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My name is Saima and I live in London, England. Welcome to my blog where I have been writing since November 2000. Please make yourself at home.

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February 25th, 2009
Avoca, Belfast

So I mentioned on Monday that I found a great lifestyle and fashion store during my time in Ireland. Avoca stocks a whole manner of things from tableware to t-shirts. I don’t think my photos do justice to exactly how magical the place was. Little shabby chic trinkets displayed in vintage cabinets, quirky clothes hung from racks and an old greenhouse storing Cath Kidson items. They even had a food hall and cafe! I fell in love with the place and dragged my husband there the following day. I wanted to move in :)

Avoca Belfast 2

Speaking to one of the shop assistants, it seems that Avoca is a family run business which originated in the Republic of Ireland. The story starts on a family mill about 280 years ago. They now have eight stores altogether, including one in Maryland, USA.

 Avoca Belfast 1

There were so many items I wanted to purchase but since room in my suitcase was limited, I had to control myself. In the end, I bought myself a Tea Time book as I am obsessed with cookbooks recently. This is a great little book, beautifully illustrated with recipes to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth.

So how about the giveaway competition I mentioned earlier? Well, I also picked up the same book and a very cute tote bag to give to one very lucky reader of this site. All you have to do to be eligible to win is comment on this post saying “Yes, please!” and also tell us which shops you wish you could spend the day in. Deadline to enter is Thursday 12th March and the winner will be chosen at random on Friday. Good luck!

Avoca Belfast 3

Posted at 9:04 pm | 9 comments | Category: Style | Tags: , , ,

February 23rd, 2009
Belfast Beauties

I’m back from my weekend in Belfast and I must say, it was a great deal of fun. A whole bunch of us went there for a wedding and what a beautiful event it was. The venue was gorgeous; think waterfalls, sweeping staircases and large baroque decorations. The reception hall was set up with punch bowls, tea and homemade shortbread. Dinner was held in another hall where the ceilings displayed paintings of cute little cherubs. Traditional sitar and tabla players provided a calm ambience whilst we tucked into a lovely meal.

 Belfast Beauties 1

All in all, a beautiful night. I was especially impressed with the flower displays, some of which incorporated peacock feathers which was a nice touch. I especially liked the birdcages that had flowers woven through the bars.

Belfast Beauties 2 Belfast Beauties 3

Besides the wedding, I did get some time to explore the city centre. I came across a fantastic lifestyle and clothing store which I practially spent all my time in and then took my husband back there the next day because it was so wonderful. Stay tuned this week for more about the shop and this site’s first ever giveaway competition!

Posted at 10:03 pm | Leave a comment | Category: Occasions, Style | Tags: , , ,

February 20th, 2009
Henna Night

Yesterday I attended a “Mehndi (Henna) Night” I was invited to. What’s one of those? Traditionally, in the run up to a Pakistani wedding, all the women get together and party! The events usually involve brightly coloured clothes, music, dancing and food…sounds like a good combination to me :) It’s also a time for women to have their hands decorated with pretty patterns in henna, ready for the upcoming wedding. Last night was no exception.

Henna Night 1

People were dressed in beautifully embroidered clothes. The traditional colours for such an event are green and yellow or anything “henna” coloured but nowadays anything goes. This outfit from Bargello is typical of the type of style and colours worn.

Mehndi Outfit

The women also gather to sing traditional Punjabi and Hindi songs, accompanied by a drum called the dholki. I prefer not to torment anyone with my awful singing voice so usually just clap along.

Last night we were lucky enough to have a professional henna artist in our midst who was hired to decorate our hands, feet and anything else you wanted adorned. I opted to have the henna on my left hand and left it on there for quite a while so that the colour transferred on to my hand would end up being quite dark. Pretty eh?

Henna Pattern

We fly out to Belfast this weekend for the wedding so I’ll be back blogging Monday. Hopefully I’ll have some more pretty pictures to share with you all.

Posted at 11:41 pm | 4 comments | Category: Occasions, Style | Tags: , , , , ,

February 18th, 2009
Cupcake Finds on Etsy

I LOVE cupcakes, so much so that they have their own category on this blog because I just know I’ll be mentioning them often ;) Here are my current favourite cupcake items from Etsy.

Cupcake Finds on Etsy

  1. Coffee and cupcakes hand stamped linen tape
  2. Cupcakes card
  3. Deer and Cupcake, print
  4. KEEP CALM AND HAVE A CUPCAKE ready to frame matted PRINT fits 11x 14 frame vintage

Posted at 10:35 pm | 7 comments | Category: Style | Tags:

February 17th, 2009
French Fancies

Last year, when I visited France, I came across a great home decor store called Maisons du Monde. They had such a wide variety of styles in their tableware and furniture that frankly I wanted to take it all home! The pieces I loved best were there Moroccan and French Chic styles, complete opposites but equally gorgeous. They also had a lot of mini dessert pots with matching spoons, something I’ve never seen in the UK. I’m not sure if it’s part of French culture but I thought the idea was adorable so of course I picked up my own set in their brightly coloured Provence range.

Dessert Pots from Maison du Monde 

My only regret is not getting more but with limited space issues I vowed to return when I get a bigger house and stock it with their beautiful products. Unfortunately they don’t stock their tableware on the site so you’ll have to visit one of their stores in France…an excuse for another holiday! 

As I mentioned, I love their Moroccan furniture and can definitely see myself decorating a conservatory or sun room in this style.

Moroccan Furniture

Posted at 10:13 pm | Leave a comment | Category: Style

February 16th, 2009
I Heart London

A wise man once said that if you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. I’d be inclined to agree; there’s always something to do in this city and I enjoy every minute of it. I’d love to bring some London “souvenirs” into my home and I think these items would be a perfect way to show my love for London.

I Love London

  1. Tube Map Mirror – £59.99
  2. London transport canteen teapot – £14.67
  3. London Tray – £28
  4. Telephone Box Money Box – £4.99

Posted at 8:27 pm | Leave a comment | Category: Style | Tags: , , , , ,

February 14th, 2009
Be Mine

The girls and I have been going crazy over the Modalu Heart Cross Body Bag this weekend. Ok, it’s £68 but it would go with so many outfits, you’d surely get your money’s worth, right? Umm, I’ll convince myself somehow! I put some ideas together for an outfit and I think this going out ensemble could easily be toned down for a daytime look too. More excuses to wear this fab bag! Of course, if the cost is offputting then the purse (£29.50) is a more affordable option and if you really feel like splashing out, go for the shoulder bag (£98)! 

Be Mine

  1. Peking print ruffle one shoulder dress – £65
  2. Modalu Heart Cross Body Bag – £68
  3. Black Boston Skinny Jeans – £15
  4. Irregular Choice Pointed Flat Shoe – £64.25
  5. Mixed Bangle Set – £7

Posted at 11:11 pm | 2 comments | Category: Style

February 12th, 2009

I’m a terrible Londoner who should know how unpredictable the weather can be around these parts. When I left work today it was snowing; I had no gloves, stupid shoes on and no umbrella! I had to splash out £18 for an umbrella from Accessorize; way more than I’d normally spend but desperate times…

I consoled myself with the fact that the umbrella would look great with the dream hallway I’ve been picturing for the last few days. I’ve seen some items that would go perfectly together to create a glamorous yet quirky entry way to any home. I especially love the moustache key holder by suddenly, it’s real. My husband said I could buy it if he was allowed to grow a handlebar moustache to match. Fair trade I think!



  1. Gloss black mustache key hook – $45 (delivery to UK available)
  2. Baroque Console Table – £110
  3. Owl Umbrella Stand – $140
  4. Clear umbrella – £18 (available in store only)

Posted at 10:40 pm | 1 comment | Category: Style | Tags: , , , ,

February 11th, 2009
Vintage Finds on Etsy

I’m going vintage crazy at the moment and it’s all Etsy’s fault. Not only are these olde worlde goods fab but you’re helping the environment too by recycling; bonus!

This pink and brown sugar and creamer set has made it onto my wishlist recently. I love this colour combination (it was the theme for my wedding!) and I think the set would look great coordinated with pink cups, a brown teapot and this Gingerbread Man bottle (filled with honey), all set up on your breakfast table.

 Pink and Brown Vintage Etsy Finds

Are you a fiend for all things vintage? Tell us about your favourite vintage purchase.

Posted at 10:34 pm | Leave a comment | Category: Style | Tags: ,

February 11th, 2009
Valentine Gifts for a Domestic Goddess

I heard someone on the radio say that Valentine’s Day is “looming”; a bit sinister dontcha think?! Well here are some heart themed gifts to bring the sweetness back into your weekend. (I think the heart plates would look just as nice as decor on a kitchen wall.)

 Valentine Gifts for a Domestic Goddess

  1. Hearty Tea Pot Set – $140 (delivery to UK available)
  2. Pack of 4 Sweetheart plates – £18
  3. Heart Measuring Cups – £4.50

Posted at 11:52 am | Leave a comment | Category: Style | Tags: , , , ,

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