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From a ‘paint your own pottery’ session over G&Ts in June, a trip to the ballet to celebrate the launch of Evergreen in July and two (puppy shaped) new team members joining us in August, it’s been a summer to remember at LEM HQ.
With that in mind, though the weather hasn’t exactly provided the glorious summer sunshine we’d hoped for, we’ve done our utmost best to make the most of it. As you’ll see from the below, we’ve been busy exploring new places and have curated our summer favourites below.
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 and Tatti, hiking, travelling, date days with my friends, staycations.
BEAUTY – After a very random breakout of perioral dermatitis (which I’ve never had before so that was annoying!) I halted all skincare and went back to basics until it was under control. Having dry skin and problems with my eyes, I’m not the best with oil and balm-based cleaners but I started trying the Institut Glycolic cleanser and I LOVE it. Creamy, non-drying and gentle whilst being ever so slightly exfoliating (not in a scratchy way) it’s made a real difference to the texture of my skin.
I personally hate the feeling of make up on my skin but during the dermatitis battle, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing just my usual tinted moisturiser so tried the esteemed Lauder ‘double wear sheer foundation’ and it’s beautiful. Silky smooth and light as a feather, I couldn’t tell I was wearing it other than the fact that my skin tone was even. Even after the dermatitis, this is staying put in my make up bag for special occasions!
Lastly, with the return of the sunshine (ish) on stay at home days or early morning dog walks, nothing beats Anthelios – the SPF I return to again and again. The tinted, SPF 50 face sunscreen smells like Issey Miyake fragrance (but they also do a fragrance free version!) and gives a gorgeous and light weight glow whilst protecting your skin.
BOOK – ‘Spring Summer Autumn Us’ by Fiona Collins. Centred around themes of missed opportunity, the fear of taking chances, obligation, duty and ultimately following your heart, boy oh boy did I love this book. It follows a relationship that should have been a ‘forever relationship’ from the start, but the main character was already married. Through the decades, random passing of lives and moments through the seasons, it’s a book that I didn’t want to put down.
RESTAURANT – Having recently been to Ibiza for the first time for a wedding, I hit up everyone I know who LOVES the island for recommendations and my sister came up trumps with Passion Cafe. There are a few on the island but we visited the Marina restaurant a few times. The smoothies were OUT OF THIS WORLD and so addictive. Their brunch bowls and lunches were super healthy and delicious too which made you just not want to stop ordering! I highly recommend for breakfast or lunch if you’re on the island.
We also visited Norfolk (again!) for the coronation weekend. Staying in Thornham at Anna’s House (a stunning, dog friendly cross between a hotel and serviced suites in a beautiful, traditional building) I booked us a Sunday roast at The Gin Trap Inn in Ringstead (off the back of a google recommendation.) The food was sensational. Though the prices look a tad steep on the menu, it doesn’t say how many chef tasters you are bought throughout your meal. incredible food and wonderful service, I’ll be back for sure!
FOOD OR DRINK ITEM – Regular ‘team blog’ readers will now know mine is almost always a snack but I am prefacing this snack with a warning this season. It is impossible to not eat the entire packet of Kallo’s ‘Beetroot and Balsamic’ cakes in one sitting – Slathered in houmous and sliced tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt, it is utterly addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
NEW PURCHASE – Like most of our generation, I am guilty of being distracted incredibly easily. My attention span is fine for work but the moment I’m home, I can be zoned in on a ‘to do’ list while someone is trying to have a conversation with me. I tried to be more conscious of it happening in the moment but found that it was happening so frequently, it was embarrassing. After a few searches on ‘focussing exercises’, the various algorithms sent me an ad for the ‘Impulse app.’ I read the reviews for the lifetime membership (which at £50 is steep for an app) but I wanted to commit to improving my attention span so bought it.
Essentially, the app asks how you want to train your brain to improve it. Focus, memory, recognition, developing skills etc… You then set yourself a committed daily time to spend on your focus. I started with 5 minutes. The app reminds me daily when my ‘games’ are ready. The games in my training are all tailored to the goals I want to achieve and change every day. They are fun, it’s quick and it can be challenging. It’s now got to the point where the games are quite enjoyable and there’s hundreds on there so I regularly exceed my goal target time. It sounds silly but so far, a couple of weeks in, I feel like my focus has already improved and I’m concentrating on things individually rather than trying to mentally juggle everything at once!
PODCAST – I have told everyone who will listen to check out Tracey Cox’s episode on ‘Diary of a CEO.’ It’s fascinating. From how human interaction in relationships has changed dramatically following covid to how the whole landscape around talking about intimacy has changed, plus some incredible pointers to help navigate these things, I urge you to listen. It’s led to some great conversations!
RECIPE – I don’t know about you but I’m really close to my neighbour. We often have dinners, weekend lunches or a quick ‘pop in for a glass of wine’ evening together. So much so that she is very firmly counted as a true friend and is always the first to receive a chunk of whatever cake is fresh out of my oven that week. On a recent visit to hers, we discovered she shared my fondness for dark spiced rum. Having only really added booze to my bakes for Christmas previously, I searched for a summery rum-based cake I could make for dessert on her last visit for lunch. This Caribbean Spiced Pineapple Rum cake in a rum soaked butter was delicious! Not quite needing the 18 servings of a bundt cake, I scaled the recipe (on the link) to 12 servings and baked it in a loose-bottomed, 8 inch tin for about 45 minutes at the same temperature. The rum butter made the cake denser and more pudding like. Served with vanilla ice cream, it’s amazing!
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 can blame Satin for this one! She recently added Brave’s ‘Crunchy Chickpea’ snacks to the weekly food shop and as a team, we’ve raided the cupboards and hogged them for ourselves! I’m eating them by the handful every day I’m in! They’re the perfect 3pm munchies snack if you ask me.
Also, I hate to be that person but I never got why Carrie and Lydia always harped on about Moet..! Clearly their persistence has rubbed off on me though. Turns out fancy champagne’s pretty damn tasty. Who knew eh!?
BEAUTY – Having grown up with dogs since I was little, I’ve recently got my first puppy (a German Shepherd called Darcy.) Anyone that’s had a puppy knows that the ‘nipping’ stage whilst they’re teething is brutal! Anyone that’s had a German shepherd puppy knows that the ‘nipping’ stage is brutal and then some! With that in mind, I’m going to give a shout out to the Haeckels ‘Eco Hand Balm’ for saving my hands over the past few days. If I’m being honest, the packaging could do with some work (perhaps I’m being an idiot but the lid on the 30ml pot is so hard to open!!) Once I’ve eventually pryed my way in though (!) it’s pure bliss. It soothes dried hands immediately and leaves them with that ‘essential oils / just nipped to the spa’ smell too!
BOOK/ TV SHOW – ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight (the Founder of Nike) is one of my favourite books and ‘The Last Dance’ on Netflix about Michael Jordan’s story, his impact on basketball, the Chicago Bulls and how sponsorship deals are approached these days is one of my favourite documentaries. With that in mind, when we saw ‘Air’ had been released on Prime, it saved a lot of time wasted on working out what to watch! It follows the story of Nike in the 80s (when Nike wasn’t seen as a threat to the likes of Adidas and Converse) as they looked to beat the competition, sign Michael Jordan and create what became the phenomenon that is ‘Air Jordans.’ It’s one of those feel good stories of resilience and ambition. I absolutely loved it.
I’ve never gravitated towards the Tour de France but knowing how much I love watching a good sports documentary, my partner convinced me to watch ‘Tour de France: Unchained’ on Netflix too and I can safely say that I’m officially converted. Though it hasn’t quite topped ‘Drive to Survive’ (F1) or ‘The Last Dance’, it’s a very close runner up that I willingly binged. Their physical and mental resilience is truly inspirational – so much so that I found myself following the recent Tour de France live.
RESTAURANT – If you find yourself in and around Woburn, Bedfordshire, an independent wine/craft beer/ coffee shop called the ‘The Coal Hatch’ has recently opened in Woburn Sands and is well worth a visit. We often walk around that area so have popped in a few times for (v. good) coffee. My partner’s picked up some great craft beers too. It’s family owned and the service is warm and genuine. They’ve been so helpful at talking us through the various wines and beers on offer too.
NEW PURCHASE – The start of summer feels like a distant memory ago but I purchased three pairs of linen trousers from M&S in early June and have pretty much lived in them since. Personally, I love my navy tapered ones most but I bought the same pair in black and a navy wide leg version too. They go with everything and have been great in this cloudy, overcast weather.
As a first time dog mama, naturally I’ve gone to town on the goods over the past few weeks to ensure that Darcy settled in well, too. Alongside all of the practical bits, I bought this personalised tartan dog blanket in shade ‘Forest Herringbone Check’ from the Tartan Blanket Co. She curls up with it every night and it looks beautiful in our home too!
PODCAST – I’ve recently discovered ‘The Rest is Politics’ podcast with Alistair Campbell (former Downing Street Director of Communications and Strategy for Labour under Tony Blair) and Rory Stewart (former Conservative Cabinet Minister holding various positions under David Cameron and Theresa May) and I can honestly say that I wish I’d discovered it sooner. The two men come together to discuss the latest political headlines each week in such an accessible format that purposefully cuts through the inflammatory headlines and helps to breakdown the various issues we face nationally and globally today. I love that they clearly disagree on certain topics but do so in such a respectful way. It provides a refreshing change to the polarisation that plays out online.
RECIPE – I’m going through a mango salsa phase at the moment – the perfect side dish to accompany most summer spreads. This recipe is so simple and so delicious. It looks beautiful too!
QUOTE – “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
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.
BEAUTY – The K18 ‘professional molecular repair hair mask’ is a miracle product. It’s pricy but so worth it and a little goes a long way. It makes my hair so soft and shiny and a little less frizzy – ideal for thick, unruly hair like mine. I love that it comes in different sizes so you can buy the smaller size first before investing in a bigger bottle.
Another new discovery is the Origins ‘super spot remover blemish treatment gel.’ I get the odd, hormonal related spot and this seems to really clear it after a few days. A little pricey for the size but you only need a tiny amount so it will last for ages.
NEW PURCHASE – I was looking for a ‘de-fuzzer’ for all my knitwear when I came across Clothes Doctor. I ordered their ‘cashmere comb’ and the ‘eco wash for cashmere & wool’ and I have to say it has transformed my very much loved cashmeres. They’ve been given a new lease of life!
RECIPE – Although this is technically not an ‘official’ recipe, I thought it’s worth a mention seeing as I’m addicted to it at the moment! If you’re looking for a delicious summer salad, mix lots of romaine lettuce, cucumber, feta, pomegranate and smoked bacon together. Then combine lots of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper for the dressing, pour it over the salad and it’s ready to go.
PODCAST – Hosted by Kate Ferdinand, the ‘Blended’ podcast is all about blended families as they navigate divorce, grief, life after loss and all the obstacles, joys and sadness that blended families are faced with. Filled with lots of honest conversations with people in similar situations as Kate, I’ve really enjoyed the episodes that I’ve listed to so far. It’s definitely worth a listen for blended families.
QUOTE – “Your life is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
That’s all for this season! With September fast approaching, we look forward to sharing our autumnal favourites soon!
Want to see Lydia’s recent favourites? Take a look at the three pairs of slingbacks that rival her Chanel’s here…
Always so fun to read. Now with some new dog members, it almost feels necesary to read about their favorites too 😉