Brunch at the Cosy Club in Norwich

I heard that the Cosy Club was coming to Norwich and they were taking over the old Natwest bank on London St. We went to check out their vegan brunch and I have only great things to say!

Scrambled Tofu

This is one of those vegan staples I never really got round to attempting to make at home. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it either. Most places I’ve been to that offered a vegan brunch usually produced a fry up with vegan sausages – which is fine, I love that. But I’m intrigued to try new things as well and the scrambled tofu did not disappoint.

The dish is made up of:

Scrambled tofu with roasted tomatoes, peppers, kale, lovage pesto, tomato tapenade and toasted seeds on toasted puccia.

I added a potato rosti for an additional 80p (bargain) and I’m very glad I did because it was delicious and it bumped up the breakfast a bit more.

The decor

Sadly I didn’t take any photos of this but one day I would love to sneak in when no one is there and photograph it all. What can I say? It’s very hipster. Big chandeliers, loud wallpaper, photos of birds and fish lining the walls. Everything screamed Overkill and that’s my kind of venue.

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My best baby buys (so far)

So in November I entered the joyous and unsettling world of motherhood and with that comes certain consumer demands. I’m subject to a whole new world of advertising as everyone wants to grab my attention to flog their play gyms and superhero onesies. I’m very cautious when it comes to handing over my hard earned cash so we’ve been fairly selective and thrifty when it comes to the baby purchases.

Given that new babies require a lot of stuff, it is often a minefield trying to work out what to buy and what not to buy. Do you really need that scented nappy bin? Should you go for a bassinet, crib or basket? Well, we did have 9 months to make those choices and, by and large, we made the right decisions to suit out needs. I’d love to talk you through the purchases I’ve found essential and why.

All terrain pram: the Mothercare Orb
The travel system is a pretty large investment, unless you second hand it. This is one that we felt it is important to get right and we bought new because we wanted a car seat to go with the pram without too much fuss. The pram we wanted would be one that see us through our nature walks, which often involve trudging through mud, so we went for a pram with all terrain wheels. So far it has not let me down! I’ve walked it over bumpy, stoney ground and through muddy tracks and baby has slept through it all. J. has deliberately sought out molehills and other obstacles and the pram has merely scoffed at those moles!

Bottle prep: Tommee Tippee prep machine
I had planned to breastfeed but baby had other ideas. After 2 months of expressing and combi-feeding, my milk had gone and I made my peace with formula feeding. (Not looking for a discussion on this but you’re welcome to share your own experiences!) The Tomme Tippee prep machine has been an absolute life saver and probably the best investment I have ever made. I can make a bottle in less than 2 minutes at the right temperature. I just wish I had bought this straight away to get through the night feeds as we ended up spending a lot more money on the ready-made drinks. Within a month we had made our money back in the difference between ready-made and powder formula.D

DIY play nest
I stole the idea off a friend to make a play nest from my old maternity pillow and I got some fabric custom made. It is such a beautiful thing and I love the fabric so much. It’s just a nice space to sit in and play with baby whilst he can sit up resting on the pillow. Also, my cat loves it and has claimed it as her bed.

Second hand clothes
Why would you buy new?! I’ve so far managed to get 2 separate bundles for both 0-3 and 3-6 months from a friend and there are some really cute clothes you can get second hand. Some items Alfred has worn just a few times before he has outgrown them and every time this happens I feel a warm sense of smugness that I bought second hand. It’s better for the environment and certainly better for my pocket.

Homemade blankets and knitwear
I’m so lucky to have friends (and even their mothers!) knit me baby clothes and blankets. Here are a few from some very talented people. There’s nothing quite like receiving something homemade that someone has taken the time to create and I will cherish these forever.

 

Winter Robins

Winter Robins

The robin is one of my favourite birds because they are so obliging and friendly. One of the easiest garden birds to photograph. And I’m not the only fan – the nation voted the robin its favourite bird.

Here are some of the photos I’ve managed to capture of robins this winter. Currently the robin in our garden regularly greets me as I come back from my daily walk and he sits there on the bush near the front door as I struggle to get the pram through. I’ve started offering a hand of seeds to him – with a little patience, I hope to have him feeding out of my hand.

Snowflake Earrings: a review of ethical fine jewellery from Ingle & Rhode

Snowflake Earrings: a review of ethical fine jewellery from Ingle & Rhode

Today I’m sharing with you my first collaboration of 2019 and it’s an exciting one! I’ve been asked to review a piece by the ethical fine jewellery brand Ingle & Rhode, and I’ll be taking a look at their beautiful Snowflake Earrings, which they have kindly gifted to me to try out.


Have you ever wondered where the diamonds and gemstones for your jewellery are sourced? David Rhode did when he tried to buy an engagement ring and no jeweller was able to enlighten him, so he launched his own ethical jewellery company with friend Tim Ingle in 2007. You can read more about their story here. Following the scandal of blood diamonds in the ’90s, which caused countless deaths and misery, it’s vitally important to any ethical consumer to know where and how to buy ethically sourced conflict-free diamonds, and Ingle & Rhode were one of the first jewellers to achieve this goal.

Snowflake Earrings

I was thrilled to received as a gift the snowflake earrings from Ingle & Rhode’s stunning silver collection. The earrings themselves are exquisitely delicate and beautiful; the snowflake is a classic design and the silver is robust without weighing the ear down. I love that the silver of the snowflake stems is not overly shiny as it makes the diamond in the centre stand out more.

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The shape captures the delicate beauty of snowflakes perfectly and I’ve loved wearing them in the snowy weather we’ve had recently. The diamond in the centre of the snowflake gives these earrings a beautiful sparkle, as unique as snowflakes. They hang beautifully and draw the eye. The clasp is very secure, which is quite unusual in earrings, and they won’t slip out – which is great as I’m a fiddler and I’ve lost many an earring this way!

These gorgeous earrings can be paired with all sorts of things, especially during the colder months. They are stunning on their own but they can also be paired with this beautiful matching snowflake pendant. I’ve worn these earrings with thick, winter knitwear and also with dressy gear when going out; I’ve even worn them to the shops, and felt very decadent! They will make a wonderful gift, especially on Valentine’s Day.


Ethical jewellery

Like all good millennials, I’m worried about things; more specifically, the planet. But I’ve never really extended that anxiety to jewellery, though ethical consumerism goes far beyond a reuseable coffee cup. Precious metals and minerals are often sourced in war zones, and consequently people working in the mines are subject to horrific exploitation and abuse; often mines use child labour and fatal accidents are common, as this report by the Human Rights Watch into the trade in the Marange diamonds details.

All of Ingle & Rhode’s diamonds and gemstones can be traced back to the mine and are extracted from Canadian mines, which trade conflict-free diamonds. Ingle & Rhode also ensure that they use in their products gold and platinum from FairTrade or recycled sources. Now that my eyes have been opened to the ethics of jewellery manufacturing, I will certainly be a lot more choosy and inquisitive about where the raw materials have been sourced.

While you’ve heard of Fair Trade, you’ve probably not heard of Fairmining; essentially, this involves mining for precious metals and gems in conflict-free areas, without human exploitation and with a view to limiting environmental harm. The Fairmined label is an assurance that the materials used to create the jewellery have been mined under good working conditions and with fair pay. If you practice ethical consumerism, you can extend these standards to jewels as well, and it’s reassuring to know that all of Ingle & Rhode’s gold, silver, and minerals are sourced from mines that are accredited with the Fairmined label, which means those mines are responsible employers and their practices protect the environment and the miners.

How often do you buy anything and know where it came from? Admiring these earrings and knowing all the component parts that have been crafted together to make such a beautiful product have all been sustainably, fairly and ethically sourced means I can wear three gorgeous snowflake earrings with pride. For years I haven’t bought cheap jewellery because it doesn’t last and just gets dumped eventually; Ingle & Rhode’s beautiful snowflake earrings are a rare piece that will certainly stand the test of time. At £395 they are a a substantial investment but if you were to splash out on yourself or on a loved one you can rest assured that this piece would stand the test of time.


Ingle & Rhode Engagement & Wedding Rings

Ingle & Rhode are perhaps more well known for their wonderful range of eternity, engagement, and wedding rings, but they also offer a bespoke custom made service where you can design your own ring; therefore, if you have something specific in mind they can create it for you.

Again, all of these rings are created using recycled gold, silver and platinum, and ethically sourced diamonds and sapphires. The collections are beautiful, timeless classic creations, which I’m sure you’ll fall in love with as much as I have.

Ingle & Rhode create their jewellery using materials that have been ethically sourced in conflict-free mines. All gold, silver, diamonds, gemstones and minerals can be traced back to the mine, which carries the ‘Fairmined’ certification. Traceability is of huge importance in evaluating the ethical credentials of any brand, and clearly this company take this responsibility seriously and are dedicated to protecting workers and the environment throughout the supply chain. It’s also a huge boon to the modern consumer to know that their purchase is supporting fair mining across the globe and protecting the environment.


I was sent the snowflake earrings as a gift to give my honest review of the product and brand.

Back to blogging

Hello! It’s 2019 and I’ve had 3/4 months away from blogging due to the arrival of a certain baby.

He’s settling into – dare I say it? – the vague resemblance of a sleeping routine that includes a solid amount of unbroken sleep so finally I have a little energy again. And maybe even the odd evening to myself? So I thought it was time to return to blogging as I’ve kind of missed it.

What did I miss?

Here are a few of the photos I’ve been taking recently on daytime winter walks with the baby. I’ve also got a new lens (manual only – help!) so I’ll be trying that out soon and really challenging my photography skills (tips are welcome.)

Hiatus

Hello and goodbye for a while! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging because I’m 32 weeks pregnant and expecting the new arrival soon.

There’s lots to do this month to get the house ready and I’m expecting that after the birth there will be little time, motivation or energy for blogging and I want to focus all my attention on the little bubba.

You’ll still find me on Instagram of course! Head to my feed here. I won’t be on Facebook or Twitter as frankly I’m barely present there anyway – I really only have time for one social media stream in my life.

Maybe see you in the new year?!

New Kitchen and Homeware! ~ from Chefs Collection

I was recently sent some goodies in the post from Chefs Collection to try out some of their most popular kitchenware and bathroom products. I was delighted to receive these cute gifts in the post and I’d like to share my thoughts on these items after trialing them in my own everyday life over the last week.

Chefs Collection specialises in cookware, bakeware, homeware, and all manner of kitchenware you could wish for from top quality and unusual brands that you won’t find in your everyday high street store. They were founded in 2016 in Norwich, (my home town, incidentally) and they stock an impresive range of kitchen and home brands at really good prices. Well worth a browse if you’re looking for some attractive designs for homeware or even if you’re after a wedding or birthday gift.


Champagne flute: La Rochere ‘Bee’

This champagne flute is a beautiful and yet practical piece of glassware; it’s very sturdy, unlike a lot of champagne flutes that I find tend to topple over, but it’s also very delicate. It feels like an antique, classic French design at the same time as looking quite modern. You will also notice the little bees at the top of the flute – the only detail on the flutes and this cute feature adds a little bit of country charm. La Rochere are inspired by 18th century designs and the bee flute takes me back to summers in the south of france, walking around lavender fields and vineyards. The brand dates back to 1475 and La Rochere is the oldest working art glassworks in France.

As I’m currently 7 months pregnant, I can’t put these champagne flutes to their optimal use so I’ve opted for apple juice instead. I have to say, it makes a soft drink feel very elegant and classy. I’ve enjoyed drinking from these flutes in the garden, enjoying the last of the late summer evening rays after work, and they will be a regular feature on date night home-cooked dinners.

La Rochere Bee champagne flute

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Spreading knife – Opinel

The website declares that Picasso owned one of these knives! Quite a claim to fame for Opinel. I wonder if he used it for spreading jam on his toast or for painting his Cubist masterpieces?

This is another established brand, dating back to 1890, and the spreading knife is a new addition to Opinel’s range of simple and elegant kitchenware.

This knife is definitely a quality item; it feels very robust, which you don’t normally get in a spreading knife as they can be quite flimsy. The blade is spatula-shaped and lends itself well to spreading butter and jam. I used it to spread my favourite Lotus biscoff spread on a homemade banana bread I made recently (by the way, that’s a great combination.)

Opinel spreading knife

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Nail brush – Andree Jardin

Here we have another company with a history in France making iconic designs known for their quality. This beechwood nail brush has proved very helpful after an afternoon in the garden; getting the soil out from under those fingernails is a tough job! The nail brush is quite a simple design with soft bristles and delicate lettering on the underside. It’s comfortable to hold and it doesn’t take long to get the dirt off; it rinses well after use and is an attractive feature on a bathroom shelf.

I was a bit concerned to see the bristles are made from horse hair unfortunately and the wood is polished with beeswax; I recognise that for most people this would be a mark of quality but using animal by-products is a bit of a let down for me, and I hope the brand can move away from this in future as there are modern alternatives available. (Horse hair, by the way, is usually ethically and humanely ‘harvested’ from grooming but is nevertheless a by-product I’m not comfortable with.)

Andree Jardin nail brush

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* I received these products for free to write an honest review of them. Thanks to Chefs Collection for sending me these items to try out. *

 

 

 

 

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