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.
One of my favourite places in Miami is Lincoln Road. It’s a huge, pedestrianised area stuffed with shops, restaurants, cafés, and on certain days there are market stalls and food stalls too. After working up an appetite on our cycling tour of Miami Beach, we headed to SushiSamba and flumped down in the shade of their gorgeous orange brollies to do a bit of nibbling and people watching.
We’ve got loads going on here at English Towers at the moment. There’s possibly a move on the cards (New, New English Towers?), or possibly the chance to refurbish the current English Towers. Whichever way, I’ve absolutely set my heart on a new kitchen. My Pinterest board for kitchens is getting bigger and bigger, and there are bits of magazines everywhere.
Being a mum of teenagers is challenging for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is letting them out into the big wide world in their first car. We decided that we would trade in my bigger car for a smaller, newer car that I could share with Sam, purely because we wanted him to be driving the best car that we could possibly afford, with as many safety features and airbags as possible. I guess there are always sacrifices you make for your kids and mine is to drive around in a little 1.0L car – a small price to pay for a bit of peace of mind!
Miami is a perfect destination for teenagers. Not only is it SUPER cool, it’s buzzing with activity, day and night, and there are so many things to see and do, so whether your teen is sporty, stylish, a beach bum or an animal lover, I’ve got the perfect activity: Read more
For food lovers, Italy is without a doubt one of the best places in the world for dining out. While the usual classics like pizza, pasta and ‘mamma’s tasty meatballs’ are indeed delicious, the culinary scene is vast and varied throughout the country. Italy boasts some incredible quality and a diverse range of flavours as each region has, over time, cultivated its own unique cuisine. In order to source the very best in Italian fare on a dreamy Tuscan city break or a fabulous Roman holiday, consider a few things to tantalise your taste buds.
So just before I went to Miami, online fashion catalogue Kaleidoscope contacted me and asked if I’d like to choose a few things from their holiday shop to take with me. I’ve never shopped with Kaleidoscope before, and online shopping worries me a bit when it’s someone I haven’t heard of, but I chose a couple of different pieces and crossed my fingers.
…for passing on your love of wine, for sunny holidays, belly laughs, bonfires, crisps and coke in the car, donkey rides, planes, puppies and kittens, restaurants, Christmas lights, theatre and pantomimes, gardening, The Jungle Book, cash (lots of cash), for choosing the boys as your best man and chief usher (for being the best Grandad generally), for reluctant hugs, naughty words, more belly laughs, wiping the odd tear away, Mateus Rosé, smelly cheese, awful sandals, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, papas arugadas, roses, the nuns on the travelator (still makes me cry with laughter), filthy jokes, scribbled postcards, still being called ‘Titch’ when I wasn’t remotely titchy any more, the Royal Tournament, for never giving up on me and always being my proud, Disreputable Dad.
Happy Fathers’ Day x
- A lovely giveaway for English Mum’s eighth birthday July 24, 2014
- Dresses for people who really don’t suit dresses July 23, 2014
- A secret wine tasting and some fab new wine discoveries July 21, 2014
- A duck egg Victoria sponge cake for Dad’s birthday July 19, 2014
- The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas: shore excursions July 17, 2014