When the lovely folks at menswear company Jacamo asked if I’d like to be part of their campaign “Let your shoes do the talking“, I was sceptical. It would involve a date night in complete with instructions and a hamper full of goodies to help Jorge organise a surprise evening for me. Would he go for it? Would he let me write about it? What would be inside this magical hamper of romance?
My curiosity got the best of me (and Jorge was very cooperative). Afterall, what can beat a date night in on a wet, cold Tuesday evening in March? These guys are on a mission to give men the chance to show their romantic side, so I’m all for supporting that!
Giant orange chocolate cats, searching for hidden baskets full of goodies, an afternoon spent dyeing eggs with complicated patterns before watching the colourful vinegar swirl down the sink, visits to a giant white bunny and a delicious family dinner were Easter traditions throughout my childhood.
And, there was always cake. While there are no real Easter traditions I’ve followed since moving to London (last year, we ate a Sunday Roast next to the fireplace in the Builder’s Arms), I’m always up for cake.
So I consulted my mom for some options and she shared this carrot cake recipe with lemon cream cheese frosting – perfect for the occasion no matter how you celebrate. It’s a recipe from a friend of hers – Peter Martin – who used to work at a bakery.
FOR THE CAKE
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 lb grated carrots (about 450g)
2 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tbl baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Decorations of your choice (I used walnuts, coconut and chocolate eggs)
If you’ve seen this week’s blog posts, you’ll know that last weekend I went in search of some colour in one of the most vibrant areas of London: Notting Hill. I snapped my way through the rainbow houses and the bustling Portobello Road. This weekend, there’s rain in the forecast again, plus it’s the last weekend of the month which means it may be a quiet one! I’ll be working on my Etsy shop, some new blog posts for next week (any requests?) and possibly baking something yummy.
Portobello Road, Portobello Road, street where the riches of ages are stowed! Anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold off the barrow in Portobello Road. You’ll find what you want in the Portobello Road!
– Mr Browne in Bedknobs and Broomsticks
From the quiet back streets of Notting Hill, I stepped into the flow of tourists heading toward the famous Portobello Market. Like many of them, I had my camera in hand. Sometimes crowded places are the best places to take pictures and Portobello is often one of them.
Growing up in New York, our neighbourhood had houses in many colours, but they were split by gardens and trees and space that diluted the impact you have when you see them as terraced homes in an otherwise pretty brown-brick city like London.
Have you ever been to a beard exhibition? Last weekend, Jorge and I went to check out Mr Elbank’s photography show at Somerset House. He wrote a post on his blog, Hunt for Design yesterday with some pictures. I’ve been slowly devouring this epic book and treated myself to this in hope that the real spring will be here to stay soon.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time building up my etsy shop to reach the magical number of 100 items. Now, to reach 100 sales! If you know anyone who loves to write snail mail or needs to brighten up their office/bedroom/kitchen/restaurant/castle or wants to review/feature my new mini notecards on their blog/website/magazine, send then my way. I also set up a new advertising option for etsy shops and bloggers and finally put into words the social media revamp packages I’ve been working on with some small busineses.
It seems that the weather in London has reverted to winter but I’m hoping for a bit of sun to take my camera out!
What are you up to this weekend?
Photo: One of the latest prints I’ve added to my etsy shop!
I will always remember the welcoming, warm scent of my mom’s kitchen in New York when she had been cooking her delicious chicken noodle soup. She made it a variety of ways, switching up ingredients to keep things interesting. It’s brothy and tasty, filled with colourful, healthy vegetables and comforting noodles. It’s extra good when it’s made with freshly baked bread, of course.
“In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people’s lives.”
– Anatole Broyard
One of life’s little luxuries is receiving a bit of mail with a message from a friend, wouldn’t you agree? When I was creating the new Little Observationist mini photo card sets, I was thinking about all of the ways that they could be used.
I listed 10 of them inside the lid:
Send a thank you note for someone’s kindness.
Ask a friend out to lunch or organise a date.
Add a note to a welcome gift or a leaving gift.
A photo note card can be framed after the occasion has passed or tacked to a bulletin board.
Make someone’s day with snail mail simply just because.
Tie one a mini card around a hostess gift like a bottle of wine or a box of homemade cookies.
Write a small message of congratulations.
Someone packing a suitcase? Slip a note inside to be discovered later.
Use the mini cards as birthday gift tags.
Punch a hole at the top of one of the cards and tie around a bouquet.
But there are plenty of others that wouldn’t fit in that tiny space:
Keep your professional network up to date if you change jobs or move to a new location.
Stand out by sending a handwritten thank you note after a job interview.
Acknowledge a quirky holiday. Sure, there’s the more obvious ones like Mother’s Day or Christmas, but why not send flower cards for Earth Day or acknowledge the International Day of Happiness or send notes to the women in your life on International Women’s Day?
Send a sympathy message or a get well card.
Is a friend taking a jump and launching her own business? Or anxious about moving to a new country? Or struggling with a project? Send a note with words of encouragement or good luck.
How about a good old fashioned love letter?
Did you mess up? Send a real card to say you’re sorry.
Find a quote that reminds you of a friend or a funny joke? Pop it in a mini card and stick it in the post. It’s guaranteed to bring them a smile when it unexpectedly arrives.
Having an art exhibition? Starring in a play? Holding an event? Send an invitation by post.
Work for a non-profit that takes donations or running a crowd-funding campaign? Send a handwritten thank you note to your donors.
Pop a card into your child’s lunchbox or backpack wishing them a good day.
Write a letter to Santa in the North Pole (with our without a child…)
Take on a challenge and write a letter to an inmate who could use a mentor through the program at Writeaprisoner.com.
Find a real postal pen pal through internationalpenfriends.com. It could be a great way to learn about another culture or try to connect by practicing a language you’re learning.
Check out Postpals.co.uk and send a card to a sick child. You can look at the profiles of each of the kids, read about their interests and send a little note to make their day.
The best bit about this week was that I finally launched my mini photo notecards on Etsy! The second best bit was probably spending part of International Women’s Day on Sunday in the Leake Street tunnel for the Femme Fierce event – 150 women from around the world showing off their street art talents with an incredible collection. If you’re in London, wander through the tunnel this weekend. It’s well worth a visit. I’ve also been working on an interview with a really popular (male) street artist who has an exhibition on until April, but more on that soon.
This weekend, I’m looking forward to a street art tour in Camden (hm, sensing a theme here!), perhaps checking out a new cafe I stumbled upon the other day that doesn’t even have a website, spending some quality time with Jorge and leaving a lot up to chance. I may also attempt to make a flan…
What are you up to this weekend?
Photo: One of my favourite images from last Sunday’s Femme Fierce event
Spring has finally sprung here in London. Last weekend was beautifully sunny, almost no-coat warm and certainly a great day for lounging in the park.
Jorge and I recently wandered down King’s Road, popped into Gail’s for tea to take away and onward to have a snoop around Vivienne Westwood’s shop with its crooked wooden floor and crazy clock on the outside of the building.