So the biggest shopping weekend of the year is upon us, with loads of retailers doing special deals and discounts. It’s worth having a look, especially if you’re pressie shopping or looking to bag a lovely Christmas outfit. My worst habit is buying all the pretty things just because they’re discounted, rather than because I actually need them, so I’m trying to be sensible and just buy Christmas gifts! Here’s my roundup of some of the best ‘black Friday’ weekend special offers from some of my favourite retailers.
I know, I know, I’m doing the C word thing already, but it’s always good to do a little bit of forward planning. Whether you prefer a more laid back approach to Christmas dressing, or you’re a full on gimme all the Christmas sparkle’ type dresser, you don’t want to start shopping for your perfect Christmas party outfit only to find that it’s sold out (I’m looking at you, hush Giselle – already no longer available in most sizes – sob)…
There are lots of lovely things afoot at hush at the moment, including snuggly new PJ and luxury loungewear sets, delicious new underwear and, as always, beautifully soft knitwear including this little beauty, the Claire jumper, that I recently took to Boston – here it is, teamed with some coated skinnies (these are Next ones, but Boden do lovely waxed skinnies – currently with 25% off) on a breezy beach walk in Plymouth Massachusetts. So soft and comfortable. As an extra bonus, the hush flash sale is live from today until 30th with something like 80 lines discounted up to 64% (extra 10% on the Sunday!), so it’s just £55 at the moment! Read more
So it seems that when I left it was high summer, and I’ve arrived back well into autumn. My first dog walk was a bit of a revelation: blackberry bushes a mass of gorgeous, ripe fruit and burnished leaves on the trees already! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen my current favourite new autumnal nail colour (556 in Grenat Irreverent – which incidentally smells lovely – kind of like parma violets) and I’ve also noticed new AW16 pieces from hush – hurrah!
I’ve been meaning to tell you about these gorgeous items for a while now, but time – and lots and lots of other stuff that I also desperately needed to tell you about – got in the way! If you’re on Instagram, you’re bound to have noticed the fabulous Selfish Mother range. Created by Molly Gunn, of selfishmother.com fame, the t-shirts, sweatshirts and other items all raise money for various charities. I’ve always loved the ‘Mama’ t-shirt, and have spotted it on quite a few celebrities too!
I’ve got a new obsession (which admittedly tends to happen quite often). I do flit between different products as I find them, but I’m currently completely in love with a cream that’s made me shove everything else on my bathroom shelf out the way. L’Occitane’s Divine Cream is just so glorious, so rich, so velvety, so luxurious and delicious that I’m completely smitten. And obviously I need you to try it too, so I’ve got news of a fabulous competition in which you can win a luxury L’Occitane Hamper, worth £300, for yourself!
Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of REN skincare. At the moment, I’m here in Italy in the sunshine and my skin is dry and dehydrated from long sunny days, not enough water and – yes, okay I’ll say it – a bit too much alcohol. I’ve been trying to take better care of it using the REN Vita Mineral Skincare range, specifically trying to fight my sun damage and dehydration with the Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil. You just add a couple of drops before your moisturiser night and morning and it gives your skin a whopping boost of Omega 3, 6 and 9 (nope, me either), vitamin A and vitamin E, giving it everything it needs to stay healthy and hydrated. I also wanted to give you a quick heads up that there’ll be a 20% REN discount and a fab free gift offer for you on the site from tomorrow! Read more
If you’re following me on Instagram (if not, why not?!) my Instagram story is currently full of me obsessing about packing (and worrying about forgetting boarding passes and passports!). You’ll also have seen my holiday picks from Cocobay Swimwear, where, strangely for such a lover of colour, I actually chose a completely monochrome outfit! I’m very excited to tell you that, exclusively for English Mum readers, we’ve arranged a special 20% Coco Bay Swimwear discount! Before you choose – here’s what I picked: Read more
I’ve loved spending the summer at home. I really feel like we’ve been ‘nesting’ in our little house, getting things sorted and finishing a few bits off. We’ve finally planted trees and climbers to disguise our ugly garden fences and Mr E has painted my office a beautiful periwinkle blue and spent ages upcycling old pieces of furniture and shelving from Ebay. The end result is my dream mix of all the colours I absolutely love. I’m so pleased with it. For the rest of the house, we’ve been choosing flooring after living with a fetching mix of lino/carpet/bare concrete since the wall came down between the kitchen and dining room, and I’ve been baking, cooking and working – all the things I love! I’ll be honest though, I’m starting to get itchy feet and we’re all collectively getting VERY excited for our late summer getaway – a cruise on the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse. Read more
So a while back, when I was telling you about Christmas in July, I mentioned that I’d bumped into the lovely guys from hush homewear at the John Lewis Christmas event, where they were celebrating their new partnership (hush concessions will be opening in the Birmingham, Chelmsford, Leeds, Oxford Street and Peter Jones stores) and caught a sneaky peek of the new hush autumn 2016 collection. Today, though, there’s even more excitement as it’s time to get a proper look at the gorgeousness. Hurrah! Mr E and I were only saying the other day that it seems weird, given the current scorchio weather, that there are blackberries on the bushes and machines in the fields finishing the harvest. I don’t feel like I’m properly done with summer yet, but then I look at all the lovely new collections and think that maybe it will be nice when autumn arrives after all!
On his recent trip to Barcelona (great fun had by all, nobody died or got hurt or fell of a balcony, phew) Charlie was travelling with cabin baggage only, so we very carefully checked the baggage sizes allowed by the airline for his suitcase. He was on a pretty tight budget anyway, so he didn’t want to risk any extra charges. Trouble is, then we completely forgot about the liquids restrictions and he got all the gorgeous Ultrasun UK suncream that I gave him confiscated. ARGH! My sister in law told me a story recently of her Mum treating herself to a hideously expensive Crème de la Mer moisturiser and then completely forgetting about the restrictions and getting it taken away. Can you imagine?
Happy Friday! For me, it’s a proper Feel Good Friday as English Mum is a whole ten years old this weekend! I can hardly believe it’s been ten years since we moved to Ireland and, feeling lonely and homesick, I started recording my thoughts and feelings on this, my little corner of the internet. Since then, English Mum has grown so much, creating a fabulous career for me (I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that I’d end up writing for Cruise International and The Guardian, speaking at World Travel Market and appearing in Sainsbury’s adverts!) and picking up quite a few loyal readers along the way.
Win Coco Bay vouchers for you and a friend
All these years later, I still hope the mix of news and updates from our home here at English Towers, gorgeous clothes and lifestyle bits, travel tales, family recipes and all the other little simple pleasures that I love continue to resonate with you guys. I always aim to make it a place where you can grab a cuppa, sit back, relax and catch up from time to time. To celebrate English Mum’s big day, I wanted to do something really special, and team up with a brand that I believe genuinely reflects the same feel and lovely laid back luxe lifestyle/travel vibe that I aim to achieve with English Mum. Take a bow, Coco Bay! I love that Coco Bay was created in 2003 by twin sisters, Anna and Belinda from the spark of an idea for creating a customer-friendly site where women can find sophisticated, flattering, mix and match beachwear and buy it from the comfort of their living room (I’ve long mentioned the hideousness of trying on swimwear in changing room mirrors), supported by great customer service with a really personal touch.
WHAT a weekend. We had our amazing summer sparklers party on Friday night. I am absolutely rubbish and took NO pictures, but we had such a fun time and – apart from the fact that I was an idiot and bought single cream, so my pavlova ended up being ‘deconstructed’ – it all went really well. More of this very soon! I had a complete day off anything to do with health and fitness on Friday: I scoffed pavlova and cheese and all those good things, but now I’m back on it: exercising regularly (I WILL be toned and fit by our holiday in September), drinking loads of water and looking after my body and my skin, which brings me neatly on to my EXCLUSIVE offer: 20% off REN Skincare exclusively for you guys!
Now you know I love Christmas, right? Well, I’m very lucky because I get to do it twice. I know! Every year, a lot of the brands do this AMAZING thing called Christmas in July, when they decorate a lovely area in London and nosey people like me (bloggers, journalists, etc) get to go along and have a look at all the fabulous glittery things that the brands have got planned for Christmas. HOLD ME BACK! Anyhoo, so I grabbed my friend Kylie and we headed off to the best of the Christmas in July shows. Here’s how we got on!
I love, love, love being blonde. I’m naturally kind of mousey and… well, a bit dull, but with highlights in my hair, I feel brighter and happier and I feel it suits my colouring really well. I started off with just a few highlights (me, but after a couple of weeks in the sun), and swiftly became blonder and blonder. I love it, but sadly, it doesn’t love me. My hair is naturally very fine and every time I have highlights, it breaks and goes fluffy and difficult to manage. Ugh.
A while ago I shared a taxi with my fab friend, Katy, on the way to an awards ceremony. She has AMAZING hair, and I was interested to find out from her that she goes to London to a salon called Karine Jackson. I left a comment on her blog post about how Karine has transformed her hair, and Karine’s team got in touch asking if I would like to come along to meet Karine and experience her organic colouring expertise for myself.
I’ve got so much stuff to tell you!, I’ve got all the goss and the new products from all the Christmas in July press days (moving Christmas trees – you heard it here first), and then there’s the day I spent with my lovely Dad in his garden (he’s very well and still as feisty as ever – update soon), and the amazing tea I had with a new friend at The Grove – so much writing to do – not that I’m complaining of course 🙂
First, though, did I mention ages ago that I did one of those colour consultation things? The advice I received was basically life changing: for my colouring, I should always pick the softer option of any of the colours I want to wear, so: black? Pick grey instead. Navy? Think a dustier blue, or soft turquoise. Red? Pick coral or pink. I still follow these rules all the time and at the moment, it’s all about the summery coral. So what exactly IS coral? Well think orange, but with a slightly pinkish tinge to it. If you’re pale and interesting (heh) like me, it’s the perfect flattering shade for lips, nails and, well, just about anything else really. It reminds me of holidays and beaches and cocktails (and you know I love all those things).
- The best rides at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida March 21, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: Mother’s Day beauty with M & S March 18, 2017
- Soft iced buns with chocolate orange drizzle March 16, 2017
- Celebrating Mother’s Day with John Lewis March 14, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: a nude that won’t make you blush March 11, 2017