Thursday, 28 February 2013

essie diy home manicure

When I look down at my hands sometimes I am just appalled by the state they are in.  One thing I really miss about New Jersey is how affordable manicures are and getting a mani weekly or biweekly won't hurt the bank account.  However in London manis and especially pedis cost a freaking fortune.  When I do go for a mani now I tend to splurge and go Shellac since they last so much longer and I don't have to worry about chipping them.  In between I've taken matters into my own hands due to lack of time and money.

My sister introduced me to the concept of the "bling nail".  Seriously sometimes I feel so out of touch with trends and what happening in the non-baby world.  So I dug around my nail polish stash and thought Essie's Luxeffects Set in Stones would make the perfect sparkly bling nail.  It's a great polish because it has multi-sized silver glitter circles in it so gives it real depth.  I like keeping a bottle of glittery silver and gold around because they are so much more forgiving and you don't notice imperfections in them.  I paired it with a neutral gray polish that I have been dying to try out, Essie Chinchilly and love how the two gray tones work together.  I always use the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat and stock up whenever I'm in NJ.  It really does the job and leaves a hard shiny finish.  I've just started using the Seche Base Crystal Clear Base Coat which provides a nice smooth base to apply the colors on top.  It's nice because it's got a tint of white in it so you can actually see what you are doing.

I really like mixing up the nail colors just to make my hands a little sparkly and more interesting.  Definitely going to try more color combos on a quiet night in.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

jimmy choo choo

If you haven't noticed by now I am a shoe whore!  There's no hiding it and sadly for my hubby there is nothing he can do about it.  I come from a long line of shoe addicts so it's in my blood.  My son clearly has picked up on the gene as he started hyperventilating the first time he saw the new Harrods kid's shoe department and immediately threw off his shoes to try on the ones on display.  Hey it's better than drinking problem or doing drugs right?

One of the toughest transition to motherhood has been this shoe problem of mine.  Okay surely this isn't a "real" problem but just indulge me.  Most of my pre-mommy shoes are resting in their boxes in the closet far far away and I do visit them from time to time.  They get to come out to play on the odd night out but that's about it.  It is tricky find shoes that can keep up with what us moms need to get done day to day.  The shoe must be comfortable to walk in, survive the park, and with the weather here in London not get trashed.

Luckily Jimmy Choo offers a great selection to save us from unattractive "mom" footwear while being totally comfortable and functional.  It's great not to have to completely sacrifice my style for the sake of being comfortable and I love being able to have both.  I have been living in my Jimmy Choo black Biker boots for a couple of seasons and they are a true work horse.  The more you wear them the better they look I think!  On dryish days you will find me in my gold Youth metallic Biker boots which really puts a glittery smile on my face.  The gold is sprayed onto the suede boot so it will get stained if it is wet out but I don't find some dirt as it is a distressed finish.  And when it warms up outside I will definitely bring my leopard print Wheel slippers back out.  These slippers are super comfy and have a great grippy rubber sole so you don't have to worry about keeping up with the kiddos.  I've been debating which pair of trainers/sneakers to add to my collection for awhile now.  I do love the low top Miami and just haven't been able to decide on a color yet.  But how fabulous are the new high tops and slip ons?  Decisions, decision, decision....

Top Row

Bottom Row

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

poor little winter hands

It's been a long freaking winter!  I'm going crazy, the kids just want to play outside, and my hands can't take it anymore.  The water is so hard in London and with all the constant washing my hands are taking a real beating.  They are cracked, chapped, and just plain dry.  I've been trying out loads of hand creams and most just don't really do anything for me.  These are the ones that have been getting me through this winter season.

E45 makes excellent unscented moisturizers without having to break the bank.  Great to use on sensitive and eczema prone skin.  I lather both of my kids after bath with the E45 creams.  So I gave their hand cream a try and it's a good one to use on a day to day basis.

I just started using the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repair Baume this week and I am totally hooked!  It cost slightly more than the E45 hand cream but it means business.  I've only used it a couple of time and definitely noticing a huge difference on my hands already.  It contains 5% Panthenol which is a form of vitamin B5.  No idea what this means but it really works.  The great thing is the balm can be used on all types of skin irritations such as nappy/diaper rash, dry lips, cracked skin, and eczema.  It can be used by the whole family including babies so great to have in the house.

When it gets really bad I lather on loads of cream and sleep with the Bliss Glamour Gloves.  I might look crazy and of course it's not the hubby's favorite but I wake up with much softer hands.  I really like the Bliss cream as well but of course I think I love anything Bliss makes.

And if you really feel like spending the big bucks then totally splurge on the La Mer Hand Cream.  It is the creme de la creme of hand creams and definitely worth forking over the big bucks for.  It's super luxurious and smells amazing!  I use it sparingly in combo with the other creams to make it last longer.  There may be some tears shed when you run out!

If all out fails then a manicure followed with paraffin wax treatment will rejuvenate these tired hands.

Monday, 25 February 2013

lattes and juice oscars 2013 picks

I haven't seen the Oscars yet but it was great waking up this morning to see what happened last night. I love all these ultra feminine and pale colored dresses.  They would all make amazing wedding dresses and these gorgeous ladies just look fab!

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior
Charlize Theron in Dior
Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra

These ladies look stunning in a more body hugging silhouette.

Kerry Washington in Miu Miu
Sandra Bullock in Elie Saab
Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive

And how lovely are these future yummy mummies and their bumps?  There is no way I would have looked this good bloated and nauseous.

Jenna Dewan Tatum in Rachel Roy
Georgina Chapman in Marchesa (of course!) and Harvey Weinstein

I always love checking out the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscars party.  I think the looks are so much edgier and more interesting.  

(clockwise from the upper left)
Diane von Furstenburg
Diane Kruger in Giambattista Valli and Joshua Jackson
John Hamm in Salvatore Ferragamo and Jennifer Westfeldt
Kate Beckinsale in Monique Lhuillier
Kate Bosworth in Giambattista Valli
Leslie Mann in Andrew Gn

What are your picks?

images from 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

must have for little boys

Never in my life did I think trains would be such a huge part of my life.  Honestly before I had my son I don't even think I ever noticed a train and now I have to live with a die hard train fanatic.  We watch countless hours of YouTube videos of Swiss steam engines, London Underground trains, NYC subway trains, German trams, Japanese bullet trains, and basically anything else that is a train.  For fun we literally ride the tube around in a circle with nowhere to go just sitting there stop after stop.  I still find this insanely dull but it's all the kid talks about!

We've moved past the Thomas and Friends phase thankfully as there is only so many times a human being can hear "fizzling fireboxes".  We are now only interested in real trains that we can actually ride and of course lots of demands to go to Japan to ride the Shinkansen and to test out some German trams.  Fat chance this is going to happen.  My kid is totally into these Munipals trains of the New York City subways, the MTA buses, and the New Jersey Transit train (can't get the Jersey out of this girl!).  As my mom keeps telling me they all look the same so why does need so many wooden trains but oh they are NOT the same.  Great thing is that these trains work with the Thomas and Brio tracks and trains so don't need to get more tracks and pieces.  We recently went to NYC and rode the subway uptown and downtown clutching his 2 A trains.  They go everywhere plane, train, automobile, school, bed, restaurants, anywhere.  I've got a closet full of backups too because we lost the A train for a month (somebody hid it in a Brobee backpack) and I cannot go through that again.

If you've got a train lover at home then these will surely be a hit.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

a little bit of nyc across the pond - balthazar london

I have been waiting ages for Balthazar London to open its doors.  I had set the date the reservation line opened in my diary and phoned with a vengeance.  After 96 phone calls (luckily the phone situation is running much smoother now) a table was booked and my stomach was waiting for a feast.  Balthazar is one of my all time favorite New York City restaurants that is a true Parisian brasserie with amazing seafood and scrumptious classic French dishes.  Balthazar London is in the heart of Covent Garden and right around the corner from my son's favorite place the London Transport Museum.  Perfect for us because we both get to do something we love and gives me something to look forward since we are trekking into the part of town that I avoid.

Our close friends joined us with their 3 year old boy and of course we had both our kids (a 3 year old boy as well and our 10 month old girl) so it was a true test for us.  I was planning on taking more photos of the food and atmosphere but hungry demanding children decided otherwise.  The decor is almost identical to the Balthazar New York so I immediately felt homesick but brought back lots of fond memories.  The staff was incredibly accommodating with us, very helpful, and super friendly.  Baby girl had a amazing goat cheese quiche which she quickly devoured and boys shared a cheeseburger.  The bread basket was of course AMAZING and the kids demolished 2 full baskets.  Despite appearances I do think this is a kid friendly restaurant with plenty of high chairs and staff who actually seem to like children.

There were parts of dinner that didn't go quite so smoothly but given that this is opening week I'm hoping they will work out the kinks.  We were given a table that was way too small for 4 adults, 2 kids, and a highchair.  The tables are set quite close to each other so I definitely recommend a booth if you are bringing kids.  To be fair we didn't ask to be moved to a larger table which I will do next time.  This also means that there is not much room for buggies to be kept at the table.  We were able to keep our Bugaboo Bee with us but the other 2 buggies needed to be folded and stored.  The food came very slow and our dinner took 2 hours without dessert as the kids hit their limit.  People did seem annoyed that we had kids with us but guess what if you dine at 5pm you really can't complain about this and of course this has nothing to do with the restaurant.  There is not a baby change but there are benches and tables that will do.

Overall the dining experience was very positive and I really enjoyed the food and the friendly staff.  I think lunch will work much better with kids and they should be ready to serve lunch sometime in March.  The food was really yummy and really looking forward to trying dessert next time.  The best part is, just like in New York, the bakery is open right next door so there are lots of goodies that you can bring home!  

Balthazar London
4-6 Russell Street
+44 (0)20 3301 1155 review review

Friday, 22 February 2013

twinkle twinkle little star

Apologies for the slow posts this week.  So much going on in the household with hubby traveling again, the crazy kids and of course we are currently planning for a big renovation home!  They don't make it easy or cheap here in the UK trying to get things done with planning permission and party wall negotiations (ie neighbors approval).  I've been collecting samples like a mad woman and dreaming of bigger home.

I am totally obsessed with wallpaper lately and plan on using it as much as the budget allows.  I came across this really sweet paper by the Danish company Tapet Cafe called Stars.  I definitely plan on using this in my daughters room on a feature wall.  I love all 5 of the sophisticated color palettes which would work well in a nursery or child's room without being too kiddie or childish.  I definitely don't want my daughter to grow out of it anytime soon.  The lavender and ink (charcoal) papers are printed with silver metallic stars and I just love how they shimmer.  The papers are a matte finish which I think makes it that much more chic.

More wallpaper posts to come in the next couple of weeks.  I am obsessed!

Available in the UK from Tissus D'Helene Ltd
Tapet Cafe Site

Monday, 18 February 2013

fabulous mom jeans

I always have such a hard time getting dressed in the morning.  Being a stay at home mom it's important to tell myself that I am not going to wear sweats out of the house!  Even on the worst day when nothing it going right just getting dressed into something with some kind of style gives me just a little lift to get through the day.  It is tough to find a chic outfit that will keep up with a very physical day where I know I will get food thrown on me and end up in mud.  

I wear skinny jeans or leggings like 99.9% of the time and I'm always trying to keep it exciting.  I purchased a pair of the Rag and Bone Legging in Violet and I am totally OBSESSED!  I seriously need them in every single color.  The great thing about the fit is that it is a mid-rise so it keeps all those  tummy bits held in.  It's almost been a year since the cesarian and my stomach is just not cooperating and really needs some support.  The R&B legging is a super comfy in a soft cotton twill that makes running around all day that much easier.  They come is so many colors and really adds that splash of color to your outfit.

Highly recommend giving them a try!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

valentine's goodies

I remember how much fun it was being a kid and getting Valentine's cards from all your classmates.  It's so much fun that I get to do this now with my little 3 year old boy who wanted to draw pictures on all the cards for his friends, lick the envelopes and filled all the bags by himself. I don't think its quite the ritual here for the little ones to give out cards (and it is now half term so we are off from school) but who wouldn't love to receive a robot card?

robot cards

sweet baggies and bubbles

Monday, 11 February 2013

valentine's day wish list

Another Valentine's Day is upon us and a girl can't help but dream.  Especially a stay-at-home mom who is drowning daily in dishes, toys and dirty laundry!  Here are my picks that all us ladies deserve for this Thursday.  Too be fair hubby has spoiled me and I was gifted the Cartier Love bracelet for a push present (with son's birthday inscribed) and the sweet Sydney Evan Love ring this Christmas.  Now I just need a new pair of heels and a night out.  The reality of course will be take away dinner in PJs at home!

sydney evan
amour necklace 
love ring 
pink love necklace 

lena wald
yellow gold eiffel tower earring 
yellow gold heart earring 

giant 12 gold hip 
giant city brogue 

chinti and parker heart cashmere sweater
christian louboutin pigalle spikes 100

love bracelet yellow gold and diamonds

Sunday, 10 February 2013

emile et ida

How chic is the French children's brand Emile et Ida???  I purchased quite a few pieces for both of my little monsters this past season and absolutely love the collection.  The cotton clothing is super super soft and I just adore the subtle color palette that you seem to only find in French children's clothing. I am a huge fan of neutrals and love the little details found in the pieces to make them far from plain.  The mustache motif for little boys is just so whimsical and fun!  Can't wait for the summer collection to roll in.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Finally back to work on my blog after a long long long break!  So much has happened since I've last posted over a year and a half ago.  My little boy has turned 3 and is definitely no longer a baby anymore.  The biggest news of all is that we welcomed our little baby girl M last March who I can't believe is turning 1 next month.  It has all gone by sooooo quickly and completely lost sense of time.  Baby M is now on a routine and down to 1 nap (some days are better than others of course) so I'm feeling like I've kind of got control of my life again.  So ready to start blogging again!

Thank you again to the very talented Julie Flynn for our gorgeous family photos.  Before our photo shoot we just couldn't manage to get a photo of all 4 of us together.  Our son is still slowly warming up to his sister if you can believe!  Look out for more from Lattes and Juice.