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Usually we start these team blog posts with something along the lines of: ‘it feels like we’ve only just checked in with you all!’ We’re all in agreement that however fast the year is going, it feels like so much has happened since our last team update.
To say that it’s been a mad house at Lydia HQ would be an understatement. Coupled with the multiple Bank Holidays we’ve been fortunate enough to receive in recent weeks, we’ve all tried to make the most of our time away from work and have made a note of what we’ve loved (and still love) along the way.
As always, we hope you find this season’s suggestions helpful!
SKIN TYPE – Normal to dry, prone to sensitivity with weather changes or hormonal fluctuations.
HAIR TYPE – Half wavy, half curly, fine but lots and lots of it.
MAINTENANCE LEVEL – Minimal effort always!
INTERESTS – Food and wine, cooking, my little Bolly Moo, hiking, travelling, date days with my friends, staycations.
FOOD OR DRINK ITEM – As a serial coffee/ hot chocolate/ Ribena/ *insert any drink I go through phases of being addicted to here*, I was well aware that my artificial sweetener consumption was not doing me any good. In a bid to curb the sugar cravings and also give myself a bit of goodness – a hug in a mug – I started trying Raise & Replenish ‘I woke up like this’ drink in the morning which is delicious. You’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t taste like beetroot, it’s a GORGEOUS pink colour which just makes me smile, and I genuinely feel like I have more of a spring in my step without the caffeine jitters from coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I still roll out of bed to my coffee machine, but this is the 9am boost that’s becoming woven into my morning routine and I’m here for it!
BEAUTY – Jones Road’s ‘What The Foundation’ has changed my make up completely. I’ve lived on tinted moisturisers for years but holy cow, this feels like a balm on your skin and leaves my skin looking radiant. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re someone that touches your face a lot as it is so dewy but it’s a subtle and even coverage which had led to more compliments than normal on my skin which I’m grateful for!
BOOK – I LOVED ‘The Reading List’ by Sara Nisha Adams. It’s literally a book about the joy of reading and how it can bring unexpected people together. Set in a library fighting to stay open, the main character wants to feel closer to his late wife through reading – her favourite hobby. He visits the library and starts a journey leading to a wonderful friendship with one of the librarians. It’s gentle, it’s warming and it’s just a great read. PLUS it’s literally focussed around a Reading List of actual novels I now want to read for myself too!
RESTAURANT – I have been fortunate to have booked a fair few mini breaks in the last few months to capitalise on the bank holidays! Between that and travel with Lydia for work, I have found some fab little spots!!
For our anniversary, I booked us a long weekend getaway in York. Having followed the amazing Lisa Dawson for years (a fellow foodie and I worship the way she styles interiors!) I followed a few recommendations on her blog of where to eat given she’s a York local!
Ambiente Tapas was delightful (tiny inside but fantastic food and service) and The Rattle Owl was possibly the best Sunday roast I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. Seriously, seriously scrummy!
On visiting Madrid with El Corte Ingles (watch the epic vlog here!) I booked Lydia and I in for dinner at El Paraguas – An eclectic place with an unusual menu but my word, it was yummy. We shared the monkfish with crisps which had garlic butter drizzled over them (we thought they would be chips, but no!) and we fought over the last few because they were that scrumptious.
Lastly, over Easter, I escaped with the man and the dog again, but this time to Cirencester and Bradford on Avon. I booked us in for dinner at The Longs Arms in South Wraxall having seen their Michelin plate was retained, along with maintaining top 50 Gastropubs in the UK status. The food was out of this world. My boyfriend proclaimed the scallops as the best he had had in the UK – quite the statement! The lamb fell apart on the fork – delicious – and the olives were HUGE. I love that their bread is baked in house twice daily and the attention to detail on the plate was sublime. It was a shame the service was really lax given how good the food was but I would still recommend a visit if you’re near!
Lastly, I wanted to give a mention to the Eliot Arms in South Cerney. We stayed here on the first night and for starters, the staff were wonderful. The location is idyllic next to the River Weir and the home cooked food, though not mind blowing, was very tasty (shout out to the home cooked ham and homemade piccalilli sandwich on the lunch menu!) It was one of those places though that makes you feel so at home and welcome that I’d return in a heartbeat.
FOOD OR DRINK ITEM – Pipers Chorizo Crisps were recommended by the barman in The Eliot Arms (coincidentally, my partner also declared this pub as serving the best Guinness he has had in England!) and I don’t know whether to thank or curse him as they are sublime (To the point we are convincing our own local pub to now stock them and they have been firmly added to the weekly food shop!)
NEW PURCHASE – I bought this coat as a practical but ‘a bit more me’ coat for dog walks and running errands and I love it so much. So many people have stopped me while wearing it to ask where it’s from! If you’re into bright colours like me, it’s from Boden!
PODCAST – I’ve been binge listening to BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme podcast and this particular episode hit home. It focused on the reasons why there have been so many supermarket shortages in recent times. Whether it’s climate change, Brexit, shortage of long haul drivers, or the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, it reinforced how important seasonal living is going to be in the years to come and why we should start reutilising the land here at home to produce seasonal crops for our own tables again!
RECIPE – This recipe was declared a firm favourite instantly. I had some fish and half a red cabbage to use before the food shop so googled fish and cabbage recipes and this one cropped up. Super quick and so incredibly delicious! The Crispy Basa with Pickled Cabbage and Rice Bowl from Gousto is one to try for sure!
SKIN TYPE – Normal/Fair – leave me for 10 minutes in the sun and I’ll fry like a tomato!
HAIR TYPE – As my hairdresser always says, “you don’t have thick hair Fi, you just have a ton of it..!”
MAINTENANCE LEVEL -Minimal effort/the basics unless I’m going out out, in which case I might go wild and curl my hair!
INTERESTS – Cooking, exercise (I rotate between HIIT, yoga, pilates, running and horse riding), discovering new coffee shops, supporting indie businesses and spending time with family/ friends/fur babies.
FOOD OR DRINK – I don’t know if supplements count for this category but I’m going to roll with it! After a lifetime of snot crying anytime I saw or heard of an animal getting hurt (me during Attenborough documentaries is never a pretty sight!) I finally gave up meat in January after toying with the idea for years. With that in mind, having noticed a massive dip in energy levels for the first couple of weeks, I’ve finally started taking BetterYou Boost Vitamin B12 Daily Oral Spray and have seen a huge difference in my energy levels (I wasn’t getting enough B12 from my diet at the start of the year.) I highly recommend if you’re a veggie/ vegan.
BEAUTY – I rarely wear make up to work but I don’t leave the house without Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage City Smart Defence SPF 50 on my face these days. Though it feels a bit greasy when you first put it on, admittedly, it soaks in quickly and my skin feels glowy and protected. I’m also still using the Aurelia Cleanser and Kiehls Midnight Recovery Serum that I mentioned back in Winter on a twice daily basis so you definitely get your moneys worth! The Tisserand shower gel I mentioned has only just run out too (I’m typing this at the start of May) so again, it’s why I love them so much!
BOOK/ TV SHOW – ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ – To say that I was obsessed with this series would be an understatement. Based on the best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins-Reid, they staggered the release of the ten episodes over a period of five weeks when it initially aired in March and if I’m being honest, I was utterly obsessed. To the point where it bought out my inner 15 year old that felt the need to rewatch my favourite scenes..! The storyline, the chemistry, the music, the casting – I don’t think I’ve felt this way about a series since ‘Normal People’ aired during lockdown! If Riley Keogh doesn’t win awards for her performance as the main character, Daisy, there is no justice in this world!
RESTAURANT – My partner and I spent the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in Snowdonia but stopped off for lunch at SY23 at Aberyswyth (not exactly en route but it was part of my birthday present to him!) As hardcore Great British Menu fans, we’ve been desperate to go since we saw head chef Nathan Davies on the series last year. Having received its first Michelin star in its first year of opening, we had pretty high expectations. To say that it lived up to and exceeded them would be downplaying it. If you’re looking for incredible food (all foraged and sourced locally and cooked on open flames) in a down-to-earth setting with the friendliest waiters, I highly recommend.
NEW PURCHASE – I’m slowly but surely starting to enter the fun part of renovating where you get to furnish and spend your pennies on accessories instead of grout. With that in mind, when I saw that OKA were having their annual warehouse sale, I took myself off to Oxfordshire for a date with me, myself and I! Though the lamp base and cushion that I bought are no longer available, you can find more of their gorgeous designs here.
I stopped off at Bicester Village on the way home and treated myself to these mugs from Soho Home too.
The team were lucky enough to be gifted some cleaning products from Attirecare recently so I can’t help but give a shout out to their cleaning spray too. It’s made cleaning the house – dare I say it – fun because it smells so beautiful and calming!
Finally, I’ve treated myself to a pair of khaki Birkenstocks in recent days. I live in slide-on sandals throughout summer so already know that these will be glued to my feet in the weeks to come.
PODCAST – Charlotte Church on Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’ felt like a breath of fresh air. Growing up in the Britney, Lindsay and Paris era where women like Charlotte Church were often portrayed by the media in a less-than-flattering light, I found this conversation so refreshing to listen to. I have so much respect for anyone (whether you’re in the public eye or not) that leads their life from a place of ‘what will make me feel happy?’ as opposed to ‘what will make me look happy?’ and by the sounds of it, Charlotte is definitely doing that. It was one of those ‘I’ll remember that conversation forever’ kind of chats.
As the Founder of Shrine and Co-Founder of Refy, Jenna Su on Grace Beverley’s podcast is definitely worth a listen if you’re on the hunt for an inspirational business story. In my eyes, she’s our generations Estée Lauder. I’ll let you listen to the podcast to find out why!
Finally, ‘The Witch Trials of JK Rowling’ was recommended to me by my partner’s older brother and as soon as I started listening to it, I was hooked. Across 7 episodes, the audio documentary examines cancel culture and free speech through the lens of J.K. Rowling’s life and career. It helped me to find the words to articulate how I’ve felt about how polarising life online has felt in recent years.
RECIPE – I hosted Carrie and the family for our Mum’s birthday a few weeks back and made a giant Indian feast which was received rather well, if I do say so myself..!
I used the following recipes (click through for the method):
Tandoori Roast Chicken (I didn’t try this but it went down well with the family!)
SKIN TYPE – Normal to combination with some pigmentation in summer!
HAIR TYPE – I’m naturally curly but that quickly becomes frizzy if I don’t use hair products on a daily basis!
MAINTENANCE LEVEL – I blow dry my hair after every hair wash but once it’s straight, I’d say I’m low maintenance!
INTERESTS – Hunting down vintage pieces (namely clothes, fabrics and furniture!) I also love shopping, traveling and spending time with my friends and family.
RESTAURANT – If you are looking for a good Sunday roast, The Red Lion in Thornby is where you want to be. It’s a traditional pub – nothing fancy but it does delicious roasts.
FOOD/DRINK – Right now I’m loving Mulberry Gin but it would have to be the Boodles Mulberry gin. I have it with ice, tonic water and a big squeeze of lime – it’s the perfect summer drink. I’m also mildly addicted to these sweet chilli rice crackers – they’re always on standby at my desk when the mid-afternoon munchies hit.
BEAUTY – I suffer from pigmentation, especially in the summer, so I’m always looking for the perfect SPF. My favourite one at the moment is The SPF Rodial drops – they’re lightweight, soft on your skin and – importantly – I don’t end up with a greasy, shiny face!
I received the ESPA Clean & Green Detox mask at Christmas and I have to say it’s amazing! It’s like a green smoothie for your skin. It hydrates and makes your skin feel so lovely and soft. I’m so glad I finally got round to using it.
NEW PURCHASES – We’ve recently had a H&M home store open nearby so I’m slightly obsessed with their homeware at the moment. They’re beautiful pieces at affordable prices. I’ve linked my favourites below.
This cute little basket from La Redoute deserves a mention too!
Finally, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins was recommended to me by my cousin and I have to say, the story grabbed me from the very first page. It’s the story of a mother and son who are forced to flee their home for America after her family were murdered by a drug cartel. It’s fast paced and has your heart racing right from the start with a clever twist. A great holiday read if you’re looking to get lost in something.
That’s all for this season! We look forward to sharing our summer favourites with you soon.