It truly feels like an age since I’ve blogged, and – although I’m not going to dwell on it – I really do feel quite ashamed of myself.
Since my last post, the bloke and I have packed up everything we own, moved house, bought and built approximately £1,000 worth of flatpack furniture, unpacked everything we own and adopted two cats.
In addition, obviously, we’ve been going to work, doing the food shopping, scoffing, and completing such vital tasks as checking out our new local pubs.
With no broadband connection for the first three weeks after our relocation, I felt pretty bereft despite these diversions – and so it gives me pleasure to resume normal service on my beloved Blog of Joy.
Here are the things that have been making me happy (or at least helping to keep me sane) during what’s been a brilliant, but very busy time.
1. My iPad
This was an extravagant Christmas present from my wonderful fiance, and I adore it. ‘But what’s an iPad FOR?’ people ask. ‘Isn’t it just for show? Isn’t it really pretty pointless?’
‘No, it isn’t pointless,’ I respond. ‘It is simply wonderful.’
It’s an eBook reader, a place for downloading favourite magazines and newspapers in stunning digital formats, an easy-to-use, light and mobile web-surfing device. It’s a pleasure to use – and it’s bloody cool.
To boot, mine has a floral Cath Kidston case.
2. This fabulous Bliss face mask
This face mask is among the most bizarre and impressive I’ve ever used. Normally I’m one for a simple mud mask: you know where you are with thick goop that dries on your face, pulling out all the impurities and leaving you in need of a good slick of lotion.
I was sent a sample of the Triple Oxygen Instant Energy Infusion Mask (ahem), along with a bunch of stuff I ordered online as Christmas gifts. I must say that while I wouldn’t recommend shopping online at Bliss UK after my shockingly crap experience with the site, the face mask is truly great.
The pinkish serum turns into a foam on your skin, tingling and tickling your pores until they return to life and your face looks bright again. I appreciated this right after Christmas, I can assure you.
If you have £40 burning a hole in your pocket and worry that your skin appears as knackered as you feel, give it a try… Or maybe just ask the people in Debenhams for a sample.
3. Shopping at Whistles
Every time I walk past a branch of Whistles, a part of me wants to yell: ‘Get thee behind me, Satan!’
The brand’s collections just go from strength to strength, and there is never a shortage of items in store for me to lust after.
Whistles’ email marketing is the devil on my shoulder (although, given my digital geekery, I am continually thinking up ways that it could be even more effective).
Yet I can forgive the countless temptations Whistles throws my way; I can forgive the holes in my bank balance that regularly appear every time I happen to step across the threshold. This is because the clothes are of excellent quality. They’re stylish, edgy, classy and comfortable all at the same time.
What’s more, even I look good in them: they are cut for women, not gangly teenagers (yes, I am narrowing my eyes at you, Topshop).
It genuinely gives me pleasure to see a British high street brand doing so brilliantly – and helping to bulk up the size of my already out-of-control wardrobe.
Jumper and skirt from the Whistles 2011 collection; image from the Whistles website.
4. Some pretty incredible cushions
After moving, me and the bloke went furniture and accessories shopping on Tottenham Court Road and did the unthinkable: we went into Heal’s.
This is the sort of tomfoolery that results in paying loads of money for super beautiful homewares – which we duly did. Among my favourite purchases that day were a selection of beautiful Donna Wilson cushions. They were well worth splashing out on.
Wilson’s work is stunning: warm, homely, witty and cool all at the same time. What’s more, she won Elle Decoration’s Designer of the Year award in 2010.
5. Dreaming of gorgeous wedding gowns
Wedding dress ideas have begun to crystallise in my mind, in much the same way as those dodgy substances from chemistry sets that you have to leave hanging on string until they solidify. (Did anyone else do ‘gem-making’ as a child?)
Anyway. I’m planning on going to see the lovely ladies at Fur Coat, No Knickers and to pop in at David Fielden over the next couple of months, to be poured into gowns and to get an idea of what will work on me. Squeeeeeeealll!
6. Chips and beer at The Queen’s
My new favourite pub is The Queen’s in Crouch End. The chips are amazing (and come with home made spicy ketchup), it has a great wine list and always offers a strong selection of real ales.
7. My fur babies
Last, but definitely not least, the two latest additions to our family have been keeping us busy and amused since late last month.
We adopted sisters Mo and Destiny from Battersea Cats and Dogs Home at Old Windsor and are absolutely in love with them. They adore each other, occasionally bicker like old women and very much enjoy cuddles, eating the poshest cat food we can find and climbing inside open cupboards.