The Summer Tag

The Summer Tag

The sun is shining and it feels like summer is well and truly here at last! I love this summer tag – thank you so much to the gorgeous Rachael (go and check out her answers and fabulous blog!) who tagged me to do it! Hope you enjoy reading my answers…

1. What’s your favourite thing about summer?

There’s nothing I don’t like about summer, so I don’t think I can easily narrow this down! I feel like summer is a real treat for the senses. The lighter, brighter days and nights and being outdoors soaking up the warmth of the sun makes me feel so much happier, healthier and more positive. Life is better when the sun is shining!

2. Do you have a favourite summer drink?

Without a doubt, it’s an ice-cold strawberry daiquiri. I’ve finally perfected the recipe! I also love a cheeky gin and tonic or glass of prosecco in the sun. My favourite non-alcoholic option is an iced coffee (have a look at my recipe here).

3. Is there a location you like to go to each summer?

The beach! Preferably somewhere hot, sunny and beautiful. I love the feeling of sand between my toes!

4. Favourite make-up look for summer?

I definitely prefer a light and natural look.  I love having sun-kissed skin and it’s the one time of year I feel like I can get away without much make-up! Highlighter is my favourite summer make-up product (see my current faves here). Swept over the cheekbones, it gives such a pretty, healthy glow and really enhances your tan.

5. Dresses or skirts?

Dresses all the way. For a start, they take a lot less thought as they are already a complete outfit!  I find skirts ride up and twist around and are just generally less comfortable!

6. Sandals or ballet pumps?

Decisions, decisions! Nope, can’t choose! I love them both equally. Is that cheating?! Ballet pumps are so easy to throw on and go with everything. They’re also perfect for those rainy summer days when you don’t want soggy sandal feet! I own a ridiculous amount of pairs! I love sandals, too. Being able to toe-wiggle is such a nice feeling after the restrictive winter socks and boots combo! I also love being able to see the pretty coloured summer nail polish on my toes all the time.

7. Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for summer?

It’s more a case of necessity than preference as my hair is particularly badly behaved in summer! I much prefer to wear it down but it has a tendency to go very frizzy in the heat and humidity, so I usually wear it in some sort of up-do – anything to keep it tamed and under control, really! I’ve got pretty inventive with twists and buns and clips lately to stop me getting fed-up and chopping it all off!

8. Deep smoky eyes or bold lips?

Neither! I really don’t suit strong make-up at all! A sweep of liquid liner and long, defined, dark, curled lashes are my usual routine. I very rarely wear eyeshadow. On my lips, I prefer glosses. I tend to stick to natural pinky shades, although I am quite partial to a bit of bright coral during the summer.

9. Favourite perfume for summer?

My all time favourite summer scent is Prada’s Infusion d’Iris. It’s light, fresh and just a little bit different. I’ve worn it for years and it has definitely become ‘my’ smell. My most coveted scent is Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo Fico di Amalfi – I’m determined that I will own a bottle this summer, it’s simply divine!

10. Last but not least, favourite music for summer?

Anything with a chilled-out, summery vibe. A bit of Bob Marley never fails to get me in the mood and transports me straight back to a beach in Jamaica! Is This Love is one of my all-time favourite summer tunes.

As I type this, I’m sitting in the garden in the glorious sunshine. I really do love summer! This was such a fun tag to do. I tag a few of my favourite bloggers, Sarah, Imogen and Rebecca. I look forward to reading your answers if you choose to do it girls! :)

…love, Lydia.
Hair Mask Main

Coconut, Almond & Avocado Oil Hair Mask: DIY Beauty

The promise of some intense summer sunshine now that our holiday is just around the corner has got me very, very excited! My hair, however, is trembling in its follicles. Growing out the major damage caused by my alternate bleaching/dyeing debacles is proving to be a painfully slow process. The combination of sun, sea and chlorine can be pretty devastating for hair – especially when it’s as damaged as mine already is – so I decided some major pre-holiday TLC was in order. This Coconut, Almond & Avocado Oil Hair Mask is a bit of a miracle worker. Think of it as a refreshing, hydrating drink for your thirsty locks. It’s equivalent to the relief you get from that first strawberry daiquiri or ice-cold beer once you’ve stepped off the plane – but for your hair!

Each of the oils used in this mask has amazing benefits for hair (and skin too, but I’ll save that for another day!). Packed full of vitamins, they all have wonderful moisturising properties and can help your hair grow strong, long and healthy. Best of all, you can buy them in the supermarket along with your weekly shop, they are relatively inexpensive and a little goes a very long way! I found these all in my local Sainsbury’s (the almond oil in the pharmacy and the avocado and coconut oils in the condiments aisle).

What you’ll need:

Face Mask Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed slightly to liquefy)
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

How to do it:

  • Mix the three oils up well.

Hair Mask Mixture

  • Begin applying to dry hair ends.

Hair Mask Dry Hair

  • Massage in to the hair, working your way from tip to root.

Hair Mask Apply

  • Once applied, wrap hair in a warm towel and leave for at least half an hour (longer if possible).  If you want to speed the mask up and make it work extra hard, you can blast your head (through the towel) with a hot hairdryer for a few minutes. The heat will help the oils penetrate and make your hair even softer.

Hair Mask Applied

  • When you are ready to remove the mask, begin by lathering some shampoo in your hands with some water and then apply it to the hair.  Work it through well to begin dissolving the oil before you start to rinse with water.  It is much easier to remove if you use shampoo first like this.
  • Shampoo and rinse again.
  • Dry and style as usual.

You should notice an immediate difference in the shine and softness of your hair. Regular use will make your locks super healthy and luscious!

Hair Mask

Unfortunately, the ends of my hair are pretty much beyond repair and really need cutting off. I’m reluctant to do it all in one go, though, so I’m having regular micro-trims which are slowly getting rid of the frizz, split ends and damage. On a more positive note, I have around 6 inches of healthy, new root growth! I am determined to keep it this way and to look after it really well, so I’ll be doing this Coconut, Almond & Avocado Oil Hair Mask once a week to keep it tip-top!

If you have any amazing DIY beauty tricks and treatments, please let me know!

…love, Lydia.
Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee

Dreamy, Creamy, Iced Coffee

One of my favourite things when holidaying in the Med, is an afternoon iced coffee in the shade. Cold, creamy, totally delicious and just the sugar-hit I need to refresh me from my mid-afternoon, heat-induced lethargy! I’ve tried them so many times in the UK and been totally disappointed – they are always too watery, tasteless or sickly. This may, of course, be purely psychological but I’m pretty sure things taste better when consumed beneath the shady branches of an olive tree, whilst looking out at crystal-clear, blue water! However, I decided that trying to replicate the kind of iced coffee that countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece do so well was definitely worth a try. This Dreamy, Creamy, Iced Coffee is what I came up with and, I have to say, it’s pretty delicious! All I need now is that olive tree and sea view…

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Ingredients


shot of espresso

glass of whole milk

caramel syrup or brown sugar

chocolate flakes

squirty cream


1. Make a shot of espresso. If you don’t have a coffee machine, mix an equivalent amount of very strong, concentrated instant coffee.  If you are sweetening with brown sugar, add a teaspoon (more if you have a sweet tooth!) and stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Espresso

2. Once the coffee is totally chilled, take an ice-cold glass of whole milk and add the espresso. If you are using caramel syrup to sweeten, add to taste and then stir well.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Stirring

3. Decorate with a generous squirt of cream.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Cream

4. Sprinkle over some chocolate flakes.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Chocolate

5. Add a straw and serve immediately.  You can add some ice-cubes if you want it extra cold, but I find that this dilutes the flavour too much and, besides, there usually isn’t any need as it’s so delicious that it doesn’t last very long at all!

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Coffee

Very, very simple but very, very addictive! You could try a different flavoured syrup or even a splash of alcohol – I bet a drop of Bailey’s would taste amazing in this! And if this is all too much of a calorie overload for you, just use semi-skimmed milk and miss off the cream and chocolate.

Iced coffee is the perfect drink for the hot weather we’ve been having recently – give it a try! Hope you’re all enjoying the sunshine!

…love, Lydia.
Simple Pleasures Main

Simple Pleasures, Little Treasures…

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that can give us the most pleasure. Unfortunately, they are often the things that we don’t take enough time to truly appreciate and treasure. So stop, look around, breathe deeply and take a moment to drink in the small things. Pay attention to the simple pleasures in life that make you smile on the inside and out. Here are a few of mine this week…

1. Our summer holiday to the South of France is fast approaching now, so I spent an afternoon doing a bit of sale shopping for some new clothes. It was a very successful trip – I came home with quite a haul!

Simple Pleasures 1

2. I’ve become a little bit addicted to Charbonnel et Walker’s hot chocolate drink recently. It’s made from real chocolate flakes, rather than a powder, making it deliciously smooth and chocolatey and it doesn’t have that annoying powdery residue in the bottom of the cup that you often get with hot chocolate. It’s really, really, really good!

Simple Pleasures 2

3. For Mother’s Day, I bought my mum a gift voucher for a pedicure in a local salon. We only just got round to going this week but it was a really nice way to spend a morning! I don’t get to see enough of my lovely mum, so treats like this are extra special. I tagged along for a quick pedi too – well, it would have been rude not to!

Simple Pleasures 34. After our pedi’s, we stopped in at Starbucks for a chat and a quick late breakfast. It definitely wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve ever had, but the company more than made up for it!

Simple Pleasures 4

5. We had an impromptu day out in Durham this weekend. We realised that Mr L’s passport had expired and, rather than send it off and risk it not coming back in time, we decided to go to the passport office in Durham and use their one day service.  I was born and bred in Newcastle, so Durham is somewhere I visited often when I was younger but I haven’t been since I moved to Leeds for uni over 15 years ago! I’d forgotten what a lovely place it is.

Simple Pleasures 56. We’ve been listening to Passenger’s new album, Whispers, on a loop this month. It’s totally amazing! My very favourite song is Heart’s On Fire and it’s truly brilliant! A poetic work of art. The rest of the album is awesome, too. It’s one of those albums where you love every single song and it takes you through an entire spectrum of emotions from beginning to end. This man is gifted!

Simple Pleasures 67. Mid-week drinks in the sunshine and a long catch-up chat with my gorgeous friend Joanna made Wednesday a whole lot more fun and really helped me make it through ’till Friday!

Simple Pleasures 78. I reached a little milestone this week and I really feel quite proud. I reached my first 100 followers on bloglovin’! It’s only a small achievement, but it’s made me really happy.  I feel like all the hard work I put in to my blog is starting to pay off! So, thank you so much to everyone who is following/reading (whether you come through bloglovin’ or directly to my blog) – I really do appreciate it so very much.

Simple Pleasures 9

9. We had some Avios (air miles) to use up, so we decided to do a bit of forward planning and book a trip for next Spring. I love having things to look forward to! It’s 10 years since we last went to Paris and we thought it was about time we went back (as it’s one of our favourite cities ever!) and took the munchkins with us this time. I already can’t wait!

Simple Pleasures 9

10. Inspirational quote of the week. This one is from the late, great Maya Angelou – she really was one wise old gal and an amazing, inspiring lady. I love this quote. It’s a great reminder of the effect we can have on the lives of others by our attitude and behaviour towards them.

Simple Pleasures 10

I hope you all had a great week.  Have you been up to anything interesting?

…love, Lydia.
Rose-Soaked Pistachio & Lemon Cake

Rose-Soaked Pistachio & Lemon Cake

I’m very happy to have written my first ever guest post over on Sarah’s beautiful blog, daydreams of summertime, while she’s away on holiday. Sarah’s blog is just lovely but, I warn you, will give you a serious case of wanderlust! If you’re doing a spot of baking this weekend, this Rose-Soaked Pistachio & Lemon Cake recipe is totally delicious and is well worth a try. Go on over there and have a look at the recipe…

…love, Lydia.