If you’ve been here before (hello!), you’ll know that at the beginning of the year, I wrote a little about this year being my year of ‘thoughtful spending‘. This meant attacking the vast piles of clothes in the top of my wardrobe, working out what was wearable and what wasn’t (tick), sending what wasn’t to charity (tick!), and having a good hard look at how in future, my wardrobe could be a) smaller and b) more user friendly (work in progress). Of course once I started on my home wardrobe, this started to filter down to my holiday wardrobe. Here’s how I got on in my quest to pack like a minimalist.
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited up to London to attend a launch event for the new Samsung Galaxy A series. The new Galaxy A3 and its big brother, the Galaxy A5 are mid-market phones, sitting nicely between the very high end Galaxy S7 Edge and Samsung’s entry level offerings. Samsung know that even those with less budget, say: teenagers, for example, still demand features like great quality pictures, water resistance and good battery life. The new Samsung Galaxy A series sits happily in this mid-range spot, offering some really fabulous innovations:
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really done much to my eyebrows. They’re an alright shape, so I just brush them up a bit and leave them at that. Occasionally I’ll have them threaded, but mostly I leave them alone and pluck out the odd stray hair. I keep reading recently, though, that the eyebrows are the most important element to your make up: it’s true, your eyebrows frame your face, and done well, they can lift your whole eye area, but I never really considered how I could enhance my own. Step forward: Browhaus. They have outlets all around the world, where they provide everything from basic brow shaping to something called Brow Resurrection: a semi permanent treatment involving tiny strokes of vegetable dye to fill in and reshape your brows.
This year is a seriously busy one for Disney, with the opening of a whole new world (see what I did there?) as well as loads of other new events and attractions. If you’re planning a visit this year, here’s a little Walt Disney World update, so you can find out what you can expect to see and experience while you’re there.
When you try to focus on keeping a relatively minimalist wardrobe full of good quality classics, the new season can always be a bit of a challenge. I have to really keep myself (and my wallet) in check, especially faced with all the pretty new spring colours and shapes. Still, there’s no harm in a bit of window shopping, and what better way of getting my fashion fix than sharing all my faves with you? Here are a few lovely spring bits that are definitely being added to my thoughtful spending list:
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Korean food is having a bit of a moment. It’s not a cuisine I’ve really explored but I keep reading about it, and it turns out that Korean food is really healthy and colourful, with lots of vegetables and simply cooked, good quality meat forming the basis of many dishes. I tried a Korean crispy lamb recipe from Simply Beef and Lamb, and it’s so easy, it can be on the table in about twenty minutes. This dish uses Gochujang (Korean chilli paste), which I was initially a bit worried about tracking down, but it turns out you can buy it in Waitrose and loads of places online. If you can’t find any, just use any other punchy chilli paste. As usual when choosing lamb, I always look out for a quality mark like the Red Tractor logo – I need to know that it’s responsibly produced, and the logo tells you that you’re buying farm assured, quality meat).
Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the fab ‘Travel Beautifully with Estée Lauder’ event at their spectacular offices in Fitzrovia (they have an open fire in the lobby, for goodness’ sake). I don’t consider myself to be a beauty blogger, but I’m certainly interested in all things travel beauty so I was delighted to attend and find out more about the brands under the Estée Lauder umbrella and pick up some pre-flight pampering tips. I think what many of us don’t know, when we’re browsing the huge area of brands at World Duty Free when we’re travelling, is that many of them offer – and actively encourage you to try – loads of different pre-flight treatments, workshops, walk-in demos, make up lessons and much more!
Do you do gifts for Valentine’s Day? I always think that whether it be birthdays, Christmas or otherwise, one of the worst presents you can receive is something to keep. I’m firmly with William Morris, who said ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’, and the same should definitely apply to gifting. I know that probably sounds a bit ungrateful, but ornaments and house bits are so personal, it’s so difficult if you get something that’s not really you, but then you’re kind of lumbered with it, and have to display/use it because, well, it was a gift! Here at number one, our standard gifting rule is that your gift must be something useful: something to eat (see my gorgeous strawberry and Cointreau layer cake, for example), something that they can use (like toiletries or scented candles), something that they can experience (like tickets or restaurant vouchers), or even just a voucher for somewhere you know the recipient loves to shop. So in that spirit, here are a few of my favourite bits of Valentine’s Day loveliness especially chosen for you and your beloved:
Here at number one, we say everything with cake. Passed an exam? Congratulations, here’s a cake. Miserable because it’s cold and rainy? Have some cake. Birthday? Christmas? Just because? It’s always cake. So when the lovely people at Denby asked me to create something special to celebrate their latest collection, Natural Canvas, and, as Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, well, it had to be a cake, right? A romantic one. And you can’t honestly get more romantic than this strawberry and Cointreau layer cake with coconut cream: it’s light, fluffy, fruity and sweet, whilst managing to be just a teeny bit intoxicating, a bit squishy, and more than a tad eat-with-your-fingers messy . The perfect match.
As a nation, I don’t think Holland crops up that much as a destination when we’re planning our next family holiday, but this little stretch of land across the channel offers a lot more than the cultural riches of Amsterdam. It’s easy to reach by train, plane or ferry and boasts long stretches of coastline, rugged woodland, excellent cycle routes and some of the best theme parks in the world. The holiday parks are numerous and really high quality, so if you’re looking for a little bit of inspiration for the summer holidays, here are my top five holiday parks in Holland.
Okay, if you’re not on Instagram you probably won’t know what on earth I’m talking about when I mention jungalow style, so I’ll explain. One of my favourite websites, The Jungalow, is home to the gorgeous Justina Blakeney, a designer who lives in LA at her heavenly, stylish home, The Jungalow. Justina’s designs are full of bright colours and beautiful patterns, and The Jungalow is a mine of fabulous inspiration: quirky hand made pieces, loads of plants, colour and lush prints. I adore everything about Justina’s ‘new Bohemian’ Jungalow style, and although Bedfordshire’s a pretty long way from LA, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all bring a little bit of jungaliciousness (that’s a word, right?) into our lives, is there? With The Jungalow as my inspiration, I set out on a mission to find a few bright accessories to give our kitchen a bit of a spring update.
I’m addicted to succulents. So much so that it’s getting a bit ridiculous. If, like me, you’re one of those people that always kills house plants, then succulents might be for you. They take barely any looking after, and they’re quite happy for me to go on trips and don’t require anyone to look after them while I’m away (which is just as well as my lot can barely manage to feed themselves, let alone look after anything else). Just a disclaimer here: I’m no expert (many look very similar – I can’t, for example, tell my Echeveria from my Pachyveria) but this is just my trial and error, learned over time method. Yes, there have been some casualties along the way – but hey, that’s another thing about succulents – the small ones are really cheap, so it’s not the end of the word. My succulents all seem pretty happy and none of them die any more, so I must be doing something right. Here’s my easy guide on how to look after indoor succulents, including how to repot, water, and care for them long term. Onwards!
- Weekend Wishlist: all the Spring cuteness April 22, 2017
- Vary your dairy: giving goat a go April 20, 2017
- Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at Walt Disney World – part two April 18, 2017
- The big Easter roundup: recipes, eggs and more April 14, 2017
- Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at Walt Disney World – part one April 13, 2017