You know that friend: she always looks amazing, even just in jeans, and of course she has a lovely, welcoming home, a gorgeous wardrobe and impeccable taste, and that all just makes festive pressie buying a bit – well – difficult! I came across this very dilemma recently when the lovely chaps at John Lewis asked if I’d like to do a pressie swap with the effortlessly stylish Sara, who writes the beautiful lifestyle blog, Notes from a Stylist. I mean, ARGH! Luckily, not only is Sara very lovely and friendly, but it turns out we also have lots in common: teenage kids, yummy food (bring on the roast dinners), a love of interiors, stationery, twinkly things, beautiful flowers and lovely smells. Of course, there are also things we don’t have in common: mostly the fact that I have no style whatsoever, which is why I was reading her blog and following her in the first place – to pick up some tips. So how on earth do you choose festive gifts for a stylish friend? Well…
You know that I’m a complete Halloween addict. I love all the little bits and bobs that come out around this time of year, and yesterday I was nosing around John Lewis, intending to buy a few baking bits to make my spiced chocolate skeleton gingerbread men (more of these in a second). They have some absolutely gorgeous gifts, decorations and treats for Halloween this year and I ended up buying rather a lot of that stuff too (I mean, mini pumpkin fairy lights, come on!).
I’m so lucky to have my Mum. She’s my biggest cheerleader, supporter and advisor – always on the sidelines cheering me on, always there with great advice, never interfering, never judging. Mr E and my Mum get on really well, and the boys quite rightly adore her (she spoils them silly, even now they’re big), so she’s always played a huge role in our family life. This Mother’s Day, I’ve teamed up with John Lewis to create a lovely hamper of gifts for my mum as inspiration for Mothers’ Day gifting. Here’s what I chose to say thank you to my lovely Mum.
I’ve never really been a chunky jewellery person, bar the odd feathery bit of boho jewellery on the beach. I love sweet, delicate pieces: a sliver of gold around the neck that catches the light, or a flash of glitter in the ear caught just as you push your hair back. This weekend’s wishlist features the absolutely stunning range from Rachel Jackson London available at John Lewis.
Now you know I love Christmas, right? Well, I’m very lucky because I get to do it twice. I know! Every year, a lot of the brands do this AMAZING thing called Christmas in July, when they decorate a lovely area in London and nosey people like me (bloggers, journalists, etc) get to go along and have a look at all the fabulous glittery things that the brands have got planned for Christmas. HOLD ME BACK! Anyhoo, so I grabbed my friend Kylie and we headed off to the best of the Christmas in July shows. Here’s how we got on!
I’ve been reading loads about Charlotte Tilbury‘s make up range, so I was delighted to receive an email from John Lewis to say that they’re now stocking the range. I was straight over to my terribly tempting mega-store in High Wycome to have a good old nose, and I’m glad to report that it’s all gloriously gorgeous.
Now as I’ve told you before, I’m a jeans and jumpers girl (shorts and t-shirts in the summer). I’ve got a few lovely events coming up, though, that are going to require poshing up a bit, so whilst lusting after all the new snuggly autumn stuff, I’ve got my eye out for a few smart bits and bobs too. John Lewis have just launched their autumn fashion magazine too – so here’s the top five things on my wishlist (when I’ve finally started stocking the EU pasta mountain and buying things like Oyster Cards for Sam):
One of the best gifts we received over the Christmas period was a fabulous hamper from John Lewis. It arrived in a massive traditional wicker hamper and unpacking it was such good fun. We all dived in and found different things we loved. Obviously Mr English and I went for the wines (some really decent ones, actually – remember we used the fabulous Bordeaux on our cheese and wine tasting evening) – there was also a really good bottle of ruby port and some rather fantastic fizz too.
Over Christmas, having lots of guests means that nibbles are always welcome and the hamper contained loads of nuts, crisps and other nibbly bits. The New York Deli hot chilli nuts were a fave, as were the amazing Fire Cracker rice puff – so moreish! The hamper also had amazing Olives et Al spiced nuts, olives and cheesy biscuits. Perfect with drinks over the festive period.
The boys were delighted to see loads of biscuits and chocolates too, as well as a gorgeous cake AND a Christmas pudding, and we’ve STILL got loads of jams and preserves left, as well as a lovely bottle of balsamic vinegar.
All in all, there was something for everyone and it really was the gift that keeps on giving – well into the New Year in fact!
Check out all John Lewis gifts just here. And remember, some of their amazing hampers are now on sale!
I’ve just come back from a gorgeous break on the Cote d’Azur: three glorious days of sun, sightseeing, food and relaxation. But my word, the STUFF you need, just for three days: dresses, heels and some sort of clutch for going out to dinner; shorts, comfy shoes and t-shirts for sightseeing; swimsuits, cover ups and flips flops for beach days; and don’t get me started on beauty products, make up and toiletry bags, sunscreen and perfume. And if you’re taking little ones you can pretty much do that all over again (bar the heels and make-up admittedly).
So with all this in mind, I’ve teamed up with the gorgeous bunch at Insure and Away, who incidentally provide annual holiday insurance, another must-have for your holiday, to give you a little bonus with which to purchase some essentials for all your travel plans this summer: a £200 John Lewis voucher.
So that’s £200 of lovely shopping money, plus experts in cheap travel insurance to boot. You don’t have to thank me, honestly, answer the simple question below to enter, and give me a little shout out on Twitter as one of the extra bonus entry methods…
To enter, just:
Answer the following question in the comments box below: what is your no fail tip for a stress free travelling experience?
Tweet the following phrase:
I’d love to #win a John Lewis voucher with @EnglishMum and @InsureandAway #competition http://bit.ly/17oJb7a
…and follow @InsureandAway on Twitter. Leave a comment saying you have done so and state your Twitter username.
Like Insure and Away on Facebook and leave a comment saying you have done so below.
The usual English Mum competition rules apply. The winner will be chosen at random and this competition closes at midnight on Tuesday, 28th May 2013. And finally, don’t forget that if you’re a new commenter, your comment won’t show up immediately as it has to be approved first. Good luck!
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED – THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ENTRIES – WELL DONE TO KATIE H.
Don’t know about you but I absolutely adore the new John Lewis Christmas advert. If you’ve not seen it, it’s the story of the journey of a romantic snowman who travels many miles across fields and rivers to get his snow-girlfriend a present from John Lewis for Christmas. I know I’m a bit of a wuss, but I cry every time (but it IS lovely). Gabrielle Aplin’s beautiful version of ‘The Power of Love’ is spine chillingly beautiful. Lovely Johnny Looloos have given me this fab exclusive video which shows the making of the advert. Enjoy. And here, have a tissue. Click here for the perfect John Lewis gift for your special someone this Christmas!
Is it wrong, when I’m sitting here typing in a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt, the sun beating through the window onto my toes, that I’m already dreaming about the end of summer? It’s because we’ll be moving into our new house tomorrow. My mind has drifted even further, to cosy evenings and even past the first frost.
What’s that all about?
I think it started with this gorgeous beast on the Boden website which I think is really lovely. It’s a wax jacket like a Barbour (but with a slightly less hefty price tag). It made me think of crunching along a footpath on a brisk morning (whippet optional), or wrapping up warm to walk around the farmer’s market:
And of course I’ll be bringing my beloved Uggs out of their tissue wrapping. I’m an indoor-wearer only, but I love them so much. I’ve also got my eye on these nifty ones with added legwarmers – how snuggly are they?:
Then I’ll need gorgeous flickering candles while I’m snuggling. These cute little pine cone ones WILL be mine (from The Travelling Souk – one of my fave websites):
And loooook at John Lewis’ beautiful collection in collaboration with Jars Ceramistes – a gorgeous French brand that I’ve long admired. Imagine those jugs stuffed with the lovely Dahlias that flourish right through the autumn, and the bowl brimming with shiny aubergines…
Autumn starts for me when the butternut squash comes back in season. There’s something about a Sunday, with a nice roasted rib of beef, Yorkshire puddings and gorgeous roast chunks of butternut squash, all washed down with a big glass of red wine (I got some monster ones from T K Maxx that I just can’t wait to use), that makes the passing of summer so bearable… Foodie-wise, so much fabulous stuff happens at the end of August… berries and apples, pears, plums and damsons… the courgettes and tomatoes are still around and then there are fabulous mushrooms tempting you to leave the salad behind, heading for risottos, stews and soups, piles of mussels with scrummy white wine and herb scented broth to dip your bread into, baked potatoes and fruit pies…
I won’t mention the C word (FAR too early), but I’ll leave you with thoughts of Autumn until our move is complete. What does the end of summer mean to you?
I’ll see you very soon xx
- Become a #plasticsaction hero with Sir David Attenborough June 23, 2018
- The hush summer sale is here! June 21, 2018
- Visiting Walt Disney World with toddlers June 19, 2018
- Come shopping with me: swim and beachwear from M&S June 16, 2018
- Coconut chilli prawn noodles June 14, 2018