Can you believe July has disappeared already? I’d love to tell you of long, lazy, hazy summer days lolling in the garden sipping Prosecco, but I’ve been ridiculously busy, rushing to London for meetings, buying a house (hopefully!), travelling and writing to various deadlines. Still, I’ve taken the time to jot down a couple of the things that have been useful/beautiful/handy/delicious. And here’s to a slightly more chilled out August! Here’s what I’m loving now:
So recently I got invited to a very swish private screening of the third series of Sky Living’s drama, Scandal. If you’re not already hooked (bet you are), it stars the gorgeous Kerry Washington (who we all remember most as the blind lady who dated The Thing in the Fantastic Four, but who was also amazing in Django Unchained), as White House fixer Olivia Pope. It’s full of intrigue, secrets and cover-ups and is seriously good.
So how did the evening pan out? I’m not sure you’ll believe it…
People, especially ‘foodies’, are often a bit snobby about microwaves. I’ve got one and we use it quite a lot, whether it’s to heat up a quick bowl of soup or baked beans, melt butter to add to my favourite gooey iced bun recipe, or to reheat someone’s meal when they’re late to dinner AGAIN.
So the kids are breaking up (or have broken up) from school and now the loooong summer stretches ahead. My two seem to have been off for weeks already (both have done exams and have been on study leave since May – happily they both have part time jobs which at least keep them occupied some of the time). So whether you’re embracing this time with your children, or dreading it, you’ll still have between a month and six weeks of time to fill and there’s nothing worse than bored kids. So how can you keep the kids entertained? Here are my top 5 tips for surviving the school summer holidays:
I love a cute little infographic and this one all about summer at Center Parcs really caught my eye. Everybody knows that when the sun is shining, there’s no nicer place to be than right here at home and there’s a lot to be said for missing out all the queues at security and that airport parking to enjoy a summer holiday here in the UK.
So this week, my little corner of the internet is celebrating its eighth birthday. Eight whole years of talking waffle! I was telling someone recently (in the manner of a very old lady) that when I started out, I knew most of the other ‘mummy bloggers’ out there. There weren’t very many and we all felt like friends, commenting on each other’s blog posts and actually meeting up in real life occasionally too!
So recently me and the Mr were out shopping. He’s actually one of those men that’s really good at shopping. He’s not a ‘stand outside the shop looking awkward’ kind of man, he’s a ‘get stuck in and have a rummage’ one. He has an opinion. He’ll tell you if he thinks something suits me (not that I always take his advice, obviously) and he’ll also be honest if something doesn’t (brutally, occasionally – he’s been known to make me cry, but that was years ago, he’s learned to be a bit more tactful these days).
My brother is really into his wine. He’s a serious collector and really knows his stuff. He’s introduced me to some amazing wines and we’re always telling each other about our new wine discoveries.
We decided to get together for a bit of a ‘wine-off’ with Big Bro and his wife picking some wines, then me and Mr English picking some wines, and decided to make it a bit more tricky by agreeing to cover the labels.
So my lovely, naughty, silly Dad is 79 this weekend. We tried to pin him down to a date to come for dinner, but he’s such a social butterfly that he didn’t have a day free. We compromised by persuading him to pop round after going out for dinner somewhere else to have the cheese and dessert courses with us! Read more
Our cruise aboard the beautiful Allure of the Seas took us around the Eastern Caribbean. Starting from Fort Lauderdale , where we stayed one night at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina - a gorgeous hotel with the most beautiful views of the marina (the clue’s in the name)…
So I wrote a while back about our house dilemma: stay here or move to pastures new. We’ve been looking around for a while, and a house in the same village we currently live caught our eye. And kept catching our eye. It was in an area that we quite like, a nice size… but there it was, every time we did an internet search – that same house. It didn’t sell. And in a buoyant market that seemed a little odd. Read more
It’s been a really interesting week. Firstly, I had a meeting with the lovely folk at Plan UK. I’ve just been asked to join them as an ambassador, and I was delighted to say yes. I’ve been asked to do stuff with a few charities before, but I’ve always resisted, but I’ve actually noticed their ‘because I am a girl’ campaign, and really wanted to learn more about them and, I guess, help, if I can.
One of my earliest memories is of sitting up on the work surface in our green melamine kitchen watching my mum make jam. Of course I was placed well away from the hot liquid bubbling away in a huge preserving pan, but I was often allowed to do the ‘saucer test’, carefully pushing my little finger against a blob of jam on a cold saucer to see if it was set.
So if you’re a boy, second on your list of important things on the ship after being first in line for the FlowRider is sorting out where you’re going to stuff your face. Happily, on the Allure of the Seas (in fact, ANY Royal Caribbean cruise ship) you can pretty much eat 24 hours a day, with loads of choice too.
So yesterday I had a very special date with a certain Mr Mouse at a Disney drinks party at the beautiful new Ham Yard Hotel in Soho. Of course I had to ask Mickey if he had any juicy gossip to share. Here are a few of the things I heard:
So recently I talked about my quest for cheaper mobile data when travelling, and my discovery that Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ service allows you to use your Pay As You Go credit while travelling abroad (basically you just convert your credit into an add-on, then you can use your allowance of minutes, texts and data up to a limit of something like 25Gb.
At the end of May, I undertook a little facial maintenance with my lovely laser therapist, Melissa at Disappear Ltd in Milton Keynes. Melissa is removing my hideous tattoo, and I’ve become a bit obsessed with all the other little bits and bobs she does there for skin rejuvenation. I started with a session of Meso Vytal micro needling. One month on, and with two very sunny weeks in Florida and the Caribbean in between, I’m still pretty pleased with the results. I found the Meso Vytal very good for evening out my skin tone (I have quite a lot of Melasma – skin pigmentation, especially across my forehead), and with daily application of a good quality sunblock, I was feeling good about my skin. Good enough, I told her, to go without foundation ALL THE TIME – unheard of for me.
I love roast beef. I’m a bit slapdash when cooking it, but I always use the same timings and it always turns out okay for me. This step-by-step works whether you’re intending to cook a full-on roast dinner, or make the warm salad with Thai flavours that I’ve made here.
I’ve written before about how hard it can be to see your children growing up before your eyes, and before you can blink. My curly blonde babies are now strapping lads, taller than both me and their Dad, but honestly? I don’t feel sad.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m pretty sure that you’ve noticed we’ve been cruising on the Allure of the Seas around the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean challenged the boys to have a really active high-adrenaline cruise and I think we managed it, what with zip-lining, surfing on the Flow-Rider, snorkelling, power rafting and much more. And while the boys were doing all this, it left us lots of lovely free time for lazing, eating out, sunbathing and a few cocktails too! Here’s how we got on:
We’ve lived in this house very happily for the last three years. I love that we’re quite near the local fen, which is a lovely place to walk the pupster, and we’re also the last house before a wide, public footpath which is covered in beautiful pink rose bushes during the summer that tumble over into our garden.
So just before I went on holiday, I finished the Michael Jackson book that a friend had lent me ( Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days - an interesting read if you’re in to that kind of thing – written by his bodyguards) and was at a loss as to what to buy next.
- July: what I’m loving now August 1, 2014
- 5 mad things about the Scandal, Series 3 event in London July 31, 2014
- Really lazy microwave syrup sponge. And the big microwave debate July 31, 2014
- 5 tips for surviving the school summer holidays July 29, 2014
- The Moët Summer Terrace at Le Meridien July 28, 2014