So the start of this week was ‘blue Monday’ apparently – the most depressing day of the year. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see my post about how I keep happy, basically by always having something to look forward to. Yes, I know I go away a lot so this is quite easy, but often, and especially when I don’t have a trip planned, it can be something as simple as having a page in my notebook where I jot down ideas for our lovely new en-suite (when we can finally afford it), or planning a family night out, or a drink with a girlfriend pencilled in the diary. As long as there’s something lovely to look forward to, or something that needs planning, I’m a happy girl.
I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Scenic. After enjoying a lovely trip on the brand new Scenic Jasper (you can read my Cruise International article about it here) last year, I was really impressed by their impeccable service, gorgeous accommodation and all round feeling of laid-back luxury. I was delighted and excited, then, to be invited to The Ivy on Friday for a top secret announcement (I’ve had to keep quiet until now – can you imagine how difficult it’s been?!) and you won’t believe what I’ve got to tell you.
One of the things Charlie got for Christmas was his own key to the little Renault Clio that Sam currently drives around in. He’s just passed his theory test, and is having lessons with a local instructor. Thing is, though, those lessons are REALLY expensive, so we’ve just gone through the process of insuring Charlie on the Clio (at great expense) so he can start getting used to his own car too, plus have a bit of extra practice.
Every year when it’s coming up to Christmas, we have the same old conversation about whether we’d go away and spend it somewhere else. We’re generally divided. The boys aren’t so keen, but I’d love to spend Christmas somewhere cool (sometimes we just need to break out and do something a bit different). Here’s my pick of five AMAZING destinations I’d love to visit over the festive period. So, pack your bags, book your flight cheaper with Hotels.com deals, and give your family something unique this Christmas – the whole wide world!
So it’s 1st December, which means I can finally start to mention Christmas without people throwing things (who am I kidding? I’ve been doing it for weeks already). I’m a complete Christmas-a-holic, and absolutely adore a Christmas advert too. I still cry EVERY TIME that single tear rolls down the face of the Man in the Moon, and every time Mog the Forgetful Cat accidentally ruins Christmas, I well up all over again.
The Christmas shopping has begun in earnest, so I was delighted to discover a gorgeous new website that’s going to be verrrry handy indeed. Join up and tell Lyst your favourite shops and brands, and you can see them all in one place. Once you’re logged in, you choose which brands and shops you want to follow, save items to buy later and even flag items so Lyst will let you know when they’re on sale – genius! There are items from designer brands like JBrand, Gucci and Michael Kors and retailers like Zara, Selfridges, Asos, Topshop, John Lewis and The Outnet. The lovely people at Lyst asked me to choose a few of my faves, so I’ve chosen carefully, just in case Mr E is reading…
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the build up to Christmas every much as the day itself. I’m one of those people who love having something to look forward to, so whether it’s the planning and packing leading up to a holiday, or the twinkly lights and lists and shopping on the run up to Christmas, I’m never happier.
Years and years ago, Allan Pickett taught me to fillet a fish. My knife skills are appalling (think Nigella but with considerably less dexterity) and he was very sweet and patient. It was at a special event at Billingsgate for Seafish, and by the end of it, I remember feeling quite clever as we sat down to eat fish we’d prepared ourselves. I still buy the odd whole fish now and give it a go, just to keep my hand in. At the time, Allan was head chef at Plateau in Canada Place, but we’ve kept in touch and I’ve known for a while that he’s been planning to open his own restaurant.
Living in the country, I see horse riders all the time, and I’m often struck by how equestrian style is actually quite a good look: think those tall, sturdy but stylish riding boots, warm polo necks and fitted jackets. The thing with equestrian gear is that it’s all quite sleek (I guess you can’t have your clothing flapping around you when you’re riding a horse?) so it tends to be well fitted and quite flattering, while still .
The next few days are going to be busy for me. I’m going to be talking at World Travel Market in the WTM & Travel Perspective session about working with brands in a digital world, all about my experience of working on the Sainsbury’s advert, and also about the Samsung ‘People of Note’ campaign.
The trouble with having a lovely new kitchen, with freshly painted walls and brand new, sparkly worktops, is that you don’t want to put anything in it. Now we’ve got our longed-for blank canvas, it’s been a struggle to go ahead and personalise it, as after removing all the clutter (and a whole wall of units), it seems so lovely and bright and fresh.
One of our biggest stress points is our morning routine. The boys often have to be up early, and Charlie has to catch an early bus from a nearby town on two days a week. They always hit snooze and go back to sleep and ALWAYS insist on squeezing in a shower, even if they’re already late. It drives me crackers. I absolutely hate it when they rush out without eating.
There was a really good article somewhere recently (of course I have no idea where I read it now I need it) in praise of the affordable restaurant. Of course, heading out to a lovely, expensive restaurant is something that I love to do for a special occasion, but there are so many times – family birthdays, Sundays, get-togethers with friends – when you want great food at a good local restaurant.
As you know, we’ve slowly been working our way through the house, repainting and refurbishing everything, but for some reason our bedroom has been ignored. I mentioned to Mr E that I was sad that we weren’t going to get to do our bedroom for a while now, as I wanted it to be a cosy haven in what is usually a rather noisy, teenager filled house.
As a writer (and a mum), I think it’s so important to give children some creative freedom. Creative writing isn’t just a skill for school (my boys are still writing essays, even at college and university), but it’s a real pleasure – an escape that I adore, even when I’m not doing it for work. I loved this article on encouraging the creative process, and thought you might enjoy it too.
- Halloumi, olive and mint pizzas September 21, 2017
- Jamaican jerk chicken with caramelised pineapple salsa September 19, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: new season beauty recommendations September 16, 2017
- Apple, plum and blackberry crumble September 14, 2017
- New Attraction Tickets Direct Disney hotel, ticket and dining packages September 12, 2017