This week saw the announcement of the new hush autumn 17 collection and it really is a gorgeous one. I’ve seen them go from quite a niche online company to wandering the racks of their clothes in John Lewis like a proud mama, and I continue to love everything about their relaxed, grown up style. I absolutely love it when a new season collection lands and it’s no secret that autumn’s my favourite: all those snuggly jumpers, muted colours and soft fabrics make me so happy. Let’s face it, our summer’s been pretty nonexistent, hasn’t it? During our dog walks recently (yup, in wellies and rainwear), we’ve picked handfuls of blackberries for crumble, and the crabapples and sloes are dotting the hedgerows already… It’s like mother nature wants us all to forget it ever happened and move straight on to autumn. And honestly? At this stage, I’m pretty happy with that.
I love cooking with pork medallions. They’re so easy as there’s no trimming or waste, and they cook so quickly too. I tend to pop them in my shopping basket as they’re a bit of a family favourite and make a nice change from chicken (we eat far too much chicken). They’re ready in about 20 minutes, so they’re ideal for healthy, tasty midweek meals. My preferred cooking method is to pan fry them, just enough to get a lovely golden colour on them, then cover them in something yummy and oven bake. Often this is just a layer of sliced fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, a few herbs and plenty of seasoning, but this glaze is soooo good, it’s our new favourite. I serve these honey and mustard glazed pork medallions with a sweet mash of butternut squash and sweet potato, with a little fresh thyme.
As we had some travel plans cancelled in August, Mr E and I have really been enjoying exploring our lovely local area. The Chilterns are stuffed full of historic stately homes and manor houses: from Waddesdon Manor, designed in the style of a romantic French Renaissance chateau, to Sir Francis Dashwood’s extravagant, Italianate West Wycombe Park, we have a huge diversity of beautiful buildings to visit. One that might have escaped your radar is Latimer House, now the De Vere Latimer Estate, a stunning mansion house estate that has recently undergone a huge (£7m) refurbishment that has transformed the original mansion house, including a beautifully renovated library, a coffee shop, a brand new restaurant: 1838 Restaurant and Bar, and the new Huntley Bar as well as additional luxury bedrooms and an elegant new reception.
Fashion seasons are so fickle aren’t they? I always think it’s weird how in the middle of August, when we should all be enjoying the sun (okay, I appreciate this really hasn’t happened), all everyone is talking about is school uniform, and things that are ‘new in for Autumn’, ‘new season’, etc. Still, I get it. If you’ve got kids going back to school (I haven’t – for the first time ever – sniff), you need to get uniforms and school kit organised, and if not, if you’re anything like me, those little glimpses of deliciously soft knitwear, leather boots and coats still make my heart do a little skip – autumn is by far my favourite season! Recently I’ve been considering investment handbags. I tend to buy a handbag – generally leather but not hugely expensive – and use it until I get sick of it, or ruin it. I’ve currently got a cavernous, ‘chuck it all in’ soft leather bag that I bought in John Lewis. But September, with all its back to school newness, does seem the season to maybe invest in something new and beautiful – a kind of new school bag for grown ups, if you will.
Do you do much to your brows? I actually don’t mind the shape of mine, but I do think that every time I go and get them threaded, they seem to take a tiny bit more away and I’ve started to notice recently that this means they’re a bit thinner than I’d like them. I mentioned this to Nat Lupton, owner of The Hair Secret in Berkhamsted (my favourite hair salon – I’m going there tomorrow for a mega-makeover – watch this space!), and she recommended that I book in for HD Brows at Bloom Beauty Bar, located just inside the salon, with their mega-talented make-up artist and HD Brow specialist Zoe Kennedy.
There aren’t many prettier towns than Marlow, right next to the River Thames in Buckinghamshire. We spent a sunny morning wandering the shops (Sweaty Betty, Fat Face, a massive Jigsaw, Whistles, Mint Velvet, and loads of stylish independent boutiques and shops) down to the river, and then – all set to walk along the river’s edge for a while – the sky suddenly got really dark and fat blobs of rain started splashing on us. Ah well, instead we headed to West Street, to try the bottomless brunch at The Botanist, a pretty, quirky bar and restaurant on West Street. The front window completely rolls back, so when the sun finally came out again, it was a lovely spot to sit, sip a cocktail and watch the world go by while waiting for our table.
I don’t know about you but I feel a bit like I’m on a never ending search for good skincare products. Every time I find one I really like, by the end of the pot (or sometimes halfway through) I’m already thinking that it’s not quite right – generally it’s because I find everything a bit greasy. It will feel fine in the morning, but by lunchtime my forehead is shiny and I already know this one’s not for me. I think I mentioned a while ago that I’m a huge fan of Nadine Baggott’s #Thebeautyknowitall YouTube channel, and she’d recommended The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid – in fact she recommended quite a few products in the range. I was especially interested as, like me, Nadine really doesn’t like the feel of creams on her face and prefers to use more lightweight serum formulas, so after I’d ordered the Hyaluronic Acid, I decided to give a couple of the other things from The Ordinary skincare range a go, and so far, I’m really loving them.
Did you keep a diary when you were younger? I kept one for a few years when I was in my early teens, and me and my best friend also wrote to each other all the time (this was before the internet, people!) and I kept those letters for years and years too. I’d love to read them again now and get to know my teenage self again. I wonder what happened to them? Think of the positive life plan as the grown up equivalent of those teenage ramblings: a constructive and uplifting way to keep track of all aspects of your life and maybe even make a few changes along the way too. Here, we’ve listed five reasons why you should start the positive life plan. Plus, a chance to win a gorgeous personalised TOAD notebook to do it in!
Are we allowed to say ‘staycation’? Well, whatever we’re currently calling it, I had a bit of travel cancelled recently and was getting majorly itchy feet, so I suggested to Mr E that we take a little weekend trip to London. And what a lovely weekend it turned out to be. We stayed at the very lovely Dorsett Shepherds Bush, which is the perfect hotel for a city break: it’s literally a five minute walk from the tube station (and Westfield Shopping Centre), and we spent the whole weekend exploring and hopping on and off the tube.
So following on from my positive life plan post about fitness, I mentioned that one of the joys of keeping fit is buying all the workout gear. I love it: you really wouldn’t think it, but running leggings are actually quite flattering (why is that? I guess because they smooth everything out and suck everything in) and it’s all so comfy and colourful. I feel much more confident, somehow, if I’m in some nice sportwear. Here are a few of my top picks of the latest workout gear for all sizes and budgets.
If you’re new to the positive life plan, let me recap: it’s basically just a lovely way to keep track of all the different areas of your life: health, fitness, money, beauty/personal style, relationships, work, quality time, aspirations, self, and really there are no rules (apart from one: everything has to be positive, so no being hard on yourself for anything). It’s a great opportunity to spend a bit of time on you and perform a positive life edit that you can continue to work on and update. It’s also a good excuse to buy a new notebook, and you know how happy that makes us. I’m now trying to devote a whole post to each category. So last time was self, and this time the focus is on one of the toughest categories in the positive life plan: fitness.
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!
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:
- Weekend wishlist: oh, hush autumn 17, you’re looking lovely! August 19, 2017
- Honey and mustard glazed pork medallions August 17, 2017
- The De Vere Latimer Estate August 15, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: investment handbags August 12, 2017
- HD Brows at Bloom Beauty Bar, Berkhamsted August 10, 2017