Monthly Archives: November 2012

Nailed it: Coco Nail Bar

I don’t know about you, but when it stops being warm and sunshiny, my feet go officially into hiding. Flipflops are banished and Uggs become my staple around the house. I don’t even give my feet the time of day between showering and flinging on my clothes, (‘Don’t look at me like that,’ I say) and my poor little toe nails fall very swiftly into a tootsie decline…

Chipped nails, ripped nails, dry and flaky nails was my sad story this morning before I stumbled into the warm and welcoming (pink gloved) hands of the super swish Coco Nail Bar on Portobello Road.

“I’m Poppy!” I roared as I crashed through the door. “HELP ME!”

Three little Coco fairies in pretty pink aprons rushed towards me and I was ushered into a ridiculously comfortable massage chair, (anti-cellulite setting – check) offered a coffee or a cocktail, (they have an actual BAR, complete with Champagne and sushi) hooked up to their wireless (super fast) and handed Vogue (Bible). Thank the lord.

I selected my colour from their extensive ranges from OPI and Essie – I opted for OPI’s rich, deep and purply ‘Lincoln Park After Dark’.

Before I knew it my hands and feet were being bathed and buffed, preened and painted and my nails have never looked so good. I got to recline in the massage chair (new best friend) for as long as I wanted to afterwards and they didn’t even poke me when I nodded off and started snoring.

I left with a skip in my step and trotted home in my flip flops, so as not to chip my newly twinkly nails… and also to show them off to the world.

Bit chilly though.


What Poppy had:
Classic Manicure and Pedicure – £45

Best deal:
Quickie Manicure – £12

Coco Nail Bar
267 Portobello Road
W11 1LR


Book Club: ‘I Capture The Castle’ Dodie Smith

I absolutely love a good book. I love the world I land in and disappear in. I love how time vanishes in a puff of smoke and missing my train stop. I love spotting someone reading the same book, catching their eye and sharing a secret.

I actually am part of a real life book club with real life lovely friends, (I do have friends, you see) but each month I open the virtual doors so you can all read along and join in the discussions at the end.

So, if you’d like to join the gang, (there’ll be badges and everything…maybe even a treehouse), go out and grab yourself a copy of Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture The Castle’ and join in the fun at the beginning of January in a live discussion on Facebook. I’ll be updating all book club members throughout the month and sending reminders so please do sign up to join my book club here.

Join the Facebook event here to be part of the live discussion!

Happy reading ladybugs, I look forward to a natter.


‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’ is the first line of this timeless, witty and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.


Deck the halls…
The Magical Christmas Wreath Company

“Ho ho holy MOLY!” cries I, as I open my door. For there standing on my doormat was Magical Mr Paul (no lie) carrying this super duper enormous (no lie) simply GORGEOUS and divine smelling handmade Christmas wreath. With squirrels on it. (Yip. No lie).

“Hello Poppy” says Magical Mr Paul and handed me the wreath with a twinkly smile before vanishing in a magical puff of smoke. (Bit of a lie).

Magical Mr Paul is the founder of The Magical Christmas Wreath Company. A company which celebrates Christmas like no other, with sparkly tidings, magic and exuberant yuletide festivity. Magical Mr Paul conjures up the most flamboyant, luxurious and Christmassy handmade fresh wreaths, centrepieces and garlands in his magical workshop and the pile of CVs from hopeful elves is growing by the day.

So much love and care goes into each piece made at Mr Magical Paul’s Head Quarters and the attention to details is second to none; from the fairies, pixies and woodland creatures that have been hidden in all the wreaths, to the elegant and luxurious ribbon used for the finishing touch. What’s more, the fresh pine, nuts and pinecones mean that the wreath smells completely delicious… S’wonderful.

Perfect on your front door, or inside on a mirror or window…they sit happily anywhere and will be the source of huge Christmassy joy.

The Magical Christmas Wreath Company also have some of the most lovely smelling and long lasting luxurious Christmassy candles that I have ever come across. ‘Winter Spice’ is my firm favourite… although it does mean that every time I light it, I have to eat a mince pie. 

I am a firm believer in the magic of Christmas, and to have had this beautiful wreath in my home on the run up to the special day is the brandy butter on my Christmas Pudding.



The Magical Christmas Wreath Company

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Win a Magical Christmas Wreath!

The amazing Magical Christmas Wreath Company is giving away a Christmas wreath of your own choice! The winner will be able to select any of the small wreaths from these styles.  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 The Magical Christmas Wreath Company and RT the competition on Twitter 
5. Follow my blog on GFC (Google Friend Connect) 


Competition ends Monday 3rd December 2012 – good luck Popsicles! xx

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 Saturday 24th November 2012, through to midnight Monday 3rd December 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 to the UK only.



Dear diary

© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society

Diaries out, ladybugs. Here are my top picks for the week ahead. 

If you have any events you’d like me to include in next week’s ‘Dear diary’ post, please email me any info, including links. Thank you x


I LOVE SKATING! I’m certain I’m one pirouette away from the Bolero. And/or crutches. There will be a few pop-up ice rinks appearing all over London on the run up to Christmas, but here are the three already open this week. 
Tower of London
Natural History Museum
Canary Wharf


When: Saturday 17th November
Where: Studio 6 Fairbank Studios, 75-81 Burnaby Street, Chelsea, SW10 0NS

Well hurruh for Arianna Cadwallader, a super duper sewer extraordinaire, who has set up ‘Saturday Sewing Session’, to allow wannabe ace sewers like me (Poppy) and you (you) to learn from the experts. Booking is essential, so if you want that cushion cover done by Christmas you’d better give them a call pronto.
Cost: Varies


Hammer and Tongue
“The best live poetry is to be found at The hammer and Tongue Slams”
Not sure what to add to that – sounds pretty good to me and The Green Note is one of my favourite haunts in London. Get there early to nab yourself a seat.
When: Mon, 12th Nov, 7-11pm
Where: Green Note, 106 Parkway, Camden, NW1 7AN
Cost: £5


Banana Cabaret
Here lies a comedy club, which has seen the likes of Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Catherine Tate and Rob Brydon tread its boards. And you can go and laugh your socks off for the grand sum of £3. Hip pip!
When: Fri 16th Nov, 7.30pm
Where: The Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, Balham, SW12 9HD
Cost: £3


Print Club London
Learn how to screenprint your own design and go through the whole process, from digital design through to pulling the squeegee. (Yes, squeegee). 
When: Sat, 17th Nov, 11am – 4pm
Where: Print Club London, Unit 3, Millers Avenue, Dalston, E8 2DS
Cost: £37.50



Poppy’s cosy cheesy mushroom risotto

Risotto is one of my all time super duper favourite curl-up-with-big-socks-on cosy dishes, which I can eat out of a bowl with a spoon and feel very smug that I’ve only put good things inside my tummy. (Not KitKats).

I always thought that you had to set aside half a day to make risotto, have the patience of a saint and stir continuously and not go for a wee even if you are desperate.

Nope! Not true! All you need is BBC Radio 6, a wooden spoon and this easy peasy recipe. Phew.

What you need:

1.5 litres of stock (I use chicken stock but veggie stock is fine too)
1 chopped onion
Glug of olive oil
2 sticks chopped celery
400g risotto rice
180ml white wine
3 handfuls of shiitake mushrooms (or other wild mushrooms – button mushrooms don’t pack enough punch for me)
A few sprigs of fresh tarragon, chopped
25g butter
4 heaped tablespoons grated parmesan 
Salt and pepper

What you do:

1. Heat up your stock in a pan and leave it to simmer

2. In a large pan, gently fry the celery and onion in a glug of olive oil

3. Turn the heat up and add in the rice. Stir it in and add the wine. Stir until the rice has absorbed it all.

4. Add a ladle of stock and stir until it’s been absorbed. Repeat until you’ve used up all of your stock.

5. Gently fry your chopped mushrooms and stir the tarragon in with them.

6. Take your risotto off the heat and taste – add any salt and pepper to taste.

7. Stir in the butter and parmesan – super duper oozy risotto coming up!

8. Stir in 2/3rds of your mushrooms and use the rest to sprinkle on top of each portion.





Dear diary

Diaries out, Ladybugs – here are my top picks for the week ahead x x

Whizz Bang

Crystal Palace Fireworks display
When: Mon 5th Nov
Where: Crystal Palace Park
When it comes to fireworks, Crystal Palace Park does not disappoint. Their 407th Bonfire Night will see a stunning fireworks display set to an awesome soundtrack, with a hog roast, enough hot chocolate, baked potatoes and all the classic Guy Fawkes treats you could wish for. Oooo, there’ll be a funfair too. I’ll be there – I’ll be the one in the wooly hat. See if you can spot me.
6-10pm – Funfair
7pm – Children’s fireworks display
8.30pm – Main fireworks display
Cost: Adults – £5,  Under 10’s – £3,  Under 3’s – FREE


Ingrid Michaelson at The Union Chapel
When: Thurs 8th Nov, 7pm
Where: The Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London, N1
I know I pinged about The Union Chapel last week as well. What can I say. It rocks. And so does Ingrid Michaelson.
Tickets: £15

Good deed

Wrap Up London
When: Nov 7th – 9th between 7am and 11am
Where: Various central London stations
Pull out your parkas and dig out your duffles – this is a call to duty. Donate a used coat to help keep homeless Londoners warm this Christmas.
Get involved.

Twinkle Toes

Oxford Street Christmas Lights, 2012
When: Mon Nov 5th, 5pm
Where: Oxford Street, nearest tube: Oxford Circus
Who: Robbie Williams will be flicking the switch
Sponsored by: Marmite. Yup. I await with interest…

Spoken word

Paper Tiger Poetry
When: Fri 9th Nov, 7.30pm
Where: Tea House Theatre, 139 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL
A new poetry event held on the 2nd Friday of every month, with featured poets and open mic as well, (go on – you know you want to)
Open mic sign up at 7.30pm with the event beginning at 8pm
Cost: £3


Scandinavian Christmas Smorgasbord
When: Fri 9th Nov, 10am – 3pm
Where: Cookery School, 15b Little Portland Street, London, W1W 8BW
Delve deep into a Scandinavian Christmas as Cookery School and Bronte Aurell of Scandinavian Kitchen teach you how to create a traditional festive smorgasbord. Enjoy a glass of Glögg and ginger biccies before cooking up a six part feast that traditionally lasts all day. Poppy heaven :-)
Cost: £175



Craft project
Autumnal Jam Jar Flowers

Oh I do like flowers. I do I do I do.

I especially love flowers in the Autumn, wrapping up warm and collecting a mix of blooms, leaves and berries on a crisp and sunny stroll… as though I were in a Meg Ryan Film. From the 90’s. Not now.  

I love the colours and the smells and the promise of apple pie when you get home… I REALLY miss Meg Ryan from the 90’s. Rats.

All you need for this little project are some fresh autumnal flowers and leaves, (if you can find some berries too, so much the better), a length of ribbon and a nice large jam jar. I am a prolific eater of Mrs Elswood Pickled Cucumbers and these jars are perfect. 

How to..

1. Clean your jam jar thoroughly and remove the label. (For a super sonic label remover solution, you won’t find better than this
2. Fill your jam jar 2/3rds with water
3. Trim your flowers/leaves/berries down and arrange in your jar
4. Tie your ribbon around the rim of the jar

That’s it – couldn’t be easier. These jam jars look gorgeous on their ownsome, or you could make a few smaller jars and line them up on your windowsill… pretty pretty pretty.

Better get eating that jam…