What she wore – Mini Street Style

Talitha has been loving this dress we were sent by Mini Street Style. She’s mad on the colour. She also keeps calling it her Autumn dress because of the pattern’s scattered pink leaves. I love that it’s a dress she can freely move in because of the cut and jersey material. Long sleeves mean that she can forgo a cardigan on a mild day and it’s casual look is perfect for hard play. It runs a little big, though, so I’ve had to roll up the sleeves a bit.

It’s part of their Vintage range which is one of three rather different collections that Mini Street Style offer – all casual and Japanese inspired. At the moment, you can sign up to Mini Street Style’s e-newsletter to be in with a chance to win a £300 voucher.

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What she wore – dungarees and learning to cycle

You know that feeling you get when your child wears something that you’re pretty sure you’re going to remember them wearing forever? We feel that way every time Talitha grows into one of her uncle’s childhood Osh Kosh B’gosh dungarees.

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This pair is even more loved because my mother-in-law had to replace two of the buttons with buttons that don’t match so even as Talitha wears it, it feels like an object that already carries a lot of memories.

After a summer spent primarily in floaty dresses, regardless of what the whether was doing, it’s been a hard sell getting her back into clothes that are more practical for the rough and tumble of day to day life. But she’s always up for wearing these dungarees.

What she wore - Dungarees

We headed to Leigh Woods for an afternoon romp and a chance for Talitha to practise learning to ride a bike and so the dungarees were a given. We stopped for a snack on a picnic bench and then we were off, stopping every now and then to collect sticks and leaves.

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Since I’m learning myself, I have a lot of sympathy for how difficult it must be though she’s a lot less nervous about the task at hand than I. She’ll probably grow up not even remembering a time when she couldn’t cycle. But I never want to forget seeing her learn.

Dungarees – Seriously ancient Osh Kosh B’Gosh
Cardigan – Frugi


Tulipop bags for traveling and learning adventures

We’ve made a bit of fuss over the start of the new academic year because Talitha has a lot of friends starting school and she’s wondered why she’s being home educated instead. She’s been pretty satisfied with a dedicated time each day to work on things she’s interested in, set activities that we’re going to each week and play dates a’plenty. These bags from Tulipop have been the icing on the cake.

Tulipop back pack

Tulipop is as Icelandic children’s lifestyle brand dedicated to creating products that are bright, quirky and not necessarily gender specific. I chose the Miss Maddy print for Talitha because I knew that she’d love the pink while I appreciate that the illustrations don’t go overboard on the cutesy. We were sent a backpack (£39), pencil case (£8) and sports bag (£15) to review. All three are water resistant and come in two other designs.

Tulipop pencil case

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I’ve been impressed with the functionality of the designs. The sports bag can clip on to the backpack, which features lots of inner pockets and an insulated, wipeable lunch box compartment. They’ve already had a lot of use in and out of the home and I’m sure they’ll go with us whenever we go away. All three bags seem strong and well-made. Talitha is thrilled to bits with them and has even been willing to relinquish her beloved Peppa Pig toddler backpack so younger sister could have a backpack too! That pretty much says it all.

You can take a look at the rest of the range here.


Somerset Anniversary

It was our sixth wedding anniversary on Saturday. We’re not great at doing much to celebrate it. Twice we made a huge effort. On our first we went glamping in Pembrokeshire. Come to think of it, that’s the only anniversary we’ve had sans kiddos. Hadn’t realised that until about now. Another time we went to Harptree Court, mainly because we were expecting Ophelia and it was a last/first chance to spend a night just the two of us before starting the newborn thing all over again. But we’re pretty sure the other three kind of disappeared into the mists of life-with-baby madness.

This time we wanted to try a bit harder (though I only remembered to buy a gift the day before – I got him whisky so it’s all forgiveable). At nineteen months and with her recently waking up A LOT, leaving Ophelia overnight is something that’ll wait. Instead, Laurence’s parent generously had us come to stay for the weekend at looked after the girls while we went off anniversarying.

Somerset anniversary

We left mid-morning for Stourhead in Somerset. We’d first said we’d do a spa, then we figured on climbing a mountain so taking a leisurely walk around a stunning National Trust property feels like a happy medium. It did, however, make me feel thoroughly old that we’d both rather walk around a walled garden checking out squashes and musing over flowers than go nightclubbing or something (y’know whatever the young are supposed to do).

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How great are these harem pants? My mother-in-law brought them back from Thailand for me but wasn’t sure whether I’d go for them. I love them! The shoes were given to me by La Redoute and the shirt is a charity find. I love it’s retro feel. The cardigan is probably a bit insane. A friend gave it to me, suggesting the girls might like it. It probably is meant to be a child’s cardi but ah well!

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Stourhead has a childhood connection for Laurence as place his family frequented. He vividly remembers being bribed to walk halfway with the promise of an ancient grotto. He didn’t remember that there was a house, or any buildings there at all. There are a few. I’m guessing with three energetic boys to run, a quest around the grounds made more sense than attempting a gentle creep around a grand old house.

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The views there are just so unexpectedly beautiful. I can’t imagine how anyone can look at a mess of trees or bush or whatever was likely there before and bring such order to it. There were so many points where I stopped and thought, this must be the best view of this place, only to be proven wrong a few moments later.

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Laurence was keen that we find a spot by the lake for our romantic picnic. But it proved less than romantic when we were practically mauled by ducks. They seriously would not leave us alone. I now know what Peppa Pig’s family is dealing with when they go picnicking. We even changed locations, thinking we’d be safe and I ended up shrieking when two ducks who’d spotted us from across the pond came flying over, landing at our feet, followed by a load more swimming as quickly as they could, eyes firmly on our sandwiches. We wound up yamming our picnic rather quickly, periodically taking turns to get up and shoo them away.

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Having walked around quite a bit, Laurence suggested we go check out Albert’s Tower but I suggested we do cake in the tea room instead. It was one of those moments where we smiled at how different we are. He doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to just be on the move. I don’t get why he wouldn’t want to mooch around and eat cake. Seriously, cake.

We did drive past the tower later and I would have regretted not stopping a bit except that I was pretty exhausted (see Ophelia’s sleep above). I ended up napping in the car while he listened to sports on the radio. Now that’s love.

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In the evening we took sunset walk, past the church where we got married, to a local pub. It was such a good time of reminiscing and not doing what we usually do too much of, talk about the future. We have a few bigger decisions coming up but we decided last New Year’s that we wouldn’t make any major changes this year, though it doesn’t stop us from talking about it! I think we’ve finally reached a point where enough time has elapsed for us to have enough history to properly “reminisce”.

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We’ve only been together for seven years and four months, married for six of them. That’s such a short time, written down like that. Yet so much life has been lived in that brief time. It definitely was worth putting in a bit of effort to mark it.


What he wore – the wooden watch

So Laurence is humouring me by appearing in style post on this here blog. It’s actually not so much a favour since he’s done quite well out of it, scoring this stylish JORD watch, which he really likes.

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After looking through their range of Men’s Wooden Watches
he chose this one because he preferred the muted colours and simple shape. He’s not into fussy watches.

JORD wooden mens watch

I asked him to comment on what it’s been like, having worn it for a couple of weeks and he mentioned that it’s quite light, I’m guessing that would be because it’s made of lightweight sandalwood and maple.

He also felt that it was pretty sturdy, which is handy since he’s worn it gardening and cycling. The glow-in-the-dark hands are also useful when glancing the time in the dark and that’s bound to be even more of a plus in the upcoming darker months.

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Thanks to JORD for sending us this watch for the purpose of this review.


A summer’s day in Bristol

Last week Friday, Laurence took the day off work to hang out with us since his brother was visiting us from Thailand. We set out with not a lot planned but ended up taking advantage of a lot of what Bristol has to offer. We started off with a trip to Hoo Haa! Festival at Colston Hall to see a crazy one-man musical and make a building to contribute to a cardboard city. It was our second day at the festival and I’ve blogged about the whole thing here.

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White Stuff sent me this tunic and asked me to take it on a summer’s day out. It’s not something I’d normally wear but I’m converted. It’s so comfortable and while I thought I might need a belt with it (with a large-busted hourglass shape, this is usually the case) it was actually fine as is. It’s perfect for a casual day out.

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Laurence had heard about this new Szechuan noodle place called Chilli Daddy which apparently people had been going on and on about. It’s near to the children’s hospital so we reckon that’s good news for the staff there! It was interesting walking along that stretch as it’s a part of Bristol I almost never visit.

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In fact, I still struggle to believe that I’d never been down the Christmas Steps. It’s such a fascinating bit of the city with lots of quirky shops.

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It’s only when we sat down to lunch that we realised we’d possibly made a bit of a faux pas taking my brother-in-law for noodles when he might have preferred something a bit more western on his visit home! Ah well, he pointed out that it wasn’t Thai food and he was admirably good about the whole thing.

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On the way to lunch, we noticed that The Red Lodge Museum was open so we thought we’d check it out. It’s a grand building on Park Row, spanning four centuries of history. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. You could easily miss it. But inside it’s a fantastic display of perfectly preserved Elizabethan and Georgian artefacts.

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There’s even a sweet little Tudor garden outside. It’s only a small space but there’s a lot to take in so I’ll certainly be taking the kids back. What better way to discover history?

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I always think it’s fun on a day out to do a bit of a meal crawl and split up the courses between venues. For cake and coffee, we headed to Roll for the Soul, a vegetarian community cafe in the centre that the girls and I have wound up stopping at quite a lot recently. Laurence had never been so he gravitated instantly to all the cycling gear on sale. I love the food there and I think it has such a friendly vibe.

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Days like this one make me want to get to know our city better. Laurence’s family have lived in the Bristol area for a long time so he knows it relatively well. He also works in different parts of the city so gets more exposure than I do. We’ve lived here for five years which sometimes sounds like a lot but, in many ways, I still feel like a newcomer.

Thanks to White Stuff for working with me on this post. Check out the rest of their tunic and kaftan range.


Vegan Pot de Crème

A trip to Paris is on my 30 things to do before 30 and we hope to make it happen before the end of the year, particularly because I have a good friend we’d like to visit, who lives there.

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Whenever we talk about planning the trip, we end up daydreaming about the food. That may be a bit tricky because Laurence is sensitive to wheat and dairy (he may just have to break the rules and book time off to recover!). When La Redoute asked me to create a recipe for a French-inspired dish, I was intrigued to try to make it dairy-free. In fact, this pot de crème is vegan.

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We prefer to use sweeteners that have nutritional value but aren’t as high on the fructose as refined cane sugar. We used molasses this time because it’s rich in minerals and the girls and I love the taste. However, you might want to replace that with maple syrup (or even caster sugar) if you’re not a fan. I mention this because it was too rich for Laurence – just more of it for the rest of us!

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As always, the tasting starts with licking the bowl. No wonder the kids love helping me in the kitchen!

Ingredients
1 tin of coconut milk
100g cacao nibs
3-4 tablespoons of molasses or maple syrup

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Method
Put the cacao nibs and coconut milk in the blender. Blend until combined. You want the mixture to be reasonably smooth but you’re going to strain later so don’t obsess over this.

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Pour the mixture into a saucepan on medium heat. Mix continuously while heating for 5-10 minutes until the coconut milk thickens a bit. Mix in your sweetener of choice.

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Strain into a bowl, using a spoon to push the liquid through. Pour into small tea cups. Cool to room temperature. Put the tea cups in the fridge to firm up for four hours. Serves four.

For this and other French inspired dishes, check out La Redoute’s blog.

The clothing featured in this post is all from La Redoute, who have commissioned this post.