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Hello, hello. I hope you’re having an amazing summer, so far. I have a little update to share with you today, about my posting schedule for July, and my plans for the blog, going forwards…

The Plan for July

As July and August are always super-quiet months for the blog, I’ve decided to take the next three weeks off to recharge and tinker with my content strategy. I’ll continue to create new content for Instagram, but the blog will be taking a backseat for a short while.

I know that you all love The Weekend Reading List. So I’m planning to take this feature over to Instagram Stories for the next few weeks, instead. I’ll share about 5 links every Friday, and save The Weekend Reading List Story as a Highlight, in case you miss the weekend posting in the first 24 hours or want to revisit an article.

The August Coco’s Tea Party Book Club newsletter will go out as usual, on the first Thursday of the month (August 1st). The August edition is set to be a Summer Romance Special, and if you’re not already subscribed you can do so here.


Style Notes: Stripe T-shirt by Boden (gift) | Denim shorts by ASOS in 2017 (current season update here) | Basket bag from TK Maxx (similar here) | Long pendant necklace by Astley Clarke (gift)

The Plan for August onwards

Now, obviously this plan might change once I have some proper time off to think and reset. But, at the moment, I see myself returning in August with fewer blog posts per week, but more personal/essay-based content.

I want to differentiate cocosteaparty.com from the @cocosteaparty Instagram account, by providing depth and long-form written content that simply wouldn’t translate to IG.

This plan may indeed change. But without taking some time to step back and take stock of things, it’s impossible for me to get the perspective I need.


Thank you, once again, for being the loveliest bunch of internet friends, and for continuing to support Coco’s Tea Party.

A change in creative direction feels well overdue, and I’m beyond excited to take a little break and give myself an opportunity to reset. I hope I’ll see you all back here when I return in August.

Ella xoxo

Photos by Lydia Collins

The post A Summer Break & the Future of Coco’s Tea Party appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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This will probably go down in history as the most boring, common sense update I’ve ever posted to the blog. But I recently discovered the secret to strong and healthy nails.

Would you care to guess what that might be? An expensive lotion, perhaps? A complex daily regimen of health supplements and fancy juices? No.

The secret to healthy nails, it turns out, is a pair of rubber washing up gloves.

Yes, I know, this is groundbreaking stuff.

But let’s back up for a second. My nails have been weak, brittle and slightly ridged for about 18 months. And it’s been driving me crazy. Initially I thought it was an issue with my diet, so I started taking hair and nail supplements.

The supplements made no difference to my nails, but I did sprout a halo of tiny baby hairs, and now have a very sexy mini-fringe (#hairgoals). So, you know, all was not lost…

I also spoke to a nutritional therapist, in the hope that they would have a magical cure for my weak nails. But aside from adding a little bit more protein to my diet, there wasn’t much they could suggest.

It was only when I visited a nail salon, a few weeks ago, that I got the answer I’d desperately been searching for.

“You have very poor nails,” the technician said, as soon as she took hold of my hands.

“I know,” I responded, feebly, feeling waves of shame rippling across my body. Internally I berated myself for failing at something as simple as growing healthy nails.

“Do you wear washing up gloves?” the nail technician asked.

“Ummm, no. I probably should though. The water in my area is quite hard, it sometimes makes my skin dry. Would that make a difference?”

And, to that, she looked at me like I was supremely stupid (which, let’s face it, is a justifiable response). “Yes,” she assured me. “Washing up gloves will protect your nails.”

Later that day, I dug out my pair of Marigolds, which had been collecting dust under the sink for at least a year. And I now wear them every time I wash dishes by hand (which is at least twice a day – I don’t have a dishwasher in my apartment).

It’s now been about five weeks since I made this habit-change, and my nails are SO much stronger. They also feel smoother-to-the-touch, so I’m hopeful the unattractive ridging will eventually disappear, too.

So there you have it: the secret to healthy nails. It couldn’t be any easier…

Illustration by Jennifer Darr 

The post The Common Sense Life Hack That Happens to Be the Secret to Healthy Nails appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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Do you own Zara’s white polka dot maxi dress? It is without a doubt THE dress of summer 2019. I see it everywhere! And last week I met someone who said she’s grown so tired of twinning with strangers on the tube that she now only wears the design if she’s spending the day at home.

This week Refinery29 explored what it takes to make a dress go viral, and you can find the link to the story below.

And, if you want to stay one step ahead, I have a feeling that Mango’s floral dress (bottom middle row) will be the next design to blow up Instagram. So the link to the waiting list can also be found below…

~

My dear friend Wendy recently booked a 5 star holiday on a super-small budget. And she shares exactly how she pulled it off in this great travel post.

How to tell your best friend that you’re in love with them.

3 recipes that will help you take your corn on the cob to the next level.

The trailer for Mindy Kaling’s Four Weddings and a Funeral revamp just dropped. And it looks pretty good.

How to get a summer glow without the sun.

This floral dress from Mango is sure to be an instant sell-out. Join the waiting list here.

The five words that could transform your romantic relationship.

How many influencers does it take to make a dress go viral?

The Wimbledon tennis championships kicked off, this week. So naturally Vogue asked Roger Federer to take part in their 73 questions series.

Untangling the incredibly complicated Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun feud.

The post The Weekend Reading List appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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If your summer wardrobe could use a cheeky little top-up, you’ve come to the right place. Because here’s my pick of the best new season buys…

1. Tinsel midi skirt by Raey ~ This tinsel skirt is giving me MAJOR Carrie Bradhsaw vibes. It’s an investment piece, but the kind of design you’ll be wearing for years to come. Throughout summer pair it with silk camisole tops and white blazers, for wedding season. And towards the end of the year bring it out for all of your Christmas parties.

2. Happy hair clip by Accessorize ~ Accessorize is the place to go for hair accessories, this season.

3. Girls hair clip by Accessorize ~ Case point.

4. Floral print dress by Chic Wish ~ As you know, I can’t resist a slightly bohemian-style dress for summer. And this Chic Wish number has caught my eye. Style with tan sandals and a straw tote for the perfect daytime look.

5. Linen jumpsuit by Faithful the Brand ~ I love the idea of wearing this mint green jumpsuit with a white blazer, for summer weddings. It such a gorgeous shape and colour, and would fabulous with raffia accessories and block heels.

6. Tan sandals by Dune ~ If you’re still coveting the infamous Hermés sandals (but still can’t justify the $$$$ price tag), these Dune sandals are the next best thing. They also come in black and snake print.

7. Green wrap top by Chic Wish ~ I usually avoid wrap tops and dresses, because I don’t think they ever sit correctly on my very flat chest. However, I’m willing to give wrap designs one last shot, because I’ve fallen head-over-heels for this cute summer blouse.

8. Woven basket bag by Mint Velvet ~ You can never have too many straw totes/basket bags. And this woven beauty from Mint Velvet is the latest design to climb onto my wish list. It’s perfect for beach holidays!

9. Black swimsuit by Monsoon ~ Monsoon’s scallop-edge one-piece is the personification of Bond Girl Chic. Style with oversized, retro sunglasses and a pop of coral lipstick to turn heads at the beach.

Which style buys have caught your eye, this summer?

The post The July Wish List appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about failure, and the perseverance it takes to get back up after being knocked down. There are a few different factors that have brought this theme to the forefront of my mind…

Firstly, Brené Brown’s BRILLIANT Netflix special, The Call to Courage, which is about choosing courage over comfort and accepting that failure is a natural part of life. (I’ve watched The Call to Courage multiple times, and truly believe everyone could benefit from Brené’s words. Watch it ASAP! And also read her book Rising Strong, which honestly changed my life.)

I’ve also been consuming a lot of Elizabeth Day’s content about failure, as she promotes her new book, How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong. I haven’t read How to Fail yet, because there’s a super-long waiting list at my library. But I can’t wait to check it out.

And, on top of all of this, I’ve been experiencing my own mini career crisis. I have definitely felt like a total failure on numerous occasions, throughout the year, which is no fun at all.

Dress by Next (gift)

The Pick Yourself Up and Try Again Anthem

I’ve always found music to be such a powerful motivator. And whenever I’m feeling down or disappointed I use it to shift my mood. So I’m wondering, do you have a “pick yourself up and try again” anthem, which you blast whenever you get knocked down?

Because I have two.

The first is Unstoppable by Sia, which is probably the best hype song ever written. The following lyrics would make a great daily affirmation, don’t you think?

I’m unstoppable
I’m a Porsche with no brakes
I’m invincible
Yeah, I win every single game
I’m so powerful
I don’t need batteries to play
I’m so confident, yeah, I’m unstoppable today

I also love Second Wind by Maren Morris (Maren Morris wrote the song, which was first recorded by Kelly Clarkson). The message is similar to Survivor by Destiny’s Child, and I love the lines “Just when you think I’m at the end / Any second I’ma catch my second wind.”

Say what you want about me
Your words are gasoline on my fire
You can hate me, underestimate me
Do what you do cause what you do don’t phase me
Just when you think I’m at the end
Any second I’ma catch my second wind

Do you have a “pick yourself up and try again” anthem? Or a song that always makes you feel powerful and strong? If so, let me know in the comments below. I’m really curious to see which songs you gravitate towards…

P.S. How to deal with dating disappointments

Photos by Lydia Collins

The post What’s Your “Pick Yourself Up and Try Again” Anthem? appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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What do you have planned for the weekend? It’s Monica’s bachelorette/hen weekend, so I have lots of fun activities to look forward to. I can’t wait for all of the fun, games, dancing and rosé!

However you’re spending the weekend, I hope you have a great 48 hours. And, as always, you can catch up on the week’s top life and style links below…

~

How to fight summer frizz. Because the humidity is real!

Are Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga scheduled to perform together at Glastonbury, this weekend?

44 stops to make on your next trip to London.

Planning a pizza party for the weekend? Here’s a homemade pizza recipe to try.

Why the polar bear is the indisputable image of climate change.

A huge Christian Louboutin exhibition is opening in Paris, next year.

These are the major red flags to look out for, the next time you’re interviewing for a new job.

Tour this cute and cheerful San Diego bungalow. I’m obsessed with the pink armchair!

6 low-key ways to mentally cool down, this summer.

This story is so scary: Women wakes up totally alone on an empty, parked, Air Canada flight

Busy Philipps on abortion: ‘Women have held on to a lot of this shame’

The post The Weekend Reading List appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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Which books are you planning to take along with you on your summer holidays, this year? I’m hoping to work my way through the following novels and memoirs, over the coming months…

I Miss You When I Blink: Dispatches from a Relatively Ordinary Life by Mary Laura Philpott

“Mary Laura Philpott thought she had it all: job, spouse, house, babies, but instead of feeling content and successful, she felt anxious and lost.” I love a good book of essays, and this collection which centres around the pressures of adult life looks like it will be both touching and funny. I also think it has a gorgeous cover!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

To date, I haven’t read any of Haruki Murakami’s work. And that’s something I plan to rectify, this summer. Top of my list is Murakami’s 1987 novel Norwegian Wood, which tells the story of a young man’s first “hopeless, and heroic” love. Is this the best book to start with? Or should I try some of his other novels first?

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire won The Women’s Prize for Fiction, in 2018, and it’s a novel that I feel both excited and obliged to read. But, as of yet, I haven’t got around to it. It’s a modern re-working of Sophocles’ Ancient Greek tragedy Antigone. And it was in every newspaper’s “Best Books of 2017” list, so is sure to be incredible!

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

I met the lovely Laura Jane Williams last summer, when she was in the process of writing her debut novel. And I’m SO excited to finally be able to read it! Our Stop is a romantic comedy about missed-connections. Nadia and Daniel get on the same commuter train, every morning, and have a series of romantic near-misses. But will they ever get together?

The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora

As soon as I read the description for this thriller, I knew it had to go on my summer reading list. “An electrifying debut novel of two women’s friendship, a haunting obsession and twisted ambition, set against the feverish backdrop of contemporary Hollywood.” It sounds good, doesn’t it?!

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: Life From Both Sides of the Couch by Lori Gottlieb

The Examined Life is one of my favourite books, and I always enjoy reading about psychotherapy. So I can’t wait to dig into therapist Lori Gottlieb’s memoir. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone weaves stories of Gottlieb’s own clients together with personal accounts from her own therapy sessions. It’s received amazing reviews, and I cannot wait to pick up a copy!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life has been sitting at the top of my pile of unread books since April. But, because it is absolutely ginormous, I keep putting it off. I read quickly, but A Little Life is sure to take me at least two weeks. The “heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance” is sure to be worth it, as it’s an international bestseller. I just need to bite the bullet, and get on with it…

Star-Crossed by Minnie Drake

Another romance novel, to lighten the load… Star-Crossed sounds right up my street! The synopsis reads, “Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star – and Nick relies on the magazine’s astrology column to guide him in life. Looking for a way to get Nick’s attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to the horoscope for Aquarius before it goes to print.”

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

I’ve been waiting to read Dani Shapiro’s latest memoir, Inheritance, for months (it came out in the US in January). In 2016 Shapiro submitted her DNA to a genealogy website, on a whim. And when the results came back she was shocked to discover the man who had raised her was not her biological father. This memoir tells the story of the events that followed.

Remember, you can keep track of what I’m reading (and plan to read next), by subscribing to the Coco’s Tea Party Book Club newsletter. And you can also follow me on Goodreads.

And, I’d love to know… What’s on your summer 2019 reading list?

P.S. 7 celebrity memoirs I want to read in 2019

The post My Summer 2019 Reading List appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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A few weeks ago I had a really insightful consultation* with Nutritional Therapist Henrietta Norton.

I was diagnosed with IBS four years ago, and, every few months, it becomes a struggle to control my symptoms. So that was the main reason behind my conversation with Henrietta (and the digestive supplements she prescribed have already made a noticeable difference. So I’ll be sharing more about my IBS treatment plan in the coming weeks).

But, along with gut health, we also discussed coffee. And the information Henrietta shared was SO fascinating, I felt it would be rude not to pass it on. Here’s what I learnt..

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR COFFEE BUZZ

“When you drink caffeinated drinks, your brain signals your adrenal glands to release the stress hormone, adrenaline,” Henrietta explained. “This is what gives the energetic rush that coffee is known for. However, it also causes a flood of glucose to be released into your blood stream.”

“Whilst this may make you feel hyper vigilant and energetic, very quickly it causes a blood sugar low that can lead to feeling anxious or jittery. Eating food with caffeine – specifically protein-based foods – has been shown to mitigate this response, meaning that we don’t get quite the same yo-yo.”

More often than not, I would pair my mid-morning coffee with a chocolate covered rice cake. But Henrietta suggested swapping this snack for a handful of cashew nuts, which would slow down the release of caffeine and result in a steadier flow of energy.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO DRINK COFFEE

Henrietta also advised on the best time of day to drink coffee. And you might be sad to learn that it’s not first thing in the morning (even if that’s when you feel like you’re most in need of a caffeine fix).

“The best time to drink coffee is mid-morning, when your natural cortisol levels have risen. Don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning, before your body has had the chance to wake up naturally, or after 3pm, as it can disrupt your quality of sleep.”

And if you drink multiple cups of coffee per day, you’ll want to pay special attention to the following piece of advice…

“Caffeine increases the body’s use and excretion of magnesium. Magnesium is required to support the nervous system, and therefore if we are low in magnesium symptoms such as anxiety, jitteriness, low energy and poor sleep can occur. If you are a regular coffee drinker, I would recommend taking a natural Magnesium supplement – such as our Food-Grown Magnesium – at night,” Henrietta said.

Find out more about nutritionist Henrietta Norton at wildnutrition.com.

Photo by Lydia Collins

* gifted press appointment

The post How to Get the Most Out of Your Morning Caffeine Fix appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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Last September I was taking a car to Paddington station, and I managed to get stuck in traffic with a very chatty driver. Now, that wouldn’t usually be the worst thing in the world. But this driver was a climate change denier. And he spent at least 40 minutes boring me to death with his “special theory” about weather cycles. (Who needs science, when you have Addison Lee, right?).

His reasoning made absolutely no sense. But he assured me climate change was a hoax, and the UK would have glorious, tropical summers for the next four years. And although I’m disappointed summer 2019 has been a bit of a washout, so far, I’m also delighted that this serial mansplainer has been proven wrong.

OUR UNPREDICTABLE SUMMER

Recently my mum told me that the UK’s summer weather is “stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, because of the current jet stream”. And apparently that means we’ll continue to have an unsettled summer. I’m not sure which newspaper she got this information from. But it sounds plausible. And it also seems fairly unjust (is anyone else’s sunshine stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Or just us unlucky Brits?).

Still, I’m trying to make the best of the situation. Because summer is my favourite season, and I refuse to miss out on an opportunity to wear my favourite boho dresses. So I’ve come up with a solution…


I’m Wearing: Dress by Chic Wish | Shoes very old season at Anthropologie (gift) | Bag a very old find at TK Maxx | Sunglasses by Ray-Ban

MY SUMMER DRESSING FORMULA

At the start of the summer I was largely sticking to a practical combination of skinny jeans and lightweight knits. But that situation got bleak real quick.

For the most part, it hasn’t been warm enough for denim shorts and little camisole tees. Or barely-there summer dress. However, I have settled on the following dressing formula, which seems to work well whether it’s grey and rainy, or warm-ish and sunny:

A lightweight summer maxi dress (preferably something white, lacy or embroidered) + a buttery leather jacket.

Or

A printed midi skirt + plain white T-shirt + a khaki utility jacket.

(You can see me wearing the look here and here.)

I went for lunch with Wendy and Monica, last week. And they both agreed that these two outfit combinations are the only plausible – and stylish – options for this yo-yoing weather.


My summer maxi dress of choice is currently this embroidered number from Chic Wish. I ordered it in January, because it literally made me go weak at the knees. And, although it’s now almost sold out, there are lots of other similar styles available at Chic Wish.

FYI: This was my first time shopping at Chic Wish, and I’d definitely order from the website again. The quality is in line with what you’d find at other high street brands, and the dress looks exactly as it appears online. The free shipping option took a few weeks, but as I ordered in the middle of winter I wasn’t in a rush to receive the dress anyway.

Have you come up with a summer dressing formula to survive the UK’s unpredictable weather? 

Photos by Lydia Collins

The post My Summer Dressing Formula, Come Rain or Shine appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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Happy Friday! How has your week been? I have a very bookish link update for you, this weekend – including a roundup of the best bookstagram accounts to follow on Instagram, and the story of an adorable marriage proposal which took place in a famous Brooklyn book store.

There’s also an insightful piece from Harper’s Bazaar about where it all went wrong for Topshop (who just narrowly escaped administration). And a look at the most important things to know before you consider egg freezing. Find all of these links – and more – below. And have a wonderful weekend…

~

Topshop has been saved from administration, but how did it come to this?

Why you’re never too old for slumber parties.

Thinking about freezing your eggs? It’s something I’d love to do if it wasn’t so expensive. Here’s everything you need to know about the process.

The best bookstagram accounts.

Are you easily distracted? I’ve been finding it hard to focus on just one task at a time, lately. But here are 6 easy ways to limit your daily distractions.

The email organisation hack that actually works.

Are you into summer’s “naked shoe” trend? One writer explains why it’s not for her.

This Thai chicken salad is perfect for summer!

How to treat body acne.

I usually find public marriage proposals super-cheesy, but this story is absolutely adorable.

14 things you should know before you switch to a vegan diet.

These are the most important things to consider if you have a big decision to make.

The post The Weekend Reading List appeared first on Coco's Tea Party.

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