who says autumn is drab??

It’s a rainy Friday morning here in London and all I can think about is being wrapped up warm and cosy in bed while watching the rain pour down outside.. Alas, it’s not yet time to pack in the day job. *sigh*

So since there’s no point in complaining about it, its time to get out into the elements while adequately protected in my Hunters wellies and Burberry trench to go explore the world of London’s autumn fashion.

Who says autumn needs to be drab??

Here’s some inspiration to share.

Enjoy,
Sam

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Turning two

Well the time has come for my little girl to enter her ‘terrible twos’!! From what other parents tell me, it’s time to buckle down and just try to endure the ride that’s about to occur… gulp!

Luckily/unluckily Annabel’s already started to show signs of being a little challenging in her behavior. To her everything is “mine” and good on her for laying claim to possessions and even people. But after she lays claim to random things that quite definitely aren’t hers, we have a polite little discussion explaining that “no darling, but that other lovely ladies bracelet is definitely not yours” (but nice try…). I know it’s all a learning curve for their development and understanding but c’mon can it be over quickly?? My main worry is that my little boy Lachlan is going to pick up that her random acts of frustration are the norm. But hey, we all get our way though it.. Don’t we? Haha!! Ok, maybe not all of us.. I may be guilty of having moments when I want things that quite obviously aren’t mine. Nothing wrong with having aspirations. That’s my excuse anyway.

I do have to admit though, there are some amazing upsides to having a two year old – no lounge mr having to helicopter parent when they’re eating and playing, being able to have a somewhat rational conversation with your toddler and hope that some of its taken in, aiding them to understand the world around them (“daddy, what’s thaaaat?”), no more bottle feeding, the possibility of big having to deal with nappies (but then again, I can see the upside of them over potty training…) but mostly being able to create a world of imaginary play! Ok, as I write this I’m learning that I’ve never really grown up past two.. I just got taller..

So as a finale to my time of being a stay at home daddy I decided to ‘go big’ with Annabel’s party and create a kitch come modern theme. Bunting of course was no option. The cake area had to be simple, but help celebrate the last two years of Annabel’s life and the (what I call) tribe of people surrounding her and helping her to be the determined and lovable little girl that she is. So, I came up with the montage of photos of her and ‘the tribe’ assorted in the shape of a 2. Then a little more bunting.. There was food, food and more food. All of course handmade by moi. Plenty of kiddy and adult drinks to help celebrate. The garden was a simple kiddy paradise with a bouncy castle, dress ups and a colouring in table. In all, everything was done ahead of time, so all we had to do was heat and service food and just enjoy the day.

Which leads me to the cake.. Well I’ve got to say that’s my first 9 layer, 3 tiered cake and maybe my last.. It was a chocolate mud cake with chocolate ganache, chocolate fingers and of course chocolate smarties. Chocolate overload? Never!! I’ve got to say, it was monstrous but well worth the effort. It definitely was the icing on the party.

So, here are some of the photos. Now I’ll start planning for Lachlan’s big 1st birthday. Can’t wait!!

Enjoy,
Sam

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Frolics in the forest

To celebrate the lovely weather we’re finally having.. The kids, some friend and I headed out to discover a local forest we hadn’t been to.

Lets just say the kids (us and the dogs too…) absolutely loved running around through the meandering paths in the forest. You could see their imaginations were working overtime as they discovered hidden paths and wildlife along the way.

Then we headed out of the scrub to the long grass and wild flowers and the kids again ran, ran and ran…

Here’s some photos.

Enjoy
Sam

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A lazy weekend around London

Finally we made it to a weekend with nothing planned. Who would have thought that was possible for us??? Plus the sunshine was well and truly out. So we definitely couldn’t waste the weekend. Saturday i baked up a storm in the kitchen (pavlova and a pecan cheesecake), then helped a friend move house. Then Sunday we headed to the sunny harbour town of Portsmouth, surrounded by the white cliffs of Dover. Stunning!

 

We had a quick wonder around the town and then headed to a harbour restaurant – Rocksalt. There we spent a few hours sitting in the sunshine enjoying the local seafood and a crisp white wine. The kids seemed to love the fresh sea air and while being entertained by the boats coming in out out of the harbour and the rather large seagulls…

I had a little chuckle to myself with the table next to us were gobsmaked watching Annabel (a 20mth old) devouring oysters, mussels, whelks and taramasalata. Let’s just say it got a few comments. I was a very proud daddy of her love of food. None of this pre-packed kiddy mush for us!!

Having a craving for salted caramel icecream we then headed to Blackheath Village to satisfy our cravings..

 

Here’s some pics. Enjoy!

Sam

 

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Little Madamé

Little Madamé

Spring Is In The Air

After a busy weekend I’d be quite happy to just laze in the sun all day today. Yes!! We finally have sunshine!! Thank you Mother Nature the weather is glorious.

Although the weather was pretty miserable on Saturday, but not such a bad thing. As i spent most of the day whipping up a Spanish storm for a dinner party that night. What was on the menu you ask? Starters of Gambas Pil Pil, panfried chorizo in cider, potato tortilla, sardine marinated olives, meatballs with onion sauce, prawn croquettas, crema catalina, Santiago tart and white chocolate and saffron icecream. So yes..a lot had to be done before the guests arrived!

Here’s some of the workings. I’ll share the workings in more detail in good time.

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Alas the night was a success after having the crowd roll out of the house at 2am. Sorry neighbours!

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Which then leads us to Sunday.. Ouch.. Lets just say I needed loads of fresh air. So I spent the day in the back garden soaking up the sunshine and tidy up the garden while my partner did the honours of cleaning up the mess in the kitchen while resting on the couch and entertaining the kids. I’m always in my element in the garden!

This was the task ahead. A garden that was neglected due to the everlasting winter.. This is how it scrubbed up.

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I’ve got it in the diary to visit the Columnia Road flower markets in Shoreditch to plump up the garden beds.

As for the kids, well they were little troopers! Lachlan is finding his feel albeit very early on! I’m getting excited about chasing two terrors around the house giggling!

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Happy Monday bloggers!
Sam

My Kids Can Be Cute

Some days can be pretty average…but then come days can be just perfect. Today people was just one of those perfect days where you just want to say “yeah I’m a pretty alright Daddy”

Both kids started the day by just chattering away in their beds. Shock!! Normally they scream down the house wanting to get out of bed and start the day. Hence why Annabel may be in a cot longer than she thinks… But i can’t complain with some would say ‘tough love’ our kids sleep through from 7pm-8am… Result! *touch wood*

Anyway, Annabel then proceeded to annihilate her massive breakfast of yogurt, cereal, grapes, banana, orange and toast. Sorry dogs..nothing for you this morning.

We then quickly got dressed and headed out to a new ‘stay and play’ group which had a bouncy castle, dress ups, colouring, play doh, numerous toys, tents, toddler cars, snacks, coffee and some other token dad looking nervous. *chuckle* It was only a measly few pounds entry too. Score!! Since it was school holidays the place was heaving. But that’s cool with me, as it just teaches Annabel to share and meet other kids of all ages. Anyway we played for an hour or so then headed home for Annabel’s much needed nap. So Lachlan and I played. He had his first proper laugh! Cute! I was very proud and luckily recorded it on my phone.

Once Annabel rose, again just chatting away, we made some yummy and surprisingly healthy cookies. Recipe to follow…in time. So we played, danced, laughed, snuggled and had a great time.

I was a little sad when it came to dinner and bed time… But now I get some relaxing daddy time before I hit the gym. My poor body…

Here some photos from a day where I think I’ve earned my ‘super daddy’ cred..

Enjoy,
Sam

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Cupcakes, Champagne and Kidlets

Well that was a jam packed weekend!

I kicked the start of the weekend (Friday night, 7pm once the little ones were tucked up in bed) with a G&T and my baking hat donned and some funky 80’s tunes in the background. Ahh..shoulders down and relax….

I decided to whip up some super scrummy salted caramel cupcakes from the new Hummingbird Bakery: Home Sweet Home cookbook . Oh geez!! They were amazing!! I may have overdosed on the frosting though..

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We kicked off early on Saturday and had our baby group around for a champagne breakfast while the kiddies played around the house. Annabel was loving playing and showing off her toys to her buddies. Thankfully they all came despite having to trek through the snow. Yes.. Snow in March! So much for spring..

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Sunday was another early one with me off to take a portraiture shoot. I’m still editing. But I’ll share the results soon. I’m pretty pleased with how they’re came out. : ))

Then off to the Columbia Road Flower Market in the snow to get some VERY fresh air to check out the flowers then off to a nearby pub for a cheeky ale. Note to self- go back when I can feel my fingers again..

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In all, a good weekend with good company and good food. Makes me very content.

Cheers,
Sam

Hummingbird Heaven

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Me becoming quite the avid little baker and my daughter always pinching at my heels wanted to get involved in what Daddy was up to. So we decided to whip up some delectable Hummingbird Bakery cupcakes from their cookbook which has had quite a workout since I’ve had it. Leading to me having to also have quite a workout to burn off the excess cakes I seem to be gaining… The simple vanilla cupcake recipe seemed to be the best choice to brighten up our winters day blues.

Annabel flourished while she mixed, tasted and generally destroyed the kitchen. But me being a neat freak just bit my tongue while she giggled away and was in her element! Watch out Mary Berry… Annabel’s on to you!

I timed the cooking well, as after all the messy play i then put the cupcakes in the oven and Annabel was exhausted. Time for her morning nap while her cupcakes baked away quietly and I enjoyed a quiet cup of tea.

Once she arose the cupcakes were ‘magically’ ready for her decorative skills to frost and lavishly adorn with sprinkles. Oh.. She may have had a ‘teeny’ bit of help from me her anally retentive father…

Here’s the results.
Enjoy!

Ps. Excuse her Team GB onesie.. Annabel decided she was baking for Britain

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Djeco Dreams

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Oh my.. Another rainy day and it seems like Annabel is somewhat complacent and a little over her toys and needs a change of scenery. Yes… Ants in her pants..

So it doesn’t take much to twist my arm to get out and about for some fresh air and some SHOPPING! It’s almost turned into a bit of a sport for me. Plus I’m in love with kids toy stores. The range and quality of toys these days is amazing!

I’m a little obsessed by wooden today too. Not a huge fan of the plastic invasion that seems to be occurring. Plus I like a toy that isn’t fully mechanical, colorful and automated. I’d much prefer that Annabel used her imagination with the toys and made sounds herself and mixed and matched random toys to make her own games.

Anyway, I found myself at one of the cutest kitch kids shops very sweetly named Ottie And The Bea. I always find the service impeccable as the owner Julia is attentive, charismatic and has a memory that totally amazes me. She always remembers my kids names and what toys we’ve purchased in the past. Mind you..I’m in the store regularly these days. But you can’t blame me. So I was searching for something to help with Annabel’s hand-eye coordination, speech and memory. Julia came up with a Djeco magnetic animal puzzle. Perfect! Lets just say that Annabel hasn’t stopped playing with it all day today. That makes for a very happy daddy! Time for a coffee and a book.. Oh and some much needed time to spend with my little boy, Lachlan.

So, all up, everybody wins!!

Now back to my book..
Sam