Hello! It’s been a while. The month-long pause to “write a book and spend quality time with the family” seemed to very quickly and easily turn into a three-and-a-half-month break from the blog that has proved quite difficult to come back from. I was planning a bit of a honey I’m HOME! post at the end of January but that’s still lying in the drafts folder, and life got hectic – we had a wall knocked down (on purpose), then another three walls got knocked down (also on purpose), then we all got Covid (very much not on purpose) – which just about brings you all up to date.
And so a smooth segue from the last post – Festive Favourites – to this post, which is called Early Spring Favourites. At least there’s a seasonal theme. I’ve actually decided to update and upgrade the monthly favourites so that they’re a little more pulled-together, less random. Rather than finding my five favourite things each month, I’m going to wait until some sort of interesting category or motif strikes me; for example it could be my five favourite UK hotels. Or my five favourite recipes of all time. (Ooh! That’s a good one!)
For now, though, let’s get all springtime optimistic with my 5 Early Spring Favourites. I have to admit that the theme here is tenuous and I actually didn’t explain very well in the video how on earth some of the favourites were related to early spring, so hopefully my accompanying write-up will finish off the job. If you’d like to skip straight to the video then feel free – it’s at the bottom of the page.
1. Clinique Even Better Refresh Foundation. A rediscovery after I spent a day sorting my makeup archives, this is the perfect sort of makeup texture for early spring. It’s lightweight and very fresh and glowy, like the effect you’d maybe get from a tinted moisturiser, but it has better lasting power than most tinted moisturisers. Shade-wise I have CN28 but could actually go a smidgen darker, they have a much wider range of shades in their Even Better foundation. You can find this online here*.
2. RAB Thermal Leggings (online here). I did quite an extensive test on three pairs of leggings for my Instagram page (the video is here) and these RAB Power Stretch Pants beat the others hands down. I mean, with a name like Power Stretch Pants how could they not win? At absolutely everything? They sound like an eighties New York stockbroker.
The reason they’re included in Early Spring favourites? Should be self-explanatory if you live in the UK, but for those who aren’t familiar with our temperamental, mostly-disappointing climate, in springtime (or indeed summertime) it can be boiling hot one day and snowing the next. With weeks of grey drizzle either side. And now that turning on the heating is as expensive as staying at The Dorchester it makes sense to layer up.
The RAB Power Pants are made of very thick fabric with a fleece lining; they feel like a dry and cuddly wet suit. Full disclaimer: I don’t think I’ve actually ever donned a wet suit because I only swim or go near water when I absolutely have to and I certainly never fully immerse. But I imagine if there was a cuddly version it would feel like RAB thermal leggings.
3. My new sliding bedroom doors! They have completely transformed the roof terrace outside the bedroom making it a space I want to spend every minute in. On. Just in time for spring. For anyone interested (niche content alert) the doors are SMARTS aluminium Visoglide Plus with 35mm sightlines. (Basically the “frame” you see down the middle is quite slim so that you don’t cut the view too much. Although from this angle you see the depth of the frame on the one on the right, too, so it looks wider. It’s not.)
I could talk about glazing until the cows come home so do hit me up with questions if you have any. Honestly, I’ve had so many experiences with glazing companies – mostly bad – that I am glad to help if I can…
4. Margaret Howell Anglepoise, bought from John Lewis here*. Not remotely related to springtime, is it, but I’ve wanted a proper Anglepoise for years. I like to be able to spotlight whatever I’m doing on my desk and it amuses the geek inside me that I can angle the lamp in so many different ways! Easily pleased.
Anyway, I’ve been waiting for a colour I liked – they often do collaborations – and the Margaret Howell collection had quite retro colours.
5. Oh look, this one is very spring-appropriate: my Liberty nightie. I love it despite the kids laughing at me and asking whether I was off to a ball.
Five and six years old and I’m getting mocked already! I used loyalty points towards this and at time of publishing this it’s in the sale – you can find it here*. I have a real thing for Liberty print nightwear but only allow myself to peek at it when they have a good event on.
Christmas Gift Ideas For Her is here. Wow, that’s a mouthful of a sentence! I hope that the following bits and pieces spark your imagination
Top left GUCCI Bloom Nettare Di Fiori For Her – Eau de Parfum 100ml. Is this not just the coolest bottle? Instagram heaven. Buy for £114.00 from Feel Unique*.
Top middle PRINTWORKS ‘Snoozing’ Eye Mask. I feel as though this has popped up in a Movie recently, this sleep mask – if it hasn’t then it should. It’s very stylish and a change from the usual silky ones with your star sign on or ones monogrammed in a curly font. Buy for £32 from Amara*.
Top right PEARL LOWE – The Ava Gown. Well this is all sorts of glamorous and sexy – it’s almost too good to keep it for indoors. And a nice, substantial fabric that will actually keep you warm. No flimsy silk robes on this page! It’s winter for crying out loud! Buy for £395 from Pearl Lowe.
Bottom right CANOPY PLANTS – Cherry Aglaonema plant with ceramic pot. Chosen, admittedly, because it looks good with the other products in the guide, but canopy plants have loads of options and they are all potted and ready to go. Waiting for people like me to kill them. Buy for £38.00 from Selfridges & Co*.
Bottom middle ANGLEPOISE 90 Mini, Anodised brushed Aluminium finish, Berry Red. The classic – you can’t beat an anglepoise for timeless style. You can spend upwards of £500 for a desk lamp that’s a true design classic but this one is a small slice of cool for a palatable price. Buy for £87.20 from Amazon.
Bottom left BEAUTY PIE – Luxury Silk Hair Scrunchie, pack of six. I can’t be without my silk scrunchies now; yes they send me back to the nineties a little, but they are smooth and snag-free and the easiest way of securing my default twist-into-a-bun hairstyle. Buy for £35 (BECOME A MEMBER AND PAY £16.76) from Beauty Pie.
CHARBONNEL Et WALKER – Pink Champagne Truffles. I know that these divide people; Mr AMR thinks that they taste of soap. Other versions are available but I’m always drawn to the pretty box, year after year. Buy for £15 from Amazon.
SIMPLEHUMAN – Sensor Mirror Compact, Rose Gold Stainless Steel. The best makeup mirrors come from Simple Human – their wall- and desk-mounted ones are pricier but once you have one you’ll never look back. Because you’ll always be looking in the mirror, ha! This is a portable compact and no less handy – brilliant for hotel stays where the lighting is dire and for doing your makeup in the back of a cab. Buy for £89.95 from Amazon.
Top left LIBERTY Bubble Candle. So many candles, most of them in glass containers: I love this sculptural bubble candle for its simplicity and sense of fun. Buy for £13.60 from Liberty.
Top middle ASSOULINE Ibiza Bohemia Book. The coolest coffee table books in town – warning: flick through this and you will have the uncontrollable urge to travel. Buy for £70 from Amara*.
Top right JUICY COUTURE Gillian scoop-neck stretch-velour bralette. We did the tracksuits (come on, we all did, didn’t we?) and now there’s the bralette. Nostalgic, yes – but more importantly, comfy. Buy for £30.00 from Selfridges & Co.
Bottom right OH FLUFFITA SLIDE UGGs in pink. Another nostalgia-propelled choice: we did the boots (oh, how we did the boots) and now we will do the slides. If we want to look like something that’s crawled in from an all-night bender down Sesame Street. Buy for £100 from UGG*.
Bottom middle NATIVE UNION Drop Wireless Charger Pad – Rose. The practical present, but infinitely useful for bedside charging and it’s the best-looking charger pad around. No more searching for the cable that’s dropped down the back of the drawers. Buy for £40 from Amara.
Bottom left LIGNE BLANCHE Andy Warhol Scented Candle – Campbell’s Soup. Candles don’t get cooler than this. It’s a mini work of art and once you’ve finished burning the candle you can store your makeup brushes in the pot. Buy for £45 from Amara.
MULBERRY – Small Darley in Quilted Light Salmon. The classic shoulder bag with gold hardware and enough room for wallet, phone and keys. Oh so luxurious and beautifully made, it’s utterly timeless and the perfect special gift. Buy for £695.
ADIDAS – PRIMEBLUE TRACK TOP. I’m really into my Adidas again, perhaps inspired by Squid Game but maybe because I have been trying to up my leisurewear game and stop looking like someone who has been living in the woods with only cats for company. I like this soft pink version for lazy days and for when I start running, which will be never. Buy for £35.
Top left LIBERTY Twist and Twine Tana Lawn Cotton Short Pyjama Set. Liberty print again, I’m not going to apologise. It just makes excellent giftlist fodder because it feels inordinately special and looks the absolute business. I can’t get enough! Buy for £225.00.
Top middle SWAN Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine, Green. I don’t drink coffee but have been researching coffee machines for my holiday cottage business venture. (Don’t even ask how that’s going.) I thought that this one was very pleasing and not outrageously expensive if you didn’t want to go OTT. Buy for £79 from Amazon.
Top right NEWGATE – Charlie Bell Echo Alarm. You have to be a certain type of person to want to be awakened by two clanging metal cymbals going off right next to your head, but if you’re that person then this is your clock. Buy for £25 from Amazon.
Bottom right SELETTI Toiletpaper Mirror – Sea Girl. I love these Seletti mirrors – they do a few different versions and they are all like small pieces of art. Brilliant for spicing up the downstairs loo. Buy for £260 from Amara*.
Bottom middle DORA LARSEN – Dolly stretch-tulle underwired bra. When sexy lingerie gets colourful. I’ve never seen such a fun lingerie brand and there are plenty of different cuts and versions depending on whether you prefer soft bras or more structured items. Buy for £52 from Net-a-porter.
THE BRITISH LIBRARY: A Book of Nonsense Journal. If ever a book was up my street. Buy for £10.95 from Liberty*.
ELIZABETH SCARLETT – Jungle Leaf Travel Pouch. I’ve bought loads of Elizabeth Scarlett toiletries bags as gifts, they are so pretty. Just add a small bag of bath salts* inside if you want to give the gift some literal weight. Buy for £20 from Amara*.
BERGS POTTER – Copenhagen Glazed Plant Pot and Saucer. When plant pots go posh. I have two of these in different colours and they are supremely photogenic. Not that that’s the main requirement for a plant pot, but it helps… Buy for £65 from Amara.
Top left BODEN Cashmere Chunky Bed Socks. Always a treat and the Boden socks are amazing quality. I still have some from five years ago (the only ones the dog hasn’t chewed) and they’re surviving admirably. Think of them as slippers rather than socks, otherwise the cost is almost too hard to swallow. Buy for £50*.
Top middle LIBERTY Elderberry Large Weekly Diary 2022. Nothing can replace the feeling of writing actual lists with an actual pen – the annual diary-purchasing event is not dead, I tell you. Buy for £30*.
Right BURLEIGH Blue Calico Medium Tankard Jug 1pt. For those with a penchant for cottagecore, I give you Burleigh pottery. Their calico tankards are up there with my favourite household items. Buy for £37.00 .
Bottom middle APPLE AirPods Pro with MagSafe charging case (2021). It took me a while to get on board with these, as I like silence and don’t really listen to music when I’m on my own, but man are they helpful for blocking out unwanted noise! I use mine to edit video when I’m on the train to London and I now take most of my calls through them rather than holding the phone to my ear, which now seems so 1998. Buy for £189 from Amazon.
Bottom left DEXAM Wooden Magnetic Toast Tongs, Beech Wood. I know; what a weird thing to include in a gift guide. But if you haven’t yet experienced the joy of the toaster tong then you will thank me: it took me thirty-eight years not to burn my fingers every morning and for the past three I’ve been living in a state of domestic bliss. Buy for £5.97 from Amazon.
VIVARAISE – Fara Cushion – 45x45cm – Amber. Cushions with frills, tassels and trims are all the rage (and I’m on board with this trend – never dismiss the power of added interest and texture!) but many of the high-end versions are over a hundred pounds. This is a cheaper route to interiors nirvana and the quality is great. Buy for £31 from Amara*.
DERWENT II Muck Boots. I know they don’t look showstoppingly gorgeous but believe me when I tell you that Muck Boots are unrivalled in terms of comfort, durability and general practicality. They’re like the Nike Airs of the welly world – and come up true to size, in my experience. Buy for £68 from Amazon*.
SOHO HOUSE – Eat, Drink, Nap: Bringing the House Home – hardcover. Buy for 20.99 from Amazon. I’m going to be back shortly with my “books and chocolate” post so if you’re after easy, relatively cheap presents that will look stunning and seem incredibly thoughtful then hold your horses!
I hope that these Christmas Gift Ideas for Her has given you some useful ideas – let me know in the comments if you’ve had any good gifting brainwaves this year!