12 years, though. 12 whole years! I can’t actually believe it’s been that long since I sat at my enormous, clunky computer in that little house down a long drive in County Dublin and listened to it making that weird, warbly dial-up sound connecting to our bloody awful internet connection. They say the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and for me, my journey really began when I started writing down my thoughts about moving our young family to Ireland. This led on to being a part of the very early blogging community in Ireland, and from there – well, you know the rest! And what better way to celebrate with you than with cake and sprinkles, and to give you, dearest reader, the most precious of gifts: the best vanilla cupcake recipe I own!
It’s hot, hot, hot! I think I might be in the minority in that I absolutely love a heatwave. There’s nothing guaranteed to make me hop out of bed in the morning than a peek of a sunny day blossoming through the crack in the curtains. In this weather there’s nothing better than a loose dress, catching every little bit of breeze, and not clinging to you in the heat. So, for this weekend’s wishlist, I thought I’d have a look for a few deliciously light, floaty, cool options – all perfect dresses for hot summer days.
Do you work from home? I haven’t worked in an office for as long as I can remember (English Mum is 12 next month – can you believe that?) and I feel so incredibly lucky to do what I love without having to commute to an office every day. However, I’ve been feeling recently that my little spot at the kitchen table isn’t serving me that well. The boys are both home from uni (Sam has finished uni – I feel a million years old), and the kitchen tends to be where everyone gathers, so when I’m busy trying to think of a different word for sophisticated while writing a ship review for Cruise International, I end up actually writing down whatever conversation I’m listening to instead. I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time to head back upstairs to the ironing room (it’s a single spare bedroom currently used for extra storage and ironing) and mulling over some stylish home office ideas.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m incredibly interested in sustainability. Whether that means committing to preserving our natural resources and lessening our individual environmental impact by eating less meat, doing my bit to save our planet by working towards ditching the single use plastics (sorry, favourite takeaway, your plastic containers mean that we won’t use you), or just committing to reusing and recycling as much as possible in our day to day family life and trying to reduce the amount of waste we create. Of course, one of the best ways to work towards zero waste is to sell your unwanted items, be they clothes, furniture, cars, or anything else, online. It’s a great way to save money and then, of course, you can purchase something to replace it feeling completely guilt-free. It’s a win/win way to live more sustainably. I wish I’d known then what I know now, though. I’m definitely going to give it a go a lot more often, and it’s all thanks to some top tips for buying and selling on Gumtree that I’ve learned.
I do love a little travel kit, don’t you? There’s something about teeny products that I love – they’re perfect for travel, or just popping in your handbag, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this gorgeous hush x balance Me summer edit skincare set. I mean, as if the cute jelly watermelon pink limited edition pouch didn’t light your fire, they’ve only gone and covered it in palm print too. It’s like it was meant for me! Happily, the products inside are brilliant as well – I’m just discovering the Balance Me range and I’m loving everything about the botanically active products, most of which are 99%, if not 100% natural.
I love to travel, but it’s also really lovely to get home and do a bit of nesting. I miss being in our kitchen, cooking for everyone while we all chat, catch up and have a giggle – there’s nothing quite like a house full of people (and quite a bit of mess at the moment – I need to do some decluttering). Charlie is home from uni and Sam has finished uni (I’m so old!) so doing a bit of part time stuff until he can get something more permanent, so often there’ll be all of us – plus girlfriends and often the odd friend too. I love it. The more the merrier, and these easy spiced lamb kofta meatballs are perfect for feeding a crowd. I guess you wouldn’t really look at meatballs as sunny day food, but, if you’re anything like me, there’s only so many salads you can eat when the weather is warm.
If you follow me on any form of social media, I’m pretty sure that you won’t have missed the fact that I was back in my favourite place on earth recently for the opening of brand new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. First up, I’ve got a video we had great fun making, showing you all the highlights of this incredible new addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and then I’ll tell you five reasons why you need to visit new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World – the largest expansion in the history of the park!
I was lucky enough to be on a cruise around the Greek islands this week (I took over P&O Cruises’ Instagram account, if you’d like to take a peek – more about beautiful P&O Cruises Oceana coming soon). It’s scorchio in Greece at the moment. On Saturday we docked in Piraeus and travelled a couple of hours inland to visit the ancient archaeological site of Delphi. It’s beautiful, but there are a lot of steps and steep slopes and very little shade, and in 35 degree heat, it made me realise that my crocheted black dress (although light – it’s a Next beach dress) was woefully badly chosen. What I needed was light, airy, cool and as much as I love it – possibly not black. Hush have added quite a few new pieces to their summer collection, which includes lots of lovely lightweight dresses, so I think I might invest in a few for my next trip. Here’s my weekend wishlist chosen from the new hush high summer styles.
So last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening event of the brand new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World. I’ve got tons to tell you about new Toy Story Land, including a video showing you all the new attractions and more, but until then, I thought I’d share some of my favourite experiences, dining venues and yummy treats that will add so much value to your Walt Disney World holiday. Often, it’s the little things that people tell you about that can really make a difference to your Disney experience so here are a few that made my trip extra special this time. I smiled so hard writing this and remembering all the fun we had – so grab a cuppa and get comfy while I tell you all about a few of my favourite things at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (obviously in addition to raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens).
So following on from the recent news that Sir David Attenborough is at the forefront of a new BBC initiative to encourage every one of us to become a #plasticsaction hero and take responsibility for reducing our own plastic footprint, sustainability is a buzzword right now. I’m trying hard to ditch the plastic and use my reusable cup (read my 10 ways to live a more sustainable life post here), but there’s always more we can do. Of course, it’s really difficult to eradicate all plastic, but many brands are already forging ahead (Dior has committed to removing all unnecessary cellophane packaging/cardboard inserts and to replacing display plastic with glass) and I’m trying really hard to take small steps to make every beauty purchase a more sustainable choice. There are loads of ways to make a difference – here are my five easy sustainable beauty swaps to start you off:
I’ve had a bit of a travel flurry over the last few weeks, and after our fab few days on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, Mr E dropped me off at Gatwick to spend the night at the gorgeous BLOC Hotel before setting off to Palma to join Marella Cruises for a lovely weekend to celebrate the launch of the latest edition to their fleet: Marella Explorer. So what’s it like to cruise on board this brand new ship? I thought it would be fun to give you a guided tour of Marella Explorer in pictures!
- Weekend wishlist: Estée Lauder #Gameface beauty box August 18, 2018
- How to make the best spaghetti and meatballs with tomato balsamic sauce August 16, 2018
- My hush autumn 2018 wishlist August 14, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: new season trends are landing! August 11, 2018
- Houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018 August 10, 2018