Favourites 14.06.18 - The Random Edition!

Boden dress favourites later in the post!

Girls, I cannot convey just how hippety-happy I am that it is FRIIIYAAAAAY! It means I don't have a 5:30 workout til next Monday and Saturday is a sleep in! Unlike our American cousins we in the UK don't break up for summer until mid July - Caspar is pretty early on 13th July (most schools are the week after) but still - a full month left! I then have two weeks annual leave booked off (here in the UK we get 5.6 weeks statutory annual leave a year) - whoop!! The countdown begins. Until then it is work (30 hours a week), working out, jobs, routine - yey.  My first favourite this week was my Tuesday lunch date with Andy (one of his days off) - I'd had a challenging morning at work should we say and I was so glad to see him! We didn't do much - we looked at paint samples in B&Q (oh the romance!) but it was just nice being with him and him making me laugh. It did lead to my second favourite of the week though - the hit and run healthy food you can bag in Marks and Spencer. Marks and Spencer in general is like a pleasant parallel world - an ordered, reliable, well thought out and steady refuge. When I lived in Brussels and got tired of city smells and a foreign culture I'd go into the M&S there and smell and breathe the Anglosphere I'd stepped into - it was like a surrogate retail-home. Back to the food. Nutty super whole-food salad with almonds, edamame beans, soya dressing and tahini - I am going to attempt to replicate this at home, it is so delicious (and vegan) - I'm not vegan but I think it does the system good to eat vegan food whenever possible (couldn't do it all the time though, I'd fade away). Had a turmeric and cayenne 'shot' too - wow that had a kick but it was a great opportunity to get an anti-inflammatory booster! Got a coffee too from a great café that has about 4 different dairy free milk options. Where possible if struggling with work or tiredness I try to get my boost from changing the scene, spending time with people I love and getting some good nutrition to pep me up.

Just to prove how truly random this 'random favourites' edition is - third favourite - finding 5 golf balls on the beach in one week. We don't even need them, we have a ton, but it doesn't stop me getting excited when I find one. I am such a beach-comber. The other things that are washing up o the beach in great quantities today and yesterday are jelly -fish. Once a year when there is a high tide and a storm we get the annual 'jellyfish apocalypse.' It is too gross to photo-graph but I am kind of morbidly fascinated by it. Some of them are monsters and it makes me not want to paddle in the water again.

Fourth favourite - despite the tiredness, completing my fourth 5:30 am workout yesterday (ok one was at 08:30) - a 45 minutes of cardio and weights. I might not be ripped yet (ha!) but because I feel like I am on my way to getting fitter and more toned it gave me the confidence yesterday to wear a dress I've never worn with the bare leg look before (I am generally scared of wearing anything over the knee with bareish legs). It really is what is pushing me on - getting passed that sartorial barrier.

Did an instastory about this yesterday (by the way  - anyone who wants to follow me and my silly stories the handle is 'theeuropafox') - the last two times I'd done these early workouts I've felt great in the immediate AM, not had a problem getting out of bed (shocked myself), or doing the workout (double shocker) - it is the midday slump that is the hump! Even with a decent lunch and caffeine, I'd climbed into bed at tea-time for power naps in attempts to pull myself round. This is not sustainable!! (Although quite enjoyable). So any tips anyone? I need to have an earlier bed time for a start (9:30 not 10:30) but this is so difficult - not enough hours in the day! Or maybe taking more snacks to work will help. I am not sure if this is utterly dull me talking about my real-life getting in shape struggles - please tell me if I need to shut up! Or equally, if you are interested, let me know and I can post a little update each week.

Fifth favourite - experimenting with different paint colours on the walls. Anyone who has been to a DIY store might appreciate how BAFFLING the multiplicity of shades there are to choose from, and how they change in different lights. We have about 10 tester pots and charts at home. Our favourites of course are Farrow & Ball paints (have loved this brand ever since I lived in Dorset - it is a Dorset company). The shades are 'richly pigmented', low odour and eco-friendly and I love the chalky, matte, heritage colours. We always think we are going to experiment with something bold and then always choose something safe and classic - our front runner at the moment is 'shaded white.' How boring are we?!

 We have two rooms that need painting - the conservatory and the front room. The Kitchen diner got painted in February after the kitchen was fitted and will get papered in a week or so with some Laura Ashley print.

I can't wait to replace the horrible yellow in the conservatory - would have loved the moody grey you can just see on the left but Andy really doesn't like grey - hence the 'shaded white.'

What a MESS we've made of the walls. We have painted and written all over them. Love the mochas but because we change the décor seasonally I know we'll end up sticking with a neutral. Still, vandalising the house was fun. We get it painted next week - yayyy! LOVE the look of fresh paint.

Sixth favourite - making persillades every day - this simple mix of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, garden curly parsley and garlic - super healthy (omegas, vitamin C, anti-bacterial etc etc) - has formed the basis of a lot of my food - drizzled over new potatoes, over grilled and roasted lamb and chicken and to pep up pasta sauces. The longer it marinades, the nicer it gets. Besides - who doesn't love food with only three ingredients?

Seventh favourite  - Boden reconnaissance missions - i.e. tagging dresses in a pre-emptive sale strike. A lot of their dresses are £80+ - and when in this country we are never quite sure how long summer will last I prefer to get these in the sales. I could have posted a ton of dresses and I only looked at half  but here are some of my favourites (alongside the one as the headline photo):

 Am still loving blue and yellow!

This is kind of outside my comfort zone and I think it would suit someone less curvy, taller and darker than me but I love it - love the fact dresses are getting 'softer' and less structured and it combines a few trends really well.

I am not a pink fan I general - but this dress could convert me and it works so well with the sandals. PLEASE be in the sales dress!!

Wearable, anywhere. And just £40 - currently in the sale! I like pairing white like this with bright accessories - blue and yellow - LOVE.

A good work option - mixing the smart structure, comfort and a bold print so it is not super conservative.

These dresses, above and below, are my type of staple - the accessories in these images are great - the corally - tangerine (I am sure I am borderline colour-blind, haha) sandals and the belt below are right up my street:

So SWOON - dress heaven at Boden. My parting favourite no 8 is a photo I found of Caspar on a pen drive this week:

My little cutie! Have a lovely week-end friends! Love - Joanne xx

Linking up with Erika and Narci for Friday Favourites:



Baby Caspar! So great.

Speaking of vandalizing a house . . . when I was about 14, my parents replaced the carpet in their dining room with tile. Before the installers came, we all laid down on the floor and traced our silhouettes in permanent marker on the carpet. We got a lot of entertainment out of it, but I'm sure the tile guys thought we were insane. (It did look like a particularly bad crime scene. Perhaps not the most appropriate. But fun.)
Europafox said…
That is truly brilliant Kristin. Next time we rip a carpet up I am doing it!! Have a great week-end xx
Cassidy Adams said…
That picture of Caspar is SO darling. ANd girl, you would look great in anything. My favorite dress is the first green dress, I have a thing for green. And PAINTING. I get so overwhelmed when I go in search of a paint sample with all the different options. It feels like I'm going cross eyed:/. I finally just grab one and go:P. Good luck & happy Friday! SOunds like you're almost to summer:)
Europafox said…
I love digging out photos I'd forgotten about - and this one sums up why his nickname was 'chirpy birdy' - bless him! And thanks for the encouragement!! :) Yes I am drawn to the green dress too. TOTALLY cross-eyed in the paint section. Andy loves it, I just switch off and start messing about. It will def have to be 'grab and go' for me - don't want to spend all week-end in a DIY store! :)The one month countdown begins... can't wait til July 13th! Have a great Friday and week-end! Joanne x
Shannon said…
Oh I love all of those dresses!!!!! You would look stunning in all of them! Your healthy salad looks delicious- something else I would appreciate :) I didn't realize you lived in Brussels- you've been everywhere!!!! Not sure what's making you crash around tea time but snacks perk me up. I try to make sure I go to bed early. I'm one of those girls who has to have 8 hours each day!! Have a lovely weekend Joanne!
Europafox said…
You are too sweet Shannon! But serioualy, Boden can't seem to make a bad dress! It is a treacherous website to be let loose on! Def think the snacks and early bed has to be the key, to combat the body shock ad I am a 9-10 hours koala type basically! Have a fab week-end :) xx
I love that dress. I am a big fan of Boden. Enjoy sleeping in tomorrow!
Europafox said…
You literally can't go wrong with Boden - good to know you are a fan too! :) YES - and thank you - I CERTAINLY will! 8:30am - positively luxurious in mum world haha! Have a super week-end too! Joanne xx
LMW said…
The mid day slump will eventually disappear I promise... it just takes couple weeks to get used to the am workouts. Love all those dresses. And the paint. Drink water, have something to at every 2-3 hours to keep metabolism up. and have a great weekend!!!
I always joke around that we need to go to Europe for all of the perks and leave time you get. That is so amazing you have so much time, as it should be for a good work life balance. Those dresses are so pretty. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!
Sierra Beautifully Candid
Europafox said…
Thank you Lynn for your advice - when you say this I really trust that you know what you are talking about and I will ride it out and try the regular snacking (not a big 5 hour gap like at the moment). I really appreciate the tips :))) Have a great week-end too! x
Europafox said…
Yes it only dawned on me there must be a difference between US and UK annual leave when I saw how short everyone's vacations were and read about how pushed for time a lot of people were. I think we take it for granted here, so even when we leave the EU there is no way the govt would dare drop our leave entitlements haha! That plus the 9 months paid maternity leave (I don't know what you guys get?) def does help with that elusive balance! 30 hours at work for me seems to be a great equilibrium too. LOVED your Italy photos and so glad you had such a fantastic time - can't wait to read more on your blog. Have a great first week-end back on home turf! xx
Kasey Holloway said…
I feel like I would find the Jellyfish washing up to sea super interesting as well! LOL I love Boden dresses as well, but they are so expensive normally! So I totally understand you waiting till the sale! I love your picks! Also I could never be Vegan totally either, but I love to eat a Vegan meal every once and awhile, some of the members of my family are vegan and I don't understand how they do it!!! Like how can they live without cheese!? Blows my mind! Anyway! I hope you have a fabulous week! :)
boden does have great dresses!! also that salad from M&S looks very good, I'm not vegan but I am a vegetarian so that's right up my alley. I don't know how you do 5:30am workouts... good for you!! also, picking paint color is so stressful. we were looking for blue-based grays for our bedroom and the swatch looked gray, now that it's on our wall, it's definitely blue. we just did our laundry room in green and yikes, I was nervous!! good luck!!
Europafox said…
If I find a particularly hideous or humungous jellyfish on the beach I am going to take a photo now and send it to you Kasey, ha! I eas vegan for a couple of years and lost too much weight, and can't eat a lot of dairy anyway but I am not a good enough cook to do it again, I think you really need to know what you are doing and it has to suit your genetic makeup. Mine is def paleo rather than veggie x Have a super weekend! J x
Europafox said…
I loved your laundry colour! We are buying MORE samples this weekend, aaargh! Might even go blue grey too, but def going to let it dry
& see in different lights because you are right, they can become so different! I get scared by the thought of messing up a whole room with a bold colour, but I guess we can repaint! Have a great weekend! :) x
I can't wait to see the fresh paint!! Picking a color is so hard. I usually have something in mind, and then it doesn't look as good on the walls as in my head. Last time I picked a color from a Pinterest palate, and then matched the paint chip to that picture instead of the color in my head. That worked much better!
Boden dresses are AMAZING! I want every single one. Honestly I have to toss the catalogue or I will buy multiples.
Europafox said…
We now have even more colours on the wall, and yes they are so different after a day or so. Very confused. Ours could look a mess trying to cover all the dark swathes of colour with lighter, eek. Not good at this. I hope by Friday decorator will have sorted it and we are happy!!
Loving all of those dresses! I'll take one of each, ha! Also, I'm such a beach comber as well - love seeing your pics! Good luck with the paint! When we moved into our current house last Fall, ALL of the walls and even the ceilings were yellow - it was horrible!

Hope y'all had a great weekend! xo
I want all of those dresses. So many cute ones. Dresses are definitely my summer essential. I love M&S! FYI but I am coming back to England and maybe other places very soon for work :)
Europafox said…
M&S is just so darn reliable, love it. That's great news that you are coming back to England! Where are you visiting?

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