Hush autumn winter 2014

NEW autumn/winter 2014 from Hush Homewear

So this morning, I trudged around the field with the dog in the rain wearing a fleece, a waterproof jacket, and a hat.  What on earth happened to the summer?  Usually,  I resist even looking at anything remotely knitted or warm until at least September, but the emails are starting to arrive, and I have to say, I’m loving what I’m seeing.  The new autumn/winter preview from Hush Homewear definitely got my attention, with loads of gorgeous autumnal casual wear really catching my eye (I tend to live in jeans and jumpers):

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Jam doughnut muffins

Sugar dusted jam doughnut muffins

You love doughnuts, right? Everyone loves doughnuts.  But wait, you love muffins don’t you?  Soft, fluffy and perfect breakfast fodder.  So why not put them together?  I’ve been fiddling about with this recipe for ages, and the boys are pretty sure that I’ve perfected the whole doughnut/muffin scenario, but the jammy bit had beaten me.

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The Honda Civic Tourer

On test: the Honda Civic Tourer 1.8i-VTEC SR

We’ve tested a few cars in the past, most notably the Honda CR-V that we drove around France, and really love doing it (basically, a lovely man appears on your doorstep with a brand new car and gives you the keys, leaving the car with you for a week – what’s not to love?).  This time, Honda asked if we’d like to try their new Civic Tourer 1.8 i-VTEC SR manual and, being a big car loving family, we jumped at the chance…

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Chilli chicken noodles

Chilli chicken noodle soup

Yesterday, we were wondering what to have for dinner – it never seems right to have a roast on a hot day – when Sam mentioned that we used to have chicken noodle soup all the time, but we hadn’t had it for ages.

Just so happens that I had a chilli, a lime, and some ginger (I keep the ginger in the freezer anyway) and half a pack of noodles, and it seemed the perfect, fresh alternative to full on Sunday dinner, so it was game on.

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Bicester Village

A splash of orange at Bicester Village

This week, Mr English and I decided to head to Bicester Village for a spot of shopping.  I like Bicester – we have a bit of lunch or a coffee in Pret or in the little Jamie Oliver place, then pootle around around looking for bargains.  There were still plenty of summer brights available in the sales and I discovered that I’m still totally in love with everything orange.

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Habitat 'Radius' oak bed and 'Mauzy' bedding

Champagne lifestyle, lemonade budget…

So with news that the House of Bodily Fluids could soon be ours (I guess we shouldn’t totally get our hopes up until we’ve actually exchanged contracts), we’ve started doing that nesting thing where you go out window shopping for things you’ll never really be able to afford but you’d buy if you had unlimited funds (known as ‘champagne lifestyle, lemonade budget’ in our house).

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SCANDAL LOGO

5 mad things about the Scandal, Series 3 event in London

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…

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summer fun

5 tips for surviving the school summer holidays

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:

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Yumi dress cropped

Dresses for people who really don’t suit dresses

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).

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SP68 Arianna Occhipinti

A secret wine tasting and some fab new wine discoveries

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.

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The H of BF

The House of Bodily Fluids

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

ClearLift at Disappear Ltd

A facelift in a lunchtime with ClearLift

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.

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(c) englishmum.com

Prom

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.

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Wren Kitchens cream gloss with Mali wenge gloss

New kitchen? Don’t mind if I do.

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.

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Michelin’s new Road Usage Lab

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!

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Me and the Daddy

Thanks, Dad…

…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