August is when festival season really kicks in in Edinburgh. The city is suddenly filled with thousands of street performers and you’ll be lucky to walk more than a few steps without someone enthusiastically pressing a flyer into your hand. The mass influx of performers and punters means the city is alive with an electric buzz.
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I’m a huge Disney Cruise Line fan, as you know. We were on the Disney Magic last year cruising around the Mediterranean and it was just absolutely magical. Of course, the Magic has now had an incredible revamp and is ready, all sparkly and new, to set sail along with the Fantasy and Wonder for new destinations in the summer of 2015.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been having a bit of a moan about mobile data roaming when travelling abroad. Obviously, being online and staying in contact is really important when, like me, it’s your business, but just generally, most people want to be able to stay in touch when they’re abroad (although obviously tweeting when you’re on the beach is generally only the preserve of nutters like me).
Inghams Italy are experts in Italian holidays. They’ve worked really hard to find tons of really unusual hotels, from vineyards to castles, with the flexibility of choosing to fly from over 20 UK airports on a day to suit you. They’re specialists in tailor-made holidays with tons of flexibility and are all about making your holiday perfect for you.
I love Easter. Firstly, it’s my birthday, then there’s all that chocolate, the chance of sunny days, gorgeous spring lamb, daffodils, more chocolate… it’s just a big combination of lots of things that I really love.
So did I mention I’m going to New York?
I’m going to New York for work (like a proper grow up) and then straight onto a fabulous cruise. I’m feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. I also have just discovered that I have NOTHING TO WEAR.
I’ve got several awesome things for you this month on the beauty front. I’m still loving my Clarins Double Serum. At the beginning, I was worried it was going to be too greasy, but actually the dewy finish is quite flattering and makes a good base for makeup, so I’m loving it more and more:
So in honour of this momentous number, I decided that I should have a birthday week (what? it’s a thing) of fun, celebrations, yummy food and seeing the people I love. 7 happy days to celebrate. Here are some of the things that have happened so far. My Disreputable Dad’s first ever selfie – at 78! (above)…
I’m a lucky girl. I know this because I’m fortunate enough not to have to share a bathroom with my offspring. I’d like to go all David Attenborough a minute and talk you, sotto voce, around the bathroom habitat of the male teenager ‘disgustingus teenagerus‘.
The Grand National is fast approaching, which means it will soon be Ladies Day: my favourite time of year to do some serious fashiony people watching and gaze (sometimes in wonder and – let’s face it – sometimes in horror) at the outfits on display. Sadly I won’t be attending but the lovely chaps at Bookmakers asked me how I would have styled my day and – anything for a bit of online window shopping – I was happy to oblige!
Universal capital of The First World War, Verdun was the hotspot of the greatest battle the 20th century has ever seen. Destroyed villages, combat sites, museums, memorials and re-enactments bear testimony to the scale and the destructiveness of the war, as well as of the valour and bravery of the city’s defenders.
As you know, I’m really keen on being a bit thrifty in the kitchen. The leftovers to our Sunday roast generally becomes a pilaf or a risotto on Monday.
Mothers’ Day (or Mothering Sunday) is on 30th March, and I’ve found some absolutely wonderful products for you to treat your lovely Mum with. Go on, she deserves it:
So, amazingly, Charlie has stuck to his rash ‘I’m not eating chocolate any more’ decision with incredibly amounts of willpower, even as we’ve been tucking into all sorts of treats we’ve been sent. He’s not even been eating his previous post-school staple of chocolate brownies. He is, however, still eating other treats, so I’m not overly worried that this is one of those mad teenage diets.
If you are a new parent (or an expectant one), then you may be somewhat concerned about all the things you have to do, the things you have to buy, the things you have to get ready. Having a baby changes your life, and you’ll want to be prepared as possible.
So for a while now I’ve been working on a’ top secret hush hush I could tell you but I’ll have to kill you’ project with Ebay. FINALLY, I can now tell you all about it and it’s a doozy!
Something personalised always makes a gift extra special, which goes down well with Mums. Scarlett Jewellery is handmade in the UK and was founded by fellow mum, designer Sarah Fenton in 1998. I had a chat with Sarah and she listened really hard when I was telling her what I would love for Mothers’ Day (basically something featuring ALL my family). The result (with many of her suggestions) was this gorgeous necklace (above).
I’m generally more of a cake lover then chocolate (you had no idea, right?) but there’s something about Cadbury Creme Eggs (yes, it’s Cadbury, not Cadbury’s – y’know, like Cinderella Castle at Disneyworld) that makes me long for Easter every year (the season is actually quite short – they’ll be gone from the shelves again on April 20th). I think it’s a bit of a comfort thing in miserable January and February (plus March is my birthday month and I associate it with Creme Eggs!). I’m a ‘bit the top off and lick the goo out’ person, but recently we’ve become a bit addicted to popping them in the freezer. The filling doesn’t set solid, but becomes firm and fondanty. Delicious, and a bit easier to scoff on the sofa, admittedly.
Regular English Mum readers will know that Ireland means a lot to us all here at English Towers. In fact, it’s the reason why this little part of the interwebz even exists. Long, long ago (eight whole years to be precise) we set off on a new adventure to the Emerald Isle and spent many happy years living first in Dublin, then later Meath and finally beautiful county Cavan.
Mr English is of Irish descent and the boys are proud of their heritage. Charlie can even wow you with a bit of Gaeilge if you ask nicely (although it’s mostly swears) so when Paddy’s Day approaches, it instills in us all a mixture of nostalgia and longing for places and friends left behind.
Continuing with my new menu planning obsession (honestly, it’s saving me A FORTUNE – I’ve got my favourites saved on the online shopping app and I just tweak it every week, then buy the odd bit of fresh stuff from the farmer’s market or my fab local farm shop), I thought I’d share another of my staple ingredients: puff pastry. I do quite like making puff pastry (well, rough puff), but there’s certainly no shame in using ready made, and a pack of all butter puff pastry is the perfect thing to keep in the fridge to make tarts, pies and much more.
What would you like for Mothers’ Day? I usually like hand cream, bubbles or maybe a scented candle. They’re the sort of thing that you don’t really always buy for yourself as it seems a bit self indulgent. I thought this little illustration from Sanctuary Spa was so pretty – and SO true – generally what we’d really love isn’t expensive presents or fancy meals out, it’s a lie in, a cuddle, and a little bit of pampering. I also thought it was very funny that 42% of mums had admitted to pretending to like past Mothers’ Day gifts – what on earth did they get?! Something home made presumably (I’ve had some shockers – but all made with love) – a lot of the time it’s poor Dad who ends up getting the pressie (the pressure!), so let’s hope while Googling, they land here and find out what we really want! Read more
I’m really not a good photographer. I don’t own a decent camera and although I feel like my Instagram/food shots are improving, I’ve got quite a long way to go.
Recently, Panasonic launched a new campaign around their Lumix G range, called #whyDSLR. It’s all about the benefits of mirrorless cameras over more traditional DSLRs (I’m not technical so I’m afraid you’ll have to look at the website for the details, but as far as I can work out, mirrorless cameras are the more modern, lighter, smaller option). They sent me one of their Lumix GX7 cameras to try out and have a play with.
Spring is a great time for the skin. After the challenges of winter, with its biting cold winds and fluctuations in temperature, it’s time to let your skin breathe and recover. And while dark, glamorous looks may suit brooding skies and wintry nights, spring is a time to be playful and experimental with your make-up. Here are ten tips for springtime success.
- Edinburgh Festival – an insider’s guide April 16, 2014
- Disney Cruise Line’s amazing new ‘Frozen’ destinations for 2015 April 15, 2014
- In which we stuff our faces with burgers made of gelato at Prezzo April 12, 2014
- The one where I turn detective in my quest for cheaper mobile data bills while travelling April 10, 2014
- Inghams Italy’s Parents Guide to Italy April 7, 2014