Summer Favourites & Reflections

June 25, 2018

Lewes holiday shot

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Hands up who’s thrilled that the summer finally decided to show up?! After such a relentless winter which hung around well into Spring I was delighted when the traditional British summer arrived, thunderstorms and cloudy days included. Last year I started a bit of a tradition with food and books and beauty etc and I wanted to carry it on into this summer, sharing some of my favourite things of the season. I’ve been a little absent over the last few months as there have been things to deal with outside of the blog and I’ve been taking my time to be slow and make sure I’m in a good space before I hurtle forwards, so this piece will be a mini catch-up too.

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Masseria-Salamina
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It’s been an exciting week in our house, as you read this we are currently on a plane to Puglia, Italy, for our first family holiday abroad. We are staying in a masseria recommended to me by Modern Luxe Blog (who’s picture you see above and who happens to be there for part of the same time as us!) it’s set on a farm within a former castle, so expectations are high for a magical break, I will report back on our return! Before we left I had a shoot in the house with a brand who are shooting some of their new collection in the Design Soda home, so I was very busily tidying and trying to hide mountains of plastic kids tat whilst trying to be the organised parent packing for our trip and trying to juggle the mountains my backlog of work.
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Summer Beauty Haul
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So, one of my favourite things this summer has been discovering new beauty products. I’m no beauty guru but as I approach the big 4-0 (ok, it’s only an approach if we count three years as deathly imminent!) I’ve been taking an interest in items for my beauty cabinet more and more. Some I’ve been seduced by rave reviews only to find the products pretty average, but some have been game changers and the ones I list below are the products that are my favourites. First up on skincare, I’ve tried some amazing products recently and my current fave buy is the Fabulous Face Oil and Parsley Seed Hydrating Cream from Aesop, they are expensive but really worth it to me, the smell is very natural, in particular the parsley seed moisturiser makes me think of cooking but the smell fades after a few minutes. I’ve also recently discovered a hair product which I love, the Full Dry Volume Blast from Living Proof is the best product I’ve ever used for adding volume to the hair. On the make-up front I was sent a CC cream by Madara recently and it’s now my go-to for light natural coverage. I was previously using a B.B. cream recommended by Sali Hughes which I had been really impressed with but I now prefer this one. Madara use lots of natural products in their range making use of the power of antioxidants, whilst this was the item I was most impressed with I’ve also liked a lot of the pieces they sent, and if you like the sound of them I’ve got a 10% off code for blog readers, just type DESIGNSODARUTHIE until the end of the year at checkout.
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Jurassic Coast by train (1) Charleston House near Lewes Sussex
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Some of my favourite things I’ve done lately have been outdoors. I spent a lovely night in Lewes with my best friend (top image in piece taken of wild flowers frowning amongst a perfectly imperfect dilapidated door front). We walked on the downs (steeper than I realised) and visited Charleston House (above), home to Vanessa Bell & some of the Bloomsbury set which was fantastically inspiring and has got me thinking about all kinds of projects around the house. I also visited Plymouth in order to judge a design contest for Plymouth Gin and Plymouth College of Art. I really loved my trip, which included making my own gin at the distillery there (Ruth’s Ruin, of course!) and I got to experience the train line that follows the coast just past the Jurassic there which was absolutely magical. The image at the top of paragraph is a secluded beach I saw between the pretty seaside villages we passed caught on my iPhone from the train carriage window.
Summer Reading List ideas (
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I’ve hard a bit of a bumpy ride this year so I’ve been taking a lot of comfort in good books and trying to make more time to read more. I enjoy reading so much and it’s one of my favourite therapies, above is my current summer reading list, though I have packed some different ones for Puglia, including The Castle at Otranto, set in Puglia, which I am loving. One of the best things I’ve read recently was a collection of short stories called Last Night by James Salter, especially the tense and very brutal title story. I also loved Andre Aciman’s cult bestseller Call Me by Your Name. Also, I’m delighted that after a decades wait with one of the worst dust jackets ever, there is a new imprint of one of my very favourite books – The Weather in The Streets by Rosamond Lehmann. 
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White Company Rustic Outdoor Living SS18 White Company Rustic Outdoor Living SS18
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Finally, it’s the season where we all get sociable outdoors and we’ve been embracing that in our house too. We have some lovely new furniture for the garden from The White Company which I shot for Instagram and really love. The garden has been a little slow to flourish this year after all that snow confused the earlier plants, but I was encouraged/ heartened to hear when watching Chelsea Flower Show that I wasn’t alone in this experience (that may sound a little mean but those prize entrants made me feel less of a horticultural victim!). We are loving the new outdoor pieces, particularly the bistro chairs with the super comfy and very pretty linen cushions.
What does Summer hold for you? Looking forward to catching up on the other side of our Puglian adventure xx
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