A fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog run by digital journalist Hannah Gale. This blog is a place to make you feel a bit like you have an invisible best friend, make you laugh until you could do an accidental wee, and make you do all of the feels every once in a while.
Hello and welcome to another installment of The HG Fifty – and this time it’s an occasionwear edit!
Now that it’s already June (sure, sure almost halfway to Christmas because of course), I’m sure lots of you will have already got your wedding guest outfits well out the way, but for those of you who haven’t, and for those of you with graduations, birthdays, summer parties and engagement parties galore, this post’s for you.
It’s my round-up of the sweetest dresses and accessories available on the high street for summer 2019 – featuring everything from budget beaded bags from Matalan to slightly higher ends frocks from Ghost and Kitri.
My local Chinese takeaway does an absolutely cracking pineapple and cashew fried rice (can confirm it is 10/10 when compared with a little kung po chicken and maybe some crispy seaweed), so I thought I’d attempt to make it from home to save some dollar.
My boyfriend has been making vegetable fried rice every week since the day I moved in with him in 2014, so I thought I’d just adapt his recipe and hey bingo what do ya know, it worked!
I love pineapple and nuts in a rice dish, but appreciate it’s probably a bit like pineapple on pizza and not to everyone’s taste.
This recipe is super easy to change – you can add chicken, you can remove the egg and make it vegan, or you can add some different veggies to make it suit your taste. And best of all, it only takes 10 minutes so perfect when you’ve got a night of Netflix binging ahead of you.
What: A big bowl of rice, veggies, cashews and pineapple.
Best for: A super quick weekday dinner.
Realistically how long: Not more than 10-15 minutes.
Feeds: Two hefty size portions but could stretch to three.
2 x 250g long grain rice pouches (or you can make the rice the usual way to cut the cost and plastic use)
2 x garlic cloves
1 x red chilli
1 x bunch of spring onions
1 x large handful of frozen peas
200g pineapple (tinned or fresh) chopped into small chunks
2 x eggs
As much soy sauce as your heart desires
1. Put a large, deep frying pan on a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil.
2. Crush in your garlic cloves, add the cashews and peas and then trim the tops and bottoms off your spring onions and then slice in half – finely slice the white halves and add to the pan and reserve the green ends for decorating the dish at the end.
3. Also slice your chilli in half and finely chop one half and add to pan (you can skip this step if you prefer a milder taste, or add more chilli if you like your food extra hot). Keep the other half for decorating.
4. Lightly saute everything for a few minutes until things start to brown, and then add the pineapple.
5. Put your rice in the microwave following the packet instructions, and then add to the frying pan.
6. Add salt, pepper and a good splash or two of soy sauce and stir through.
7. Bring all your rice mixture to one side of the pan, and then crack two eggs into the empty side of the pan and immediately start scrambling.
8. Keep scrambling the mixture until the eggs start to solidify and then take the pan off the heat and combine the rice and eggs.
9. Serve immediately with an extra splash of soy sauce, the green ends of the spring onion (slice these first), some sliced chilli and some scattered cashews if you have any leftover.
First up, I have a confession to make, I may be the only person in the whole entire northern hemisphere who painfully struggled their way to the end of ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’. I didn’t get it, I mean, I still don’t get it. But then maybe I am broken or something because the rest of social media say it is the greatest book of last year?
If you haven’t already closed this page with sheer shock and disgust then HELLO, thanks for sticking around.
Please feel free to cast your eyes over my list of excellent reading material – there is nothing similar to Eleanor Oliphant, but I stand by the fact they all make the perfect accompaniments to either spreading out on a sun lounger with an iced daiquiri, or curling up on the sofa with your duvet and a cuppa.
‘This Is Going To Hurt’ by Adam Kay.
I’ve shouted about this one a lot on Instagram stories – it is truly brilliant, funny, dark and so gripping that I managed to see it off within 48 hours despite looking after a small human.
It’s a memoir from an ex-NHS doctor working on a labour ward, and whilst hugely eye-opening, I’d definitely recommend avoiding reading it if you’re pregnant or still working through a traumatic birth.
I actually handed this over to my brother the same week I finished it with shouts of ‘YOU MUST READ THIS’, and 24-hours later he’d already passed it over to my sister, having inhaled it in one sitting. They both enjoyed it immensely.
I’ve read a couple of similar titles to this one – ‘Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story’ and ‘The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story’ and both are also very good reads, but Adam Kay’s one is still the top dog of the medical memoir world for me. Shop here.
‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris.
This was another read which I binge-read within a couple of days – and this one focuses in on the real-life story of one-time Auschwitz tattooist Lale Sokolov during the Second World War.
I felt immediately drawn to it due to my own Eastern European heritage, and it definitely lived up to a lot of the hype I’ve seen surrounding it on social media.
It’s of course incredibly sad and dark, given the subject, but it’s also full of love – as it follows Lale’s romantic life within the camp. It’s also written in a really easy-to-read way considering the overwhelmingly harrowing setting. Shop here.
‘Everything I Know About Love’ by Dolly Alderton.
I went into this book expecting to hate it, given the fact I don’t tend to get along so well with millennial memoirs, and whilst it did take me a few chapters to warm into, IT WAS WONDERFUL. Just excellent.
Dolly is a tremendous writer, with a real ability to pick out the details from her own life which could so easily be your own. You may recognise her name from the popular podcast she co-hosts with Pandora Sykes, The High Low.
The book is full of nostalgic memories (hello, MSN, you sweet, sweet devil you), and explores relationships and friendships from teens to twenties. Highly recommend. Shop here.
‘The Mother Of All Jobs: How To Have Children And A Career And Stay Sane(ish)’ by Christine Armstrong.
I know a couple of people who read this and fount it a little depressing as it doesn’t really focus on any stories that show you can make the career/parenting juggle truly work.
For me the reason it was great was because it was full of lots of stories and anecdotes from both the author and those she interviewed that made me feel less alone and less like I was fucking up. I’ve read a few similar books which had a more straight-forward and to-the-point tone, but I loved how the author’s personality really shone through throughout this.
I felt like it was a reassuring read to acknowledge that there is no winning answer to how you tackle the constant nagging guilt of trying to work once you have kids. A read which helped me acknowledge that I’m doing my best and despite how it sometimes looks, everyone out there isn’t managing the juggle far better than I am. Shop here.
‘Period Power: Harness Your Hormones and Get Your Cycle Working For You’ by Maisie Hill.
First thing I will say is FUCK ME, there is so much about my body which I am shaken to my core that I didn’t learn in school.
Maisie’s book is a complete guide to actually starting to understand your menstrual cycle and why it enhances certain emotions and feelings throughout the month. It’s a complete eye-opener.
It is quite information-packed so not a read-in-one-sitting kinda book, more of a read-for-half-an-hour-in-the-bath kinda book. You need time to digest what you’ve just read and try and absorb what it’s telling you.
It’s separated into seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn) depending on where you are in your cycle and is best to read the individual seasons when you are in that particular season (rather than necessarily in order), because you’ll relate and resonate to the info so much more. It’ll also make you desperate to start tracking your menstrual cycle properly, whether that’s by an app, or – as I’m doing – with journaling. Shop here.
At the start of this year, as I was busy trying to adjust to post-Christmas life without daily cheeseboards and leftover turkey toastie sandwiches, a very, very exciting brand slid into my Instagram DMs.
Now, if you don’t know much about Beaches, they’re the sister brand of Sandals who I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of. Beaches have a portfolio of three resorts in the Caribbean – two in Jamaica and one in Turks and Caicos and where Sandals focuses on once-in-a-lifetime couples holidays, Beaches focuses on once-in-a-lifetime holidays for friends and families alike.
They asked if I’d (along with Chris and Atti) like to go to one of their resorts in exchange for this blog post and some social coverage, and of course, because THE ACTUAL CARIBBEAN, I said yes.
And so, let me declare up front, that this trip was paid for by Beaches – including the flights, accommodation, food and drink (because the resort is all-inclusive).
Let’s get going shall we?
Where? Beaches in the Turks and Caicos islands (which are a British Overseas Territory) in the Caribbean.
The story? After 12-hours on an airplane with a toddler (a real character-building experience if nothing else – more on that here), we touched down in Providenciales airport and then had a short 15-minute drive to the resort, where we were greeted with cool flannels and rum cocktails – divine. Now, the resort itself is perched on the beach and separated into four different ‘villages’ – the Caribbean village, the Italian village, the French village, and the newest village of the lot, Key West village. Each village has a slightly different vibe and houses different restaurants to suit that vibe. There’s also slightly different accommodation options in each village, plus pools and evening entertainment.
It would take you about 10-15 minutes to walk from one end of the resort across to the other side – so it’s expansive but not overwhelming.
Overall the resort has 21 restaurants plus two food trucks, and all of the food and drink (aside from a few premium wines) is included within the all-inclusive price – but I’ll come back to the food in more detail later on in this post.
We were shown to our room for the week in Key West Village – a one bedroom concierge villa, which contains, as the name suggests, one bedroom. It also had a living area with dining table and sofa, as well as a bathroom, small kitchen, large luggage cupboard and a utility room with a washer-dryer which turned out to be incredibly handy.
We had a cot and bedding at the end of our bed for Atti, and enough wardrobe and drawer space to all completely empty our suitcases and make ourselves at home.
Every room also has a fully stocked bar – which means ice cold cans of Diet Coke on tap, as well as house wines and spirits.
Our room was only a few steps away from the Key West pool which is one of the smallest pools on site, but also the one which gets the most shade and is quietest – perfect for a very water-hesitant toddler.
We were also a 60-second walk from one of the buffet restaurants which was incredibly handy on our first night (when we’d been up for close to 24-hours and struggled to remember who we were as people), as well as from the beach and a couple of other restaurants.
Food? As I mentioned, there are a staggering TWENTY ONE restaurants on site, which all completely differ in cuisine and level of service. There’s a handful of big buffet style restaurants which are obviously great if you’ve got fussy kids (these open the earliest for breakfast at 6.30am so also super handy for ‘first breakfast’ if you’re struggling with jet lag).
There’s a cafe in the French village which opens at 6am and does outstanding iced coffees (and teeny tiny cakes as well as cereal and crepes).
Then there’s everything else. Restaurants with smoothie stations and taco stations, restaurants with incredible fresh seafood, sushi restaurants, restaurants with Teppanyaki chefs, diners with popcorn machines, places with takeout pizza.
Some open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and others just for dinner. At any time of day, be it 11pm or 5am, there’s always somewhere available to grab food.
There is something for everyone, and enough choice that you could happily spend a couple of weeks there without
Our faves were Soy (the sushi restaurant which was delish, but the team there was also excellent at creating Chris vegetarian options), Barefoot By The Sea (somewhere in-between buffet and fancy – but you’re basically eating at picnic benches in the sand which creates such a lovely atmosphere and the fish tacos were divine) and Kimonos (which is the Teppantaki restaurant which you need to book before you rock up).
There’s also the two food trucks – a mac and cheese one (highly recommend the deep fried balls) and a milkshake truck.
How much? Beaches resorts are not cheap, but there’s no real cost when you get out there (aside from excursions and anything you fancy from the gift shop, ahem Pringles). Prices for a couple and an infant for a week – including flights – start at just under £6,000, and the best time of year to visit is between November and April, where the temperature happily sits high into the twenties.
How to get there? British Airways operate flights to Turks and Caicos from London Gatwick with a stopover in Antigua (you don’t get off the plane, there’s just a change of crew and passengers), or, depending on your fly dates, there’s also the option of flying to Miami and then getting a second flight to Turks and Caicos.
What’s nearby? Admittedly we didn’t leave the resort or explore the island, mostly because it would have been a little tricky with a toddler in tow – although there are options to do this. Aside from the swimming pools and beach on offer, there’s also scuba diving and water sports on site which are all included within the cost of the trip.
Recommendations? For us the water park was the ultimate base because there were great covered double sun loungers – a bit like little cabins with double beds – in the surrounding area which were great for chilling out in the shade with Atti without fear of him falling off. And he LOVED the lazy river. We all loved the lazy river. The perfect chilled-out family activity. It also meant we were close to the mac and cheese truck which was our go-to easy lunch option.
And the beach, you can’t not recommend it. Beaches is located on Grace Bay which is a 12-mile stretch of coastline which is voted the World’s #1 Best Beach by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards. Stepping into that clear turquoise sea and letting the tranquility engulf you is up there with one of my favourite things I’ve ever experienced, a true happy place where all the niggles in your brain instantly melt into the background.
Best bits? The staff were awesome and so helpful with entertaining Atti and bringing him toast or bread before the rest of the meal to help ease his hanger at mealtimes, which made the whole trip so much easier. There’s also a kids club with free nannies available for babies, but we didn’t end up utilising this.
Beaches is affiliated with Sesame Street so there’s parades and shows for the kids which Atti LOVED.
The food options were also great – we grabbed more than our fair share of frozen strawberry daquiris from the poolside bars too. And then of course, the beach view and the chilled out vibes are hard to beat anywhere else.
Worst bits? I guess the restaurant menus made me truly appreciate how far the UK has come in terms of vegan and vegetarian food – whilst I’m not veggie, my boyfriend is – and most restaurants only offered one veggie-friendly option on the menu (although everywhere did seem very set-up to cater for glucose and lactose allergies – the mac and cheese truck even offered a vegan, gluten-free option).
The other thing I noted was a fair amount of steps to get into restaurants and around the resort – which was fine to navigate with a pushchair, although a little tricky in places – but I can imagine the accessibility might cause problems for wheelchair users.
What would I do differently? I’d have loved to have stayed for longer. The week flew by in a breeze, and I could have easily done 10-days without yearning for home-cooked food or my own bed.
For those of you living under a beautiful, tranquil rock away from the lures of Instagram – Drunk Elephant is a wildly hyped up American skincare line which finally landed in the UK last autumn.
It’s beautiful. The packaging is minimal and sleek and yet like a bright and beautiful millennial wet dream at the same time.
It’s pricey. It starts at £15 for a lip balm (which, I have not reviewed in this post – I’m cool with a £3 cherry Carmex thanks very much) and goes right up to £76 for a night serum.
And it is good. Really fucking good. Or I mean, everyone who chats skincare on the internet seems to think so. So naturally, me and my mediocre skin wanted to get our hands on it.
It’s also cruelty-free and ‘clean’. The Drunk Elephant mantra is that they do not touch the ‘suspicious six’ which are essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS. So make of that what you will.
But the thing that stands out for me about the brand is the way they untangle skincare and make it easy for complete novices and those overwhelmed by the sea of products out there to work out there to put together a rotuine.
I highly recommend Drunk Elephant’s ‘The Littles‘ which is (again, pricey) a collection of seven miniatures from the range – it comes with a booklet that tells you whether the products should be used for day or night, at which part of the routine, and which products they can be mixed with. It’s mega helpful.
‘The Littles’ is also a great way for sampling the best bits of the range and finding out which ones work for you and which ones are worth purchasing at full-size. Everyone seems to have their own hero product (or products) from Drunk Elephant, rather than their being one product which is the clear winner.
It’s also worth noting before I start with the lil mini first impression reviews of the products, that some of them were gifted to me for review by Cult Beauty which stocks Drunk Elephant. It’s also available at Space NK.
PROTINI POLYPEPTIDE CREAM.
Whilst Drunk Elephant say that this is a ‘silky water-gel moisturiser’ it doesn’t feel quite as light as I expected it to. I used this a few times on holiday with the reasoning that a) my skin was probably crying for moisture after a long flight and b) was also probably crying for moisture having been in the sun all day. It’s nice, it made my skin feel rich and soft, but it didn’t get me too hot under the collar. Maybe more for one-off use rather than every day with my oily skin. I will likely not invest in the bigger version. Shop here.
C-FIRMA DAY SERUM.
This was the first Drunk Elephant product I threw money at – having heard Alexis Foreman rave about it at a dinner I was at a couple of months ago. It’s meant to brighten and even out skin tone and I have plenty of dull spot scaring so was ready to get my glow on. It’s a bit sticky, and has a smell that you just have to get used to over time, and it does leave skin feeling a bit tacky but HELLO LOOK AT MY SKIN. I noticed the difference within days. It instantly felt clearer and almost ‘blurred’. Likely my fave product from the entire range. Shop here.
SLAAI MAKEUP-MELTING BUTTER CLEANSER.
Now, if you love a cleansing butter like Clinique’s Take The Day Off then you will likely LOVE this. It does a great job at removing every last scrap of even the most dramatic of eye make-up. It also feels gentle and light on the skin and doesn’t leave any residue once washed off. It comes with a little magnetic spoon which clings to the lid so that you don’t have to dive your bare hands straight into the cleanser which is more helpful than it sounds. It’s not for me purely because I prefer a pump dispenser, but the product itself is excellent. Shop here.
A-PASSIONI RETINOL CREAM.
Now, I’m a bit stuck with reviewing this. I started used it after Kate La Vie told me how much it had transformed her skin. She said it had completely changed the way her skin looked without make-up on, and I wanted in on the action. If you’re new to retinol, Amy Lawrenson wrote a great beginner’s post here, but it’s an ingredient you’ve got to be patient with to see results. I started by applying this one evening a week, and moved up to two/three applications a week. If I went in too heavy, my skin would go red and flaky and sore and I would have to pull back. My skin and chin acne have got MILES better, but I noticed the difference maybe two months after starting the retinol and one week after starting the C-Firma serum, so WHICH WAS IT?! Shop here.
B-HYDRA INTENSIVE HYDRATION SERUM.
I read another review of this which described it at the least sexy of the Drunk Elephant line-up and y’know what? I’m inclined to agree. I like it a lot. And know both Liv Purvis and Alex Stedman highly recommend it. But it hasn’t done anything noticeably different to my skin overnight. As a huge Clinique Moisture Surge fan, this serum is right up my street – it feels very similar, incredible hydration whilst remaining very light on the skin. I’m using it morning and night and it’s an excellent base for make-up. I will likely buy this as a replacement for my Moisture Surge (*mic drop*) but would not say that it’s changed my life?! Shop here.
C-TANGO MULTIVITAMIN EYE CREAM.
I’ve got to hold my hands up and say that I do not use eye cream. Sorry. I got into it aged around 15 when a make-up artist told me to and then yes that’s the end of our relationship right there. This is nice and light and sinks into skin quickly. It’s meant to be AMAZING for dark circles, of which I do suffer, but I’m struggling to incorporate it into my routine often enough to see the difference. Shop here.
T.L.C FRAMBOOS GLYCOLIC NIGHT SERUM.
This is the pricey monster in the range – an acid as a serum. I usually take my acid via the way of Paula’s Choice BHA which you apply onto cotton wool and sweep across your cheeks, whereas this is almost more like a gel which you apply after cleansing. It’s quite strong. I notice a slight sting in certain pores as soon as it’s applied, which lasts a few seconds. And you do need to use a decent moisturiser afterwards to stop it drying your skin. I have the small version of this from ‘The Littles’ and am using it every other night (alternating with retinol as you can’t use the two together) instead of the Paula’s Choice acid, so will see how my skin holds up over the coming weeks! Shop here.
VIRGIN MARULA LUXURY FACIAL OIL.
Now, I haven’t used a night oil in about a year. I read this piece from Amy Lawrenson about how she’d stripped oil from her routine and so started to pull back myself. I might have completely ignored this product if I hadn’t watched Caroline Hirons’ Drunk Elephant video in which she said this was her fave product, and so I decided I had to give it a go. It’s incredibly lightweight as an oil, and absorbs very quickly. I used it with the hydration serum after a flight and my skin was so, so, so soft. Whilst I wouldn’t use it every day as I think it would be too much for my skin, I’ll definitely be using it when my skin needs a pick-me-up and would likely re-purchase. Shop here.
BESTE NO.9 JELLY CLEANSER.
And finishing my first impression reviews with my least fave of the range. Eeesh. I use the Glossier jelly cleanser every day so was excited to try this and hoped it’d be similar. It’s actually almost foam-y and soap-y? And a little drying? There just wasn’t anything about it that stood out or felt particularly nice. You can use it on wet or dry skin and apparently it can be used to remove all make-up. Personally I tried it as a second cleanse (on damp skin) and as a morning cleanse (on dry skin) and really didn’t love it either time. Would be surprised if it could handle stubborn eye make-up. Shop here.
There are some other products in the Drunk Elephant range which I haven’t tried. There are the D-Bronzi Sunshine Drops (which give an instant holiday glow when mixed with a moisturiser/serum), there are two kinds of SPF (which I believe only recently launched in the UK), there’s the lip balm, a couple of cleansing bars (obvs gentler on the environment), another eye cream and the Lala Retro Whipped Cream which is seemingly a hardcore moisturiser for super, super dry skin.
And, not available in the UK, is the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial which is an exceedingly strong acid which is meant to be AMAZING. So amazing in fact that it’s too lethal to pass UK regulations. I’m hoping to pick it up on my next trip to the States.
Which products have you tried and which is your fave?
Cor it’s been a long ol’ time since I last did a fashion edit over on the blog. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I do a weekly round-up of my fave fashion finds every Monday evening on stories – alternating between themed (midi skirts, swimwear, wedding guest dresses etc) and new-in pieces.
So I thought, y’know what sounds like jolly good fun? DOING AN EXTRA BIG HG TEN ON THE BLOG. And not just ten pieces, let’s make it fifty! So here we are.
My plan is to do this once a month – a bumper round-up that links to The HG Ten on Instagram.
And this month’s theme is holiday fashion.
I have simple holiday tastes – I like swimwear, basket bags, strappy sandals and lots and lots of delicious dresses. So I hope you like the high street pieces I’ve selected. Happy shopping!
Hello and good day! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that very recently I took a trip to the Caribbean with my boyfriend and my 16-month-old son, Atti.
The trip (which was gifted by Beaches and will be featured in a review post shortly) entailed an eight-hour flight to Antigua, followed by a 75-minute stopover where we had to stay on the plane, followed by another two-hour flight to Turks and Caicos. It worked out as just over twelve hours on a plane once you factor in the boarding and disembarking.
It was LONG. And I was a bit (read: EXCEEDINGLY) apprehensive about that length of flight with a super small person in tow.
We flew economy with British Airways, and pre-booked front row seats so that we could use the bassinet/bouncer attachment (there is a shelf that folds down and if you request it, the cabin crew will supply a bassinet or bouncer that attaches to the shelf). We didn’t book Atti an extra seat – he was on our laps.
But we survived. I am here to tell the tale. And the wounds are small. I am not sat rocking in a dark room pleading with my brain to rid me of the traumatising memories. And so I thought I would write a blog post detailing everything we packed for the flight, the things which were a success, the things which weren’t, and the things which I’d bring with me if we were to do it all over again. I hope you find it useful.
What we took on the plane…
We kept our hand luggage as minimal as possible to avoid having too much to carry. Chris took a rucksack and I had a giant tote bag (bit of a pricey fella from the Whistles sale, but super cute and am using it every day now back home) which we used to split up all of Atti’s necessary equipment. I also packed Atti a small rucksack and we had the Babyzen YOYO stroller (gifted) which folds small enough to fit in the overhead locker.
Chris took the iPad and snacks, Atti’s rucksack had all toys and activities and I had the changing stuff and blankets etc.
We also obviously had passports, boarding passes, phones, keys and wallets.
The packing list…
Nappy pouch: I’ve used an Elizabeth Scarlett pouch to hold nappies and wipes since Atti was little. It was especially convenient when getting up to change him as I didn’t have to take my entire flight bag or search for the individual components – I did have to keep his nappy cream separately in my liquids bag though.
Extra dummies: We’re still using dummies (the MAM ones are the best) for nap and bed time as well as during periods when he needs extra comfort like when he’s feeling unwell or teething. I packed four for the flight to make sure we were catered for some falling on the floor and getting lost – he also sucked on it during take-off and landing so am wondering if it helped with ears popping etc.
Snacks: I avoided anything messy and stuck the classic dry toddler snacks from brands like Kiddylicious and Organix. I think I’d packed about eight different bits (vegetable straws, oat bars, smoothie melts etc) alongside a sandwich and fruit pot I’d bought from Pret. They were all demolished half way through the flight. Pack as many snacks as your back will carry. They are the ULTIMATE plane-tantrum-ender.
Spare clothes: I dressed Atti in a navy pyjama set because I wanted him to be as comfy as possible and I opted for a dark colour so that it wouldn’t be obviously stained by anything suspect within two minutes of boarding the aircraft. I then packed two spare sets of pyjamas, a short sleeved vest and a hoodie to help deal with fluctuating plane temperature and spillages but didn’t need to use them.
iPad: Atti was actually fairly happy to watch Peppa Pig on our in-flight screens without any headphones, but the iPad was really handy during take-off and landing when he had to be strapped to one of our laps (and wasn’t particularly happy about it) and the in-flight screens had to be put away, as it meant we had something to distract him with. To be honest, the plane was so loud anyway that we had the iPad on full volume and you could only just hear it, so I doubt it was too much of a problem for fellow passengers.
Headphones: I bought some toddler-suitable headphones on Amazon and tried to get Atti to try them a few times before the flight so he’d get used to them. Dear reader, he did not get used to them. He did not use them. They were not needed.
Calpol sachets: I rarely go anywhere without these lifesavers. Not all supermarkets/chemists sell the sachets rather than the bottle – which are obviously much easier to travel with as they pack so easily – so you do have to hunt them out.
Sippy cup: We took Atti’s empty sippy cup through security and then filled it up with water from the airport water fountain and refilled it with bottled water throughout the flight.
Sleep bag: I wanted to take as many of Atti’s sleep associations with him in a real bid to convince him to GO TO DAMN SLEEP ON THE PLANE, including his sleep bag. I put him in it immediately after take off and placed him in the bassinet ready for a nap. He slept for 30 minutes, it was the only sleep he did for the entire 12 hours we were on that outgoing flight. Lol. Would likely not pack next time.
Peppa Pig magazine: Atti has never had a magazine before and I thought there might be some curiosity about it, about flicking the pages and looking at the Peppa Pig characters (it is his current fave cartoon after all). It occupied him for about five minutes – and three of those were watching us battle to get the free plastic crap out for him). I think he might be too young?
Stacking square cups: I made a mistake in that thinking that because Atti was low-key obsessed with his round stacking cups from January to March that he might like these in April. I was wrong. Occupied him for 90 seconds and then they were cruelly cast aside. (They were purchased from B&M).
Stacking tower: Atti has a full size wooden stacking tower from Hema and it’s been one of his fave toys from the past six months, so when I spotted this mini version in a charity shop for £1, I bought it. Again, it was played with for about 90 seconds. Excellent.
Whale toy: This whale came highly recommended via a random ‘long-haul flying with a toddler’ blog post I stumbled upon. I panicked and bought it from Amazon. It is basically a cuddly toy with zips and buckles all over it – the fun being undoing and doing up said buckles. Again, Atti was not particuarly interested in it, but I could see him coming back to it in a few months time, so maybe something to save for a future flight.
Posting box: Atti’s favourite activity at nursery is playing at the posting station where there’s lots of things like wooden sticks and giant buttons that he can post through slots in boxes etc, so I made him his own version for the plane by cutting some holes in an old Birchbox and some coloured sticks from The Works. HE WAS OBSESSED. Better than Peppa. He posted the sticks in the box over and over again, and then he transfered them from seat to floor and back again for the entire flight. Lifesaver.
Blanket: I was going to just pack a giant muslin and then at the last moment realised that his Aden + Anais dream blanket (gifted) which is much thicker and cosier, actually folded up quite small. We didn’t touch it on the flight out, but then the flight home was positively Arctic and the supplied BA blankets did nothing to warm us up and the Aden + Anais one was incredibly appreciated. Wrapping it around both of us was actually the thing which helped us both drift off for a bit. I would definitely pack next time.
What I wish I had packed…
More for me: All I had was my water bottle and a couple of bits in my liquids bag (lip balm, hand cream, face oil). I decided to save all space for anything that was likely to help me have an easy flight with Atti. But I wish I had catered to myself a bit more – I really wish I’d packed a cosy chunky cardigan or sweatshirt (v dumb move from me), as well as some top tier snacks to look forward to. Even just a sneaky bar of chocolate to gobble up from the comfort of the plane toilet would have been nice. Ha.
A pillow: I had planned to listen to the advice from This Is Mothership and buy a vaccum bag to easily transport my own pillow onto the flight to make sleeping with Atti in my arms easier, but for some reason, I didn’t. For our night flight home, Atti wouldn’t sleep in the bassinet or bouncer supplied by BA (he was simply too big for either and too small for his own seat), and we all struggled to get comfy enough to drift off. The supplied pillows are about as big as my foot, so not particularly great. Next time I would definitely find the room to bring my own on board.
Other things to consider…
Baby carrier: We took an ergobaby carrier on board a flight when Atti was a lot smaller, but because we didn’t use it huge amounts at home, he wasn’t particularly calm about being in it. But I know a lot of people swear by baby carriers for flights because it frees up your hands and also is another way to try and get your baby to sleep on you.
Milk and bottles: Atti is not a milk fiend, so we decided to make our lives easier and just not bother with milk for either of the flights. You can take as much formula (and baby food) through security as you need, regardless of the 100ml liquid rule – it just needs to be flagged when you do. But had I wanted to bring milk with me I think I would have bought some bottles of formula follow-on milk (we use cow’s milk at home), and then some Milton sterilising wipes if I needed to clean a bottle between uses.
If you’ve been avidly reading my blog posts for a while (then first up, you can have a really loud high five), then you’ll know that back last September I decided to really ramp up my skincare routine.
I did a six-week trial of using a lot of recommended hero products – acids and serums and double cleanses and lots of words and ingredients that made me feel a bit like I’d accidentally wandered into an A-level chemistry class. I took before and after photos and wrote about it here.
I wasn’t convinced by it at all. I’ve suffered with mild acne since I was a teenager and have previously used a whole range of prescribed ointments and creams to help clear it, and was struggling to find anything long-term that would give me lovely clear glowy skin without a trip to the GP.
I stripped it right back to basics using just a double cleanse and a moisturise and then slowly added products back in. I did a little more research (by way of the legend that is Caroline Hirons). I completely and utterly fell for the hype surrounding Drunk Elephant. And well, my skin is actually looking better than ever.
I haven’t had one of those painful under-the-skin spots for at least a month. Maybe two. Maybe three. And yes, there’s still scarring and discoloration from my previous spots which haven’t entirely faded, but I’m over the moon with where my face is headed, so thought I would share the products I’ve been using.
Everything listed below has been used for at least six weeks, if not longer.
GLOSSIER MILKY JELLY CLEANSER
I am on my third bottle of this stuff. It’s not particularly sexy, it doesn’t have a phenomenal smell and it doesn’t leave my skin looking like I have been on a wheatgrass retreat in Bali. But what it does do is leave my skin feeling super fresh and squeaky clean without making it sticky or congested – it’s the perfect morning cleanse or second evening cleanse. And at £15 a bottle (which lasts a good couple of months), it’s not outrageous on my bank balance either.
Also on my second bottle of this stuff. There are a couple of other oil cleansers I’ve been using to take my make-up off as well as this – including one from Bobbi Brown and another from bareMinerals. I prefer an oil cleanser with a pump rather than a balm in a pot (like the Clinique one), but I guess that’s down to personal preference. I adore the smell of this one, it’s really almond-y and rich which is why I keep going back to it. I simply rub a couple of pumps in my hands, and apply straight to my face. I massage it onto dry skin and into my lashes to remove all make-up and then clean off with a warm flannel. Before doing a second cleanse with the Glossier cleanser.
I didn’t get on with the Pixi Glow Cleanser or The Ordinary’s Salicylic acid, but this has really helped transform my skin. I apply it morning and night after I’ve cleansed (although I started by using it once a day to build up my skin’s resilience to it) using a cotton wool pad. It gently exfoliates and removes the dead skin which has helped reduce acne and also made my skin look much brighter and ‘glowier’.
I bought this vitamin C serum on a wild whim after seeing a few people recommending it on Instagram. It is expensive, but fuck me, it is GLORIOUS. I apply once a day, in the morning, after I have cleansed and used my BHA exfoliant. It is a bit of a weird texture, not too dissimilar to washing up liquid, and I’m not entirely loving the smell, but I cannot get over how much it has evened out my complexion and really helped reduce the spot scaring on the bottom half of my face. I think it might possibly be the best skincare product I have ever used. I will be repurchasing if my bank balance will allow.
I had a lot of recommendations to add a retinol into my skincare routine following my blog post last year, so opted to try the Drunk Elephant one. Whilst my skin wasn’t at all sensitive to BHA acids, it’s been much more sensitive to this retinol. I currently use it once every three evenings (and then skin the BHA part of my routine on that evening). It’s hard to say how much difference it’s made and whether it’s worked alongside the C-Firma Day Serum and BHA to transform my skin, or whether it’s made little difference. I will continue using and will try to up to using every other day if my skin will let me.
And finally, another old fave I’ve been using on and off for the past couple of years (alternating with the Origins Gel Moisturiser). I much prefer a gel moisturiser to a heavier one as my skin can get very oily and congested and I find this is a great base for make-up too. I apply it every morning and night as the final step in my skincare routine and it leaves my skin feeling fresh and hydrated.
If there is one thing that we can be sure of in this life, it’s that I love midi skirts.
I love leopard print midi skirts, I love silky midi skirts, I love bright coloured midi skirts, I love flowy midi skirts. I LOVE THEM ALL.
So I thought I’d share a handful of tips on how I style them and what I wear them with and how I make them very much part of my every day wardrobe, whatever the weather.
I’m also sharing a midi skirt ‘The HG Ten’ over on Instagram stories today which I’ll add to my highlights in case you’re reading this post a little late.
And for context, I am 5 ft 2, usually take a size 14 in clothes and my body shape is roughly hourglass – I have big boobs, a big bum and thighs, but come in at the waist, which is where I like my skirts to sit.
I don’t shop for petite midi skirts and prefer them to come at least half way down my shin, but am cool with them creeping towards my ankles. I also prefer a zip waistband over an elasticated waistband (unless the elasticated waistband is very thin), and prefer a flowy shape over a straight and slinky kind of shape.
The most obvious way to make midi skirts practical for every day wear – soft play, the supermarket, going to see your grandparents for a cup of tea – is to wear them with trainers. I have two pairs that I wear religiously with my skirt collection – the classic white pair (these ones are old Next, but similar here), and my Converse high tops.
Admittedly, I am not a tights girl, even in the thick of winter. I tend to balance out a soft and flowy midi skirt with a chunky jumper on top when it’s a bit chillier and pray that it stops me losing my nipples to the cold. My usual style is to keep the jumper loose on top and then just tuck in the front of the jumper to the skirt to make it look casual and a bit slouchy. If I wanted to be warmer I’d maybe stick a biker jacket or blazer on top – or another suggestion is to wear super cropped leggings underneath.
Current fave vibe at the moment is to match the colour of my midi skirt to either a t-shirt or jumper. During the festive season I teamed my silver skirt with a grey jumper and my gold skirt with a cream jumper. And now that it’s a bit warmer I’m all about the matchy matchy t-shirt. If a printed skirt has more than one colour than I’ll try and hone in on one of those colours.
Finding shoes that ‘look right’ with midi skirts is hard. If I’m not wearing mine with trainers then I tend to go with a classic strappy sandal – these ones are old Bershka but there’s loads of similar on the high street at the moment. I think you could equally wear a flat sandal – I’ve just got these Next ones for summer and think they’d look really well. I think boots can be quite tricky. I’ve seem some girls look AMAZING with chunky Doc Martin style boots and midis, but the only ones I ever really wear with them is a heeled sock-style boot which comes quite high up my shin. An over-the-knee style would look lovely too.
My go-to outfit every time would be a midi skirt, a slogan t-shirt and a blazer. It’s my formula which makes me feel good and the most ‘me’ every damn time. Sometimes I’ll switch out the t-shirt for a jumper or a white shirt, and every now and then the blazer makes way for a biker jacket or trench. I think it’s an easy combo to start with if you’re feeling a bit lost in the world of midi skirts.
So in summary, a short list of things I think look fucking fantastic with midi skirts: t-shirts, jumpers (I tend to go with plain one colour jumpers), white shirts, blazers, biker jackets, trench coats, trainers, sandals, sock boots and a pointed shoe.
THINGS IN THIS POST STILL AVAILABLE TO BUY
Hello and welcome to the first of these little mini city guides. I always feel like a huge imposter writing guides to places I’ve literally only been for 72 hours, so this series (which I am hoping to continue over the year/years) is more of a first impressions post. I hope you like!
WHEN TO GO – We visited in March but the city seems to really come alive from April onwards which is when Tivoli Amusement Park (one of the oldest amusement parks in the world) and Reffen Food Market open for the spring/summer period.
GETTING THERE – We flew with Ryanair for around £60 each (which included two pieces of hand luggage each, plus priority boarding) from London Stansted. Flight time was around an hour and a half.
AIRPORT TRANSFER – There is a direct train (called M2 which is part of the metro network) will take you direct to the city centre in around 15 minutes. No need for a taxi! Uber is also banned in Copenhagen so more reason to stick to public transport.
GETTING AROUND – Buy a CityPass from the station at the airport and it’ll include all your metro, train and bus travel for your visit (so no extra fees like with the Gatwick and Heathrow Express in the UK). You can choose how long to buy a CityPass for – ours was 72 hours and cost just over £20. The transport system in Copenhagen is a thing of beauty. Buses every few minutes and trains just as frequent. We just used Google Maps to help us navigate – it was so easy. Or, do as the locals do and hire a bike or electric scooter instead.
HOTEL – We stayed at Citizen M purely because we know we always get an excellent night’s sleep (they have giant beds and v good black out blinds), there’s free WiFi and they’re always in convenient locations. We paid £110 a night, but prices go up to £250 in high season. Other, perhaps cooler, hotels to check out include Andersen Hotel, Hotel SP34 and Hotel Alexandra.
CASH – I didn’t take out any currency and instead just used my Revolut card (you basically just upload money direct from your bank account and it exchanges it at the best exchange rate every time you spend on it). A lot of restaurants and cafes are actually now completely cashless.
NO PHONES – One thing I really picked up on was how little people were on their phones. I rarely tutted because someone slow was walking in front of me whilst trying to reply to emails and when we were in restaurants people were actually talking to each other rather than scrolling. Mental! Wild! Crazy!
RELAXED ATMOSPHERE – We found we couldn’t quite put our finger on why we loved Copenhagen so much, but there was just this gorgeous chilled-out vibe in the air that was absolutely contagious. Of course the hygge element with candles on every table (even at breakfast) and blankets on outside seat completely helped you feel cosy and start to switch off.
LANGUAGE – Obviously not having a clue how to even say ‘hello!’ in Danish (true Brit over here), I was slightly worried about communicating with people in Copenhagen. However it turns out that everyone we met, and literally everyone, spoke English. Most menus are either written in English or there’s an English version readily available.
CINNAMON BUNS – You can’t go to Copenhagen without falling face first into cinnamon buns. The best we had by far were those from Laura’s in the Torvehallerne Food Market. The chocolate topped ones were a particular thing of joy.
ALCOHOL – You can expect to pay a casual £45 for the cheapest bottle of wine at dinner (even in non-fancy restaurants) so the cheapest way to drink is to buy your alcohol from the supermarkets and 7/11s dotted about. I drank cans of rhubarb Somersby cider for around £1.20 a pop and highly recommend. It’s completely legal (and totally normal) to drink on the streets and in the park in Copenhagen which is an extra reason to go when the weather’s warmer.
BRUNCH – Items you can expect to find on a typical Copenhagen brunch menu include rye bread, Lurpak (I didn’t even realise this was Danish and now I love it even more), all kinds of eggs, avocado, yogurt, granola and muesli, pastries, meat and cheese selections. I would say there’s a true ‘continental breakfast’ kinda vibe. We went to Mad & Kaffe for their mezze style breakfast (delicious) and Granola which we didn’t like as much (slow service and small portions. We also found that you couldn’t really book brunch and it was more of a ‘rock up and hope for a table’ kinda vibe.
LUNCH/DINNER – If you want a grab and go kinda meal, the burgers from Gasoline Grill (there’s a few locations around the city) are great, although tomato ketchup does not seem to be the go-to fries condiment in Copenhagen which blew my mind. There’s also IMMENSE food halls and markets. Reffen is notoriously the best (which replaced the much-recommended Paper Market which is now closed) but only open for the spring-summer period. We liked both the Tivoli Food Hall and Torvehallerne Food Market which are both very central. For a sit down meal we tried Baest and Mother which were both highly recommended and pretty nice.
PLACES TO VISIT – Nyhaven is where the infamous row of coloured houses on the canal are so worth a stroll (although can be busy in summer and expensive to eat in the restaurants situated there), Strøget is the pedestranised street for shopping (expect to find all the Scandi classics like Weekday, & Other Stories and standalone H&M Home stores). We also took an hour-long boat tour (around £12 each) which was nice and gave us a good view of The Little Mermaid statue.
INSTAGRAM HOTSPOTS – Nyhaven is the classic Insta shot, but there’s also loads of dreamy pastel buildings scattered around the city for perfect outfit backgrounds. Copenhagen also seem to specalise in the most delicious paper-wrapped bouquets of flowers which I took approx 462375 photos of – you can find them in food markets, florists and even outside H&M Home.
TRAVELING WITH BABIES AND KIDS – We took the much-needed opportunity to travel without our toddler but it was instantly easy to see how well equipped for babies and kids the city was. There were huge pushchair spaces on both buses and trains (which easily put London to shame), and kids in almost all the cafes and restaurants we visited. There’s also parks everywhere, so plenty of outdoor space to explore with small ones in tow.
IF I WERE TO GO AGAIN – I think we’d book four nights over three and take a day out to travel over to Malmo in Sweden as it’s only a 45 minute train ride away.
BEST PART – Likely the cinnamon buns from Laura’s, alongside the general chilled-out attitude that make it a city I’d definitely be keen to explore more of in the future!
WORST PART – The high price of wine and alcohol in general means we tended to cut our evenings shorter than we perhaps would have at home.