Thursday, 28 July 2011

Getting Ready for the English Winter...

I realize that it is barely August but I can't help but get excited for autumn.  Summer is just not for me and I really wish that it was autumn all year round.  There is nothing I love more that layering cozy knits under a chic coat and I just miss my boots so much.  I just long to be wrapped and bundled up drinking a nice warm cup of hot cocoa!  

Outerwear is another category of clothing that I just seem to accumulate and can never get enough of.  I blame this on genetics as my dad is addicted to outerwear.  The man can literally try one style for 1+ hour without ever getting bored.  I know since I have sat in the shop waiting for him since I was a kid.  I'm really ashamed to even disclose how many jackets the little monster has in his closet.  The first year was easy since he is a winter baby and grew out of things so quickly but now it's hard to justify the quantity other than they look so damn cute on him.  And with winter soon approaching I really need to limit his outerwear this season.

It just doesn't get more English than the very classic Barbour.  Their outerwear for children is just beyond adorable while being totally functional for the cold rainy weather.  I just love the preppy quilted jackets for the autumn because they very lightweight and warm.  The waxed coats and parkas are perfect for when it becomes freezing out, while the gilets/vests can be layered and still worn into the spring.  I'm sure you will find the perfect piece for whatever climate this winter will bring.

Now how do I chose just one?  Oooh and one for me too!

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Lovely Sunday in Paris

If you ever find yourself in Paris on a Sunday, you will soon figure out that pretty much everything is closed.  Of course restaurants, cafes, and museums are open but almost everything else is shut down.  I was warned by the concierge at Hotel Scribes that I better get milk and anything else the little monster might need on Saturday as it would be impossible to find a supermarket that was open on Sunday.  Of course this is very hard for the shopoholic in me that there would be a whole day when my wallet would be forced to rest.  Luckily the concierge mapped out the 2 areas where there would be retail therapy on Sunday and one of them being my favorite the Marais (the other is the super touristy Champs Elysees).  

My very favorite square in Paris is the Place des Vosges which is the heart of the Marais.  Place des Vosges is a perfectly symmetrical square surrounded by very grand, amazing and regal brick buildings.  Being in the square really gives you a feeling of what it's like hanging out in those pre French Revolution days if you were lucky to be one of the wealthy ones.  There is a giant sand pit and a small playground for the little ones to get rid of all their energy.  In the arcade around the square there are plenty on lovely cafes to relax in.  

Rue Francs Bourgeois is a boutique lined street off Place des Vosges that leads to Rue Vielle du Temple which also is home to more fabulous shops and cafes.  Here all of your shopping fantasies are fulfilled from independent boutiques to all of the chicest French labels such as Zadig et Voltaire, Petit Bateau, American Vintage, Diptique, Repetto, Comptoir des Cotonniers, and much much more.  Of course there is a lovely place to grab a seat and a drink to rest those tired feet at every corner.

Unfortunately for my wallet Sundays in Paris just got a little more expensive!

Place des Vosges, Rue Francs Bourgeois, Rue Vielle du Temple
Paris 75004

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Most Delicious Spot in Paris

Whenever I am in Paris my first stop is always Fauchon.  Lucky for us that live in London Paris is only a little more than 2 hours away by train on the Eurostar.  The food on the Eurostar is not really worth mentioning and after waiting on the predictably slow as molasses taxi queue at Gare du Nord I am always famished.  I usually stay on the Right Bank near the Madeline out of habit since I can now get around pretty well without a map.  So why mess with that?  And honestly I really need to be close to Fauchon as I make more than 1 stop a day and secretly is a big reason I need to go to Paris.

I don't even know how to begin to describe Fauchon other than an extraordinary gourmet food fantasy land.  Fauchon lines a large corner of the Place Madeline with its glorious fuschia accented exterior just drawing you in.  There is a grocery boutique in one large building selling lovely packaged teas, cookies, biscuits, jams, foie gras and so much more making finding the perfect gift ever so simple.  But my obsession is with the deli boutique which serves the most exquisite looking meats, seafood, sandwiches, breads, salads and of course patisseries!  

All of the nimbles are presented in sleek and minimal displays which really highlight the amount of thought that has gone into each creation.  It's hard to bite into some of the desserts because they really look like little pieces of art just too beautiful to cut into.  It's almost better not to look at the price tag when I'm in there and just convince myself this only happens a couple times of year and it really is a treat.  There is open cafe seating upstairs and barstools at counters on the shop level.  I didn't see any highchairs and it is pretty crowded in there.  To get to the tables upstairs there is a long narrow flight of stairs in your way so not exactly buggy friendly.  Not the best for baby facilities but it's pretty casual and the kiddies will be quite happy noshing away on the bread.  And you can always pack a picnic and head to the nearby Jardin de Tuileries.

When in Paris Fauchon is an absolute must and it will leave you dreaming of all the goodies when you get back home!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Hotel Scribe Paris

We had such a lovely stay at the Hotel Scribe this past weekend in the 9th arrondissment of Paris.  Hotel Scribe is located right next to L'Opera Garnier and a short walk to La Madeline, Place Vendome (to visit all the amazing jewels), Jardin des Tuileries, and the Louvre.  The best part about this location of course is that it is super convenient to all the fab shopping, especially the amazing boutiques on Rue Faubourg Saint Honore!

Hotel Scribe has been newly renovated which is a huge plus because images on websites can be so deceiving.  The staff all speak fluent English and are all super friendly and helpful.  The lobby and reception are very glamorous but inviting at the same time with comfy seating placed throughout.  The rooms are all cleanly decorated in soft greys and neutrals with a fresh white bathroom.  Bonus is that Hermes products are fully stocked in the bathrooms!  There is an amazing buffet breakfast that was pricey but worth it especially since there were highchairs available which is a total novelty in Paris.  We brought a travel cot with us so not sure if the hotel provides cots.  The concierge was really useful with recommendations especially kindly marking on the maps where shops would be open on Sunday.

The only complaint I would have about the hotel is that the blinds were not blackout lined.  Our room faced the main street Rue des Capucines so it was pretty bright the whole night and causing the Little Monster to wake much earlier than usual.  Also, there is a cute little porthole in the bathroom that overlooks the room so when you turn the lights on in the bathroom the bedroom is affected.  Normally this isn't a huge deal but with a sleeping monster it is something we had to be aware of.  But none of these are deal breakers and would happily stay at Hotel Scribe again.

In the entrance of the hotel there is a sweet little tea salon serving a huge selection of teas, drinks, patisseries, and snacks.  Everything we ordered was incredible especially the macarons!  I'm glad we only stayed for the weekend or else I would definitely be stuffing my face there and getting fat.

If you are ever in Paris and looking for a convenient location that is baby friendly then I highly recommend Hotel Scribe.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Parisian Chic Pour Les Enfants

Since Restoration Hardware debuted their line of children's furniture about 3 years ago I've always kept it on the back burner.  The original collection was very cute but lacked that je ne sais quoi.  Now that the company has had a complete style makeover their collections are just so chic chic chic!  The new Restoration Hardware look has an elegant European feel with a touch of glamour and drama mixed in with an antique old world vibe.  The look is just so unexpected for such a large retailer and really helps them stand out from the competition.

Restoration Hardware Baby & Child makes some seriously sophisticated furniture and accessories for the little ones.  I love how all of the pieces are really inspired from furniture I would love to have for myself but just scaled down.  These are pieces that can really grow with a child while being beautiful to look at and functional.  The color palette is so understated and chic adding to the elegant feel of the collections.  It really feels like bringing a little bit of Paris into your home and I would happily live in any one of these rooms.

Unfortunately it is only available in the States so I'm just going to add this to my dream collection in my head!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Falling for J.Crew

I was so excited when I received an email last week from J.Crew announcing that the Fall 2011 lookbook is now online.  I honestly think that since having the Little Monster half of my wardrobe is from J.Crew.  Their clothes are super chic with a touch of prep and all well made from great quality fabrics.  The pieces really last season to season as the collections aren't super trendy but classic chic.  The clothing is super practical and really fits in with the mommy lifestyle.  I love that the price point is pretty reasonable especially if you wait to purchase from sales, promos, and of course the outlets.    I really look forward to all of their lookbooks because they are all so amazingly styled and really inspires me to jazz up my look.  

I totally feeling the latest lookbook with the collection having that 60s Madmen vibe.  I am addicted to watching old Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn films from the 60s and absolutely love the fashion from that period.  Of course I'm really into the layered looks too from the collection since that's definitely a big part of my style.  The knee length coats are making me very excited for the fall as you all know that I cannot deal with hot weather.  With the added punch of the bright reds, magentas, and tangerines mixed in with the neutrals the looks for the fall are just so fabulously retro chic.

Don't forget to check out their amazing shoes and accessories to add that oomph to your outfit. 

Lucky for us that don't live in the states Net-a-Porter carries a great selection online.  For all of you that live in the States I'm jealous jealous jealous!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My Favorites from Sisters Guild

I am super excited to be asked by Sisters Guild to pick my 5 favorite items from their amazing online boutique for their Pinboard Picks series.

Click here to see what I have selected:

The Absolute Genius of Mary McDonald

So I am completely and utterly obsessed with Mary McDonald from Bravo's Million Dollar Decorator.  I have always been fan of her work but her personality is just incredible and I love love love her!  I feel honored that we get to watch her in action from her design process, to her amazing shopping trips, and installing her beyond brilliant master plan.  It is so inspiring and I don't even know how to process all the fabulousness that I am watching.  Luckily I purchased the season pass on iTunes so I can watch it over and over and over again.  I'm sure my husband is going to kill me and I'm becoming a slummy mummy making the Little Monster watch it during dinner.  Hey it's totally educational and more creative than Peppa Pig!  I think I can easily change my blog to an ode to Mary McDonald and take a break from mommyhood but I'll spare the men in the house.  

I just love Mary's attitude on life and her wicked sense of humor.  Much more importantly she seems to know exactly how to push her client's budget without getting in trouble to get exactly what she needs to see her vision through.  I mean she can go way over budget with the client thanking her in the end because they are just so thrilled with her work!  I completely agree when she says that people don't know what they want and she knows what people want.  

It's hard to argue with her when her designs are so far more ah-mazing that anything anyone else can come up with.  Her signature look with the bold painted timber floors is so ridiculously genius and gives her room that extra kick.  Her color sensibility is incredible using combinations that are fresh and creative.  The bold use of texture and pattern are just out of this world.  But my absolute favorite in all of her designs in her use of Chinoiserie.  It just can't get any more chic!  

Now if I can only get in her head so I can figure out what to do with my house and into her client's bank accounts while I'm at it!

For more on Mary McDonald:

Monday, 4 July 2011

Very Very Americana

In honor of the 4th I absolutely have to do a post on the Ralph Lauren children's collection.  I have a very very serious problem with Ralph Lauren, as in I can't stop myself from hoarding RL clothes for the Little Monster.  RL designs are just so classic, timeless, and the epitome of chic American style.  The color palette every season is right up my alley with a base of navy and whites mixed in with pops of color.  I simply can't resist how handsome the Little Monster looks in RL and that is why I always keep his closet stocked.  

I have a very systematic way of collecting these RL pieces without doing too much damage on my wallet.  Whenever I get an email from the website about a sale that's when I order tons of staple pieces (polos and sweaters mainly) for the coming seasons.  This way I get more for my money and FYI the sale is going on now!  Pieces from older seasons are always on a further markdown so it makes sense to buy winter clothes in the summer in a bigger size.  Also, whenever I pass by a RL outlet I buy buy buy.  Normally you can find coupons for the outlets and the shop itself might have some kind of promotion going on.  

Don't even get me started on how ridiculously adorable the little girl's collection is.  I'm sure my husband is completely relieved that we don't have a daughter (yet...) or else he will have to directly deposit a portion of his paycheck to Mr. Lauren!

Happy Quattro!

Happy 4th of July to all of my buddies in the good ole USA!  It still feels very strange celebrating the Quattro in London but happy that everyone gets along and hopefully we are not offending anyone celebrating here.  In honor of the 4th I attempted to make some very American nibbles: dark chocolate covered pretzels and Oreos with patriot sprinkles.  After ruining 3 batches of chocolate (who knew that tempering was so freaking complicted) and about 20 quid spent on buying imported Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips how ironic that the 4th time was a charm.  They are a huge hit and my waistline is feeling it for sure!

Hope everyone has a lovely and relaxing day off.  Enjoy those fireworks for us!