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:
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.
…today in the form of a few gorgeous bits from HomeSense. I love it now Mr E isn’t based up in Scotland any more. We had such a lovely weekend, full of walks and trashy telly and a delicious slow roasted lamb dinner (that the boys re-heated at approximately 11.30pm – I’ve given up trying to get them to have dinner with us every Sunday – their social lives are just too busy). We also had a lovely pootle around HomeSense on Saturday, trying to get a few ideas to warm up the house ready for a cosy Christmas. Here’s what I picked up…
At some point during this weekend, and I’m not really sure when: some time between frosty dog walks, wrapped up in snuggly jumpers (that hush Claire jumper just showing in the pic above is a favourite) hats and scarves, sipping hot chocolate, munching on home made pizza with the boys, painting skirting boards (we’ve just had new floors) and wandering around home stores looking at cushions and throws to create our perfect hygge kitchen (it’s my favourite new word), Mr E turned to me and said ‘I’m in a really good place’. He’s not one for outbursts of emotion, so that little sentence meant more to me that you could know. What with recovering financially after his redundancy, a mad couple of months of travel and the boys starting back studying, it’s been a pretty busy time, and to finally be at home, doing a bit of nesting and enjoying our little family feels great. Read more
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)…
Last week I was delighted to be invited to the opening of a new Dunelm superstore in nearby Aylesbury. I like Aylesbury for shopping and the little Broadfields retail park there is already one of my favourite shopping spots, with a huge Next store including furniture, and a great T K Maxx. There are also rumours of a new M&S Food going into the final empty space, which would make me very happy indeed. If you read about my visit to the new Wycombe store, Dunelm are really reinventing themselves, with beautiful new interiors and displays that wouldn’t be out of place in John Lewis or Marks and Spencer.
One of the things we absolutely loved when we were in Boston were all the autumnal home decorations. People everywhere decorate their porches and front doors with all sorts of beautiful, glowing wreaths, floral displays and, of course, pumpkins. The family houses were swathed with spooky skeletons, witches and spiders, but we noticed that nearly every home had at least a pumpkin and maybe some pretty orange flowers in pots, and some had gone all out with the most gorgeous decoration:
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
It’s been absolutely lovely to be home after spending the last six weeks travelling! I feel compelled to do loads of ‘nesting’ to make everything extra cosy. Yesterday I spent the day shopping, cleaning and tidying, and it makes me so happy to have cupboards full of food, freshly baked pumpkin spice cookies in the kitchen (recipe coming soon!) and fresh linen on the beds. Can you believe it’s only a week until the clocks go back? I’m so delighted to have been asked to team up with Elizabeth Shaw for a fab, feel-good project to celebrate the extra hour and use it for truly thoughtful gestures. I’ve also got yummy Elizabeth Shaw goodies to give away!
So recently, if you’ll remember, Aviva got us dreaming about the future (you know, the France/chickens/seaside/immortal dog one) and we had a little play with the Aviva Shape my Future tool. It’s a great gadget which takes into account things like how much you currently earn, your age, whether you own your own home, etc, to give you an estimated pension amount.
Do you wonder what the future holds for you? Are you one of those people who firmly lives in the present and doesn’t really even think about it, or are you a planner, with your whole life’s course already plotted? Maybe you’re like me: a bit inbetweeny – vaguely aware that the choices you make now will affect you in later life, but happy to leave it to some hazy future time to actually sort anything out. Recently, Aviva challenged me to have a bit more of a proper think about my future, especially how we’ll manage financially. They have an online tool called ‘Shape my Future’ (more of this later) which can give you a rough estimate of how much you’ll have to live on when you’re older. It’s been an eye opener, I can tell you.
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!
Ahh it’s October again. Along with all the mists and mellow fruitfulness, it’s time for all the planning and panicking that comes with sending your teenagers off to uni. Charlie hasn’t quite got enough points to do the course he wants at university, so we have a year’s reprieve as he’s studying for one more year at a local college, but having already experienced it with Sam (who has also gone back to college after deciding that Uni isn’t for him), I know it’s both an exciting and stressful time. Here are my top 5 tips for preparing your kids for university.
One of the incredible dining experiences of our recent foodie trip to Leeds was a visit to Stockdales of Yorkshire. I’d heard great things about this very stylish restaurant in the heart of Leeds city centre, with a menu that celebrates the best produce that Yorkshire has to offer, including some stunning 28 day aged black Wagyu beef, sourced from a farm in nearby Doncaster and cooked on a state of the art Josper charcoal grill. Read more
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- Celebrating Mother’s Day with John Lewis March 14, 2017