Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

String shelving Styling for London Design Festival 2017 with String shelving and Skandium.

I have always been passionate about interiors and decor. I’m a bit of a shopper when it comes to beautiful accessories for the home.

For more than 10 years, I have always shopped at Skandium. It’s my all time favourite place for colourful and Scandinavian home accessories.

If you scroll through my Instagram feed, then the proof is in the pudding, as you will see that many of my photos and props used in styling are from Skandium’s mainstay collection.

I have a huge collection of Marimekko mugs, Moomin plates, ittala dinnerware, Alexander Girard dolls and many more.

When Skandium asked if I wanted to style a String shelving unit for London Design Festival this year, it was an immediate yes.

In fact, I already have String shelving units at home. I am looking towards getting a larger one for my son’s room. String shelfie Let me tell you a secret. You know how some people unwind with wine or a hot bath? Well, I actually unwind by restyling my shelves at home.

My husband thinks it’s crazy, but it’s not an uncommon sight with me on a chair, redecorating my shelves at night. String shelf It’s funny because when I look at my completed styling of this String shelving unit, I can honestly say that I already own more than 80% of what I have used. When I showed the kids, they said it looked like home. If you are near the South Kensington area, or planning a visit to the V&A museum for London Design festival, then do pop in to Skandium’s large new store on Thurloe Place to see the shelf.

I think it’ll only be up till tomorrow 24th September 2017. If you do go, I’d love you to take a snap for me to see on Instagram. Oh, and whilst you’re in the area, don’t forget to pop into Maitre Choux for their most delectable eclairs. They’re very Instagramable too.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

( All styling and photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaboration with Skandium. All views are my own).

I was so excited to have been invited to try, the new B ‘n T Brunch Afternoon Tea menu, at the Terrace Grill and Bar of London’s Le Meridien Piccadilly hotel.

Such a great idea to combine brunch and afternoon tea don’t you think?

Brunch afternoon tea B'NT at Le Meridien Piccadilly Here you can see the wonderful brunch inspired delicacies, served in the traditional Afternoon Tea style. I got to sample a different cocktail with each tier of delicious offerings.

Let’s take a closer look at what I ate. On the far side of this plate is the ‘Yorkshire Basket’. It’s a Yorkshire pudding filled with a full English breakfast, comprising of a cocktail sausage, streaky bacon, cherry tomato, baked beans, black pudding and quail egg.

This was one of my favourites. I love a full English breakfast, but may often overeat. I like how this is in a miniature portion with all the elements of breakfast.

Then there is the Yorkshire pudding. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like Yorkshire pudding. It’s often the first thing to run out when we have a traditional English Sunday lunch at home. This is the ‘Eggs Piccadilly’, comprising an English Muffin with smoked salmon, poached quail’s egg, truffle, and a spinach hollandaise that was totally moreish.

Brunch afternoon tea B'NT Chef Stevel Ger, who created the Bruch Afternoon Tea menu, called these the open sandwiches with a twist. They were sandwiches with a trio of flavoured goat’s cheese.

How vibrant are all those colours?

Brunch afternoon tea

This is the Avocado Scotch Egg, inside a potato nest. Doesn’t it look pretty? I had this Pink fizz cocktail with the first tier of savouries, made with Grapefruit juice, Chambord and prosecco. It was a variation of the mimosa but fruitier. On to the next tier of the afternoon tea stand were a pair of scones, one sweet and the other savoury.

The sweet scone was raspberry and chocolate, and the savoury one had a combination of red pepper, chilli, cheese and avocado.

There were also a variety of sweet and savoury spreads to go with the scones.

We were served a Brunch Punch cocktail with the scones. It was Tequila, orange juice, apricot liquor, lime juice and fresh chillies. I loved the spicy kick to the drink. This was my cocktail of the meal.

Now for the bottom tier of the afternoon tea server stand – dessert time! There was so much to tempt.

I loved the fresh seasonal fruit tart above, with its crumbly pastry base that went so nicely with the fruits.

Next, is a Duo of chocolate egg soldiers. I was in chocolate heaven!

Last but not least, was the Sweet potato and Beetroot brownie. Such interesting ingredients, you couldn’t tell there was sweet potato in there. It was the health conscious version of a brownie. To pair with desserts, I had a delicious creamy Aranciano Caffe made of Espresso, Orange juice, Frangelico and Vanilla syrup. The Terrace Grill and bar at Le Meridien Piccadilly will be serving the 3 cocktail paired brunch afternoon tea B’NT to celebrate National Afternoon tea from Monday August 14th till Sunday 20th August 2017.

It normally costs £35, but you can get £5 off with this special discount code BNTLMP upon booking via phone.

Hope you will get a chance to try this brunch afternoon tea. I would love to to go back again.

Wishing you all a lovely day.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell.)

Card-by-Charming-press-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell A few months ago, I was kindly invited by events planners, Italian Eye, to be part of an exclusively selected group of social media influencers, to attend their annual Kaleidotour in Tuscany.

Kaleidotour is essentially a short holiday with a difference, creating experiences that are fun and truly special.

It consist of a series of bespoke themed workshops and amazing food tastings, all in a beautiful destination.

Influencers were invited to experience and showcase, at their own discretion, the programme organised by, and the brands working with Italian eye. Borgo-Sant'Ambrogio-resort-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The Kaleidotour took place in April. We stayed at the Borgo Sant’Ambrogio resort.

The apartment I stayed in was incredible spacious, clean and luxurious. It had a door that opened into a pretty courtyard surrounded by Olive trees. Borgo-Sant-Ambroglio Here’s a side profile of the apartment block.
swimming-pool-hotel-Sant'ambrogio-phot0-by-Little-Big-Bell Everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by the far reaching and stunning views of the Tuscan countryside.
Borgo-Sant-d'Ambrogio-little-big-bell Check out the swimming pool.  pink-balloons-at-Kaleidotour-Little-big-Bell During the first evening, we were invited to a “Golden with a touch of rose pink” themed party.

I simply adore those pink helium balloons with their dangling gold strings.

The room was decorated with an abundance of pink flowers and golden tableware. Even the food had the same colour theme.

We had Pici pasta with golden crumbs to start, followed by Golden chicken with a spicy pink sauce and dessert was Fennels and Grapefruit salad, rose panna cotta with golden fruits of the forest. All the dishes were delicious, cooked by the talented Chef Ryan Hanley. Kaleidotour-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell-blog The next morning, I couldn’t resist photographing last night’s balloons in the daylight.

The pink of those flowers match the balloons so well don’t you think? Kaleidotour-breakfast-Borgo-Sant'Ambrogio-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell It was such a treat to have breakfast out in the open air. Hasslaccher's-chocolate-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We even got to sample some delicious hot chocolate by Hasslacher’s, made from artisan grown cocao beans.

Chunks of chocolate were simmered with milk, then poured into and served from a large jug. Breakfast-tart-Tuscany-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell We were served a variety of pastries and hot food for breakfast.

There were lots of traditional tarts and cakes on offer too.

Yes, you heard me right, lots of sweet things for breakfast. Why not right? I say it’s OK to indulge a bit on holiday.

Vespa-tour-Tuscany-Vacanze-Toscane-Kaleidotour-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell After breakfast, we were invited to take a Vespa tour with Vacanze Toscane around the Tuscan countryside.

I must admit, I was a little bit apprehensive to start with, but later decided to bite the bullet and sat behind the tour leader.

We whizzed me up and down the country lanes, the wind blowing in my hair, as I gazed at the beautiful views. Vespa-tour-Tuscany-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Here’s Alice and Hannah of Belle and Bunty, modelling for me on those bright red Vespas we all rode on. Solerno-blood-orange-liqueur-styling-and-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell When we returned to the resort, we were all treated to some refreshing and thirst quenching Blood orange Solerno cocktails. We sipped them whilst lounging by the pool.

I had so much fun taking this photo, a play with the shadow of my Flamingo cocktail stirrer. Tuscany-holiday-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell After cocktails, we casually strolled down towards the resort’s lake, to a picturesque spot for our picnic lunch.

Every time I look at this photo, I long for another holiday. Kaleidotour-picnic-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Yummy sandwiches were waiting for us. picnic-in-Tuscany-Kaleidotour-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan This was the view from where I sat. Desmond-and-Dempsey-pyjamas-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The programme on this short break was packed with all things fun. We even had a pyjamas party one morning.

It was lucky that we were all gifted with some super glamorous pyjamas from Desmond & Dempsey, as I didn’t quite fancy walking around in my usual sleepwear.

I picked the Riccardo print cotton pyjamas set in a coral pink shade. The pattern on the pyjamas was inspired by the Italian marbling techniques practised in Florence.

Desmond-and-Dempsey-pyjamas-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Such a pretty colour don’t you think? Belle-and-Bunty-in-Kaleidotour-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the stylish Alice and Hannah posing for me again, in their Desmond & Dempsey pyjamas. Desmond-and-Dempsey-1-pyjamas-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell The pyjamas also comes in black and white.

I’ve been wearing mine a lot since Tuscany. They are so soft and comfortable. Flower-decorating-in-Tuscany-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Isn’t this colourful table so pretty? All the flowers were set out ready for our next workshop. Cake-decorating-Kaleidotour-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell It was a floral cake decoration workshop with The Flower appreciation society. Flower-society-cake-decorating-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Here is their cake, all expertly decorated. Floral-cake-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell and here is mine. Floral-cake-decorating-Little-Big-Bell proudly holding it up to show all. Floral-naked-cakes-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Here’s everyone’s cakes all together. Lily-Vanilli-cakes-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell The floral prettiness didn’t end there, as we were immediately invited to a very floral tea party, hosted by Lily Vanilli.

Just look at that gorgeous cake! Lily’s cakes are not just stunning, but they are so tasty too.  Kaleidotour-cakes-by-Lilli-vanilli-photography-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Since I’ve returned from Tuscany, I have ordered many cakes from Lily and have recommended her to many of my friends. In fact, a few of them are now getting wedding cakes made. Lily-vanilli-cakes-1-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell I couldn’t resist photographing these. Cake-by-Lilly-Vanilli-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Love her trademark glitter sprinkled cherries. lily-vanilli-cakes-Little-Big-Bell You can now buy Lily Vanilli cakes at Fortnum and Mason. Kaleidotour-party-in-Tuscany-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The flower arrangements are by Palais flowers. Lily-Vanilli-biscuits-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Let me tell you this – these biscuits were melt in your mouth delicious!! silken-favours-cushions-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell These pretty silk cushions at the tea party are by the lovely Vicki Murdoch of Silken Favours.

If you ever meet Vicki in real life, you could seriously mistake her for Gwyneth Paltrow. Fratelli-Lunardi-Tuscany-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Not only did we decorate cakes, ate cakes and wore trendy pyjamas, we also made Cantuccini with Fratelli Lunardi.

Bags of fresh Rosemary and herbs were all lined up on the table ready for some serious Cantuccini flavouring. Making-Cantucci-with-Fratelli-Lunardi-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the making of the dough. Cantucci-making-in-Tuscany-Little-Big-Bell Ta-dah! the Cantuccini that I made. Cantucci-from-Fratelli-Lunardi-styling-and-photography-are-by-Little-Big-Bell Perfect with a strong cup of freshly brewed Italian Espresso. Pici-pasta-making-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Nearby to the Cantuccini making table, was a wonderful demo of Pici pasta being made from scratch.

We had Pici pasta for our first dinner in Tuscany, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I bought quite a few packs home and the kids love it. Wine-red-theme-dinner The dinner party above was a special treat. The food was being prepared by the talented and elegant Tini Ferragamo of Chef on high heels.

For the main course, she made a delicious pappardelle with slow cooked wild boar ragu. Many of us had seconds. Tini-Ferragamo-pear-dessert-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Here’s Tini’s delectable salted butter chocolate brownie with Tuscan pears poached in red wine. Is your mouth watering now? Frittata-di-Riccioli-by-Symmetry-breakfast-and-Tini-Ferragamo-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Tini also made us some breakfast one morning together with Michael from Symmetry breakfast.

The above is called Frittata di Riccioli ( Frittata in curls). It is a recipe from Pellegrino Artusi’s book La Scienza in Cucina e i’Arté di Mangiar Bene dated from 1891.

It looks like pasta, but it is actually beaten eggs and pureéd spinach, made into thin crepes and sliced into ribbons. Terrazza-del-chiostro-lunch-at-Kaleidotour-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that we ate a lot during our time at Tuscany.

This wonderful lunch was prepared for us on our last day by La Terrazza Del Chiostro. Tuscany-meal-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Looks so good right? Yoga-in-Tuscany-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell After that eating, we all really needed some gentle exercise.

How wonderful that there was a yoga session organised for us. Yoga-with-Adam-Husler-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Litle-Big-Bell It was a session with the renowned yoga teacher Adam Husler.

This was the first time I’ve ever done yoga and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was so relaxing. Although at the time, it didn’t feel overtly vigorous, after the session I knew or rather I could feel that I had worked my muscles well.

Hope you have enjoyed a peek into my recent trip to Tuscany with Italian eye. If you are looking to running a creative event, party or wedding, then I highly recommend them.

Wishing you all a happy new week.

( All photography are by and the copyright of Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. I was invited as press to the Kaleidotour in Tuscany by Italian eye. )

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