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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Life’s Little Treasure’s

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in Wales, Bruce and I are here for a wonderful couple’s wedding and we are so excited to be on our own again for a kiddie free weekend. We are staying in the most quaint little village called Hay-On-Wye in a gorgeous little loft apartment “The Pavement Palace”. I just love the name and we are right above the shops on one of the quieter little main streets.  I had booked myself into a spa this morning at a Country hotel about 20 minutes from here, but with the week that I have just had, the last thing on my mind was finding a cab to take me there at 9.20am on a Saturday, when living in London you take for granted that you can get anything at a moments notice. Clearly in Wales, the cab drivers are still sleeping at 9am, so I couldn’t get hold of one and unfortunately (or not) had to cancel.  However I’m now thrilled at the prospect of my free morning and have wasted endless minutes by pottering around deciding what to do next.  The first half hour was easy, I knew I needed a coffee, so I pulled my dress back on, put on the sunnies and went wondering, such a great feeling to be one of the first up, strolling the streets of a quaint and unfamiliar village, I followed the scents until I came across a little bakery, bought some fresh croissants and milk and headed back to the apartment after numerous Instagram pics of course….

I had a long list of things I wanted to do today before the wedding kicks off at 3pm that consisted of: a blog post, some work, catching up on emails and articles that I love to read, perhaps a face time or two with friends I never have time to chat to, a pedicure, fake bake myself ;-), read my latest copy of Porter Magazine, perhaps get closer to the end of the book I started last year.. (Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg), stroll the streets of Hay and browse all the antique treasures spotted on my morning walk and perhaps get in some much needed exercise that I never have time to do, oh and a spot of lunch with the hubby when he returns from his round of golf.  All this before lunch… Well it’s now 10:32am and I’ve managed the coffee, fake bake (that had to be done early), an article or two and I’m now writing.

It’s so funny this past week I was talking to Bruce (my husband) about the pressures in today’s world about having to do more than just be a mum, and how difficult it is to do something else successfully as well as being a mum…. successfully.  Yet there are so many genius super-mums out there that get the balance right and do it all.  They are pin up mothers to their gorgeous, well dressed broods as well as being super gorgeous themselves and have time to run a successful business, and I keep asking myself how? Is it possible to do without childcare? No! But when I leave my kids for more than 2 hours to do something work related or non work related the guilt seeps in, I want to be the one raising them and doing the mundane every day things with them, but some of these woman appear to be doing that too, as well as,,,.

Then this morning I was reading one of my favourite blogs and the article was on a former stylist, now living in Bali just being a mum (although Im sure she has tons of projects on the sideline) but her interview was so refreshing and so true!

What’s the hardest and best part of being a mum?
“When I first had Eadie, pretty much all the mums I knew were full-time working super hero mum jugglers, still functioning in the real world while dabbling in a bit of parenthood. Outstanding effort – I was in awe. But not able to keep up. Quite interesting that although we all know how hard-core parenthood is, when peeps ask you what you do (cringe) the general public is quite dulled by ‘just a mum’, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough, even though you couldn’t possibly even think about doing anything else, nor have the time to execute it. We’re already putting pressure on ourselves to do more, be more, earn more. Tough gig, I guess the hardest part is societal expectations and figuring out where I stand and how I’m seen, as a mum – just a mum. The best part about being a mum is that I’m growing into a woman who has opinions on such things. No wait that’s not the best part, there’s lots of good bits. Pretty cool when they outwit you. I get duped by Eadie all the time, she’s a tricky little one.”

The bit that stands out the most for me is people being bored by the answer of saying you’re just a mum as well as finding the time to do anything else let alone execute it!! Like all of us mums, we have so many wonderful ideas of what we would love to do but how on earth do we put it into practice when we just don’t have more than two hours at a time. And call me lazy but I’m not staying up until midnight to work just to be woken a few hours later by a baby or toddler and then have to cope happily with the day ahead on minimal sleep.  It’s such a tough gig! When I have worked it out I will let you in on the secret, I’m still trying to get there and hopefully soon I will reach my goal.  In the mean time I will enjoy life’s little treasures, which today will be all the antique stores I browse, and on any other given day will be my boys!

I leave you with some of the shop windows I came across earlier on my quest to find coffee and croissants. As well as a few of The Pavement Palace which I highly recommend and can be found on Air BnB.

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Happy Weekend to you all and enjoy the sunshine! X