Shopping in London

Wow I saw some really beautiful things there (even if we didn’t get to the Cath Kidston!)

Heals has some beautiful things in this winter and Orla Kiely is to thank, she has done a beautiful collection of home furnishings for them. Heals also had some great Christmas present ideas and tree baubles, so I will probably end up there doing some of my Christmas shopping.

Aveda Be Curly
Aveda Be Curly

Then we passed Aveda and I had to stop and pick up some Be Curly shampoo.  I’m on a mission to try all the products I can to tame Miss L’s hair.  I hate it when you see women with a giant frizz rather than luscious curls and I determined that she’ll never become one! I love all things Aveda so I have high hopes for this 🙂

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First London Trip

Miss L & Liz on the Embankment
Miss L & Liz on the Embankment

We took Miss L on her first trip to London today.  I would have gone sooner, but the thought of trying to cart a pushchair around on buses and the tube just put me off totally. However now she’s 5 and has walked all over Vancouver and Disneyland Paris, I thought it was time to see the city of her foremothers.   Part of my family go back over 10 generations in London and I born and raised there until I was a little older than Miss L, and I wanted her to experience it.

The London Eye
The London Eye

So we went to the London Eye, Paul and I have been on it a couple of times in the past and it was pretty good which is why we went back.  Now maybe that was a happy memory?  This was so badly organised this time that frankly I’d advise any tourists to steer well clear.  I ordered our tickets last night and it was £36 for the three of us to go on it.  But when we got there the queues to pick up even the pre-ordered tickets went round the block and there were only 2 automated machines working which held everything up.  We then had to queue for nearly an hour (badly signed and run) to get onto the Eye.  Miss L was pretty good, but you can imagine younger children were finding it quite tough.

But I have to say the view from the Eye cannot be paralleled, even if my beloved daughter was more interested in the view of the river from high up! But sadly it took so long to get on there we didn’t get to the Science Museum which we were looking forward to, but we can go back another day.  But we did have a look around the Kings Road shops ( I love them!!) and I’ll blog more about the wonderful things I spotted in another post.

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Childrens Room Makeover

I posted before that we’d ordered some new items from Ikea in hope of tidying Miss L’s room, which seemed to have developed a life of it’s own.  Today we put it all together and sorted her things into keep, charity and throw out.  Seriously how do five year olds have so much, I swear it wasn’t me buying it all!

So here’s the before

And here’s what it looked like 6 hours later…

All her books finally have a home, she can actually get to her toys and she can display the lovely things she’s made at school.  I now have a very happy daughter, and I need a glass of wine 🙂

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Cracked MacBook Casing

Last night I had a disaster. I was typing away when suddenly my wrist hurt like it was scratched.  Thinking that it was a little odd, I looked down and my MacBook casing has completely split for no reason.

Cracked MacBook
Cracked MacBook

I’m furious it’s only 14 months old, so out of warranty.  I spoke to my friend Patricia who had the same problem a couple of years back and Apple apparently wanted $600 to re case it.  Which probably means that it’s £600 here!    I’m going to take it to the Mac Store and see what they say, but if that is the case then I’d rather tape up this one up and save up for one of these as it’s aluminium then there is less of a chance of it cracking.

New MacBook
New MacBook
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Apple Fair 2008

In front of the Cathedral
In front of the Cathedral

Yesterday in town we had our annual Apple Fair. Pretty much the town green in front of the Cathedral is taken over by stalls dedicated to celebrating all things apple. It’s one of my favourite things about living here, I think it’s just an adorably eccentric idea.

This year though I made the slight mistake of walking down with Miss L on her scooter supervised by Paul and me walking Betty. This meant that when we got there it was impossible to really go and look at anything with a 5 year old wanting to scoot off in all directions and a 70lb dog who didn’t understand that most people didn’t want to share their hog roasts!

The Apple Shy

So I didn’t get to shoot any really good photos this year which was a shame. I saw some great shots as well, and then Betty would see another dog or some food…

The Knitting Circle
Miss L at the Lucky Dip
Miss L at the Lucky Dip

But I have learnt my lesson for next year, no scooters or hounds 🙂

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I’m Hooked on…

Julia over at the wonderful Hooked on Houses has started Hooked on Fridays, where we can say what we’re hooked on at the moment.

Well mine is Dexter

My friend Patricia send my husband the box set last Christmas and we’ve only just gotten round to watching it.  I didn’t really want to watch it, but we ran out of TV to watch and Paul remembered we had it.

I thought it would be all gory and dumb, so I sat glaring at it for the first episode.  But then it won me over, you rarely see anything really gruesome and it’s very intelligently written and outloud funny in parts.  I’ve just bought season 2 on ebay as my addiction has grown, I have no idea how I’ll track down series 3?

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Children’s Room Organisation

At the moment Miss L’ room looks like someone has thrown everything she owns up in the air and let it land where it may.

Miss L's Room looking tidy!
Miss L's Room Looking Tidy

We’ve gotten caught in an in between age. Her bedroom still has her baby chest of drawers which isn’t really large enough, no wardrobe because well baby clothes don’t need hanging up, a small bookcase which is now overflowing and a rocking chair that just gets clothes thrown at it.

She has nowhere really to keep toys that she can actually get to, nowhere to display precious things made at school or to hang up artwork or invitations.  So we are going to sort it out this coming couple of weeks of half term.

So I’ve ordered from Ikea an Expedia and Billy Bookcases

They should take up one wall and then we can orgainise toys into boxes and make them more accessible for her.  Then we can fill up the Billy Bookcase with all her books, we have literally about a hundred books to house.

I’m debating on a redecoration, but that might have to wait a bit?.  However the pine furniture in her room is now going a bit orange so maybe it could do with a lick of paint, I just can’t decide. But once it’s looking even a little tidier then I can start thinking about phase 2 clothes storage…..

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Tropical English Country Garden

So my wonderful, yet slightly crazy best friend Patricia lives in Miami but wants and English garden feel to her front yard.  First I laughed and now I have to take it all back 🙂

It turns out she can grow pretty much what I can.  British Summers have gotten much hotter and we’re not allowed to uses hoses *AT ALL* so we’ve adapted.

So here’s the list of plants that you can grow in a very hot climate – who knew?

Roses (yea!) David Austin now sells in the US and he has some recommendations for zone 9 & 10

DayLilies – all good for zones 3-9

Hydrangea

Dahlia’s

Clematis

Buddelia (The Butterflybush) – totally indestructable!

Lavender

Rosemary

Zinnia’s

Jasmine

Canna Miss L’s

Verbena

So basically all you need to do is clear the space, add some good soil, a TON of mulch and some more mulch and then add the plants, watering them in thoroughly.  Make sure the plants are watered regularly for the first couple of months (so plant in the autumn/winter in Florida as it’s that much cooler) and you should end up with something like this….

Or you can fly me over and I’ll do it 😉

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Online Reward Chart

Something for your 21st Century toddlers and small children….the online reward chart.

From Alpha Mummy in the The Times:

“In an era where you have a magazine designed specifically for your iPhone, is it any wonder that motivational kids’ star charts have gone digital?

Kidspoints is a newly launched (free) site that allows kids and parents to set up online interactive star charts with awards. You create an account and set up a chart with your goals to tally up each day. I avoided the rewards store where you can select toys for the child to earn (akin to paying for good grades where I come from). Instead we created our own reward – an extra ice lolly.

You can upload your own pictures to personalise your chart and the site has music, an animated racecar that charts the child’s progress and plenty of bells and whistles. Naturally the good old-fashioned paper-and-gold-sticker version still works fine. But for kids who are getting interested in using computers and learning rudimentary online tools, this will appeal.

It’s not yet available in an iPhone version, but who knows? Watch this space.

www.kidspoints.co.uk

Ummm I don’t like to point out to Alpha Mummy that by having Safari on the iPhone you can access the site and use it on the go without there being a specific iPhone version, but that’s just me being picky :).  But this would be fabulous for flights, holidays and trips out.  So I’m going to try this site out on Miss L and I’ll report back to let you know how effective it is.

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Pumpkin Carving

I love pumpkin carving it’s one of my favourite things to do with Miss L.  I discovered a couple of years back that I have bit of a talent for it (as long as I have a template! You can buy them in supermarkets or download them) and this year I have actually taken a couple of orders for pumpkins.

Martha Stewart (of course!) is my main inspiration for the pumpkins, this year I’m going to do the lace pumpkins that are on her site.

Here are a couple that I did last year, I’m repeating them this year for my Mum and her neighbour as they wanted them again

The Vampire Pumpkin
Vampire Pumpkin Lit
Vampire Pumpkin Lit
The Cat and the Spider Pumpkin
Ghost Pumpkin
Ghost Pumpkin

But I’ll post this year’s nearer Halloween as I need to make sometime to do it ,and to get my hands into training for all that scraping out! 🙂

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Emma Bridgewater & Cath Kidston Bargains

How cute are these?

I was in TX Maxx (TJ Maxx in the US – why the letter change???) last week and I spotted these across the homewear section.  I may have elbowed a couple of people out of the way in order to get to them 🙂

But they were a bargain, £4.99 for the biscuit tin and £1.99 for the coffee tin.  On the Emma Bridgewater site the coffee tin is £5.00 and the biscuit tin isn’t even on there anymore!  Much to my own self disgust I dithered about picking up the cake tins to match as they were £9.00 (£24.00 on the website) and I wasn’t sure I’d use them, so I left them on the shelf……went back 10 minutes later and they were gone! Poop!

But my wandering around the store wasn’t a total loss, I found some Cath Kidston Sheets which were reduced from £65 down to £16!  They aren’t my usual taste, but they’ll be perfect in Miss L’s room as she’s into large colourful flowers at the moment and I was right as she insisted they went onto her bed as soon as I got home with them.

I’ll be heading back there later this week to start my Christmas shopping as there are some perfect inexpensive token gifts and emergency gifts. I always like to have a couple in the cupboard in case I get caught short, which seems to happen every year.

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Hiding a Dog Run

The dog run* is now up and Betty loves having her own home but…….IT”S SO ORANGE AND BIG!

So what to do?

I’m thinking of painting it this pale green

Cuprinol Garden Shades

And then growing some climbers over it and putting lavenders or rosemary around it?  Any ideas what else I can do disguise it?  All ideas welcome!

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Hever Castle

We had the best weekend with our friends.  They have the most adorable well behaved baby, I have never come across such a contented baby, she’s just gorgeous!  So Saturday which was a glorious autumn day we all took a drive to Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn (Second Wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I)  Miss L is currently obsessed by Elizabeth I so she absolutely loved it 🙂

We didn’t go to the main maze as we arrived quite late but we did do the water maze and Miss L took great delight in trying to splash all the adults and we were all giggling at the end of the maze. Then we took a walk around the Italian Garden and we wandered into the Rose Garden which even late in the season was lovely.

Hever has a lot of seasonal things there, coming soon is a series of Halloween evenings.  Can you imagine a better place to look for ghosts?

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