Our new kitchen/diner space is finally finished, and I’m absolutely loving having another space to decorate. Let’s face it, the kitchen is where I spend most of my time, and having the tree and decorations in it has made the space even more special. If you saw our simply hygge Christmas dinner party (DO make that slow roasted lamb in sloe gin – it’s delicious), you would have seen some of the decorations. I just wanted to do a bit of a roundup and recommend a few things to you. If you’re doing your decorating this weekend, have a look at the Christmas decorations from Next. Honestly, they’ve got so many lovely quirky things – you won’t be disappointed
Last night, we spent the most magical evening in London. I always love going to London at this time of the year to look at all the lights (my Dad used to drive us to London and drive down Oxford Street when we were little – it was one of the highlights of Christmas!) and we were especially lucky to be treated to a gorgeous sail down the Thames with MBNA Thames Clippers, London’s fabulous riverboat service, alighting at the London Eye to catch the festive production of Peter Pan at the National Theatre. It’s such a lovely, lovely way to travel too.
Ahh, Miss Lyra. What would I do without her? She’s such a constant in my life, getting me up and about every day (I can usually get to about 9am before the first moaning starts, nagging at me to go walkies), keeping me company all day while I’m working, listening patiently while I chat to her about work issues and complain about unpaid invoices, hiding behind the sofa when we argue, and generally making my life a lot happier (there’s the rolling in fox poo and getting the bin out all over the kitchen floor, but we’ll skim over those bits). So what better way to show your appreciation for your four legged friend than a little gift or two? Here are a few suggestions on what to buy your dog for Christmas.
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.
This weekend is one of my favourites of the whole year. The first weekend in December (or possibly the second, depending on timing) is tree decorating day. The men of the house go out and forage (okay, not exactly forage) for a Christmas tree, and we spend a lovely day with Christmas songs blasting, digging through all the decorations from the loft (they always bring back memories, don’t they?) and decorating the house. This year, as it’s the first year we’ve got our lovely new open kitchen/diner, I really wanted a kitchen Christmas tree and the boys did a fabulous job finding me the perfect one. To celebrate all this hygge activity (remember hygge? The Danish concept of warmth and family and cosiness), we decided to invite some lovely friends and – with a little help from Simply Beef and Lamb – found the perfect festive recipe: slow roasted lamb in sloe gin.
It’s finally December! Which means everywhere you click there are Christmas gift guides. I LOVE a gift guide – people always hunt out the best pressie ideas while I’m sitting here scratching my head for things to add to my Christmas wishlist. This year, I did start a little list on my phone whenever I saw something nice that I couldn’t really justify buying for myself. I think Christmas is totally the season where you can ask for luxury things and little treats! I’m not expecting them all, but if Santa’s reading, I promise I’ve been a really good girl!
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!
- Weekend Wishlist: all the Spring cuteness April 22, 2017
- Vary your dairy: giving goat a go April 20, 2017
- Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at Walt Disney World – part two April 18, 2017
- The big Easter roundup: recipes, eggs and more April 14, 2017
- Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway at Walt Disney World – part one April 13, 2017