Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Daily Grind: Ginger and White


Milky, blandy, burnty, wishy washy coffee? Er, no thank you, for I am Poppy and I take my coffee seriously (ish). Thank the twinkly stars for my lovely friend Suzy, who not only has the biggest smile I know and the naughtiest giggle in town, she also introduced me to her local and coffee mecca, Ginger and White‘. 

They’re based in Hampstead but have recently opened a second branch on England’s Lane in Belsize Park, (goodie goodie) as they were getting too full of happy people drinking their top notch  coffee, eating their cakes and generally having a very nice time, thank you.

What’s their secret? Ginger and White use seasonal, hand roasted beans from East London’s boutique coffee roastery, ‘Square Mile‘. Who knew coffee could have a “buttery almond quality” “notes of cherry” and a “toffee sweetness”… but it does. Yip. It does.

The menu is bursting with scrumptious British nostalgic scrummies, from soft boiled eggs with marmite soldiers and sausage and brown sauce butties, to scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. 

There’s outdoor seating aplenty, with blankets and heaters if you get chillychops… and with it being family friendly too, they really have got it cracked.



p.s. If you go and you see Suzy, please give her a kiss from me.
p.p.s. You should probably tell her that’s what you’re doing or you might get arrested.

4a-5a Perrin’s Court
London, NW3 1QS

Belsize Park
2 England’s Lane
London, NW3 4TG


Play dress up: Oliver Bonas

Whooosh! Spring is here and Summer is peeking around the corner. Time to pack up those knits and cosies and dust off your Summer swooshy numbers… and if you’re looking for a couple more showstoppers to add to your 2012 wardrobe, look no further, for Oliver Bonas has come to the rescue in spectacular fashion. Poppy Loves. Oh yes she does.

The above floral 50’s prom dress is by Oliver Bonas‘ big dress hit, ‘Trollied Dolly’, with a fitted bodice, ribbon drawstrings, bows and pleats and a plaited belt too. I love it… and while I’m drooling, here are a couple more that ding Poppy’s bell…

Square Neck Ditzy Dress

£24 – limited edition

Life’s a Picnic

Yes I know we’re only in March, but I, Poppy, ever the optimist am determined that we shall all be picnicking with our nearest and dearest before too long; lazing on grassy banks, dipping our toes in the water, dipping carrot sticks into pots of homemade hummus, (smug Poppy) and feeling all Summer giddy from the wine. (Or Orangina – wine makes me fall over.)

‘Life’s a Picnic’ is a special little company, created and cared for by Evie and Elly Pace, whose mission is to ensure you, (you) and I, (Poppy) have the most exquisite, charming and unique ‘luncheon hampers’ (with proper vintage cutlery too!) to accompany us on our hazy Summer outings. No plastic picnicking for us – no siree.

Based in the pretty Cotswolds, Evie and Elly whirl about their workshops in a picnicky haze, fitting and kitting out the beautiful willow hampers themselves. They source their vintage china, cutlery and beautiful fabrics for the tablecloths and napkins from all over the UK and do all the sewing and leatherwork too. Clever girlies.


With their linen collections ranging from 19th century floral deigns up to 1960’s retro classics and their bespoke service on offer too, you’ll be sure to find a beautiful picnic hamper that suits you down to the ground.

(Boom boom).



The lovely girls have given me 3 of their gorgeous eco jute bags (above) to giveaway – you just need to do one of the following to be in with a chance…

1. Sign up to my mailing list (compulsory to be entered)
2. Follow my blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button at the very top left of my blog
3. Leave a comment on this blog post
4. Follow me and Life’s a Picnic on Twitter
5. LIKE my Facebook page

Comp ends Thurs 5th April 2012. Good luck!


Down to the letter

I miss letters. Handwritten, inky smudged letters, with crossings out and indentations… Notes with meaning and time spent thinking.

Even a scribbled Post-It is better than a text, I think. Although, I appreciate somewhat less practical when Poppy is in New Zealand and her important people are not… However I did get a hand written doodled card over the holidays from my chum Karen and it made my Christmas.

To inspire some letter writing amongst us all I am giving away a set of this rather pretty stationery. Just tag me on Facebook with a note about a letter you once wrote or received, and these nifty notecards may be winging their way to you through the Great British Royal Mail. 

Gawd bless it and all who post with it.



Perfect poached eggs


I made eggs this morning. Not just any eggs, but proper, poached, runny in the middle, restaurant eggs. *Takes bow*

I used to try to make poached eggs the way it says in clever recipe books. It was always a fairly emotional affair, with me trying to create whirlpools and vortexes, (kept expecting Luke Sky Walker to rise out of my pan) and with a box of 12 eggs usually resulting in 8 mashed and mangled eggs, 3 scrambled eggs, one in the hair and a destroyed saucepan looking like it had a run in with the Ghostbusters.

Continue Reading…


Dig those digits

I love love love my new top from Chalky Digits.

Who? Chalky Digits.

A fresh and funky NZ born and bred brand, trail blazing for stylish and creative lifestyle wear in New Zealand. Hurruh!

Each piece is inspired by the country they love and the colours of natural world are reflected in their clothing. (Brown being the beautiful trees and mountains. Not the mud.)

They use ethical (ding!) organic (ding!) and traceable (ding!) fibres and source their materials as close to their front doors as possible. (Ding!)

Chalky Digits is in love with the land that surrounds them and are doing everything they can to help preserve it and the wildlife within it. So if you want to jump aboard their mindful chalky train, get yourselves over to their website and pick yourself up a Chalky Digit pronto.



p.s. That girl isn’t me. I do like her armchair though.

Snowstorm Merino Cotton Hoody
In chocolate or olive
NZ $195



Illustrate the point. Stop.

Enter Artogram. This clever little, (but oh so beautiful) app allows you to write short messages onto its gorgeous collection of cards, designed by a carefully selected group of independent illustrators, each with their own collections.

Once you’ve designed your card you can then email it, text it or share it on Twitter or Facebook.. super duper clever and really really lovely and simple to use.

I absolutely adore the artwork – it’s sophisticated, unusual and just the kind of thing I look for when I pop into my local card shop.

I used my iPhone to make the one above and if you have an iPad, (Poppy doesn’t) you’re in for a treat as there are clever animations available too..

So go and download it immediately! Or why not win it instead – I have 5 to give away and you just have to do at least one of the following:

1. Sign up to my mailing list (compulsory to be entered)
2. Follow my blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button top left of my blog, (under the Twitter sign)
3. Leave a comment on this blog post
4. Follow me and Artogram on Twitter
5. LIKE my Facebook page

Comp ends on Friday 23rd March.


Poppy’s Packing


Most of you know that I’ve spent the last few months upside down out here in New Zealand… bouncing up and down the country in a personality packed retro camper van, seeing the sights, meeting the people, falling off bikes (ouch) and fishing. (Not actually catching fish, but hanging about, chatting with a rod).

I’m leaving Christchurch tomorrow to head to Queenstown, where I’ll be spending my final two weeks. So today is Packing Day, and I am a little confused. Everything fitted in my hand luggage and suitcase when I came 6 months ago. And now it does not. 

I know this is not a rare phenomenon, but still, when it happens, it takes you by surprise. I have 7 lip glosses, (why?) and a ridiculous number of pants. (Although I stand by my decision there, you can never have enough pants. My grandma said so.) But SHOES! I can’t remember how I got them here. I definitely only wore one pair on the plane.. I have un-sexy massive walking boots, Uggs and cowboy boots.. and sandals and jandals and pumps. Oh my. What can I leave behind? I definitely have to take my fishing rod – you never know when one might need a rod in London. 

I eventually turned to the bible that is Google for advice, and after scrolling through vintage archives I stumbled across this nugget of wisdom, written by Alison Settle for The Lady in 1952:

“EVERY wise woman, when on holiday intent, strives to reduce her luggage to a minimum. For only thus is the carefree able to go here, there and everywhere, as fancy suggests.”



Some like it hot: Chicken Balti


My very lovely friend Louisa introduced me to this crowd pleaser when I stayed with her last month in Brisbane. 

I have since decided to claim it as my own, (after realising the power of the recipe and the instant culinary credibility it gives with minimal effort) and not give her any recognition at all. 

So, if you see a beautiful, tiny Aussie babe surfing the waves on the Gold Coast… zip it.

Poppy’s (not Louisa’s) Super Sonic Coconutty Chicken Balti Extraordinaire

Shopping List:

3 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbs water
1/3 tsp chilli sauce/powder, (or more if you like it hotter)
1tsp salt
3/4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp fresh garlic
1 1/2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds

500g chicken, chopped into bite size pieces
Plain yoghurt and fresh coriander to serve

How to make:

1. Mix all the ingredients together (apart from the chicken, yoghurt and fresh coriander) and then mix in the chicken.

2. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least one hr, (the longer the better – I do overnight).

3. Heat in a pan with a little peanut oil, (or whatever vegetable oil you have) until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

4. Serve with rice or noodles and sprinkle with fresh coriander and a blob of plain yoghurt.

Trust Poppy, you’ll be the talk of the town with this little number.


The inside scoop


Miso gelato, anyone?

Me! I! Poppy! I’m game for anything ice cream and come the 18th March I shall be at Gino Gelato, spoon in hand, ready for the big taste-off, with ‘Masterchef’ runner-up Aki Matsushima and Ice Cream King (*bows*) Palmiro Buschi.

Welcome to Japan Gelato Day, where ten new gelato flavours, inspired by the start of the cherry blossom season in Japan, will be available to taste and purchase in the heart of bustling Covent Garden at GINO’s.

You’ll be asked to vote for which flavour you think should stay on the menu and the gelato wizards will be on hand to answer all your gelato questions.

With concoctions such as ‘Green Tea White Chocolate Stracciatella’, ‘Miso Caramel’ and ‘Japanese Plum Wine and Honey’ on offer, you’re going to have to fight me to get a look in.

And I’m pretty tough.  

Japan Gelato Day
Sunday, 18th March
GINO Gelato
3 Adelaide Street
London, WC2N


Get cracking


I love a good egg hunt, and this one rather takes the biscuit. 

200 magnificent giant Fabergé eggs, designed by leading architects, designers, jewellers and artists, have been hidden all over this here London town for you and I to find. Goodie.

Each egg you spot with your keen peepers is another chance to win the super duper Diamond Jubilee Egg worth £100,000. (That is many pennies).

The eggs are two and a half foot in height, (about half a Poppy) so they should be not too tricky to spot… However you may feel inclined to join one of the organised hunts to increase your chances of eggciting sightings. 

There’s a photography competition to enter, zone maps to follow, auctions to bid at and plenty more eggstra stuff over on their website… 

What’s more, all proceeds are going to the charities Action for Children and Elephant Family.

So come on then. Get cracking.

From now until Tuesday, 3rd April


Cinema Paradiso


A brand spanking new theatre next door to the Olympic Park, built out of reclaimed materials from the site? Yep. Is true. It’s called The Yard and ’tis a rather groovy thing.

The Yard has been transformed into a urban warehouse cinema for the next two weeks to host the ever excellent Rooftop Film Club, which is exceedingly good news for us.


The program does not disappoint and includes classics such as The Goonies, Back to the Future, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Lost Boys and The Big Lebowski, (love that one).

So go go go – get yourselves down to the flicks, sample the ‘famous’ culinary delights and once the film has ended you can boogie on down to some catchy tunes. 

Poppy shall certainly be busting a move or two.

The Yard
Queens Yard
Hackney Wick
London, E9 5EN


Terribly fondant of you


Fancy yourself as a bit of a biscuiteer extraordinaire?

Hone your decorating skills down at the Hayloft for a real (yip) Biscuit Icing Workshop.

The whole shebang will cost you £42 and this includes all your materials, (biscuits?) and refreshments (biscuits?)

You will be guided by a biscuit beacon of brilliance through the different techniques of colouring, piping and the tricky business of ‘flooding’, (I saw this on The Great British Bake Off. Serious stuff).

You then get to personalise and add any finishing touches you fancy, (silver balls! Silver balls!)

I’m so there.



Biscuit Icing Workshop

Saturday, March 17th, 2.30pm
The Hayloft
3 Bond Street
London W4
020 8123 5257


Feel the burn


Yesterday I took myself and Mr Mac out for a coffee or three to get to the bottom of feeds, burning feeds, feed burning and ponging. I mean pinging.

I had no idea what I was doing and after three coffees could barely see straight.

The upshot of my afternoon jaunt is that I think I have managed to switch my mail client over to Feedburner. This may sound very boring to most of you and for those of you who know what I’m talking about – well done. How?

I’m letting you know about this wee change as you may spot some alterations to my posts arriving in your inbox, or perhaps things are not pinging, (or ponging?) through the way they should. Please do let me know if you have any problems and I’ll get straight back on YouTube and do another tutorial from a 12 year old in Japan.



How Bazaar

It’s back!
Jewellery, homeware, art and vintage fashion, (oh my) with a pop-up Contact the Elderly Tearoom, scrumptious pub snacks and sit-down Paradise stylee gastro fare…sigh.

Goodies from many a quirky stall holder including Love Sugar Bakery, I Dream Elephants, Humphries and Begg Upcycled Chic, Clutter Clutch and Tinker Taylor.

Entry is a £1 donation to Mayhew Animal Home and Trekstock.

24th March, 11.30am – 5.30pm

RSVP on Facebook

Paradise by Way of Kensal Green
19 Kilburn Lane, 
London W10 4AE
(020 8969 0098)