My poor Dad’s been having a really terrible time of it recently. After a horrendous biopsy to investigate a shadow on his kidney proved inconclusive, he’s now recovering slowly, with the terrible prospect of facing the whole thing all over again. He’s lost loads of weight and is feeling really rotten, so when I initially suggested a birthday dinner, we weren’t sure it would go ahead, but in true form, The Naughty One rallied and decided he’d come and celebrate with us this weekend. I cooked his favourite fish pie, and went mad with dessert: a salted caramel layer cake with a layer of vanilla sponge, one of caramel sponge and one chocolate sponge layer, all slathered in a salted caramel mascarpone cream (well it’s not every day you’re 82).
Since we’ve knocked through the kitchen/dining room, my kitchen is one of our favourite spaces. It’s not flashy (we couldn’t afford new units so we just changed the worktop, tiles and – finally this year – the flooring), but it’s so light and bright now, and along with our brightly painted, upcycled kitchen table, chairs and wall units (thanks to Mr E) it’s happy and homely too. I’m always on the lookout for cheerful, quirky things, so here’s my summer kitchen roundup, including some really rather lovely sale items!
About the positive life plan
Regular readers will know that my friend: writer, blogger, and life coach, Erica Douglas, and I originally came up with the positive life plan when we were on holiday together. We were just chatting about life and the germ of an idea started to form: we split the main topics of our thoughts into different categories: health, fitness, money, beauty/personal style, relationships, work/personal brand, quality time, aspirations, self, and added the rule that everything had to be positive, no being hard on ourselves. We thought it would give us the opportunity to perform a positive life edit that we could continue to work on and refer back to now and again to keep ourselves on track. Basically the plan is as simple or as complicated as you make it. Many people have said that they have a notebook split into sections, and just keep track of their thoughts and feelings on each topic, updating and editing every so often, but do whatever suits you. This month, we’re focusing on the first category of the positive life plan: self.
‘Oh, I’ve been to Walt Disney World, I don’t need to go again’, said no-one ever. One of the things I love most about the happiest place on earth is that it’s ever-evolving. One of the best places to hear all the news and future plans for the Disney Parks and Resorts is D23 Expo, Disney’s official fan club’s brilliant biannual gathering, billed as the ultimate Disney fan event, which took place in Anaheim over the weekend. There have been some pretty jaw-dropping announcements, so if you’re a Disney fan, grab a cuppa, and I’ll take you through what’s coming up at Walt Disney World, Florida (and a few bits from the other parks too). Excuse all the artist’s impressions but obviously that’s all there is at the moment, apart from the pic I took of the hoarding hiding the new Toy Story Land!
As the kids get older, the idea of lazing on a beach with an iced drink and a good thriller novel to hand (my idea of heaven) becomes a bit less realistic. I know some teenagers are happy to loll around on holiday, but we like to break it up and have at least a couple of days expanding our comfort zone. I thought it would be a good idea to suggest a few activities to get the heart-rate up and excitement pounding, so here are a few of my top activities for adrenaline junkies. These are also great if you’re not actually heading away anywhere, but want a few tips for great days out to break up the holidays.
I absolutely love this time of year: I love being able to waft about in floaty maxi dresses and flat sandals, or chuck on some denim shorts and a pretty top. I just feel it’s easier to dress when it’s summer, somehow. I’m also mega-excited whenever new collections are released, especially if they contain the above-mentioned floaty maxis and pretty tops. I’m loving everything about the new hush late-summer mini-collection. Regular readers will know that they’re one of my all-time favourite brands (my Instagram is basically just me wearing hush clothes). Everything is gorgeous (obvs), but here are my top picks:
If you saw my post about Halloween Horror Nights last year, you’ll know that Erica and I absolutely loved it. If you don’t know much about the event, the easiest way to describe it is that the entire Universal Studios site is transformed into a living horror film, with five different scare zones: themed areas populated by roaming hordes of terrifying characters (or scareactors), as well as live shows and – the main event: nine mazes – incredibly detailed themed haunted houses filled with terrifying live scenes and actors, based on some of the most famous and blood-curdling horror films in history. Read on, to find out more about Halloween Horror Nights 27.
We all know that feeling, right? After a gorgeous holiday, the last day is such a massive come-down: you’ve got to be out of your room by midday but your flight doesn’t leave until the evening, you don’t want to get sandy and have nowhere to shower, so your last day is spent miserably killing time, sweating in your travel clothes, before heading home. While I was in beautiful Barbados, though, Virgin announced a brand new concept that’s going to change all that, and I think you’re going to love it. Step forward The Departure Beach from Virgin.
If you’ve not heard of Carla Bikini before, they’re a lovely French swimwear company that stock a wide range of swimwear, sportswear (if, like me, you’re always after good fitness stuff, they have some great tops, sports bras, leggings and shorts, beachwear and lingerie, from some great brands like Seafolly, Rip Curl, Fantasie and Freya. I ordered this swimsuit (pictured above – sadly not in the sale) a while ago and absolutely love it – it’s so comfy and supportive, doesn’t ride up and washes really well. I’ve done a couple of orders now and found them really helpful too. At the moment, there’s a summer sale on with prices up to 80% off so I thought I’d pass on a few of the bargains I’ve spotted. Here are my top picks from the swimwear sale at Carla Bikini.
So it’s now been a couple of weeks since I’ve had my Botox treatment at One Stop Doctors, and as promised, I’m coming back to you to let you know how I got on. I’ve also been back to have a microneedling treatment, which, as you’ll read below is quite strange, but wow, the results are really amazing. So let’s crack on, then. Here’s a Botox update and microneedling report – with pictures!
A couple of weeks ago, I received a pretty fabulous invitation to Barbados. Flying out with Virgin Holidays for a week at The Club Barbados, right next to Sandy Lane on the gorgeous, calm west coast of Barbados – a no brainer right? Well, almost. The bit of the invitation that had me hesitating was this: ‘come and be part of an exclusive expert led “Caribbean Choir” singing workshop’. Singing? Me?! I mean, yes, I sing in the shower, but a choir? I was nervous, but in my positive life plan notes, I’ve definitely written ‘be brave’ and ‘do something that scares you’, so I decided to embrace the challenge and replied with a firm yes!
Wait, where has the sun gone? Was that little flurry of warm days the summer? Did we miss it? We had such a lovely couple of days in the garden and isn’t it wonderful when it’s so balmy that you can actually sit outside in the evening? We went to one of my favourite stores, Homesense, who’ve got lots of lovely bits to transform your garden, all at up to 60% less than the RRP, and got a few things to update our space. What’s nicer than dining outside with the family, and then relaxing into the evening with twinkly lights and a flickering fire? Here are my top buys for al fresco dining with Homesense:
- A salted caramel layer cake for my lovely Dad July 25, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: the summer kitchen roundup July 22, 2017
- The positive life plan: self July 20, 2017
- News from D23 Expo: what’s coming up at Walt Disney World, Florida July 18, 2017
- Top activities for adrenaline junkies July 17, 2017