: sunshine at my feet

Let's face it, classic corporate fashion for women is pretty uninspiring, from the ill-fitting "power dresses" to the boring pants and jacket suits, it's all very yawn... There are a few exceptions (The Fold for instance) but they are really limited.

Sadly this means one of two things usually: women either endure it and stick to a bland uniform, or they try to throw the corporate attire rulebook through the window, and suddenly go a little crazy and either turn up to the office dressed like they are read for the disco, or worst, a day lounging in their Uggs (true witnessed story)...

In my case, as you've probably figured out by now, I don't really follow the rules, not the ones of fashion magazines (they are written with 40kg giraffes in mind, I'm sure) nor the ones of the firm I've worked at for 12 years (I'm still wondering who those are written for...). Instead, I've found my own way, and it seems to work, at least I think so (most times!).

Last Thursday's outfit is very typical of how I pick my clothes: I usually start with the shoes... Of course, it doesn't matter much to me that the weather in London at the moment means furry boots would have been more suitable (ha, the irony!), there is always a certain time in the year where I decide it's time for open toe shoes with intricate detailing, and I think this year I got to that moment around the end of March. Thought to self: look into moving to Miami.

These sandals are absolutely wonderful, comfortable yet so cool with the cut-outs and the lacing in the front. I fell in love with their sunny colour and I love how they literally perk up any outfit. Jeans, a plain dress, or in this case, what could have been a very drab grey outfit.

This outfit is very comfortable and easy with the wool culottes and the cropped cotton sweater, but it would have been extremely dull had I not added the accessories. The shoes of course are an instant focus which draws the eye down, but I also made sure the accessories above ankle height were fabulous. My little Sac De Jour continues to be a favourite, I love the little structured look, it's classic and modern at the same time, and the smooth leather is to die for, especially in the navy. This size doesn't fit much to be honest, a bit like the Birkin 30, but how cute is it!?

Beyond a great handbag and some fabulous shoes, the best way to make an outfit interesting in the workplace is a wonderful scarf or shawl. Mine is one of my favourite designs by Hermès, it's called Portes du Palais, and I had it in the 90cm silk version in a couple of colours, but when it came in the large cashmere and silk version, I fell in love with this colour, it's just so fresh and makes the beautiful design all the more delicate-looking, not to mention this is a perfect year-rounder, which is a bit crucial given the price these babies have hiked to in recent years.

Obvioiusly the unseasonal chill of the last few days meant it was impossible to consider going without a jacket or a coat, so I opted for a double-breasted jacket, an oldie from a few years ago. It rounds up the blue pieces and keeps me warm, result!

Outfit details below:
- Grey high-waisted culottes, Club Monaco
- Grey crop knit top, ASOS
- Navy calf leather small Sac De Jour, Saint Laurent
- Yellow lace-up cut-out sandals, Rupert Sanderson
- Cashmere and silk shawl, Portes du Palais (SS2015), Hermès


Little Madame's Pink and Gold party

My little baby girl turned one a few weeks ago... The proverbial flying of the time is even crazier with the second child, I've barely had a moment to breathe since she came home from hospital (let's not even talk about the hundreds of un-albumed pictures that need to be organised, ahem). Anyways, we had a little party to celebrate this key milestone, and, as you can see below, it was a bit someone had emptied a can of pink paint all over the house!

I wanted to go for a sweet and girlie theme, something simple given she hasn't yet shown a keen interest in any particular story or cartoon character. I also thought about keeping everything very girly, seeing as with her love of her brother's toys she is bound to demand a Cars themed party soon... So it was decided: pink and gold, with lots of tulle, confetti, and, the little ones favourites: balloons.

Ordering for this party was actually quite easy... The cake and cupcakes were delivered by Crumbs and Doilies, who specialise in the cutest cupcakes and some pretty cool celebration cakes. I fell in love with the cake, which was ombre inside and out... There's a picture of a gorgeous slice somewhere on my Instagram, check it out, it was the most precious thing ever! It was complemented by adorable mini cupcakes, both normal and gluten free.

The decorations were very easy to match. I ordered most of the items online, from the pompoms to the confetti, but I did insist on making a few of the decorations myself, buying a few yards of tulle to make a garland and some ornaments for the table and the jugs. The tableware is from a Meri Meri collection, and it was very easy to combine with little milk bottles and their pink stripe straws... The kids loved it all (I think!).

Food-wise, I added some pink candy, such as marshmallow poles, they were both delicious and adorable (not to mention fat-free!). I managed to sneak into Dylan's Candy Store when I was last in New York, so that allowed me to get some extra pink goodies. Pepto-Bismol shades galore!

Drinks were a very classic choice of homemade iced tea or champagne (rose) for the adults, and juices (watered down to keep the sugar contents down... just in case the candy and cupcakes weren't loaded as it was!) for the little ones, and we had berries to cut through all the sweetness of the cakes. I love nothing more than showcasing party food and drinks in my favourite glassware, such as my vintage cake stands, but this time what I am particularly happy about is the cluster of milk glass studded goblets, aren't they just magical?

If I'm honest though, most of those were for my pleasure and that of our more grown-up guests, but the party girl herself did take more than a keen interest in her balloons. I had to improvise when a delivery of confetti balloons flaked (ha...) and bought some clear balloons which we filled with a mix of confetti before Hubby Dearest went to town with the helium. She absolutely adored them...

Almost as much as she loved the mini balloons we filled for the floor for her to play with... that, I am positive, was her favourite gift of the day. Just look at my happy baby playing with her balloons...

Voila, our party for our little princess, what do you think?

Just some ideas for a similar look:
- Confetti balloons, Pretty Little Party Shop
- Tulle pompoms, set of 3, Party Pieces
- Cake and cupcakes, Crumbs and Doilies


Friday casual... Bring on Spring!!

I know what you are going to say: it has been ages... I know. I wish I could give you an update on some grand project that has kept me busy etc. but the reality is I've just been busy with life: children, fitness, work, and, something a little new to me: networking...

I have never been one to build relationships for the sake of knowing people, usually it's been a side-effect of work or friendships, so networking doesn't come to me naturally, but I've been pushing myself and I am becoming better at it! Especially as it is quite enjoyable! You should try it...

In the midst of all this, Spring has sprung in London, although you wouldn't believe it if today's weather is anything to go by. I woke up to pouring rain and it seems I will go to bed listening to it drop on my window panes. Hence the coat and cashmere top. Still, I don't like to surrender to the elements so obviously I had to wear sandals today.

Reason would have suggested boots, or at least closed toe shoes, but it felt like a blocked-heel sandal would be a much better fit for today's super long flared jeans. I guess, in the interest of full disclosure, I should point that I don't walk much in my commute, as I drive my car into the closed car park at work and then just walk around the building and surrounding galleries of Canary Wharf... otherwise the bottom of my jeans would have been positively soaked through.

On the topic of my jeans, I am finding myself deviating a little bit these days from my usual cuts: I still adore my skinnies, but this season I am also craving flares, either super long or semi cropped. I can't say they make me look very tall, but they are a great change and I like the 1970s feel of the long flares.

Accessories-wise, I went super-size. First with my new cashmere and silk shawl from Hermès: it's called Tyger Tyger, it's from the SS2016 collection, and it features a gorgeous tiger. It's still not my grail Tigre Royal, but I fell in love with the green and bronze colours, they are such a perfect match for so many of my Summer classics, I couldn't pass on it.

Second, with my Thela bag by Meli Melo. I had been lusting after this bag for a few months (a strategy I now use a lot since making a couple of costly bag purchase mistakes a while back) and recently got it from the Notting Hill studio. It's quite unique with it's inverted handle position, and the shoulder strap makes handling the large size super practical. I had originally planned to get the Medium size, but the Large is simply perfect for me, it's great for everyday hauling of all my little bits and bobs.

For more details on today's outfit, see below:
- Boot flare jeans in dark wash, Paige Denim
- Cashmere tee-shirt in khaki, J.Crew Collection
- Camel cape, mine is from a few seasons ago at Max Mara, this one at Hobbs is close
- Cashmere and silk shawl, Tyger Tyger by Hermès
- Handbag,  Thela in Tan, large size, by Meli Melo
- Leopard print pony-skin sandals, Vanessa Bruno


Mother's Day... Ready for lunch with family and friends!

It might be less than 15 days until Spring, but let me tell you London felt very wintry yesterday morning when my two little laughing and kicking alarm clocks arrived in our bedroom demanding for Sunday fun to begin (the smaller one, carried by her Daddy, who was kind enough to let me sleep in a bit)... when really all I wanted to do was crawl deeper under the duvet and snooze until the temperature hits levels which will allow me to store my coats for at least six months!

And I'm sure this is a feeling that I shared with quite a few mothers up and down the UK today: it might be your very own officially appointed Sunday, but you still get up early to cater to your little ones' needs, and what's best? You actually enjoy it (mostly).

Just like Valentine's, I'm not a very big fan of officially appointed celebration dates, especially considering how and why Mothering Sunday started in some countries... but still, I was excited to see Little Monsieur's painstakingly written wishes on a sweet little card and my new school-made heart-shaped plate charger. Adorable.

Besides from that, we didn't have any big plans, apart from a relaxed lunch with friends of ours, and so after Little Madame returned from her swimming lesson we got ready to go out in the frosty weather. The children wore their warmest puffer jackets and pilot suits, and I reached for my favourite Sunday look: layers...

Cashmere, silk, sheepskin, more cashmere... cozy, warm and comfortable, That's pretty much what this outfit is about. The over-the-knee boots are a great find and an interesting story: I had been walking past this little shop in Madison Avenue, around 80th St I think, for years, and lusting after these boots, but every single time I walked in to try them on my calves didn't allow the suede leg anywhere near my knee... Until, that is, I lost quite a few kgs, courtesy of my new diet and work-out routine, meaning suddenly my calves are a normal size and they fit in these beauties! I'm doubly happy about this because they are so comfy and light to wear, despite the little wedge. Sadly they are non branded so I can't offer up a link on them, only some close lookalike...

As you know, I like my family day handbags to be stylish (obviously) but mostly practical and hands-free if possible, which is why I grabbed this beauty, it's my last acquisition from Milli Millu, from their AW2015 collection. It's quite roomy for a bag which fits so neatly against my body, and the long strap means I can wear it on one shoulder or across body, meaning it didn't get in the way of me carrying Little Madame down to the restaurant for lunch. It also has a short clutch strap if I want  to use it for more grown-up affairs.

Outfit details below:
- Curly toscana gilet, sold out now, but Gushlow & Cole have a similar look
- Skinny high waisted jeans, Paige Denim
- Cream cashmere cable knit jumper, Club Monaco
- Silk print scarf (L'Arbre de Vie), Hermès
- Cashmere cable scarf, N.Peal
- Cross body Berlin handbag in taupe and beige grained leather, Milli Millu (you can get 15% off on any order today with code MMLILAC15)
- Over-the-knee beige boots, unbranded from a shop on Madison Avenue, these Daisy Street ones are close
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