Fashion seasons are so fickle aren’t they? I always think it’s weird how in the middle of August, when we should all be enjoying the sun (okay, I appreciate this really hasn’t happened), all everyone is talking about is school uniform, and things that are ‘new in for Autumn’, ‘new season’, etc. Still, I get it. If you’ve got kids going back to school (I haven’t – for the first time ever – sniff), you need to get uniforms and school kit organised, and if not, if you’re anything like me, those little glimpses of deliciously soft knitwear, leather boots and coats still make my heart do a little skip – autumn is by far my favourite season! Recently I’ve been considering investment handbags. I tend to buy a handbag – generally leather but not hugely expensive – and use it until I get sick of it, or ruin it. I’ve currently got a cavernous, ‘chuck it all in’ soft leather bag that I bought in John Lewis. But September, with all its back to school newness, does seem the season to maybe invest in something new and beautiful – a kind of new school bag for grown ups, if you will.
Do you do much to your brows? I actually don’t mind the shape of mine, but I do think that every time I go and get them threaded, they seem to take a tiny bit more away and I’ve started to notice recently that this means they’re a bit thinner than I’d like them. I mentioned this to Nat Lupton, owner of The Hair Secret in Berkhamsted (my favourite hair salon – I’m going there tomorrow for a mega-makeover – watch this space!), and she recommended that I book in for HD Brows at Bloom Beauty Bar, located just inside the salon, with their mega-talented make-up artist and HD Brow specialist Zoe Kennedy.
Did you keep a diary when you were younger? I kept one for a few years when I was in my early teens, and me and my best friend also wrote to each other all the time (this was before the internet, people!) and I kept those letters for years and years too. I’d love to read them again now and get to know my teenage self again. I wonder what happened to them? Think of the positive life plan as the grown up equivalent of those teenage ramblings: a constructive and uplifting way to keep track of all aspects of your life and maybe even make a few changes along the way too. Here, we’ve listed five reasons why you should start the positive life plan. Plus, a chance to win a gorgeous personalised TOAD notebook to do it in!
Are we allowed to say ‘staycation’? Well, whatever we’re currently calling it, I had a bit of travel cancelled recently and was getting majorly itchy feet, so I suggested to Mr E that we take a little weekend trip to London. And what a lovely weekend it turned out to be. We stayed at the very lovely Dorsett Shepherds Bush, which is the perfect hotel for a city break: it’s literally a five minute walk from the tube station (and Westfield Shopping Centre), and we spent the whole weekend exploring and hopping on and off the tube.
So following on from my positive life plan post about fitness, I mentioned that one of the joys of keeping fit is buying all the workout gear. I love it: you really wouldn’t think it, but running leggings are actually quite flattering (why is that? I guess because they smooth everything out and suck everything in) and it’s all so comfy and colourful. I feel much more confident, somehow, if I’m in some nice sportwear. Here are a few of my top picks of the latest workout gear for all sizes and budgets.
If you’re new to the positive life plan, let me recap: it’s basically just a lovely way to keep track of all the different areas of your life: health, fitness, money, beauty/personal style, relationships, work, quality time, aspirations, self, and really there are no rules (apart from one: everything has to be positive, so no being hard on yourself for anything). It’s a great opportunity to spend a bit of time on you and perform a positive life edit that you can continue to work on and update. It’s also a good excuse to buy a new notebook, and you know how happy that makes us. I’m now trying to devote a whole post to each category. So last time was self, and this time the focus is on one of the toughest categories in the positive life plan: fitness.
My poor Dad’s been having a really terrible time of it recently. After a horrendous biopsy to investigate a shadow on his kidney proved inconclusive, he’s now recovering slowly, with the terrible prospect of facing the whole thing all over again. He’s lost loads of weight and is feeling really rotten, so when I initially suggested a birthday dinner, we weren’t sure it would go ahead, but in true form, The Naughty One rallied and decided he’d come and celebrate with us this weekend. I cooked his favourite fish pie, and went mad with dessert: a salted caramel layer cake with a layer of vanilla sponge, one of caramel sponge and one chocolate sponge layer, all slathered in a salted caramel mascarpone cream (well it’s not every day you’re 82).
Since we’ve knocked through the kitchen/dining room, my kitchen is one of our favourite spaces. It’s not flashy (we couldn’t afford new units so we just changed the worktop, tiles and – finally this year – the flooring), but it’s so light and bright now, and along with our brightly painted, upcycled kitchen table, chairs and wall units (thanks to Mr E) it’s happy and homely too. I’m always on the lookout for cheerful, quirky things, so here’s my summer kitchen roundup, including some really rather lovely sale items!
About the positive life plan
Regular readers will know that my friend: writer, blogger, and life coach, Erica Douglas, and I originally came up with the positive life plan when we were on holiday together. We were just chatting about life and the germ of an idea started to form: we split the main topics of our thoughts into different categories: health, fitness, money, beauty/personal style, relationships, work/personal brand, quality time, aspirations, self, and added the rule that everything had to be positive, no being hard on ourselves. We thought it would give us the opportunity to perform a positive life edit that we could continue to work on and refer back to now and again to keep ourselves on track. Basically the plan is as simple or as complicated as you make it. Many people have said that they have a notebook split into sections, and just keep track of their thoughts and feelings on each topic, updating and editing every so often, but do whatever suits you. This month, we’re focusing on the first category of the positive life plan: self.
I absolutely love this time of year: I love being able to waft about in floaty maxi dresses and flat sandals, or chuck on some denim shorts and a pretty top. I just feel it’s easier to dress when it’s summer, somehow. I’m also mega-excited whenever new collections are released, especially if they contain the above-mentioned floaty maxis and pretty tops. I’m loving everything about the new hush late-summer mini-collection. Regular readers will know that they’re one of my all-time favourite brands (my Instagram is basically just me wearing hush clothes). Everything is gorgeous (obvs), but here are my top picks:
If you’ve not heard of Carla Bikini before, they’re a lovely French swimwear company that stock a wide range of swimwear, sportswear (if, like me, you’re always after good fitness stuff, they have some great tops, sports bras, leggings and shorts, beachwear and lingerie, from some great brands like Seafolly, Rip Curl, Fantasie and Freya. I ordered this swimsuit (pictured above – sadly not in the sale) a while ago and absolutely love it – it’s so comfy and supportive, doesn’t ride up and washes really well. I’ve done a couple of orders now and found them really helpful too. At the moment, there’s a summer sale on with prices up to 80% off so I thought I’d pass on a few of the bargains I’ve spotted. Here are my top picks from the swimwear sale at Carla Bikini.
So it’s now been a couple of weeks since I’ve had my Botox treatment at One Stop Doctors, and as promised, I’m coming back to you to let you know how I got on. I’ve also been back to have a microneedling treatment, which, as you’ll read below is quite strange, but wow, the results are really amazing. So let’s crack on, then. Here’s a Botox update and microneedling report – with pictures!
A couple of weeks ago, I received a pretty fabulous invitation to Barbados. Flying out with Virgin Holidays for a week at The Club Barbados, right next to Sandy Lane on the gorgeous, calm west coast of Barbados – a no brainer right? Well, almost. The bit of the invitation that had me hesitating was this: ‘come and be part of an exclusive expert led “Caribbean Choir” singing workshop’. Singing? Me?! I mean, yes, I sing in the shower, but a choir? I was nervous, but in my positive life plan notes, I’ve definitely written ‘be brave’ and ‘do something that scares you’, so I decided to embrace the challenge and replied with a firm yes!
Wait, where has the sun gone? Was that little flurry of warm days the summer? Did we miss it? We had such a lovely couple of days in the garden and isn’t it wonderful when it’s so balmy that you can actually sit outside in the evening? We went to one of my favourite stores, Homesense, who’ve got lots of lovely bits to transform your garden, all at up to 60% less than the RRP, and got a few things to update our space. What’s nicer than dining outside with the family, and then relaxing into the evening with twinkly lights and a flickering fire? Here are my top buys for al fresco dining with Homesense:
Can you believe that the school summer holidays are nearly here? I love this time of year because it means… holiday shopping! I know, any excuse for shopping, but this one’s an important one: there are shorts and sandals and swimwear to be bought and you know what it’s like: blink and they’re all sold out! With this in mind (and because many stores have just started their sales), I’ve decided to put together a few tips to help you to simplify both the shopping and packing processes.
So did you know that Sunday was International Picnic Day? Luckily the weather was absolutely gorgeous so it was easy to get outside and do some alfresco snacking. Of course planning the perfect picnic really shouldn’t include limp sandwiches and sweaty salads – I think the key to an impressive picnic is to mix a few things you’ve made yourself with a selection of ready made bits and bobs, blurring the edges so nobody quite knows which is which. I’ve been trying out a few items from Tesco’s brand new Mediterranean-inspired Deli range, and they fit the bill perfectly: you can eat many of the items hot or cold, and there are loads of tasty little bits and pieces perfect for eating with your fingers.