Gift Ideas: My Favourite Necklaces


L-R: Pipe Dreams, Lazy Giraffe, Molly Brown London, Paper and Chain

I am a big necklace fan. By which I mean I LOVE necklaces, and also like BIG necklaces. But as statement neckwear is not very appropriate when you’re in possession of a chest-headbutting baby who doesn’t have control of their own neck I’ve had to re-think my jewellery choices. And since I’ve said goodbye to big bib necklaces I’ve enjoyed shopping around for more dainty alternatives.

As it’s the season of goodwill (bah humbug) I thought I’d share my most recent finds: you can’t go wrong with a classic bit of jewellery when you’re considering Christmas Gifts and I’d be really happy with anyone who’d like to buy me these necklaces. Again. Plus they are made by some of my favourite people on the internet! Win/win.

 

 

When I went back to work in London for a short time 6 months after Elfie was born I wanted her to know that I was thinking of her, even when I wasn’t there. So I bought an ‘E’ charm necklace and religiously wore it, and of course I had to do the same for Hux; that’s when I came across this gorgeous chunky Molly Brown Alphabet necklace (above). Namechecked by Tess Daley and BNTM so you know they’re good, I love to wear my H and my E together. And I’m sure even though neither of my babies can yet string a sentence together they’re thankful of the gesture! Molly Brown are on Twitter and also do a sweet collection that was called ‘Tiffany for Girls’ by Vogue. Impressive.

 

 

I was lucky enough to work with Nicole Kai in my former life at Vice Magazine in her first job fresh off the plane from Canada. I like to say I was responsible for her big break but she’s pretty awesome so would have made it big without me, I’m sure. Anyway, Marketing-Assistant-turned-Jewellery-Designer Nicole recently launched her ‘Pipe Dreams’ Collection, inspired by “the unintended appeal of common hardware pipe fittings”. My favourite of hers is this gorgeous triangle pipe necklace (above), the nicest bit of plumbing I’ve ever seen. See more of her gorgeous work at pipedreamsjewellery.com or like her on Facebook.

Ismay Ozga is both a long-term Twitter friend and long-term talented jewellery designer. I love that she hails from my home county of Worcestershire and I seriously adore everything that her and her partner in Paper and Chain, Naomi, produce. Their new collection ‘Auxo‘ has just been released and I can’t get enough of this pink necklace that has been made with a string of vintage sequins (above). In fact if Will is reading, please take note: Hex Trio necklace in brass, Vega ring in brass and Solitaire necklace in silver ;). I’m chuffed that Paper and Chain is now stocked locally in my friend‘s shop, so do check out the collection in person if you are local.

 

 

Another long-term Twitter friend is Deepa, AKA Lazy Giraffe, and she specialises in the daintiest of jewellery like my full circle necklace (above – which I’ve just noticed is now in the sale!). She also does a great line in pearl-based wedding jewellery and my personal favourite  are her thin textured and smooth stacking rings (WILL! Are you there?! Size L, FYI). Everything she makes is handmade to order which is awesome and I imagine her in her studio with a tiny hammer banging out a load of gold and silver. That’s how it works, right?

Go on – show me your favourite jewellery. I definitely need more!

Top 10 Proposal Videos

As someone who is a bit of an open book with her emotions, having children has had a crazy effect on me. It’s like someone has taken my feelings, multiplied them by eight, shone a big maginifying glass on them and now pushes my weepy buttons EVERY SINGLE DAY. I cry at ridiculous times and feel a giddy happiness at simple moments that most wouldn’t even blink at.

So last Saturday evening when I was missing a few hours of sleep and the company of my husband I sat down with my iPad and a glass of red. Me and my emotions sat and watched hours and hours of YouTube proposal videos: we laughed, gasped, and mostly cried. Here are our favourites:

1. The Car Lip-Dub: The first time my sister-in-law showed me this video I cried. In a restaurant. It’s lovely and I can’t listen to Bruno Mars anymore without wanting to dance like the Am Dram gal in the red dress.

2. The Cinema: What do you do when you have a love of film, a girlfriend you’d like to propose to and waaaaay too much time on your hands? THIS!

3. The Beach at Sunset: This one is completely twee but totally lovely. If you don’t cry then there’s no hope for you, sorry. Plus ONE DIRECTION!

4. The Blue Tshirts: One of my long-term favourites.

5. The Live Weather Girl: When I was a kid all I ever wanted to do was be a Weather girl. That’s why I love this video.

6. The 19:57 From Euston: The only British video in my top 10. Are we a nation of unromantics? I love that this happened on the commute, usually the worst part of the day.

7. The Kid Dance: I have no idea how this guy got so many cute kids to dance, but hats off to him.

8. The Disneyland: Disneyland? Jazz hands? Megaphone? YES!

9. The Six Year Plan: Again, this is completely cheesey. But what a great surprise!

10. The Live-On-Ellen: I just had to add this one to the list because it’s Ellen. I love Ellen!

 

You can get your diamond ring at wpdiamonds.com.

MTT: Creamed Leeks

Leeks slow-braised with cream

 Confession: I have not been to a supermarket since Hux was born. Whilst this is undoubtedly good for the soul it is simultaneously bad for the wallet, as both our villages’s Co-op and Tesco Express are more expensive than the huge supermarket down the road. The farmers market is lovely but it’s so easy to get so carried away with the organicness of it all that I find myself with an excess of kale or purple sprouting broccoli that will never ever get eaten.

Washed and prepped leeks

Since I’ve been doing two or three little shops a week I’ve really noticed some bad shopping habits, and two items I consistently buy each time I shop – aside from Thomas The Tank Engine yoghurts – are double cream and decent butter (you know, the stuff with crunch crystals of sea salt? YUM). I seem to have gone all French on my cooking skills and am channelling somewhat of an artery-clogging Julia Child. But let’s consider our cholesterol when the weather warms up, shall we? This season seems to be the winter of comfort food and I’m ok with that.

Leeks covered in butter

 These Creamed Leeks originated when we took a weekend trip to Cheltenham in April. We had the most amazing Sunday roast which came with a side of creamed leeks with truffles. These were so mouthwateringly delicious I grilled the waitress for a vague recipe that I could replicate at home. Ever since this side dish has been a regular accompaniment to our Roast Chicken dinners and I can’t recommend it enough: it really adds that extra lift to a veg that I normally find a bit boring.

Pan of braised leeks

If you like the sound of this you should check out this creamy cabbage recipe: try it once and you’ll never look at a cabbage in the same way again.

Roast dinner

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Creamed Leeks
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I use one leek per person but this recipe calls for three as I like a bit of leftovers: I eat them the next day in an epic roast dinner sandwich. If you’ve never had roast potatoes between two slices of bread you really haven’t lived. The drizzle of truffle oil on top is a welcome addition though not necessary as we don’t all have gold-lined pockets.
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 leeks
  • 25g good butter
  • 100ml cream
  • Sea salt
  • Slug of truffle oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Wash and chop your leeks into half centimetre pieces.
  2. Heat a frying pan on a low-med heat and melt your butter. Add your leeks and stir well to coat.
  3. Cook the leeks for a good 20-25 mins: use your judgement here, I like mine slightly caramelised with a bit of colour so tend to turn the heat up for the last five to ten mins. The important thing is to make sure they’re lovely and soft.
  4. Add the cream and cook for another four mins, until the cream starts to thicken. Add a good pinch of salt to taste and your drizzle of truffle oil.

 

 

Thanksgiving, The British Way

 

Americans really have the right idea at this time of year. Thanksgiving: a time for family, friends, warmth, love and CARBOHYDRATES. Lots of carbohydrates.  I love the idea of a big turkey accompanied by potatoes and pies, though I still get a little wary of the addition of macaroni cheese. Does it really work?

But most of all I love the idea of sitting down with your loved ones and giving thanks for the good things in your life. It’s so easy for me to get bogged down in the day-to-day routine of no sleep, nappies, weaning, budgeting, blah blah blah that I forget to look at the bigger picture and realise just how good I have it. Thinking about what I am thankful for gives me perspective on rubbish I really shouldn’t be wasting thought power on. So today, in homage to the carbs, I’ve sat down and given thanks to the wonderful things in my life. Here they are.

 

 

My Children – I have somehow managed to give birth to the two most adorable, happy babies who are a total joy to be around. Yes, they may do immense poos that I manage to get on my elbow (?!) and scatter jigsaws in every room of the house but I am so very lucky they belong to me.

My Husband – our next anniversary will be 10 YEARS and although we might bicker and grouch at each other when we’re overtired (so that’s every day, then) I feel so lucky I met him so early on in my life. He’s my best friend.

 

My Family – I am so lucky to have my parents and Mother-In-Law so close by. My mum and dad love the children almost as much as I do and my Mother-in-Law is so wonderful with them. She looked after Hux whilst I tool Elfie into London yesterday; I came home to find the kitchen cleaned, house hoovered, washing done and dinner cooked. It was a wonderful surprise and if I wasn’t married to her son I might have proposed there and then.

The place we live – I appreciate our quiet village more and more as Elfie gets older and we venture out of the house further. I’m really excited for her to make new friends at preschool next year!

My job – I admit to some whinging and moaning because I find it so hard to work efficiently as well as look after Elfie and Hux but I am so lucky to be able to work for myself. I still wish I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to be everything to everyone, the mother, the wife, the businesswoman, the cleaner, the cook… but it’ll fall into place I’m sure.

 

Our health – In the last six weeks we’ve suffered with 2 tummy bugs (Elfie) and food poisoning (me) but overall we’re all live and kicking. We should never take our health for granted.

Our friends – We lost a lot of friends moving out of London: to many people we may as well have moved to Scotland and I almost know how they feel, for me going to Notting Hill from Islington used to be a mission-and-a-half. The ones who have stuck with us are brilliant true friends and I feel lucky to have them.

Salted caramel - whoever invented this is a ruddy genius.

Right. Now that’s done I’m off to roast a chicken, stick some cream on some vegetables and eat some potatoes. Thanksgiving: the British way.

My Best Friend’s Blog

(Sometimes our husbands get us mixed up)

I interrupt my usual programming to announce that after years of ho-humming about it one of my best friends in the whole wide world forever and ever and ever amen has started her own blog! I could not be prouder than if it were Elfie or Hux blogging: Su is an absolutely brilliant writer and I know she’s been wanting to get down and creative online for a while.

I first met Su about 10 years ago when she was a pescatarian (I used to ask her “but what about BACON?!”), saw her through her conversion to vegetarianism – she sat through a dinner of squash risotto at Gaucho on cowskin seats, the trooper – and shook my head at the thought of no cheese when she converted to veganism about a year ago. That’s what Su’s lovely blog is about: life and her journey through veganism.

It’s still well worth a read if you’re a meat eater as it’s stuffed with recipes that will satisfy even the most carnivorous palate (i.e. mine). I love reading it as it’s just like sitting next to her, hearing her chat about her allotment and penchant for heavy metal… and Twilight, shh ;) It’s a lovely way to stay abreast of what’s going on in her life as we’ve been separated far too long by the M1.

Anyway, please pay Su a visit at Honey For The Bees and say hello! She’s also just joined Instagram as Sookisu… next step, Twitter!

For another good pal who’s just started blogging please head over to TilleyBlog… for all your London-based food and cocktail needs, plus travel snippets from Elfie’s new BFF

Every December Issue Gift Guide EVER – Kris Atomic

Kris Atomic, she of ‘Chronic Bitchface‘ fame, talented illustrator and long-time internet pal has just released something so hilarious it was the only thing to make me laugh in the gloom of this weekend’s food poisoning. All I can say is: eat poultry that you have defrosted IMMEDIATELY, not the next day. Lesson learned.

Anyway, if you’re already getting a bit jaded by the Christmas gift propaganda that’s coming you’re way you will love this. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to get Bah Humbug til December but if M&S can put up Christmas displays in September then I’m allowed to whinge now.

This is for everyone who rolled their eyes at THAT Asda advert, threw a Christmas magazine across the lounge or has dealt with a tantruming child who was annoyed at not being able to open their advent calendar yet (hi, Elfie).

 

Oh, and if any of my family are reading, mine’s the ‘Literally a one hundred and seventy pound candle’, ‘No big deal, just a diamond ring’ or ‘Personalised stationary they’ll never use’. Thanks!

You can read Kris’s brilliant blog here (if you’re in to pretty girls and books then Model Readers is a must) or follow her on Twitter.  Also, standbye for actual gift ideas next week that won’t see you bankrupt come January.