- About mummylish
Currently viewing the category: "Inspiration"
The blogging world is fascinating. A blog is a reflection of your personality, a door into your brain. Many bloggers will spend hours on writing, designing and marketing their blog. They work really hard to create interesting, engaging, beautiful content that people like you will want to read. Behind each blog is a determined, passionate, more »
The blogging world is fascinating. A blog is a reflection of your personality, a door into your brain. Many bloggers will spend hours on writing, designing and marketing their blog. They work really hard to create interesting, engaging, beautiful content that people like you will want to read. Behind each blog is a determined, passionate, often creative or quirky individual :)
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a handful of fellow mummy bloggers over this past year. The lovely interior blogger Jen – www.lovechicliving.co.uk has become my go to for all questions blogging related as have Nottingham based bloggers Penny – www.thearesidence.co.uk, Amanda www.theanamumdiary.co.uk and Becky www.babybudgeting.co.uk. I’ve also met the famous mammasaurus, Annie – www.mammasaurus.co.uk who we did the race for life with. They are all awesome, inspiring, interesting genuinely lovely, lovely women.
One thing people from outside the blogging world often don’t know is that the blogging world is a huge virtual community. We often read each others blogs, share each others lives and build a real friendship over the internet. This is one area that I haven’t truly developed yet, I’ve been randomly following some of my favourite bloggers, leaving occasional comments when I have something to say but I know to make it as a top blogger you really need to network! The social element of blogging is not only very enjoyable it is absolutely key for growing your blog and feeling part of the community. I’ve been skirting on the outside of it for a while, dipping my toe in now and then. But now it is time my lovely readers for me to dive in!
Aaaand (drum roll please) I’ve been sponsored by Curvissa to attend Britmums live next week!
Britmums Live is the UK’s biggest, two-day social media conference and blogger event, where lifestyle bloggers and social influencers gather to meet and socialise, network with brands, improve their skills, and fire their creativity. BritMums Live has grown out of BritMums, the UK’s largest parent blogger community, made up of nearly 5,000 influential bloggers who create content about lifestyle, crafting, food, health, travel, education, tech, style and more.
I’m not going to lie, I’m excited and nervous, there are more than 500 bloggers attending, it is going to be crazy! But I am trying not to let that overwhelm me. I’m excited to attend the workshops and talks which sound fantastic and of course to meet all the 495 other wonderful mummy bloggers I haven’t met face to face yet!!!
I’ve been keeping track of all the talk surrounding Britmums Live, the where to meet, what not to do, what to wear conversations and I think I’m ready! I happily greeted the postman as he handed over my parcels from Curvissa this morning. A big thank you to them for their sponsorship, I’m going to be proudly rocking their dresses for the event. I’m keeping my outfits underwraps for now but you will see soon enough, if not at the event then on the blog/facebook/twitter/instagram! Watch this space. Eeeek :)
Curvissa.co.uk is home to a fantastic collection of quality plus size women’s fashion in sizes 14 – 32, offering exclusive ladies’ clothing and brands delivered straight to your door. Our fashion includes everything from occasionwear items like evening dresses, separates and accessories to casualwear including ladies’ jeans, tunics, t-shirts, jumpers and fleeces. The Curvissa range covers your every fashion need with lingerie, swimwear and holidaywear and a huge selection of footwear and accessories.
Since leaving our family home behind at the beginning of this year, I have been trying to rebuild our home to make it a safe, warm space for Littlelish and I. Unfortunately we don’t really have money for extras so interior decoration (despite the fact that I adore it) has taken a bit of a backseat.
But you know me, I love a creative challenge so when moneysupermarket offered me £50 to makeover one of the rooms in my house in their room for improvement competition I thought yipee, yes please sounds like fun! But how far would £50 actually go? Could I actually be thrifty enough to makeover a whole room? I was certainly going to try and I actually I surprised myself at just how far a little thought, love, attention and creativity could go!
I chose Littlelish’s room to makeover as I felt it was seriously lacking in the fun, girly stakes. Really I had so much to do when we first moved house that it was just a case of plonking down her furniture putting up a few pictures and that was it. Not a lot of time and effort had gone into setting up the room and it really showed. We had some nice bits but nothing worked together, the artwork was totally lost on the walls. She had a makeshift curtain from a bedsheet (oh the shame) and she didn’t have anywhere to store her toys apart from a really yucky bathroom shelf thing from ikea (I know, I know but needs must guys…)
Rubbish toy storage
Makeshift curtain, oh the shame…
What a mishmash…
I decided the first thing I probably needed to give some thought to was the layout, this of course didn’t cost a penny but moving some furniture round created WAY more space. Freeing up the entrance really helped to create the feeling of space and I was able to create a really good area for her to play. I noticed the difference immediately, Littlelish played a lot more in her bedroom that week.
I then decided I needed a trip to ikea for some serious toy storage. Since this was a huge problem in her room I decided I might need to allocate a little of my own funds here, she really needed a key item of storage to put away her toys. I ended up going for the expedit bookcase which I layed on it’s side so it was more at her level. I used the top of it as a bookshelf as Littlelish owns an awful lot of books. This is great as it is at a perfect height for her to be able to select them herself. This item cost me £41.95 with an ikea family card but I did not include this in my £50 as really it was something that needed purchasing a long time ago. A kids bedroom is nothing without good toy storage I tell you! I also bought 3 green Drona drawers to fill the expedit bookshelf which I have included in the grand total, they cost £2.50 each so £7.50 in total.
For the rest of the room I took inspiration from the pretty Rosalie bedding which I chose for Littlelish and it’s green, pink and red flowers. Luckily I already had a few cushions and throws that would work with this on her newly positioned bed and it looked perfect. I even had an extra pillow case to give the dolls cot the same bedding as Littlelish! The bedding cost me £15.
I felt that the wall by her bed needed a focal point so I decided to create my own collection of art and items personal to Littlelish. We already had the birth sampler and vintage horses picture and I added a few extra bits, her first ballet shoes, the wooden heart that was hanging on the back of her door to make a little feature wall. I decided to upcycle 2 little frames I had found in the charity shop for 50p each and include some vintage fairy illustration from a little vintage book I had also found in a charity shop for 20p. I just modpodged them into the frame and I think they look awesome and add a playful element that ties in with the fairytale books. Total for the fairy frames was £1.20.
Littlelish is a BIG reader so I wanted to include some bookshelves by the bed and I was able to incorporate these into the feature wall by using ikea spice racks, painted in pink and screwed onto the wall. I added an extra strip of washi tape (that I already had) to customise them a bit. And that was the feature wall complete! I love this idea and think it is a really fun way to personalise a childs room. The spice racks cost £3.50 each, £7 in total.
I used my washi tape in a few other places, my goodness does this stuff come in handy! I made a height measuring stick out of it which is a great way of measuring a child’s height if like us, you are in rented accommodation. No need for drawing on the walls and it just peels off when you don’t want it there anymore! I also used washi tape to soften up a black frame which I introduced to Littlelish’s room. It has her birthcard in it so I thought it would be nice to put up and add some more decoration to the walls for nothing just by hunting round for other things that would work in her room. As you can see I added washi tape just to the corner of the frame but I think this creates a really fun, almost oriental looking frame.
The other place I struggled for artwork was above the toy storage. I had now created a huge expanse of wall but I was not really able to buy anymore artwork to put up in her room so moved one of the pink paintings that was on the other wall. This did not fill the space at all and looked tiny and lost again so I decided to build my own washi tape frame which kind of extended the artwork. It all of a sudden filled the wall much better and I think looks really creative and quirky!
I’d also seen the trend for hanging paper pom poms in children’s rooms and remembered that I had a few of these left over from Littlelish’s fairy party last year and guess what, I had pink, green and red! Perfect!! This wall was also now full with minimum outlay and it looked gorgeous and so so fun!
The last thing that needed addressing was the window. I just couldn’t have a sheet at the window anymore! I bought the cheapest pair of white curtains from ikea at £10 and decided to customise them, firstly to make them fit the window (does help!) and secondly to add some interest. I cut them in half, hemmed them and added a row of handmade bunting that we already had to the top with a single straight stitch. I think they look fab and they literally took me 5 mins to make and not a minute longer. Total cost of the curtains £10.
So that is my makeover and entry for the room for improvement competition. You know what, I have really, really surprised myself by just how much you can makeover a room on a tiny budget. Sure it requires a bit more thought but actually many of my favourite elements of this room hardly cost anything, it was just creativity, working with things you already have, looking at things from a different perspective and giving things a different use that made such a difference. I just wish I could give you all a tour of the room I am so proud and my rubbish camera (boo hoo) just doesn’t do it justice!
Thank you so much moneysupermarket for inspiring me! Now to get working on the other rooms of my house!
Total spend: £40.70 (not including the expedit ikea bookshelf)
A home is so important. It’s the place you spend most of your time, where you create memories. As an extremely visual/aesthetic person it’s only natural that when I am surrounded by beauty I feel happier (I guess this is the same for most of us). For me living in a beautiful home, in beautiful more »
A home is so important. It’s the place you spend most of your time, where you create memories. As an extremely visual/aesthetic person it’s only natural that when I am surrounded by beauty I feel happier (I guess this is the same for most of us). For me living in a beautiful home, in beautiful surroundings is one of the key things in life that makes me happy. As a creative, I also need it to be an inspiring place. The house we live in now is small and perfectly formed, just right for me and Littlelish. We have a country cottage kitchen and a lovely garden, both of which we spend most of our time in.
Although it is perfect for where we are right now, I dream about the future (because you’ve always got to dream haven’t you?), about where we will be living a few years down the line. I just love property and interior design and one of my favourite things to do is check out lush properties I may consider living in if I were a millionaire ;) It can’t just be me that does this right?
I have an absolute obsession with Georgian houses, they are by far my favourite. It’s something about the elegance and symmetry, they always seem so gracious and light.
So my dream house today is this little beauty on the market with Savills based up in East Lothian (Innerwick). I know I know I’m not really going to be up-footing it all the way to Scotland but this is a dream right?
Mansewood is a stunning, secluded, B Listed Georgian property which dates from 1726 with later additions in 1830. The magnificent Palladian front elevation has a central Doric portico and classic fanlight over the front door.
I’m sold! How about you?
The house looks like a lovely family property with 5 bedroom, 3 reception rooms, 3 bathrooms & shower room, plenty big enough for us! As would be expected in any period house it has a host of gorgeous period features like flagstone flooring, log burning stoves, open fires, a free standing roll top bath and a double Belfast sink (I have a Belfast sink in my house at the moment and I LOVE it!) An absolutely stunning sweeping stone staircase takes you upstairs. Oh my goodness just imagine the photographs I could take in this house, swoon!
Most importantly for me the house is light. I love houses flooded with light! It has high ceilings, amazingly large windows and I just love how the walls have been left very neutral and light, a perfect backdrop for gorgeous furniture and art. It also lets the beauty of the building really speak for itself i think :)
The modern and new have also been merged well in the house as it has a lovely contemporary kitchen, again with those luscious windows and a cool zinc roofed extension which I think works well.
The house also comes with an annexe, Dad that could be for you? And did I mention it has a walled garden (Oh I just love the magic of a walled garden), a productive kitchen garden AND fruit trees including plum and apple?
Yes this is most certainly my dream home! Anyone got a spare £620,000 for me?
Image source: www.howstuffworks.com
Todays guest post is all about building your own treehouse! A subject very close to my heart, I have a small obsession with treehouses and would love to have one, um I mean build one for Littlelish ;) First I need a house with a suitable tree in the garden!
A treehouse, as many parents know from firsthand experience when they were children, is a brilliant place for young ones to play and explore – and is an excellent project for the entire family to experience together!
If you’re keen to get going with a treehouse project of your own, here’s a handy guide to getting started with your project.
Choose the perfect tree
The quest to construct the perfect treehouse begins with choosing the right tree. You will need to make sure that the tree you select is strong and healthy – this will help you build a safe and solid foundation for your structure.
Look for trees where the lower branches (the thickest and sturdiest ones) fork out into a defined Y or U shape, as these are likely to provide the most support. It’s worth knowing that beech and oak are among the strongest trees and could provide plenty of structural support.
Image source: www.popularmechanics.com
Designing your treehouse
Just as a real-life builder would never jump into construction on a house without a blueprint, you shouldn’t start building your treehouse until you know exactly what the plan is. You don’t have to be a great designer to get going with this part of the process. Remember that treehouses are built from the ground up, so you’ll begin with the deck (which requires the most support) and then up from there.
Whether you choose to add a simple railing or make elaborate changes like adding walls, windows or a tower, the base is largely the same – so you can always build on your plans later.
Image source: www.dezeen.com
Height and other considerations
One important thing you’ll want to think about during the design stage is how high up from the ground you will want your treehouse to be.
If you’re building your treehouse with young kids in mind, it’s essential to think about their safety – and remember that what (or who) climbs up can just as easily fall down. This is why it’s a smart idea to keep your treehouse at a relatively low height – under a metre from the ground is usually a sensible idea for very young children.
It is also worth bearing in mind that very tall or very elaborate treehouses may require planning permission from your local authority – if you are in doubt, contact your council to find out more information.
Image source: www.greglunger.com
Be smart about building materials
Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time to assemble your building materials – these will vary depending on the scope of your project. The most basic tree houses might be made out of scrap lumber, while more elaborate structures might require a specific type of wood. If your treehouse will include a roof, opt for pressure treated material.
You will also want to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Many DIY-ers recommend utilising some sort of pulley system to get the materials up in the tree, and of course you will need a sturdy ladder too.
Click here to find out more about hiring compressors and other useful pieces of equipment from Speedy Services to help get the job done – and remember, don’t be shy about asking a handy friend for help with this type of project.
Image source: jamesgalindo.com
Today’s guest post is about something close to my heart – ART! I absolutely love art and would love to be able to invest in some pieces one day. One of my favourite painters is actually a friend of mine, James Galindo who I met while travelling in more »
Image source: jamesgalindo.com
Today’s guest post is about something close to my heart – ART! I absolutely love art and would love to be able to invest in some pieces one day. One of my favourite painters is actually a friend of mine, James Galindo who I met while travelling in the USA. I would so love to invest in some of his work!
If you are interested in investing in fine art, check out this how to guide.
Investing in fine art requires knowledge, the ability to diversify and a bit of patience.
Fine art investment has always been a bustling, relatively healthy industry, but since the global financial crash of 2008, it has undergone something of a transformation. New investors are emerging on a regular basis, making the purchase of art more competitive and lucrative.
How popular is it? Well, take for example the fact that 20 per cent of all registered bids at Christie’s in 2012 came from new buyers. This demographic is varied, but what they all share is an understanding that as far as investments go, in the twenty first century, art is up there with the best.
A work of art doesn’t lose value like stocks and bonds, is beautiful to look at and remains relatively robust in the face of economic uncertainty and crises. All in all, investing in art is a very, very good bet.
Here are a few things to consider.
Knowledge is power
One has to know about art. Investment in this industry is a serious business and it pays to be informed. For example, while post-war and contemporary art is currently enjoying a boom period at auction, you still need to approach buying in a shrewd manner.
Mark Rothko is one artist seeing a lot of activity, but even this abstract expressionist had works which were less than brilliant. Spotting which ones have real artistic and financial value is a skill. Where knowledge is lacking, it is best to get counsel of experts, who can point you in the right direction.
Image source: wikipedia
Expand your horizons
Buying art as an investment as opposed to developing a collection for pure passion means you have greater freedom to acquire works that may not directly appeal to your aesthetic sensibilities. The result is a diverse portfolio, one that will always hold its value, but also allow, when it comes to selling works, the ability to respond to trends and moods in the market.
Again, it comes down to information, how well versed you are in spotting developments, what kind of contacts you have and how much you are involved in the world of art both personally and professionally. It helps to know that Jean-Michel Basquiat is a serious investment at present, while it also pays to start making inroads into the Middle East. It’s not just money that is currency in art: information matters.
Image source: wikipedia
Take it nice and slow
Investors need to appreciate that art is a long-term game, one where patience is a virtue. It’s not at all unusual for people to hold onto works for an extended period of time, anywhere between five to ten years.
A work might be a commodity in pure financially sense, but, because its origins are artistic, there’s an unwritten rule that it shouldn’t be treated casually. Buying and selling works of art like hotcakes is not advisable.
For example, Will Ramsay, the founder of the Affordable Art Fair, has said that it doesn’t work to “flip it quickly”, as investors will quickly lose the respect of galleries and museums. It’s about tact.
You have to be able to present yourself as being serious, with, for example, an understanding about fine art storage facilities, provenance and art techniques. If you’re seen as being much more than just an opportunistic buyer, you will be able to win the trust of the art world’s most powerful individuals.
As far as financial pursuits go, art investment is certainly out there as one which is fun, interesting and grounded in beauty. Come rain or shine, a work of art will always sell. Sit back, enjoy it and when the time is right, it’ll go under the hammer for quite a price.
When I was hosting my pinterest party I pinned a recipe for 58 calorie chocolate muffins that I thought we could try. They were pinned from this site but apparently originally it came from Dashing Dish (although I couldn’t find them on there). Dashing Dish may just be my new favorite website btw. It’s amazing and I will definitely be trying some recipes from there soon.
We didn’t get round to making these on the night (you missed out girls!) and so I have just used the ingredients I bought to make them with Littlelish. The recipe was ridiculously easy, basically you throw everything together in a bowl or a blender, mix and pop in the oven!
Here is the ingredient list:
- 1 and 3/4 cups of oats (I used porridge oats)
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
- 1 cup of dark chocolate chips
And the steps we followed to make them:
- I greased the muffin tin using butter (probably added a few calories but nevermind!). You would be better off using paper muffin cases if you have them. I didn’t ;)
- I only have a hand held blender (I know, poor me, I agree!) so I used this to grind the oats down into a fine powder – they pretty much flew everywhere so a blender would be better.
- I then added the remainder of the ingredients (apart from the chocolate drops) and Littlelish mixed them all together with a wooden spoon.
- We then carefully poured and mixed in the chocolate drops and spooned the mixture into the muffin tray.
- We baked for 15 mins on 200 degrees.
They came out of the oven moist, soft with gooey melted chocolate in them. They are divine and I ate 2, which totally and utterly defeats the object of making low calorie muffins but whatever! Note: you are supposed to spread this mixture out over 2 muffin tins to make 24 small muffins of 58 calories. I only used one muffin tin and made nice big muffins which are presumably then 116 calories but that is still pretty good!
Let me know if you try them and what you think! xx
Remember I told you I had an awesome Easter weekend? Not only was I well enough again to eat chocolate (hoorah) but I got to spend it with all my favourite people. Easter Sunday was spent with my lovely family but I also managed to arrange a little get together with my bestest girlfriends more »
Remember I told you I had an awesome Easter weekend? Not only was I well enough again to eat chocolate (hoorah) but I got to spend it with all my favourite people. Easter Sunday was spent with my lovely family but I also managed to arrange a little get together with my bestest girlfriends on the Saturday night (not all of them as they are spread out across the world!) and do my favourite thing – make things!
I was lucky enough to be challenged by Swinton Home insurance, who have some great Cheap Home Insurance Quotes Online, to have my perfect night in! I always enjoy going out for dinner or to watch a band but I do love staying in too. Normally my nights in involve me cooking for people (which I love, I’m a bit of a feeder I think!) and wine :) But with a £100 budget I wanted to do something a bit creative and different. First port of call when looking for inspiration? Pinterest!
After a good 30 minutes looking for party inspiration it came to me! I would arrange a pinterest party! I am forever pinning amazing creative ideas for things to make but realistically I don’t often actually do anything with all those pins I pin. Very occasionally I’ll revisit something I’ve pinned on there… but how fab would it be to have a night in with the girls trying to recreate some of these lovely ideas that I pin?
I decided to split the budget and spent £50 on food and drinks and £50 on craft materials which actually worked out perfectly. The planning took a bit of extra thought, I spent quite some time sifting through pinterest (oh what a hardship) looking for the perfect ideas to recreate. I didn’t want anything too complicated, something that we could all get involved in and something the girls could take home with them. I am also trying to be a bit healthy at the moment so was looking for healthy food recipes and non alcoholic cocktails (I know, but everyone was driving!). I made a prelimary board http://pinterest.com/mummylish/pinterest-party-ideas/ but there was so much choice, so many ideas, craft ideas, make up ideas, nail art ideas, food ideas. Eventually I settled on making…
and these crafts to make
Shopping for the party was pretty tough, I had two ridiculously long shopping lists. It must have taken me 3/4 of a day to find it all! In all fairness, the craft shops round here are not great so I spent a while running round looking for the bits I needed and running from one end of the supermarket to the other collecting ingredients for the recipes. I still managed to forget a few things which was annoying!
The girls arrived at 7pm and we set to work following the food recipes and getting things going so we had something to eat! We started with the strawberries so we could get them straight into the freezer, they were very simple to make but were delicious. At this point I still had an excited Littlelish around so this was the perfect thing for her to help with. The quinoa nibbles and mini taco cups were also very straight forward recipes to follow, simple with only a few steps, the stacks of aubergines had a few more steps to the process but were also simple.
By 8pm we were tucking into our food. All the girls agreed, the recipes were delicious :) When I make the quinoa nibbles again I may experiment with flavour as quinoa can have a bit of a bland taste like couscous. The aubergine stacks were yummy, even without the all important feta (which was one of the things I forgot, duh)! We replaced it with parmesan and mozarella cheese and they were equally as delicious (infact we couldn’t really imagine them with feta) a little bit like mini Melanzane Parmigiana. Our absolute favourite were the chicken taco cups, we were all in agreement that this was a brilliant idea for party food and such a yummy bite.
We were all so full we decided to wait with making the chocolate muffins which were apparently only 58 calories (amazing!) and time was ticking on and we wanted to get on with the crafts. We did a quick clear away and brought out the craft stuff, ready to make our pinboards! We chose our fabric, followed the instructions, which worked well and we were there to help each other if we got stuck at all. It was lovely both with the cooking and crafting as we all sat round the table chatting, laughing and catching up. It was a really lovely, chilled atmosphere and we all agreed it was fun and different to be making something together :) There was a little bit of a joke that we were turning into the women’s institute but you know what, we didn’t care! We all love to cook and craft and chat so it was absolutely perfect combination! I may have missed some wine but I think that wine would have made the crafting a bit more difficult and we may have had a rather different outcome ;)
After we had all made our pinboards and done lots of chatting it was already 11pm! Some of the girls decided to call it a night but we still had bracelets to make! Maybe they were all crafted out ;) The ones that were left stayed up making the bracelets which were actually not that easy! I think this was definitely something to do with it getting late, I kept on forgetting which side I was knotting to, the left or right! Whoops. I tried again the next day and it was much easier. I’m a little bit addicted to this new found technique and have been making bracelets all week :)
Thank you Swinton Home Insurance, we had a fab night. In fact we enjoyed it so much we said we would make it a regular thing :) I’d totally recommend hosting a pinterest party but it requires some good thought when planning. I’ve given you my best tips below on throwing a pinterest party – enjoy! x
Tips for arranging and hosting a pinterest party
- Don’t plan too many activities, you’ll never get to make it all and you want to take it a bit easy and chat along the way
- Choose activities that all your guests will be able to do, remember people have different ability levels when it comes to craft
- Write a clear shopping list of all the ingredients and craft items you will need. Try shopping in advance
- Make some food before hand or buy some little nibbles and crisps like I did so people have something to nibble on while making their food.
- Invite people you feel relaxed around, like your closest friends. Its a pretty informal set up and you will want people to get stuck in with helping you make the recipes etc.
- It is nice if your friends get to leave with something they made :)
- Start a pinterest party board now so that when you come round to organising you have loads of ideas to chose from!
I’m happy. After an extremely sickly couple of weeks we are better and actually managed to have a fantastic Easter! I’ve loved every minute of it :) It was kick-started in spectacular style last week when I was invited as part of a bloggers day-out by Achica, the luxury lifestyle store to visit more »
I’m happy. After an extremely sickly couple of weeks we are better and actually managed to have a fantastic Easter! I’ve loved every minute of it :) It was kick-started in spectacular style last week when I was invited as part of a bloggers day-out by Achica, the luxury lifestyle store to visit Rococo Chocolates, an exquisite London based chocolatier. Lucky me!
Venturing into Knightsbridge by car was brave and I pretty much instantly regretted it due to traffic but oh it was so quickly forgotten as I parked up and ventured down the very pretty sunlit Motcomb street to the flagship store of Rococo. The beautiful blue and white shop greeted me with a smile, waiting inside was a true treasure trove of imaginative chocolate creations :)
At the back of the shop, Julie was waiting to welcome our group of bloggers and tell us all about Rococo chocolates.
Rococo was founded by Chantal Coady in 1983, nearly three decades, three books (about chocolate of course) and three shops later, Chantal and Rococo are still inspiring many through warm and inviting shops, delicately nuanced flavours and creative, beautiful packaging. In fact, the Academy of Chocolate awarded Chantal and Rococo for ‘Changing the Way People Think About Chocolate,’ and the Wall Street Journal recognised Chantal as the founder of the ‘New British School‘ of chocolate.
Always intent on using authentic, healthy ingredients (eg a big ‘no’ to artificial vanilla and hydrogenated vegetable fat) and sourcing fairly, we’re proudest of our latest venture, Grococo, the ‘home farm’ that is supplying its entire harvest of organic Trinitario cocoa beans to make the fine chocolate used in our house blend.
The original shop can be found on the Kings Road, along with a store on Marylebone High Street and of course the flagship store I visited in Belgravia’s Motcomb Street. The only location outside of London to be lucky enough to have a Rococo store is The Chester Grosvenor Hotel, which opened in 2012.
During our talk we were treated to an exquisite thick hot chocolate drink with a raspberry marshmellow dunking cube. H.e.a.v.e.n.l.y. The London traffic melted away and I was captivated, she had my full attention! Julie continued to explain how chocolate is made which I found fascinating as I’ve always fancied trying it myself! I also learnt some interesting things like what white chocolate is made out of, which is something I always wondered about! The answer by the way is cocoa butter!
It was now time to move on to the workshop where we were lucky enough to be decorating our own Easter eggs! The table was laid out with chocolate piping bags, liquid chocolate to paint on, an assortment of coloured and metallic chocolate decoration balls, shakes, glitter, yoghurt flakes, crispy bits even cocoa butter transfers which we could apply. (I’m definitely going to do this with Littlelish next Easter!)
We were let loose literally like kids in a candy shop and it was great fun to be creative in this way. I got stuck straight in applying swirls, copper dust and green chocolate balls to my first egg. Then I made a special egg for my girl, a hedgehog egg with her name on it :) As a group of creative bloggers from the interiors world and creative mummy bloggers, we had some fab creations!
We left with our extra special eggs and a bag of wonderful mini eggs, of which I will say, if you try one thing from Rococo chocolate make it the salty caramel Seagull eggs!! Yum! The Easter eggs from Rococo went to the special ladies in my life, Littlelish and my mum and were apparently divine! Thank you Achica and Rococo for a truly fabulous event. Indeed once bitten, truly smitten! Rococo chocolates is officially my favourite chocolatier :)
A fab guest post about getting girls into science!
Some subjects are easier to engage kids with than others. Science can be one of the trickier ones, as it’s often perceived as ‘geeky’ and difficult to get to grips with. But, I think there are plenty of ways to get your more »
A fab guest post about getting girls into science!
Some subjects are easier to engage kids with than others. Science can be one of the trickier ones, as it’s often perceived as ‘geeky’ and difficult to get to grips with. But, I think there are plenty of ways to get your children excited about science and shake off its ‘uncool’ image.
Girls and science
Before I look at how you can change your child’s perception of science, I’d like to talk briefly about girls’ relationship with the subject – because in the UK, the US and Canada, there is a clear achievement gap between the sexes. In fact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently revealed that in these three countries, 15-year-old girls were outperformed by boys in science – but the reverse was true across the rest of the world.
There are a lot of theories about why this is. One common suggestion is that gender inequality in society causes these gaps by stripping females of the confidence in their own ability to achieve in science.
Other commentators, like development consultant at the UK Resource Centre for women and science, engineering and technology Rachel Tibbell, believe that trends like this can be traced all the way back to childhood. Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Tibbell noted toys kids are given during this time are more than just something to play with – they also help children build perceptions of their roles in society.
So, while parents should be sure to encourage their children in science no matter what their gender, if you have a daughter, try to take particular care to both buoy her confidence and ensure her toys and books don’t reinforce poor gender images/roles.
Top tips for engaging your child with science
Let’s now have a quick look about what you can do to get your child excited about science!
• I must confess, science didn’t much interest me when I was at school – something I kick myself for these days, because now it fascinates me. To help your child really engage with the subject, try to show them how it is directly relevant to the world around them. For instance, talk to them about the chemistry behind baking, or how science helps keep rollercoasters on their tracks.
• It’s also worth buying kids’ science kits. These are not only fun, but also help children learn about key scientific processes and give them the freedom to experiment. A candy-making chemistry kit, for example, lets them learn about how sugar crystallises, as well as find out about temperatures, weights and measures, while making delicious sweets.
• When playing with toys like this, or when baking (after all, baking is basically chemistry!), ask your child to read the instructions or recipes aloud. Doing so helps them interact with and understand the steps and processes involved, and also means they are more engaged with the whole activity, so they’re likely to get much more out of it.
• Remember to give your children verbal encouragement. This could be particularly important for girls, as the research I mentioned above shows that a lack of self-confidence in science leads to poorer performance.
• If you’re helping your child with a science experiment from a kids’ kit, or you’re doing a spot of baking with them, don’t give them the answer if they get stuck. Instead, ask them leading questions to help them come to the right conclusions themselves – this should not only help them learn, but also boost their confidence by giving them the sense of achievement of working it out successfully.
Christmas and new year have been and gone, which means that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Personally, I think it’s good to do something a little out of the ordinary on this day; since everyone finds different things romantic, it makes sense to break the mould and do whatever you want to do. That more »
Christmas and new year have been and gone, which means that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Personally, I think it’s good to do something a little out of the ordinary on this day; since everyone finds different things romantic, it makes sense to break the mould and do whatever you want to do. That said, I think it’s also nice to combine this with a cosy night at home – but this doesn’t have to follow the same old pattern either.
Every year, my partner and I pick something we want to do together – say go for a fancy meal, visit a new place or spend a day at a theme park – and we do this either before or after the big day itself. This way, you get to avoid the usual Valentine’s crowds. On February 14th, we have a lazy night in.
If you do decide to have an evening at home but want to do something a bit different, I suggest making use of your summer house. It might sound a bit odd at first, but summer houses can be fantastic for romantic evenings - let me explain how.
Before we begin, let me stress that making your summer house perfect for Valentine’s Day is all in the decoration. Otherwise, you’re just sitting in the garden when it’s chilly, really, aren’t you? So, if you’re going to use the summer house, go all out when it comes to transforming it. Candles are a must (though obviously you do need to be extremely careful with these), but you can also use pretty fairy lights to create the right atmosphere.
Of course, February isn’t exactly the warmest month of the year, so make sure you have a portable heater on hand, as well as lots of cushions and blankets – if these can be Valentine’s-themed, so much the better! You could also have some roses strewn about, but maybe pick your partner’s favourite flowers to make it a bit more personal.
I also think you should pay attention to the garden. Hang fairy lights in the trees, and mark out the path to the summer house with lanterns or rose petals (I might be being a bit optimistic, there – the wind may blow any blooms away, but you can see what the weather’s like on the day!).
Scenario 1: the romantic meal
Now let’s think about what you can do. First of all, an (appropriately decorated) summer house can be great for a romantic meal – whatever that might mean to you. You could surprise your partner with their favourite dish, cook something new together or even be ultra-lazy and get a decadent takeaway – the choice is yours! Whatever you decide, don’t forget the champagne.
Scenario 2: the hidden presents
Another fun idea is to use the summer house as a place to surprise your partner with their presents. Again, it’ll only work well if you decorate, so keep that in mind when you’re planning! As well as having the main presents here, it’s nice to add a few about the room – perhaps some heart-shaped chocolates that can double-up as decoration, for instance.
Scenario 3: the staging area
Finally, you could also use the summer house as a staging area before you go out for the evening. Champagne in candlelight with cosy cushions and pretty decorations all around is bound to start your evening off on the right foot. You can also plan to have some treats here before you go out, such as chocolates or canapes – just try to resist overindulging if you’re going out for dinner afterwards.
- I’m a freelancer in creative marketing with a background in design and styling but when I'm not working I'm doing the most important job in the world, being mummy to my beautiful little girl! I love to create and craft and have a passion for colour and beautiful detail. This blog is all about my life, my amazing daughter, my inspirations and creations!
Lish Concepts + Love Chic Living present…
Walk or ride your bike when you can
If you have to go somewhere close consider riding your bike or walking there instead of your car. It is better on the environment and healthier.
- Colour lish
- Craft tutorials
- Funny stories
- Green dream
- Mind and body
- Mini style
- Moodboard Monday
- My favourite Monday
- My life
- My reviews
- Sketchbook 2012
- Style spotter
- Through the eyes of a child
- Treasury Tuesday
TagsArt blog it for babies children childrenswear colour colourlish colour lish competition craft etsy fairy party family fashion fun Funny stories imagination inspiration interiors lands end Littlelish Love luminarium magpie monday moodboard moodboard monday music my life my shop next organic parenting reading relationships review save the children silent sunday style style spot through the eyes of a child travel treasury tuesday valentines vintage vintage books wild things