All I’ve wanted to wear for the last few weeks is strappy dresses, shorts and vest tops, which is glorious (I could live with this weather all year round – I love the sunshine). But all good things must come to an end and as usual at this time of year, new, autumnal items are starting to appear all over the high street (and the internet). I thought I’d dedicate this weekend’s wishlist to a few new season trends. And while some are more wearable than others – I’ll be steering clear of capes, thank you very much – there are some gorgeous new season pieces appearing. Here are some of the ones I’ve spotted.
This time last year, we were just beginning to get everything ready for Charlie to go to university. He was delighted to be offered a place at Leicester, and we were slowly ticking off items from the ‘to do’ list, from sorting out a student bank account, to shopping for bedlinen and essentials for his new uni accommodation. Making the leap from living at home is a huge undertaking and can be a really stressful time for even the most confident teenager. Student accommodation provider, Unite Students has recently released The Leap – a report about the challenges involved in making the transition to uni, and providing tips for making the leap to university from a range of experts, parents and students.
I don’t know about you but I really struggle with night time skincare. I feel like I want to use a bit of a richer product at night, but I don’t want anything too heavy and greasy, and my skin can be a bit sensitive (oh, the horrible tingly pain of a recent dabble into Vitamin C). What I want at night is a lovely smelling, nourishing, soothing moisturiser so I wake up all plump skinned and happy. I was starting to think it was too much to ask, and then I discovered REN Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm and I’m completely addicted. I’m a huge fan of REN products; they’re cruelty free and as I mentioned recently, they’re really interested in sustainability, introducing a new 100% recycled plastic bottle, 20% of which will be plastic collected by global organisations like Surfrider from oceans, beaches, rivers and lakes worldwide. So I thought I’d dedicate this weekend’s wishlist to telling you about some of my fave products, and giving you the heads up about some fab REN skincare deals and discount codes too.
Oh. My. Days. Did you love cherryade when you were a kid? I have the most wonderful memories of sitting outside the cricket club on balmy summer evenings with a bottle of Corona and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. I adored it, even if it stained your lips pink, and if we were super lucky in the school holidays, we got to pop a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it and make delicious ice cream floats. I think I’ve probably been fantasising about cherryade since about 1980-something, so imagine how flipping chuffed I was when these little beauties arrived in the most lovely packaging from craft soda firm Dalston’s. And it tastes like the best cherryade in the world.
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 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 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 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:
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:
- 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
- Weekend wishlist: REN skincare deals and discount codes August 4, 2018