Summer Essentials

I haven’t quite digested the fact that December is 1 day away.  Its such a cliche but every year goes faster and every year Im less organised by the time December comes around.  I think as soon as your children get to school going age, life becomes a bit more hectic not only having your own diary but all of a sudden you have another person’s schedule to consider.  In saying that I am not ready, I am still so excited for the holiday’s to arrive and for schools to break up so we can all wind down and enjoy some well deserved relaxation.   Once holidays begin, the last thing I want to do is have to pack up a ton of stuff to lug to our holiday destination (although some stuff can’t be avoided) the less there is to cart the less stress around the big trek.  Some summer essentials that are pretty much always on my list below are not only things I love and I’m sure loved by many others, but also a good little gift guide.  The odd thing on the list changes from one year to the next but generally Im getting into a habit of always going back to what works for me.  Here’s a small collection of what I WONT leave behind, these bits along with swimsuits, beach wear and the odd dress is all that I will be packing.

I love a Moleskine notebook and have carried one every year for about the last 5 years, ever since my husband bought me one as a gift and have loved them ever since.  I always go with the small pocket size so it fits into any handbag.  This is essential for all the list making: Shopping lists, present lists, packing lists, meal ideas, furniture measurements, bank details, you name it, it’s all in there.  I wouldn’t remember a thing without it!  I was very excited to see them for sale in South Africa at Exclusive Books and then even more thrilled when I googled it and they have an online store in SA with tons of wonderful products to choose from here

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Next on that list (in that Moleskine) would be sunblock.  I still have this UltraSun anti ageing for sensitive skin for the face which I use mostly but I have also recently been introduced to Cetaphil which is also wonderfully moisturising without being greasy.  Both UltraSun and Cetaphil are fantastic for children too.  Cetaphil is widely available in SA but I have not yet come across UltraSun

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From here on it’s in no particular order.  I find my hair does bizarre things when moving around, the water is always softer or harder, less chemicals, more chemicals, salty or full of limescale, wherever one goes, who knows what it’s going to come out looking like after a wash.  Mine quite often goes very soft when washed near the seaside so something to give it a bit of texture (apart from a dive into the sea) is EVO, it is essential for a half decent head of hair.  I was introduced to this little bottle of miracle powder about 1.5 years ago and couldn’t imagine hair days without it.  EVO gives your hair a feeling of dirtyness once applied (whilst still looking wonderfully clean) but it means you can manipulate your hair that much more to do what you need it to.  This along with some Oribe texturising spray will be packed before I even pack a brush!

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It’s always lovely to have nails painted in a colour that will compliment a tan, I love white in summer, it goes with all the outfits and enhances even the slightest of tans.  There are tons of good nail varnishes out there to choose from but I do love Essie

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Laura Mercier has been my go to foundation for many years, I have always loved their tinted moisturiser and its so perfect for holidays, very subtle. a low coverage that gives a natural and fresh finish.  A lovely new Skin Care store recently opened in Sandton called Skins Cosmetics, selling Laura Mercier amongst other great products, unfortunately I cannot find my product online but hopefully they have it in store!

As the days go by and the tans darken, it’s great to have a bronzer to get your face up to speed with the rest of your body.  And if you prefer not to tan then its nice to have a little colour to add on anyway.  The Chanel Healthy Glow powder comes in a few shades.  Chanel is another favourite when it comes to make-up and this fantastic bronzer can be built up depending on the intensity of the colour you wish to achieve.

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Highlighters are great for evening when you want to add extra definition and a healthy glow to your face.  I’ve always used cream illuminating products but this MAC powder is brilliant if you want to minimise oil on your face.  During summer with all the sunblock, and hydrating creams I find to add more cream to my face can just make me look like Ive got an oily skin and makeup tends to slide off quicker the more moisture I add.  I like to add the highlighter just above my cheekbones and brow bones (below and above). Im no beauty guru but that’s just what I have always done.

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Lips also need continuous hydrating, finishing off the face naturally with a soft dewy lipstick can perfect the summer natural look.  I prefer a lighter colour and have used a super hydrating Laura Mercier lipstick called Angelic for some time but was recently given the most luxurious feeling lipstick by a friend, which is Givenchy Nude in the Dark.  (colour not available online in SA)
Screenshot 2017-11-29 19.13.10From all the barefoot walking, coarse sand and sandal wearing the feet can become hard and cracked quickly so keeping them moisturised with foot specific cream is the cherry on top after a hot soak in a bath.  This award winning beauty product from L’Occitane is always on holiday with me.

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Fragrance is not something I wear a lot of and anything strong makes me feel nauseas so discovering Byredo was a God send.  Not something you find in your typical Beauty department its only sold in certain stores but worth the search and pennies! Perfect for day and night.

Earrings as you would have heard me say before, small accessories to pack with large impact on the overall look.  Its the easiest hack to add glamour, colour or interest to a simple outfit.  Splurge out on bright colours for summer.  Great spots for accessories that will last the season and wont break the bank are H&M, Lovisa, Lulu Belle and then there are always stacks of little boutiques around SA selling local products that are not only world class when it comes to quality and style but also just so good to support local.

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Then last but not least a December essential, from throwing in all your bitty pieces that you don’t know where to pack, to using at the market, beach or trips to town the Woven Green Roundie is a summer must have!

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So that is my round up. Wishing you all a very happy festive season, travel safe and I will hopefully be a little more active on my site next year.  Thanks for following! Xx

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Getting Crafty @ Christmas

Second Christmas post in two days and third in a week.  I’m not going to apologise as this is what Christmas is all about, getting festive, excitement, talking about it, thinking about it and generally just going a bit OTT, and potentially stressing about it (if you’re me and terribly disorganised this year). I have never been this disorganised for Christmas I’m ashamed to say. I’m always the one who’s done their shopping throughout the year and finished by October with a few more Christmassy additions to get in November ! Well this year I’m not. And I’ve been thinking all week “shit balls it is December on Thursday” but then forgetting about it again. So once again this afternoon whilst on the beach it dawned on me (for the 40th time this week) that December is now in fact upon us and amongst many things I haven’t sorted the advent calendar for my boys that I wanted to make.  Not being able to do a thing about it then and there I started racking my brain and said to my friend, I need a piece of plank, she looked at me wondering what the heck this woman is on about and then I explained. So when I got home I went in search of my plank, found a nice white painted piece lying in the store room, but sadly was not going to be big enough, continued my search and came across two pieces of framed canvases that I’d had lying around all year (as you do…not !)

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Bashing away in the laundry where I know my kids never seem to enter  

I decided these would be perfect for my base. Next, went rummaging through my Christmas box, (it’s a wonderful thing to have and saves all last minute projects like this one) I found my little pegs that I’d used for an advent calendar two years ago that I’d completely forgotten about. Grabbed some red and natural twine, hammered some nails into the wooden frame at the back, tied the twine on and clipped on my pegs. Now for the little gift bags and tomorrow’s gift (it’s 6pm) 🤔 I figured well I could make tomorrow’s out of wrapping paper (but I’m certainly not making 48 of them) so tomorrow I will need to squeeze in a dash to pick up some little bags.

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My little bags made from wrapping paper

And the gift, well I found a few sticker packs in my Christmas box so those will be tomorrow’s gifts. Phew 😅 advent calendar sorted in the nick of time. Now to fill the last 23 remaining bags 😬

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So I had to split the calendar across two boards, but it means when we depart for the beach cottage on the 10th I can ditch the first half – perfect, slightly less to pack! 

Tomorrow is Christmas biscuit baking day with friends and an old German gingerbread recipe.  And so the festive season begins!

Hope you all have a very Merry Festive Season 🎄

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Great Gifts to Give

Giving gifts is always the most wonderful feeling, but giving something average or something that doesn’t necessarily have the person’s personality written all over it is not always as fun to watch.  I can’t bare giving a gift when I know its been a rushed purchase and not much thought has gone into it, I would rather wait longer until I find just the thing for them.

Sometimes you just have no clue, so here’s a list of lovely things to give, if you’re stuck…

Number 1 on my list may come as a surprise (unless you know me well, in which case it wont!) Rusks are my weakness, on a good day I will have 1.5, on a bad day up to 4 (eeek)!!! I would LOVE to receive this, what a great gift with a beautiful ceramic cookie jar to keep forever. Rusk Jar

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If you know someone who loves to cook and spends hours in the kitchen then this is the most beautiful apron I have ever seen and wouldn’t be ashamed to wear it out the house even – that’s how good it looks! Linen Apron

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We’re all so health conscious (or are supposed to be anyway) but we’re not all that good at knowing what to do about it or how to go about it.  Deliciously Ella is someone I have followed for years, when she first started writing about her illness and how the only cure for her was through healthy eating, I find it fascinating and inspiring how someone can be ill for so long and self heal through diet and a strong mind.  The ‘every day’ recipe book of hers is meant to be great and easy to follow (I have not used it yet) but a great gift to give to a health conscious friend who can or cannot cook. Deliciously Ella Every Day

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I’m not sure everyone’s as obsessed with lovely smelling candles as I am.  I love candles and they are usually quite pricey so not something one would just purchase on any given day (well not the good ones) a store I love to visit when I’m after a gift is L’Orangerie, their candles, soaps and bathroom products smell heavenly. L’Orangerie Candles

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Grandparents always love pictures of their grandchildren, finding a pretty frame that suits their interiors (or doesn’t) and filling it with a gorgeous pic is always a lovely idea. Leaf Print Frame

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For coffee lovers, I gave this to my husband for his birthday and I LOVE it (so does he ;)), it’s not a schlepp at all and the slightly longer time it takes to make than your normal coffee is worth every delicious sip. Bialetti Coffee Machine

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Plants are always a good choice too!  Snow Rose 

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Fill up a Glass Jar with home baked treats. Glass Jar

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Find a pretty, functional and less expensive basket and build a hamper, filled with nuts, wine, nougat, jam, homemade biscuits whatever you think the receiver may love! Basket

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Another great gift that would fit into any home no matter what the style are these beautifully crafted marble coasters that will last a lifetime, bringing a touch of elegance and glamour to the table.  Marble Coasters

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Happy Christmas shopping everyone, and it may be a good idea to forward this one onto husbands, dads, grandpa’s, boyfriends or just anyone clueless!

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Simple Christmas Decorating

I can’t quite get my head around the fact that the start of the Christmas season is only about 2.5 weeks away.  I actually don’t feel like thinking about all that needs to be done before we head off on our holidays.  This year I am going rustic and minimalist.  Reasons being; I love the minimalist christmas theme, tress with very sparse decor.  I’m too lazy to go all out (or just don’t have time) and we’re going to be in 3 different places from 1st December to 6th Jan (when all the decorations need to come down – if you’re a traditionalist) so the less I have to put up and take down again, the better.  I also have a lot of white decorations which will fit into our summer Christmas perfectly, it feels quite beachy I think. So here’s what Im thinking:

Firstly, I am definitely going to attempt this simple Garland. Click here for instructions.screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-22-29

I don’t want too much glitz on my tree or anywhere in my home, I want everything to be simple with no fuss, here are some trees that Im loving the look of …

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I love all the white wrapping in the baskets!

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I have already bought my wrapping paper for the children’s presents (pic below), this had to be done when I was in London at The White Company, just couldn’t resist! Im literally going to be covering my eyes when I watch them rip open the beautiful paper 😉

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And to complement this I think I will wrap the adults in plain white paper with raffia and sprigs of Christmas tree leaves that have fallen off.

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And that’s my simple Christmas! Now to find the perfect little tree.

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The Season to Shine

No matter where you reside in this world Christmas is always a time filled with fairy lights, champagne/sparkling wine, evenings out, and general festive cheer and it’s certainly a time to dress slightly more extravagantly than you normally would.  If your’e in a warm country, a sequin skirt with a plain t-shirt or a sequinned t-shirt and jeans/shorts can be a great summer way to wear sparkly garments.  In winter long or 3/4 sleeved sequin tops are great with black trousers/jeans and sequin dresses with tights under a wool coat are fab for Christmas parties and dinners.  Ive searched the online retail sector available to us and found some of my favourite sparkly items to help you lift your sparkle game this season.

I love the way a Sequin t-shirt subtly picks up the light and shows off a hint of sparkle every now and then.  I would pair these T’s with a pair of cut off blue jeans and a pair of statement earrings H&M

This sequin t-shirt would look great whilst on the beach in the evening for drinks or a boat perhaps.  Wear with white on the bottom for a real summer vibe, put the hair up into a top not and wear some heavy jewellery around the wrists and rings. Zara

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I have a top very similar to this and just love it for a winter christmas party.  Its such a statement and it’s warm too.  Wear this with leather leggings, skinny jeans or even tailored trousers for a more polished and sophisticated look.  Keep the accessories to a minimum.  Zara

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I love this dress for a winter evening.  I would totally layer it as the picture with a long sleeved top underneath, but with opaque leggings and ankle boots.  Ensure the coat you wear over is long enough to cover the bottom of the dress and left open in front for the sparkle to shine through as you walk. A small simple clutch bag in a metallic leather would be a great addition to this dress too.  Zara

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I love this brightly coloured sequin top, great for winter or summer.  Because it is quite boxy and a short length it would look good with a fitted skirt or pants.  I would love to dress this down with relaxed jeans and sneakers for a pub lunch or a slightly more casual function.  Mango

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I bought a Navy sequin skirt a while ago, and whilst I ware it very seldom I am so glad I bought it.  I wore it to a casual dinner at home a few weeks ago and my guests all commented on my skirt.  As not to look to dressy I wore it with a grey linen T and barefoot (it was a warm evening).  A sequin skirt would look as good with a pair of strappy heeled sandals as it would with simple sneakers. In winter wear it with a chunky knit jumper. Mango

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If you’re a bit reluctant to go the sequin route, go for something subtle like a scarf with sequins.  Mango

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But whatever your thoughts, if your’e wanting to try this sparkly look, December is the time to do it!

Happy Shopping

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Pics via Pinterest or website as stated.