By the time you read this, I’ll be exploring Kissimmee, St Pete and Clearwater in Florida with Norwegian – I know! I’m so excited. I try really hard not to buy new stuff every time I go away – it would become a very expensive lifestyle – but there are so many lovely things in the shops at the moment – I’ve been trying to limit myself to maybe just a few new holiday accessories for 2017 (I already bought that amazing embroidered playsuit and those embellished slides from Zara that I told you about last week – oops), and I really wanted some comfy trainers that aren’t too sporty looking – I love Converse, but I just don’t find them comfortable to walk around in all day when I’m sightseeing, they’re just too flat, and while running shoes from Nike and Adidas are comfortable, I find that they can be just too casual for a nice outfit. I wanted something in between.
So I told you last time that I’ve made a serious commitment to take better care of my skin, and after the incredible interest and feedback I got here and on my Facebook page after chatting about this, I’ve decided to keep a bit of a post 40 beauty diary. Last week saw me at One Stop Doctors in Hemel Hempstead again for the next step on my journey: microdermabrasion and a light skin peel as recommended by Cally. Here’s how I got on. As this is a bit long-winded, I’ve divided it into the different sections so you can skip down to the one that interests you!
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that over the weekend I was chatting about the ‘birthday challenge’. I’m not sure how this started but it’s been going on since the boys were really small. In our family, whenever it’s anyone’s birthday, they get to choose the birthday cake/dessert of their dreams – anything at all – and I promise to cook it for them. When the boys were small, they were always begging for novelty cakes way beyond my level of expertise: Buzz Lightyear and Power Rangers, then when they turned into little pre-teen smart-arses, it was always something really, really complicated – they would research for hours and come back with requests for things they thought were really exotic (my favourite was Sam’s request for a black forest gateau – I’m not even sure he knew what it was). Now, though, it’s all about requesting a big, yummy dessert and that suits me just fine. Sam’s birthday is on Tuesday, and I promised I’d do the birthday challenge last weekend as I’m away again next week (exploring Kissimmee, St Pete and Clearwater – I can’t wait). I was pretty chuffed when his request was for lemon meringue pie too – one of my favourites.
Last week while we were enjoying our week at Walt Disney World before Saturday Night Takeaway, we spent at least a couple of our free afternoons at Disney Springs (oh, how I wish I had a Disney Springs near me – I’d be poor, but so happy). There are so many shops there that I adore: Anthropologie, Kate Spade, the awesome Havaianas shop and – oh my goodness – the biggest Zara you’ve ever clapped eyes on. You know when you go shopping sometimes and you just love everything in a certain shop? It feels like it’s all just made especially for you? Well that’s exactly how I felt. Generally, as you know, I’m all sensible and minimalist, but there’s obviously something about shopping while it’s sunny and warm outside that changes my shopping personality, and I found myself rather taken by quite a lot of the items currently in the shops – things that I can only describe as – well – some kind of Spring cuteness overload: Bardot necklines, Self Portrait-esque lace, ruffles, and stripes (ruffles and stripes together!).
So following on from part one of our awesome adventure to see the live final of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at Walt Disney World, here’s part two of our fabulous Florida photo diary. Friday started with some safari fun at Tusker House, with a delicious African-themed breakfast with Mickey and friends. If you’re thinking of booking a character breakfast, this is a fab one to choose: the setting is gorgeous and after an early start, a delicious breakfast, and some musical fun with a host of characters, you’re all set to head out into Disney’s Animal Kingdom to enjoy your day at the park. Plus you get to hug Safari Mickey and dance with Donald Duck, I mean, what’s not to love?!
I’m so looking forward to this weekend! After a busy few weeks, it’s time to kick back and enjoy a lovely few days with the family. It’s Charlie’s birthday so we’re planning to head out on Sunday for brunch and I’m fully intending on spending Saturday baking hot cross buns and scoffing chocolate – let’s hope it stays nice and sunny! If you’re entertaining this weekend, I’ve got loads of recipes for you, including big roast dinners, delicious desserts, baking and – of course – hot cross buns! For this big Easter roundup, I’ve also picked a few of my favourite sweet treats, just in case you haven’t chosen your chocolate stash yet. Enjoy!
So if you follow me on any form of social media, you can’t have failed to notice that I’ve had a bit of an exciting – and emotional – week. It started off with a magical invitation to a British TV first that saw Mr E and I checking in for a rather special Virgin Atlantic charter flight to Orlando with the very excited winners of the ‘place on the plane’ tickets from ITV’s popular Saturday evening show. Follow me, then, for a little photo diary of our adventure to watch the live final of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at Walt Disney World!
You all know I love a bright colour – there’s something about being surrounded by brights that constantly lifts your mood. Although I love a minimalist wardrobe, I don’t think I could ever have a minimalist home: for one thing, we’re too messy, and for another I love my bright blue kitchen table too much! This week I’ve been delighted to discover a new range, Tribal Treasures at Homesense and T K Maxx, which is both beautiful and inspiring.
I know I’m always ridiculously excited about sharing my weekend wishlist items with you, but this one really is a beauty: imagine your dream dress: just boho enough to wear on your holidays (I’m thinking uber cool beach cocktails in Ibiza, but insert your own daydream here), just chilled enough to wear for a summer party, and just laid-back luxe enough to wear to a wedding. Basically the dramatic dress of dreams. And where will you find this wonder? Why, Anthropologie of course – maybe not your first stop for online clothes shopping, but actually a complete treasure trove of gorgeous pieces.
I’m so ready for Easter! The clocks have gone back and there are new shoots and beautiful trees full of blossom everywhere you look (and obviously there’s the whole chocolate egg thing to consider). There’s something about this time of year that just brings the kid out in all of us, isn’t there? Daffodils, the smell of the mown grass, Easter egg hunts and hot cross buns – it’s one of my favourite times of year and reminds me so much of my childhood. This Easter, Sainsbury’s is celebrating never growing up, so it’s a happy coincidence that one of my favourite sharing dishes is a twist on another childhood favourite: fish fingers, chips and peas. These delicious salmon fish fingers are a great recipe for feeding a crowd, as you can just double, or even triple the recipe, and it’s also a really great way to encourage the kids to eat a bit more fish too. I’ve swapped the usual potatoes for sweet potatoes, and created a delicious, fresh mint, pea and yoghurt dip for dunking too.
How much money do you spend on your skin. Cleanser? Moisturiser? Serum? Maybe the odd facial here and there? I’m about the same. I’m very lucky because I do occasionally get gifted lovely items of skincare too. When it comes to tackling skincare over 40, though, I’m starting to wonder if my beauty regime is enough. I’m noticing fine lines (especially in pictures when I smile), and although I slather on the SPF, I’m worried I’m not taking proper care of my skin. I’m also confused things like Botox, fillers and other aesthetic treatments. Are they worth the money?
Ooh it’s a very exciting weekend wishlist this week. It’s just been announced that denim lifestyle range AND/OR has launched exclusively with John Lewis. Created by LA based designers Calvin Rucker, and inspired by the sunny upbeat lifestyle of LA, the premium range of jeans and denim is complemented with a full collection of clothing, shoes, bags, accessories and lingerie, and it’s all pretty heavenly, if I’m honest. I absolutely love denim and I’m so excited to see John Lewis teaming up with these incredible women. What I love about the AND/OR at John Lewis range is that it mixes classic cuts and heritage washes (designers Caroline Calvin and Joie Rucker originally met at Levi’s) with on trend pieces and great basics like tees and lingerie too.
You know me, I LOVE to bake. I go through spells of obsessing about things: recently it’s been fresh bread (including these yummy iced buns), all sorts of different flavoured brownies, and muffins, especially breakfasty ones. It’s funny how things change but at one stage the boys would happily scoff a big breakfast in the morning: eggs on toast, bacon sandwiches… that type of thing. Recently, they’re not as keen (probably because they’re always late) and I hate the thought of them going out into the world with empty stomachs. Bring on the breakfast muffin: easy grab and go food, and not too hideously bad for them (better than a McDonald’s breakfast, no doubt). I absolutely love the flavour combo of these fresh orange and dark chocolate muffins, although obviously you could add things like blueberries or chopped banana instead (I only add a scant 75g anyway).
I’ve had a think about it, and I’ve decided that having Mother’s Day and my birthday on the same day is the way to go. I appreciate it’s not something I can dictate, but it made for such a wonderful weekend – full of my favourite people, some delicious food, and many laughs – that I think I’m going to try and swing it from now on. We started the Mother’s Day/birthday weekend (or should that be the Motherbirthday weekend?) with a trip to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast. Oh, I loved it – I adore Emma Watson anyway and Beauty and the Beast has long been my favourite Disney movie, so the combination of the two of them, along with my three favourite men plus being able to sip a glass of wine (the Odeon MK has a gallery area where you can order a drink before your film) while I was watching was possibly the best thing ever.
Honestly, it feels like we’ve been refurbishing this house for years. But now, with the flooring done, it really feels like we’re getting somewhere. Our last two big projects to tackle are the two bathrooms: the main bathroom which the boys share, and our own en-suite, which we’ve lived with in a right old state since the shower developed a leak over a year ago. The problem with bathrooms are that they’re expensive. Even if you find all the ‘furniture’ at the very budget end (which we did), you need someone skilled to come and do things like tiling and plumbing, so we waited until we could just about afford it all, and made savings wherever possible. Here’s a bit of en suite inspo for you, should you be considering doing the same:
When friends and readers are planning a trip, I’m often asked for my advice about things that they absolutely mustn’t miss, and always about the best rides: what’s worth queuing for, what’s worth using a FastPass+ for, that sort of thing. This got me thinking about my favourite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida: the things that I would rush round and do if I only had, say, a day at each park. So here’s my little list of Disney World’s best rides – I know it’s subjective, but these are my own personal faves. I’m bound to add to it, so do refer back every so often!
- The weekend wishlist – holiday accessories for 2017 April 29, 2017
- Post 40 beauty: microdermabrasion and an aesthetics consultation April 27, 2017
- The birthday lemon meringue pie April 25, 2017
- Weekend Wishlist: all the Spring cuteness April 22, 2017
- Vary your dairy: giving goat a go April 20, 2017