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 🎄

X

Festive Cookies

Or more commonly known as Sugar Cookies, the quick and easiest biscuits that look great and taste delicious! They are absolutely fool proof (I promise) and are of course not only for Christmas but any time of year. Cut them into your shape of choice and decorate according to your theme.  Such fun to make with kids and friends as I did last week.

Recipe:

200g unsalted butter

280g caster sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

400g plain flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer (or use handheld whisk) and cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix well, but don’t over-mix.  The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.  Cut out shapes with your choice of biscuit cutters.  Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  Check them regularly to make sure they are not burning.  The cookies should be very light golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre.  When you are happy that they are cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  Decorate with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing                                                                                                                           1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

310g icing sugar

food colouring (optional)

For the icing beat the egg white and lemon juice together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or use a handheld electric whisk) gradually start adding the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition to ensure all sugar is incorporated.  Whisk until you get stiff peaks.  If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar.  Stir in a couple of drops of food colouring if using and decorate the cookies.

Happy Baking

XXX

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Cosy Christmas Wish List

I’m really looking forward to a winter Christmas in London this year, the house is going to be filled with family AND a new baby. You can’t get more exciting than that as far as Christmas gifts go.

However as always a few cosy comforts to warm up your home and style never go amiss.  I have put together a few little bits and bobs I wouldnt mind finding under my Christmas tree, or even on my tree for that matter.  There are some beautiful Christmas Tree decorations around, I could spend a small fortune just on my tree which we went to choose yesterday.  It was such fun trying to choose the best tree suited to our lounge, whilst Oliver ran amongst the trees playing hide and seek with another little girl.  I am secretly pleased that we didn’t have enough decorations to properly fill up this year’s bigger than usual tree, so I need to purchase more 🙂

A Wide brim felt hat from Topshop to keep that head not only stylish but warm too. A Fine Cashmere scarf from Hush wich can be used under your coat or as a shawl when out at a more formal occasion that will keep the bare shoulders super toasty. This Metallic make up bag from Jigsaw is a perfect bit of glamour for housing all your important touch ups bits for many festive nights out, always important for the things you pull out of your bag to look as good as your bag.  There is nothing better than getting really cosy on the couch with a luxurious Wool Mix throw and cushions like this The White Company one, a warm mug of hot chocolate and a great Christmas movie (thinking National Lampoons Christmas vacation, never gets old). These glamorous little Hanging Paper Houses from The White Company will perfect any tree.  Your home won’t be cosy and complete without some gorgeously smelling aroma’s (other than food aroma’s) and also help to get rid of oily cooking smells that may be lingering from many a roast dinner, the heavenly scent of these Ormonde Jayne candles are seriously divine.  This is a gift that will be on every one of my lists every year.  A calf hair Leopard print clutch like this gem from Question-air fits in perfectly with a winter themed outfit, wearing a slightly furry bag does make you feel warmer somehow…And lastly but not at all least I have chosen a cool winter grey colour pair of sunnies to ward off the snowy glares on those crisp winter walks, Cutler and Gross Sunglasses from J Crew

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Junior Carloni is due to make an arrival pretty soon (I hope) so if you don’t hear from me again before Christmas, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Festive Season, a prosperous New Year and if you are travelling stay safe!

x