today in lodeve

:: by Lizzie
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As you may have noticed from my Instagram feed, I’m on holiday. My parents have had a house in the south of France since I was 3 and I’ve been coming at least once a year since then. I’m a lucky girl. Lodeve is in the Langueduc region which produces wonderful cheese and wine as well as sunshine (if you’re lucky). It’s a great place for me to come and have a break from the day-to-day running of SMUG and give myself a little time to think about the bigger picture for the business and do some planning for the year. I also try to get a healthy glow and a big old rest! Here’s a little look at what a day in Lodeve is like for me.

 

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I can be pretty lazy when it comes to exercise in Lodeve. I blame the heat! But as I promised in my recent Fitness Files post I have been trying to swim every morning here. I’ve been doing 50 lengths before breakfast and on some days 20 more later in the afternoon. Don’t be too impressed though, it’s a pretty small pool, but it does leave my heart a little bit pumpy and my limbs and tummy feeling worked and stretched which feels really good.

 

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We have of course had the odd pain au chocolate for brekkie but mostly I’ve been consuming, post swim, a warm cup of lemon water followed by Greek yogurt and fruit salad. Peaches, nectarines plums, grapes and melon have all made an appearance one day or another. I’m pretty fruity anyway but the fruit here is so delicious it’s super easy to get your 5 a day.

After breakfast it’s either time for a bit of sun, a catch up with work or a trip down to the market. Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days and we pick up yummy fresh produce for lunch and dinner but also visit our favourite stalls selling soap and ceramics. Danny and I have a tradition of choosing a small caste plastic animal from the toy shop in Lodeve which we tend to do on a market day. This year I chose a chipmunk. As you do…

 

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We also like to go with my dad to his choice brocante where we never fail to find something we want to take home. Last year we picked up a large pearlised ceramic fish that we named Pikey, this year we bought a peach and lustre mortar – just because. The brocante we love is in Saint Jean de Fos which is also the location of my favourite place to swim in France – le Pont du Diable. It’s a lake with amazing Romanesque bridges and pebbly banks. The perfect place to unfold my 50s floral camping chair, paddle with my red jellies and basically chill/swim/chill/swim.

 

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Then when it’s time to fold up those chairs, climb up the steps and make our way home for lunch, the Volvo and dad are happily finished at the market and ready to swing by and collect us. ‘We’ really do need to learn to drive. Daniel!?

 

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Lunch in Lodeve is usually a combination of leftovers from dinner the night before as well as the staples we’ve come to know and love – tomato salad, lettuce leaves, parma ham, a baguette and of course, lots of delicious dressing. Mama often rustles up a spinach quiche or some yummy pasta to pull everything together.

 

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After lunch it’s nice to sit by the pool and have a bit of a sunbathe and a read. I’ve been particularly enjoying flicking through the latest issues of frankie and Wrap magazine. One of the many nice perks of having your own shop is that there’s always a good design mag to grab on your way out the door when off on your hols. I find time by the pool is when I come up with my SMUG eureka moments and get all excited about priorities for the next few months and plans for the future. It’s so nice to have the space to ponder the possibilities and to set creative goals and targets.

 

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I’ve been doing a fair amount of work on my holibobs. Mostly focusing on the Islington Design District and what we’ll be putting on during London Design Festival 2015. I think it’s going to be pretty great. Do take a look at the IDD website by clicking here to see the sorts of things that design stores in Islington will be putting on especially. I’m pretty proud to have set the whole thing up and really enjoy co-ordinating the district.

 

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We take it in turns to cook din-dins. I’ve been giving a lot of ottolenghi love as you may have expected. We bought ‘Plenty’ along with us. I think I’m going to do the Yogurt and Broad Bean Soup tonight, followed by a cod and cherry tomato number my auntie Julie and uncle Peter recommended when they were here earlier in the holiday. I’m also keen to griddle up some pineapple to be served with a little coconut cream. You just know that’s going to rock! If it does I’ll be sharing the (very simple I’m sure) recipe here soon. The above was whipped up by papa – pulled beef, grilled vegetables, cous cous and creamed potatoes – because who doesn’t love double carbs!? I’ve been swimming remember!

 

new designers 2015

:: by Lizzie

 

Here’s a little low-down for you of the work I was drawn to at New Designers this year. Most students showing don’t have ready to wholesale products available so I don’t really attend with my SMUG buyer’s hat on, it’s more a matter of selecting my ones to watch. It’s also one of many nice ways to keep excited and inspired by pattern, colour combinations and shapes and keeps my juices flowing when it comes to knuckling down to my own work. Props to the below New Designers (and small studio exhibiting that I slipped in at the top of the list). Thanks for the inspiration.

 

1.  T I G E R  S T U D I O

 

2.  L U C Y  D A Y

 

3.  O L I V I A  Q I

 

4.  Y I X I A N  H U A N G

 

5.  H E A T H E R  A N N  H O B B

 

6.  A M Y  B O N D

 

7.  R O S I E  S H I L L I N G L A W

 

8.  B E N J A M I N  C R A V E N

 

 

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june favourites

:: by Lizzie
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This is where where I pull together my favourites in fashion, food, beauty and everything in between for the month of June.

 

F A S H I O N :

BDG Denim Duster Jacket in Blue – What a classic eh? Daniel spotted this for me at Urban Outfitters (he’s good like that) and when I tried it on I knew right away that I should buy it. I’ve been wearing it as a second skin ever since. It goes with everything – summer dresses, jeans and t shirts, my current favourite – a stretch cotton pencil skirt and an oversized tee and it’s equally nice with trainers, sandals or jellies. I like wearing it with the collar up.

Cockatoo Comfort Bra and Knickers by Mimi Holliday – I have a bit of a thing for nice undies. I have always, since I can remember, liked things that come in sets. I also really enjoy a little bit of attention to detail here and there and feel a very good place to start with this is your knicker drawer. I couldn’t recommend wearing nice pants more. My favourite label is Mimi Holliday, known for their beautiful silks and laces and their fantastic pops of colour. This neon set is right up my street right now.

Nathalie Du Pasquier Kaya Tomato Print Tent Dress for American Apparel – One of my favourite pastimes at the mo is scrolling through Pinterest looking at and being inspired by the plethora of beautiful and colourful geometric patterns that illustrators are coming up with. You can imagine my delight when, in American Apparel last week searching for a summer floaty cover up, I found this perfect representation of all I’m loving in the illustration world in the form of a tent dress. It is perfection and I feel very happy when I’m in it. Huge bonus – it has pockets!

 

B E A U T Y :

Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Hydrating Lip Balm – I’ve been looking for the right lip balm for a while now. I’ve learnt that Vaseline tends to dry out my lips, so that’s a no-go, and most things I’ve tried with a little bit of pigment in them have left my lips feeling tacky. So I’ve had my ear to the ground for recommendations for a really hydrating, creamy lip balm with a bit of a healthy looking peachy glow for the summer. Enter Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Hydrating Lip Balm. Chanel’s new limited edition collection Les Beiges is all kinds of lovely. I now have my eye on the Multi-Colour SPF 15 / PA++ Face Powder in Mariniere No. 01

Maybelline Dream Sun Bronzing Powder and Blush Duo – For the time being I’ll be whacking this powder on my face instead. This bronze/blush duo is an absolute winner and super easy on the wallet. The larger bronze section works really well on my skin-tone for light contouring (although I’m still very much a beginner in this area) or all over the cheeks for a subtle sun-kissed bronzing. The blush is a particularly gorgeous pick me up pinky peach and the two combined give you that ready for the world, healthy looking complexion. You know the one.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder Brush – I’ve been getting into brushes recently having not used them at all in the past and it’s fair to say I’m converted. Having the right tools to do the job makes all the difference. This month’s addition to my dressing table’s brush pot is the Sheer Powder Brush by Bobbi Brown. She’s great for brushes and this versatile powder brush pops things on in a pretty much invisible way. No cakey, powdery layers on the surface of the skin to be seen with this bad boy. I use it mostly for setting powder but it’s an all-rounder, so good for bronzer and blush too.

 

F O O D :

Manolya’s Helva Tahin Brownie – If you’re a regular reader of this blog you may have seen my recent post, Manolya Bakes. Manolya Isik is part of team SMUG and bakes many of the sweet treats we serve in CAFE SMUG. She’s recently been to Istanbul and bought back the most delicious halva. Luckily for me she used some of it to make up a batch of her helva tahin brownies a la Ottolenghi.

Taste of London – Danny and I were invited to Taste by one of my favourite people in the world, Gemma Bell. Gemma has her own PR company gemmabell.com and she’s the right person to knock around with at these sorts of events! We enjoyed delicious food expertly prepared by three of Gemma’s clients (these also happen to be some of my favourite restaurants in London) The Clove Club, Koya Bar and The Modern Pantry. In my opinion the tastiest dish to nibble on while roaming around Regent’s Park in the sunshine, was the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pine Salt from The Clove Club. The Pork Belly from Koya Bar was a very close second though. Thanks Gems!

Burnt Aubergine with Tahini recipe by Ottolenghi – Yotam Ottolenghi’s second mention in this blog post. Can you tell I’m a fan? (And he’s another one of Gemma’s clients!) I made this dish for the first time ever last week for my parents and it went down a treat. It’s great fun just burning the aubergine straight on the flames of your cooker top. Feels kinda naughty. Tastes utterly delish. The recipe is from my favourite cook book of all time – Plenty.

 

O T H E R :

Nike Women’s 10K Run – This was absolutely a highlight for June and has gotten me back into running. You can read a little more about it in my post Fitness Files – June. Maybe I’ll do the Hackney Half next year!?

SMUG Turned Six – I’m so pleased with and proud of what SMUG has become and achieved in the last 6 years. You can read about the lovely birthday event we held in store and the new exclusives we launched here. Special props to Ruby Taylor and her amazing Fruity Portraits and to Sipsmith for all the Gin! I’m excited to see what we can manage in the next 6 years.

 

 

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fitness files – june

:: by Lizzie
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This is my first ever ‘fitness files’ blog post. Hoorah! I’m aware that I’m certainly not at my ‘fittest’ at this particular moment in my life, but I am, I think, more interested in health and fitness than I have been in the past. I’d certainly like to make it more of a priority – hense, the ‘fitness files’. My plan for these blog posts will be to share at the end of each month how I’ve been doing with my health and fitness, highlighting the areas of exercise and nutrition/diet I’ve been focusing on. Hopefully it will encourage me to get on with it!

 

So, what have I been doing health and fitness-wise in June? Firstly I’ve tried to adapt my diet slightly to make sure I’m getting enough fruit and veg. I’ve been starting most days with a breakfast smoothie. Here’s the recipe for one I’ve been enjoying.

 

S T R A W B E R R Y  A N D  B A N A N A  S M O O T H I E :

1 cup strawberries

1 banana

1 tsp chia seeds

1/2 cup coconut water

Blend, poor into a glass and enjoy. I like to garnish with a mint leaf.

 

I’ve also been carrying with me a little stash of whole almonds for those moments when you feel like something to nibble on. Since opening CAFE SMUG on the lower ground floor of the shop it’s been rather tempting to dig into the baked goods when the 3pm sugar low comes, so these almonds are a bit of a life saver. I can’t say I make it through every Saturday without one of Manolya’s sweet treats but I’m trying to keep it as a weekend reward.

 

Something I’ve tried for the very first time this June is reading Women’s Health magazine. I was pleasantly surprised by what a good read it is and most importantly, how much fashion and food is packed in as well as suggestions for excercise routines and nutritional info. It actually does make you feel like going for a run which is a winner.

 

June was a good month for me exercise-wise. I’ve enjoyed running in the past but had fallen out of the habit. I signed up a few months ago with a group of friends (see image in slideshow – I’m the one too lazy to jump) for the Nike Womens 10K around Victoria Park and absolutely loved taking part in the race. I’ve not been running much for the last year or so but June was the month to change that and I tried to run 3 times a week in preparation. Obviously I took the opportunity to treat myself to a new pair of running shoes – Nike Flyknit Lunar 3. The week before the race I managed to run 8K for the first time and I felt (and was advised) that if I could do 8K I could do 10, so after that rested my limbs.

 

Having never run distance before I didn’t fully understand how what you eat before you run could make such a big difference. My friend Ben Clark, who has three marathons under his belt now, suggested I have pasta for dinner the night before and a small portion of porridge 2 or 3 hours before the race the following morning and it worked a treat. Thanks Ben! I’m not a fast runner (yet) but I ran happily and continuously for the whole thing and did it under 1 hr 10 mins. Next year I’ll aim for under and hour! My plan for July is to take up Yoga and maybe a bit of swimming so I’ll let you know how that goes. Wish me luck!

 

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