Me and Mine - April

April has been such a busy month for us as a family, we took a trip across three countries/cities which was such an adventure for us all. It was the longest we'd been away together and although it was a lot of fun I feel like the rest of month was spent recovering (and the holiday washing!).

Now Tom works a four day week, Thursday's are supposed to be daddy/Wilf days whilst I get on with work. Lately however I've been cramming all my work into other days so I can hang out with these guys during the week too, especially with the amazing weather we've had. It's really felt like summer! I know I appreciate my one on one time with Wilf so much so I'm conscious of not improaching on their day together too much, but sometimes when the sun is blazing and the park is empty and just waiting for a family picnic that's what you've got to do!

These pictures certainly aren't perfect but they are a perfect reminder to us about a lovely afternoon spent in the sun enjoying out time together. Wilf was running off to blow dandelion seeds (probably his favourite thing about spring so far I think!). I even got a chance to sunbath whilst they played in the play park and umm burnt the back of my legs (curse of the pale skinned!)

I often feel so overwhelmingly lucky to be living the life I lead, especially on a day lying down on a picnic blanket in the sun, watching the people I love most in the world play together. It's the absolute simplest things in life that make us the happiest and I can't wait to see what the sunnier months will bring us a family.

This month I'm sending you over to Katie's blog, someone I'm sure needs no introduction (if you're not reading her blog you're in for a treat!) so go check out what her beautiful family have been up to this month.

Can't wait to see your posts too!


Eating in 3 Cities (style in your city)

It’s me Mr Quinn, talking about food again. I actually do have other interests, so maybe one day I’ll write about them too (maybe after a nice lunch).

Before our recent 3 Cities trip I spent some time looking for good veggie and veggie friendly places for us to eat in each city. Of the three cities Paris and London are the ones that immediately spring to mind when you think which will have great places to eat, but it was Amsterdam that blew us away with some amazing veggie food and quirky cafes.

A quick mention first of our favourites in London and Paris –
London – Vapianno – Luckily for us, this Italian pizza/pasta restaurant was just by our hotel. You are given a card when you enter and then order your food directly from the chefs at the open kitchen. It’s a great concept that means that your dish is tailored to you as the chef can ask you exactly how you like it down to small details. It also means that there are more staff in the kitchen as there is no need for waiting staff

Paris – M.O.B – This American style veggie burger joint was the perfect stop for a beer and a burger in-between a visit to the Jardin des Plantes and a stroll along the Promenade Plantee on a sunny day. I especially enjoyed the Okinawa burger with nori seaweed and Japanese flavours. Along with VG and East Side Burgers, Paris is a great place for veggie burgers.

Bazar – We visited Bazar on the Albert Cuypstraat for a late lunch/early dinner after arriving on the train from Paris. Housed in a former church, the colourful décor matches the bright North African cuisine. The generously sized fresh salads were the perfect antidote to a cheese rich Parisian diet and a hot train journey. Wilf was rewarded for his patience on the train with some Algerian ‘holey’ pancakes served with fresh fruit and honey.

Olive & Cookie – A tiny local café with one large table and a friendly proprietor. The glass counter contained such an abundance of delicious looking tarts, salads and other delights that we struggled to choose. This is home cooking, but as if you are visiting the home of the best cook that you have ever met. As you sit around the large table with other guests/customer while the food is prepared it really does feel a bit like you are in the hosts’ home. I love it when simple ingredients are elevated beyond their standing by the skill of the cook. The lentils that we ate with our meal were so flavourful that I could have eaten a giant bowl of them alone. I also love it when someone takes such great pride and care in their work. If you eat in one place in Amsterdam let it be here.

Latei – The epitome of a ‘quirky café’. With mismatched 50s furniture, vintage lights and various vintage/retro items all over the walls, I knew that Fritha would like this place. And with a friendly café cat I also knew that Wilf and I would be happy. The great surprise was that the food was also delicious. The café is famed for its apple pie, but Thu - Sat it is open late serving dinner. We had a great platter of veggie bits and pieces with tofu thai red curry and plantain chips.

Pllek – A short (free) ferry ride took us over to Amsterdam Noord and the NDSM Werf. An industrial docklands area that is currently inhabited by artists and ‘hipsters’. Pllek is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the ferry landing and has its own little beach (a hit with Wilf). A large light filled industrial unit with great views back across the water to central Amsterdam. Fritha and I shared a roasted aubergine and goat’s cheese sandwich and poached eggs with hollandaise. Classic flavours done well. Wilf was again rewarded with a big plate of Dutch pancakes and berries (When in the Netherlands…). One thing I really liked about this place and the area in general was that although this was a ‘hip’ place to be, I saw none of the pretentiousness that certain parts of London possess. And again there was a resident cat relaxing in the sunshine.

The Press Room (INK Hotel) – We were lucky enough to stay in the newly opened INK hotel, named due to the building being a former Newspaper offices. Firstly the breakfast was fantastic, lots of hot and cold options, all of a very high standard, and deserts! Lots and lots of apple cake, cheese cake and various other sweet delights. What’s not to like. The venue itself has an open kitchen at one end and a bar at the other. Down one side is a glass wall onto the hotel atrium, and the décor is classy with a slightly retro twist. After a long day in the sunshine Fritha suggested we have dinner in the pressroom. This turned out to be a great idea. Fritha and I both had the INK salad a mixture of finely sliced and pickled vegetables including various colours of beetroot. We also shared some tempura vegetables. They kindly made a tired Wilf a cheese toastie. The food was great and you would certainly not have guessed that they had only been open for a week. We shared a couple of rich deserts and then (a sugar high) Wilf and I pretended to be trains in the courtyard garden. It was at this point that I realised what a great idea deserts at breakfast is, rather than just before a three year olds bedtime!

All the above restaurants were great and along with some other places that we didn’t manage to visit this time – the café on the top floor of the Central Library, De Waaghals, De Bolhoed and a few branches of Maoz, Amsterdam really is a great city for Vegetarians to visit.


Clothes Shopping Round the World's Best Markets

Whenever we travel I always buy at least one piece of clothing or accessory to remind me of our stay. I always find they serve as the best souvenirs and wearing the item again fills me with lots of happy memories of our trip.
Whilst I've not travelled extensively the people at First Choice have so they are popping over to my blog today to share with you the best markets around the world! 

Click below to read on

Living Arrows, some reflecting and a little video!

I wanted to share some pics from the Living Arrows project this year. This is third year I've been taking weekly portraits of Wilf and I'm always so glad it's something I've kept up. You can see the weekly portraits over here along with some other lovely mamas and if you want to join in too of course!

I know it's an obvious thing to say but being a mum really makes you feel love in a way you never have before. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't feel thankful I've been given this opportunity and to be this little boys mum is a privilege.

Everyday as a parent is different, even the days that are mundane are unique and special. It's hard to describe why, it might be a shared joke, a twinkle in his eye when he's done something cheeky or that joy he bursts with them he's achieved something new. Some of my favourite times are when we return from whatever adventure we've had that morning and we curl up on the sofa to watch a movie or read a book together and he puts his little hand in mine and I feel like I have everything I've ever wanted.

Somethings Wilf has said lately:

(whilst playing animal snap and winning) 'mummy I totally snailed you at snap!

Wilf has a new friend in nursery, his description of her 'she's quite lovely and she hardly ever wee's in her pants'.

Wilf standing right in front of his colouring book - 'mummy can you come over here and turn the page for me?'
Me - not really Wilf, you are right in front of it and can do it yourself'
Wilf - listen, I am your baby and if you love me very much you will come and turn this page, if not I will give you a time out and thats a promise. You should take this deal'
Me 'uuuh OK!'

'why are those little men crying??' - Wilf watching Snow White for the first time earlier today, shortly followed by 'why is she so sleepy?'

Wilf after I found he had drawn over himself in a sharpie (I left out) 'maybe try and think of the times I'm not doing naughty behaviour and you will feel happy and not cross'

Wilf - 'when I'm bigger I'm going to grow a beard & become a daddy. I'm going to marry my friend Alfie and we can have three babies 'Marnie, Selfie and Alfie'

I found both of our cats wearing medallions this morning. Asked Wilf about it and he said 'yer they won them playing pass the parcel'

wilf '3,6,9 the goose drank wine, then they all died'

Also I found this little video of Wilf when he was only a few months old, the cuteness! 


freshening up the home for spring

With the warm weather finally showing its face I've recently felt the urge to spritz up my home. There's nothing worse than spending a day in the fresh outdoors to return to a cluttered and tired home. I guess it's not called 'spring cleaning' for nothing! 

I've been taking bags and bags of items to our local charity shop and really weeding through our clothes to work out what we actually wear and what I can say goodbye to. I've been hankering for a feeling of freshness and tidiness which isn't always so easy when you have a busy and messy family, (for the record I'm probably the messiest of us all). I've teamed up with Kärcher on this post for some ideas on how to bring the sunnier season into your home. 

One of my favourite things to do with Wilf is have indoor picnics. There is something so fun about deciding to eat your lunch on a blanket of your living room floor instead of a few feet away at the table. Tom surprised us with this rainbow of fruit as a midmorning snack over the weekend that we decided to gobble up on the mat. Wilf always gets very excited about doing something a bit different like this and it sparks all sorts of imaginative play too.

I always say that a great way to bring your home into the next season is to freshen up the items that are easiest to change. For me this is replacing cushion covers with new colours or mixing up the prints on your wall. We recently added a couple of new ones to our gallery wall in our living room and although it's just a tiny adjustment it makes a big difference.

Giving your windows and surfaces like your shower a good clean can make such a dramatic difference too. I must admit it's something I don't remember to do often enough but then when I do I wonder why I left it so long. With the Kärcher Window Vac you can do this in three easy steps, spray, wipe and vacuum. Meaning that your windows are completely streak-free and clean with minimal effort.

Lastly and perhaps quite an obvious idea to bring Spring into your home is flowers. I'm not sure I've met anyone who doesn't appreciate a good bouquet, Tom often let's Wilf pick out a bunch for me after they've done their weekend morning shopping trip together. He loves to help me arrange them in their vases afterwards.

What do you do to freshen up your home?  


Come Round

The weather has been so amazing in the UK lately (in case you've been living under a rock, you know how us bloggers like to go on about the weather!).

We decided to make the most of it and invite some pals round for lunch and some drinks in our garden. We teamed up with Galvanina to create some yummy cocktails and make some summery picnic food to share. Everyone just feels so much better in the warmer weather don't they? I was even silly enough to not put on a suncream and ended up burning the back of my legs, lesson learnt.

Click below to read on


Postcards from Amsterdam

I wanted to share some pictures of our time in Amsterdam whilst I am going through them. There will probably be lots more to come but just trying to make some kind of structure of them, I didn't realise how much work sorting out three holidays in one would be on our return!

Whilst we were in Amsterdam we stayed at the newly opened INK Hotel. Newly opened as in when we checked it in hadn't even been a week. You would never had noticed though going by just how smoothly and professional the place was run. This was probably our favourite hotel of the trip and we loved their attention to detail. All the staff wore custom design G Star uniforms matched with Clarks shoes.

I have to say that although I always though Paris was my favourite city we really fell in love Amsterdam and it totally won our hearts this trip. When we were there last year it was only for two days and we left wishing we had been able to have a little longer to really experience the city. This time we did all the things we didn't quite have time for previously like hiring bicycles and riding around Vondelpark and taking a boat to the North and chilling out on the beach there.

Tom actually has written up a post on some of the places we ate whilst we were here, again out of the three cities we spent time in Amsterdam won hands down in terms of delicious food! The picture above is of Latei a cute cafe with a resident cat!

Wilf was so brilliantly behaved the entire time and we were so lucky with the weather. We spent our last three days a little tired from the past week of travel and so took it really easy which was perfect. Tom is the planner in our relationship and often tries to organise three things a day when we are on a trip which is great when we are wanting to fit in a lot over a small amount of time but can be a bit tiring! With Amsterdam we broke it down to only one (sometimes two) things and it felt like a real break.

I made a little video of our time in the three cities if you fancy a watch! You can read about London here and Paris here.


A little summer wish list

A little wish list of some of my favourite summer items from three of my favourite brands below!

1, Tassel Gladiator sandals 
2, Santa Fe Jumpsuit (so much love for this jumpsuit!)
3, Amille Maxi dress

1, Light Wash denim dungarees (I love them but fear they wouldn't love me..thoughts?)
2, River Fish Cotton T - Shirt
3, Gola x Cath Kidston (still need to get my hands on a pair of these!)

1, Slim Leg trousers 
2, Secret Slimming twisted front swimsuit (this fell in my bag for our holiday in a few weeks!)
3, Suede Asymmetric Strap Sandle 

Wish is your favourite?

*this post contains affiliate links 

Toast to the top

The other day our toaster broke and then a few days later an email popped into my inbox asking if I'd like one. Funny how life goes that way sometimes.

Whilst Wilf is still an early riser we are lucky enough that he's happy to read in his bed for half an hour or so before he comes in to see us and snuggle up for a little while. Tom then gets up and goes to make us all marmite toast and tea (glass of almond milk for W) and we all eat breakfast in bed. It's something we've been doing for years now, It's one of my favourite parts of the day!

Click below to read more


Terre a terre

vegan fish and chips terre terre
vegan restaurants vegan fish and chips best vegan fish and chips recipe
A little post from Tom today on a restaurant we visited back in Brighton a few weeks back. It also led him to decide to become a vegetarian which is pretty stirling endorsement of the place in itself! 

I first visited Terre a terre a few years ago with some colleagues, while in Brighton for a conference. I came back raving to Fritha about the meal that I’d had there, especially the vodka infused tomatoes that came with my main dish. We vowed to visit Brighton for a weekend in the near future so that we could visit Terre a terre together. Somehow, a few years passed, before we finally did get on the train to Brighton, but on the plus side it meant that I got to take Wilf to Terre a terre too.
We were invited to dine on a Friday lunchtime. The dining room is spacious enough that we didn’t need to worry about Wilf making noise, but busy enough to have some atmosphere.
For starter I chose savoury churros as I love the sweet variety, and was rewarded with a delicious fusion of Asian flavours. Fritha chose the Arepas (deep fried sweetcorn chermoula chips) and was equally impressed.

 best vegan fish and chips recipe

For mains Fritha had the Better Batter and Lemony Yemeni Relish, a fantastic take on fish ‘n’ chips using battered halloumi. I have eaten many halloumi dishes and the thing that immediately sets this apart is that the halloumi was creamy rather than salty from being soaked in buttermilk. It is this level of attention to detail that really sets Terre a Terre apart. And the dish was served with another fine little detail – those famous vodka-spiked tomatoes! Wilf got to enjoy a smaller version of this dish (minus the vodka) from the kids menu, which he happily gobbled up.

For my main course I had a baked aubergine dish, again with Asian inspired flavours. Its presentation was flawless. I think the best looking dish of the day and it tasted great too.

For desert, Fritha had some enormous churros with three very indulgent dips and vodka cherries. Once again, Wilf had a small but perfectly formed version minus the vodka. I finished with a refreshing Kulfi which followed the Asian inspired dishes perfectly.

The thing that really struck me about all the dishes was the attention to detail. The minute little additions that make a difference and keep you experiencing new flavours and combinations throughout the dish.

One thing I have learnt writing this review is that Fritha is always drawn to the deep-fried option.
Whilst in Brighton we also visited Ideya and Food for thought. Terre a Terra was our favourite of these three, but Brighton should count it’s self very lucky to have such a wealth of veggie establishments.

My review above may seem overly positive. However, I am not a vegetarian (although only occasional meat eater). I have long since morally and ethically disagreed with eating meat, but old habits die hard (especially for the lazy). But since that meal and eating at the great veggie restaurants in Brighton I have not eaten any meat, nor can I see myself doing so in the future. I always thought that I would one day stop eating meat and that I would have a last meat based meal. However, it was a vegetarian meal of such flavour and quality that finally convinced me. My review is so positive as this was the meal that convinced me to give up meat.

we were invited to dine at Terre a Terre but all words and thoughts are our own
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