Reviews, Social Commentary

Frieze Art Fair London 2017

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Damien Hirst Butterflies, Frieze Art Fair 2017. All photos courtesy of NHYM 

Last night was the Preview night of the Frieze London and it was full of bright colours and patterns. To me, it demonstrates a reaction to the difficult world we live in today with news reels filled with terrorism, gun violence and nuclear weapons waved around by complete goons, Trump v Kim. It is a dire and dark world and artists in reaction are creating pieces to take us away from it all.

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There is something to be said about going back to comforting places. The colours and techniques felt very familiar this year and less eccentric than the past years. These above Gauguin and Matisse-inspired pieces induced a feeling of comfort in me, as if I had seen them before.

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These geometrical patterns and colours above felt similarly influenced by greats like Rothko. There were a lot of cartoon-like art reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein as well.

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I particularly loved this piece, which was made up of four screens of a film of moving water, which was a soothing and peaceful scene in the middle of the crowded and frenetic art scene.

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This was an interesting political, social and cultural commentary on South Korea.

Patterns: 

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There were a lot of patterns on display which creates a feeling of routine, familiarity and comfort, which I think the world feels and needs at the moment.

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People Watching: 

Of course the people watching was almost as great as the art. Preview night always promises colourful outfits and characters and this year did not disappoint with balloon woman:

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I mean, how does she breathe??? I still haven’t figured this one out, but she was great ‘live art’ to watch, and the silver headed man was pretty entertaining too.

New To The Frieze: 

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This year, a new American Express Centurion Lounge opened at the Frieze for certain American Express card holders. They are opening airport lounges for their card members and have already 7 in the US and a few around the world like Hong Kong but plan to open them globally and this one is to showcase their new venture.

AmexLoungeinsideFrieze2017

Inside the lounge, well, it does look like an airport lounge, but it offers complimentary champagne, snacks and even sandwiches, so when you are in need of an art-break, it is definitely worth stopping by for a drink and art-discussions. There is also a new BMW lounge, which you could sign up to and a VIP Lounge at Frieze Masters by the guys behind 1 Grovesnor Square.

Frieze keeps growing year after year, with parallel art, fashion, design and architecture events around London and now even airplane lounges, cars and luxury developers have joined the party. This year, to me, it was about comfort, routine and light and bright, which feels is what we are all needing these days.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

 

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Reviews, Social Commentary, the beta mum book

Fashion Week 2017: Anya Hindmarch & Ralph Lauren

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All photos courtesy of NHYM 2017. 

This week has been bustling with activity for London’s Fashion Week Fall ’17. Mums have been dropping off their children at school and then rushing off to fashion shows or events, dressed-to-impress. I am someone who appreciates fashion: I enjoy looking it at and wearing it, but you wouldn’t say I am a ‘fashionista’ unlike friends of mine including Smart Fashionista who has 167K followers because of what she wears (hey, we all have our strengths). I am not fashion forward enough, and I like my clothes comfortable (read: leggings and sweaters uniform) for the school run.

But this week, I was busy with my own fashion collaborations with a book signing and talk at Anya Hindmarch on Tuesday for my book The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land. On Thursday, I was invited to an exclusive ‘Cars and Fashion’ Ralph Lauren event.  I love both brands and actually have both brands in my closet so makes for the perfect fashion week invitations. (Let’s face it, there is some fashion that is great to see on a runway but not necessarily to wear).

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My book signing table! Loved it. NHYM 2017. 

On Tuesday, I was invited to do a small private talk, reading, book signing and Q&A session  at Anya Hindmarch in their Sloane Street shop with the Kensington and Chelsea Women’s Club, a group of international women in London. They were a lovely, thoughtful and enthusiastic group.

Anya HindmarchBuildaBagNHYM

It was also a chance to browse Anya Hindmarch’s new Fall ’17 collection, while sipping on wine and discussing the trials and tribulations of writing a book. This fall’s highlight to me was Anya Hindmarch’s ‘Build a Bag’ concept, which is great fun. You take a bag, and add lots of fun accessories. I particularly like the fluffy pompoms to add to any bag (or at least my girls would love them).

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Anya’s fall collection was a perfect collaboration because it is playful, fun and colourful, which is how I think The Beta Mum should be read.

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Next up, I was invited to a cars and fashion Ralph Lauren event at their New Bond Street store last night. The perfect combination, it appealed to men and women: boys and their toys and girls and their dresses. Some things never change whether you are 5 years old or 50 years old.

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The event was hosted by the beautiful Yasmin Le Bon and had lots of Ferraris around.

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This was my absolute favourite room with a red, black and white palette of colours; sleek, sophisticated and luxurious. I love RL for those reasons and hopefully there may be a future collaboration in the making.

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I loved both events, although they were very different. Anya Hindmarch’s collection is channeling colours and fun, while Ralph Lauren is channeling sleek and sophisticated, but I’d like to think that I can work both styles! Another Fashion week comes to an end and the fashion houses can breathe again next week, until the next one.

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Thank you Anya Hindmarch for hosting my book signing and thank you Ralph Lauren for inviting me to this great event!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

 

 

 

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Photos, Reviews, Travel

Florence…With Kids!

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Florence view from Villa San Michele. All photos NHYM 2017

As we all know, traveling with kids is just not the same as travelling without kids. I laugh at my friends with young babies who tell me ‘But, holidays are just not holidays with kids!’ And then the children grow up a bit and you can leave them in the Kids’ Club and have a few hours of peace on the beach with a book and cocktail in hand. I am now at the age where my children are – just about – ready for cultural holidays.

VillaSanMicheleNHYM

So this summer, we decided to take the plunge and take a ‘plane-car-boat-train-road-trip’ from Florence to France. Florence, I thought, would be a great place to start exposing them to sight-seeing and cultural holidays. It’s rich in culture, art, architecture and history, while being quite manageable in size. Oh and it has some great hotels and great food.

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The one thing about getting older – and I am – is that it’s the time to fulfil your dreams. As children and as we grow up, we create our dreams in our minds, but as an adult, you get to make those dreams – hopefully – happen (or so I tell myself so I don’t get too depressed about getting older). Villa San Michele is one of those places I had read about twenty years ago and always wanted to go. It is an old monastery with a facade by Michaelangelo, which was converted into a luxury hotel. It is one of these places where you feel like you are absorbing history just by staying there. Some people may find it too old/cold, not-as-great as-it-once-was, but I loved it and was very happily not disappointed. It has the most wonderful views of Florence and is up in the hills where it is cooler than the valley where Florence resides.

RoomVillaSanMicheleNHYM

We loved our room, a Garden Suite, which we got as an upgrade and it was huge and perfect for a family of four. Not sure how or why we got such a great upgrade, but it ended up being the most value-for-money hotel we stayed in for the entire trip.

SwimmingPoolVillaSanMicheleNHYM

The trick I realised with cultural holidays, is that you should spend 3 – 4 hours sightseeing with the children, and then make sure there is a pool at the hotel where they can spend the rest of the day. It was the perfect balance for them and for us.

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Top 5 Activities To Do With Kids in Florence: 

  1. Ride a Tuk Tuk or any other kind of fun transportation through Florence to see the main landmark places such as the Piazzale Michaelangelo, the Duomo, and the Ponte Vecchio so you don’t have to hear ‘I don’t want to walk anymore!’ http://www.tuktukflorence.net/tuk-tours
  2. Do a treasure hunt through the museums and palaces like the Palazzo Vecchio with a tour guide looking for flowers, turtles and mystical creatures. (Dr. Alessandra Bernabei is great – although on the expensive side +393398517317)PizzaMakingFlorenceNHYM
  3. Learn how to make your own pizza and gelato. And then eat them for dinner. https://www.florencetown.com/161-pizza-gelato-cooking-class.html
  4. Take a trip to surrounding areas such as Chianti, Forte Dei Marmi or Cinque Terre. http://www.marklimotours.com – Mark speaks perfect English and will take you anywhere you want.
  5. This one’s not really for the kids but has to be done. Leave the kids in front of a DVD and have a romantic dinner at La Loggia restaurant in Villa San Michele. Utterly beautiful views and sunset to try to get a little romance back. SunsetVillaSanMicheleNHYMThe children learned about the history of the Romans, the Medicis, about architecture and religion, about pizza and gelato making and about Michaelangelo and the Renaissance. It was a really culturally enriching trip and fun for the whole family. For anyone thinking about going to Florence, I highly recommend it!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Recommended hotels:

Villa San Michele

https://www.belmond.com/villa-san-michele-florence/

Four Seasons Florence

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Social Commentary, Travel

Welcome Back! And falling in Love with London again…

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Portovenere, Italy. All Photos Courtesy of NHYM. 2017.

I just wanted to write a quick note to say Hello and Welcome Back! I took the summer off from writing and promoting my book, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land. Frankly, it was quite wonderful forgetting about book sales and anything related – although I did manage a radio interview with Irish Radio RTE sitting by the pool, and did manage to appear in The Sun! No, not as a Page Three girl but still.

This summer, I took the last few weeks of August and travelled around Italy and France with trains/planes/boats/automobiles and even Tuk Tuks, for our first cultural family holiday starting in Florence and ending in France. It was the Dolce Vita with history, art, cooking and geography lessons as well as showing my children how others live in small Italian towns.

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Vernazza, Italy. NHYM 2017.

Coming back to London the Sunday before school started was a big shocker. People ask how my kids are adapting to being back-to-school (they love it), but really they should be asking me how it feels to be back-to-reality. Yes, I know you shouldn’t feel sorry for me, most people have been working all summer, but I am having ‘re-entry-into-London-adjustment-issues.’ Friends of ours have left London to live in Spain/France/the countryside/Switzerland and sometimes when I return to the frantic-ness of school gates/school-uniforms/tutors/tests and stress, I always wonder whether this is what I want.

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Italy. Eco Del Mare. NHYM 2017

But then, I go about trying to fall in love with London, and it isn’t so hard after all. There is something special about London (when it doesn’t rain). We are in a vibrant, cultural, dynamic hub of Europe and as I receive invitations to great events, I am reminded that this is where things happen. The Frieze is coming up so soon, reminding me that London is an art centre of the world, as well as a talk from the CEO of Sotheby’s I am hoping to attend. I am in talks with a charity, which would hopefully involve me in something greater than myself or my ‘bubble.’  Finally, London is where I wrote and published my first book, which has overall been such a great creative experience. I have my own upcoming events, which are quite exciting. Next week, I am having an event with Anya Hindmarch on Tuesday, and in a few weeks time, I have an event with 3HouseClub in St. John’s Wood for NW8mums. Only in London would I get these great collaboration opportunities.

Isabella DavidsonAnyaHindmarch

How great is this e-vite? I absolutely love it so had to share it. (Please contact me on nottinghillyummymummy@hotmail.com if you are interested in coming to any of my events) I also have a potentially exciting project in the pipeline – which may or may not come to fruition, but even just having these discussions is creatively wonderful.

And of course, I am reminded every day how great it is to be in such an international, tolerant, open-minded, educated city when I look around the restaurants, the school gates, and even while walking down the street, and I know this is where I am meant to be right now.

So here’s to being Back-to-School, Back-to-Reality, and Back-to-London. I hope you have had a wonderful start to your – school – year!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummt

 

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Reviews, Social Commentary

Serpentine Summer Party & Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit

Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit

RoyalAcademyILoveYouNHYM

Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit. NHYM 2017

It has been an ‘artful’ week with both a private view of the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit and the Serpentine Summer Party 2017. Yes, the summer season has officially started with events such as Queens, Wimbledon and Henley, but I have chosen the art scene to fill my nights. On Tuesday night, I attended a private view of the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit.

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The Summer Exhibit was more modern than the last time I attended, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This painting ‘Art Makes Children Powerful’ set against the sculpture of this child was very powerful. Our children are our future and in all this instability, art provides stability and an outlet for expression.

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Not only was the art creative, but these hors d’hoeuvres were absolutely brilliant! They really looked like the real thing.

Serpentine Summer Party

Next, on Wednesday night was the Serpentine Summer Party!

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The Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2017 was designed by Francis Kere, influenced by growing up in Burkina Faso and his schooling in Germany. It is based around the symbol of a tree as a place where people gather together, where everyday activities play out under the shade of its branches. Symbolically, I appreciate its construct, but visually I admit that I preferred last year’s pavilion.

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As a new feature, this year had a pop-up restaurant dedicated to Coco Chanel, therefore called Coco’s. Chanel sponsored the party this year, but sadly Karl was not in attendance. The restaurant offered crudites and a main – stone bass or burrata – that was meant to be eaten in 20 minutes. Mr. X and I loved the concept and were very happy to try it out.

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But of course, the private concert is always one of the highlights of the night. That night, despite the freezing cold weather, Rita Ora played some great music to get the crowd moving. What I like is Rita Ora’s story. She is a proper Notting Hill girl and was involved in the Rugby Portobello Trust, which has proven to be truly inspirational in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. She truly illustrates the power of dreams and of working hard to fulfil those dreams.

Of course, the people watching was, as always, brilliant. From Damien Lewis to Claudia Schiffer, to Dame Shirley Bassey to Mario Testino and stalwarts like Grayson Perry. The amount of talent, artistry and creativity in one place is incomparable to any other party. And for normal people like me, we hope to absorb some of their creativity.

It was a great night as always!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

 

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In the Press, Photos, Press, Spotlight On..., the beta mum book

The Beta Mum Book Launch Party!

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Book Launch Party June 20th 2017. NHYM. Photos copyright NHYM and Walter C. 

If you measure the success of a book launch party by the number of people waiting to get their book signed by the author – my book launch was a huge success. I didn’t even have time to sign all the books that were sold that night!

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Balloon Sculpture hanging from the ceiling at the Notting Hill Bookshop by my incredibly talented friend Vanessa. NHYM 2017. 

The Notting Hill Bookshop, where the party was held, has been so incredibly supportive and it was the perfect place to host my book launch party. It is an iconic bookstore that literally everyone in the world knows and still photographs on a daily basis.

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My day started at the bookshop, where I found a beautiful window display of my books.

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Next came my hair appointment. RUSH Westbourne Grove offered to do my hair – how could I say no? And they did a wonderful job! Thank you RUSH for my hair!

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I was wearing this super cool leather jumpsuit designed by Patricia Gomez Gracia, a super talented designer, who dressed me that night. Here I am with her manager Zara Ward!

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Beautiful mum reading my book. 

The crowd was so supportive and wonderful, from all my beautiful yummy mummy friends to my writing class to Instagram stars, mummy bloggers and magazine founders, and fantastic film makers and writers.

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Wonderful Mummy friends who came out to support me! Thank you!!!

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I spent the night signing books – it was a shame that I didn’t even get a chance to sign everyone’s book.

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It was a wonderfully warm – literally and figuratively – evening, which included my writing class friends who came to support me. Champagne and Chika’s nuts – made famous by Dragon’s Den – were the drinks and nibbles of the night. Thank you Chika!

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Super mums! And super nice ones too… 😉

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Friends from all over the world came to support me – all the way from New York!

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I even got a new, little fan!

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Instagram star, The Smart Fashionistas, and my cousin graced us with their presence.

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Superstar film makers, writers, producers Vanessa and Andrew Porteus, and Melissa and David Koepp.

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Gorgeous Swedish friends/models who also happen to be just the nicest people ever… 🙂

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My very emotional speech!

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Fellow novelist Midge Blake and my editor Donna Hillyer.

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The crowd spilled onto the streets on a beautiful, warm night.

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My super talented friend Vanessa created this amazing balloon/cloud sculpture! Thank you!

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And thanks to Walter C., my amazing photographer, who is seriously brilliant. Amazing job! For all his photos of the night look here: http://www.bywalterc.com/the-beta-mum/

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But the work didn’t stop after the launch party when I had my first live TV interview with London Live News this past weekend…

 

And finally…my photo was also chosen as one of the ‘Pictures of The Week’ in The Bookseller Magazine, which is the biggest publishing magazine in the UK:

http://www.thebookseller.com/insight/pictures-week-573996

(Yes, me and Twiggy)

It has been quite an adventure, with its ups and downs, and I now can’t wait to go on holiday day next week for some well deserved down time!!

Have a great summer everyone! And don’t forget to get your summer read on Amazon!! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beta-Mum-Adventures-Alpha-Land/dp/1781326525

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Instagram: Notting Hill Yummy Mummy

 

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Family resemblance…

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Social Commentary, the beta mum book

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land is Out Now!

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The day has finally come! After two and a half long years, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land is finally available to purchase on Amazon, The Notting Hill Bookshop, and Daunt Books. (It may take a few days for Daunt to have the books in-store but you should be able to order from them. The Notting Hill Bookshop has books in-store from today).

Just a reminder, this book is fiction! ALL the characters are fiction so if you see any similarities, I promise it is a coincidence! The only character who was influenced by someone is David, who is loosely based on David, the lawyer in The Good Wife (who is just a great character and I was watching a lot of Good Wife when I was writing it). What I did endeavour to do, is create relatable characters. Many of my reviewers felt that they related to my main character Sophie and my one male reviewer related to Michael. Please remember, it is a fun, light, summer read and should not be taken very seriously! No one should feel offended by it!

The setting may be in glitzy west London for entertainment purposes, but the themes are universal. The book is really about Sophie and the challenges of motherhood: loneliness, feeling like an outsider, trying to find your identity (and sanity) as a stay at home mum, battling mum guilt as a working mum, relationship issues and trying to balance being a mother and an individual. It is also about being kinder to one another and not judging others too quickly. I hope that this is a message to all mums: be nicer to each other. At least, I will try my best.

If you buy the book and enjoy it, please, please, please leave some reviews on Amazon! That’s really important to support me. After three years of writing for the joy of writing, now it is my turn to ask for some support!

Thanks everyone!

‘The Beta Mum is the perfect holiday read!’ Tall Mum in Manchester

I came away from The Beta Mum feeling like I’d been through it all myself and not quite ready for it to end. From the marvellous to the mundane, I wanted to read more.’ Me, Annie Bee

Best summer read? Yes…If you read, follow or write…then you need to get your hands on The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land as soon as it comes out…The reason I enjoyed the book so much was because of the mix of feelings it brought out in me. I felt like a friend to the main character…Conversations and situations are fantastically written…A great read when you have those minutes alone on a warm evening, sipping on something tasty and melting off into a world of uber Yummy Mummies.’ Mama Chic

I really enjoyed this book and read through it in one day…descriptive and well written, I’ll look forward to more from this author.’ Mrs. Blogg’s Books

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Instagram: Notting Hill Yummy Mummy

**In honour of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, The Notting Hill Bookshop and I will have a fundraising bucket today at the bookshop raising funds.**

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