As much as I have delighted in a once in a lifetime maternity break, I have been itching to get back to design and my blog especially. It felt only appropriate that I kickstart it during the London Design Festival.

Having spent the past four months [has it been that long already?] in a haze of sleepless nights, playful days, much needed coffee mornings with new friends [lifelines] and a mind-altering education, it has felt like my brain hasn’t had the space for much else. The honest truth is that there were times that I found myself frustrated by the sudden lack of industry and inspiration. Spending over a decade working every hour under the sun at a job I really loved and then abruptly stopping was a very strange feeling.

But as with everything in life – hindsight is a beautiful thing and its only in looking back on my summer of love I’ve realised how amazing these last few months have been and not as devoid of inspiration as I initially believed.

A quick introduction to our bright star – Aarya [pronounced Ah-Ree-Ah] was born on the 24th of May and we grow more in love with her every day – we have been introducing her to our world and she to us. She has inspired me in a profound as well as a superficial way – her clothes, her nursery and making sure she is comfortable has opened up a whole new realm of sweet and playful design.

I kickstarted Aarya’s design education by inadvertently celebrating her 1 month birthday at the Ace Hotel [I went there for a launch]. She loved the hubbub of it all!

AceHotel

Being a little more housebound than normal, I discovered the many charms of my East London neighbourhood [Wanstead] – a spate of new eateries and shops began populating our high street providing much needed respite.

Duke

Duke2 Wanstead Fish Fish

Manor2 Sunny Coffee

With everyone suddenly obsessed with sleep in our household, it became all about the bedding. We all had matching Metallic Polka Dot bedsheets from PB Teen, our bed was topped with West Elm’s Nomad Bedspread and Pillows with Aarya’s cosied up with a beautiful ruffle crib bumper from PB Kids. Stylish bedding promotes sleep in my opinion!

winter bedding PBBaby Bedding A Crib

I became obsessed with accessories for accessories – transforming my plain nursing pillow using Etsy store Modfox’s great selection of covers. Mine was the Grey Arrow Nursing Pillow Cover

Pillow Cover

…weaning my baby off an ugly doll she loves using more stylish items like … Donna Wilson’s Foxleaf Toy at Mamas and Papas and a hilarious handmade Panda Puppet from the V&A Shop

Fox

Panda

…with Baby Gap turning into my achilles heel… look at that whale print!

Gap

… oh and not to mention very talented friends turning up with beautiful mobiles to treasure [a DIY on how to make these is upcoming this month].

A Mobile

I hate leaving London in the summer when its at its best – every summer feels like a holiday in the city. This one especially – we spent so much time with friends, balmy evenings at launch parties and lunches at favourite eateries.

USP Launch

Dishoom

USPLaunch2

…visiting exhibitions and capturing an alternative family portrait at the Digital Revolution at The Barbican…

DigiR

… a quick escape to the country with friends to celebrate Swedish crayfish season

Cray Cray2

And of course my main inspiration…

A

A2

A

I’ll be reporting from London Design Festival this week so follow my Instagram and Twitter for updates with a post to follow on my new finds from the week. Till then – its good to be back!

PG.5

I have to admit I unashamedly stole this post’s inspiration from my friends at The Women’s Room Blog because I just love a party decor web-shop.

The Americans do party decor really well, with design doyennes like Martha Stewart and Grace Bonney making crafting and entertaining a national institution. Across the pond, the online landscape is filled with inspiring offers from the likes of BHLDN, department stores like Target and not to mention Etsy’s covetable craft shops.

PG.2 PeaGreen3

The UK on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired with creative shoppers left to cobble together their decorations from uninspiring resources like Ebay and Amazon.

Enter Pea Green Boat a beautifully executed online store founded by friends Tessa and Zoe based in North London.

Drawing on their backgrounds in interior design and film production, their decor collections are fresh, modern and on-trend. Divided into inspiring sections like Decorate, Lay The Table, Gifts, Accessories, Vintage and by curated Theme, covetable products like bunting, cake toppers, giant balloons and table decor are sourced from all over the world and where possible, made in the UK.

Now all I need is an excuse for a party…

PeaGreen7 PeaGreen2

PG PeaGreen5 PeaGreen4 PeaGreen

PG.3 PG4 PG1

 

 

Ingredients

Like millions of people around the globe, I supremely over-indulged during the festive period. I know that trying to wean myself onto fresh salads and healthy options is going to be an uphill battle, especially since the weather outside is still pretty frightful.

Over the months of November and December, when I found myself battling the Christmas shopping crowd, I would often stop for lunch at the delicious Thai cafe Rosa’s in East London. My dish of choice to boost my vitamin intake was Yam Nuea Yang – a fresh and spicy beef salad – low on the carbs, high on the greens and flavour.

The dish consisted of a sirloin steak sliced and served in a basket of fresh lettuce, with slivers of red onion, chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers and other crispy vegetables. But the star of the dish was the sweet and spicy dressing with a huge kick that would have me choosing a salad over any other starchy comfort food.

I decided to explore making my own version of this dressing in a bid to kick start a healthy new year. So simple and so easy, you can make up a batch and use it all week in salads. Over the weekend I used it on a hearty green salad and gobbled it all up – and this week will be adding grilled aubergines for a substantial lunch. Be warned the dressing is really spicy but is beautifully counterbalanced by chunks of cold tomatoes and cucumbers and the addition of mint.

Spicy and Sweet Thai Salad Dressing [adjust quantities depending on how much you want to make]

The juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar [I had Cider vinegar which worked just fine]
3 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli [leave the seeds in for more of a kick]
1-2 Teaspoons of Brown Sugar
1 pinch of black or white pepper

Whizz all ingredients in a mixer [or mince garlic and chilli on their own and add to the liquids], pour over salad and dress with mint and coriander. Delicious!

Dressing Salad

AA

Just “Weeks away from Christmas!” all the adverts trill, and frankly I can’t wait. Britain and especially London in my opinion is magical during this season – winding Dickensian streets, Oxford Street lights and sparkling shop-fronts.

One quintessentially English tradition that I just love are Hampers! The magical food hamper where you just don’t know what you’re going to get. The magical hamper that becomes the lifesaver thread that keeps hungry family members going through the days before and after boxing day with it’s steady trickle of pickles and deli chocolates and the all important booze.

I never tend to get any hampers – which seem to mainly be the domain of my mum, mother in law and grandmas but now that I am getting maturer I’m really hoping that some will be heading my way (hint hint). Christmas Hampers have come a long way since the days of kitsch cellophane wrapped packages of tasteless biscuits and cheap wine. Hampergifts is a family run firm based in St Albans who create luxurious hampers containing food and drink of the highest quality. From Chocolate Hampers, to Wine Hampers, Cheese Hampers and Bath and Body Gifts. Filled with boutique food and wine sourced from around the globe, I’m hoping one of these will be arriving on my doorstep this December!

*This post was in Conjunction with Hampergifts

HamperGifts4

HamperGifts HamperGifts2

A few weeks ago I wrote about my Icing Class at the Biscuiteers in Notting Hill and since then I haven’t been able to think about anything else but imaginative iced treats.

Just in time for Halloween – The Biscuiteers have released a lovely video showing how easy it is to ice Halloween Skulls! I hope this inspires some of you to create your own iced delights!

halloween Skulls

{ Search }

{ Recent Articles }

Inspiring Business: Sparrow and Co.

A Must Visit: The New Craftsmen

{ Currently Reading }

The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

{ Sponsors }

{ As Seen In }

{ Follow me on Instagram... }