Hola! Well isn’t this weather nice? I was actually in Athens this weekend, working for Cruise International, and the weather here in the UK was actually hotter when I landed. Crazy. Anyhoo, I’ve been storing up all the news from Universal Orlando Resort for a while now, so whether you’re interested in breathtaking new rides (in which case, may I direct you to my Fast & Furious – Supercharged post here), beautiful new accommodation options or big fat gorgeous doughnuts, you’ve come to the right place. Grab a cuppa and settle down to read my exciting roundup of everything new at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida.
Now you know that I love everything about hush – I think their style perfectly complements my own laid back luxe ethos. I do think, though, that summer is when hush truly shine. The summer pieces always include a great choice of easy to wear separates, all in a modern colour palette, and the new hush summer 2018 collection is no exception, featuring some pretty, floaty dresses, flattering shorts, effortless t-shirts, gorgeous beach cover-ups and a fab new range of swimwear. I think more and more, we’re moving away from cheap, disposable fashion that has the added shadow of murky production values hanging over it, and towards investing in great quality items from responsible retailers with integrity. This embodies hush for me. Anyhoo, on to the new hush summer 2018 collection. There are so many gorgeous pieces, but I’ve tried to bring you a wide choice of some of the best pieces that will make a great base for a capsule wardrobe when the sun finally comes out. Enjoy!
Last week my oldest baby celebrated his birthday. We decided to get everyone together and have a little birthday celebration for him, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out the new M&S summer food to order range that I’ve been hearing so much about. If you’re having a get-together it’s such a lovely idea. You can choose from all sorts of different food, from fabulous barbecue food (the ribs look amazing), to dinner party fare, afternoon tea and you can even say I do in style with wedding drinks, flowers and, of course, wedding cakes too. You just order online and then pick up from your nearest store. Everything is neatly packaged and labelled and the lovely staff at Berkhamsted M&S even put it all in the car for me.
What on earth is up with this weather? Last week, we were convinced that spring had sprung and I was walking the dog in shorts and a t-shirt, and now I’m looking out the window and it’s that proper April rain shower/sunny spell combo weather again. It’s a lot chillier too. This is brilliant for all of us who love nothing more than chatting about the weather (yes, I’m talking about you, Mr E), but not so good if you’re trying to plan your outfit for a day in town or an evening out. At home I’m not bothered because I live in my standard uniform of jeans and trainers (wellies and parkas for walkies), but I’ve got a couple of things in the pipeline that are going to need me to look smart and then what do I do? For this weekend’s wishlist, I’ve been doing a bit of research at one of my favourite retailers and I’ve come up with some ideas for spring dressing with M&S, who are knocking it out of the park at the moment, fashion-wise.
This week, having finally beaten the jetlag which has been making everything foggy and slow, and also having finished drafting all of the new recipes for the book update I’m writing for a work thing (woohoo!), I woke up to beautiful, spring sunshine streaming through the window. I sat and had a cup of tea with the dog on my favourite blue seat in the garden and watched as my beautiful baby cherry tree shed its blossom in the breeze, like pretty pink snowfall. Oh, isn’t it glorious? As you know, I’ve been lucky enough to have had a couple of trips away so far this year, but even then, I rarely feel like I nail the effortless sunny day dressing thing. As much as I’d love to wear bright colours and prints, I just don’t feel right in them. I’m a more relaxed, monochrome dresser at heart, but feel this mostly lends itself to winter dressing: black jeans, grey cashmere and white shirts are an easy uniform, somehow, when it’s cold. So is it possible to dress for summer without opting for brights and florals (yes, I know they look lovely on some people), well, I’ve had a scout around, and here are a few of my favourite things for chic dressing for sunny days.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed a short video that I did for the Ultrasun #myskinis campaign. It’s a fab campaign, not gimicky or hyper hard-sell, but basically created to spread the word on choosing the correct sun protection for our particular skin type, and also about applying it properly. I did a little piece to camera, talking about my skin and also about a few new things I’d discovered during the campaign. This was filmed just after my Dad died and I’ll be honest, I was having a rotten time. The guys at Ultrasun were the sweetest, kindest, most understanding people during this time and I think it’s just made me love everything about Ultrasun even more.
As an early adopter of the slogan tee (yes, I had an original ‘FRANKIE SAYS RELAX’ as well as an oversized ‘CHOOSE LIFE’ which I wore tucked into my rara skirt with my jelly shoes) I feel that I’m highly qualified to choose the best slogan t-shirts. The trend shows no sign of slowing down, and if you’re a late adopter (perhaps the horrors of ‘my <insert relative> went to <insert place> and all I got was this crummy t-shirt’ memories are still too raw for you), I promise it’s totally fine to wear one now, evidenced by the fact that they’ve popped up everywhere from Primark to Prada. And while I don’t really want to walk about with ‘u okay hun?’ or ‘BABE’ emblazoned upon my chest, there are some really nice slogan t-shirts about. I promise. Here’s a little roundup of the best slogan t-shirts about at the moment, from high end to bargainous.
It’s a happy coincidence that it’s Paddy’s Day today, but honestly, I was already planning a green roundup, I promise! As long as you ignore the rumours of a return to -3 degree temperatures this weekend, there are certainly signs that spring is well and truly on the way, and what better way to celebrate than introducing a few fresh, spring greens into your wardrobe.
‘Another social media platform?’, I hear you groan. I know, I know – we’re all supposed to be breaking up with our phones, not spending more time on them, but I’ve been using Vero for a while now (mostly lurking) and I really like it. There’s a transparency and a – gasp – honesty about it that’s quite refreshing. The makers of the app seem to be focusing on the sharing and collating aspects of Vero, and that’s what’s drawing me to it. If you haven’t heard of it – or indeed are a new adopter and a bit baffled – here’s a quick rundown, and here’s how I’ll be using Vero.
I do realise, as I’m perched here on the breakfast bar right next to the snowy scene of devastation that is currently our garden, that talking about holiday dressing might be a bit of a stretch, but honestly, I’m all about the escapism. Right now, if I can imagine myself on a sunkissed beach somewhere, I’m a very happy bunny. So even if your current surroundings might not scream (or even whisper) new bikini, I feel that we could all do with a bit of beach dreaming to warm us up. And with so many gorgeous holiday clothes new in at Boden, it would be rude not to have a quick look, no?
This year, Mother’s Day is on Sunday 11th March. Did you know that the reason the date changes every year is that it’s on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, and the timing of Lent changes every year (it’s linked to the lunar calendar)? Mother’s Day, Easter and my birthday are always linked in my mind as they’re around the same time of year, and this lovely few weeks always makes me think of spring: delicious scents, fresh flowers and all the food (mostly hot cross buns, but also Easter eggs and roast lamb). I always feel like Mother’s Day gifts should be something indulgent that your Mama might not splash out and buy herself, so whether it’s a posy of pretty flowers, sweet treats or beautiful beauty pressies you’re after, I thought I’d have a look and give you some M&S Mother’s Day gift inspo.
You know Mr E, he loves a bit of upcycling. Now the wall has been taking down between the kitchen and the dining room, I’ve obviously lost all the kitchen cupboards that were on that wall. Hence, I’m always complaining about not having enough storage in the kitchen, so wasn’t at all surprised when he appeared one night with his latest Ebay find: a tall, pine unit with a cupboard and lots of shelves. It looked absolutely perfect, the only problem was that it was a pretty hideous shade of orange. As we discussed colours, I mentioned that I’d seen some really dark grey interior finishes recently, and that I really wanted shades of granite and khaki for the kitchen, with accents of copper that have been dominating my Pinterest for a while now.
Skincare is SO confusing, isn’t it? I love it, but what with acids and peels and peptides and vitamins and minerals, it can be a worry that you’re not doing enough – or even doing too much. I try and keep my skincare regime relatively simple (I love a good hyaluronic acid serum and a decent SPF moisturiser), but I’m often worried that I’m not doing enough. I’m not too bad day to day, but I’m terrible about remembering to exfoliate (I don’t like gritty scrubs) so when I read about REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic (£25) , I was desperate to give it a try. I’m a big fan of Caroline Hirons on YouTube: she talks a lot of sense and really cuts through the beauty jargon to give you great advice, whatever your skin type. Caroline talks about acids a lot (see her cheat sheet on acids here) and I know she’s a big fan of REN too, so with the promise of exfoliation without the grit, I thought I’d give it a try.
Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to Skye Gyngell’s gorgeous (and aptly named) Spring restaurant at Somerset House in London for the prettiest of breakfasts to celebrate the launch of the new hush spring 2018 collection. With fresh petal colours, delicate prints and new twists on some of my favourite pieces, I could very easily have packed the whole lot up and taken it home with me. Read on for a look at that beautiful breakfast and a peek at some of the pieces that caught my eye.
When I’m cooking for the family, my intention is always to nourish (I know, I’m just so new age). I want to choose foods that will fill our bodies full of good things, so that kind of excludes all the delicious stuff like cakes and biscuits, right? Well, maybe, but sometimes you just really need a biscuit with your cup of tea, so I started to think about creating a little sweet treat that still has some good stuff in it. Oats are so good for you: a great source of fibre as well as lots of important vitamins and minerals, and oat bran is high in protein (although if the taste of bran is too ‘knit your own yoghurt’ for you, feel free to replace it with wholemeal or rye flour instead). I’ve tried to keep the butter to a minimum by adding banana (but hey, I’m a fan of full-fat dairy) and they’re not too heavy on the sugar either, so if you’re desperate for a sweet treat, why not reach for one of these cookies instead of that packet of biscuits? If you’re calorie counting they come in at about 120 kcal each which isn’t bad for a nice, fat cookie. I’m not going to go so far as to say they’re healthy, but let’s call them healthier oat and cranberry cookies instead.
Picture the scene: it’s Friday night, we’ve both had a hectic week and we’re slumped, finally, in front of the TV, bra off (me), joggers on (him), and both boys out with friends. It’s the perfect opportunity for us to head out to dinner together, just the two of us. We discuss options and various restaurants we quite fancy, but it would mean getting dressed and putting make up on and driving/taxis and whatever and there’s a good film we both fancy on the telly, and delicious wine in the rack. What to do? We don’t have the luxury of many takeaways that deliver here, plus that option can be expensive (and frankly not always great), and although I love to cook, sometimes the thought of getting creative in the kitchen when I just want to chat and sip wine with Jim while we catch up after a busy week means I’d love an easier, but still delicious alternative. This week we’ve been trying The Supper Club range, a collection of premium luxury ready meals new to Sainsbury’s, so we popped the Red Thai Chicken Curry in the oven instead.
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