Sunday, 21 August 2016

Daily Shower Spa

I adore a bath, the ritual of lighting candles, dimming the lights, filling my tub with gorgeous smelling products, donning a face and hair mask and then having a really long soak - maybe even popping my current box set on the iPad..... When I was pregnant I did this multiple times a week, but now I just don't seem to have the time (who really does?) and having a bath is a rare treat. So I've teamed up with Dove to coincide with the launch of their new nourishing care & oil range to see if we can get a little express spa-style ritual into our everyday routine.

Post Sponsored by Dove

Although I love my pampering and beauty, in the mornings I do just rush through the shower on auto-pilot so that I can get on with my day. The Hammams of Morocco however, would say I am missing a trick and taking a few minutes in your morning shower is one of the best routines you can have for your wellness to purify and calm your body and soul, giving you the best start to your day.

I've taken Dove and the Hammams advice on board and I've been trying to recreate a little daily spa time every morning that doesn't eat into my precious time - as most of us would swap a few minutes extra in bed for anything!

Obviously there is no time for candles in the morning, but I have popped a diffuser in my shower room to give a zero-effort spa vibe. I love Neom home fragrances, they contain essential oils to help work on your mood as well as smelling beautiful. Their Scent To Destress might not be particularly Moroccan, but containing essential oils including lavender, jasmine & Brazilian rosewood, blended to help you feel calm and banish stress sounded spot on.

In the shower I've fallen in love with the Dove Nourishing Shower Oil enriched with non-greys Moroccan Argan oil. Feeling so luxurious to glide onto your skin and then transforms into a beautifully fragranced lather to cleanse and nourish the skin whilst leaving your skin protected with more than 55% natural oils.

If your not into shower oils (you must try even if you're skeptical....) included in this launch is the Dove nourishing care and oil body wash, again containing Moroccan oil with leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Getting into the oil based spa-cleansing zone I've also been using Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing gel (£21) on my face, which again goes on to the skin with an oil-based texture and transforms into a silky milk in contact with water to wash away impurities. Popping on a towelling headband keeps your hair dry and helps get you in the spa-mood too, mine is made of bamboo (Hydrea Bamboo Head Band-Wrap £5.18) which makes it really soft too. 

Dove also gave me some tips from Marie Reynold, a spa, skin and wellness expert and some of them are easy to incorporate into your morning shower. Try using your shower time to wash away your metal and emotional stress, so taking a few deep breaths whilst under the water to help clear your mind - it does feel really good. The temperature of your shower is important too, go warm as if you go too hot this can strip away the skins essential oils and dehydrate your hair too. If you can bear it, Marie recommends a 1 minute blast of cold water to help tone the skin and stimulate your brain and body too. During the summer this is all well and good, but I don't think this is for me any time post-septmeber!

We were lucky enough to renovate our house when you bought it and putting in heated towel rails was a must for me, having a warm dry town to wrap up is always a welcome treat. I've then been popping on the beautiful Oud & Bergamot Cologne Intense Body Crème from the Jo Malone (£60) to add to the luxury and hydration from the Dove nourishing care & oil shower oil and wrapping myself up in my dressing gown from The White Company (£55).

I just need the husband to bring me some green tea when I'm done....

Post Sponsored by Dove

Friday, 19 August 2016

Toddler on Tour: Our Summer Holiday

When your day job follows you on holiday you need to make contingencies. 

Our was opting for a Mark Warner Holiday were childcare is a main element of the trip with built in british nannies. 

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Sophie, but I love her even more when I’ve had a bit of time to myself and with a long summer holiday ahead of us, with plenty of quality time together, I felt that having morning creche for her and giving me and my chap some time to ourselves was a good plan. So off to Levante Beach resort in Rhodes we went - on chartered BA flights from Heathrow terminal 5 - at a not too an ungodly hour… where we arrived at our beautiful 5* hotel.

With beautiful flowers at every turn.

Stunning bougainvillea.

 The main focus is obviously families, so there is a play ground, baby pool (where we were found every afternoon) and family pools to keep the little ones entertained

The adults aren’t forgotten too with a peaceful adult-only swimming pool and elegant pan-asian restaurant. I recommend the teriyaki salmon and the lycées with ice-cream...

 So if chilling by the pool is your thing, grabbing a lounger and swapping between reading a book, snoozing and sipping/nibbling on something rather lovely from the bar is totally acceptable. 

Marrying a military man, that was never going to be on our agenda for too long, so we tried out all of the activities. Paddlebording, windsurfing, sailing were all on our to do list whilst the littlest Libbey was happy in the air conditioned creche where we had help with the basics and took off to sea on our own. 

Not a child-free minute is wasted, with the waterfront staff being so slick they have the equipment ready and waiting for you by the time you get to the shore.

We shunned the bike trips as they looked a bit serious with everyone kitted out in their lycra and instead opted for our own little cycle trip up to the beautiful Anthony Quinn Bay where lemon Fanta quenched our thirst and we cooled down in the stunningly clear water.

 Having dinner at 5pm and then sitting quietly in our hotel room after Sophie went to bed didn’t sound like too much fun, so the option of evening childcare was grabbed with both hands. 

We took little S to children dinner, got her bathed and in her PJs then she went to watch a disney film and popped to bed in the creche before we scooped her up after dinner and took her back to our room.

Oh we had a lovely time! We are already looking to book again for next year with more of the family, and I'm currently looking at their ski offerings too...


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

OOTD: Great Goodwood Races

Summer is the season for sporting events, although I'm not a die-hard spectator of any particular sport, if it's a sunny day and there is a promise of a picnic or a glass of something bubbly, I'm game. So when the opportunity to attend Great Goodwood Ladies Day with Dove popped up I was super keen to head to the Cotswolds for a flutter on the geegees.

So, what to wear? Although the dress code depends on which enclosure you pick, I think its fun to get your glam on when going to the races. 'Dressing as if you are attending a wedding' was the advice  given from Great Goodwood and I think this is perfect guidance for the races for all seasons.

Dove had encouraged us to be colour confident and dress in brightly coloured frocks to celebrate their Invisible Dry Deodorant which has been proven not to leave white marks on 100 colours but still contains 1/4 moisturising cream to take care of your underarms. I love wearing colour, so I was really excited about hitting the shops, but I then realised that I was searching for a summer dress just as the first of the autumn collections were starting to come in and was unsuccessful... so decided to wear an old faithful. This bright coral number was my bridesmaid's dress at my best friend's wedding a few years ago, but the flattering cut has meant that Coast include something similar each season and here is a similar version in the sale. I teamed it with a pale pink-nude blazer and hat for contrast - although I must admit the hat didn't stay on that long! I wore some sparkly flip-flop sandals to and from the event as I was on and off trains, but stepped into my fave LK Bennet Sledge court shoes before getting out my car. I love how they elongate my legs and make me feel glamorous whilst still being really comfortable.

We were totally spoilt and spent the afternoon sipping champagne whilst we placed our bets, enjoying a three course lunch in our private box overlooking the finishing line. I cheered on my horses and jockeys but sadly this wasn't enough and I didn't pick any winners... luckily I had only ever placed the minimum bet!

I love a bit of people watching and really enjoyed seeing what all the other ladies were wearing - our box was a vibrant rainbow as we had all risen to the challenge set by Dove - I've made a mental note add canary yellow and emerald green to my wardrobe! I must now give myself the goal of staying colourful over the winter months rather than going into my black and grey uniform once October hits.

Thank you Dove for a fabulous day - stay colourful people!

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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sophie's Christening Party in Gold & White

The first Sunday in July saw the christening of our little girl. Originally we thought we would have got around to having her baptism when she was much younger, but last summer went too fast and we decided that we wanted a garden party after the service - so we waited. 

 I love having an event to plan, so started looking at Pinterest early to get some inspiration, opting for white styling with gold accents. The first item I hunted for was an outfit for Sophie - always the most fun job first! Now she is walking about, Monsoon have the most gorgeous dresses for special occasions and when I discovered the Baby Estella Dress (£40) in antique gold, (it is sold out online  in this colour, but I've since seen it in loads of their shops and it is also available online at House of Fraser) I was sold. I was a bit stumped about what shoes to team the dress with, as obviously didn’t want to put her in her trainers - but these were professionally fitted and know these are the best for her feet. However, as she was going to be held for the service and have a big nap during the party I thought that going for a cute pair of soft soled gold sandals that I found in the Gap sale (now £6.99) wasn’t going to life-long damage. 

Although I was keen for my dress to ‘fit’ with my theme I didn’t want to look at all ‘bridal’ but thankfully I found a creamy-gold lightly sequinned dress that I loved that didn’t look like I wanted a veil…. This is Dress Four (£170 reduced from £250) from the Phase Eight Limited collection - where the times have extra details to make them even more special. I’d popped along to my fave local beauty rooms (The Little Palour) for a spray tan as the christening was pre-holiday and I was worried about blending into the dress! 

 I had visions of oodles of white bunting hanging round our garden and luckily one of my favourite mum pals was happy to lend me what she'd purchased for her wedding a few years ago which was just perfect (£7/3m white fabric bunting Talking Tables) and I also added some card Heart cut-out-bunting (£8.25/3m Talking Tables). So at the crack of I was hoping round the garden (with the help of my bro-in-law) pinning bunting ribbon to anything that stood still. To add some gold highlights we tied gold diamond glitter garlands (£7 Talking Tables) round the food gazebo and hung gold and white stars (£12 pack of 3 Talking Tables) to give a chandelier effect - which I replicated under our garden umbrella too. White and gold balloons (5 printed confetti balloons €5.90 My Little Day) and pom-poms (£6.50 White and £9 Gold) filled the corners of the garden and added to the general sense of occasion.

 As we had over 50 guests (it always gets out of hand doesn’t it?!), I was super keen to make the catering as easy as possible using disposable plates, napkins, straws and cutlery. My sister and Mum and father-in-law were even sent, all making oodles of sandwiches which we added to with some other party food. 

The real showstopper was saved for a sweet treat in Sophie’s Christening Cake. I started conversations with Love Rosie Cakes and Cupcakes MONTHS ago planning the perfect cake, and boy, did they deliver! The 8" Madagascan Vanilla cake (£55) looked just perfect, especially with the speckles of gold leaf on the buttercream icing king it sparkle in the sunshine. Whilst cutting the cake my husband told me I MUST have on of the chocolate dipped cherries thank goodness I did - they were life-changingly-incredible! These teamed with the edible rose petals and buttercream kisses made it look stunning. We had so many guests we added mini cupcakes (£1.10 each) which made the ‘cake table’ look even more special. To set the cakes off I popped the big cake on a beautifully simple Bosley Cake Stand (£25) from Neptune Weybridge and the cupcakes on a matching Bosley Platter (£14). I loved that they didn’t detract at all from the beautiful cakes but looked elegant and in keeping with the party. 

My mum and dad generously bought all of the bubbles for the occasion from our local wine store: 1853 Wine Club, opting for Hardys Crest Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot (£9.99) which was perfect to sip on this beautiful summer occasion and we hired the glasses (for free - such an amazing service!) from Waitrose. Like all these big occasions, the day goes too quickly, I didn’t get to talk to anybody long enough take enough photographs and all too soon we were talking down the decorations. Oh to the next party to plan!



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