Springtime Eats + Drinks

Spring is here. Even though there’s still snow on the ground and it’s still a little chilly, knowing that we’ve (at last) reached spring is such a sweet feeling. I’m so ready for picnics and walks around Lake Calhoun, reading outside over the lunch hour and lightening up my diet!

I didn’t gain weight over the winter, but even after a week-long holiday, I’m feeling heavy and draggy. Cue lighter, healthier fare! Okay, so some of these recipes are for desserts, but they don’t look so delish and springy? Which one will you try first?

lemonGreek yogurt cream cheese lemon coffee cake
redRed wine berry spritzer (just red wine + La Croix, love it!)

tartCreamy meyer lemon bergamot orange and fresh ricotta tart

berryBerry almond smoothie
ricottaRoasted grapes with thyme on ricotta grilled bread
cocountCoconut creamsicle margaritas

Happy Spring, everyone! X

 

12 Days of Christmas Gifts. #5

There was a time when personalising Christmas presents required an afternoon of ink, stamps, and copious amount of glitter.  For 2013 however, the one-time gentile practice of having bespoke and engraved items of clothing, jewellery and utensils has trickled down to even the most modest of budgets.  The token of a personalised gift makes even the most boring of presents (initialed socks anyone?) seem that little bit more thought-through and special.

Personalised Travel Journal, by SUKIE £14.95

Personalised Travel Journal, by SUKIE
£14.95

Taking their inspiration from travelling, nature, old printing processes, paper, vintage books and ephemera, Sukie aim to to create simple stationery with unique concepts.  With a variety of fun, quirky or simple and chic styles these gifts are an inexpensive way of linking a gift with someone’s passions.

Engraved Bottles, from £20. www.sayitonabottle.co.uk

Engraved Bottles, from £20. Say it on a Bottle

These made to order bottles are perfect for parents and friends, pick their favourite beverage and then when the bottles are drunk they make perfect ornaments or candle sticks.

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Personalised Books for Children £12.95 www.itsyourstory.co.uk

For active readers, or those little people who need a bit more encouragement to get the pages turning, there is no better present that a personalised book.  Itsyourstory.co.uk has a multitude of titles for all ages and interests.  Simply enter the child’s name into the selection boxes and the writers will tailor the story to the individual.

Silver Cup Ring, Achkiy £40

Silver heart bracelet with grey leather cord, Achiky,  £25.00

Silver heart bracelet with grey leather cord, Achkiy,£25.00

Since 1995, Achkiy has been working to bring light and hope to some of Peru’s most impoverished communities. From the rubbish tips in the north of Lima to the shanty towns in the south, Achkiy has been training resourceful women to make high quality jewellery for a non-poverty wage.  Achkiy offers a take on beautiful jewellery that is fair-trade and thought provoking, whilst breaking away from the traditional mass-produced lines.   If you know someone with a taste for clean, simple, fine jewellery then this the gift for them.  You can design what you like and have it made and engravings are available, for a little extra.

Weekend Bag, Bill Amberg, £610

Weekend Bag, Bill Amberg, £610

Men are notoriously difficult to buy for, espeically if they A. Seem to have everything and B. Are so easily pleased that they want for nothing more exciting than some fresh pairs of Calvins under the tree.  If you he’s a frequent traveller, or hasn’t a new wallet since his teens, Bill Amberg’s latest collection is modern take on traditional men’s accessories.  With dusky leather colours and sleek designs the bags, wallets, totes and satchels are a prefect special gift, and can be initialed and names with bespoke designs..  They’re not cheap, but if you want a present with punch, these are the things he will treasure forever.

Likes Poster, Rosie Robins, £38

Likes Poster, Rosie Robins, £38

It seems that these days ‘art’ that you hang on your wall is no longer just pictures and photographs, to really personalise your home, you want to notes, quotes and funny quips about the household.  Rosy Robins makes these posters in whatever colours you fancy and in any style.  At under £40 they’re an amazing way to show your friends how much you love them and how well you know them.

Klevercase covers for Kindle, iPad, Kobo and Nexus, from £25

Arty types who can’t put down their tablets will be delighted with Klevercase‘s quaint covers.  You can write message on the back and middle pages or design a cover for your recipients favourite novel.

Personalised cheeseboard and knife set, Sleepyhead, £44.95

Perfect for new home owners or regular dinner party throwers, this gorgeous Sleepyhead board and knife set, available from the incredible gift guide site notonthehighstreet.com,  is a lovely way to give someone a gift they’ll love forever.  You can have not only words, but designs and pictures carved into the boards too.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf

SONY DSCAlthough Thanksgiving is over,  pumpkin is one of my favorite treats to enjoy into the Christmas season.  From pumpkin cheesecake to pumpkin cinnamon rolls, this is one ingredient I love every which way. The other night I tried a new pumpkin recipe and was pleased with the results. The recipe is specifically for muffins, but I turned them into little loaves and was very pleased with how they turned out: moist, flavorful with just enough sweetness.

SONY DSCWhat is your favorite holiday treat? Anything you must have to make it feel like Christmas? I’m a sucker for my Grandmother’s perfectly thin sugar cookies.

Have a great morning everyone,

Em

Have you been to…Breads etcetera?

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On a street with a plethora of cafes, pubs, all day bars and shall-remain-nameless chain coffee-shops it’s rare to find an independent breakfast, lunch and dinner offering ‘cafe’.  That is, until you stumble across Breads Etcetera on Clapham High Street, and judging by the twenty-deep queue outside as we leave, its reputation is spreading across South London like wildfire.

Alright, this might seem an overstatement, but for those in need of a lazy hangover cure, a day off dieting or just want to commit carbicide on a Sunday morning, this place is divine.  Step inside and array of artisan breads and pastries freshly baked this morning, are artfully arranged your perusal and consumption.  On the miss-matched table tops sit vintage toasters, and a selection of fine jams, spreads and sauces.

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The staff are friendly and chirpy, offering healthy smoothies and fresh tea and coffee as you browse the menu.  Each breakfast option comes with a +DIY option, the idea being that you cut and toast the sourdough, rye, wholemeal or pastries in as little or as larger portion as you want.  Just don’t eat too much before your order arrives.  The vegan and vegetarian options are particularly lovely, with excellent veggie sausages and fruit platters and rustic porridge to rival any Mediterranean spread.

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The decor is that charming English ‘nothing special’, which in turn makes in something special.  You drink you water from washed out jam jars and the plates and cutlery are brick-a-brac like vintage.

London may be grey and cold this time of year, but wake-up, smell the coffee and all your winter blues will be cured here.