Not being one to moan (ahem) I’m trying to remain chipper, but HOW DIFFICULT is it to get a builder to come and do work on your house? Our kitchen/diner plans have completely stalled as the builder we thought was the best one is really busy (and also much more expensive than the others). I understand the whole paying more to get good quality thing, but it seems everyone else does too as he’s rather in demand.
So, Grandad English has a biiiiig birthday coming up. I won’t mention it otherwise I might get one of his customary ALL IN CAPITALS emails (he’s a regular reader). Thoughts have naturally turned to an epic pressie to celebrate the big day – maybe a joint one between us all. And of course, being me, the first thing I thought of was that old thing about life experiences and not things – snapshots, not stuff.
I remember one of our very first holidays – to St Lucia – Sam was about three and Charlie was about 9 months old. Little Sam’s legs were just the perfect length to make sure every time he moved, he kicked the seat in front of him. As much as I tried to get him to sit still or distract him, the poor lady in front eventually turned round and gave me a right earful – leaving me in tears. Luckily, things have moved on from those days and you’re more likely now to have a lot more gadgets and technology to keep the kids diverted and make family travel much more stress free than it was 15 years ago (and maybe even encounter some more sympathetic fellow travellers!)
This is so interesting. The time when children left home at 18 (like me) to begin a life of their own is over, as rising house prices coupled with the soaring cost of living are forcing adults to remain at home with their parents. Those who do manage to move out often have to rely on support from their parents, facing a lifetime of renting.
Planning for a trip is exciting, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also stressful. There’s always a lot to remember and the chances are that you’ll have a list of stuff to sort out that’s as long as your arm. But we’re here to help.
I think your parenting style changes as your children go through different life stages. I’ve been thinking recently about how my parenting has evolved as the boys have moved into their older teens. Our household has always been pretty laid back, but a few wobbles recently have made me fall back upon the rules that I’ve always leant on to give the boys boundaries. Here are my current thoughts on my very own ‘best practice’.
We LOVE Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday this year falls on February 17th). Forget dinner, we waive it completely and go straight into pancakes. Of course, in order to do it properly, you’ll need some fantastic equipment. For perfect pancake preparation, here are my recommendations. You’ll need:
I’ve never been good with money. It’s one of the things we’ve tried really hard to talk to the boys about because (and I know you’re not supposed to do this but, hey…) I don’t want them to make the same mistakes we made.
We were married with a child by the time I was 25 and, back then, it was pretty easy to buy a house with two incomes. It makes me realise just how lucky we were. My parents were generous with their help and by the time Charlie came along, we’d moved into a bigger house that needed some work and were slowly doing it up.
So before Christmas, I told you that I was going to be trying out Seven Seas new Perfect7 Woman – it’s a blend of Omega-3 rich marine oils, and vitamins and minerals especially formulated to provide benefits for women in 7 key areas such as skin, nails and air, as well as supporting hormonal activity, brain function, vision and heart health. So how did I get on?
If you’re planning a family holiday this year, you can’t go very far wrong with the Canary Islands. The climate is beautiful year-round, and around this little archipelago just off the south west coast of Morocco, there’s a holiday, and a hotel, to suit you. Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet, or for a bustling party destination, there really is something for everyone. Here are my top five Canary Island experiences:
Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely evening with your friends and family (or indeed a quiet one at home). We had family round and did a huge Middle Eastern feast, with slow roasted Mechoui lamb, minted yogurt, harissa and sweet chilli jam, all stuffed into warmed pittas with red cabbage and salad. So yummy and a great way to feed a crowd.
So another thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about on the house front is having a fire. At the moment we have rather an ugly ten year old gas fire. It’s not pretty, it smells a bit funny and it’s a long way from the crackling log fire that I dream about. The question is, what to do with it? Our first plan was just to rip it out, give us a bit more room in the lounge and be done with it, but then we started looking at fireplaces and stoves and it seems we do have some options.
So things on the house front have moved on AGAIN. After the third house purchase fell through, I’ve got to be honest, we were pretty despondent. I’ve never heard of it happening before, but the last one got right to survey and then the survey came in 20k under budget. Anyone else had any experience of that?
Anyhoo, it’s all change again, because we think we’ve found the perfect house – the one we’re already in! We’ve got some lovely plans to do the place up – with a spacious kitchen diner instead of our poky kitchen and separate dining room (more of this later, but my Pinterest page is burgeoning) and new floors and even bathrooms when funds permit.
So you might be one of those people that LOVES cooking for people at Christmas (like me) or you might be one who dreads it every year. Either way, the best way to get through that dinner is to cheat as much as possible. Here are my top five Christmas dinner hacks to give you more time with your family and friends, and less time at the oven and sink on the big day.
There’s something delightfully festive about a Harrods Hamper. Seeing as we’re all getting into the Christmas spirit here at English Towers, I was very excited when Harrods offered us the chance to try one out. We chose ‘The Sloane‘, and it arrived (you can track your order online, and it arrives within 3-5 working days) well protected and carefully packaged. The hamper, a glossy square dark brown cane basket with a faux leather embossed lid is huge – rather over huge, if I’m honest, for its contents, which I’d probably describe as all the ingredients for the poshest afternoon tea you’ve had in your entire existence.
If you want to go out for dinner, or stay in a hotel, there are loads of different websites with tons of reviews, so you can see whether the staff were friendly, or whether the food was good. This approach is starting to take hold in other industries too. I recently found a new hairdresser by searching online and was able to read reviews of local hairdressers and even pick the particular stylist that I thought would best suit me.
- Planning the perfect picnic June 24, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: the M&S Summer Beauty Box June 22, 2017
- In which I finally get to visit Celebration, Florida June 20, 2017
- A culinary trip to the Far East June 19, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: why Ultrasun should be in your beach bag June 17, 2017