I’ve been so excited about pressing publish on this. January isn’t the kindest of months, and a little web-browsing of beautiful new clothes is exactly what we need to get us through to the finish. With impeccable timing, the new hush pre-spring collection is live from today, featuring an ever-stylish mix of laid back luxe: easy shapes, gorgeous new prints, some updated old favourites and of course, their customary pop of colour. Here are a few of my favourites:
One of my biggest commitments for 2018 is to eat healthily: to nourish my body and fill it full of good stuff. But let’s be sensible: we’re never going to eat healthily 100% of the time. I think I’m aiming for around 80%, with a bit of cake and the odd glass of wine thrown in as a treat (note to self: that’s a treat, not every day – catch up on my Drinkaware month here). Diets are one of my biggest bugbears. I don’t want to count calories, or cut out carbs. I like carbs. Carbs give us energy and are a great source of fibre*, but we need to choose the right carbs for our body, not depressing, flabby white bread, mass produced, sugary biscuits, or – sadly – doughnuts (mmmm, doughnuts). One of the greatest things I feel I do for our family is take the time to bake really delicious, home made bread. Rye is less refined and much more nutritious than some other grains but I’m not really a huge fan of 100% rye, so I mix it roughly half and half with normal white bread flour. These easy, no knead rye bread rolls are so easy to make and this dough will probably make 10-12, depending on how big you make them.
Yes, I know I usually do a weekend wishlist, but I’ve got a lovely bit of baking for you this weekend, so I thought I’d mix things up a bit and bring you a weekday wishlist instead. If you’ve read my last couple of posts about my plans for 2018, you’ll know that I’m trying hard to look after and nourish my body, cut down on alcohol, eat healthily and get back into my running. On Monday, I deleted my Couch to 5k app details and then started it again from the beginning. I quickly realised, though, that I had actually made some progress and didn’t need to stop and walk. I ended up running the whole week 1 run 1 and although I ached the next day, I felt a huge sense of achievement. I’m going to carry it on, but one thing I really need is some decent new running gear. Happily, there’s a great selection of gorgeous M&S activewear, so I’m going to treat myself to some lovely new stuff. Here are a few bits that caught my eye:
How’s your January going? We’re just hoovering up the last of the Christmas goodies, but we’re also eating much more healthily (lots of healthy food inspo to come) and I’m back running again, so I feel I can forgive the odd Cadbury’s Hero (or three!). I mentioned in my plans for 2018 post that I’m really going to start concentrating on my health and wellbeing this year: looking after my body and my mind, and a big part of this for me is cutting down on my drinking, staying within the recommended guidelines and getting lots of alcohol free days. We’ve spend an enjoyable few days researching some healthier substitutes our usual drinks, and while lots are just hideously sweet and horrid, there are a few really good non-alcoholic alternatives:
Welcome to the first weekend wishlist of 2018! I’m in a positive frame of mind at the moment, and I have loads of plans for updating our home. I want to create a cosy, calm home that’s a retreat for us all – first order of the day will be a massive declutter (that goes for my wardrobe too – more of this later), and then maybe a fresh coat of paint (I’m thinking about saying goodbye to the blue wall in the kitchen and replacing it with a more stylish Scandi-inspired grey), as well as repainting the chairs in more muted tones. I want our home to be enhanced with fresh greenery, pale wood, clean lines, soft textures and elegant functional furniture (I’m after a perfect, mid-century inspired chair for an empty corner in the lounge at the moment). Here are a few of the Scandi inspired home updates that I’ve got in mind:
So you’ll probably have seen that Erica and I have updated the positive life plan for 2018. I do hope you’ve decided to join in, whether throwing yourself in wholeheartedly, or just jotting down a few things that you want to change this year or some goals that you might have. It did make me smile that after promising myself a healthy, alcohol free New Year, my Dad went and tested me by popping his clogs on New Year’s Day. Many of you knew what he was like and will know that he’d have laughed heartily to himself about that. So, on to my plans for 2018, then.
Have you seen Trainwreck? There’s a scene in the film where Amy Schumer’s character is giving a eulogy to her father at his funeral. I watched it on a plane and laughed so hard when she said ‘raise your hand if our Dad ever offended you’ and everyone put their hand up. This would literally be me at my Dad’s funeral, I thought. Haha. You never imagine it actually happening though, do you? But then yesterday, at 10.30 am on New Year’s Day 2018, he died, peacefully, with his wife Allison holding his hand. This huge, larger than life character, such a force in my life, is no more. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone…
I adore Christmas. I’m a planner and a note-maker, and always need to have something to look forward to, so for me, the build up is one of my favourite parts: choosing and wrapping special gifts, planning and buying all the food, decorating the house with scented candles and twinkling lights… it all makes me really happy . We had a gorgeous Christmas this year, and rounded off the season with a small New Year’s Eve gathering with some of our favourite people. Now, though, I’m already wanting the decorations down, the house clean and tidy again, and I’ll be raring to dive headfirst into this squeaky clean, fresh and sparkly New Year. One of the first things I’ll be doing is opening a lovely new notebook and creating my positive life plan for 2018.
Last week, I was invited to travel up to the Phi Clinic in London’s Harley Street (I know!) to try out a brilliant new skin treatment that promises a healthy glow for tired, winter skin. If, like me, you’re just starting to think about diving in to the world of aesthetic treatments (see my post on Botox here), this one could definitely be for you. Here’s everything you need to know about new Juvéderm Volite, the latest in innovative injectable skin treatments.
I really enjoy writing this round-up post – traditionally my last one before Christmas. I probably say more or less the same thing every year (don’t panic! It’s just a big roast dinner), but as usual, remember that it’s your Christmas too. Grab a few willing helpers to make some Christmas cookies, or whip up some of my perfect frozen whipped cream hot chocolate and have a little prep-party on Christmas Eve (it’s amazing how much you can get done the night before). Need a little inspiration? Read on for my top tips and recipes for Christmas dinner and beyond: fresh ideas, old favourites and more!
I’m obsessed with everything Scandinavian (some of you may know that I’ve just written the recipes and contributed some of the food photography for a book called Nordic Style for Viking Cruises along with Liz Jarvis and Sara Malm – super proud!). I especially love how the Scandinavians do Christmas, and, knowing that Homesense often have extra special bits and pieces from around the globe, I headed to my nearest store to find some inspiration for a Scandi Christmas, and a few bits for some special Scandi Christmas cookies.
If ever there’s a time to invest in gorgeously soft, luxurious cashmere (or give it as a gift), it’s surely Christmas? This season, cashmere has really come into its own: soft, slouchy sweaters paired with metallic pleats, cosy cardigans worn with leather trousers and a crisp shirt… and of course everyone needs a baby soft cashmere scarf when the weather is crisp and cold. John Lewis have a beautiful range of cashmere from lots of different designers, so I thought I’d bring you my top Christmas cashmere picks, whether you’re choosing for a loved one, or hoping for a squishy parcel under the tree!
I would probably be what you would call a ‘conservative dresser’. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I favour classic wardrobe staples: simple shift dresses, dark denim, a crisp white shirt and black knitwear. But it’s Christmas! This season, even if you’re not a party animal, everyone needs a little laid back luxe in their life, and I’m loving the stylish winter florals at John Lewis. There’s a touch of the Bohemian about it: rich, jewel tones, soft velvet, a little sparkle, a hint of embroidery, dark toned florals… all things that tempt me to step out of my comfort zone. Here are my top picks:
We love a rich, fruity, spiced Christmas cake, but as I’ve said before, I’m just not organised enough to bake it weeks in advance then feed it every week. Happily, it’s very easy to make a lovely, moist cake this close to Christmas – if you get the chance to feed it a couple of times before you ice it, happy days. If not, it will still taste absolutely fine. I think that the trick is to use lovely plump, soft fruit, and get a bit of moisture into the dried fruit before you add it to the cake mix. This recipe gives the fruit a warm Christmassy bath of booze, honey and clementine juice, which makes all the difference to the finished cake. I used my fab new Kenwood Chef Elite (I’m completely obsessed) to make a really lovely light cake mixture to hold all that delicious fruit. This year, I decided to use my beloved Bundt tin as well – bit of a worry as I had no idea how long to cook it for – but with trial and error (and lots of poking and checking), we got there in the end. If you’ve got a tin, a Christmas Bundt cake looks striking, but I’ve left instructions for how to bake the cake using just a normal springform tin too.
One of my favourite things about Christmas is entertaining. I’m never happier than when there are guests at our table, and the house is filled with the sounds of chinking glasses and chatter. I was delighted, then, when Waitrose asked me to share one of my favourite recipes for easy Christmas entertaining. In our house, we traditionally invite friends and family over for dinner on Boxing Day. It’s a great way to relax and unwind after the big day, and I tend to make a huge ‘Boxing Day pie’ using leftover turkey and ham, then just serve it simply with mashed potato and steamed veg. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Boxing Day – this pie is just as delicious using chicken instead of turkey, and it can be made well in advance and kept in the fridge ready to pop into the oven. Here’s how to make my festive pie:
There’s a standard phrase in our house: ‘I want to move to Marlow!’. It’s uttered every time we see something fabulous happening in this lovely little Buckinghamshire town. We go as much as we can, but it’s an hour from us (though actually, right next to where Mr E works). It’s gorgeous in the summer, and magical in the winter. I’ve even earmarked my perfect house on West Street (you don’t even want to know how much it is). This weekend, we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch evening of The Pop-Up Festival, a unique pop up cinema experience combined with delicious food from the fabulous Tom Kerridge. I’d heard all about the Gourmet Picture Company as my lovely mate Amanda from Online Stylist attended one last summer at Chewton Glen. It looked absolutely gorgeous, so I was so excited to see how the Gourmet Picture Company would keep us all warm and cosy in December!
- New Cook Well from Waitrose, and a 50% discount off your first order February 22, 2018
- What to expect at new Toy Story Land, Walt Disney World February 20, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic February 17, 2018
- Moroccan spiced hummus with roasted chickpeas February 15, 2018
- The new hush spring 2018 collection February 13, 2018