You know that hush is one of my favourite brands, so I’m always extra excited when there’s a hush sale on as it’s a chance to buy some really well made, quality additions for your wardrobe at a great price. In line with my new year of living thoughtfully, I’ll only be buying things that I really, really need, but if you’re in the market for a few key pieces, here are my top buys:
Do you have a proper night time ritual? As part of my new 2017 promise to myself to live a more thoughtful life, I’ve decided that stumbling into bed after too many glasses of wine is just not going to cut it. The lovely chaps at John Lewis have launched a brand new wellbeing campaign for 2017, to encourage us all to be a little kinder to ourselves: to exercise, recharge, and nourish our bodies, and it’s inspired me to take a look at my night time beauty routine. January is a great time to try new skin and hair care as there are often loads of lovely gift sets in the sale too – the perfect way to try out something new and discover some new favourites before buying the larger sizes.
2016 has been wonderful and awful all at once. For us as a family, the beginning of 2016 was really just spent thanking our lucky stars that Mr E finally got a job after quite a few months of being unemployed, and was also the year we finally started to get things finished around the house. We’ve had the usual teenage ups and downs: a (minor) car accident, drunken evenings, arguments and girl troubles… but nothing too terrible, thank goodness. In the big wide world, however, and outside of my lovely family, 2016 has been a year of tragedy, sadness and some shocking moments, culminating in the death of the voice of my teenage years, George Michael, and the fabulous Carrie Fisher, making us all pretty keen to wave it goodbye. It has, though, as this fabulous article in The Pool recently pointed out, had the strange side effect of making us all care a little more; it made us a bit more aware of the suffering of others and increased our capacity for empathy. And for that, I guess, we have to be grateful.
What. A. Year. I’ve got plenty more to say about the joy and sadness that was 2016 in my first piece of 2017 (for us, as well as everyone else, it seems, it was a year of huge highs and massive lows), and my plans for 2017. But for now, I want to stay with the joy and take a look back at the highlights of a year of travel and adventure. Here’s my 2016 roundup.
So here it is, my very last post before Christmas! I’ve been writing this blog for 10 years now (I know!) and every year, I say the same thing: if you’re cooking the Christmas lunch – and getting stressed about it – remember it’s your Christmas too. I’ve got loads of tips here to make the day as stress free and laid back as possible for you, so you can enjoy your Christmas day with your family and friends. So find a quiet corner, Treat yourself to my perfect frozen whipped cream hot chocolate, grab a notebook, have a read through and take few minutes to make a plan. And remember, it’s basically just a big roast dinner, and this guide will help you do most of the work on Christmas Eve so you can spend as much time as possible with the family, and as little as possible in the kitchen on the big day!
I love a good surprise, so when John Lewis very kindly invited me to team up to choose a surprise gift for a fellow blogger, I was delighted. I was teamed up with the gorgeous Sam Squire, the uber stylish blogger behind mens fashion and lifestyle blog ImSamSquire. My boys are obsessed with Sam and particularly love his cool outfit shoots and I wanted to put together a really stylish mens grooming kit that would impress Sam, as well as give you a few last minute ideas for gifts for the stylish man in your life
I seem to have left all my Christmas shopping until the last minute this year. I think it’s because I’ve been having such good fun baking. Thank goodness for the interwebz where you can still find loads of last minute gifts for teenagers, with something to suit even the pickiest teen. And if, like me, you’re going to struggle to afford a brand new PlayStation 4 Pro (basically the only thing on Sam’s Christmas list this year, but at £350 not going to happen, unfortunately), I’ve hunted down some great gifts that will keep any type of teenager happy.
Some people are just REALLY DIFFICULT to find presents for, don’t you think? Let’s face it, we’re all lucky enough to have more or less everything we need, so we have a bit of an unwritten rule in our family that gifts have to be useful (and/or useable), and I think edible gifts fit really well into this category, so when Ryvita Thins set me the challenge of creating a Christmas gift hamper, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. If you have friends and family that are real foodies, this is such a lovely idea: a gift of inspiration, and the starting point to easy Christmas nibbles if they’re entertaining over the festive season (or just lovely snackage for in front of the TV if they’re not).
Our new kitchen/diner space is finally finished, and I’m absolutely loving having another space to decorate. Let’s face it, the kitchen is where I spend most of my time, and having the tree and decorations in it has made the space even more special. If you saw our simply hygge Christmas dinner party (DO make that slow roasted lamb in sloe gin – it’s delicious), you would have seen some of the decorations. I just wanted to do a bit of a roundup and recommend a few things to you. If you’re doing your decorating this weekend, have a look at the Christmas decorations from Next. Honestly, they’ve got so many lovely quirky things – you won’t be disappointed
Last night, we spent the most magical evening in London. I always love going to London at this time of the year to look at all the lights (my Dad used to drive us to London and drive down Oxford Street when we were little – it was one of the highlights of Christmas!) and we were especially lucky to be treated to a gorgeous sail down the Thames with MBNA Thames Clippers, London’s fabulous riverboat service, alighting at the London Eye to catch the festive production of Peter Pan at the National Theatre. It’s such a lovely, lovely way to travel too.
Ahh, Miss Lyra. What would I do without her? She’s such a constant in my life, getting me up and about every day (I can usually get to about 9am before the first moaning starts, nagging at me to go walkies), keeping me company all day while I’m working, listening patiently while I chat to her about work issues and complain about unpaid invoices, hiding behind the sofa when we argue, and generally making my life a lot happier (there’s the rolling in fox poo and getting the bin out all over the kitchen floor, but we’ll skim over those bits). So what better way to show your appreciation for your four legged friend than a little gift or two? Here are a few suggestions on what to buy your dog for Christmas.
Being the proud owner of a teeny, springy whippet means that you really get to immerse yourself in the changing seasons. We walk twice a day, every day come rain or shine and I think it’s one of the nicest things about having a dog: they get you out in the fresh air to have a good old therapeutic stomp about, whether you feel like it or not. I thought I’d bring you a little ‘snuggly roundup’ and tell you all about the products I’m loving at the moment that are keeping me lovely and warm.
This weekend is one of my favourites of the whole year. The first weekend in December (or possibly the second, depending on timing) is tree decorating day. The men of the house go out and forage (okay, not exactly forage) for a Christmas tree, and we spend a lovely day with Christmas songs blasting, digging through all the decorations from the loft (they always bring back memories, don’t they?) and decorating the house. This year, as it’s the first year we’ve got our lovely new open kitchen/diner, I really wanted a kitchen Christmas tree and the boys did a fabulous job finding me the perfect one. To celebrate all this hygge activity (remember hygge? The Danish concept of warmth and family and cosiness), we decided to invite some lovely friends and – with a little help from Simply Beef and Lamb – found the perfect festive recipe: slow roasted lamb in sloe gin.
It’s finally December! Which means everywhere you click there are Christmas gift guides. I LOVE a gift guide – people always hunt out the best pressie ideas while I’m sitting here scratching my head for things to add to my Christmas wishlist. This year, I did start a little list on my phone whenever I saw something nice that I couldn’t really justify buying for myself. I think Christmas is totally the season where you can ask for luxury things and little treats! I’m not expecting them all, but if Santa’s reading, I promise I’ve been a really good girl!
I’m SO frustrated with my skin at the moment. It seems to be a thing that you get to ‘a certain age’ and suddenly all the products that you’ve loved and trusted for ages don’t seem to be doing the trick any more. My favourite moisturiser for ages has been Clinique Moisture Surge, but recently I’ve been feeling that my skin is dry and dehydrated and – weirdly – my neck particularly is really dry. If I use a richer moisturiser, though, I feel that it sits on the skin and leaves a bit of a film on my face. Argh. Happily, then, I was delighted to be invited along for an Elemis Facial at Lavender & Stone in Beaconsfield. Perfect timing.
This was going to be an October home update, but real life kind of got in the way. It’s been all go recently, what with the boys now back studying, Sam getting a part time job IN A WINE SHOP (hurrah!), and Mr E being all busy and stuff flying celebs around and not telling me, and then me seeing him in the Daily Mail opening the helicopter door for some hugely popular celeb (this really happened!). It’s lovely to be home after a long period of travel, so I really feel myself nesting and enjoying cooking, baking and everything home-centred again. Here are some lovely bits I’ve found and really wanted to share with you this month:
- Vanilla breakfast muffins January 19, 2017
- Landmarks and lessons: my top ten blog photography tips January 16, 2017
- Amelia Island: the coolest place you’ve never heard of January 13, 2017
- The hush sale is here! January 7, 2017
- Revive and relax: a new night time beauty outlook for 2017 January 5, 2017