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).
How are you all this morning? I’m pretty happy as the sun is shining and Charlie is back from his holidays! I was woken up at 4.30am with a big squeeze (ow, my sunburn) and can’t wait to hear all about his adventures on his first holiday! And seeing as the sun’s out: is anyone else obsessed with off the shoulder tops and dresses at the moment? They’re so pretty and feminine and – now I’ve got a good strapless bra sorted (very important), I’ve started to seek out a few different styles to see me through the summer. Have you heard of Lyst? It’s a shopping website, but with a clever difference. The more you use it, the more it learns about you and your shopping habits, so you start to see only the things you’ll love!
If you love hush as much as I do, you’ll be delighted to know that they’ve just announced an exciting 20% off flash pre-sale on their summer stock. This is quite rare so if you’ve had your eye on anything for a while, it’s time to log on and grab it now! The flash pre-sale at hush only lasts until midnight on June 30th, so don’t delay!
I like my face. No, I genuinely do. I look in the mirror and I still quite like myself, even though, post 40, selfies take a bit more ingenuity (and a good filter) before I’m quite happy with them. I work from home, but I still like to be groomed (I actually think there’s nothing more ageing than a face with no make up) and I always make sure my eyebrows are neat (more of this later). One of the things that does slightly annoy me, though, is that my upper eyelids aren’t as smooth any more, and I’ve started to avoid eyeshadow as it seems to accentuate the crinkly skin. I’ve moved on to just using eyeliner near my upper lash line, but this mini annoyance has sent me on a hunt for the best eye cream for crinkly upper eyelids, and I think I may just have found it.
So in the spirit of my positive life plan, I thought I’d have a few words about the dreaded b-word, and why we ALL should be wearing one if we want to. I’m no expert, but here’s my 40-something guide to feeling fab in a bikini, and why I won’t be rolling out the swimming costumes any time soon!
I’ve just spent a gorgeous week on board P & O Cruises’ beautiful ship, Britannia with my friend Erica. We spent the week discovering all the dining options on board, as well as exploring bits of France and Spain and doing some baking with Eric Lanlard too – I know! Anyhoo, more of that later – for now, I wanted to tell you about a fantastic conversation we had one night in The Glass House over a couple of drinkies. We started off just chatting about life, the future, family, etc as you do, and a bit of a plan started to form. We split our thoughts into topics and added the rule that everything had to be positive – no beating ourselves up – and this positive life plan was born. I’m excited to share it with you!
- Morning rituals: coconut chai tea May 25, 2017
- How Mickey Mouse changed my life #BAHolidayMoments May 24, 2017
- Family holidays in Kissimmee: fab villas and outdoor fun! May 23, 2017
- The weekend wishlist: summer glow May 20, 2017
- Post 40 beauty: a hair revamp with The Hair Secret, Berkhamsted May 18, 2017