Luna’s ‘Flamingo Fantasy’ First Birthday Party

If you’ve read my August Favourites post then you’ll have seen a little sneak preview of Luna’s first birthday bash! It was never in question that we would be hosting a first birthday party – I have pictures from my own and although I can’t remember the day, I almost feel as though I can as the pictures are so familiar to me. I wanted Luna to have those memories as she got older so we set about creating a fun filled family soirée fuelled by pizza, prosecco and with the odd flamingo thrown in for good measure.

Luna's Flamingo Fantasy First Birthday Party | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Invitations

When Mr.R and I got married it very quickly became apparent that I had, shall we say a ‘small weakness’ for stationary. I was all about the invites, reasoning that they were the first indicator of what was to come. This fetish for all things paper and pretty hasn’t let up in the two years since we said ‘I do’. Luna’s Christening invites were a follow on from our wedding stationary with gold foil blocking and envelopes hand written in bright pink calligraphy. I knew I would have to tone it down a little for Luna’s first birthday (not least because this obsession was starting to get rather pricey) but I still wanted something striking and super pretty for my baby girls big day. I’ve stalked the ‘Papier’ website for some time, admired their personalised christmas cards and even pointed friends in their direction for their own wedding stationery, but I had never actually ordered myself.  This was the moment. I fell in love with the ‘Flamingo Bay’ design by Matthew Williamson and just like that, we had a theme! (FYI I was really very impressed with ‘Papier’. The invitations were easy to personalise, delivery was prompt and the quality was completely on point (and as you can see, I’m really quite fussy)).

Birthday Party Invitations

Invitations with matching envelopes

Decor

Mr R. loves to source vinatge furniture and on one of his many ‘scavenging trips’, he returned with two polystyrene flamingos! What he thought we were going to do with said flamingos is anyone’s guess although in hindsight I can’t deny that they were absolutely perfect for the occasion! We stocked up on my favourite blousy blooms – hydrangea for the garden and roses for the house as well as a couple of potted palms and voila – a pretty/semi botanical backdrop for our feathery friends! Our back yard is teeny tiny (and completely unfinished – please avert your eyes from the garage roof) but I wanted to create a glamorous little oasis, an outdoor room if you will. We borrowed a gazebo from my mum and dad and hung pink paper lanterns from the tent which created the most dreamy vibe – it literally could not have been more pretty. Finally, I needed my girls name up in lights – she was the star of the show after all! I bought the light up letters from our local Garden Centre which now look lovely sitting in her nursery – I’m sure they’ll be brought out again year after year!

Decorating A Small Garden

Flamingo Party Decorations

Pink Chinese Paper Lanterns

Light Up Letters

Pink Flamingo Hydrangea

Cake

I was quite determined to make Luna’s first birthday cake myself but had never attempted what I would call a ‘proper cake’ with layers sandwiched together with buttercream.  I did a little bit of research and finally settled upon a dark and white chocolate affair from the Great British Bake Off Recipe Book (where else). I did a trial run just to iron out any potential kinks and was pretty pleased with the end result (even if it wasn’t quite as picture perfect as the book suggested). After a bit of Pinterest stalking, I decided to decorate the cake using fresh flowers, macarons (ordered online from Mademoiselle Macaron – what a find, these were just to die for) and edible gold leaf. For the final touch, I used a custom cake topper from Sophia  obligatory number 1 candle and a table number from our wedding – don’t let anybody tell you I don’t get my money’s worth!

Custom Cake Topper

Decorating A Cake With Macarons

Luna's Flamingo Fantasy First Birthday Party | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Dominoes & Drinks

We run a bar (so drink is always high on the agenda) and despite the fact that this was a first birthday party, the majority of our guests were adults so I fully envisaged a fun filled, Prosecco fuelled afternoon. Catering, on the other hand, was a little trickier. Having hosted parties in the past I was well aware that this can turn into a ball ache of epic proportions leaving you welded to the oven and dishwasher! Well, to be honest, I just wasn’t up for that. I wanted to fully enjoy an afternoon watching the beautiful little girl my baby has become (and toasting myself and what a wonderful job I did growing and birthing her)! So, Mr.R came up with the (quite frankly epic) suggestion of ordering Dominoes! A stack of gold paper plates and 10 large pizzas saw the job done in style (and saved on a fair bit of washing up)!

Flamingo Drinks Stirrer

Princess Charlotte Pepa & Co Dress

I’m very pleased to say that everyone seems to have a lot of fun – smiling faces all round and we have some lovely pictures for Luna to look back on when she gets older. I just can’t believe my baby girl is one year old already. It’s a cliche but time has indeed flown. (I quite literally still feell like I’ve just has a baby)! I’m so hugely privileged to be her mummy and can’t wait to watch her grow over the years to come. Now to decide on next years theme…any suggestions???

INVITATIONS – PAPIER

PAPER LANTERNS – THE COTTON BUNTING COMPANY

MACARONS – MADEMOISELLE MACARON

CAKE TOPPER – SOPHIE VICTORIA JOY

FLAMINGO STIRRERS – PARTY PIECES

*this post contains affiliate links* 

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August Favourites – My Top Eight From The Eighth

August is and will forever be the countdown to my birthday (not that I’m a birthday diva or anything)! Luna arrived just a few days after my birthday so this year  August has meant the countdown to our baby girls very first birthday! Time seems to be slipping through my fingers and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, so, in a bid to stay in the moment and reflect on the good things in life, here’s a round up of my August Favourites – eight highlights from the eighth month…enjoy!

Levi’s

I couldn’t do an August Favourites post without mentioning Levi’s! If you follow my Instagram, you will have noticed that I’ve been living in my gents Levi 511’s. Opening myself up to shopping in the men’s department has been something of a revelation and I’ve found that the fit and wash of this particular pair have injected a much-needed shot of 2017 into my post baby wardrobe.  If you’ve read my recent styling post (Wardrobe Picks – Levi’s Tee & Blazer) you’ll know that I’ve been trying to navigate the new shapes and styles in the denim arena. Denim is such a focal point in everyone’s wardrobes these days that I truly believe that a well-chosen pair of jeans has the power to make a look, while a fit that’s slightly ‘off’ or not quite current can just as easily bring the whole thing crashing down! Expect to see many more jeans purchases in the coming weeks as I start to plan my autumn wardrobe.

Levi’s Gents 511 Jeans In Harbour Wash

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Party Planning

Luna celebrates her first birthday in the first week of September and I have been so excited to get stuck into party planning! We’ve gone for a big family affair at home with a bit of a botanical theme!  I’m aware that she will have no memory of the occasion but I plan to take lots of pictures for her to look back on! There’s an episode of The Big Bang Theory’ where Leonard says that his mother never allowed him to celebrate his birthday as it was her achievement, not his! Well, obviously I will be allowing Luna to celebrate her birthday but for this first year, yes I see it as celebrating everything about that day as well as our achievements in raising this little girl during the precious first year of her life. Consequently, the party will be filled with prosecco and gin and all good things! Stay tuned for a full report of Lunas First Birthday Bash!

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

St Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Sculpt & Glow

If you’re a regular reader then you’ll know that we took our first family holiday this summer (My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves) which was amazing and hugely stressful at the same time. Gone are the days of lounging on the roof terrace, sangria in hand. With a small person to contend with, plastering on the SPF and sitting in the shade reading Old MacDonald is the new norm. Consequently, I came home from our Spanish adventure in an ever so slightly darker shade of milk than when we left! These days I have neither the time nor the patience for ‘real’ self-tan so this daily lotion has been an absolute lifesaver with all of these cropped jeans about! Yes, it does have that fake tan smell but it’s ever so subtle and I really can’t smell it on myself throughout the day (which is what has put me off about so many similar products). It’s subtle but buildable and just perfect for taking the blue tinge off my epidermis going into Autumn!

St Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Sculpt & Glow

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

ASOS

I’m having a bit of a moment with ASOS and I do realise I’m about ten thousand years late to the party here. Of course, I’ve dibbed in and out over the years, a bikini here, a maternity dress there but I’ve never really got the whole ‘ASOS fangirl movement (obviously too busy over at Net a Porter with my head stuck in the clouds). I remember the days when ASOS stood for ‘As Seen On Screen’ and every item was (what we now call) ‘a dupe’ for something a celebrity had been spotted wearing! Back in the day, I had a particularly fetching PVC version of Victoria Beckham’s black white and blue Dolce & Gabanna leather jacket! Thankfully, things have moved on and ASOS is now a global phenomenon with its own in house label as well as a vast selection of high street, premium, and niche designers! They also offer this amazing service where for £9.95 a year you get unlimited free next day delivery! I’m not gonna lie, this has paid for itself in the first week of signing up – definitely one for the August favourites!

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Aquazzura Flats

I treated myself to the pretty iconic Aquazzura Christy shoes not long after Luna was born. I figured that the occasions for heels would be few and far between so I may as well allocate my designer shoe budget towards something that I was going to get my wear out of. These flats are so chic – they have an old school ‘Holly Golightly’ vibe but with a distinctly modern twist. I have to admit that they’ve been a bit of a slow burn but all of a sudden they just seem to be working with my wardrobe – hence deciding to include it in my August Favourites! I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve all of a sudden found my direction after wandering about in the post-baby wilderness but they have well and truly been rediscovered and I’ve fallen in love anew!

Aquazzura Christy Shoes

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Baby Developments – Crawling & Chatting

No two days are the same with a miniature human in the house and I have to say that this stage of development just brings so much joy. The past month has brought us proper crawling (before she had this Comando crawl going down – my little SAS soldier) and all sorts of interesting jibber jabber! She imitates and points and chatters away which is so hilarious to watch and at the risk of sounding soppy, my heart just melts when I look at her little smiling face! Every day she seems to grow and learn a little more which is incredible and such a privilege to watch.

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk
Mucky Pup!

House Plants

My mother actually did a little LOL when I said ‘house plants are having a bit of a thing at the moment aren’t they’. I know it seems a little ‘off’ to talk about plants being on trend but it does seem to be all the rage to fill your home with all manner of jungle foliage. If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll now that I’m rather partial to a blousy bloom – I literally can’t leave M&S without a bouquet of something pink and dreamy. However, recently I’ve been seduced by all kinds of alternative plantage – succulents, cacti and aloe vera to name but a few! Now I would be lying if I said my love for my new plants didn’t have something to do with my new gold plant pots which make me do a little happy dance when I come downstairs every morning! They’re just so glitzy and, well, gold! LOVE!

H&M Gold Planters

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Missoma Necklace

I’d lusted after the Missoma Horn necklace since I first clapped eyes on it and with it being ‘birthday time’ of year I decided it would make a perfect treat to self. I know gold (and rose gold in particular) is super ‘in’ right now but I’ve always loved the deliciously warms tones and that sumptuous, JLo vibe that it gives off – particularly with a tan. For me, this is going to be a part of my jewellery wardrobe for some time so was absolutely worth the slightly pricey price tag! I love the super fine chain and the pendant itself is deliciously tactile. This layering of fine necklaces look is one I can totally get on board with both with necklaces, bracelets, and rings…my next project.

Missoma ‘Lucy Williams’ Horn Necklace 

August Favourites - Eight From The Eighth | jessicarhoades.co.uk

What have been your August favourites? Do you have exciting news to share or maybe a must have purchase? I’d love to hear what you got up to in the eighth month…did someone say countdown to Christmas?

*this post contains affiliate links* 

 

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My Guilty Pleasure – Romance & Rakes

I have a secret and I hope you won’t judge me too harshly! I love to read (no, that’s not the secret). As a child reading came as naturally to me as breathing. In school, I was given free choice of the extensive libraries and my imagination was allowed to run wild. From Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton to Jane Austen and J.K Rowling, I was a real life ‘Matilda’ and didn’t care who knew it! I lived for English class, tales from Dickins and Shakespeare and poems by Blake, I revelled in the imaginary worlds into which the writers pulled me, the warm sense of comfort from truly enjoying the place to which your mind takes you. But, I digress, I told you I had a secret to share, and here it comes. For all the truly brilliant writing, the skilled intellectual stories, woven with grit and honesty, my guilty pleasure (such as it is) is that I love nothing more than a good old fashioned bodice ripper! I need a hero (as Bonnie Tyler so eloquently put it). A rake on horseback, arrogant and handsome! I need a heroine, strong and beautiful! I need a villain, discovered and brought down at the last moment! I need passion, I need history and (preferably), I need a grand society wedding with a detailed description of the bridal gown to bring events to a satisfactory conclusion!

Now I suppose the purpose of this long winded ‘explanation’ of my guilty pleasure is to point out that my choice of reading material is exactly that…my choice. I hold an A Level in English Literature (an A grade but you know, who’s getting defensive) and a degree in Law…I am certainly capable of reading something, shall we say, a little more intellectually challenging. However, the simple fact is, I choose not to. The sheer excitement and escape I get from a good historical romance is unparalleled and I’ll be damned if I’m giving that up to immerse myself in psychological thrillers, or gory horror stories…I get enough of that from The Daily Mail website (another guilty pleasure but let’s not get into that)!

My Guilty Pleasure - Romance & Rakes

In a recent interview, Radio and T.V Presenter Anita Rani said that there is so much culture and literature in the world that you simply don’t have time in your life to waste it reading ’50 Shades of Grey’. This got me thinking (and stewing, definitely stewing). It was about time I launched an impassioned defense of cheesy ‘mum porn’ and put my ‘affiliations’ out there. So Anita…I wholeheartedly disagree. How can something that gives this much pleasure (not physical pleasure, get your minds out of the gutter) possibly be a waste of my time or indeed my life? Now, ’50 Shades Of Grey’ wasn’t my favourite (not enough in the way of ballrooms and breeches for me) but, the millions that EL James is now sitting on tells me that perhaps, just perhaps, I am not alone in this ‘peculiarity’ as some would term it. I am absolutely certain that there are other smart women (as opposed to teenagers who I suppose would be the traditional demographic) out there who secretly enjoy a harmless slice of escapism!

Now my plan was to present you my three favourite authors but in all honesty, I can only come up with two that make me tingle from fingers to toes. Both authors (particularly the second) have enough material to keep me going until approximately 2056. Does the fact that they churn out these novels at breakneck speed concern me as to their quality or the care in which they are written? Does it heck. In my eyes, they are nothing short of brilliant! My name is Jessica and I am a hopeless romantic! I am no longer prepared to bashfully stand by feeling guilty about my guilty pleasure! Life, Anita is indeed too short!

Jane Feather

Jane Feather is the US based New York Times Bestselling Author of the ‘Duncan Sisters’ Trilogy aka, where my guilty pleasure began! I don’t want to get too far into the ‘meat’ of the books…I’ll leave that for another day if, as I suspect, there are more hopeless romantics out there who would enjoy a series of book reviews on this topic! This trilogy focuses on three High Society sisters (one book for each sister) who take the running of the household finances into their own hands after their father loses his fortune on a bad investment. They are set in Edwardian London and have a strong Suffragist storyline woven through. Essentially, each book sees a sister meet her match, finding love in the unlikeliest of places. I cannot count how many times I have re-read these books (I’m sure Anita Rani would be hugely disapproving of the many hours I’ve lost to this particular trilogy)! There’s just something about the period details and the strength of these three women who lived in a time where the odds were stacked against them by the simple fact that they were born female.

My Guilty Pleasure - Romance and Rakes

Favourites

Stephanie Laurens

Stephanie Laurens, another New York Times Bestselling Author is the woman behind The Cynster’s! A little bit of context. The Cynsters are a family – a very old, noble family, the head of which is The Duke of St Ives – Sylvester aka ‘Devil’ Cynster. Oof I’m getting all the feels just thinking about it! The first book lays out who the Cynsters are, placing them within society in the period not long after the Napoleonic Wars. The following books tell the tales of his brother and male cousins before moving on to his female cousins. All have one common thread…Cynsters are fated to marry for love. This fact seems to be accepted readily by the female family members and vociferously challenged by the males (funny that)! Now clearly there are other facets to these books. It can’t all be bodice ripping and declarations of undying devotion! There’s plenty of mystery, intrigue and yes the occasional murder to keep you on the edge of your seat and coming back time and time again, devouring novel after novel. Stephanie Laurens has enough content to keep me going for, well let’s just say quite a while…a cursory glance at her website lets you view the Cynster ‘family tree’ and with each and every member having their own tale to tell and new generations coming along faster than you can say ‘love & marriage’ I am relieved to be able to say, she’s got my guilty pleasure covered for some time yet!

My Guilty Pleasure - Romance & Rakes

My Guilty Pleasure - Romance & Rakes

Favourites

My heart lies with the Cynsters. I so want to be a Cynster! I love each and every book on its own merits but yes there are a few stand outs…

  1. Devil’s Bride(the original, the seminal!)
  2. The Cynster Sisters Trilogy – Viscount Breckenridge To The Rescue, In Pursuit Of Eliza Cynster, The Capture Of The Earl Of Glencrae
  3. The Curious Case of Lady Latimer’s Shoes & The Masterful Mr Montague (both Cynster spin offs)
  4. Devils Brood Trilogy – The Lady By His Side, An Irresistible Alliance, The Greatest Challenge Of Them All
  5. What Price Love?

(Don’t you just love those titles! Cheese central in the best, most entertaining way!)

So, if I haven’t completely and utterly embarrassed myself can I humbly ask for your thoughts? Are you partial to a bodice ripper? Maybe an action packed crime caper is more your cup of tea? Do you have any romantic recommendations for me based on my (perhaps too revealing) account of my own guilty pleasure? Let me know in the comments below but please, be kind…it’s an affliction!

Let’s Get To Know Each Other…20 Facts About Me (Hopeless romantic and all)!

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My Morning Routine – Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow

So, in the interests of getting to know one another a little better, I thought it might be fun to take you through what an average morning looks like in Casa Rhoades! I have learned over the years that starting my day hungry and in a rush does not make for a productive (or happy) day. In fact, I know if I leap out of bed, into the shower and out of the door (or straight onto the laptop as is more often the case), I’m pretty much setting myself up for failure. So here’s a little insight into how I try to get the most from my mornings with a baby in tow.

Let’s Eat

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it’s drummed into us on what feels like a daily basis. So, it always astounds me the number of people who don’t eat before they start their day. Excuses range from ‘im just not hungry in the mornings’ to, ‘I don’t have time in the mornings’ or even, ‘I feel sick in the mornings’! Well, personally I’m pretty darn starving in the mornings! I’m not talking a little bit peckish here, I’m talking full on, stomach growling in protest hunger! So, (after Luna has her water and her nappy changed) food is my number one priority. I can quite honestly say that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day so I really go to town with a big bowl of warming porridge topped with lashings of fresh fruit, nuts and a generous drizzle of honey. Also tea…a big, unsophisticated, mug of tea!

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Keeping Up With Them Fitness Goals

If you’ve read my posts regarding postpartum fitness, (check them out HERE) you’ll know that I have a bit of a love hate (actually it’s more of a hate hate) relationship with exercise. I am never going to be that girl who loves getting down and dirty in the gym – I’ve waited 30+ years, tried every regime going – it ain’t gonna happen! That being said, being on the wrong side of 30 and having (fairly) recently had a baby, I am in no way prepared to rest on my laurels! So, it’s at this point in the morning that I’m usually to be found having a stern word with myself as the devil on my shoulder systematically delivers today’s excuse as to why I can’t work out. I’m not going to lie – sometimes the devil wins out but more often than not, I suck it up and endure each and every painful minute. Personally, I find that it actually helps to have some level of accountability where fitness is concerned and the fact that I’m paying actual money to do it gives me one less reason to quit.

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Making Plans

As a self-respecting Virgo, I love a good to do list and find it quite therapeutic to at least plan for productivity. The sleep situation is pretty dire in our house so I already feel a bit like I’m starting the day on the back foot so to speak. If I can make a rough itinerary of work to be done, housework that needs to be addressed and meals I intend to eat, then I feel as though I’m giving myself a bit of a leg up for the day to come (though inevitably, with a baby, things do veer off course more often than not).

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Baby Comes First

Everything revolves around Luna – as it should. I can organise and make lists until my heart’s content but if she has other plans then those are the ones we’ll be going with. As she’s not a big sleeper I try to leave the jobs that require the most brain capacity for the half hour she deigns to have a nap (although there are plenty of occasions where the lure of a peaceful shower is too tempting to ignore). If things are going to plan then by mid morning Luna should be ready for a nap and I should be ready to make a start on my to do list.

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Top Tips For A Productive Morning

  1. Buy a playpen. This has pretty much changed my life. No exaggeration. As soon as Luna started to move things became ten times more difficult as I couldn’t simply pop her down on the floor with her toys while I nipped to the loo/put the washing on. It may look a little draconian – putting your baby in what is essentially a cage – but the peace of mind it gives you when you need to leave the room for a moment is beyond priceless!
  2. Lists. I touched on this earlier but I find it so helpful to get everything that’s swirling around my head down on paper. That way I can organise my jobs and commitments in order of precedence and I know I’m giving myself the best possible shot at actually getting them done.
  3. Make a routine. Obviously, not every day will be the same but I think it can be really helpful particularly with a young baby to have a routine to fall back on so you both essentially know what you’re supposed to be doing and when. It certainly helps to keep my mind clear and allows me to move from one activity to the next without getting into that mind fog of ‘what comes next’.
  4. Create a happy space. In terms of getting work done I find if I’m wearing something comfortable have a nice hot drink and perhaps a lovely scented candle on the go then I feel so much more productive and inclined to knuckle down and get things done – for me, if I’m feeling uncomfortable or if I’m in a messy space then I really struggle to get my mind focused on the job at hand.
  5. Sleep. I know, I know, no-one is getting enough sleep and there is absolutely zero most of us can do about it! If getting more sleep just isn’t an option then I have a few ideas to keep you moving forward when you feel like your wading against the tide.
  • Drink a large glass of water. It’s amazing the effect knocking back a pint of water (or liquid life as I like to call it) can have when you’re just about ready to drop.
  • Get some air. I find getting some fresh air – even if it’s just stepping into the garden for five minutes can really give me a much-needed boost.
  • Exercise. It’s usually the last thing you want to do after a sleepless night but getting straight into a workout, gets the blood circulating and actually helps shake that limp, boneless feeling that becomes all too familiar when you have a baby in tow.
  • Product. A friend bought me the ‘Energy Boosting Kit’ from NEOM when Luna was born and it’s amazing how a little luxury and a zingy scent can really give you a lift.

Can We Talk About Tea?

If all else fails there is always tea. (Tetley, Skimmed Milk, No Sugar FYI). Tea is singlehandedly responsible for my sanity remaining largely in tact. I’m usually at least three cups down by lunch time. Tea is life!

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow | jessicarhoades.co.uk

I hope you have found some of these tips helpful. I’m acutely aware that there is definite room for improvement in my own levels of productivity and I would be delighted to hear any tips or tricks you use to stay focused and positive. Leave me a comment – I’d welcome any thoughts or ideas.

My Top 5 Holiday Must-Haves

We have just returned from our first family holiday so I thought it might be a good idea to put together a list of my summer essentials. Now, I started writing this before we actually left and now I’m back I’m of the opinion that the ultimate holiday must-have (when traveling with a 10-month-old) is as many spare pairs of hands as you can possibly get…summer hols with a baby in tow is a whole different ballgame! So, here are my top 5 holiday must-haves (for those moments where you are not sat under an umbrella with Makka Pakka and Iggle Piggle)…

My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Skin Prep 

When I was a child I would turn purple in the sun. My mum and dad both tanned easily and my brother to this day has the olive complexion of dreams! I, on the other hand, would burn (in patches – I couldn’t even turn lobster pink evenly). Things slowly improved as I got older but the Tan Accelerator by Elemis was the game changer! This product works by stimulating your skin’s natural melanin production and, (shouldn’t matter but does) smells like heaven! I use this without fail before every holiday to ensure that a. I don’t burn and b. I tan safely and evenly!

I’ve mentioned before that I am now super careful when it comes to exposing my skin to the sun and am a real stickler for SPF (check out my review of the TILI Beauty Box HERE). Nothing ages your skin quite like the sun (quite aside from the obvious health implications) and I have found Decleor’s Suncare range to be really quite excellent in prepping and soothing my skin both before and after sun exposure. The ‘Aromessence Solaire Tan Activator Face Serum’ is a beautiful face oil which preps the skin in a similar fashion to the Elemis Tan Accelerator, while the balm just melts into your fingertips on application and feels sublime after a long hard day on the beach! Call it aftersun for the dedicated skincare junkie!

You can find the Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Collection HERE

Skincare Saviours | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Shades 

We all know that the shades maketh the woman. A well-chosen pair not only adds instant glamour to pretty much any outfit but also, truth be told, hides a multitude of sins. Hangover? Insomniac baby? Headache? If eyes are windows to the soul then all of the above have the power to mist things up pretty quickly! If no eye cream on earth will save those peepers then a killer pair of shades are your best friend! My sunglass collection is actually on a list of things to share with you…there are some real corkers including a very retro heart shaped pair by Chloe! My current favourites are my trusty Rayban aviators (an absolute classic-every girl should have a pair) and a perfect pair of ‘fuck off I don’t want to talk to anyone’ tortoiseshell Prada’s!

Summer Shades | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Sun Hat 

I adore Panama hats but we have a somewhat troubled relationship. I managed to lose one over the side of a cruise ship and my husband and I fell out spectacularly on arrival at our honeymoon in Mauritius when my hat emerged, let’s just say, a little worse for wear! (I blamed him obviously). That said there a few things that can take an outfit to the next level better than a well-chosen piece of millinery! This season there has been a plethora of designs to choose from. From the classic to the outrageous – I’m in love with the sequin emblazoned floppy sun hats from Lily and Bean and the pom-pom embellished straw fedoras by Yosuzi are just sensational! As I type they have 50% off at Netaporter – I’m hovering perilously close to the buy now button!

Puerto Banus | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Swag 

Make no mistake, the year of the tassel has arrived. You’d have to have been living under a rock not to notice that any fashionista worth her salt is currently to be found wandering the streets of Santorini/Marbella/Sicily (delete as appropriate) bedecked in layers of drippy beads and bangles. Tribe & Fabel make the most gorgeous pendants and the overseas market stalls are awash with brightly coloured pom-poms, tassels and shells I think the secret here is to mix it up and curate your own summer vibe. If you aren’t already then check out ‘Anna Skoog’s’ Instagram (@annamavridis) and prepare to lust after her perfect Summer Styling!

Summer Swag | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves | jessicarhoades.co.uk

The Sandles

What says ‘summer’ more than a set of prettily pedicured tootsies in a killer pair of strappy sandals? My nail polish of choice veers between hot pink and a juicy coral and the tan is obligatory! I have never enjoyed a pair of flat sandals as much as I enjoy my Jimmy Choo ‘Wyatt’s’! Black with the glitziest of gold hardware, these babies can take a look from boho to glamazon and are perfect when it’s just too hot for heels (and when you are attending a wedding at 7 months pregnant)!

I’m beginning to be of the opinion that if you are going to spend a lot of money on an item then it has to be both wearable and comfortable! As Coco Chanel said “Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it isn’t luxury”! There are so many gorgeous summer flats out there this season! I’m loving the Pom Pom styles by MABU By Maria BK and you just cannot go wrong with a classic espadrille (though as I said, I do like to see a flash of that summer pedi)! Slides are having something of a moment too. The eponymous Givenchy Slides are a no brainer (pretty sure they would be one of those life purchases) but Topshop have a great selection starting at just £19!

Summer Sandals | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves | jessicarhoades.co.uk

What tops your list of summer essentials? Maybe swimwear is your thing? A prettily embellished kaftan, a straw beach bag or perhaps a fully loaded Kindle and Gin’O’Clock is your idea of heaven! As always, leave me a comment – I’d love to hear from you!

 

The Anniversary Conundrum

Does anybody else hate buying presents for their other half? Let’s face it, men are (sweeping generalisation alert) quite practical creatures. If they want something, they’ll buy it – end of story. Forgive me if I speak out of turn but men, at least the men in my life, are a complete ball ache to buy for! Unless you’re about to present them with a Ferrari or (in my husbands’ case) a classic Mini Cooper they really couldn’t be less interested. Useful gifts are boring, novelty gifts are met with a polite chuckle and sentimental gifts with a shy smile (before its relegated to a bottomless drawer full of equally useless stuff you have no idea what to do with). So what’s a girl to do when, within the space of 2 weeks you have your husbands birthday, his first fathers day and our second wedding anniversay? (yes that was bad planning on my part)!

Our Wedding Day | The Anniversary Conundrum | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Horseshoe | The Anniversary Conundrum | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Our First Wedding Anniversary

The first wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with the gift of paper. Now I’m quite a traditional girl at heart and so I wanted to honour this custom. He’s not a big reader so any sort of book was out, then I struck gold. I ordered a custom illustration of us on our wedding day which I then framed and presented as a gift. I LOVE it! Unfortunately, this gift came under the ‘sentimental gifts’ header so, after the obligatory shy smile, the picture was left to me to display. If I asked him now I’m pretty sure he won’t recall where that picture came from or indeed that it was intended as a gift for him. This is probably as good as its going to get and I’ve pretty much made my peace with that.

Wedding Illustration | The Anniversary Conundrum | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Check out Custom Portraits by Blanka Illustration HERE

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

The second wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with the gift of cotton so I’ve gone full on cheese-central with this years gift…matching Mr & Mrs. Cotton Waffle Bathrobes! I’m not even going to apologise – I’m completely embracing the naffness and can’t wait to cosy up in them, Sangria in hand, on our first family holiday (as you read this we will be living it up in the South of Spain)! Fingers crossed he will actually get some wear out of it (even if he does forget where it came from and why)!

Bathrobes | The Anniversary Conundrum | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Bathrobes | The Anniversary Conundrum | jessicarhoades.co.uk

Custom Bathrobe Available Online HERE

If anyone has any completely brilliant suggestions when it comes to buying for the boys then please do leave a comment below. Yes, this is most definitely a first world problem but I can’t be the only one who finds it impossibly tricky? I have a full year to plan for Anniversary No3 – Leather! That’s one full year to lay a trail of subliminal messaging leading to the Chanel Classic Flap…Hmmmm (insert scratches head emoji)!

All Wedding Photography by the brilliant Claire Penn

 

 

 

20 Facts About Me…

  1. I am mum to Luna Belle and wife to Ilka. My wedding day was the greatest day of life… and then my daughter was born! These 2 humans are my world!
  2. I have a degree in Law but have never practiced.
  3. I worked in the fashion industry for 5 years but am still aspiring to that ‘Carrie Bradshaw wardrobe of dreams. ‘
  4. I am obsessed with history – tales of great lovers and royalty from times past never fail to thrill me.
  5. I am terrified of the telephone. Luckily my husband does not share my phone phobia and will quite happily pick up the phone to make a call – he completes me!
  6. I hate shimmery nail polish but love a short square opaque nail in coral, hot pink, nude or dark burgundy. Uma Thurman’s Chanel Rouge Noir Nails in the film Pulp Fiction are perfection!
  7. I have holidayed in the South of Spain since I was 10 months old – it holds a very special place in my heart.
  8. My family is my life and my best female friends are family members.
  9. My favourite film is the original Clash of the Titans and I once chained myself to a tree and waited to be rescued by a prince on a flying horse (spoiler…it didn’t happen).
  10. I have never met an 80’s power ballad I didn’t love…my husband is a  DJ and despairs of my ‘terrible’ taste in music!
  11. I love nothing more than curling up with a cup of tea and a good book (and by ‘good book’ I mean a trashy historical romance!)
  12. I am practical and reliable to the point of being a bit of a bore!
  13. I hate exercise but dream of being the ‘after’ photo in a ‘fitspo’ Instagram account
  14. I love Victoria Beckham and may or may not have 3 scrapbooks dedicated to her style.
  15. I truly believe Kate Middleton and I could be best friends!
  16. I’m an excellent researcher and a fountain of useless knowledge.
  17. I love a big, blousy bloom – roses, peonies, hydrangea…give me all the pretty!
  18. I always believe people will come through for you and am forever surprised when they don’t!
  19. I believe in the Loch Ness Monster
  20. Monica Gellar and Margo Ledbetter are my sitcom soulmates!

Continue reading “20 Facts About Me…”