Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Baby talk

There is a lot of talk about babies lately - perhaps it's because I have so many good friends who are with child at the moment.

It seems women fall into several categories in the family department, which include:

* Women who've known since they were little they've wanted to be moms
* Women who've grown into the idea of having kids
* Women who don't want kids
* (Have I covered all the categories? Let me know if there are more...)

But I was thinking about how the thought of having kids can be quite scary for many people. It's easy to hear all the horror stories of frantic, frazzled mums who've forgotten what sleep and me-time feel like, and think, hmm...do I really want that?

So I'd like to hear from moms about some of the joys of having children, the moments that make it all worth it. And I'd especially be interested to hear about how moms balance creativity and personal pursuits with having to take care of another little human. Obviously I don't have any experience, so I'd love to hear your thoughts moms!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Some nice things for the weekend

Just thought I'd share some more things I got up to this week...

Bea's of Bloomsbury was on my Coffee list and I must say it looks great from the outside. Next step is to actually go in and order something.

Yes, this print is massively overdone, but I still like it. Plus, it's been book-i-fied, which makes me like it even more.

Scene from le Pain Quotidien on the South Bank where I met my friend Laura. Their bread baskets are amazing!

Looking forward to the weekend. Not sure what the plans are but I've noticed there's a Chiswick Book Festival going on which could be good. What's everybody else up to?

Sunday, 20 September 2009


So it's Sunday night and I'm wrapping up my week long 'staycation', mentally preparing to wake up at 6am tomorrow...eek.

On Thursday I was able to meet up with my friend Motomi and her four-month-old baby Miori. I have a weakness for Japanese babies, especially when they're dressed up as a bear or something with ears. I looked into finding a rent-a-baby scheme when I lived in Japan so I could just cuddle one for about three hours and then give it back to the mom to change it's diaper, but these types of programs sadly don't seem to exist.

So this is as close as I'll get... Also I was asking Motomi if she knew what a blog was, and it turns out it's not just American moms who blog. Japanese moms are well into the act as well.

Also, get this. Ultra-sound cupcakes for Steph's baby shower this weekend. At first I just thought it was a creative design, but it's actually Steph's baby in utero! I didn't have the nerve to eat one though.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Creative dilemmas

I have the week off from work and am trying to use the time to drink good coffee in nice places and write as much as possible. I face a dilemma each morning as I plan my day: do I go to a coffeeshop for some atmosphere or stay at home? Going out is stimulating and gets me out of the house, but I never know if I'll get the right seat and for just how long I can stay per drink. Usually I think an hour and a half per latte.

This picture of her workspace from Meggie at Fashion for Writers inspired me. I saw it yesterday after I had been caught in torrential rain sans umbrella and it reminded me how much good, old-fashioned sunlight and fresh flowers can do.

Today I'm lucky because I have both fresh flowers and sunlight, so I thought I'd compromise by going to Lola and Simon for a latte and coming back home to work.

Here's my workspace for the day:

Some more fresh flowers. These lilies are monstrous!

Another sneak peek of our flat. These wedding pics I stuck onto antique paintings. People either love them or are very confused by them. (Can't she afford a frame from IKEA?!)

And, yesterday's workspace at Nude Espresso off Brick Lane... It was great, but I was soaked so couldn't even draw out the hour and a half that I felt I deserved for £2.20.

I will admit that this post on stuff white people like about moleskine journals not only had me pegged, but also helped me understand why I do need an Apple and a journal (Moleskine, of course). You can't see the laptop because it's in my bag, but guiltily, it's there. Here's an excerpt:

'But the the growing popularity of these little journals, is not without its own set of problems. One of the strangest side effects has been the puzzling situation whereby a white person will sit in an independent coffee shop with a Moleskine notebook resting on top of a Apple laptop. You might wonder why they need so many devices to write down thoughts? Well, if a white person has a great idea, they write it by hand, if they have a good idea, it goes into the computer.'

I don't completely play by those rules of idea hierarchy, but each serves a purpose, I swear. Now to actually do some work...

Monday, 14 September 2009

Iron Cupcake II

I'm a bit behind on reporting back from this event - possibly since I got a migraine from stuffing my face with cupcakes on the evening, attempting to try each and every one of the 34 entries. I may have learned my lesson for next time, but then again, maybe not.

The theme was around the world, and Dan suggested I do a chai tea latte cupcake. I'm pretty happy with how they came out, considering I told myself I wasn't allowed to obsess over them or even do a test run. I'm thinking next month I need to break away from cinnamon recipes and move on other flavour combos. And I need some serious practice in piping the frosting - it's much harder than you'd think.

So, here's my chai tea latte ditty...

Legendary hamburger cupcake even a vegetarian could love...

Anything with an origami crane gets my vote...

Freaking amazing...

Before the carnage...

You can take a girl out of America and Japan but obviously she'll keep coming back. Perhaps when I'm back in America I'll pine for British inspired cupcakes?

Friday, 11 September 2009

Ode to dahlias

I discovered dahlias because I wanted to buy my wedding flowers in season from Pike Place Market, and in September, dahlias are the way to go in Seattle. They're pretty cheap but can fill a vase or bouquet like nobody's business, and the colours are bold and unorthodox.

The romanticism of a morning flower market raid was killed having to wake up at 7am the morning after my bachellorette party, but thanks to some great friends (thanks Emer & Suzanne!), we were able to get the job done.

How sweet to see that design*sponge posted a tribute to dahlias on our anniversary (coincidentally). I've been looking all over London for some dahlia action but have come up empty handed so far. Maybe they bloom later here...Must keep looking.

So here's my own ode to dahlias. Hope they make you as happy as they make me.

Here are my dahlias in action in my bridesmaids bouquets:

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Flat White

London owes a lot to Antipodeans when it comes to good coffee.

When British people come to the US they rightfully lament the American inability to make a good cuppa tea, but I'm like, right back at you with the coffee. How many conversations have I had convincing the British public that iced coffee is a legitimate drink, whereas instant coffee is not? Too many. But the Aussies and Kiwi's...they get it right. They know what's going on. It's almost like being back in Seattle...

When I went to Australian owned Lantana's a few weeks ago the latte I had rekindled my first love with good espresso - so accustomed had I become to bland or acidic lattes from high street chains that I had forgotten just what a good latte can do to a girl. Bliss.

I think I mentioned my best coffeeshops in London guide before. I'm cruising through it ticking them off and mentally rating each as I go. Not surprisingly, the best ones are Antipodean owned. Here's my pick so far:

Fernandez & Wells
Monmouth Coffee Company
Nordic Bakery
Ca Phe VN
The Troubadour
Lola & Simon This place is just across the street from us and does amazing coffee
Taylor Street Baristas I get my fix at their stall in Source next to Richmond station

Where's your fave latte joint?

Sunday, 6 September 2009

4 years is a long time!

It's hard to believe but this Thursday Dan and I will celebrate four fantastic years of marriage. That's long enough to no longer be considered newlyweds; for people to start wondering when we'll have babies (not yet!); and for me to know that I'm a real lucky girl. To really draw out the anniversary we will not only go out to dinner on the day (that's not enough!), but we also devoted this weekend to celebrations. Here's a glimpse. (I don't put nearly as many photos on this blog as I'd like because we have quite an old camera, so please pardon the photo quality.)

Peach Bellini brunch in Soho

First coffee stop of the day

Coffee+Books+Dan= very happy Alisha

Sweet door in Chelsea

Lazy Sunday in the Nordic Bakery

Dan bought this book at the above bookshop yesterday. Can't wait to read it but even more, can't wait to add it to my colour coded bookshelf. Robin's egg blue really packs a punch.

Finally, as if that wasn't enough, Sunday afternoon tea at the Dorchester. Thank you so much to our 'small group' at church for surprising us with this gift! We had a lovely time being treated to tea at this posh Park Lane hotel. We are well loved - thanks guys!

Dan didn't really wear this penguin t-shirt for high tea. He changed out of his shirt and tie after, I swear.

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