LITTLE LUXURIES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE
FRESH PYJAMAS & FRESH BEDDING
Nothing feels better after a lovely bubble bath than putting on fresh pyjamas & getting into a freshly made bed. When we moved into our house I treat myself to a couple of luxury bedding collections which look fabulous and helps make our bedroom a relaxing haven. In the winter months I love cosy pyjamas usually a short sleeved top & long bottoms that I can put on straight after my bath & instantly feel relaxed and comfortable.
‘Always wear fabulous underwear, even if you’re the only one who’s going to see it’
When my underwear matches I just feel more put together somehow. Matching underwear is beautiful although not always practical depending on what I’m wearing but beautiful knickers & well fitting bras are imperative to making the line of my clothes look good.
A GOOD SKINCARE ROUTINE
My Nanny always took good care of her skin & had a beautiful complexion right up to the day she passed away aged 80. She didn’t have the expensive products we do today but swore by Oil of Olay! I’ve always cleansed & moisturised my face, neck & décolleté area but since turning 40 I’ve been much more careful with my skin. I always wear SPF 50 in the sun & use foundation with an SPF in it. I now use a Micellar water to remove my eye make up then I swear by Elemis cleansing balm & Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream which also has SPF 30. My skin always feels thoroughly clean and fresh after the cleansing balm & the moisturiser makes my skin feel hydrated. A Clinique eye cream finishes my routine.
One of my biggest obsessions is good candles lit all around my home. It gives the house a cosy feel & nothing can beat the smell of a luxury candle. Yankee candles for every day life are perfect and have quite a long burn time. My favourite is Pink Sands with Summer Peach being a close second. For a more luxurious smell I love Neom candles. These make the house smell fabulous although they do burn out quite quickly. The white company’s Seychelles is another beautiful candle and any of the amazing Jo Malone Candles are pure luxury.
A lovely ambience in my surroundings makes a huge difference to my well being so having good lighting in our house it’s very important. I love lamps to put on in an evening giving the house a cosy feel, especially in Autumn & Winter. For my kitchen & bathrooms I love spotlights giving off lots of light and a modern feel to these rooms. I love the summer & find my mood is not quite as upbeat in the darker months so good lighting in the home is very important to me.
A GOOD ROSE WINE
There’s nothing I like better than a cold crisp glass of rose wine when I’ve got a rare night in. I work most evenings so when I have a night off a delicious glass of wine relaxes me and I enjoy the taste. My current favourite is Echo Falls Summer Berries. It’s quite sweet and is a bit too easy to drink but the fruity crisp taste is divine.
NEOM BATH PRODUCTS
My new favourite products for my bath are Neom Sleep bath foam & Neom de stress bath oil. The scent of all Neom products is luxurious with a spa like smell to them making me instantly relaxed the minute I get in my bath. My skin feels silky soft after a Neom bath & when complimented by burning a Neom candle it’s pure heaven!
TAKING A DAY AT HOME FOR MY FAMILY & ME
As a working mum I constantly live with the guilt of not being a stay-at-home mum and then when I occasionally do have a bit of ‘me time’ I feel guilty as I’ve usually got a pile of work that needs doing. Unfortunately my job requires me to work every Saturday and quite a few Sundays too, so as often as I possibly can I try & keep Sunday’s free and this is our day as a family. I love to have the morning in to potter about & enjoy my morning cup of fresh coffee and read the Sunday newspapers. I like to let the kids have time completely to themselves to relax as they lead very busy lives. Now we have our puppy Dora I’m looking forward to her final injections so we can all take her on a lovely Sunday walk then come home, light my candles and make a Sunday roast for my family.
On a rare night in I enjoy a bit of ‘me time’ buy having a lovely bath with my luxury products and a pamper night. I put my candles on and watch what I want on TV as I pamper in the bedroom. Bliss!
However you choose to spend it, time for yourself is a gift & so important to your health and well being. All work and no rest results in ‘burn out’ so its vital to find something that you enjoy to take you to your ‘Happy Place’! I really need to listen to my own advice when it comes to relaxing and ‘switching off’ from work!!!
THE ‘ME’ IN ‘ME AND MY BELLE’
My name is Zoë, mum to my 14 year old daughter Isabelle & 11 year old son Max. I’ve been blogging a couple of years now and so I thought I’d just put together a few facts about myself for my lovely followers.
- My favourite flower is a daffodil
- I love cocktails, Pink G&T & champagne
- My favourite films are Ben Hurr & Dirty Dancing
- My guilty pleasure is watching Corrie, Emmerdale & The Real housewives of Cheshire
- I hate Curries
- I love Steak
- I have been a dancer since the age of 2
- I’ve travelled the world extensively as a professional dancer
- My children are my world
- I met my husband Tony on a catamaran in Barbados
- We nearly lost both Max & myself when he was born during an emergency csection
- I love glamour, glitter and dressing up
- I drink coffee every day
- I love all my pupils, my job often entails me being a councillor as well as teacher!
- I have a huge phobia of Frogs
- I’m a very loyal friend to my true friends
- I love to look at the Ocean, it reminds me of my happy days on Cruise Ships
- My brother James is 8 1/2 years younger than me
- I’ve danced on The Royal Variety Performance 1992
- I’ve met Prince Charles & Princess Diana
- I’ve been in Emmerdale, A Touch of Frost & Hollyoaks
- I have a candle obsession
- I love spending time with my fab parents
- My favourite places are New York & Bermuda
- My favourite colour is Coral
- I love dancing & Theatre
- An ideal day would be a day at the spa followed by cocktails
- I’ve watched every episode of Friends & Sex & the City many many times
- Cuddles with my babies are what makes me the happiest
- I love Spring & Easter time – new beginnings
- My favourite musicals are Top Hat, Les Miserables & West Side Story
- I don’t smoke, never have, never will
- My first crush was Patrick Swayze
- I love to cook, I just wish I had more time to do it more
- I have seen a total eclipse
- One of my most special memories is taking the children to Lapland & we saw The Northern Lights
- I love Phillip Schofield
- I had a very happy idyllic childhood
- I love spa days
- My first job was in a dance wear shop
- I started dancing when I was 2
- I passed my driving test when I was 28 as I’d been travelling abroad dancing from being 17-28
- I have slight OCD & I’m a bit of a control freak
- I love eating out at gorgeous restaurants
- I’m a huge Disney fan
- I’m very impatient except when I’m teaching where I have lots of patience
- I was at the top of one of the twin towers exactly a year to the day before 9/11
- I got engaged in New York
- I love Abba
- I love Champagne but Prosecco will also do!
- We got our first dog a year ago & I can’t imagine our family without her now! She’s called Dora after my Great Grandma & she’s Adorable Dora
- I love trying new beauty products & makeup, my favourites being Elemis, Neom & Estée Lauder
- I’ve discovered a passion for writing over the past couple of years
- I’m a very good listener
- I love to work but I really love being a wife, mum & home maker
- Travelling has always been a huge passion of mine
- My perfumes of choice are Allure by Chanel, Amarige by Givency, Glam Jasmine by Michael Kors plus I always have a bottle of Samsara by Guerlein as its a perfume I’ve worn forever. I’m a bit of a perfume junkie though & love trying new ones too.
- I’m a HUGE fan of ‘Friends’ & ‘Only fools and horses’
- My friend & I missed the ship in New York once and the coast guard had to take us to it and we climbed up the back to get on. We got in lots of trouble!!!
- I’ve performed onstage with Craig Revel Horwood, Michael Ball, Barry Manilow, David Essex, Michael Crawford to name a few
- I danced on a TV show in Belgium in my late teens
- I’ve lived in London & in Germany
- Podcasts are my new favourite discovery whilst I’m driving
- I left home at 16 to train at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom Surrey for 3 years
- I swear by writing lists
- Our family’s ‘happy place’ is Center Parcs and we’ve been going every year since Isabelle was born
- At 16 I was The Yorkshire Senior Tap Champion & The Yorkshire Senior Ballet Champion
- I played the title role of ‘Annie’ when I was 11
- My favourite song is ‘Bring him home’ from Les Miserables. I cry every time I hear it & it’s a song my dad also sings
- Tony & I went to Thailand & Singapore on our honeymoon
- I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 43
- My travel ‘wish list’ places are The Maldives, Hawaii, The Grand Canyon, Go On Safari in Africa & Japan plus many more
- My star sign is Scorpio. Fiery but loyal & passionate!
- Bad manners, rudeness and arrogance are my biggest bug bears
- I’m very close to my fabulous parents
- I love Wimbledon & I’ve been lucky enough to go twice including last year on Court One
- I hope to write the idea I have for my book this year
- My other perfect day would be a day at home with no real plans, just pottering about with Tony, Isabelle, Max & Dora
- I’ve been hurt by friends so I’ve become quite wary who I can trust over the years but I’m a very loyal friend to my ‘real’ friends
- I try my utmost to never let people down & always be on time for everything. I often arrive everywhere extremely early so I’m not stressing
- I enjoy going to the Cinema a lot
- Tony & I got upgraded to 1st class on our flight to Thailand as it was our honeymoon. What an amazing experience!
- I adore long hot bubble baths with a lush bath bomb, Neom bath products, my candles lit, a glass of wine & watching something on my iPad
- I enjoy Pilates classes
- I wear contact lenses
- I love our Royal Family
- I love to entertain at our home & have dinner parties
- I’ve flown in a helicopter over Central Park & around the Statue of Liberty in New York
- I’ve visited the White House (not inside though!!!! 😂)
- I set up The Angel Tree 8 years ago with Isabelle & Max which assists The Salvation Army providing for underprivileged children & I’m very proud of it
- I love to visit London a few times a year. I enjoy the buzz of the big city but I couldn’t live there again
- I’ve drunk champagne & cocktails at The Plaza Hotel in New York
- I’ve ridden a camel at the pyramids in Egypt
- I’ve been swimming in The Dead Sea
- Sailing through the Norwegan Fjords & visiting Iceland were two really special experiences
- I adore organising events such as birthday parties & Christmas soirées and would have liked to have been an Event Organiser
- I enjoy a glass or two of rose wine at home
- I saw in The Millennium on a beach in Aruba
- I try to keep a positive mental attitude as much as I can. The happiness of my family is the most important thing in the world to me
- Starting my blog has been amazing. I’m loving writing and getting to know people in the blogging community
via HELLO JULY 2019
HELLO JULY 2019
Wow! I cannot believe it’s July already. People say life goes quicker as you get older & they’re not kidding! You really do have to make the most of every day and seize every opportunity that comes your way.
FABULOUS THINGS THAT HAPPENED LAST MONTH
- An amazing trip to Madrid with my best friend Laura (see my separate blog post on this fabulous city)
- A lovely Fathers Day spent at our house with all the family
- A lovely half term week of cinema trips, meals out, trampoline parks and lovely time spent with the kids
- A lovely day in Manchester with my mum to watch Matthew Bourne’s Romeo & Juliet and a meal out
- Finding out my brother, sister in law and 2 nephews are coming back to live near us (although I’ll really miss visiting them in Manchester)
LIFESTYLE, LEISURE, PLACES & HOME
The Commissioners Quay Inn – Blyth, Northumberland
Last month my family and I had a lovely few days away in the stunning county of Northumberland. We wanted to take Dora with us so had to find a dog friendly hotel and so we came across the Commissioners Quay Inn in Blyth.
With its wonderful sea front location we couldn’t have chosen a better place to stay. Blyth isn’t the most picturesque of places in Northumberland but this hotel was perfect for a few relaxing days away. The staff were out of this world from start to finish and couldn’t do enough for us. The hotel caters for dogs brilliantly with special designated areas in the bar and restaurant for guests who have brought their canine friends along for the trip. Our room was fabulous with a sea view and all the commodities you could need. Spotlessly clean and a fabulous size, the room was light and airy and the beds extremely comfortable.
The bar and restaurant were busy as its a hot spot to just come and have a drink and meal but that didn’t affect the service at all. The food was delicious and drinks a plenty.
The Commissioners Quay is one of a small chain in the North East of England and we will definitely be visiting The Banburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses next time we go.
For our first trip away with Dora this hotel couldn’t have been more perfect for us and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
With lovely beaches and parks within walking distance this is the perfect place for families to stay.
BEAUTY, HEALTH & STYLE
At last the sun has appeared and it’s time to get out the summer wardrobe. Knowing the UK it won’t be here to stay so you have to grab every moment you can. I’ve got a lovely wardrobe full of summer clothes and I like to add to my collection each year.
Like many working mums I do quite a bit of my shopping on line these days and my new favourite place for summer wear is Kaleidoscope.
They still mail out a catalogue which I do like as you get a better idea of what each item looks like on and I still enjoy the old fashioned folding over of the corners for items I like!!!! I then find what I like on the website and order on line.
Kaleidoscope is fantastic for its lovely, vibrant, summery prints and summer dresses. I’m very much a dress person, especially in the summer and you can get everything from light sun dresses, maxi dresses, lighter work dresses and evening dresses. The cut is always good and the sizing is very consistent. It’s mid range when it comes to pricing and quality but I do find that everything I’ve bought has washed well so far. There is some higher priced occasion wear but over all everything is not cheap but very affordable.
The swimwear range from Kaleidoscope is excellent with lots of different styles to fit all shapes and sizes, again, in the vibrant prints they are known for.
I usually pick up 2 or 3 pieces each season from Kaleidoscope and I’ve not been disappointed yet.
COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH
Rhubarb Gin Fizz
Classic flavours go into this cocktail and they all work perfectly together. The ginger adds a zing to the drink whilst the lemon balances the sweetness.
- 50ml Rhubarb Gin
- 10ml Lemon juice
- 1 Teaspoon grated ginger
- 10ml Sugar syrup
Shake all ingredients (excluding the Prosecco) together and pour then top up with prosecco.
FILM OF THE MONTH
Wow! I loved loved this film from start to finish and really want to see it again whilst it’s still in cinemas.
I love Elton John so I’d been looking forward to seeing this film as soon as I heard about it. Taron Egerton’s performance as the young, addicted, conflicted, gay and gifted Elton John is absolutely outstanding and he perfectly immersed himself in the role. Unlike Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek’s lip syncing (although still outstanding in the role) Taron Edgerton sings all the songs himself and all absolutely brilliantly!
Ingeniously directed by the creative Dexter Fletcher it really is a fabulous film that I will be going back to see again & I will certainly be looking out for the phenomenal Edgerton in future films.
THIS MONTH I’M LOVING
That the Summer Holidays are in sight
THIS MONTH I’M NOT LOVING
Rain rain and more rain! Where’s our Summer?
THIS MONTHS FAVOURITES
- Rhubarb gin
- L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
- Prima Magazine
- ‘Is it just me’ podcast with Jo Elvin and James Williams
- Authentic Sangria and Spanish Cuisine
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH