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Celebrate London 2012 with Girlie Gin Cocktails

girlie gin cocktails

girlie gin cocktails
photos: Maxime Juneau for At Home with Kim Vallee

Add style to your closing ceremony get together by serving a bronze, silver and gold metal cocktails. Or be the judge and pick one as your signature drink.

The recipes are from Bombay ambassador, the master mixologist Raj Nagra who made the cocktails for me at the Bombay Sapphire event in Montreal two weeks ago. I already shared the recipe for the Bronze medal cocktail. Now, it is time to share the silver and the gold medal cocktail recipes.

Silver medal: Watermelon and Mint Collins

  • 2 parts (60 ml) Bombay Sapphire
  • 4 Chunks of ripe watermelon chunks
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 2 parts (60 ml) Processo

Glass: Wine glass

Method: Muddle, mint and sugar in your shaker. Add other ingredients and shake with ice. Pour in wine glass and top with the Processo.
Garnish: Long mint tip

Gold medal: Citrus Splash

  • 1 heaped tsp Citrus marmalade
  • 1 part Spiced syrup
  • 1 part Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 parts Bombay Sapphire
  • Fresh Sage
  • 1 Egg white
  • Nutmeg

Glass: Cocktail coup

Method: Shake all ingredients (except nutmeg). Shake again with ice. Strain into cocktail couple.
Garnish: Fresh nutmeg and grapefruit wheel

All three drinks were delicious. If I have to pick a favorite it would be the Watermelon and Mint Collins. To my surprise, I was delighted when I took a sip by the Citrus Splash; I was unsure that I would like it when I saw some of the ingredients. But I did!!! The ingredients remind me of a late late brunch.

Are you planning something special for the Olympics closing ceremony?


Must Haves for a Picnic at the Park or in your Backyard

old school English picnic at the park

old school English picnic at the park
photo: Paul Raeside for Elle Decoration UK – August 2012 

The weekend goes hand in hand with a picnic. I love the old feel of this English picnic at the park filled with comfy textiles and pretty enamelware. Start by looking in your closets and your mom’s closets to find props to reproduce that look.

If you have the luxury of living in a calm backyard, make it more a retreat by positing a Bistro dining set under a large tree. It look so great in yellow. I feel in Provence every time I see a French Bistro set. I beat that it would become your ideal spot to drink your morning coffee, eat a late lunch or sip a cocktail before dinner. The best part is that it is an inexpensive look. I found these items on sale.

picnic in your backyard with a french bistro dining set
Fiori Melamine Collection $3.49 to $12.59 CAD on sale at Stokes | Glass Beverage Dispenser $69.99 CAD at Home Sense | French Bistro table and chairs $58.50 CAD on sale at Sears

Now that I shared my plan for this weekend. What are yours?


Shifty Desk / Hallway Stand by Daniel Schofield

shifty desk with its secret drawer

shifty desk with its secret drawer

The smaller dwellings that are typical of urban living calls for smart design ideas. Daniel Schofield, a newly graduated furniture designer and maker from United Kingdom, shows that he understands that need with his Shifty Desk. His desk/stand would make a great catch-all unit in an entryway. Or use it to furnish an office corner in the living room or the kitchen. It seems large enough to put your laptop.

shifty desk by daniel schofield design

The Shifty desk is tailored for a narrow interior. Its most impressive feature is certainly storage. Daniel Schofield maximizes the storage space while creating a main, secret compartment. That’s clever!

Shifty Desk by Daniel Schofield Design
+  via MoCo Loco


Vintage Bikes, Food+Flower+Style and Hotel Chocolat

front door of hotel chocolat on newbury street in boston

delivery bike of food+flower+style

It seems that not only city cyclers fall in love with vintage bikes. Vintage bikes unite my story of two retailers. Plus, both brands rely on their unique creations to do business.


event design by food+flower+style

Food+Flower+Style is the retail place of two sisters with a background in food and floral arrangements. I like what they do. They specialize in event and floral design. One particularly is that they often flowers with their vintage style bicycle. They serve San Francisco and New York. They deliver by bike chocolate, flowers and home decor accessories (style).

days of the week dishtowels

The nostalgic feeling of their Days of the week dishtowels is cute and comforting. They are flexible on the tasks you can print on the dishtowels.

Hotel Chocolat

front door of hotel chocolat on newbury street in boston

Seeing the British old-fashioned bike in front of Hotel Chocolat invited me to enter their chocolate shop. This British chocolatier transformed me into a customer with their Less Sugar, More Cacao recipes.

hotel chocolat newbury street location

This British chocolate maker opens two stores so far in The United States. Both are in Boston. I took pictures at the Newbury Street location. If you wish to become more savvy with your cacao, Hotel Chocolat offers Tasting classes that cost $50 per person. This can be a fun event among friends.

inside view of hotel chocolat newbury street location

It was hard to decide what I wanted from their vast selection. Sadly, the US Web site only shows a few products. A cool thing is that they produce a seasonal chocolate collection where the fillings reflect the seasonal produces. I bought several bars and boxes that pleased my taste buds. I will definitely go back on my next trip to Boston.

+ Days of the week dishtowels $35 USD
+ Food+Flower+Style – via Design Mom
+ Hotel Chocolat in the United States
+ The British site of Hotel Chocolat that sells online


Luddite Tableware by Thomas Paul

luddite dinnerware by thomas paul

luddite dinnerware by thomas paul

There is something about the old-fashioned, almost Victorian look of this small tableware collection designed by Thomas Paul that I find very appealing. I guess it is because it invites you to take it easy for a while.

luddite tray and beaker - highball glass by thomas paul

Luddite was a social movement organized by the British textile artisans to show their opposition to the industrial process. Thomas Paul designed this collection as a reference to a simpler way of living. It could be the starting point of a tabletop for a gentleman’s birthday or a baby shower for parents.

+ Thomas Paul Luddite Dinner Plate $10 USD at Velocity
+ Luddite Side Plate by Thomas Paul $8
+ Luddite Tray by Thomas Paul $26
+ Luddite Beaker by Thomas Paul $10


Free Form Tarts and a Wow moment for La Tartine Gourmande

free form tart recipes :: pear and hazelnut tart :: onion tart

I never realized until I watched a French TV show that “free form tart” is a concept that does not exist in the French cuisine. Food blogger Pascale Weeks of C’est moi qui l’ai fait pointed out that fact in the episode. It is strange that never noticed it before. Although I have seen it many times, I never considered making a free form tart until now. I am planning to change that.

I learned that the key for a successful free form tart is to beautifully place the fruit pieces in a big circle and to gently fold the edges of the dough up. For a more sophisiticated look, pass a fluted pastry wheel on the dough before you fold it. As you can see, I became a fan of their rustic look and feel.

best fig tart by chez pim

It is not just for sweet tarts, you can go free form for savory tarts. Here are a few tasty free form tart recipes that you may want to bookmark:

You remember the TV show that inspired me to talk about free form tarts. It has a must-see segment where they followed Bea of La Tartine Gourmande as she worked on a food story. Her 8-minute segment starts at 2/3 of the show; so, unless you speak French, advance Envoyé Spécial – la suite until you hit 16 minutes. Bea wrote a wonderful post where she described, in English, the making of process of her TV segment. She was great on camera!

+ top left photo: Tarte rustique aux poires et noisettes, sans moule by Pascale Weeks of C’est moi qui l’ai fait!


Rosler British Grocery Carts Are Now Available in North America

2-wheel Mountain Grocery Cart by rolser :: british grocery cart

I bought the Hook and Go Smart Cart a few weeks ago. It comes handy when I shop at the farmer’s market.

The Hook & Go works great but my quest for the perfect grocery cart is still on. This is why I am glad that the cute British grocery carts made by Rolser have found a North American distributor.

Better still for Canadians, the distributor is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. They have a Web site but you must call to place your order. Visit for more information. I do not know yet if I should try the 2-wheel Mountain Grocery Cart.

Features of all Rosler Grocery Carts

From the reviews I read so far, the 2 wheel model seems to work well going up and down the stairs. The Rosler Mountain cart gains a plus when I compared with my Hook and Go cart.

You can wash the weather-resistant, removable durable nylon bags. The Mountain model comes with an additional zippered pocket in the flap.

Rosler produces pretty cool patterns which make their bags a lot more attractive than the Hook & Go cart. This is an important concern for a stylish girl.

But I worry about the extra steps needed to avoid the crushing of the light produces. What do you think? If you own a similar grocery cart, how does it work for you?

foldable hook and go shopping trolley

My Experience with the Hook & Go

I am pleased that your produce cannot be squeezed by the weight of the other bags. I enjoyed my shopping experience.

I found 3 things that you must be aware but none is a showstopper. I can live with the fact that:

  1. You need to wrap the reusable bag handles a few times if you do not want your bags to touch the ground – on the other hand, this method secures your bags
  2. They are kind of wide; so you must be aware of that when you move around people or the aisles.
  3. Finally, I shop at Atwater Market in Montreal, a farmer’s market where the bakery and the meat shops are upstairs. I am afraid that the bags will bang on the stairs. So I store my purchases in the car before completing my grocery list upstairs, without the Hook & Go.

Which one, if any, do you prefer?

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: Mountain and Saquet Grocery Cart at – price: $90 CAD
Americans: Hook and Go Smart Cart – price: $59.95 USD
Canadians: Hook and Go Shopping Trolley – price: $59.95 CAD
Via: City Wheels [Dwell blog]