Let’s get one thing straight: it can’t be April. It can’t possibly. Like, what?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon that warmer weather and tanned bare legs and Pimms and picnics and barbecues and lazy evenings outside with strawberry cider are on the horizon, and I’m beyond happy about the lighter mornings and evenings flooding my body with happy vitamins and hormones, but srsly, can life stop moving so ridiculously fast?
I think this is the part of your life where you really notice the speed and kind of want it to slow down a bit. The time in your life when you realise that life doesn’t go on forever, the time in your life when the things you put off for ‘when you’re old’ suddenly become things that you need to start thinking about. Things like babies and weddings and homes and pensions and savings and looking after your health. Mega creepy. Megz.
AND IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET FASTER FROM HERE ON OUT, OR SO OLD PEOPLE TELL ME. FUCK.
Anyway, let’s stop for a moment to enjoy the all-time favourites this week.
1. This American Life
Loved Serial so much it made you think about actually listening to podcasts instead of Taylor Swift’s album? Then try this. It’s from the same American’s behind Serial, except they focus on one topic an episode, which means every week there’s something new. There’s over 500 episodes in total because This American Life has been going on since FOREVER, and you can subscribe on your iPhone for each new episode to drop into your Podcast folder. You can also buy old episodes for 79p from the iTunes store, which is what I did whilst I was away. I just Googled for the best rated ones and listened to them on the plane/by the pool and it was seriously good. I definitely recommend them for travelling – even if it’s commuting on the train or going on a long drive.
I’ve listened to about 6 now and I’d say my two favourites were #296 After The Flood (about New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina) and #551 Good Guys 2015.
2. Flower arranging with Etsy
I did something I never thought I’d ever do this week. I woke up at 5.30am just to go to a blogger breakfast event. Eww. It was suprisingly OK because the sun was shining, I had coffee and it was the morning before the four-day Bank Holiday weekend so there was this jolly level of FUCK EVERYTHING IT’S PARTY TIME in the air. So that was nice.
I headed to the Etsy HQ near Farringdon station and got down to some serious flower arranging with florist superpower Grace & Thorn. I’m a natural, apparently. So yeah, there’s a great fallback career for me. We worked with wild flowers, and the trick is apparently to create a layer of folliage and greenery first before layering in flowers – ideally cut to slightly different lengths to add some movement to the bouquet. Then it’s finished off with a few more looser bits of greenery to fill in any obvious gaps. I feel like I will carry that knowledge with me for life now, carry into into my retirement when I sit and arrange wild flowers in my conservatory whilst listening to Radio 2 and eating crumpets.
I then transported said flowers in a water-filled jar to Warehouse HQ, where they sat on my desk for the day and gathered compliments, before walking the 15-minute strut to Liverpool Street with said jar in my hand, then settling down on the train back to Ipswich with the jar on my train table for decoration. It was nice.
The flowers are still going strong – currently in the lounge. Oh, and just FYI, Etsy headquarters is exactly like you’d imagine, it’s made up of about 97% Etsy products. Amazing.
3. Fonteverde spa hotel
It wouldn’t be quite right to not mention the incredible long weekend I had in Tuscany in this post because it absolutely made my week. Obviously I’ll do a full write up on Fonteverde within the next week or so, but I’ll give you a little glimpse into how insanely majestic it was now. Like OMG.
The hotel itself boasts the best lunch buffet I’ve ever encountered in my life. I survived on a diet of olive oil, rocket, mozarella, proscuitto and bread the entire time. All topped off with two post-lunch helpings of tiramisu and strawberries. I *may* have come back with an extra belly roll, but y’know, some things are worth it and I’d count Tuscan food as one of those things. Come to mumma.
Aside from food (and a lot of dreamy, rich, sexy red wine) we spent most of the time relaxing in the hotel’s natural thermal baths. There are very few things in life that’ll ever make your soul quite as happy as staring at rolling deep Italian hills whilst lazing in an infinity pool as hot as a bath whilst the sun lightly beams down on you. It was all my outdoor dreams come true.
I was sad to not have Chris along for the four-day ride, but I made some fun new friends to make inappropriate jokes with and have sharesies and discuss how harrowing the plane turbulence was with, so there’s that.
4. Pale blue/green nail varnishes
You may have noticed that I go through massive stages with my nail colour. I like to have them painted at all time, and although I do like gel, I find that I get bored quite quickly with the colour, and if one chips or peels then I find it hard to stop myself peeling the rest of them off, leaving my nails looking like dehydrated albino raisins. Eww. I’m currently alternating between two pale ocean shades, and have found that if I layer up with two clear top coats (painted a good few hours apart) they last about 5-7 days which is just pretty damn perfect for me.
I might go shopping this afternoon and treat myself to a few more shades, I’m desperate to find the perfect violet shade. Insert that naughty monkey emoji because that’s how cheeky I feel right now.
5. Free People dresses
Free People isn’t a huge brand in the UK right now, so you might not know about it, but it’s definitely going to be on your radar this summer. Mostly because the American brand focuses on beautiful folk dresses – as in the beautiful sort of folk dresses that I’m OBSESSED with right now. Obsessed because they’re so light and easy to wear, the sort or dresses that even if you’re having a bad self-esteem day, make you feel comfortable and OK with your appearance. They’re the perfect throw-on over a bikini dress for hot summer holidays, but they’ll also work under a biker jacket and ankle boots for unpredictable UK weather.
I was pretty bloody lucky this week to get sent two frocks to review for my blog, which makes me so happy haps because I have a few holidays lined up that NEED new dresses. That’s like the most important thing for hot holidays ins’t it? New dresses, new sandals and a bikini which doesn’t cut into your sides and make you feel like a hippo.
The dresses aren’t cheap, but they feel good quality and like the sort of thing you’ll still be wearing on posh grown up family holidays to Greek islands when you’re 40.
Oh and it’s part of the same people that look after Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, so there’s that.
6. Max Factor Whipped Creme Mousse Foundation
My MAC foundation finally ran out and died last week, which, on the day of packing for a trip away, was a bit terrifying. The only foundation I could find in my reserves in the right shade for my current quite-pale skin tone was this high street one, so reluctantly I packed it, and hoped and prayed that the magical healing waters of Fonteverde would banish my spots and make my skin so perfect I didn’t need it.
But guys, guys, this is seriously good. It’s £9.99 which is high end for a drugstore foundation, but in the scheme of things, it’s pretty bloody cheap. It’s so soft and smooth on my skin and goes on so easily – it doesn’t even catch on any of the dry, crusty bits of spot scabs that linger on my skin. And the coverage we perfect for daytime, it evened out my skin tone without looking heavy or cakey. I’m obsessed with it, so just thought I’d let you know and what not.
7. New York trip
So THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU LOVELY PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN. I haven’t got many more details from Aer Lingus at the moment about when we’ll be going or for how long we’ll be going, but WE’RE GOING. I’m so excited to get back to my favourite place in the world and explore with Chris and eat my weight in grubby, delicious American food. So damn excited. I’d love some tips and recommendations from you all – ideally for well-priced restaurants that don’t require reservations because I’m horrendous at booking abroad. Oh and maybe bars. And un-obvious things to do. I’m thinking of going to Coney Island if we go whilst it’s warm, and to actually see Ellis Island (if it’s open). But i’m seriously open to any ideas. Hit me up gal pals.