Tuesday, 23 November 2010

October gallery

Inspirational viewing

Kathy Barber

Robert Polidori

Robert Polidori

extremely rare silver ‘prayer nut’, containing miniature carvings only millimetres in size, depicting the birth of Christ and the Adoration of the Magi at the Rijksmuseum

Zonca & Zonca

Adam Fuss

visual representation of Jungian philosophy

Robert Longo

Richard Dyer

Peter Blake

light up dress at Selfridges

Kazimir Malevitch

Henny Acloque

Harland Miller

Dan Shaw

Christopher Orr

Christopher Orr

Chris Dean

Andrew Gadd

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Baby loves...non-toxic cleaning

I don't know what I would do without our cleaner, Raya. A few months before baby was born I insisted she start using natural cleaning products - just lemon and baking soda.

I also made some home-made cleaning products after seeing the online videos on the Healthy Child Healthy World website.

Raya says the simple baking sode (bicarbonate of soda) and tea tree oil is perfect.

I put it in an old baby food jar and pounded some holes in the top to make a shaker. I'm going to get a big bulk supply of baking soda at Raj store on Brick Lane (thanks Christabel!).

I did another using (Dr. Bonner's) castile soap and baking soda and put it in an old plastic squeezer bottle.

I scented it with grapefruit and lime essential oil - it smells divine & all the sudden, cleaning doesn't seem like such a chore!

I am going to buy some eco-toilet cleaner though....

the site has some good, wise words/calming thoughts:

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something

Start out by choosing a few simple steps to take in your own home, and when they become habit, move on to a few more. Try not to get overwhelmed or neurotic, just take it day by day.

Don’t add stress to your already hectic life – we all know that stress is bad for our health, too. Also, remember that a healthy diet and regular exercise will help ensure a strong body that’s better able to fight off the effects of environmental exposures. It’s never too early, or too late, to start living healthier.


*Baby at 8 months

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Baby loves...Me Time

Spa London at York Hall

For me, there is a place close to heaven in Bethnal Green.

That place is the thermal baths at Spa London in York Hall...

the cost: Just £16 with in borough membership. the benefits: invaluable & immeasurable.

Its just like the tagline says... rebalance & regenerate....


Baby loves...Affordable Vintage Fashion Fair

Is this Sunday, May 9 in York Hall. Attendees receive a 2 for 1 to Spa London...


*Baby at 7 months

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Baby loves...Littlehampton

view of the beach from the dunes in west Littlehampton

Baben's first trip to the beach was to peaceful Littlehampton.

It was an easy day trip from Victoria station (though that Sunday trains were diverted, stopping bizarrely at Littlehampton before Brighton - not sure how it works normally).

When you exit the station, nstead of heading towards the city center left, make a right and then pop over the little bridge to the left. from here a path along the river towards the coast will lead to the excellent West Beach Cafe (run by the same people as the better known Heatherwick designed East Beach Cafe) and the beautiful sand dunes & beach beyond.

The food is great - I had a backwards meal starting with a rum and raisin ice cream & finishing with Devon whitebait & a bottle of Rick Stein ale.

The beach is pebbly, but if you set down baben then carry the buggy up to the hard sandy shoreline, I see no reason you couldn't have a long stroll along the sea.

After a few hours I picked up shells and beach flotsam to make baby a collage. I bought a deep box frame from Atlantis art store (Hanbury Street, off Brick Lane) for £26.

Next up for a day trip from Liverpool St station: Lavenham in Suffolk.

Baby loves...wild hot springs

wild & free: the hot springs at San Filippo, Tuscany

If I had a spare bit of dosh, I know where baben and I would be. Relaxing in the wild hot springs in Tuscany!

The Italians keep these jewels hidden away from tourists, but an article in Saturday's guardian travel reveals where they can be found:

Petriolo (20 mins south of Siena) - pools are in the ruins of an ancient roman bath. Petriolo is signposted from the main Siena to Grosseto Road...then follow your nose down to the picturesque river Farma to find it.

Saturnia (hour south of Siena) - main falls are easy to find. not far from the town's main spa, a dirt track brings you to a field where you can park and change before heading down to the series of rock pools.

San Filippo (40 mins south east of Siena) - On approaching the town,a small wooden bridge on the right leads into the woods to a bucolic scene. follow the path to pool after pool of opaque water.

the article recommends staying at http://www.loggiato.it/en

*Baby at 7 months

Baby loves...London walks

the great smog of London, 1952

I bought a sheepskin hide from one of the stores on Brick Lane and made baby's pram (a McClaren Techno XL) into a sumptuous chariot, fit for a baby pharaoh.

Now that baby is comfortably ensconced, and spring is here, I'm looking at some of the London walks and Green City Walks....

Of the former, these look good:

-The Old Jewish Quarter 'a shtetl called Whitechapel', Weds & Fri 11.30am Tower Hill tube

-Secrets & Splendours of St Paul's (you pay a group rate admission fee) on Tues 10.30am, meet St Paul's tube, exit 2

-Old Hampstead Village 'London's Montmartre', Weds, 2pm Hampstead tube

-Whack it boys, Whack it: Beating the Bounds, Mace, Axe & Full State Dress. Thurs May 13, 2pm, Tower Hill Tube

-The famous Square Mile, 2,000 years of history. Thurs, 11am & Sun 10.30am, Monument tube, fish street hill exit

-Mysterious London & the Da Vinci Code - Thurs, 2pm, Temple

-A Soho Saunter, Fri, 10.15am Leicester Square, exit 1

-Legal & Illegal London: The Inns of the Court, Mon & Fri 2pm, Holborn tube

-Subterranean London, Sun 10.30am Embankment

-A Slice of India - Like walking through a Punjabi Village. Sat May 15, 2.30pm Southall station

The Thames beachcombing (next one is not till August 21 -boo) and Sunday explorer days out of the London look good too...

Of the Green City Walks

-Hidden gardens of the city. Weds 1.30pm, meeting point: on the steps of the Royal Exchange by exit 3 of the Bank underground station.

-Secret Tunnels & Hidden Passageways. (babies in carriers prob best) Tues 11.30am under giant sundial at Tower Hill station

-Rotherhithe Rover. Thurs 1.30pm, Canada Water station

-Docklands explorer. Fri 1.30pm, under Tower Hill station's sundial

Finally Walk London website lists more - the Lea Valley walk looks good.


Baby loves...Bolivian baby carrying

simple, stylish & effective

I just can't seem to find a baby carrier I'm happy with design-wise.

I borrowed a Baby Bjorn (based on the traditional Chinese mai thai probably) off a mate & was quite happy with it but as baby has gotten heavier, carrying in the front has become more strenuous than pleasurable.

A couple of days ago I bought a suitably neutral coloured vintage army backpack with a view to cutting out some leg holes.

Yesterday I stopped a market stall selling Bolivian crafts and fabrics & was delighted to discover square woven cloth baby wraps (the size & shape is key. The measurements of woven fabric = 107x116...) .

The gorgeous colours and design are just beautiful & it couldn't be simpler to cinch baby:

...put baby in across the square, knot the fabric ends twice, sling back over back, knot ends twice in front of sternum. - easy: right????

here's some you tube videos to baby carrying:

the African way

the Honduran way (he looks a little wonky, but seems quite happy)

The quest for the perfect baby carrier continues....

*Baby at 7 months

Baby loves...King Tut's nappies

King Tut's nappies, discovered in the tomb

I was a little stricken about capitulating to disposable nappies. We bought the eco ones from Sainsburys, but I was dismayed to find out that although they're made of recycled materials, they've got lots of chemicals and rot in the landfills like all the others. Time to change...

Very romantically (and because I have a little more time on my hands), I've decided to make baby some nappies based on King Tutankhamun's loincloth. I have no idea if it will work, but I've fallen in love with the idea & want to make it happen.

So...I've booked myself onto the next 'nappucino' - Thurs May 27 at Poplar Ideas Store - to learn more for the experts on real nappies.

Got to remember not to forget photocopies for birth certificate, proof of address & copy of passport for the £50 nappy voucher. Apparently they'll have all the materials there, so I can reedem the voucher & take it all home!


*Baby at 7 months

Friday, 23 April 2010

Baby loves...Alice in Wonderland

Dodgson may have had some dodgy motivations for writing Alice in Wonderland, but its still a great kids story.

Instead of plugging on the Disney film, this incredible IBook version would (hopefully) instill a love of reading books. (thanks for forwarding Jess).

*Baby at six months

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Baby loves...Kenana Knitters toys

Kenana Knitters' spider leopard toy

I found this knitted leopard in the gift shop attached to the British Museum's latest exhibition of sculptures from West Africa.

I wouldn't have usually plunked down £20 for a toy, but I like the idea of supporting this Kenya-based womens' fairtrade initative. I've got my eyes on their bundu snake toy....

Nearer to home, the Roman Road's Buddhist-run Evolution store has a lovely selection of baby goodies as well. I couldn't resist a plastic ball (£10) that when tapped flashes with rainbow colours - mesmerising...

Its Lama's Pajamas charity shop, with more baby clothes & toys, is a few doors up.

Did I mention the drop in meditation with creche on Wednesdays 10am-12noon at the Buddhist Center?

*Baby at six months

Baby loves...Winnie the Pooh's cottage

In Dartmouth. Notice the Winnie the Pooh grating

I'm dreaming of a lovely spring holiday with baby. Having a walk amongst the bluebells, a stroll on the beach.

Winnie the Pooh nostalgics can stay at Christopher Robins cottage...the only hitch - its a week rent minimum...


*Baby at 6 months

Friday, 2 April 2010

Baby loves...Pineapple

Aside from the carrot, baby loves to chew on the hard inside bit of the pineapple.

*Baby at 6 months

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Baby loves...East End Thrift Store

Great place for maternity & post-maternity clothes. Shame they don't do kids stuff! (for baby I go to The Shop on Cheshire Street - but that's another post)

Here's a recent email (get on the mailing list for future party invites)

Hey Thrifties!

End of the month means a Thrift Store party, and this time around we are planning the biggest one we have ever had!

Tonnes of hot new Spring and Summer stock is being flown in especially for the party including CROP TOPS, PLAYSUITS, CATSUITS, DRESSES, DENIM DRESSES, STRAPLESS DRESSES, SUMMER SKIRTS, CROPPED DUNGAREES, SHORTS, HOTPANTS and MUCH MORE for the Ladies.


There will of course be the legendary FREE BAR all night long, serving wine and beer absolutely free of charge ALL EVENING LONG, so come down, get drunk and shop until you drop!

It all kicks off at 7PM on THURSDAY APRIL 1ST at our enormous warehouse store located in Whitechapel - now open on the first floor too with the incredible concept store "The Assembly" packed with the finest hand-picked vintage finds!

Hope to see you there!


The East End Thrift Store

The store is located in-between Whitechapel and Stepney Green tubes, just off the Mile End Road . The store is down an alleyway called "Assembly Passage" which is roughly opposite Blockbuster video and the Genesis Cinema

Map to the store for Internet Explorer users -

Map to the store for Firefox users -

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Baby loves...Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets is a fantastic place to have a baby. I was happy with my prenatal care (accept a few hiccups) and the birth of baby at the Royal London hospital.

I accessed the local Sure Start centres in the first few months of baby's life. A fantastic neighbourhood resource.

As soon as I was able to get out and about I went to the breastfeeding support group. I signed up for baby massage, baby & mom yoga and weaning workshops.

All are free...

Tower Hamlets Family Information Service (FIS) at the town hall provides free, impartial information and advice on childcare as well as general information on a wide range of services for children, young people, parents and families.

Information available includes:


how to find the right childcare
details on childminders, day nurseries, pre-school playgroups, breakfast and after school clubs and holiday playschemes
financial help for childcare including Tax Credits, Nursery Education Fund, Care to Learn and Childcare Vouchers
information on quality standards
how to check a childcare provider is registered
Information on services available for children, young people (birth-20 years old), parents and families

advice agencies
children’s centres
family support information
play & holiday activities
leisure activities
special needs support


020 7364 6495

Mon-Fri 8am – 6pm

*Baby at 5 months

Baby loves...UCL lunchtime lectures

Gemma Aboe's Domestic Goddess at the Petrie Museum of Egyptology

Went to one a few weeks back. Discovered a handicapped area in the back with loads of room & a table perfect for laying baby and feeding while listening to the lecture ...

The lectures can be viewed online too:

The Zoology museum is in the same building & the Petrie Museum of Egyptology is next door.

The latter currently has an exhibition of artwork by Gemma Aboe. I couldn't resist purchasing the Domestic Goddess with its eyes of a hawk, strong torso of David & the sexy plastic legs of Barbie....

a steal I thought at just £60 for the collage and frame...

can't wait to collect it when the exhibiton ends on April 1.

*Baby at five months

Friday, 5 March 2010

Baby loves...Babies the film

The Mongolian tot in Babies the film

The film follows four adorable young uns in Mongolia, Namibia, Japan & the US...

Unfortunately IMDB doesn't list a UK release date - bit of a bum...


Baby loves...The Infant Brain


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Baby loves...Baldwins

Aubrey Organics Island Naturals shampoo/conditioner

Why spend loads on baby products when you can make your own?

Baldwin's in Elephant & Castle sells all the basics. Litre bottles of grapeseed oil for baby massage, pots of marigold ointment, bags of dried camomile, raspberry leaf & nettle for tea, lavender/tea tree essential oil...all the Weleda products are there too.

I found my favourite conditioner there Aubrey Organics allspice-scented Island Naturals hair conditioner....

G Baldwin & Co
171-173 Walworth Road
London SE17 1RW
020 7703 5550

Baby loves...Bellydancing

Belly dancer extraordinaire, Hilary Thacker

I thought I might take bellydancing after birth to get my wub back into shape.

Edinburgh-based Egyptian bellydancer Hilary Thacker holds fantastic holidays ....would love to go to the next one, held at a beautiful b&b in Morrocco in October 2010...

here's the description:

Teachers Hilary - Egyptian dance and percussion and Allal Yamine teaching Berber trance drumming.

£475 plus flights to Marrakech - includes accommodation, food, tuition etc.

First and last days in Marrakech.

£100 deposit. The holiday can be extended by a week of Tribal dance with Tribe Zuza the preceding week or by enjoying the country either side of the holiday - trips and excursions can be arranged.

More details and booking with Allal Yamine per4mrhythmart@yahoo.co.uk

01573 223950 or 07528 922126

Babes loves...March exhibitions

The Ministry of Food at the Imperial War Museum

This month we'll head to Imperial War Museum to see the wartime food exhibition - hopefully pick up a few tips on good ol' British comfort food...

After the UCL's Museum of Zoology, I'm keen to see more bones at the Hunterian.

Loved the Ragged School Museum...wondering if the Foundling Museum is similarly good...

I'm hoping the Saatchi Gallery will be baby/mummy friendly. I've heard there's a good cafe. I haven't been to Kings Road in years...

The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today
Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York's HQ
Kings Road
Tube: Sloane Square, Victoria
Open: Daily 10am-6pm, last entry 5.30pm
Exhibition runs until May 7

Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin & Paula Rego: At the Foundling
till May 9 2010
The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square
London WC1N 1AZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 3600
Russell Square
Open: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-5pm, closed Monday
Entry: £7.50

Curious: The Art of Microscopy
till July 3 2010
Hunterian Museum
The Royal College of Surgeons
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PE
Open: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Entry: Free

The Ministry of Food
till January 3 2011
Imperial War Museum
Lambeth Road
London, SE1 6HZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 3922
Elephant and Castle
Open: Daily 10am-6pm
Entry: £4.95

Baby loves...East festival

(The quirky viola-plucking Chicago songstress Anni Rossi was meant to perform at Song East, but sadly cancelled)

Dates: 5-9 March. Would like to catch the indian music concerts...thinking of bringing baby along in the pram, but we'll see how it goes...

A few daytime walks and concerts look interesting & do-able - including one from the Museum of London on the Old Jewish East End/history of the area.


Monday, 22 February 2010

Baby loves...Barley Massey

I might try to arrange for baby to be looked after by dad so I can go to Barley Massey's Knit Large workshop on Broadway Market.

Sunday 14th March, 2 - 4.30pm

Whatever your ability chunky knitting is fun and fast!
Barley Massey will show you how to use the 'Wool-n-Boat' GIANT knitting needles (30mm) and GIANT french knitting wheels which you may have see in Fabrications! Barley will also show you how to create your own chunky yarns from salvaged wool and materials. There will be a pick n mix selection of chunky yarns to create an accessory during the class.

The session costs £20 / £15 conc. Max of 10. Booking required.

7 Broadway Market
London E8 4PH

Tel: 020 7275 8043


*Baby at four months

Baby loves...Rime of the Ancient Mariner

This weekend the Southbank Center shows The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a family-friendly show featuring music by the delightfully-named Bellowhead.


*Baby at four months

Baby loves...Slowing Down

One of the things new parents need to learn is to slooooowww dooown....

Cultivating the art & easing yourself into a calmer place is key. I did nearly a year and a half of regular zen exercise (biking), meditation and reiki before baby was born.

In Tower Hamlets, the Ideas Stores are a great places to take courses.

Rivendell Buddhist Retreat Centre holds Buddhism, Buddhist meditation and yoga retreats, in Sussex, South-East England.

Though it didn't work for me, Tai Chi is another method...

Slow Down London is another great resource. The Slow Down retreats would make a perfect present for expectant pals.

The lovely Buddhist Center on Roman Road is a very calming place. It has a nice little secluded green courtyard with a bench and water feature. Wednesdays 10-12pm there's a drop in meditation with creche (donation payment).

*Baby at four months

Baby loves...Mama Heaven

Mama Heaven location in Ibiza, Can Talais Hotel

Sounds divine...

We still have places available for our 26-28th March Mamaheaven retreat at Penrhos Court in Herefordshire.

Everything’s set for a wonderful Springtime weekend of yoga and meditation with Erika Tourell, massage and realignment with Petra Moxley, nutrition advice from Daphne Lambert, Relationship workshop with Life Coach Rosa Smith and Birth stories with Paula Gallardo. Babies will be cared for by Alice Maclaine and her lovely team, and will also receive massages and do yoga with their mamas.

PLUS an awesome goodie bag of Organic Beauty, Baby & Food Products worth at least £150.

The Setting is stunning, the food’s fantastic, the company’s great, the support is unsurpassable and we would love you to join us.

The all-inclusive cost is £550 for an unforgettable, relaxing, rejuvenating, life-changing weekend.

Contact Tania tel: 01273 671762 or Tania@mamaheaven.org if you have any queries.

Our booking form is attached. Look forward to Hearing from you.

Blessings, Tania


*Baby at four months

Friday, 19 February 2010

Baby loves...Horniman Museum

residents of the Horniman's aquarium

Last week to the Horniman Museum in Forest Gate for the Busy Bees storytelling (Wednesdays & Fridays).

Its worth spending a whole day as there's so much to see, and there are wonderful gardens as well.

The Aquarium was fantastic, but my favourite was the African Gallery.

From the website:
"The first permanent exhibition in Britain dedicated to African art and culture, African Worlds celebrates the continent's diversity, history and creativity.

It brings together a rich mixture of sculpture and decorative arts explained through the voices of elders, maskers, drummers, diviners, artists, exiles, curators and anthropologists.

Objects from across Africa are displayed from Egypt to Zimbabwe, and from African related cultures including Brazil and Trinidad."


*Baby at four months

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Baby loves...Leila's Shop

Just off Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, Leila's Shop is a lovely place for coffee or lunch.

Be warned, it can get busy and space is a little scarce.

I had a pram but they kindly said I could leave it next door in their beautiful food store - a great place to pick up a few bits for dinner. I couldn't resist a pack of chestnuts, a jar of pickles, a jar of gooseberry jam, a block of lovely butter and a little bottle of anchovies.

Just next door is a lovely shop selling fashion & comfy cushions with beautiful handmade covers. I bought a "peanut" lumbar/neck support. Perfect for breastfeeding & a thing of beauty.

Owner Samson, a parent to a 5-year old himself - is happy to play with the kids while you browse.

Rochelle School Canteen is another good spot on Arnold Circus. There's a nice stretch of grass (perfect for kids to play in the warmer months) & often exhibitions to check out.

Leila's Shop
17 Calvert Avenue
London E2

*Baby at 4 months

Baby loves...UCL Grant Museum

Later this week baby and I will go to the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology for the Pandora's Box/Cabinet of Curiosity exhibition and the Tiger-Tastic activities for kids...

*Baby at 4 months

Baby loves...New Model Schools

The next open days are February 23, 24 & 25.

Hopefully they'll be a view of the Aluna lunar clock in a few years....

*Baby at 4 months

Baby loves...Dalston

Going to get the bus from Aldgate up to Kingsland Road's Wah Nails to get a pedicure (£20). Baby is chewing my fingers so a mani is out.

There's some great designs on the blog.

Lunchtime eating options in the area according to a local friend:

-Ridley Road market across from Dalston Kingsland rail station.

-Turkish Mangal on Arcola Street, just off the high street...

-Trendy Dalston Superstore

-The Stone Cave up for the Rio Cinema (parent&baby screenings on Tues & Thurs) has the best interior with its waterfall in the back.

-Or for just a coffee/cafe stop there's a cute place on Begrade Road.

*Baby at 4 months

Monday, 15 February 2010

Baby loves...Paris

Chez Bertrand L'APPART apartment

Ooh la la...I'm dreaming of Paris on the Eurostar with baby (from £69).

Chez Bertrand is right on Clignancourt flea market & has apartment-rooms with beds made of cut out Citroen cars (apartments from €110 per night, 2 night stay minimum).

The website has some great tips for Unusual Paris.

A stroll down Canal St Martin and a visit to the Museum of Fairgrounds with its old carnival bits and pieces sounds tempting...

*Baby at 4 months