A London lifestyle blog full of food, fashion, culture, craft, design and fun and frolics. London lifestyle blogger Poppy makes her way around London, armed with a camera, reviewing cafes, boutiques, hotels and fun, hidden parts of London.
Something happens when a group of girls get together. Especially a group of pals who have known each other for years… it’s inexplicable. There’s an energy, a total acceptance of each other, and that kind of relaxedness (is that a word? I’m going with it) that you only feel when you know that you are in no way being monitored, challenged or judged.
Even in my teens I was much more inclined to have an ‘evening in’ with my friends, rather than attempt to get into the latest club or search out the coolest gigs. I was always about the calm, the silly and the conversation.
Last night, I, and a bunch of my favourites escaped the snow (the weather is CRAZY!) and holed up at Danya’s in her beautiful house.
I brought food – she provided games… and there may also have been wine, prosecco (for the non- pregnant among us) and chocolates. Because obvs.
So often, when the girls get together for dinner, there’s a dash for the various takeaway pamphlets, and then follows several minutes of umming and ahhing and ‘what do you want to order?’ and ‘I really don’t’ mind. But I’d prefer it if we didn’t order that…’ and before you know it, it’s 10pm and your cold pizza has just been delivered, 2 hours late, by Mr Grump. Especially in London when it’s snowing, because it’s as if the world has ended. NOTHING WORKS.
I’ve never really given credit cards much thought. I certainly have never equated buying snazzy dresses and gorgeous knitwear on a credit card, with having lovely opportunities and experiences. I certainly never thought that my purchases could lead directly to a cup of coffee, or even a trip to Paris…
And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, which is why I am so pleased to be working with Amex to toot about their American Express® Nectar Credit Card, which has changed the way I think about credit cards forever.
The card essentially works as a loyalty credit card, where you earn Nectar points every time you spend. Cha-ching. This is merry news to my ears as I’m in the market for a whole new wardrobe, (what with the expansion of my pregnant self) and it’s brilliant knowing that I can save points as I go, which I can use to treat myself in other ways.
So how does it work? You receive up to 4 points for every £1 spent on the Card, two points from Amex and two points from Nectar partners but even more when you shop online through Nectar.com.¹ This has really opened my eyes to how many partners Nectar.com actually has – I had no idea. To my surprise, there are loads of brands that I love, which are also Nectar.com partners – eshops including Reiss, Jigsaw, Oliver Bonas, Topshop, TK Maxx, ASOS, Boden etc… the list is loooooong.
What this means, in fashion maths, is through buying a few maternity bits and pieces at ASOS, I can collect Nectar points, which I can then put towards a lovely treat (huzzah) be that Eurostar tickets, an American Hot at Pizza Express (one of my faves) or a pregnancy friendly chai tea at Caffe Nero :) Again, the list is long.
When it comes to redeeming your points, there is so much choice, including a subscription to one of your favourite magazines (I love BBC Good Food) or even return tickets to Paris on the Eurostar. OR, you can transform your points into eGift cards, which can then be redeemed at places like iTunes, Topshop and Currys PC World etc
It’s good isn’t?!
And it gets better – the card has an annual fee of £25, which is waived in the first year and supplementary cards are COMPLIMENTARY for family members, so you can share the rewards of their spending too!
Also, if you do spend £2,000 in your first three months of Cardmembership, you will automatically receive 20,000 bonus Nectar points.² That’s enough to buy a return flight from London Luton to Amsterdam through Expedia. (Pancakes! Tulips! Bicycles!)
So save your ASOS UK or Net A Porter shopping until you have the credit card in your paws – you’ll be skipping the cobbled streets of Amsterdam in your new wardrobe with a spring in your step before you know it.
Sponsored post in association with American Express and Nectar.
2The welcome offer is subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you currently hold or have held the Nectar Credit Card in the past six months.
Amia Coalition Loyalty UK Ltd, registered in England and Wales (company number 04236999) is an introducer appointed representative of American Express Services Europe Limited. The Nectar Credit Card is offered by American Express Services..
The rooms are packed with heavy hitters – lighting by Simon Day; art by Londoners — from Barbara Hulanicki of BIBA fame to artist-novelist Harland Miller; antiques by Jerome Dodd on Golborne Road; flowers by Scarlet and Violet; and for/scribbles/signage by Laurence Dunmore, film director and graphic designer of Enya’s Watermark album. Impressed?
The rooms have a real ‘apartment feel’ – guests are provided with complimentary high speed Wi-Fi, 24 hour room service, complimentary passes to a local, private gym, in-room spa treatments & food & drink from The Henderson Bar and Coffee Shop (there’s even off-site parking!)
The Laslett opened its doors just over two years ago in January, 2016, to whoops of joy and choruses of ‘hallelujahs’ from the locals. The Laslett folk cleverly converted five Victorian terraced houses into a gorgeous, luxury, boutique hotel, situated around 1 minute’s walk away from Notting Hill Gate station.
It marks the latest collaboration between Living Rooms and Tom Bartlett, the founder of leading British architect and design studio, Waldo Works.
And it’s very, very special.
It feels as though you’re staying in someone’s home, rather than a hotel. It’s low key and luxury, married effortlessly through art, design and the supporting of local businesses and award winning London goods, e.g. Joe’s Tea Co., Sipsmith Gin and Press London Juices… (all to be found in your room’s ‘Big Bar’. And the hotel itself is named after Rhaune Laslett, a well-loved Notting Hill community activist and organiser of the original Notting Hill Festival.
I love ply. LM loves ply. And luckily for us, our architects and builder also love ply. So creating a bespoke and beautiful ply criss cross structure under our skylights, was something we leapt at the chance of doing when our clever architects suggested it.
This structure and the new wall, which you can see here, were the first two things to appear in our new space, and both knocked our socks off. It was so daunting to see the house smashed to bits when we first began the side return extension, but now the wall was up, the structure was built and both features were special. Unusual. And exactly what we had hoped for.
The door was in and the room was sealed. It was a REAL ROOM! For the first time we could really get a feel for the space and how it might feel as a working kitchen/diner…
We’re so pleased we kept the original Victorian bay window as well. We know many opt for putting in bifold doors, but we really wanted to keep as much of the original exterior as possible… and the bay window just speaks to me ;) We had it double glazed by a brilliant family-run company in Waltham Abbey – The Conservation Sash Window Company.
The pink you can see is fireproof plaster board (don’t worry – I didn’t lose my mind and paint the room salmon) and the concrete for the floor had now been poured…
Let there be light…
We were really on our way now, and if you want to see where we’re currently at, do hop over to my insta stories as I always take a few snaps each time we visit the house…
We are, as you well know, in the middle of doing a side return on our house in Walthamstow, London.
We moved out back in October and have been staying with family ever since, out of London and out of a suitcase. (I should mention that the house we are staying in is gorgeous, as are the people we are staying with, but you get the picture – it’s not our nest).
Simultaneously we are (I am) growing a new human and attempting to prepare for the most exciting chapter of our lives, while suitcasing, commuting and not having our bits and bobs around us…
We are not hard done by. We are extraordinarily lucky to have such super duper family to take us in and put up with our (my) hormonal nonsense. But, we do miss our home, we miss our community and we just want to crack on with the dusting (oh help) the cot buying (I mean, where on earth do you start?) and find that sense of calm (ha ha ha HA HA HA HA) which one can only get when one is in one’s own bed listening to a podcast on a Saturday morning. (Yes, I know this is going to change forever soon, but let me enjoy it for a few weeks more…?)
I have been finding myself zooming about in the car from the supermarket to the station to the house to the station to the supermarket and my brain whizzing at a gazillion miles an hour. The general highlights of which go something like paint-colours-must-buy-nappies-need-pants-which-buggy-nipple-cream-extractor-fan-tiles-which-tap-wall-lights-do-I-need-a-Moses-Basket?
When suddenly, last week, in my car, the dulcet tones of John Legend came on the radio thanks to the endless feel good mood boosting happy station that is Heart.
John Legend - All of Me (Edited Video) - YouTube
I know that ‘All of Me’ is about two adults, but there was something about the lyrics:
‘I’m on your magical mystery ride
And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright’
…that resonated with me and how I feel about the mini me wriggling about in my tum. And upon hearing these lyrics and singing the song (badly) at the top of my voice down the A41, it inspired me to stop and do something just for me and my little new person. And it wasn’t going to be flashy, expensive or crazy…. Nope. It was going to be me, lighting a candle, turning off my phone and having a lovely long bath. Just for us. Ultimate feel-good-ness.
Off went the lights, on went the radio, up went the volume and there again were the friendly chatterings of the Heart presenters, who make you feel as though NOTHING BAD IS EVER GOING TO HAPPEN. This simple act of taking a moment to myself and luxuriating in a gorgeous bath soak (Mama Mio’s Liquid Yoga – safe for mums and smells hamazing) calmed me and made me feel really, really good.
I have since vowed to do this regularly, especially if there is clearing up or tidying to be done. It can wait. I’ve got a bath to laze in.
Thank you Heart, for the inspiration and to John Legend for the song!
Baths don’t have to be fancy pants roll tops. This lovely tub was at the Queensberry Hotel in Bath. Just crank up the radio and light a candle or two… heaven.
If you aren’t familiar with Heart, please do have a listen – they play all the feel good stuff from the 90s and 00s, as well as the current hits, and it is a happy place to be. No angst, no angry… just happy. And if you have any ideas for some feel good activities inspired by the music that Heart plays – I want to know about them! Tweet me or tag me on instagram, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #HeartFeelGoodChallenge
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a bath ;)
This post is sponsored by Heart and all thoughts & opinions are my own.
When two of your favourite brands have a love-in, it’s only right that you visit the store and dribble over everything they have created together.
Liberty prints are my weakness and Anthropologie speaks to my soul in a way not many other homeware brands can. It’s emotional. And it’s true love.
I’m besotted with this Liberty for Anthropologie range and below are some of my favourite pieces from their perfect collaboration.
My birthday is in June, FYI.
Thank you in advance.
(If you can’t see the imagery below, it’s most likely because you’re viewing this on email – just click on the title of this post or here and you’ll be whizzed over to my blog, which I suspect could be a much more fun place to be than your inbox… just sayin).
So apparently I am a grown up. I’m not sure when it happened. But all of a sudden I am married (last weekend – teeny tiny civil service with our parents – heavenly) I am pregnant (still convinced the bump is just doughnuts) and have embarked on that very big and exciting and terrifying building project – the SIDE RETURN EXTENSION.
We moved into our Victorian terraced house in August 2016, knowing full well what we wanted to do to the property as soon as we could afford to. However, we followed the advice of some friends and family who said, “live in the house for a while first”. Which may sound obvious, but actually it was the best thing we could have done.
Over the past year we’ve really learnt how our house works. How it feels, how it creaks, where the light falls (and where it doesn’t)… what features are important to us and which features, which we originally thought were things we’d never want to part with, actually have become less of a priority for us to keep hold of.
Like many Victorian terraced houses, our house is long rather than wide. We have our two front rooms, then a little kitchen and then a back room. Both of us have always dreamed of a big kitchen and LM especially has always wanted an island :) He is a keen cook and I, a very happy baker. And for both of us, having a kitchen and a space where we could really live and entertain as well as cook, has been a long time ambition.
This is our back room and the wall to the right is the wall we were knocking down… We love this original bay window and have opted to keep it, rather than put in bi-fold doors etc…
We love our original Victorian fireplace and will be keeping this in our new kitchen/diner as well…
High cupboards in our back room…
We hunted high and low for architects, we asked everyone we knew for recommendations for builders and we slowly assembled our team of side return gurus. (And when the project is over, I will link to everyone we used here on the blog, because they’ve all been outstanding.)
Then began the design process, and the meetings we had with our amazing architects, Chris and James, became something of a highlight for me. Discussions about timber and steel beams, wood grains and concrete finishes, underfloor heating and different types of conduit filled me with unadulterated joy. But that’s me – I’m in my element in a hardware shop and would merrily spend days ambling up and down the aisles of screwdrivers, paint and pipes if I could.
But before the nitty gritty decisions came the bigger conversations about us and the way we live. How did we want the room to work? How did we imagine the overall flow in the house?
Our little kitchen…
This door leads out to the side of the house then along to the garden…
We loved our butler sink
And, my favourite…was there anything especially important to us that they’d like us to take into consideration? And the answer to this was YES! Sustainable materials! We love the idea of concrete! Please can we have a woodburning stove! We want a downstairs loo! We love loads of natural light! We want to keep our bay window! We’d love a BIG HOB! We want to be cosy! We want to be airy! We want to dance around like fairies! (I do. LM not so much) But most of all, we wanted this room to be special, with beautiful, well thought out features and interesting materials… tall order? Apparently not. Chris and James set to work on drawing up ideas and plans and before too long we’d all decided on the final version, confirmed our contractor (enter Edi – he’s the bees knees) and drawn up a time plan.
We packed up the whole of the bottom of our house and locked everything away upstairs before filling up the car and driving ourselves out of London and over to our family, where we would be living for the next few months. I am very aware that many people live in their properties during building work, so we’ve been very grateful that this option has been open to us. Avoiding the dust and lack of kitchen while suffering from horrid morning sickness has been an absolute blessing.
And then, all of a sudden, it had begun…
You can see how much they’ve lowered the floor…
This is the area we would be extending into – the wall on the right is our current exterior wall and is the wall that would be coming down…
We had the brilliant folk from Stoake come in to line our chimney in preparation for a Charnwood eco wood burning stove…
There’s something about the run up to Christmas that makes me want to hole up at home, pull on my cosiest socks, laze by the fire and not leave. For anything. ESPECIALLY when it’s snowing – you’re not getting me out of the house for anything.
A very important part of hibernating successfully is being on top of your food situation. And unless you are a squirrel (they are SO prepared) or my grandma (she actually had a back-up freezer) then you need to have another plan up your sleeve. And my plan (and I feel like I’m passing on the gospel here) comes in the shape of M&S Christmas Food to Order.
M&S themselves got in touch (I feel as though I should have one of those Batphones that The Commissioner had, for these very moments) and asked me if I would be interested (YES!) in hosting a festive meal (YES!!) and if I could bear to select some of their food and home products to make my event as perfectly Christmassy as it could possibly be. I thought about it for a while….
This could well be the most exciting brief that I’ve ever received in my entire career of blogging. And that’s 11 years, folks.
But it is also why there has been so much silence on my insta stories and so much regramming from my instagram account recently – morning sickness has rather taken me by surprise by being so severe and lasting all day long… I’ve mostly been drinking ginger tea, eating biscuits and not being able to get off the sofa…
I’m so sorry for the weeks of quiet, for all the unread emails, for my general disappearing act and for not being able to explain. Life rather came to a standstill these last few months and sometimes, you just have to stop…
I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’m growing a human.
I can’t stop eating coco pops.
What an adventure.
If you’ve ever played the game ‘Desert Island Meals’ with me, you’ll know that my answer every time is a roast lunch. (And if you’ve never played Desert Island Meals then you’re missing out on one of the best ways to pass the time on a long car journey).
There is something about the promise of a roast that gets me and my dear ones, rather excited. If I mention the idea of a Sunday roast in a cosy pub with a roaring fire, some board games and the possibility of crumble, I’m met with whoops of joy, a gazillion suggestions on where we can all go and HOW SOON CAN WE MAKE THIS HAPPEN?
Whether its chicken and gravy, or beef and ketchup (raised eyebrows?) everyone has a different opinion on what makes the perfect roast. However, despite us all having our own preferences when it comes to a roast dinner, however weird and wonderful they may be, there’s only one element of a roast that we all seem to agree upon, and that’s the presence of a super duper crispy and fluffy roast potato. *Dribble*
I find sea salt is best for a super crunchy chicken skin…
Those clever roast potato gurus at McCain know everything there is to know about roasts and roasties. And gawd bless them, they are celebrating us and our endless roast dinner combos by launching the #greatroastdebate!
They are encouraging the nation to talk about their roast habits so we can find out what really makes us tick when it comes to our beloved Sunday roasts. Just use #greatroastdebate to join in the conversation on social and share your own wacky roast ideas – what dings your roast bell?
McCain uses 100% British potatoes
They have undertaken some very serious roast research (I want that job) and after conducting a poll of 2,000 people and asking all manner of controversial roasty questions (is sweetcorn acceptable on a roast? Is tomato sauce or mayonnaise a punishable offence?) they have uncovered some fascinating stats, for example:
· 85% agree that roast potatoes must be on the plate (I concur)
· One in ten choose ketchup as their go-to roast dinner condiment (I’m more horseradish or mint sauce)
· Chicken is still a firm favourite for 50%
To bring this new research to life, McCain is opening its very first ‘Roastaurant’ to celebrate roast dinners in all forms, and we are all invited!
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.