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URBAN FORAGING – TARTS WITH ELDERFLOWER & BLACKBERRY

, Food September 27, 2016
Emma Scott-Child
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This is the season for ripe blackberries and bored children on summer holidays, so I decided to bring the two together yesterday to make some easy and delicious berry tarts. The result was an excellent day of foraging, playing, cooking and eating. Way more fun than a soft play centre, more delicious than a plain old sandwich. I can highly recommend it.

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We started by picking our blackberries. Ruskin Park in Camberwell is our local and it is chock full of blackberry bushes, especially near the railway line. I’m sure there are plenty more all around the UK. Make sure everyone is wearing closed-toe shoes; we had a few prickled toes. And only pick the ripest blackberries, they will fall off into your hand. We also found a few raspberries and mulberries. Make sure you wash them all really well before you eat them.

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Buy a few other berries to sweeten the mix, in case your blackberries are a little tart. I added some shop-bought raspberries and strawberries. I used Selina’s elderflower cordial – also foraged in South London! – in the icing mixture, but you could also use vanilla essence. The baking bit is really very simple, even I can do it, and I’m a really rubbish cook! Every step of this is super easy so kids of any age can help. I had a two-year-old sous chef.

I made two different versions. First I cut the pastry into little circles to make individual tarts. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if they would work, so I also made a back-up one using a whole sheet of pastry to make a really big tart. But to my surprise, they both worked! That never happens to me!

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Makes 1 large tart, or 12 small ones (about 10cm in diameter)
A few handfuls of wild blackberries
Strawberries and/or raspberries to add to the berry mix
1 roll of ready-rolled puff pastry
280g Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup of icing sugar, plus a bit more for dusting
1/2 tsp elderflower cordial or vanilla essence

 

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To make the pastry cases:
1. Unroll your pastry.

2. If you’re making individual tarts, use a wide-rimmed glass – or cookie cutter if you have one – to cut out large circles of pastry.

3. Use a glass with a smaller diameter, like a champagne flute or a highball glass, to score a smaller circle inside the larger one – don’t cut all the way through. Then use a fork to prick holes in the middle circle. This will stop the pastry from puffing up in the middle and will create a little basin shape to put your fillings in. You can re-roll the excess pastry to make a few more.

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4. If you are making one really big tart, just use the same technique on the whole sheet of pastry.

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5. Cook at 200°C for 12 – 15 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven, you might need to pat down the centre section if it has risen up. The cuts made along the edges should make this easy to do.

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To make the filling:
1. Whisk together the cream cheese, icing sugar and elderflower cordial (or vanilla essence). Taste it as you go to make sure it’s sweet enough for you.

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2. Once your pastry bases are completely cool, dollop the cream cheese mixture onto the base, then lay out the fruit on top.

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3. Finish it off with a dusting of icing sugar.

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Photography & styling: Emma Scott-child
Thanks to Elliot, Frida, Lotte and my mum and dad for helping to forage.

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HACKY MONDAYS – CUTENESS BRINGS YOUR WALLET BACK

Hacks September 26, 2016
Emma Scott-Child
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Always carry a cute baby photo in your wallet. Wallets containing baby photos have a much higher return rate than those with pictures of animals, old people or no photos at all, because of our evolutionary compassion towards infants.

Life hacks every Monday on Ladyland. Have you got a good one?

Photography & styling: Emma Scott-Child

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GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY NOW FOR BEAUTIFUL SPRING BULBS

Craft September 25, 2016
Guest post
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In the world of gardening it’s all about planting ahead for the next season – now forward planning is not our strong point, but fortunately there are people out there who get a kick out of such things. Organised people. With calendars and stuff. One such person is Seonaid Royall, the green-fingered garden guru from Sprout Up and she tells us NOW is the time to be planting bulbs if you want to reap the rewards next spring. Here she shows us a wonderfully simple project you can create on your own, with your children or as a special gift.

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Large pot with a hole in the base
A few stones or pieces of tile
Multi-purpose compost

Variety of bulbs, I used:
9 Tulip Purissima
4 Hyacinth Carnegie
15 Narcissus Jack Snipe
20 Crocus Jeanne d’Arc
Chicken wire

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1. Place a few stones over the hole in the bottom of the pot. It stops all the compost falling out but still allows drainage.

2. Look at all the planting depths for each bulb you have and select the one that wants planting deepest – for my bulbs it was the Tulip, which needed planting at a depth of 15 cm. If you don’t have this information a general rule of thumb is to plant the bulbs at a depth that is three times their height.

3. Measure 20cm down from the top of your pot and fill up to that line with compost.

4. Place the bulbs on the compost. They shouldn’t touch the sides or each other. Always plant bulbs with the point facing up.

5. Add more compost till you reach your next level. For my bulbs, it was the Hyacinths which required a planting depth of 10cm, so I added 5cm of soil.

6. Place the Hyacinth bulbs in the compost, taking care not to position them directly over the tulips.

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7. Continue with your bulbs in layers till they are all in, top with compost (leaving approximately 7cm clear from the top), press it down lightly and water.

8. We live in London and are plagued by squirrels, so have found the only way to keep these treasures safe is to put a layer of chicken wire over the pot till they are established, and put the children on squirrel-chasing duty!

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Next spring, you’ll see results like this for your hard work now!

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Seonaid Royall runs Sprout Up, a South-London gardening business.

Photography: Emma Scott-Child

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IN THE LADYLOOP: THE BEST OF LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL 2016

Ladyloop September 21, 2016
All the ladies
LADYLOOP - Karolina Merska - Pajaki Chandeliers

If you’re looking for somewhere to begin your web wanderings, this is a good place to start each Wednesday…

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Bella has this weekend’s activites all sewn up with these crafty offerings, workshops and talks from the South East Makers Club, part of the London Design Festival – at various locations from Peckham to Deptford.

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Margherita is in love with Karolina Merska’s delicate paper Pajaki chandeliers and would really like to dangle her feet from the giant one installed just outside BRIXI in Brixton Village, for London Design Festival.

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Celia is itching to get to The Ace Hotel to see their collaboration with Modern Design Review presenting Ready Made Go 2. Six London-based designers have been commissioned to create objects and installations that will be integrated into the fabric of the hotel.

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Clementine is planning a long stroll through the street of Shoreditch to experience the Mini Living “Forests” installations designed by Asif Khan.

Pajaki photography courtesy of Rocio Chacon.

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HOMEMADE COFFEE GROUNDS BODY SCRUB

Beauty September 17, 2016
Margherita Poggiali
Homemade coffee grounds body scrub

We have a food recycling caddy at home and we cook a lot, but somehow the little bin gets filled with a lot more tea leaves and coffee grounds than I ever realise – we drink so much tea and coffee! So, as it seems such a waste, I’ve been looking into other uses for our hot drink leftovers, besides feeding them to our plants. My latest happy discovery is a homemade coffee grounds body scrub.

Making your own beauty products is surely one of the most satisfying things ever. It’s like being a child again pretending you’re blending the latest trend in perfumery out of petals and grass, only this time it actually works! AND this particular recipe makes you feel good all over, as your skin rejoices and you simultaneously do your bit for the environment by steering clear of plastic packaging and lab waste. Also, commercial scrubs have come under scrutiny of late because many contain microbeads (tiny plastic beads used for exfoliation which then get flushed away in the water and poison fish and other sealife), so anything natural and recycled is the perfect alternative.

With that in mind, here’s my recipe for a DIY body scrub with a delicious, invigorating smell that’ll genuinely leave your skin smooth, supple and reinvigorated far beyond the effects of even the most potent flat white. What’s more, it’s dead easy to make, too.

Homemade coffee grounds body scrub - ingredients

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  • 50g dried used coffee grounds
  • 50g granulated Demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp pure sweet almond oil
  • 3 tbsp filtered water

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Every time you have a coffee at home, leave the leftover coffee grounds out flat on a plate to dry (maybe turning them over a couple of times to make sure they are completely dried out), you need about 50 grams in total. Next, add all the ingredients into a bowl and stir well. Decant into a steriled jar and use within two months.

I used sweet almond oil because I had some at home and I love the smell, but you can easily substitute this with olive oil or coconut oil, or any other natural oil that you like. The same with water, I haven’t tried it but I’m sure the scrub will be lovely with orange blossom water or rose water. The important thing is that the quantities remain the same, so the scrub consistency is soft and malleable, but not too wet.

Photography and styling: Margherita Poggiali

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SEPTEMBER FASHION – UNIFORM UPDATES

, Style September 15, 2016
Kelly Moseley
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Shopping for statement pieces is fun, sure. But what really floats my boat is when I buy things I know I will wear on almost a daily basis. My uniform, if you will.  Even more so since having my second baby, fashion has become something that is all about making it easy to get dressed in the morning. Not that I’m wearing a onesie you understand. But more that I need my clothes to be easy to throw on, versatile enough to be worn with tons of other things in my wardrobe, and have enough about them to make me feel like I haven’t missed the fashion boat. Add to that the fact I’m on a maternity leave budget and it makes me more determined that anything I buy has to work hard enough to justify the spend. Here’s the 5 pieces I’ll be buying to add to my wear-everyday- wardrobe sometime very soon.*

*some of these may have been purchased already. This blog is officially bad for my bank balance.

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This is a no brainer. You know the trainer you already wear everyday? Buy it again, but this time in a different colour. I’ve worn my black gazelles for two years and know they work with the rest of my wardrobe , are comfy, and also ridiculously versatile. (They look just as good with dresses and tailoring as they do with jeans and tees) so I’m buying them in green this time.  As those annoyingly addictive meerkats say, simples.

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The Mom Jean trend still has miles and miles left in it. And If, like me, you love the idea of a pair of vintage 501’s but can’t get over how unflattering they are in real life, ( as opposed to Pinterest) I have the answer for you. Or rather, Levis does. The wedgie icon ( try to look past the hideous name) has all the faded charm of those 501’s you keep seeing on bloggers, but with a way more flattering cut. High waisted, straight but slim leg and a more contemporary 7/8ths length. Oh, and as the name suggests: perfectly placed rear pockets to make you look like you’ve had a butt lift.  These are as close to miracle working as any jeans I have ever met. ( and I am a self-confessed denim addict/snob). Buy them. Immediately.

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This summer I discovered the magic of the statement sleeved blouse. In short, I could wear it with anything and it made it look like I’d actually put some thought in to what I was wearing, when in actual fact I’d pretty much grabbed it off the floor in a blind (forgot my lenses)sleep deprived fog. So I’m thinking this statement sleeved sweat is the perfect tried and tested update for when it gets a bit colder out. Yes,it’s white; AKA the least practical colour in the works. But it’s machine washable so I figure there’s not much Vanish Gold can’t handle. *sexy*.

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Not your proper warm winter coat. But more of a jacket/coat hybrid. One that you can wear in September ( once the heat wave ends, that is) over a tee, but also layer over a cashmere knit later in the year. Why oversized? Because it hides a multitude of sins. Like bad school run outfits, and the fact you actually wear the same jeans ( just me? See above )every day of the week. This collarless, rust coloured one will fit easily into a mainly black, grey, white and navy wardrobe too. Ie. If you keep promising yourself you’ll wear more colour, this is an easy way to go.

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Crucially, a crossbody style. Because who doesn’t want to keep their hands free for coffee carrying/umbrella wielding/child wrangling? No one, that’s who. Although if I’m totally honest, I usually carry a small cross body bag (so practical.Yawn) in addition to either a large shopper or a nappy bag.

Choose black if you have any colourful coats/jackets to avoid unintentional clashing (I fully condone an intentional clash though, FYI) and keep it small in size so you can use it in the evening also. The thicker than usual strap and exaggerated boxy silhouette make this And Other Stories bag look more designer than high street while it’s minimal stylings mean it will go with almost anything.

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WHAT’S ON THE WEB THIS WEEK: IN THE LADYLOOP 14-09-16

Ladyloop September 14, 2016
All the ladies
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If you’re looking for somewhere to begin your web wanderings, this is a good place to start each Wednesday…

Bella thought the Thom Browne SS17 show (as reported by the New York Times) looked like a pretty awesome place to be (she’s just sad we STILL have to get through AW16 before we get to wear the trends!).

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Margherita is enamoured with the inspiring creative duo behind Tom Pigeon.

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Clementine suffers from house envy, once more, this time it’s this beautifully romantic Italian house she would like to move into!

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Emma loves a terrarium. This workshop with Graham and Green for London Design Festival on Monday looks like fun

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HACKY MONDAY – CLEAN A DIRTY BLACKBOARD

Hacks September 12, 2016
Emma Scott-Child
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Anyone who has worked in hospitality can tell you this one: the best way to clean a blackboard is to wash it with Coke (or Pepsi). Fizzy or flat, it works every time.

Life hacks every Monday on Ladyland. Have you got a good one?

Photography & styling: Emma Scott-Child

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LADYLOVES – SINEAD KOEHLER’S CRAFTY FOX MARKET PICKS

Style September 9, 2016
Guest post
Ladyloves - Sinead Koehler's Crafty Fox Picks

Crafty Fox Market has been providing a showcase for makers to sell their wares since 2010. Markets take place seasonally across London and beyond. The market is back at its original home at the Dogstar in Brixton on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September (11am-5pm) as part of Brixton Design Trail. This year Brixton has been designated as an official London Design Festival district and the Crafty Fox Market will be part of the official programming. Expect to find 3 floors of talented makers, artists and designers alongside a variety of hands-on workshops, the Tea’s Knees tearoom, full bar and DJs. You will also find Crafty Fox Market at the Bussey Buidling in Peckham on the weekend of 8 & 9 October with a whole new line-up of makers, workshops and tempting treats.

Crafty Fox Market founder and Brixton local, Sinead Koehler shares her top picks for the markets ahead:

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DESIGN K

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Design K – Trading on Sat 17th September, Brixton
Design K are new to the market – I can’t wait to check out their colourful Bauhaus inspired geometric collection of ceramics.

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ANNA WISCOMBE

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Anna Wiscombe – Trading on Sun 18th September, Brixton
I am always drawn to Anna’s collection of wooden flowers and jewellery, all handmade in her London studio. They make great lasting gifts as an alternative to real flowers and I love the colour palette that Anna works with.

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ROB HALHEAD

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Rob Halhead – Trading as part of Crafty Fox Uncovered on Sun 18th September, Brixton
Rob is an illustrator and collage artist who will be taking part in Crafty Fox Uncovered, our support scheme for new makers. You will find him on the top floor at the Dogstar along with other newbies. His work has a unique aesthetic which we love to showcase at the markets.

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CLARE NICOLSON

Ladyloves - Crafty Fox picks - Clare Nicolson

Clare Nicolson – Trading on Saturday 8th Oct, Peckham
Clare is a talented stylist who also produces a very affordable range of prints for the home. Botanicals are such a big trend at the moment and I love Clare’s graphic take on it.

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SUEDE & CO.

Ladyloves - Crafty Fox picks - Suede & co

Suede & Co. – Trading on Sun 9th October, Peckham
Handmade using reclaimed, recycled and vintage materials, Suede & Co. make a gorgeous range of baby shoes, purses, bags and accessories.

This is not even the tip of the iceberg – there are close to 200 unique traders taking part in the Crafty Fox Autumn Market series. See the full listings on the Crafty Fox website.

Guest Post - Sinead Koehler - Crafty Fox

Sinead Koehler is the brain and unstoppable energy behind the Crafty Fox Market. Originally from Ireland, Sinead lives in south London with her husband and two young boys. Since launching the original Crafty Fox Market in Brixton in 2010 she has become a champion for designer/makers and the creative community, and runs seasonal events all over London and beyond. She now also teaches creative entrepreneurship either through the Crafty Fox Talks or as a guest speaker and has even paid a visit to 10 Downing Street to advise the government on the booming UK craft industry.

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WHAT’S ON THE WEB THIS WEEK: IN THE LADYLOOP 07-09-16

Ladyloop September 7, 2016
All the ladies
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If you’re looking for somewhere to begin your web wanderings, this is a good place to start each Wednesday…

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Clementine absolutely loves the cut-out tiles created by the Granby Workshop, each one is completely unique.

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Bella enjoyed this sneak peek into J.Crew’s colour library. Did you know there’s such a thing as a colour librarian?

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Celia hopes The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is as good as this trailer she cant stop watching!

Ladyloop - Roal Dahl's postcard to Elizabeth

Emma loves these words of advice from Roal Dahl as school goes back.

The Hayward Gallery's new temporary home advert

Margherita finds the advert for The Hayward Gallery’s new temporary home inspiring – if only all renovations started like that!

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