I really should be writing this with my patio doors open soaking up the last of the day's sun, possibly with a chilled glass of wine in my hand. It is July, after all. Instead, I'm wearing thick socks, an extra sweatshirt and am sipping on a hot cup of tea. Do we not get summer in the UK anymore? I have dresses to wear. And sandals. And factor 50 at the ready. Will August be warmer? Will we finally get more than three days on the run without a downpour? Will I soon be able to start thinking about salads as opposed to hearty stews? Come on, summer! Show yourself!
But for now, with July at an end, here's my monthly 'Things I'm Loving Lately'.
On yet another one of my ambles around Boots (man, I missed that shop when we lived in Switzerland), I popped this Botanics microdermabrasion scrub in my basket and it is UH-MAZING. It promises to banish dull skin and it really, really does. I've been using a far more expensive product but this does a much better job. It's currently reduced from £7.99 to £5 too, if you fancy giving it a whirl. To be honest, I'm in the midst of a love affair with the whole Botanics range. There's something about it that really suits my skin.
I'm not sure how I first stumbled across Lanolips but this is a 'must have' in your handbag. If you suffer from chapped lips or dry skin, it's absolutely the best thing for them. It's around £10 for a small tube but it goes far and is worth every single penny.
This wasn't really a purchase that I was planning to make in July but my oh my has it come in useful. I picked up this yellow mac for almost half price in the Fat Face sale, reduced from £82 to £45, and have worn it more than anything else recently. I guess that's the one plus side to all the rain. What do you think of my 1980s Kays catalogue pose? Nailed it, right?
On the subject of fashion, I'm on the quest for the perfect pair of jeans. I've been told by people in the know that skinny high rise Levi's are the way to go but then I stumbled across NYDJ and am intrigued by their promise of making you look and feel a size smaller. A cheat's way to a size 8 or just genius? What do you think?
On the home front, I saw this House Doctor DK vase on the Mon Pote Instagram feed and swooned. A few days later and it was sitting on the shelf in my living room. I love stripes and it seemed like a bargain for just £9.
My only other home buy in July was carnations. Lots and lots of carnations. I've never been their biggest fan but in this beautiful pale pink colour, I can't get enough of them. We have vases full around our home and they're so inexpensive - they're making our home look and smell lovely for just a few pounds. And they last for a good couple of weeks too. A complete bargain!
July has been a month for making and trying lots of new and yummy food. I took part in the Expedia World on a Plate challenge and cooked up a delicious Greek feast, including developing my own recipe for the child-friendly troufakia (Greek truffles) you see above. And working with magazine.co.uk and receiving Olive magazine each month has meant testing lots of recipes. The biggest success has been the chocolate and peanut tart right at the very top of this post. It was to die for. And really easy to make. So easy that my two year old mixed most of it. It's far from fat free but that's probably what makes it so delicious.
AND FINALLY ...
August is shaping up to be a month of cocktails and celebrations. The clock is ticking to my 39th birthday and my brother is getting married a couple of days later. Both mean that fizz and frolics will feature quite heavily over the coming weeks so expect a tired and hungover update at the end of next month.