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!
How are your summer holidays going? Apparently there’s going to be a little mini heatwave next week. Got anything planned? Want to win a family day trip to Paris with Eurostar? Or how about a day trip to Brussels? The lovely chaps at Eurostar are encouraging us Brits to head off and explore Europe. I’ve challenged Sam to spend a day in Paris next week doing as many free things as he possibly can – update coming very soon, but until then, fancy doing the same? Throughout August, you can jump on board Eurostar for a day trip to Paris and Brussels for just £58 return, spend 8 hours exploring and then hop back on the train and be home before bedtime. Kids under 4 even travel for free! To celebrate, I’ve got a family ticket to give away!
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.
Isn’t it just gorgeous to see some glimpses of sunshine? While you’re out basking in the rays in between those April showers, though, remember that the sun is the single biggest skin ager, so I’ve teamed up with @ultrasunUK and @hushhomewear to provide one lucky follower with the most stylish start to summer with a fantastic giveaway worth £275, featuring everything you can possibly need to protect your skin and look gorgeous too.
As you might have read, back in April, Mr E and I were lucky enough to visit Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s deliciously decadent hotel in Oxfordshire. I’ve also visited before and been lucky enough to be shown around the gorgeous gardens, too. If you watched Kew on a Plate you’ll know that Raymond Blanc is really keen on gardening and cooking with his own produce. It obviously runs in the family, because his son, Olivier, along with Charlotte Salt, has created a lovely little character, Henri le Worm to show children where food actually comes from and encourage them to learn more about nature and the important role it plays in our food.
It’s been really nice to see the sun this weekend, hasn’t it? If it’s made you crave a bit of sunshine, I’ve got just the thing. I’ve teamed up with MyFerryLink, the newest operator on the Dover-Calais route, to provide you with everything you’ll possibly need for a fantastic weekend (or midweek) break to France – a stay in the gorgeous Dolce Chantilly hotel, including breakfast, a family ticket to fabulous Park Astérix theme park where you can spend the day whizzing around on coasters, splashing around on water rides, and watching amazing live shows, and a return Dover-Calais crossing with MyFerryLink to get you there in style!
We all have that dish that reminds us of our childhood. Maybe it’s the one that your mum still cooks for you when you go back to visit, or one that you now make for your own family – a dish that puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Has anyone noticed how all of a sudden it seems like summer is over? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? For Sunday lunch, we had slow braised brisket and dumplings, for goodness’ sake. It’s all wrong!
So this week, my little corner of the internet is celebrating its eighth birthday. Eight whole years of talking waffle! I was telling someone recently (in the manner of a very old lady) that when I started out, I knew most of the other ‘mummy bloggers’ out there. There weren’t very many and we all felt like friends, commenting on each other’s blog posts and actually meeting up in real life occasionally too! Read more
It’s no secret that I love my food. I’m pretty active (being dragged round a field by a small and perpetually enthusiastic whippet is incredibly exhausting) but still occasionally I do worry about what I eat. We eat a decent meal every night, but I do have a bit of a cake habit. Generally, I try and balance this by forcing myself to eat a healthy breakfast, at least on weekday mornings.
I hate to mention the C word, but I’m already starting to collate gift guides (stay tuned – some wonderful ideas on the way) and search for beautiful things to give my friends and family.
One of my favourite sites is The Cotswold Company, not just for their scrummy oak furniture (I adore their wine racks) but for all the lovely accessories too. I use their baskets on top of my kitchen units to store things I don’t use every day like big platters and special baking tins, and their lamp tables are just gorgeous. They also have cushions, throws, all sorts of lovely stuff.
I’ve teamed up with The Cotswold Company to provide you with a little treat: £100 to spend on whatever you like! So, if you’ve got your eye on something bigger, like one of their amazing oak dressers, this will be a big chunk towards it, or maybe like me you’re in love with all those baskets?
Just leave a comment and let me know what wine you’d put in this fabulous Costswold Company wine rack and the winner will get £100 to spend on anything they like on the Cotswold Company website. Off you go, then!
The Small Print
Usual English Mum competition rules apply. Competition ends Friday 11th October at 9am. UK only. Prize comprises: £100 to spend online on cotswoldco.com. Winner will be chosen at random. New comments will not show straight away as they require moderation.
**This competition is now closed. Congratulations to Mark Hawes who won the £100!**
If you follow me on Facebook (if not, why not? We’re a lovely gang and have all sorts of waffly conversations), you’ll know that a while back, my chums at Disney offered me the most FABULOUS prize for you, my lovely readers: a 7 night holiday in a Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, complete with park tickets. I, of course, bit their arms off (not literally – you don’t bite Mickey, it’s just not done), but then, disappointingly, we couldn’t persuade anyone to offer flights (it’s the end of the financial year, times are tough, blah blah) so I faltered. I wondered if people would be disgruntled with a competition that wasn’t a WHOLE holiday as it didn’t include the flights. But people commented, in their droves, to say that it didn’t matter, that they’d definitely enter a competition. And hey, it’s a fabulous holiday, worth a ton of money. So here it is, in all its glory.
The prize (squee!)
Disney will provide one winner with a vacation package for four people for seven nights and eight days at Disney’s wonderful Art of Animation resort consisting of accommodation (one standard room for four people for seven nights), PLUS four 8-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper® option (EXCLUDING flights).
How do I enter? I hear you cry!
My favourite attraction at Walt Disney World is Pirates of the Caribbean. I’ve always loved it. So just leave a comment and tell me: what’s the attraction you’ll be heading to first if you win this amazing prize?
(New commenters please note yours won’t show up until it’s been approved.)
For an extra chance to win, just comment and let me know that you’ve tweeted the phrase:
I’ve entered @EnglishMum’s Walt Disney World Florida holiday giveaway #visitMickeywithEnglishMum
The small print
There’s quite a lot of small print, I’ll admit, but hey, giving away a holiday is quite complicated, so I’d be really grateful if you have a read through and make sure you agree before entering. Ta muchly
- Usual English Mum competition rules apply. This competition is open to the residents of UK and Ireland. You must be over 18 years of age. The prizes offered are not transferable (and may not be sold, traded, transferred or refunded) or exchangeable for cash. The winner will be chosen at random.
- Items that are not included as part of the winning vacation package are: meals, hotel room service, laundry service, alcoholic beverages, merchandise/souvenirs etc, local and long distance telephone calls, tips, gratuities, service charges or taxes, all other charges and items not offered as the main prize, and the big one: FLIGHTS. Entrants must arrange their own air travel.
- The winners are responsible for arranging visas, travel insurance, transfers, etc.
- The competition ends at midnight on Saturday 6th April 2013. No entries received after this time will be considered.
- Winners will be asked to provide 3 dates when they can travel, but departure date and accommodations are subject to availability; certain restrictions and block-out dates may apply. Prize to be taken within a year, subject to availability.
- Disney, its parent, related, affiliated and subsidiary companies and their respective officers, directors, agents, employees and assigns shall be released and discharged from any and all legal claims, losses, injuries, demands, damages, actions, and/or causes of actions that arise out of and/or in any way related to the prize, the receipt, use and/or enjoyment of the prize and/or the promotion.
- Oh and lastly – don’t cheat! One entry plus one bonus Twitter entry per person The system picks up on duplicate entries 😉
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER, CHOSEN BY AN ONLINE RANDOMISER, IS CAROLINE CAVANAGH – CONGRATULATIONS! THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ENTRIES – MORE COMPETITIONS VERY SOON XX
People seem to be really torn about Valentine’s Day. There are definitely those who see it as a cynical marketing ploy dreamed up by greeting card companies and florists (or is it restauranteurs and wine retailers?), but I personally think it’s no bad thing to remind your loved one how much you care once in a while.
With this in mind, I’ve teamed up with the lovely bunch (geddit?) from Prestige Flowers to help you spoil your valentine. Just comment below and tell me who you’d treat and why, and we’ll arrange for a gorgeous bouquet of red roses, a bottle of wine, a teddy bear and a box of chocolates to be delivered to the object of one lucky winner’s affection in time for Valentine’s day.
And hey, if you’re not lucky enough to win, you’ll find loads of perfect Valentine’s Day flowers at Prestige.
Usual English Mum competition rules apply. Prize will consist of one dozen roses, one bottle of red wine, Belgian chocolates and a cuddly bear. Competition closes 11th Feb 2013.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED- CONGRATULATIONS TO KATE GOODALL WHO WON THE PRIZE FOR HER FRIEND.
So as a regular visitor to English Mum *cough* it’s fairly likely that you have an appreciation for good quality writing *cough cough*…
I bet you love a book right? What do you love? Let me guess: you love a bit of crime fiction? No? Romance? Hmmm… travel? Maybe you just like bonding with your tiddlers over Winnie the Witch…?
I bet you even carry a book around with you occasionally don’t you? You do? I’m practically psychic!
So as the book lovers that you undoubtedly are, you might, then, have noticed the news about the brand new Kindle Fire, from Amazon. This sleek and elegant device can be carried about with very little fuss. It also has the capacity to hold 1,100 books, which would otherwise take up an enormous amount of space and frankly be a bit difficult to balance too.
But y’know, times is ‘ard and Christmas is a’coming (okay I’ll stop now) and you may find it hard to justify spending £129 on a Kindle. However, the lovely, good-looking and very kind-hearted travel team at Directline Holidays have come to your rescue and are giving you the opportunity to win one, RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW! (Well not right now, obviously, they’d have to post it and stuff…)
To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me the first book you’d download onto your new Kindle Fire. New commenters: don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up straight away as it has to be approved. The winner will be drawn at random after the closing date of Saturday 10th November. No cash alternative. Open to entries from EVERYWHERE!
This competition is now closed. thanks for your entries. The winner, chosen at random by my son is Kate Wit Wit Woo. Congrats!
So you’ll remember, I’m sure, that the lovely chaps from Ice, a new and exciting loyalty scheme, challenged you all to show us your fave holiday snaps and grab the chance to win a family Eurostar ticket to the destination of your choice. Well here are the entries. And very nice they all are too. They’ve been making me go ‘oooh’ and ‘awwww’ all week. So now it’s down to Ice to choose a winner. Going to be a toughie, I reckon. What’s your favourite?
And congratulations to the lovely Babaduck who won the tickets!
So this is very exciting!! In the run up to the peak holiday season, Ice, a new and exciting loyalty scheme, has decided to give English Mum readers the chance to win a family Eurostar ticket to the destination of your choice!*
Ice is a flexible and generous loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for buying from companies carefully selected for their environmental credentials. Ice identifies sustainable products and services, which range across a variety of sectors such as food, fashion, beauty, and of course travel, presents them to customers in a one-stop shop (www.myice.com), and rewards customers generously with Ice points that can be redeemed against future purchases. **
Customers will get the same or cheapest deal available from the retailer for the particular product or service they are purchasing, and will also collect Ice points to spend or put towards, other products available on myice.com. What’s more, customers can collect up to 11 points for every £1 spent, making it all the worthwhile.
About the competition
To be in for a chance of winning, all you need to do is send me your fabbest holiday photo and email it to me at english[dot]towers[at]gmail[dot]com, telling me who you are and where the photo was taken. Entries must be received by midnight on the closing date, which is 8th June, so basically you’ve got the whole of half term to send me your perfect holiday picture!
If you’re a blogger, please link back to this post, and if you’re a tweeter, please use the hashtag #englishmumsholidaysnaps
Extra points will obviously be awarded if you can get food in your picture somewhere 🙂
The small print:
*Eurostar is a brand partner of myIce.com and the family ticket comprises 2x Adult and 2x Child
tickets, up to the value of £400
** every Ice point collected is worth 1p
There is no cash alternative to the prize. The winner will be chosen at random after midnight, 8th June 2012.
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