Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Packing for Thailand!

I'm so excited that I'm taking a trip to Thailand in January! A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I spent a few hours on a rainy cold Sunday looking at flights to Thailand, and we finally went for it. I've never managed to escape the UK Winter before and I cannot wait to have some sun. This is when the fake tan lotion really comes into its own, am I right?! This is also my first time in Asia and somewhere I've wanted to explore for so so long. I've put together some little inspiration boards for what I might be packing...

My boyfriend and I have come up with a plan which starts in Chiang Mai where we want to meet some elephants, do a Thai cooking course, hire scooters, and go adventuring. I also want to take the bus to Pai from here which is supposed to be really chilled and a great place to explore waterfalls and hot springs. You can't really go travelling without some hippy pants and a massive camera so here go.

Next we're going to Bangkok for the weekend where I want to check out the famous weekend market. I think long skirts and wraps will be useful here for popping into temples. I actually love this H&M skirt.

Ok ok this is the bit I'm actually most excited about. Just chilling around on a beach on the island of Koh Tao. We're going to go to two or three islands but this one is supposed to be uh-mazing for scuba diving so that's a must. I've had my eye on a Triangl bikini for a while, and Lena's book is at the top of my Christmas wishlist ;) 

Have you guys ever been to Thailand and do you have any recommendations on places to go and things to see? x

This post is in collaboration with

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

I'd Like to Live Here | 04

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Lately I've been pinning loads of interiors with lots of white mixed with rustic woods. There's something serene about them, and the wood brings so much warmth to otherwise white rooms. Throw in a cactus or a rosemary and you've got such a laid back, natural look.

Wooden floors like the ones in the corridor (second image) and also in the bedroom image are pretty much my dream. I way prefer wooden floors to wall-to-wall carpet, and you can throw a textured rug over the top to cosy it up.

Right now I'd love to be cuddled up with those blankets and cushions in the top image by the roaring fire, reading a book and drinking a hot chocolate. I had a moment of insanity last week and for some reason I booked a 6:30am yoga class today (with a 5:30am wake-up), which I happened to cancel online at 2am this morning. I think I'll stick to evening classes ;) 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Homemade Nakd Bars

Since being diagnosed as coeliac back in January, I have relied a lot on bars like Nakd bars to grab when I'm on the go or as a snack. I generally always have something in my handbag in case I end up being somewhere where there's nothing gluten free, especially as I'm someone who gets pretty 'hangry' if I don't eat every few hours ;)

Nakd bars are made from THE most simple ingredients, so I thought I'd have a go at making my own. The bars were a bit of an experiment but these were the rough quantities (it's hard to go wrong when you're using only two main ingredients).

I made chocolate mint ones. These make about 10 bars: 

1 cup medjool dates (pitted)
1 1/4 cup cashews
1 heaped teaspoon raw cacao
A few drops peppermint flavouring

Just literally chuck everything into a blender and blitz until it goes into a big squidgy ball. Soooo quick to make! Then squish it into a clingfilm-lined tin (I used a loaf cake tin). Put in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden a little and then cut up into bars. I wrap them up in clingfilm and keep in a tuppleware in the cupboard or fridge to grab and take to work. They should last a couple of weeks but you can also freeze them.

I've also tried this recipe using vanilla essence instead of peppermint flavouring which was divine, but you could experiment. My favourite Nakd bars are chocolate orange so I'm going to make those next. Other flavours you could add: dried berries / ground ginger / cinnamon / raisins / other nuts such as pecans.

What is your favourite on-the-go snack?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Farrow & Ball: Decorating with Colour + a Giveaway

Lately I have been very drawn towards monochrome, in both interiors and clothing. I wasn't feeling very inspired by colour, probably due to the gloomy weather at the moment. Yet the other morning I sat down to enjoy an early morning coffee before work, and picked up my new book, Farrow & Ball: Decorating with Colour. Written by Ros Byam Shaw and filled with beautiful photographs by Jan Baldwin, this book is kinda making me want to pick up a can of new paint and cover my walls in something more interesting than white.

I have always known Farrow & Ball for the best kind of neutrals (though I've now discovered they do wallpaper - I loved the bathroom in the book covered in THIS polka square wallpaper and now I want a dotty bathroom). Growing up, our family kitchen cupboards were painted in OLIVE and the walls in a beautiful soft grey which I can't remember the name of. I used to love sitting down with the paint charts and looking through all the lovely colours and names. Don't you just adore names like Elephant's Breath, Skimming Stone, and Dead Salmon!?

The book is split up into three chapters - Classical, Contemporary, and Country styles. I really liked the country style chapter the best. It made me want to move into a big ol' house in the countryside, paint my walls in various shades of Farrow & Ball greys, dot wicker baskets everywhere, and light a roaring fire ;)

I'm giving away a hardback copy of this book! Whether you'd like it just to flick through occasionally on your coffee table, or whether you're looking for inspiration on how to use colour in the home, it's a really lovely book.

Just tell me your favourite colour from the Farrow & Ball paint selection HERE and which room you'd use it to paint in your home. You also must be a follower of this blog. For extra entries, follow me on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram and leave a separate comment for each entry. I'll pick the winner at random next Friday 28th November. Apologies, UK entrants only.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Shop Independent this Christmas | 01 For Him

I spotted this Christmas challenge from Lola Hoad (who sells really gorgeous cards and prints, by the way) on Instagram last week and it really resonated with me. I'm guilty of leaving my Christmas shopping until the last minute and then making a quick dash to the high street to pick up presents for my family. While those presents are lovely, it doesn't take much more effort to just plan ahead a little and buy from independent designers. Not only are you supporting creative individuals, but their products are often better quality, made locally, and of course more unique! 

This little round up I've made isn't just from independent designers, but also from smaller companies who might need our support just a little more than the huge chains that have taken over British high streets. There's nothing wrong with buying from those shops, but it's a good thing to consider when doing your Christmas shopping. Let me know what you think of my picks! I've started off with those tricky men...

From top left, clockwise: 

Coffee Subscription / Pact Coffee. This certainly has my boyfriend's approval. I love waking up at his house to a freshly brewed cup of coffee. The coffee beans are all hand roasted and then delivered to your door (ground or not) as often as you choose, in their lovely brown paper bags. We've tried 'Chocolate Digestive' and 'Toffee Apple' so far. 

Cycle Bag // Brooks For the stylish hipster cyclist. 

Hexagonal Bottle Opener // Smug This is the cutest shop - so many gorgeous gifty things. If you can visit Smug itself that's even better because it has the most gorgeous cafe and so many lovely pieces. (See my post on it HERE).

Beardy Man Cushion // Laura Gee I just came across these fun cushions with different beard styles and think they're hilarious! Love 'em.

Butterbeer Soy Candle // Frostbeard Studio A Harry Potter inspired candle from their 'Book Lovers'' Series - how wonderful! I so so want to know what Butterbeer smells like.

Men's Waxed Canvas Washbag //Cire Super practical for chucking in their shaving stuff/ toothbrush but also really nice too. I love the pouch shape. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Tanya's Cafe, London

This past weekend I found myself in Chelsea with my Mum and sister whilst shopping for my brother's 18th birthday present (I'm pretty certain he doesn't read this blog, so I think I'm safe in saying that). In need of a mid-shopping refreshment, I remembered a place called Tanya's Cafe that I've been meaning to try for a while. Since becoming coeliac it's been my mission to hunt down nice places where I can still enjoy cake, and London's gluten free offering is definitely growing.

Tanya's Cafe is a cute little haven tucked within a hotel. We each chose a drink and a slice of raw cake and then I gave my Mum and sister a little lesson on taking a great Instagram photo haha. I told myself this week that I'd hold back on the foodstagramming, but it would be a sin not to photograph this food. All the food at Tanya's is beautiful and also gluten free, raw, refined sugar free, and organic, so you don't have to feel guilty. After posting my photo, I spotted myself on the Tanya's Cafe's Instagram ordering my drink ;) Talking of Instagram, I heard THIS fascinating little piece on bloggers using Instagram this weekend - worth a listen.

My Mum and sister went for smoothies and I chose a 'my sweet surrender' milk (cacao, hazelnut milk, medicine flower, dates, salt, vanilla) which was diviiiine but after sampling all of them, we decided that my sister's 'my balance' smoothie was the most delicious. They both went for the key lime pie and I chose the chocolate pear cake, and we concluded that this was the best option. Can you tell I'm a total chocoholic? It was to die for, with a layer of 'caramel'.

What did you get up to this weekend? After trekking through a monsoon to my boyfriend's house on Saturday night, we cancelled our fireworks trip (sob) in favour of having friends round for drinks and then a fun night out to a couple of bars. Sunday meant brunch with friends, then a lot of life admin and an amazing roast cooked by my friend who is currently staying with us. All in all, a good weekend! How was yours? x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Toulouse 2014

So this post is about 2 months late but better late than never hey ;) I thought we could do with a bit of warmth on this cold day in London. My family has been going to France every August for the past fourteen years to stay in our friends' beautiful house a couple of hours drive away from Toulouse. You can see other France posts HERE. The last couple of years we have popped into Toulouse for a couple of days to explore the lovely city. This year we stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb in the Old Town which was perfect.

Toulouse is known as the Rose City due to its pinky coloured architecture and you can get a stunning view of this from the top of the Galerie Lafayette. This year we wandered around shops, ducked into little bars for cocktails and tapas (Toulouse has a strong Spanish influence, being so far in the south of France), and hired bicycles. We cycled up the tree-lined canal out of the city and stopped to snack on Milka chocolate. In the evening my brother, sister, and I went to a bar near the River Garonne and enjoyed beers and local Pastis. It was so fun! I think Toulouse is my favourite city in France, though I am a little biased having spent so much time there. Have you been to Toulouse?

I'll share the rest of the trip in another post, and I'll try not to leave it so long this time x

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