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!
I’ve been trying SO hard to be healthy recently. I’m trying to cut down on the booze, eating healthily and I’m still running three times a week – I’ve completed the NHS Couch to 5k app now, but I now just replay one of the later weeks (anything from around week 6 really) every time I run. I find it much more motivating to be told how I’m doing and I genuinely just like having Jo Whiley in my ear. I whack on a bit of The Greatest showman, pop my headphones in and plod along for half an hour or so. I’m not the fastest runner, and I don’t really enjoy it that much, but I like the feeling of achievement when Jo finally says ‘and that’s it, you’ve done it!’ and I know it’s keeping me healthy. I tend to run before breakfast, so I like to make something healthy to come back to, and these vanilla, coconut and cashew overnight oats with frozen berries are my current favourite.
You don’t have to be ‘scared of flying’ to be a nervous traveller. There are all sorts of different reasons why you might not particularly like flying: it might be a dislike of large crowds or being squished into places with lots of strangers (this is mine), meeting new people, the feeling of being trapped in an enclosed space, food allergies or preferences that can be difficult to manage when you’re away from home… it all adds up to feeling like you’re not in control of your own destiny, and that can feel unpleasant and make anyone feel anxious. I don’t actually mind flying at all – for me, it’s an opportunity to sit back, chill out, watch a film or two, read a big pile of magazines and not look at my phone for a few hours, but I do know that travelling can be a whole lot easier if you have a few simple techniques up your sleeve. Here are my top tips for nervous flyers:
The problem with plastic pollution is that the issue just seems so vast. With TV and social media showing enormous ‘islands’ of plastic building up in our oceans, and beaches being clogged with acres more of the stuff, it’s easy to feel powerless. But honestly, we can all start to make a difference, and the more of us that do (and pass the message on), the more we can start to make a change. Six months since Sir David Attenborough highlighted the sheer scale of this issue in Blue Planet II, he’s now spearheading a brand new BBC initiative called Plastics Action, releasing a short film today outlining the UK’s effort so far, and making a call to action to every one of us to become a #plasticsaction hero and take responsibility for reducing our own plastic footprint, especially where the ‘big five’ are concerned.
One of the things that I’ve really noticed about my beginner’s attempt to create a bit more of a minimal, capsule wardrobe, is that quality is really important. If you’re going to rely on fewer items, you really need to make sure they’re decent. I really like this element of it and have found a new pleasure in deciding on which new items will complement my wardrobe, and then hunting down great pieces to invest in, rather than splashing my cash haphazardly every time I see something I like. There are certain places I’ll go to shop where I know the quality is good, one of those being hush. Waiting for sales (and even hunting down great second hand pieces on Ebay) can save you a fortune, especially on things you really need to spend a bit more on, like great knitwear and decently cut swimwear. The hush summer sale started this morning and they’ve got some great bargains, but as usual, you’ll have to be quick as popular sizes sell out super fast. Here are my favourites:
A lovely friend of mine emailed me a while ago and said that some friends of his were going to be visiting Walt Disney World with toddlers in tow, and did I have any tips I could share. I compiled a big list of all sorts of bits and bobs of advice and recommendations for him and have used it several times since when people have asked me similar questions. I thought it would be helpful to compile everything into one big blog post and then I can keep adding to it as new attractions and activities arrive in the parks, or as other people give me their top tips. So here, for now, is everything that I can think of that would be remotely useful to know if you’re visiting Walt Disney World with toddlers.
I was chatting with a friend recently about swimwear. Just about this time of year – when you’re still debating whether to bare your lily white pins in a pair of shorts in case you dazzle a passing driver and cause some sort of accident – is, weirdly, the best time to buy your new swimwear. The shops are still full of all the lovely bits. But, woe betide that you leave it until a couple of weeks before your summer holiday – it will all be sold out and you’ll be left with the choice of a teeny tiny string bikini or a boring black sporty swimsuit left in your size. Happily, I’m here to help and yesterday I took a little sortie to Milton Keynes to check out the swim and beachwear from M&S. There aren’t many places better to buy swimwear – their fit is always good, the prices are reasonable, the fabrics wash well and don’t fade in the sun, and they always have nice matchy matchy bits too. Read on, then, for my best buys:
I think finding something delicious to cook for dinner midweek is one of my biggest challenges. I love these coconut chilli prawn noodles because the basic recipe can be adapted to suit so many different tastes. If you’re a meat eater, you can swap the prawns for chicken, and if you’re a veggie you can leave them out and add things like mushrooms, sliced peppers and sliced green beans (of course, you can still do that anyway). That’s the beauty of this dish. It’s also fab for using up leftovers as you can basically bung any old thing in and it will still taste delicious. It’s also one of those recipes where most of the ingredients can be kept in the cupboard and/or freezer for when you’ve got nothing in. When I buy red chillis, I’ll often freeze any that I think I won’t use and you can basically grate them straight into the dish. The same goes for ginger too. Here’s the basic recipe:
This weekend, Mr E and I were lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for the brand new Marvel Summer of Super Heroes at Disneyland Paris (you might remember reading about me forgetting my passport when I was invited to the special exhibition in Paris to showcase the plans for the new Marvel event. What a wally. Anyway, this time I panicked incessantly and checked my passport every five minutes and yes, got to Paris in one piece in time to experience this brilliant new summer of Marvel-based attractions available to everyone visiting the park this summer. Read on to find out more about it!
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed since becoming pescatarian is that it’s made me a lot more creative when it comes to choosing what’s for dinner. No more shoving chicken breasts in the oven (which I was guilty of – albeit with different coatings – at least twice a week). I’ve been enjoying reading cookery books and blogs and getting loads of inspiration, and as I’m a pie lover, I thought I would have a go at a more summery version using some smoked haddock I had in the freezer. I’m not usually a cheese with fish fan (I have a long standing debate with a friend about a particularly noxious prawn and feta dish that he loves but I think smells like vomit – sorry), but this haddock and cheddar tart is an exception: the sharp cheese works well with the smoky fish.
You might remember that back in September, I finally decided that enough was enough and started working towards saving my bleach-ravaged hair. Working with the incredibly talented Nat Lupton at The Hair Secret in Berkhamsted, I’ve been really looking after my hair, keeping it a soft brunette with non-damaging, vegan, organic hair colour from the Organic Colour Systems range, and treating it to regular Power Build protein treatments, shampoo and conditioner, all specially formulated to restore protein and repair the structure of the hair. I’ve been feeling really good about my hair recently: the care we’ve been giving it is really showing results and it feels thicker and shinier than ever. The little wispy broken bits are starting to grow down as well. One of the things that Nat teases me about was my insistence that I liked being brunette and would never go back to blonde. Oh, but… summer’s here, and I wanted a little lift, so we had a chat, and I paid Nat a visit for some balayage at The Hair Secret. Read more
Many, many moons ago, back when my children occasionally did anything I asked and I was a fully fledged ‘mummy blogger’, I was really proud to be asked by Royal Caribbean Cruises to be an Official Family Ambassador or ‘Royal Mum’. It was a fab time and I really enjoyed my role: as part of my ambassadorship, I wrote about family cruising on the Royal Caribbean blog as well as in newspapers like The Times, and was lucky enough, along with my lovely fellow Royal Mums, to experience wonderful trips like a Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, and a family cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Another wonderful memory was when we all got together at Southampton for a sunny day on board Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. I’ve always been hugely proud of my long-running association with Royal Caribbean: I love the quality of the brand, the wonderful people who have a genuine love and enthusiasm for creating incredible experiences, and all their beautiful, innovative ships, so when Mr E and I were invited along to experience the shakedown cruise following Independence of the Seas’ multi-million dollar makeover, we were all over it. Here’s how we got on.
It’s no secret that this time of year is my favourite. Wandering through the Chiltern Hills with Lyra, the bees are buzzing, the grass is emerald green and the air has finally warmed up enough for me to discard my parka. We always look out for the first elderflowers: for me, they’re a firm favourite – the scent reminds me of early summer weekends at the cricket club, making elderflower crowns with the clusters of tiny, star-shaped creamy yellow flowers. We’ve spotted some over the last couple of weekends, and Mr E and I are dying to make elderflower tempura with the new blooms. To celebrate elderflower season, I’ve teamed up with Belvoir Fruit Farms to create some delicious elderflower recipes using their lovely range of delicious cordials: some pillowy soft elderflower marshmallows, fragrant elderflower scones and an indulgent elderflower and ginger cheesecake. Read on for the recipes!
When it comes to this time of year, I start keeping a little M&S wishlist. Rather than popping those essential five packs of cotton undies, and Rosie for Autograph Insta Glow Matte Bronzer (literally the pretties matte bronzer, I’ve hit pan on two of these beauties now) into my online basket, I start to keep a note of what I’m after so I can take advantage of the frankly brilliant M&S Summer Beauty Box. What’s the big deal, you may ask? Well, the M&S Beauty Box lets you try all sorts of incredible new products, many of the sizes are absolutely perfect for travel too. And the best bit? You get the whole lot, worth £135, for just £15 when you spend £40 on clothing, beauty and home. The deal starts today and I’ve got a sneaky peek inside the box, especially for you.
Well hello, hello! I hope you had the most relaxing bank holiday with your nearest and dearest. We went to see Deadpool 2 in our favourite cinema in Milton Keynes on Friday evening (very funny, especially enjoyed with nachos and wine), and spent the rest of the weekend lazing and pottering at home, walking the dog and sipping rosé. Heaven. Back to work today, though, but it’s all good, as I’ve been discovering the new hush holiday 2018 collection. I love hush’s sweet little capsule collections and this one is my favourite of the year so far, with gorgeous new summer dresses and playsuits featuring some lush prints and embroidery. Let’s dive in, shall we?
- 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
- Our tips for making the leap to university August 9, 2018
- Cruising with friends: our P&O Cruises Oceana adventure August 7, 2018