Hello Nancy

Healthy Chocolate Chunky Monkey Smoothie

Since changing my diet last year (read more about my gluten and dairy free diet here) I've been meaning to try Boiglan Supergreens powders as they've been recommended to me by a few people. The powders are a super easy way to boost your smoothies, breakfasts or juices with extra nutrients that your body needs.  I recently got my hands on a few including the Cacao Boost powder which tastes like chocolate but one 10g serving is equivalent to 14 portions of fruit and vegetables. What?

This smoothie tastes extremely decadent but contains only natural wholesome ingredients. It is one of those chuck it all in a blender and enjoy recipes that anyone can do!


You can buy the powders directly from the Bioglan website and from Holland and Barrett. I hope you love this smoothie as much as I do.



What you'll need

One ripe banana
A heaped tsp of pure organic nut butter, I used peanut butter
One cup of almond milk or other dairy free milk
One heaped tsp of the Supergreens Cacao power
Some ice cubes

Pop all the ingredients in the blender keeping the ice to the middle and blend for a minute until smooth and think. Pop some slices of banana on the top to make it look pretty and you're done. I told you it was easy!

This smoothie tasted exactly like a peanut butter milkshake and it didn't even need any extra sweetener. If you like things extra sweet you could add in a little maple syrup but I like it as it is. The ingredients of the powder are pretty impressive too...

Certified Organic Cacao Powder, Pea Protein Isolate 90%, Prebiotic Inulin, Apple Powder, Kale Powder, Spirulina Powder, Chlorella Powder, Bromelain Powder, Chia Ground, Shitake Powder,Wheat Grass Powder, Barley Grass Powder, Flaxseed Powder, Spinach Powder, Broccoli Powder, Camu Camu Powder, clove extract Ground, Natural Chocolate Flavour, Stevia, lactobacillus, bifidobacterium

That's a lot of fruit and veggie goodness!



Let me know if you give this a try. I'd love to hear your thoughts. BTW I totally did lick that peanut butter off the table when I was done photographing this.


Mini Break in Bath With Ston Easton Park Hotel

Recently Simon and I had the pleasure of enjoying a few well needed days out of London. On Sunday Morning we hopped on a train at Paddington and headed to Bath courtesy of the lovely folks at Ston Easton Park Hotel in the Somerset countryside.

I've been to Bath once before when I was a baby, needless to stay I have no recollection of that visit so I was really looking forward to exploring the area as an adult. Simon and I had such a wonderful stay at the hotel and we both loved exploring the historic streets of Bath too. We experienced the classic touristic elements of the city like a visit to the Roman Baths and afternoon tea at The Pump Room but it was the hotel that really made the stay special.

Ston Easton has a wonderful history and the original house appears to date back to Tudor times. The Hippisley family made Ston Easton Park their home from 1544 and continued to live here until 1956. The house sadly fell into disrepair after that point until it opened as a hotel in the early 1980's.







When we arrived at the hotel we had a lovely walk in the sun around the grounds and the kitchen garden before sitting outside to enjoy a few drinks. I fell in love with the sweet Gardener's Cottage and the river. We also met Oscar the hotel dog snuffling around the conservatory. As a dog friendly hotel we spotted a lot of dogs and their owners enjoying the grounds which was lovely to see.

The hotel has an atmosphere that you would expect to find in a grand family home, I almost felt as though I were visiting an eccentric great aunt or grandmother. The rooms were beautiful and personable with antique furniture and fine art displayed to enjoy. We stayed in one of the State Rooms which was absolutely huge, I'm pretty sure it had a similar square footage to our entire flat. All the rooms are decorated like the communal rooms in the hotel with antique furniture. Our room had a beautiful four-poster Chippendale bed which was so lovely to sleep in, or bed in London seems pretty small in comparison now. 



After relaxing for a few hours we headed downstairs to enjoy dinner in the Sorrel restaurant. The hotel serves up seasonal dishes that use ingredients grown in the hotel's kitchen garden. We said hello to the gardeners, Steve and Dale in the morning and they seemed like very friendly chaps! As foodies Simon and I were hoping that our meal would be good and we weren't disappointed, it was nice knowing that most of the food we were enjoying was grown a few steps away from the table.



The library along with the many studies and sitting rooms still contain their original features and personal objects. Simon and I had a really good explore of the hotel and in its labyrinth like layout and twisting staircases we found ourselves in some very interesting areas. The preserved servants’ quarters and the Edwardian kitchen on the lower ground floor looked exactly like the set of Downton Abbey, I really wanted to take all the copperware in the kitchen home with me.


After waking up early the next day we enjoyed a full english breakfast and headed out to enjoy Bath. One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Bath was to pop into Hay. Hay is a Danish homeware store and I could spend a small fortune there (I kinda did). We also popped into Seasalt, another of my favorite stores, and a few independent shops before we had a wonder around the cathedral and up to the Royal Crescent. 



After getting a bit lost we found the Royal Crescent and wandered back down towards town to look around the the area surrounding the Roman baths before heading to the Pump Room for a much needed afternoon tea session.




During our afternoon tea we enjoyed the classical musicians playing right next to us, it all felt very civilised. When we were finished eating I sneaked us a few glasses of the famous Bath mineral water to try. Surprisingly the taste was pretty pleasant but the fact that it was warm threw me off a bit. The water is what makes Bath so well known throughout history and the Romans believed that it had healing properties. The thermal waters contain over 42 different minerals so I felt as though it was probably doing me some good.





The last thing we did before catching our train back to London was a trip to the Roman Baths. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this part of the day. I didn't expect the baths to be so extensive and atmospheric, it may be the most touristy thing to experience in Bath but it was my favourite part of our visit. We were there for a good few hours and there was so much more to see than I expected. It was amazing  the original steaming spring that the Romans used in their huge bathing complex and temple.




I had such a lovely mini break away from London and Simon and I loved exploring Bath together. A huge thank you to the generous Ston Easton Park team for inviting us to stay.


Kitchen and Living Room Makeover

I love our flat and I'm pretty proud that I have managed to design a home that both Simon and I love. However, sometimes I get the urge to move things around a little in our open plan kitchen and living area to change things up a little. The trouble is our flat is teeny tiny and I've been feeling a little stuck about what I could do to improve the space.

 Last week I had a consultation and tried out the new Dulux Amazing Space website. Amazing Space is an online interior design service which connects you with an interior designer for you to chat to about your room. Dulux then delivers a custom room design that fits your requirements all for £75.

I'm going to talk to you about my experience and also cover the pros and cons of the service. Hopefully you'll feel inspired to give it a go yourself. 


The first stage is to go through a series of questions so that your designer can grasp the sort of thing you like. I really liked the two images on the right, both of them are very neutral and calm with that Mid-Century design that I love so much. The bottom image is pretty much my perfect living room, if only I could live in a low profile bungalo in California!

After filling out a simple form about our flat and the room I picked out my preferred colour palette, styles and budget.

The next stage was to use their tool to draw out your room plan so the team can learn about the dimensions of your space. There is also an opportunity to share some images that you love, I selected these...




Source


Source

I selected rooms that were pretty neutral with hints of navy blue, teak and greenery. It's important to me that my space keeps that Modern Mid-Century feel and also has elements of nature and comfort. 

After sending all that information off I was booked into my consultation with my designer Rebecca. The chat lasted about 20 minutes and it was an opportunity to let Rebecca know what I thought about the items, colour and furniture that she picked chose for us. Rebecca talked through all the elements that she picked out for me and I had the opportunity to tell her what I thought. Here is the complete mood-board that she designed for me.


There were lots of things that I liked but I was concerned that the room would end up looking too green or yellow, I wanted to go for a more warm grey and neutral scheme with pops of 1960's colour here and there. Something else that I wanted to avoid was any twee or obvious Mid-Century touches, I wanted a quietly authentic and sophisticated scheme. This meant that the tropical prints, patterned cushions and the starburst clock weren't really my style. Those pieces were a bit too trend based and "on the nose" with regards to 1960s style. After talking about my concerns and what I liked Rebecca told me that she would shift things around and present me with my finalised plan in a few days.


Right on cue I received an email from Dulux saying that my new room design was ready for me. The first thing I had a good look at was the floor plan which really excited me. I love the idea of switching our room around this way and I was really keen to give it a go. Unfortunately after talking to Simon we realised that some of our existing furniture hadn't been included in the floor plan which meant that we actually don't have room to switch things around. If we did it would mean getting rid of our lovely retro record player and speakers and my computer desk (my computer is a lot larger than the image in the mock up). As our flat has a grand total of three very small rooms there sadly is no where else we could put those pieces. I think in the future we could buy a smaller round table but as we have six friends over every few weeks for dinner that idea will have to wait.

The mock up looks a little too green for me but that is probably because the software may have limited options for accessories and furniture. I like the green wall but I think that I would hold back on any other green items to avoid that indoor garden look. Pop the yellow sofa in there and change the green tableware to some nice retro stoneware pieces - perfect!


Below are my favorite picks from my consultation with Rebecca. I absolutely love the navy blue enamel lampshade and the clock options. We've been looking for a good clock to have in our living room so I think we'll end up buying one of those.



I think that Rebecca did a wonderful job picking out items that would look good in my space and considering the information I gave her she delivered something that matched my ideas really well. Thinking back I should have given her as much information as possible about the room, our furniture and what I liked as that would have made things even easier for her.

My final thoughts on the room are that it's a little too green, especially when looking back on the inspirational images I sent off which were all very neutral. I love the idea of the new floor plan but at the moment I'm not willing to get rid off some of our furniture to make it a reality. I love the decorative pieces and the furniture she picked out, I really want that yellow sofa, those clocks and the lampshade!

Pros

The service is great value for money

Most people can't afford an interior designer so this service combats that problem

Rebecca and the whole team were so lovely and very helpful

This is a great idea if you're a design novice and / or lacking confidence

Makes shopping for your home very easy and un-intimidating

There's no obligation to buy anything so no pressure at any point

I loved having a fresh pair of eyes on my space

Cons

As I know quite a bit about interior design so I'm not really the target audience for this service

The room felt a bit trend based and commercial

Some of my furniture would not fit in the new floor plan design

I work from home and my computer desk wouldn't fit where Rebecca wanted to place it (there's no room in our bedroom either)

An interior designer would visit your home multiple times and have a really clear idea of your space, sadly an online service can only have a limited about of information about your room.

---

All in all this service is perfect if you aren't able to hire an interior designer, lake confidence with regards to design or don't know enough about interiors to do the room yourself. I had a small room with a lot of requirements which made this scheme a tricky one to do. If you're flexible and up for a change then I think this service would be perfect for you.


Home Etc

Style Icon - Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger is a cool lady and definitely deserves to be included in my Style Icon series. Bianca met Mick Jagger at a party after a Rolling Stones concert in France in September 1970. After she filed for divorce on the grounds of his adultery with model Jerry Hall she famously said "My marriage ended on my wedding day." Strong as hell.

I wanted to include Bianca as a Style Icon not only because she's a total badass but her clothes in the 1970's were totally dreamy. All I want to wear is black, white and red after browsing through photos of her. Continue reading to see my top high street fashion picks if you'd like to emulate her style.











All these pieces were found on the Zara website. I'm not being sponsored by them but they do always have the best selection of clothing out there, hence why Zara is one of my favorite stores. 

Mid-Century Living Rooms

You may already know this about me but I love Mid-Century interiors. It's been a love affair that has been growing for years, ever since I moved to London and got my own place. The one thing about our flat that I'm not 100% happy with is our seating. We have one sofa, it's charcoal grey and quite stylish but it doesn't add that much to the room. If our flat was a little bigger I would love to invest in a few armchairs for Simon and I, perfect for reading in and relaxing.


I was recently introduced to the Norwegian brand Ekornes who make Mid-Century inspired sofa's and chairs and I've spotted a few that I really love. It's like Ekornes have managed to read my mind as their Metro chairs tick all the style and comfort boxes. I think that's why I love Modernist design so much, it just works. As Joe Sparano correctly said “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”

I wanted to share some amazing vintage images that have really been inspiring me to re-think our living space recently. Hopefully one day soon we'll move into a bigger place so I can re-shuffle a bit and purchace the armchair of my dreams.







Flickr is a goldmine if you're looking for vintage magazine clippings or images. I could spend hours browsing through those retro interior shots. Anyway on to the chairs. Here are my picks from Ekornes that I think would be perfect for a Mid-Century Modern scheme.




That teal one. Yum.

Do you have a comfortable armchair that you love? (If so I am very jealous!)

Home Etc