Monthly Archives: November 2013

Made in Britain: Alice Peto

Penguins, Parakeets, Flamingos and Guinea Fowls.. no, you are not at Bird World. You are witnessing the gorgeous new collection from the very clever Alice Peto, whom you may already know as a super duper talented artist and illustrator.

Well, Alice decided she wanted to be even more multi-stringed (strung?) and so has turned her hand to china.. 


She trained in Florence (I LOVE FLORENCE) and clearly didn’t eat as much gelato as I did when I was there, as she appears to have had plenty of time to hone her creative skills (I really did eat an enormous amount of Gelato) and develop her already obvious artistic flair and style. (I could write a Gelato guide book.) (Actually that’s not true as I really only went to one place and stayed there most of the time. Hi Luigi, if you’re reading.)

Alice Peto
Alice Peto – Flamingo

Her collection currently consists of four designs; Flamingo, Guinea Fowl, Parakeet and Penguin. The animals are portrayed in silhouettes, with hand painted detail and each design as their own distinctive character. 

There are plates, pasta bowls, mugs, oven dishes and casserole dishes.. and they are made to last! This china is not to be gazed at through a glass cabinet – it has been designed to be used everyday. 

Alice Peto
Alice Peto – Penguin

Clever Alice is based around the corner from me in Notting Hill, but her china is made, where so much gorgeous British porcelain is made, in Stoke-on-Trent – home to Wedgwood, Emma Bridgewater and Royal Doulton, amongst many others. 

Alice Peto is sitting alongside some of the greats. And deservedly so. I can’t think of a nice Chrimbo present, myself. 

So go on…

Pick up a Penguin.



www.alicepeto.com

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Tea for two at The Landmark

We all know that I like a good afternoon tea. But this afternoon tea was truly one of the best afternoon teas I have ever had. I was in afternoon tea wonderfulness. Floating on an afternoon tea cloud… all the way to afternoon tea heaven.

Continue Reading…

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SS14 previews: Warehouse


‘I must be in the wrong place..’ thought I, as I stumbled through the doors of a very cool lofty space. This can’t be right. “I am here for Warehouse?” I said in a confused manner to someone very cool with very cool hair, very cool tights and very cool shoes. 


I’m NOT here for this amazing looking collection, that’s stacked with colour, stunning bold prints and patterns, nifty tailoring, is dripping in detail and has a gorgeously vintage-luxe feel to boot… WHERE’S WAREHOUSE?

Warehouse

Warehouse


It appears I was in the right place after all… so I had a glass of something very lovely, rearranged my brain and wandered around the un-Warehouse collections that were actually Warehouse, so really, they were very Warehouse indeed. The collections were, in fact, the most Warehousey that they could possibly be. Are you still with me?

Colours and prints ranged from photographic acid colours and fluro brights to soft baby blues, pastels and whites..

Warehouse

Warehouse


The ‘Bamako’ collection was stacked with oodles of retro 50’s glamour and geo-print dresses and co ordinated sets, while ‘Poetic Garden’ pieces were in soft, saturated pastels on chiffons, laces and sheer organza…

I saw neoprene (love neoprene – it looks tailored and structured and needs NO IRONING) mesh, organza and crepe (not the pancakes) in the ‘Precision’ collection, which is very sharp and angular… and plenty of chambray, ditsy prints, embroidery and white cotton in the New-Yorky-chic-young-gal-about-town collection.

The accessories were a bit marvellous too…


Bell skirts, metallic laces, polka dots, cutwork, denims, supersize pockets, playsuits, huge pleat shorts and jump suits… they appear to have it all…


Warehouse, you have knocked my socks off.
 
 
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SS14 previews: French Connection Home

French
Connection
Home

Today I found myself in a lovely simple space off Oxford Street, being introduced to French Connection‘s new Spring/Summer 2014 home range.
French Connection

I’m now going to use lots of words that could potentially sound very la la la interiory designery, like ‘loft’ and ‘clean lines’ and ‘industrial’…  but you have to trust me and you’re not allowed to laugh.

French Connection

 

French Connection

French Connection

French Connection

‘Soft industrial’ is the way they have chosen to describe the style of this new range, and I completely agree with this description. It absolutely fits. It was inspired by chic, loft-style living (no laughing) but doesn’t have a hard or edgy feel to it – the clever folk at FCUK (mum, that says FCUK) have softened the collection through introducing some more gentle Parisian Bistro influences. (Oooooh)

French Connection
Workhouse Table with Roger Bar Stool

There is a gentle calmness to the range, even though there are some gorgeous bold prints (on massive oversized cushions) and strong metals – think gunmetal, zinc and brass… 

There are also some understated, muted and earthy tones which complement the stronger colours and these work beautifully amidst tie-dye cushions and cosy, distressed rugs. The dyes are actually organic vegetable dyes, which doesn’t mean you can eat them (I’m assuming..) they just look really lovely.

French Connection French Connection French Connection French Connection

Jute Floor Cushion, Roger Bar Stools, Zinc Coffee Table

French Connection have focussed largely on lighting in this range and I LOVED all of their different lamps – free standing and pendants. There has been great attention to detail and it is because of this that each piece within the collection, can easily stand alone in its own right. The Photographer’s Lamp below is definitely one of my favourite pieces..

French Connection

Warm indigos, blues and greys make up this gentle palette and I think, for what it’s worth, that this collection is going to be a bit of a hit.

French Connection
Fisheye Mirror in Gunmetal. That’s me. Poppy.

I look forward to seeing what they come up with next…

 

**The French Connection Home range is currently available online and at their home stores on the King’s Road and Oxford Street. It will also be available in Selfridges from February 2014.

 
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SS14 previews: Anthropologie

Anthropologie
SS14
Previews

I have been racing about these last few days visiting all the Spring/Summer 2014 press days.. Spring has sprung in Poppyville.. and it’s confusing. Because I’m wearing earmuffs.. but such is the fashion calendar and who am I to stand in the way of floaty fabrics and florals. No one. That’s who.


Throughout this week I’ll be focussing very much on all the pretty things I’ve been seeing from various brands, but today I thought I’d start with Anthropologie.


Gorgeous colours, fabrics, prints, patterns and aromas, (LOVE those candles) hit me as I walked in.. The Anthro experience is an emotional one and always seems to attack all my senses. It speaks to me in a way that other brands just can’t seem to crack. I’m a little bit in love with Anthropologie… and I know I’m not on my own.

Here’s a little Instagram vid I took of some of the stunning accessories..

I wandered through their three new collections and each had its own identity and its own share of detail, gorgeousness and special Anthro-touches.. Each collection also included some new brands, such as Blank, Tinsel and Denham.. (did you know Anthropologie supports all kinds of new, independent labels? They’re like the fashion leg-up for the little people..)
Anthropologie
Stunning jewellery – see the little video for more sparkles…

My very good friend Miss Magpie Fashion Spy was there too, so we sat down, had a cup of tea (thank you Anthropologie – even your mugs are heavenly) and she did a spot of doodling. I showed her a couple of my favourite pieces and this is what she did. What a clever Magpie..

Anthropologie
In case you were wondering – this is exactly what my legs look like.
Anthropologie
Miss Magpie‘s interpretation of the piece above…

And here she is at work…

Anthropologie have created a beautiful, soft feminine collection, full of pretty dresses, Summer whites, embroidery and adornments… a kind of ‘world traveller’ collection, with a modern European feel, packed with lush fabrics, Scandi brands and oodles of tassles and trims.. and a playful collection of jump suits, denims, (gorgeous, soft denim! Ding ding!) and culottes, in a Spring colour palette of indigos and blues.

Anthropologie
Me, amidst it all…

I loved seeing what’s coming up around the corner in Anthroland and I may have already started writing my wish list… such a pretty place to be is Anthropologie. I wonder if they’d notice me if I pitched a tent and set up camp in their Regent St store… don’t tell them. It’s an excellent plan.

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Theatre: The Bodyguard


So yes, I’ll admit it. I was dubious. Really dubious. I thought I’d be entering a sea of hen parties and Beverley Knight adorers with a few Whitney Houston die-hard fans thrown in for good measure… oh and an over-done story about a bodyguard happening in the background…

But I was WRONG. (I really want to put that quote from Dirty Dancing in now, when Baby’s dad says, ‘”When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong” and then everyone cries. But I won’t.)

The Bodyguard was brilliant. 


I know you all know the story, (famous singer, hunky bodyguard, fall in love, try not to get killed etc)  so you already know the main bit.. but what you probably don’t know is that the Adelphi Theatre has become home to a hugely inventive production, with stacks of momentum, unbelievably fantastic staging (I gasped when we were transported to The Oscars) and a very exciting, living and breathing experience.. 

And that’s all before you add the very talented company, the technical wizardry, the stunning ‘pop’ choreography, costumes and all the phenomenal Whitney Houston songs.. “AND IIIIII EEEE IIIIII will always love YOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO” 

Bodyguard
Pic from www.thebodyguardmusical.com

I had goosebumps through nearly everyone of Beverley Knight’s songs –  she was terrific. Pitch perfect, (P E R F E C T) she had a gorgeous demeanour, gave a sweet and vulnerable performance and had an amazing presence on stage. I was completely impressed. Those Whitney songs are not a walk in the park, you know.. and Beverley is clearly the real deal.

Tristan Gemmill, Debbie Kurup and Michael Rouse were also all super duper – they all lit up the stage and performed their socks off.. and the little man who played the son was fantastic and a huge hit with the audience; whoever directed the kiddiewinks is a very clever (and no doubt, patient) genius.

I also happened to go on the night when the company were celebrating their first birthday – The Bodyguard musical is officially 1. Debbie Kurup gave a lovely little speech… and then they wheeled out a massive cake. (Happy Poppy) Then the cake was taken away again. (Sad Poppy.) But, then there was much frivolity and jumping about. (Happy Poppy again.)

Bodyguard
Pic by Dan Wooler/wooler.com


I left feeling as though I’d been at a massive party – we were all dancing in the aisles at the end (which may sound like a cringeworthy nightmare to some of you, but I challenge you to not leap to your feet..) and I had an overwhelming desire to rush up to everyone on stage and say ‘well done!’ (I didn’t.)

So there you have it. The story is great, the music, sound, staging, costumes, choreography and lighting is great, the COMPANY is great. My ice cream in the interval was great.

It’s great.

Go.

NEW SIGNATURE

The Bodyguard
Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London, WC2

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Wrap Up London

Hands on 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.

Last year Hands On London collected 8400 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 fewer than the amount buried at the backs of millions of Londoner’s wardrobes. I could raise my Poppy Paw and swear to that. Your honour.
Hands on London
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 11 tube and rail stations in central London 13th – 15th 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 13th, Thursday 14th and Friday 15th November at the following central stations:

  • Canary Wharf
  • Charing Cross
  • Kings Cross
  • Liverpool Street
  • London Bridge
  • Paddington
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Euston
  • Baker Street
  • Highbury and Islington

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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Welcome Needle! A gorgeous new knitwear brand


I know I’ve been going on about knitted cosies recently, but really, it’s all I can think about. That and soft boiled eggs with soldiers.

Allow me to introduce Needle – a lovely new luxe knitwear brand, which launched this Autumn and was founded by former L.K.Bennett product developer, Lizzie Cawthray, (who, incidentally, pays everyone in brownies. I think. I may have got that wrong.)

Needle
Capri colour-blocked striped jumper – Needle

Needle have managed to wiggle their way into a little gap in the knitwear market by offering fantastic British design, luxurious Italian knits and production, stunning colour palettes, beautiful chic detailing… and all of this without dropping a stitch.

Needle
Rome Cable Knit – Needle

This Rome Cable Knit is certainly on my wish list – I understand that it’s a bit of a signature piece for Needle and rather popular.. (Grazia have given it a big thumbs up.) I love its open roll neck (I can’t bear feeling claustrophobic in a tight roll top neck) and also that it’s knitted in a soft merino and alpaca blend. 

It has an A-line body as well, which makes it super flattering too. Goodie.

Needle is certainly not a cheapy chops brand, but why should it be; the quality is outstanding, the pieces are gorgeous and the price reflects the experience, knowledge, craftsmanship, love and design which has been poured into every stitch.
It is British design at its very best and I know exactly what I’m going to be writing on my my list to Santa this year.
 
(And yes, before you ask, I have been a very good girl.)
 
 

*This was a sponsored post

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Sunday Supper: Beetroot & Roasted Parsnip Soup and Easiest Macaroni Cheese


As the evenings start drawing in earlier and the chill in the air becomes more noticeable, I crave warm, cosy food. Eating something gorgeously gooey out of a bowl, or an oversized mug, while sitting on a sofa under a blanket is the ultimate in comfort food for me. 

So, the two recipes I made for supper a couple of weeks ago were perfect for my it’s-nearly-Winter-but-not-quite-yet night in. With Downtown. (Poor old Bates..)

Blender
Jamie Oliver Blender by Philips – £79.95 at John Lewis

I made both recipes with my Jamie Oliver Blender by Philips. This little number is fast becoming my very best friend in the kitchen. Nothing is too much for it – just bung it in, set it to ‘whizz’ and you’ll be staring at a smooth liquid (I really don’t like that word, but I can’t think of a better alternative) before you know it. Blender


First, I made the soup. I found this recipe in the New Covent Garden Co recipe book – A Soup for Every Day. (Currently £5 on Amazon – reduced from £25!) They actually do have a recipe for every day, which means the ingredients are always seasonal. This means not only more delicious yumminess, but also fewer pennies spent when you buy your ingredients.  Blender


I get my bits and bobs from Cheryl on Portobello Road. Her market stall is always bursting with beautiful fresh produce and her prices are unbeatable.

Blender
Beetroot & Roasted Parsnip soup in my Anthropologie mug. With a blog of cream for good measure :-)

Beetroot and Roasted Parsnip Soup

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oliver oil
1 large parsnip, diced
4 cooked beetroots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
knob of butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
350ml veg stock
2 tablespoons double cream to blob on top if you fancy

1. Preheat the oven to 200C
2. Coat the parsnips in the olive oil and bake for 20-30 mins
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 mins
4. Add the roasted parsnips, beetroot and stock, then season to taste
5. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins
6. Blend until smooth – (Jamie Oliver’s blender had this nailed in less than 5 seconds)
7. Blob on the cream or stir in if you’d prefer

Then onwards to the macaroni cheese. I picked Nigella’s recipe as it skips the whole ‘make a cheese sauce’ thing. Which I think is quite exciting. Blender


This recipe is straight out of the book Nigella Express and with just four stages to the recipe and it being absolutely delicious, it’s shot up to the top of my quick fix suppers list.


Macaroni Cheese

Ingredients:
250g macaroni
250g mature cheddar
250ml evaporated milk
2 eggs
grating of fresh nutmeg
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 220C and cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions and then put back into the hot pan
2. While the pasta is cooking, put the cheese, evaporated milk, eggs and nutmeg in a processor and blitz to mix
3. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste
4. Tip into a dish and bake for 10-15 mins

Both these recipes were so fast to make and this was mostly down to the Jamie Oliver Blender. I’m now going on a smoothie mission… (It’s too fun!)

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Winter cosies: Hurrah for Fat Face

Fat Face

Maggie Bobble Lurex Cardigan – £40 – Fat Face

Itchy, scratchy, wooly jumpers have been banished from my cupboards. Set upon by wild dogs and then buried, along with an ancient curse to keep them away from my body forevermore. 

I actually took them down to the charity shop, but it amounts to the same thing..

So may I just say a big hurrah for Fat Face. HURRAH! They have managed to create the most gorgeous selection of knitted wonders, many of which contain no wool (including the Maggie Bobble Lurex Cardi above) which are also super cosy, super stylish and uber feminine. (Too often have I put on a jumper and immediately been transformed into FLUFFY BOX MAN.)

Fat Face

Poppy Loves Fat Face

This is such a sweet cardigan (it also comes in other colours) and the pockets are the perfect size for hobnobs. I can get 3 in each. Handy.

I also love this Dani Owl Jumper – it only has 10% wool in it and is the warmest jumper I currently own.

Fat Face

Poppy on Portobello – Jumper: Dani Owl Intarsio Jumper, Fat Face

The proof is in the pic – this was a particularly chilly day and everyone else was scurrying about in jackets. I whipped my coat off to have this picture taken and there was not one goose bump in sight. Not ONE. That is a very scientific experiment in my book.

(I should probably point out that I got a double C in science GSCE)

Fat Face

Dani Owl Intarsia Jumper – £45 – Fat Face

This jumper also comes in different colours… it’s tricky to choose! They also have a similar jumper with a reindeer on, (see below) in case you happen to be thinking about Chrimbo pressies.. or outfits.

I’m hugely impressed with the knitwear offer at Fat Face this Autumn/Winter – they’ve covered off the key colours while still staying true to the Fat Face brand, heritage and overall feel.  Fat Face

You can see their full range here and if you do decided to buy something (I’d like to see you try not to) please do send me a picture of you wearing it – I’d love to see.

Until then, I’m off to have another sneaky peek on their website

NEW SIGNATURE

Want to follow me? The easiest way is via BlogLovin – you can find me here.

 

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Book Club: ‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron

November’s book is Heartburn, by Nora Ephron

 
For the very first time in the history of my book club, we’ll actually be meeting in REAL LIFE! We’ll be getting together on November 27th.. but don’t panic – there will still also be an online discussion if you can’t scoot over to Notting Hill! Also, don’t worry if you can’t make either of these events – there’ll be plenty of opportunity to comment and share your thoughts afterwards in the Facebook group and on my blog too! Please do try to keep your thoughts under wraps until the 27th if you can – some of us (ahem, cough) may read a little slower than others!
The Duke of Wellington - Portobello Road

The Duke of Wellington – Portobello Road

Where do we meet?

We meet in the cosy Refectory at The Duke of Wellington pub on Portobello Road. They have an absolutely delicious menu.. and if you just fancy a hot chocolate, that’s fine and dandy. We will be meeting on Wednesday, 27th Nov at 7.30pm. For full details about our next meeting, click here to join my Facebook group. Please do let me know if you’re coming – I always like to know who I’m going to meet!

The Duke of Wellington
179 Portobello Road
London
Q11 2ED 

The Duke of Wellington - Portobello Road

The Duke of Wellington – Portobello Road

Join in online!
If you can’t make it over to Notting Hill, why not join us on Facebook instead, for live chat on Wednesday, November 27th from 8pm.

Grab a cup of tea and settle yourself on your sofa for some book chat with like minded souls. I’ll be there with bells on. And socks too, probably.

Click here to join the facebook event!

In the meantime, please do invite your friends to Poppy Loves’ Book Club – it’s growing rapidly and is sure to be lots of fun! Thank you for signing up – it’s great to have you on board.

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron

 
Synopsis:
Nora Ephron is a woman who knows how to make us laugh and long for love with her films and books. She brought Julie & Julia to the screen, and also Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.
 
Heartburn is a novel about a cookbook author whose husband leaves her for another woman when she’s seven months pregnant. Heartburn is inspired by Ephron’s own life—she was pregnant when she found out that her second husband, Washington Post journalist Carl Bernstein, was having an affair with a mutual friend. (Bernstein threatened to sue Ephron over Heartburn, but never followed through.) 
Though the book is about a breakup, Ephron manages to make it funny. Heartburn became a film in 1986, starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.
Join Poppy’s Book Club

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