Thursday, 19 September 2013

under renovation...

As you can tell from the photos my life is complete chaos right now living with 2 small children in the middle of a building site.  I've really enjoyed reading along with Naomi of Coulda Shoulda Woulda with her mews house renovations and has inspired me to share what my life is like right now. 

When we moved into our Victorian terraced house 3 years ago we were completely overwhelmed with all of the space just coming from a small 2 bedroom flat.  Fast forward a couple of years and 2 kids later we are pretty much busting out of this house.  We are in the middle of extending our kitchen and because of all the structural work involved we pretty much have to tear down the back half of the house and start over.  With things costing a fortune in London it's not in the budget to move out during the construction.  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

papouelli london for stylish little feet

The kids are finally back to school and the weather seems to have change instantly overnight.  What happened to warm autumn days and the trees turning into warm colors?  All of a sudden I'm dragging out my winter boots to trek through the cold and rain again.  I'm on a hunt for some great boots for both kids as I am sure to be getting a ton of use out of them for the season to come.  One of my favorite brands for children's shoes in London is Papouelli.  Papouelli make beautiful and stylish kid's shoes with an European feel that are exceptionally well made.  Papouelli takes fit and comfort very seriously and understand that a child needs functional and practical shoes.  I love that you don't have to compromise on style and you know you are putting a great pair of shoes on your child's feet.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

a day in dumbo, brooklyn

It's funny growing up my whole life just outside New York City I have never even thought about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.  This even includes a semester at NYU living in a dorm on Water Street right across from the Brooklyn Bridge.  My 3.5 year old boy has become completely fascinated with the Brooklyn Bridge this summer and convinced us all to make the pilgrimage across.  We ended up spending the day in Dumbo and really had such a fantastic day.  I'm a huge fan of Mommy Poppins which an amazing website for things to do, see, eat with kids in NYC.  I found great tips on their Dumbo guide for our day on the other side of the East River and here are the highlights.

The Brooklyn Bridge is definitely one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and the oldest suspension bridge in the United States.  The upper level is a walkway for pedestrians and the views are spectacular from up there.  Not only were we in awe of the bridge itself but when you get a really good look of the NYC skyline it really leaves you breathless.  Although there are cars driving across the bridge just beneath you there is something so peaceful about being up there and I can't believe it took me 33 years to make it up there!  

PS - There is a flight of stairs up to the bridge so be prepared to lift the buggy/stroller up.

Just under the Brooklyn Bridge you will find Brooklyn Bridge Park that is right on the waterfront and you can enjoy all the views from down there.  Most importantly there are loads for the kiddos to do including the famous Jane's Carousel which we unfortunately did not get a chance to check out.  We ended up spending most of the day at the Main Street Playground that is also know as the "pirate ship playground."  Such a great way for the kids to run off all that extra energy while playing make believe on a giant pirate ship inspired climbing frame.  The playground is tucked right in-between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges so my son was in heaven looking in awe of both enormous suspension bridges.  For all those train enthusiasts out there subways run constantly on the lower level of the Manhattan Bridge so needless to say this is now my son's favorite playground.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

day at the stables - ralph lauren fall/holiday 2013

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ralph Lauren.

My go to brand for stylish and classic children's fashion is always Ralph Lauren.  They really know what they are doing when it comes to designing for the little ones while capturing a true American spirit in every collection.  What I love most is that all of the clothing from the newborns to teens are practical and functional without having to sacrifice an ounce of style.  Each collection is really well thought out including any item of clothing or accessory you would need to get your kid through the season from amazing outerwear, stylish knits, coming home outfits for newborns and so much more.

On August 5, 2013 Ralph Lauren invited moms and daughters to view their latest collection for fall and holiday 2013 at the "Day at the Stables".  The amazing fashion event took place at the W├Âlffer Stables in Sagaponack, NY which served as a picture perfect backdrop for a collection infused with the equestrian spirit capturing the classic preppy heritage lifestyle of Ralph Lauren.  Check out the entire fashion show below filled with adorable models and just imagine that you are sitting front row.

The first part of the fashion show showcases the fall 2013 collection that is filled with preppy colorful pieces which are perfect for back to school.  Next followed by outfits inspired by Downton Abbey with pretty flirty florals mixed with masculine tweeds inspired by 1930's menswear modernized for you little fashionista.  The holiday 2013 collection features the spirit of Rustic Americana reminiscent of an idyllic Adirondack Holiday and last but not least glitzy glamorous styles perfect for elegant uptown affairs as well as chic downtown celebrations.

The collection is just fabulous and I wish I could shrink myself to fit into one of those chic little blazers that will work well into the spring season as well.  My absolute favorite trend from the fashion show was of course the animal print that is right on for this season.  The leopard and zebra print sneakers and ballet flats would add a little je ne sais quois to any outfit and I must get my hands on the furry leopard print jacket for my little girl (I may need one for me too)!  The bold colored coats seen throughout the collection are sure to brighten up the gloomiest day while keeping the girlies dry and warm.  I'm sure your daughter is constantly running around in leggings and the riding pants from this season's collection are such a great and stylish alternative to the plain jane legging.  I'm also really digging all of the tweed jackets and coats that can be dressed down for everyday wear or glammed up for those special holiday occasions.  The collection is so perfectly preppy, American and Ralph Lauren.

I love that the event was such a special day for mothers and daughters to bond and after the fashion show guests were treated to a debut performance from Def Jam recording artist, Madison Beer, and lots of girlie activities including an Essie Nail bar, a hair braiding bar, Dylan's candy bar, and the ever popular photo booth.  There were lots of celebrity mommies on hand at the "Day at the Stables" such as Jessica Alba, Christie Brinkley, Edie Falco and Tiffany Thiessen with their little fashionistas for the event all decked out in Ralph Lauren.  Check out Madison Beer's performance below:

The Ralph Lauren Girls Runway Show is launching on September 5th on, along with exclusive video featuring Madison Beer’s first ever live performance.  Head over to Ralph Lauren where you can download Madison's new single, Melodies, free exclusively for one week.  Send your daughters back to school in style and get geared up for the upcoming holiday season looking tres chic.

Ralph Lauren offers a world of luxury and comfort in men, women’s and children’s clothing. For the Ralph Lauren children’s fall collection, the clothing line hosted a “Day at the Stables” fashion show that incorporated many facets of the Ralph Lauren lifestyle. For more information, please visit Ralph Lauren.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ralph Lauren.

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

with love from brooklyn - van leeuwen

One of the highlights from my summer in the States was getting to spend time with my brother who lives in the hipsterville of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  I must admit I was really beginning to feel old and totally not with it walking around there without big framed glasses and a couple of tattoos.  My 3.5 year old son however felt completely at home and is still demanding we move to Brooklyn.  Williamsburg is filled with fabulous gourmet destinations and trendy boutiques and well worth the visit over the East River.  When it feels like parts of the city are becoming outdoor shopping malls with the same brands and chain stores taking over area by area it is truly refreshing to find a place with so much character and plenty to explore.  You definitely will not find a Starbucks in Williamsburg!

Van Leeuwan Artisan Ice Cream truck on Madison and E 70th St on a Sunday afternoon
My brother brought us to the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck parked on Bedford Ave and N 8th St and told me it was the best ice cream ever.  When anyone prefaces anything as "the best" I am pretty skeptical but I must say he was absolutely right and I am hooked.  I actually lie awake at night thinking about this ice cream and going through withdrawal now that I'm back in London.  We might just have to move to Brooklyn after all to get my fix.  What is extraordinary about this ice cream is that it is so rich and creamy without being over the top with the perfect balance of flavors and it isn't too sweet.  It is clear for the second you taste the ice cream that only the finest and purest ingredients are used as the ingredients.

I've tried several of the flavors and going to make it my goal to try all of them.  The Gianduja is a blend of rich chocolate and hazelnuts and is heaven on a cone.  Strawberry actually tastes like fresh strawberries and the espresso flavor has a kick and will happily fulfill any caffeine craving.  The standouts are Van Leeuwen's unique flavors cinnamon and my personal favorite earl grey tea.  My kid now orders cinnamon every time we are at a restaurant or ice cream shop and seriously needs a reality check.  It is the earl grey tea ice cream that I cannot stop thinking about and I can still remember the taste so vividly.

There are 2 brick and mortar shops (loving this new American term) in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.  Plenty of trucks scattered throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan daily so be sure to check out their website for locations and look it up in Google too because there are lots of trucks out that are not listed on their site.  Some shops are carrying tubs of their fabulous ice cream so hope you can find it in a shop near you or else you have a great excuse to visit Brooklyn!