With roughly 6 weeks to go until the arrival of our new bundle of joy I'm getting more and more tired by the day. Keeping Gabriella occupied at home is getting to be very challenging. I think I've worked out the formula...variety is the spice of her life! The only problem is working out the 'variety' of activities! With fuzzy pregnancy brain I find it quite hard to think at all, It's certainly not easy thinking ahead and having activities pre-planned to keep her entertained and tantrum free.
So, what else have i been doing this week? Well...On top of having a 2 year old to run after, It would seem that I've taken nesting to a whole other level, I've completely and unreasonably forced my other half into gutting and re-doing our bathroom as if we are not busy enough!
Apart from a few trips to tile and hardware shops (how exciting, NOT!) we've only made it out once at Gabriella's request for 'coffee and cake' at our favourite local cupcake shop Primrose Bakery. So being at home this week means Gabriella has spent lots of her time jumping on beds, painting and drawing and clambering through the rumble from all the renovating.
She loves bright colours, and yes, usually all mixed together in one outfit. I always ask her what she wants to wear, personally I think clothes can be quite a large part of expressing your personality.
Comfort is number one so leggings are a firm favourite in her wardrobe as are long sleeve t shirts with fun designs on but she developing a real love for skirts...music to my ears!
And...the more sparkles and glitter the better!
Of course I'd love to dress Gabriella in designer and boutique brands all the time but its not practical with the delicate use of fabrics and the financial burden. And, actually the high street do some really lovely pieces which I would hate to miss out on.
I'm not going to lie, I'm completely jealous of my daughters wardrobe especially being 8 month pregnant and now barely being able to fit into my oh so beautiful maternity clothes!
I'd love to hear what your child's style is like, do share.
Happy Valentines Day.
I've been feeling pretty lazy lately (for a good reason, which I will share with you later!). The overriding urge to eat hamburgers and crispy fries certainly encouraged me to leave the warm and toasty environment of home for the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden.
It was the perfect autumn day and one without rain for a change, on our way we had the chance to have some fun with the crisp leaves.
And we all know its a total sin not to visit Laduree for a macaroon fix whilst in Covent Garden...
I'm so glad Gabriella shares my enthusiasm for macaroons but it does mean there are less for me!
Gabriella spends most of her time spotting animals in the garden or when we're out and about and she just loves waking up to tweeting birds! She's completely obsessed with everyone else's cats and dogs. Am I a terrible mother for not letting her have any pets yet?! I don't know but what I do know is it will be another child and responsibility for me to look after. I think we'll just enjoy a bit of nature, the zoos, farms and everyone else's pets for the moment! I try to embrace her interests as much as possible and lately we've been checking out as many local places as we can. When I found out there was a local city farm we couldn't wait to check it out.
Kentish Town City Farm is nestled in amongst lots of high rise estates, exactly where you think there could be no such thing! Tucked behind an unobvious wooden door is the entrance to the farm. We were greeted by some chickens, with not a human in sight we strolled around the farm and I introduced Gabriella to all the typical farm animals. Most of which she recognised from her books. She was ever so excited, I think it was the fact that they were actually real and could move and make all the noises I've been telling her they could make.
I'm glad Gabriella had a good time, if I'm honest, as an adult I felt that the city farm felt slightly unloved, tired and uncared for, it has so much potential to be a wonderful place for young families to hang out. This could of course be a financial restriction but if guests were greeted by someone maybe we would know where to give donations safely. Also there could be an opportunity for a great farm shop and cafe. We could have done with pitstop to refuel, we had to stop stop for lunch somewhere else after :-(. All in all definitely worth a visit.
Tis the season of parties and get togethers. Gabriella had been invited to her friend's 2nd Birthday feast in Regents Park. There was no better choice of venue than Regents Park whilst we take advantage of our great British heat wave plus it's just a walk away from home. Sometimes I completely forget that Gabriella now comprehends what im saying, this is probably because she spends much of her time ignoring me unless its something she wants to hear! Telling her about the party in the park before bedtime probably wasn't the best of timings, we had a very overexcited little girl who couldn't sleep.
To be honest the whole family was kind of excited, we've been so busy working that there's been a real lack of family time. We love nothing more than to eat, drink and be merry in the sun whilst the kids play. Well, it's never quite as relaxing as that sounds when including a toddler approaching the terrible 2's.
Gabriella has a beautiful dress from ilovegorgeous from last summer, it's probably the last wear she will get out of it before it gets packed away. Just as well, Gabriella's love affair with the chocolate birthday cake has definitely compromised this faithful party piece :-(
We have another party in the park coming up this weekend, I'm on the lookout for a new dress for my messy cake lover.
We are settling into life in Hampstead(apart from the fact of needing meeting some local mums for me and playmates for Gabriella!) moving location with a child has taken me a while to find my bearings and special little spots that are fun for both me and Gabriella. The outdoor fountains that Gabriella can play in are definitely something we didn't have in Notting Hill. When I'm unprepared and no change of clothes seems to be the time Gabriella loves to insists on running through the fountains, More often than not I eave the house with a fully clothed dry toddler and return with an unclothed and fully soaked mess!
I love to support local produce and British products where I can. It feels great that I can buy seasonal flowers and veggies which are all organic. Seeing all the lovely fresh rhubarb has inspired me to bake a rhubarb crumble...can't get any more British than that! Look out for it on a future post.
Last night I created a warming twist on the traditional Salmon Nicoise, I roasted the new potatoes and green beans in olive oil and tossed these into the salad whilst still hot, pan fried the salmon and flaked it over the salad also hot...and I made a roasted pepper, feta cheese and onion salad.
I cant tell you all how sorry I am that my blog posts have been virtually not existent over the last 6 weeks. I completely underestimated the strength I would need moving house with a toddler! One thing's for sure, I've learnt a lot....I now know that however much stuff you think your house stores times this by three! However long you think it may take to pack up your home times this by three and you will probably be three times more tired than you can ever imagine so saving some extra money for after the move so that you can book into a 5 star spa for a week is probably not a bad idea.
Staying at my mums until our new house was vacant was not easy as she is 100 miles from London, Gabriella loved having time with her Nana though so it was worth all the travelling for her to spend quality time with her.
Thankfully, we love our new home. Its an exciting space with beautiful high ceilings, patio doors which open out to a beautifully mature garden which we all know in London outside space is like gold dust. It certainly feels like a more grown up house in a grown up area. Most importantly I feel inspired in the space, lets face it for a creative it's essential.
My goodness I was not impressed with the 11 years worth of dirt left by the previous tenants, I'm completely disgusted that people live like that. I'm not making excuses but weeks of cleaning have contributed to my delayed blog posts! Anyway, the neighbourhood is just beautiful, with stunning tree lined streets and traditional red brick houses, draping wisteria here and there, blossom and magnolia everywhere, lots of traditional English Pubs and Ive swapped Hyde Park for Primrose Hill and Regents Park. I'm glad that Hampstead is so pretty because I have to say I was a little bit apprehensive about moving here as I've always been a West London girl. There's still lots to explore in Hampsted and I'm enjoying this new chapter in life. Any tips for places to go in Hampstead will be muchly appreciated!
After a quick trip to the seamstress for sample fittings for work this morning we decided to take a walk to Notting Hill. We popped into the newish Jamie Oliver Recipease shop. It's quite amazing, it's such an interactive store with cooking classes going on in a huge island kitchen in the middle of the whist shoppers shop. Im not sure if it was because there was cooking classes going on but the space feels so inspirational, I know any budding cook would appreciate visiting the store. Since Gabriella was enjoying stretching her legs and we were feeling a bit parched, we continued our walk down onto Portobello Road and stopped for a quick refuel in Kitchen & Pantry just off Portobello. Mmmmm maybe I could smell the carrot cake calling me! I never want to leave...It's so comfy and cosy! Comfort food of jacket potato with beans and sausages and carrot cake to finish hit the spot perfectly. It's cold once again but Portobello Road never disappoints, it has that inspiring buzz no matter what the weather.
One of the most exciting and interesting parts of my role as a designer is fabric. It still amazes me how fabric choice can transform a garment and bring it to life. I also love that the same garment can have a completely new identity by just recreating it in a different fabric whether it be a completely different textured fabric or just a different print. Using vintage garment patterns with a contemporary fabric or printed fabric can bring a garment into this century but keeping all the traditional design elements we so love. On the other side of the coin using more tradional fabrics and prints with a contemporary cut garment can give an equally comforting yet stylish look. This is particularly true of children swear but works well with womenswear too. I've been doing lots of fabric shopping lately for some of my up and coming childrenswear collections for my childrenswear brand With Love Baby. If i'm looking for new and unique fabrics I will spend a very long afternoon in Shepherds Bush, West London on Goldhawk Road. My 3 favourite fabric shops are A1 Fabric which is a firm favourite of LCF students, Fabric House and Classic Fabrics.
Easter has been a much needed break for me and my family but especially me. Lately, I've been more than exhausted. Quality time at home celebrating Easter has put a smile back on my face. Apart from a trip to church on Sunday morning we didn't leave home this holiday, long mornings in pyjamas and afternoons eating Easter eggs...it's been a lovely contrast to life lately. Putting together an Easter basket for Gabriella was so fun, I made lots of special treats for her. We made a lovely mezze lunch on Sunday afternoon before a huge tradtional roast in the evening. We even had a little Easter bunny running around the house!
I love Easter...I'm so excited that it's around the corner. Looking out at the beautiful blossoms on the trees, daffodils on my desk and longer days starting to emerge, Easter is definitely in the air. Easter is not only about eating Easter Eggs until we feel sick but most importantly spending it with family. To get me inspired I've found some great inspirations for Easter on Pinterest. I'm a self confessed Pinterest addict! I would love you to join me on my Pinterest journey. Pinterest Username: withlovebaby
I love the bunny ears, I'm so going to make some for Gabriella!