Monthly Archives: October 2012

Home is where the heart is…


As the days get shorter I find myself spending more and more time at home, baking, tinkering, reading, cosying up on the sofa and drinking endless pots of tea

The space I create for myself and the objects with which I surround myself with have a direct affect on how I feel, which is why I whooped for joy when I found these gorgeous kitcheny bits from my ‘if-I-were-a-shop-it-would-be-this-shop’ shop, Anthropologie

The style, colours and shapes totally ding my bell, so I thought I’d send them your way.

It can be as haily and howly as it likes outside. Inside, Poppy’s having a lovely warm and cosy time, thank you very much.

Ding.

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Dear diary…


Diaries out, ladybugs – here are my top picks for the week ahead… xx

Music

Daylight Music at The Union Chapel

When: Sat 3rd Nov, midday – 2pm
Where: The Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London, N1
“A dazzling idea presented by The Union Chapel to open up their amazing gothic venue to a shiny new daytime crowd”
£ FREE


Comedy


Comedy and Cupcakes at The Karamel Club
When: Fri 2nd Nov, 8pm
Where: The Karamel Club, Coburg Road, Wood Green, London, N22
“A fantastically funny evening of comedy and improvisation”
£ – FREE

Fashion


Reiss Sample Sale
When: Tues 30th Oct – Sat 3rd Nov
Where: The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, London
Tuesday: 1pm – 8pm
Wed – Fri: 8am – 8pm 
Sat: 9am – 7pm
 
Brush up…
 
When: Wed 31st Oct, 11am – 12.30pm
Where: The Idler Academy, 81 Westbourne Park Road, London, W2 5QH
“Back by popular demand… a new eight-week English Grammar Course, led by Miss Gwyne, daughter of the renowned Mr Gwynne whose grammar classes at Selfridges were such a hit”
£25 per lesson

Spooky


Day of the Dead Festival
When: Wed 31st Oct – Sat 3rd Nov
Where: Old Vic Tunnels
Unlike the horror of western Halloween festivities, the traditional Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ is a positive celebration honouring family members who have passed away.
Wahaca is bringing Mexico’s vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations to London, for a four-day festival of music, food, art and film”
£30 – £50

Halloween at Fortnum and Mason – Pumpkin carving competition
When: Wed 31st Oct
Kids competition: 3pm – 5pm
Adult competition: 6pm – 8pm
Where: Fortnum and Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London
“The winner of the children’s pumpkin carving competition will win a crate of splendid sweets, while the adult champion carver will receive a coveted £1000 Fortnum and Mason hamper filled with all manner of delicious treats”
Points will be awarded for Skill, Scariness, Creativity and Luminosity. Excellent.
£10 – adults only, with all proceeds going to the Prince’s Trust. Kids go free.


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Take note


You may remember me babbling on about some very special clothes plasters from the really rather clever Jennie Maizels… well would you believe it, she’s done it again.

Not only has she created gorgeous bits and bobs for kiddiewinkies, she’s now embraced the wonderful world of stationery and has developed a super lovely range of big cards, notebooks, wrapping paper and pop-up cards for you and me (Poppy). It’s all matchy-matchy, which I love although there’s no rules saying you shouldn’t pick’n’mix if you fancy.

She chose the most popular designs from her glorious Linwood fabric range and applied what we already love to some lovely new bobs and bits… which means we’ll love them even before we see them. Cliva.

She sent the above notebooks to me wrapped up in her new pretty wrapping paper too – lucky Poppy.


To see her full range, just clicketty click here, and if you’d like to win a full set of her six new notebooks, just see below. Bam.

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Win a full set of Jennie Maizels Notebooks!

The lovely Jennie Maizels is giving away her full range of 6 notebooks, (RP£24) All you have to do to win this super duper prize is one of the following, (the more you do the more chances you have.) Please leave me a comment below for each step you complete:

1. Sign up to my mailing list ((Completion of this step is compulsory to be entered – please look out for the confirmation email in your inbox, otherwise you won’t be registered!))

2. Become a fan of my Facebook page and share the post

3. Leave a comment below
4. Follow me and Jennie Maizels and RT the competition on Twitter 
5. Follow my blog  
 
Competition ends Friday 2nd November 2012 – good luck Popsicles! x


Poppy’s important terms and conditions:
Entrants not meeting the above requirements will be deemed invalid and therefore not included in the draw. Signing up to my mailing list is compulsory and all the other steps are optional and are additional chances to win, however they will be deemed invalid if the entrant has not completed the compulsory step of signing up to my mailing list. Entrants are to leave a separate comment below for each step they complete. The competition will run from 9am on Friday 26th October 2012, through to midnight Friday2nd November 2102. I will contact the winner within a week of the competition ending. If the winner doesn’t respond or accept the prize within 2 weeks of notification I reserve the right to draw a new winner. Competition is open internationally.



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Trick or Treat


Ooooooooo! Halloweeeeeen!

Ghosts and ghoulies and children so high on Curly Wurlys they can no longer see straight. Hurruh!

Call me crazy, but when the weeny witches come-a-knocking on my door, yelling ‘Trick or Treat!” (Translation – “Give us a KitKat or we’ll pelt you with raw eggs”) I tend to hide behind the sofa. (This new technique has been developed since living in central London.) 

On the upside, Halloween is still a massive excuse to overdose on naughties and experiment with all things pumpkin, so I wanted to share with you this rather yum recipe from the very yummy blog American Cupcake Abroad. And boy oh boy are they yum. 

These are soft and fragrant and melt-in-the-mouth-pumpkinny-heaven…

Trick or treat? What a daft question.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe


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p.s. This recipe makes 36, (Uh huh – go gather pals) and if you have no idea what a ‘cup’ is in cooking, Nigella has a great little range to sort out this problem right here.


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Wrap Up London

Artwork by @miss_magpie_spy
For those of you who haven’t yet met Hands On London, allow me to introduce the super heroes of charity volunteering. They’re the matchmakers who set you and me (Poppy) up with one of many charities for a volunteering date. (Minus the awkward snog moment at the end).


This November, Hands On London will be running their extraordinarily excellent campaign, ‘Wrap Up London’ – an annual coat collection of (gently – no holes pleasey) used coats which will be re-distributed to refuges for women and children, refugee centres, homeless shelters and elderly centres across London and Greater London.

They need your help.

And here’s why:
  • Homelessness in London has risen by 36% since last year
  • 14% of children in poverty have no coat in Winter (Save the Children report 2012)
  • Fuel poverty affects almost a fifth of London households and contributed to 2500 Winter deaths last year.

Last year Hands On London collected 2800 coats and this year they aim to collect (pause… dramatic drum roll please..) 10,000 coats. Yip! That’s a lot of coats… but a lot less than are buried at the backs of millions of Londoner’s wardrobes. I could raise my Poppy Paw and swear to that. Your honour.

Artwork by www.alicebelgrove.co.uk

So chickadees, They need your help, and this is how you can get involved:

Volunteer!

Hands On London need volunteers to carry out various tasks during the campaign, including helping to collect coats at one of 8 tube and rail stations in central London 5th – 9th November. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, please get in touch here.

Host a Coat Collection at your office!

If you’d like to organise your own London coat collection, please get in touch here.

Donate a coat!

Hands On London will be collecting coats between 7am and 11am on Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th and Friday 9th November at the following central stations:

  • Canary Wharf
  • Charing Cross
  • Kings Cross
  • Liverpool Street
  • London Bridge
  • Paddington
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo

If you can’t get to one of these stations, there are also some additional storage centres which you can take your coats to in your own time – find more info on this here.

So, um, no excuses then.

It’s time to pull out your parkas and dig out your duffles – this is a call to duty. 

In a city as wonderful and generous as ours, there is absolutely no reason in the world why any Londoner should suffer, or worse die, from being cold this Christmas.

No reason at all.

Wrap Up London
www.handsonlondon.org.uk


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Lady Gaggia

“Dear Poppy,

We would like you to come and play with us. We’ll be making coffee, smelling coffee, tasting coffee, learning about coffee, eating coffee cakies and we’ll tell you all about our new super duper amazers coffee machines.


Oh, we’ll also be making coffee martinis.


Love Gaggia.”

I was there faster than you can say Macchiato. (Love that word).

I took M with me, because he is to coffee, what Paddington Bear is to marmalade sandwiches. This was like a dream come true. In Farringdon. In an uber snazzy apartment. With canapés.

Once M and I had stopped jumping up and down with excitement, expert barista, Paul Meikle-Janney took the reins and talked us through, with enormous passion, the wonderful world of coffee. The history, geography, flavours and process… it was completely fascinating. We smelled, we tasted, we compared… and I learnt squillions of coffee FACTS!

Here are my top 3:

1. You should never put coffee in the fridge. (I know. I thought that I was so clever keeping my coffee in the fridge.) This is because it will become moist and coffee should be kept dry in an airtight container. Not. In. The. Fridge… Who knew. (Paul knew).

2. It was Achilles Gaggia, who in 1938 first applied steam pressure to ground coffee and was therefore the first chap to produce the crema layer (the white bit on the top which makes it look like a Guinness). Clever clogs.

3. The best milk for foaming is reindeer milk because it is rich in protein at 11%. (Cow’s milk contains just 3.4%) So next time you’re in your local Sainsbury’s, you know what you need to ask for. (You know it will be funny – go on. Do it.)

Paul then started to make every coffee you can imagine on the very clever (and very compact!) GranGaggia coffee machine. Lattes, Espressos, Long Blacks, Flat Whites, Macchiatos (still love that word) Cappuccinos… Poppy was beginning to see stars. I sat down.

To finish us off, Paul transformed into (a much taller version of) Tom Cruise, (with a cocktail shaker and everything) and used the GranGaggia to make us all ridiculously delicious coffee martinis.

M had his. I had some of mine and then became a bit wobblepops. M had the rest of mine and suddenly he found everything hilarious.

‘Twas time to go home, but not before we took one more longing look at the GranGaggia coffee machine and wondered if anyone would notice if I stuck it up my jumper.

We decided against it.

(Note to self – must get a bigger jumper.)

Gaggia GranGaggia Espresso Maker
£180
Available at Amazon, Argos and Currys

www.philipslovecoffee.co.uk

Win! Grow your own tea and coffee!

The lovely people at Gaggia have given me a super duper Gift Republic Grow Your Own Tea and Coffee to give away! (RP £10) All you have to do to win this super duper prize (see above pic) is one of the following, (the more you do the more chances you have.) Please leave me a comment below for each step you complete:

1. Sign up to my mailing list ((Completion of this step is compulsory to be entered – please look out for the confirmation email in your inbox, otherwise you won’t be registered!))

2. Become a fan of my Facebook page

3. Leave a comment below
4. Follow me and and RT the competition on Twitter
5. Follow my blog
 
Competition ends 26th October – good luck Popsicles! x
Poppy’s important terms and conditions:
Entrants not meeting the above requirements will be deemed invalid and therefore not included in the draw. Signing up to my mailing list is compulsory and all the other steps are optional and are additional chances to win, however they will be deemed invalid if the entrant has not completed the compulsory step of signing up to my mailing list. Entrants are to leave a separate comment below for each step they complete. The competition will run from 9am on Wednesday 17th October 2012, through to midnight Friday 26th October 2102. I will contact the winner within a week of the competition ending. If the winner doesn’t respond or accept the prize within 2 weeks of notification I reserve the right to draw a new winner. Competition is open internationally.
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Been around the blocks

Wood block printing is one of those amazingly breathtakingly beautiful techniques… and tis an ancient and traditional skill. Yes siree.

It takes a true artist (not Poppy) to create the intricately carved blocks… and in turn the stunning items of clothing, such as the above hand printed scarf – created with a woodblock, carved by a highly skilled artisan (below) in the Indian village of Bagru for Fair-Trade-Flag-Flying-Fabulous-Nomads(I have one to give away too! See the bottom of the post… )


Hats off to Nomads. And here’s why…

Directors Vicky and Duncan met on a backpacking adventure in India in 1989…the very year Madonna released ‘Like a Prayer‘. (Two equally momentous events.)

Together, they banged their heads together (I suspect over a cup of chai) and Nomads was born. A company which will bring “clothing without compromise!” they cried. “Clothing to make you happy!” A company which believes in and practises “trade not aid” in order to maintain a sustainable and profitable living for the producers. And for ourselves. 

Nomads has managed to incorporate everything they stand for, while still developing consistently unique, richly colourful and feminine collections. Clever them.


Nomads’ passion for Indian crafts and for maintaining and supporting these traditions shines out of every item of their clothing and more than twenty years on, it shines even brighter.

The environment also plays a large role in the Fair Trade world and Nomads has been working tirelessly to ensure their dainty footprint is as caring as can be. An organic cotton range, packaging which can be recycled and even biodegradable postbags, (I think this means you can plant them and grow a post bag tree).

Nomads don’t just talk the talk. They walk the walk. 

And what a marvellous walk it is.

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www.nomadsclothing.com

Win a beautiful Nomads scarf!
 

All you have to do to win this super duper prize (see above pic) is one of the following, (the more you do the more chances you have.) Please leave me a comment below for each step you complete:

1. Sign up to my mailing list ((Completion of this step is compulsory to be entered – please look out for the confirmation email in your inbox, otherwise you won’t be registered!))

2. Become a fan of my Facebook page

3. Leave a comment below
4. Follow me and Nomads and RT the competition on Twitter 
5. Follow my blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button, top left of my blog, (under the Twitter sign)  
 
Competition ends 26th October – good luck Popsicles! x
 
Poppy’s important terms and conditions:
Entrants not meeting the above requirements will be deemed invalid and therefore not included in the draw. Signing up to my mailing list is compulsory and all the other steps are optional and are additional chances to win, however they will be deemed invalid if the entrant has not completed the compulsory step of signing up to my mailing list. Entrants are to leave a separate comment below for each step they complete. The competition will run from 9am on Monday 15th October 2012, through to midnight Friday 26th October 2102. I will contact the winner within a week of the competition ending. If the winner doesn’t respond or accept the prize within 2 weeks of notification I reserve the right to draw a new winner. Competition is open internationally.
 
 
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Like a Virgin


Oh YAWN thought I (Poppy) as I stumbled out of my flat on Saturday, for I was off to London Euston to catch a train, wrestle with the crowds and squish myself into a squishdom carriage full of screaming children, smelly crisps and snogging teenies…      

Yawn.

But something miraculous happened at the Virgin ticket office… for there appeared a shiny sign with the magic words..’Upgrade to First Class on weekends for £15′. So I did.

While the hoards charged passed me as though they were escaping the Fire of London, waving their tickets and screaming ‘GET A TABLE!!!’ I glided onto the train and settled myself in a near empty carriage. Bam.

Smug Poppy proceeded to have the time of her life. I was served tea (TEA!) at my seat and was offered complimentary (FREE!) snacks, drinks and treats ‘for later if you’re not hungry now?’ throughout my journey. What a very nice man. (Usually I’d buy a drink, a sandwich and a naughty snack for a 2 hr train journey, which really made the price of the upgrade even more reasonable. Poppy Maths).

There was free wifi which was smooth and speedy, so while I caught up on some very serious (snort) emailing and read my hard hitting newspaper (Grazia) I merrily tweeted to Virgin that I’d like to move in. They agreed and are currently looking for a suitable place to store my jimjams.

Someone had better tell Richard Branson that he’s got a new flatmate.

I hope he likes Downton Abbey.

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Virgin Trains – First Class weekend upgrade

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The Old White Bear, Hampstead


“Seen one pub you’ve seen them all!” roared my neighbour yesterday as he stumbled out of my local in a fog of Guinness and salt and vinegar. I’ve no idea why he said it, but I heard it, (he was LOUD) and I thought to myself “Wrong! And thank you for playing.”

He clearly had not been to The Old White Bear in Hampstead, which is where I and my chum Mimbles went for scrummo dins recently. And scrummo it was. Scrummo with a capital SCRUM. And MO. SCRUMMO. 

At the end of one of the prettiest cobbled streets in Hampstead lies The Old White Bear. (Pub. Not scary mahoosive mammal. Although if it were, you apparently have to punch it on the nose and run).

We were met with the warmest of welcomes with the biggest of smiles and the friendliest of faces. I love friendly. Friendly makes the world go round. Don’t be a grumpo.


The interior feels like a gorgeous old country hotel and you’re treated as such. Coats were taken and hung, seats were pulled back and I felt like Poppy the Princess. We sat in a cosy corner in comfy chairs by the fireplace and ordered from a very delicious (may have dribbled) looking menu and outstanding wine list

I chose lamb, which arrived perfectly cooked, beautifully presented and again, with a dazzling smile from our waitress… and Mimbles chose the Seabass – again, cooked to perfection and presented with pride and passion. Did I mention the food was scrummo? Holy moly. Twas. You know it’s good when you find yourself commenting on every mouthful. Which sounds annoying… but we both did it so that’s ok. 


We shared a sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream and I nearly fell off my chair with delirium. Mimbles is much more poised than me. She only flushed slightly while I whooped and tried to high five the waiter. It was that good. Yip.

The Old White Bear is a complete gem and a hidden one at that. Poppy LOVES as much as one can love anything and having Mimbles there to share the yumminess and loveliness with was the ice cream on my pudding.

I wouldn’t punch the owner on the nose if you paid me. (Unless the owner turned out to be Darth Vader and I had to do it to save the world. But I fear this is unlikely).

 

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The Old White Bear
Well Road, Hampstead
London, NW3 1LJ
020 7794 7719

www.theoldwhitebear.co.uk

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Stickem up

Ooooo now here’s a clever little thing.

If, like me (Poppy) your laptop screen usually looks as though the dust monsters have come and had a party and you’ve faffed about with tissues (bad) Windolene (so, so bad) and socks (I know) to no avail – I (Poppy) have found the solution!

Hurruh for Stickems! Stickems? Yes! Stickems!

Teeny weeny pretty pieces of ultra fine micro fibre clean your laptop or phone screen in a zippy flash. No more fingerprints, grease, make up or spag bol (cough) – and the underside of them is sticky so you can attach them to the back of your device so it can’t go walkies. 

A number of different designers are involved with this clever gadget, meaning Stickems come in all kinds of swish designs, including the antique floral above and the ‘Keep Calm and Eat Cake’ one below. 


They can be used on sunglasses, laptops, kindles, iPads, sat navs.. anyfink with a screen.

They really really work.

Really.

 

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www.stickems.co.uk

Win two Stickems of your own choosing!
 

All you have to do to win this super duper prize is one of the following, (the more you do the more chances you have.) Please leave me a comment below for each step you complete:

1. Sign up to my mailing list ((Completion of this step is compulsory to be entered – please look out for the confirmation email in your inbox, otherwise you won’t be registered!))
2. Become a fan of my Facebook page
3. Become a fan of Stickems’ Facebook page
4. Leave a comment below
5. Follow me and Stickems and RT the competition on Twitter
6. Follow my blog by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button, top left of my blog, (under the Twitter sign)

 
Competition ends 10th October – good luck Popsicles! x

 

Poppy’s important terms and conditions:
Entrants not meeting the above requirements will be deemed invalid and therefore not included in the draw. Signing up to my mailing list is compulsory and all the other steps are optional and are additional chances to win, however they will be deemed invalid if the entrant has not completed the compulsory step of signing up to my mailing list. Entrants are to leave a separate comment below for each step they complete. The competition will run from 9am on Monday 1st October 2012, through to midnight Wednesday 10th October 2102. I will contact the winner within a week of the competition ending. If the winner doesn’t respond or accept the prize within 2 weeks of notification I reserve the right to draw a new winner. Competition is open internationally.

 

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