2012 Affordable Art Fair – Hampstead and Battersea

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The Affordable Art Fair is back in London : Battersea Park (25-28 Oct) and Hampstead Heath (1-4 Nov). And then Bristol in Spring 2013.

I have now been a few times to Battersea and Hampstead art fair and every time I really enjoy. You don’t need to buy anything, you can just go and have a look. Everything is under £4000, not affordable for everyone but you will also find some prints for £30.

A few tips from the Evening Standard, Wed 17 October 2012: – Buy originals (they are signed and are numbered) rather than reproduction, – Frame them properly (there are many frame shops around the country who can help you with that, it’s not always cheap but you will keep your print longer), – Find the right space (away from direct light is best), and – Hang it well (amid a patchwork of prints or on its own, height depend on your furniture but eye-height is best).

Back to the Art fair, they also have workshops and children activities (goods for adults as well). See link above for schedule. I have 2 ‘beautiful’ prints, proudly hang on the wall, done by myself at the print workshops in Hampstead. The workshops are free, you just need to check the time and make sure you get there a few minutes early to have a seat.

There is also a free creche, which operates on a first come, first served basis.

You can buy your tickets at the door but it’s cheaper to buy them online. A little tip, if you buy anything, make sure you get on the gallery’s email list to get free tickets for the spring fair and the next autumn one.

Enjoy!

Me & The Boys.

Home Beauty treatment

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With three boys and a busy husband, it’s not always easy to look after myself. Now that little T is a bit older, I feel like I need to take care of myself. I’ve started with the shopping with a personal shopper at Topshop.

Now I need to have a hair cut, a pedicure, a manicure, a back massage, and a lot more!

I have tried Spa by Car. A very nice beautician came to my house and I had a manicure and pedicure sitting on my sofa while the children were sleeping. How good is this!

I only called them a couple of days before, and got the time and day I wanted. They cover all of london (within M25) and have a minimum spend depending on the area and the time (in or out of congestion charge zone). I think their price are quite reasonable, an express manicure for £20 for example.

There are lots of other companies who offer similar services, so hopefully you can find one close to you and give it a try. It’s a real pleasure to finally manage to fit beauty treatments in my busy schedule.

Me & The Boys

Note : this is not a sponsored post

Build A Den

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One of the 50 challenges of the National Trust for the children before they reach 12 is to build a den. Well I’m not 12 anymore but I’ve never build a den!

A few week-ends ago, we took the kids to Highgate woods, North London. After a little walk and a fantastic hide and seek, we found a great tree and lots of branches on the ground so I started building up a den and the kids started helping me.

They enjoyed it so much (and I did as well), carrying branches much bigger than them, working as a team to bring some huge branches and being very sensible about the handling of these branches around each others. Even, little T, now 20 months, went to get some branches! It was actually really good, no fight and no crying!

The den was not amazing (they thought it was though) but it was our first one, and we will probably do many more. And of course we have to go back to Highgate woods to check if our den is still there!

We would love to see your pictures, so if you do build dens, please send some photos.

Me & The Boys

Rougail Saucisse

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A while ago, I was referring to Creole cuisine as a source of cooking  inspiration for a tomato salad recipe. Tonight it is an alternative to the classic mashed potatoes and sausage and gravy. Here comes Rougail saucisse.

Plain pork sausage (large ones)

ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, tomato puree (or fresh tomatoes), laurel, thyme, salt and pepper.

Boil the sausage in water for 10 min, then pan fry them with garlic and onion, turmeric, ginger, until everything reaches a golden color. Add tomatoes, laurel and thyme and cook at low heat until tomatoes are cooked. Dinner’s ready! It goes very well with plain rice but I try it on occasions with steamed new potatoes and it is not bad at all.

Blondy and Bonny enjoy it very much.

I make this recipe for the whole family so I usually remove the red chili that is usually used in creole cooking, but feel free to add some to spice up your meal!

Me & The Girls

Belsize Music Academy Afternoon Concert

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Belsize Music Academy will be having an afternoon concert this Sunday, 14 October at 4pm. It is aimed at adults and children over 8 years old.

Chopin and His Idols at St Peter’s Belsize Sq, London NW3 4HY.

Pupils of the Belsize Music Academy join professional pianists (Sergei Basukinski, Evelyne Berezovsky, Peter Limonov) and actors to create a production based on the script by Anthony Phillips, translator of Prokofiev’s Diaries. The programme includes works by Bach and Mozart, as well as Chopin’s famous Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Waltzes and the great Barcarolle.
Me & The Boys

Cycling With Your Children In Hatfield Forest

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My boys love cycling but so far we have not been further than our local park, Hampstead Heath, where there are very few cycling routes. This meant that the kids were on their bicycles and we, the parents, were walking. Not that fun for anyone.

Last week-end, we put the bicycles in the car and drove for one hour to Hatfield forest, near Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire (part of the National Trust). Me & the Girls joined us with her 2 girls and Blue Eyes. They rented some bicycles there as well as a baby seat (reservation recommended).

We cycled on and off the path for over 1 hour, until the kids had had enough and it was really good. They really enjoyed it and were ready for a hearty lunch at the outdoor cafe. Very good food indeed.

You can also go for walks, which we will probably do shortly.

Great outdoor outing and a good opportunity to start or continue the National trust 50 outdoor challenges.

Me & The Boys

My Easy Peasy Curry

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I felt like eating a curry tonight, and I has some chicken in the fridge that I had to eat, so be it. Chicken curry!

I fried onions with garlic in rapeseed oil, added a tea-spoon of curry, turmeric, ginger, added the chicken and pan-fried until it became golden then I added fresh tomatoes this time (that’s the tomatoes we see in the pics, they have changed colour! I’ve tried with passata before and it’s good as well) and coconut milk until the sauce thickened (about 20 min). I served it with rice. And I am happy to add one more family recipe to my repertoire.

I had tried this with swordfish before and Blue Eyes and the girls loved it as well!

Me & The Girls

Top Tips – Underparenting

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Hands off approach to parenting to make your life easier now and later. Source : The Week, 1 September 2012 (initial source : The Times)

-”Don’t be their entertainment director”. Let them get bored in their bedroom or the garden. Force them to use their imagination and think by themselves

-”Lose the buggy when they reach three”. See prior post from Me and little Miss A.

-”Don’t stop sibling squabbles. They will learn about compromise, survival and the art of negotiation”. I find that impossible but I will try!

-”Shovering children with praise – such as for brushing their teeth – can lead to an unappealing sense of self-entitlement”. You have to find the right balance between enough praise and too much praise, but also descriptive praise. Hmm, not easy but worth giving it a try I think. See prior post  Calmer Easier Happier Parenting.

-”Don’t indulge fussy eating or make a big deal out of food, as they’ll just find something to complain about”. Not easy for fussy eaters. Join the club!

-”No phonics until school”. Let them enjoy school and when they are ready, they will learn and they will love it.

-”Forget flashy toys. Research suggests they are no better than traditional ones”.

I found those tips developed by psychologist Madeline Levine pretty straight forward but sometimes it’s good to be reminded.

Me & The Boys

Rougail Tomate

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I love all kind of food and Creole Cuisine is a good souce of inspiration sometimes. Here is a family recipe inspired from Creole Cuisine of a tomato salad that to me goes very well with plain rice and grilled meat.

Finely chopped fresh tomatoes, salt and pepper, olive oil, chives, finely chopped fresh shallots, finely chopped ginger and tumeric. served chilled. I love it.

Me & The Girl.

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