inspiration for organising your home :)

Posted on Updated on

Professional declutter coach gave a wonderful talk on Monday!  Thanks Isabelle – I could see everyone at the front of the room taking pictures of the organisation ideas on the screen so I thought I would share these great ideas with you to remind and inspire you…

As Isabelle said – step 1: Declutter but they key to remaining decluttered is step 2: Organisation…

We have the Hallway….

hallway 3hallway 1hallway 2

the kitchen…

kitchen 1kitchen 2kitchen 3

and the kids bedroom…

kids bedroom 1kids room 2kids room 3

I am going to try the umbrella and accessories hooks in the hallway, a bit more boring but required seperating baby Noemi’s clothes into seperate boxes in the draw and how cute are the cars on the wall for Ralph’s bedroom!

How about you?  Are you inspired!

First 5 to respond back to me on it can get a free face to face declutter assessment with Isabelle from IDea for your space.  Just give me a shout!*

For more info on Isabelle and her services check out her website:


*Valid North London only


Do you want to live clutter free? Meet Isabelle…

Posted on Updated on

Hi everyone!

I am so pleased to have a quick Q&A introduction to Isabelle from IDea for your Space, a professional organiser and declutter coach with a bit more info on what decluttering is all about and why she loves i

Pic of Isabelle Lamy

Cat: Lots of people aren’t aware of declutter coaches, what’s this all about?

Isabelle: Many people dream of having a clutter-free home and for some of them it has been on their “to-do list” for many weeks (months?) but people feel often overwhelmed by the task, others don’t know where to start or have no clue on how to proceed. As a declutter coach I help my clients to reach their goal of having a decluttered, a more organised and a calmer life.

I’m an extra pair of hands, I guide my clients (but without influencing them), asking some relevant questions to help them to make a decision on some difficult/sentimental items which can be tough to let go. I also advise them on the kind of smart storage options which would help to make the most of their space. I bring all the useful material to make the decluttering process easier. And I help them to stay focused on the task until it’s finished.

Cat: What do you love about your job?

Isabelle: I love helping people. The first time we meet, most of my clients are ashamed, stressed by the state of their home, they have the feeling they will never be organised. At the end of the process, they are re-energised, proud of themselves and feel much lighter. They are happy: this is my reward!

All my clients are different, with different backgrounds, different stories behind each possession. For some of them letting go is easy, for others it’s more difficult. I love being confronted to a new challenge every time (and some projects are really challenging…).

Cat: Are there any quick and easy tips you can give busy mums for keeping clutter free?

Isabelle: For staying clutter free, the secret is to keep our stuff organised. “A place for everything, everything in its place” is my favourite adage… Having a place (clearly identified and known from each family member (!)) for each single possession is the best way to keep clutter free. Store like items in a lovely container (basket, box, crate…) is an effective and neat solution. They will be easy to retrieve and easy to put back. It can also be useful to label the container, even with a picture for the youngest ones.

Cat: Sorting Self is all about finding a bit of me time for busy mums, how do you spend your free time?

Isabelle: As a mum of three super busy / sporty teenagers, my free time is quite limited… but I always make sure I regularly meet my school mums’ group for a dinner or a drink. Exercising and meeting new people are very important to me as well. That’s why I run with Gladstone Parkrun every Saturday morning and I join the Brent GoodGym Group on Monday’s evening when I’m available.

I also love walking long hours in London with my husband. And before sleeping I love reading a book which most of the time (I have to admit) contains in its title the word “organisation” or “clutter”… #ilovemyjob

Join us this Monday 25th April at The Clissold Arms, 105 Fortis Green, N2 9HR where Isabelle will be talking about ‘Decluttering & Organising Your Home’ – where you can learn how to declutter your home and get organised so you can spend more time doing the things that really matter to you

Tickets are available at www.sortingself.com

Isabelle Lamy is a professional organiser.  After 15 years in Marketing and moving around the world living in a variety of homes she decided to turn her passion for organisation and design into her career.  Isabelle graduated in Paris in interior design and as a member of apdo-uk, she frequently attends workshops and conferences designed for Professional Organisers.  She has also worked for the IKEA interior design team where she developed specific skills in storage organisation.

For more info on Isabelle and IDea for your Space see http://www.ideaforyourspace.com/


Top 3 Beauty Nutrition Tips from Fig & Bloom

Posted on

Thanks again to Dorothy an Stephanie for their engaging and inspiring talk ‘Beauty from the Inside’ last month.

Below are some of Stephanie’s key takeaways from the talk and a link to Dorothy’s Cold Cucumber & Avacado Soup she made for us on the day!

Stephanie’s top 3 beauty nutrition tips to get you glowing from the inside…

1. Make sure you are getting your essential omega 3 fats – these are important for keeping all cells supple and healthy. Best sources are oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines and omega eggs. Others include walnuts and flaxseeds.

2. Get plenty of colour into your diet – eating a colourful variety of fruit and veg will nourish you with skin, hair and nail-boosting nutrients. Particular winners include bell peppers, cherries, avocado, kiwi, berries, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli and tomatoes.

3. Keep hydrated with fresh water – it’s such a simple beauty essential yet so many people don’t do it. Keeping hydrated daily will help to flush toxins out that otherwise can make your skin look tired.

Avocado is a great beauty food not just because it contains skin-boosting vitamins Cand E but also because it is a good source of folate. Folate is a B vitamin that has been found to play a key role in protecting our chromosomes, in particular the ends of our chromosomes (called telomeres) from shortening. The length of our telomeres reflects our biological age, and poor lifestyle and dietary choices can accelerate their shortening. Another key ingredient in this soup is cucumber, which is particularly good at clearing toxins from the gut so the skin doesn’t have to deal with them instead.



You can reach Fig & Bloom at http://www.figandbloom.com/

How to taste chocolate by Lucy at Bean to Bar Chocolate

Posted on

Lucy from Bean to Bar Chocolate is a chocolate tasting expert and give us some tips on how to taste fine chocolate before our next session on Monday!

Prepare in advance to get the most from a chocolate tasting. Firstly, prep your palate by avoiding strongly flavoured foods the evening before and in the hours leading up to your tasting. This includes no perfume or aftershave, which may interfere with picking up aromas. Have spring water available to drink between each piece of chocolate, some people also like to use sliced apple, bread or plain crackers to cleanse the palate with. In an ideal scenario you would know which order to taste in, so that you moved from the milder flavoured chocolate to the boldest. Unfortunately, cocoa content is not a reliable way to gauge this as some 80% cocoa mass bars have a similar character to those at 70%, whereas some 70% bars can have a depth and strength that you might only expect at higher percentages.

Choc blog pic

Aroma, taste, texture and snap provide the clues in judging a bar of chocolate. Many people think that chocolate with a high percentage is a sign of quality: this is simply not the case. When tasting, look for the merits of the bar – how it smells, how it feels in the mouth and the flavours that develop.  Try including a couple of dark chocolates widely available in supermarkets/ newsagents, which are being sold as high quality bars. My experience is that these ‘quality’ bars are mostly bland, flat and bitter (burnt) in comparison to the chocolate being made by the best producers from the craft chocolate movement. This is because the vast majority of mass-produced bars are made from low-grade beans grown on the Ivory Coast, which are then excessively roasted to dullness.

Experiment in how you taste. For instance, I compare the flavours I find between slow tasting as well as normal speed tasting. Slow tasting allows the chocolate to melt in your mouth, providing a longer and more complex flavour experience. However, a quicker tasting allows me to understand what most people experience when they bite into a bar. Then I write tasting notes taking both of these into consideration. 5-8 chocolates is probably enough in one sitting, stop before the palate becomes muted. And, finally, remember not to dismiss milk chocolate: there are some wonderful, complex milk chocolates available.


The quality of the temper* is the first thing to look for. Chocolate needs to be properly tempered in order to have a glossy shine and a good snap. Poorly tempered chocolate will look cloudy, have a dull snap and give an unsatisfying graininess in the mouth.

*The result of a process of heating and cooling, which crystallises the cocoa butter in the chocolate.


Fine cocoa is known to contain hundreds of flavours, and the best way to begin detecting these is through smell. Before trying the chocolate smell it and see what aromas you notice, this will get your palate ready for tasting.


How does it feel in the mouth? Different chocolate makers have different styles, some prefer producing bars which feel drier in the mouth, whilst others opt for a silky smooth texture.


I find taste varies depending on the time of day, what has been eaten previously and what bars are being tried alongside. There is no right or wrong answer to flavour experience: anything that comes to mind is valid. However, what you may find is that you’ll be able to articulate flavours more easily with time.


  • FLORAL: Lavender, rose, orange blossom, jasmine, honey
  • EARTHY: Woods, leather, tobacco, moss, olives
  • ROASTED: Molasses, smoke, toast, burnt
  • FRUITY: Citrus fruits, red fruits, yellow fruits, berries, dried fruit, vine fruit
  • NUTTY: Almonds, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts
  • HERBS/ SPICY: Nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, allspice, cloves, basil, mint, liquorice
  • BUTTERY: Caramel, butter, cream, toffee, malt


  • Acidic
  • Bitter
  • Astringent
  • Long/ short finish

Lucy will conduct a Single Origin Chocolate Tasting this Monday 21st March at the Clissold Arms, N2,  Please join us!

Lucy is the owner of Bean to Bar Chocolate (an online fine chocolate supplier), and has a specialist knowledge of the craft chocolate movement. Her interests are in small batch, ethical producers who are making extraordinary chocolate from around the world.

Similar to a book or film club, Lucy also runs a monthly chocolate tasting club at the Arthouse in Crouch End where a group of chocolate fans discuss and learn about a variety of craft chocolate bars in an informal social setting.

For more information: www.beantobarchocolate.co.uk

Meet Nutritionist & Chef Duo, Stephanie & Dorothy aka Fig & Bloom!

Posted on

Hi everyone!

I am so pleased to have an interview with the wonderful (and very youthful looking) Stephanie and Dorothy from Fig & Bloom – some juicy tips on healthy eating for busy mums and some insight into their busy lives as local Muswell Hill mums…

Steph_Dot1 copy (2)

Cat: What led you to set up Fig & Bloom?

Stephanie: I am a nutritionist (and a wannabe chef), and I met Dorothy, a holistic chef (and wannabe nutritionist) on the school run when our children started reception together. We got to know each other and quickly realised we shared a passion for promoting health through delicious food. It didn’t take long before we decided to join forces and Fig & Bloom was born.

A chef and nutritionist combination works so well because people need not only the scientific evidence for nutritional recommendations, but also practical guidance on how to then turn that information into something easy and delicious.

Dorothy: After moving to London and setting up my own healthy catering business, I realised that creating recipes and preparing food was only part of what I wanted to do. I really wanted to teach and empower people to take care of themselves through food, not just serve it to them. When Stephanie and I started to talk about what we did I had a real light-bulb moment about how we could work together. As a self-taught chef I had developed a lot of knowledge about healthy food over the years, but working with Stephanie, a registered nutritional therapist, has taught me so much in a short space of time!

Cat: What do you love about your job?

Stephanie: When I first see a client they are usually struggling with their health or finding it difficult to fit healthy eating into their busy lifestyles. Seeing that client improve and the impact that improvement has on their long-term wellbeing is incredibly rewarding.

Dorothy: I love spending time in the kitchen experimenting with new ingredients and creating delicious new recipes. But I also love receiving all the positive emails and photos from clients who are really enjoying their new healthy recipes and menu plans that we created for them – one recent photo from a client almost made me cry! Her enthusiasm and appreciation for how we had helped her to make healthier meals that all her family would enjoy made me so proud.

Cat: What’s your number one piece of nutritional or cooking advice for busy mums?

Stephanie: Stabilise your sugar levels! It’s dull I know and difficult for many, but tackling sugar cravings is one of the best things you can do for your long term health and your family’s.

Dorothy: I would say my top piece of cooking advice would be to PLAN! If you set yourself up for a few easy meals during the week, ideally ones that will last you more than one day, then you will have the time and freedom to play a bit. Buy a cookbook, magazine or look online for inspiration, and remember you don’t have to follow a recipe to the word but it does help with new tasty ideas.

Cat: Sorting Self is all about finding a bit of me time for busy mums, how do you spend your free time? 

Stephanie: walking or running with my dog – she makes sure I get out in the fresh (London) air for a good hour every day and I spend that time either with friends or ‘reading’ yet another nutrition audiobook…

Dorothy: As a busy Mom & business owner, I have found that I need to stick to my yoga classes they make me more focused at work & nicer at home! Otherwise, exploring London….we moved here 1 1/2 years ago and there are just so many amazing spots to explore. We went to see Buckingham Palace and the horse guards’ parade over half term – I just have to pinch myself sometimes that I live here (originally being form the US), I love London.

Join us this Monday 7th March at The Clissold Arms, 105 Fortis Green, N2 9HR where Stephanie and Dorothy will be talking about ‘Beauty from the Inside’ – where you can learn the essentials of beauty nutrition and how to quickly prepare delicious foods for glowing hair, skin and nails

Tickets are available at www.sortingself.com

Fig & Bloom are a Muswell Hill based consultancy specialising in nutrition, cooking tutorials and recipe development aimed at improving health and wellbeing for the long-term, founded by Stephanie, a registered nutritional therapist and Dorothy, a holistic chef.  They use the latest science-based nutritional information to create fabulous tasting food, and help their clients nourish themselves easily, effectively and deliciously.

For more info on Fig & Bloom see www.figandbloom.com/

Be brave & audacious! says interior designer Josephine Lecoufle-Vinet

Posted on

Just a week to go before becoming interior design gurus at our next talk, Interior Designer Josephine Lecoufle-Vinet

Cat: What influenced you to become an interior designer?

Josephine: Definitely my dad.  He doesn’t know it but he taught me the love of beautiful pieces and how they could be enhanced thanks to elegant arrangement.  All my childhood, I’ve lived in amazing houses packed with character and filled with great pieces.  So when I decided on a career change, interior design was the obvious choice.

pic of Josephine

Cat:  What do you love about your job?

Josephine: Everything!  I hate plain and unimaginative rooms,  I think living in a kind of showroom where everything is grey, sleek and soulless is the worst.  I love real homes, cosy and witty.

Cat: Are there any design tricks busy mums can quickly apply to make a big impact in the rooms in their houses?

Josephine: Be brave and audacious!  Don’t be afraid to add a pinch of humour to your interior.  Whether you add a bright colour, a funky wallpaper or an original piece of furniture, you’ll see the difference it makes.  Although the difficulty is knowing when to stop!

Cat: Sorting Self is all about finding a bit of me time for busy mums, how do you spend your free time?

Josephine: Free time… I feel like I don’t have free time to be honest.  I invest myself so much in everything I do, my mind is always in effervescence!  That is the downside of this area, we can’t really switch off anymore!

Cat: Josephine, come along to some more of our talks for a bit of downtime, there’s a great programme coming up of more relaxing topics such as personal style or mindfulness.

For more on Josephine visit: http://www.jlv-design.co.uk/



Great tips for relaxation from our experts

Posted on


After a hectic festive season many of us are looking for ways to relax and de-stress and preferably ones that don’t involve too much alcohol!!!  Enter Emma and Ellie, professional wellness experts with some great tips for us all on essential oils!

Cat: What are your top tips for relaxation for busy mums?
Emma: Mums are the most incredible givers, but so many I meet find it really hard to receive or put anything back in for themselves.  Be open to receiving some space and time for yourself.  Gift yourself something at least once a week, whether it’s a quite coffee on your own or a night out with friends!
Ellie: Look at ways of quickly calming the parasympathetic nervous system – like a 10 minute mediation or even lying with your legs up the wall for 5 minutes!

Cat: What’s your favourite essential oil?
Emma: So difficult… so I’ll share what are my must haves…. Lavender for sound sleep, clary sage to regulate hormones and manage my PMS, and wild orange for keeping me motivated and in top form throughout the day.
Ellie: OnGuard. It’s very effective against illness, can be used by the whole family and smells absolutely delicious.

Cat: What do you love about your job?
Emma: I love my clients and customers and I’m so passionate about empowering people to take charge of their health with natural solutions.  I’ve always been in love with essential oils since I was a child.  My Mum’s best friend is a reflexologist and I would always sneak into her treatment room as a child to sniff her oils 🙂
Ellie: Being able to empower and teach others how to use pure plant medicine for such a huge range of family health issues. Who would have thought essential oils could become your medicine cabinet?!

Cat: Sorting Self is all about finding a bit of me time for busy mums, how do you relax and spend your free time?
Emma: I walk a lot. I have two pugs and I’m constantly in Highgate woods or on the Heath, it’s great for clearing the mind. I also practice yoga regularly and make sure I call my best friends for a chat at the weekend. Laughing my head off with my best pals is the greatest way to relax! I would like to get more regular massages… that’s my resolution for 2016!
Ellie: I have a bath every evening with some relaxing essential oils and I make luxurious face masks using the oils as well. Nothing makes me feel more indulged than pampering myself when I’m feeling tense or exhausted.

Cat: If there was one thing you think a busy mum could do to make a difference to her daily routine with oils, what would it be?
Emma: Just to carry them with you always! There is an oil for absolutely everything, if your stressed, tired, got a headache, anxious… there is an oil that can provide relief!
Ellie: Apply a few drops of an essential oil on the bottoms of your feet in the morning and before bed and you will notice a huge difference in energy during the day and sleep quality at night – such an easy thing to implement.

Join us on Monday 11th January for a demo and talk with Emma and Ellie for a taster essential oils workshop designed to help you unwind. Tickets available here:
Ticket includes some free essential oil samples to take home
Emma and Ellie started teaching to share their love and passion for the restorative and healing powers of essential oils as well as to create a space for education and discussion, not just about essential oils but to promote the wellness lifestyle of eating right, exercising, meditating, sleeping proper and managing stress, as well as reducing toxins in our bodies and homes.