I have been on maternity leave for 3.5 days and things are busy! We have a lot to do before our bebe arrives, and not just the usual things like packing the hospital bag and making sure we have a car seat. Our house renovation is on-going, but the end is in sight. Thankfully we found a super builder who has been so sympathetic to our rush and has done everything in his power to move things along in lightening speed (without sacrificing quality!). We’re on the final stages; painting, carpets, wardrobe installations etc. Oh and of course, our Wren kitchen is still not finished. I don’t know if you’ve read up on Wren or even have a Wren kitchen yourself, but they have been the absolute pits to deal with! I have been assured that despite their awful (I mean so so so shoddy you want to cry!) after sales service, their kitchens are in fact very good. Well, they’d better be! There is a mass of criticism for Wren on the internet and we are kicking ourselves for not doing a little research before buying. You’ve been warned – stay away from Wren Kitchens!
I’m really enjoying creating our little boys bedroom. The walls are a gorgeous shade of light mint green and the scrumptious carpet was laid yesterday. I can’t wait to start dressing the room and have my eye on these cute little knobs for his changing table. I’m also looking forward to filling out this lovely keep-sake book. I am determined to take loads of pictures and keep a log of things (as much as possible!) so that we can treasure them forever. Speaking of pictures, I think it’d be fun to capture some polaroid pictures too! We just need to jump through a few last hoops to the finish line of this renovation, then I can finally nest! Lets just hope our bebe doesn’t come early….!
What makes a bathroom somewhere you want to linger? If a stand-alone bath is possible, then that opens up some pretty dreamy possibilities. A walk-in shower too? Even better. So much of home-owning comes down to what will add value, but for me that comes secondary to the pleasure I get from our home whilst it’s ours. Whilst we need to be sensible and not frivolous, I believe a degree of indulgence is perfectly ok (and thankfully Mike agrees!).
When dreaming up our new bathroom scheme, I imagine both modern and classic, colour and sophisticated neutrals. I sway between two trying to strike a balance. Perhaps a pop of colour on a feature wall, something that draws you in and encourages relaxation. Lighting is very important; it must be adjustable and in all the right places. A towel rail and storage are both very handy. Thank goodness for Pinterest!
Three weeks, we waited with nervous excitement, for a quote from a builder. We’d drawn up our dream renovation, planning out how we wanted the flat to look (we’re going for a cool family home – there’s such a fine line!), the builder got exactly what we wanted and whipped together a quote for us in three excruciating weeks. Finally it came through and, as you might’ve guessed, when the quote arrived, we were stunned… More than stunned. We knew our friends had completed renovations on whole houses for a third of the quote we received, so we knew it was possible, but the pressure of wanting everything to look perfect for when our little boy arrives brought me to tears. Of course, I know he doesn’t mind what the flat looks like (heck, I’m not sure baby’s can even see for the first few weeks!). But I care. I’ve dreamt of having my dream house for a long time, and now we have a baby on the way my nesting instinct is present in full force.
Ordinarily I would mull this over with a glass of wine, and boy did I need one! But since that wasn’t an option all I could try to do is sleep on it. Today we decided to call on a friends builder to get a comparison. We’re meeting tomorrow… fingers crossed!
On Sunday morning Mikey and I popped to Colbert for a spot of brunch to ease our hangovers from the night before (and the night before that….). We’d initially planned on going to Cote across the road, but poor brunch planning meant that they’d run out of everything and had to stop serving early. Tut tut! Not to be messed with when our heads are throbbing, we mustered our best “oh, that’s ok” faces and turned toward Colbert.
As I write this I am drinking my second juice of the day (carrot, apple and ginger – rather yummy), which is a tell tale sign of a weekend of over-indulgence! So this week I’m trying to be good, but don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint – I’m a juicing tart. I can only go so long without having to chew on a solid! Besides, Mike’s sallow eyes give me the guilts for depriving him of manly nourishment. He says he likes the smoothies I make him in the mornings and the juices I prepare when I get home – but I wasn’t surprised when the American in him popped out this weekend… Pizza, burgers and sour cream pancakes were requested and honestly, I was totally on board!
First up, Pizza Pilgrims. It was Friday night – their second day of trading from their first restaurant – and as we quickly bagged some prime viewing seats in the window a queue was rapidly forming out the door…
The brothers, James and Thom, behind Pizza Pilgrims are Escape the City heroes (read their story here), so we felt particularly excited for them. After the success of their street food van (check out the van here – so cute!), the next natural progression was of course a pizzeria, and what an amazing location – on Dean Street in the heart of Soho.
Pizza Pilgrims have kept their menu short and sweet – a carefully created selection of the best pizzas in class each prepared in front of you by brothers James and Thom, and their pizzaioli Pilgrims. I’m a firm believer that the service you receive when dining out is underrated and essential for creating a lasting impression – whether you’re picking something up from a street food truck or sitting down in a restaurant. Top marks to our server whose genuine enthusiasm was dangerous – I could easily have gone for round two with another delicious pizza but instead succumbed to the salt & olive oil over vanilla ice-cream and another glass of prosecco… being a good girl for 5 days is quite enough!
This has to be the coolest hotel in Brooklyn! A disused factory on Williamsburg waterfront, turned 70-room hotel with the most breathtaking views of Manhattan you ever did see… ladies and gentlemen, cast your eyes over Wythe Hotel.
Wythe Hotel is definitely on my must visit list next time we’re over in NY. Thoughtfully designed, detailed to perfection – this hotel has serious “WOW” factor!
80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Photos: All via Wythe Hotel
The ‘inspired chef’ gene seems to have been recessive in my family, but with one anomaly…
My Grandparents on both sides were very gifted in the kitchen (Grandad T was Head Chef of an Oxford College! Brag much?!). These genes produced pretty fab cooks in both my parents, and my brother can turn even the blandest looking leftovers into a feast. Sadly a flair for cooking has not appeared in me just yet… I’ve always been kitchen-shy – afraid of raw meat, unimaginative and lacking in any interest in cooking for one – meals were pretty dull when I lived alone. However since living with Mike meals have gotten a lot more interesting! The thing is, Mike won’t let me in the kitchen – apparently I’m distracting and get in the way. Charming! So I’m not learning anything but my taste buds are very happy with the arrangement!
Having said that, I do get moments of inspiration. I want to feed my man and I want him to enjoy it! I’m not talking about toasting some bread or heating up some ready-made soup, and I’m also not talking about rolling my own Beef Wellington. I have a comfort zone and stretch those boundaries gradually, little by little. Last weekend was one such moment. I’d spotted a recipe for sour cream pancakes and remembered how amazing they were in Bubby’s in NY. So, for not entirely selfless reasons I decided that I would make these for Mike. Now, I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but these were absolutely outstanding pancakes! Come Pancake Day, forget the crepe, don’t worry about presentation, just follow the recipe below and thank me later…!
- 225g flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 120ml sour cream
- 180ml milk, plus 1 tbsp
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla essence
- *1 tsp grated lemon zest
- Unsalted butter
- *2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving/a hand full of blueberries
- Pure maple syrup
1) Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla and *lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined (don’t over-mix!).
2) Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over a medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. *Distribute a rounded tbsp of diced banana on each pancake/press blueberries into the pancake.
3) Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
4) Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking the pancakes until all of the batter is used. *Serve the pancakes warm with sliced bananas/a scattering of blueberries, butter and maple syrup.
*Optional – I added some Lurpak, banana and honey on top of the warm pancakes – delicious!
Recipe adapted from The Food Network
(Picture credit – I would’ve included my own but there was no time!)
As the founder of NYLon Black Book, an online city guide to unique and inspiring eats, drinks and sleeps (and more) in New York and London, I am hugely passionate about the interior design inspiration I pick up from my transatlantic lifestyle.
Here on NYLon Lifestyle you will find ideas and inspiration I soak up whilst enjoying both New York and London, as well as the latest from NYLon Black Book.
Over on NYLon Black Book you will discover thoughtfully designed, unique and inspiring places to eat, drink and rest your head in New York and London. The fab ‘Get the Look’ feature helps you recreate the looks you love at home!