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
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.
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.
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!
- Weekend wishlist: the summer kitchen roundup July 22, 2017
- The positive life plan: self July 20, 2017
- News from D23 Expo: what’s coming up at Walt Disney World, Florida July 18, 2017
- Top activities for adrenaline junkies July 17, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: the new hush late summer mini collection July 15, 2017