…because there were a *few* good things to come out of last year.
Sometimes a blog post will take almost a whole day to put together. Progress is slow, procrastination is rife and I just can’t seem to find my flow. Other times they pour out of me in an hour or so, mainly because I’m just so buzzing to write whatever I’m typing. Case in point: this post. I know that 2020 *SUCKED* big time for most of us, but there were some silver linings. Of course there were far more significant discoveries personally for me last year, but here is a small list of insignificant but wonderful things that just put a smile on my face. Things that I’m like ‘OMG HAVE I TOLD YOU ABOUT THESE?!’, but didn’t really fit into my other posts or videos. So here’s a post just for them. 20 random things that I discovered last year that really were pretty fab…
Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Round Casserole 28cm in Coastal Blue*. I’m putting the exact one I have here because it really is a beauty. It’s what we use to cook in the majority of the time and I love how I can use it on the stove, but throw it in the oven today. There’s nothing you can’t make in this. I know it’s pricey and it’s the priciest pan I will EVER buy, but I just know that I’ll have it forever.
The Pink Stuff*. Speaking of pans, this stuff is *the bomb* at removing any cooked on food, burnt bits, scuffs on walls, mouldy bits in the bathroom – there’s not much I don’t use this on. It’s a pot of magic that has even managed to impress my Mum. Make sure you have a pot on hand at all times for household emergencies.
Steamery Stratus No.2 Professional Steamer*. I have previously loved the travel version of their steamer, but I picked up this big boy in their Black Friday sale and it’s next level. Like the amount of steam this creates is wild. It de-creases my clothing in a matter of seconds and has made me realise that a standing steamer is a wardrobe staple if you have the space and hate ironing as much as I do. An investment for sure, but for the efficiency I’ll take it.
Hayu. Fun fact about me: reality TV is my JAM. ‘David is dead?‘, ‘Backrolls?!’, ‘Sequins dress‘, ‘I’m claustrophobic Darren!‘, ‘You are such a f***king lair Camille!‘ – these are all things that live rent free in my head 24/7. Paying the £4.99 for this streaming service every month is maybe the best money I spend. I’ve watched the entire back catalogue of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in like 4 months and the latest season of The Bachelorette can still make me tear up just thinking of the proposal at the end. Oh and every season of Below Deck is on there. It’s basically procrastinations best friend.
Parks & Recreation & The Office. To me these are the two best TV series that have ever been made. We’re currently re-watching Parks & Rec and it’s basically like my daily dose of laughs. It’s just FAB. And The Office? Don’t even get me started. Both are currently available to stream on Amazon Prime and The Office is back on Netflix too. If you haven’t watched either, or both of them then do yourselves a favour and buckle in for a wild ride.
Ticket To Ride. Now the board game* version of this is good, but in my eyes the app is even better. The board game can be quite cumbersome and a little slow at times, but you can play it lighting speed on your phone or tablet and play with others over bluetooth which is handy. Mark and I find ourselves sitting on the sofa playing each other on our phones more often than I would like to own up to. You basically have to create train rides that go from one destination to another depending on what tickets you have in your hand. A great way to pass a rainy day.
Sculptd. Another great way to pass a rainy day. I bought one of these ‘make your own clay pot at home‘ kits during the first lockdown and then I ended up using it when we lived with my parents. My Mum and I spent hours moulding pots, building vases, then painting and varnishing our creations. I bought two packs which gave us so much clay to play with – one pack between two would probably be fine. My Mum used the leftover clay to make Christmas tree decorations for everyone in our family which was super cute.
My Kindle*. I started using this back in February 2020 when we went to Sri Lanka as we were away for almost three weeks, travelling with just a backpack and I knew that I’d have lots of time to read when we were travelling between places, but not enough space for the books I was hoping to read. I thought it would just be a good thing for when we travelled but it turns out that I’ve never gone back to my paperbacks, and we haven’t been on holiday since! It’s so handy for reading in bed and because of the backlight I can turn my bedside lamp off if I’m reading long after Mark has gone to sleep. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
ARKET Oversized Linen Shirts* – A special mention must go to the shirt that I basically wore all summer long. I channeled my best cool Art Teacher vibes and wore this with either linen shorts or trousers, or denim for a large proportion of 2020. They are just so comfy *and* practical, and look good either tucked in or left out for a more chilled vibe. I also *love* the ones from With Nothing Underneath – they are a great more sustainable option.
ARKET Bell-Sleeve Alpaca Jumper in Lilac*. She’s a legend, she’s an icon and she is the moment. This was the the jumper of the year for me. An oversized fit, it was great for working from home in and I know I’m not one for colour, but there was something about this lilac shade that just did it for me and didn’t make me feel too out of sorts. With denim! With leather trousers! With jogging bottoms that I’ve already worn for five days! I’m forever checking to see if it’s back in stock so I can sound the alarm.
Vestiaire Collective*. If only I had a penny for all the hours that I’d spent browsing this website then I’d probably be able to afford The Row Ginza Flip Flops that I’ve lusted over for the past 18 months. I seriously got into second-hand designer buys towards the end of last year and this is the best website I’ve found when it comes to knowing exactly what you’re buying and the quality of what’s available. Have I bought three Toteme pre-loved jumpers? Yes I have. Do I love every single one like a child? Of course. For more advice on buying second-hand clothing online, check out this post.
Chantelle Underwear*. THIS BRAND! I’d heard so much hype over the years but let the records show that it is ALL true. I love the ‘Soft Stretch’ range, which is all seamless and created from a buttery soft fabric that feels like you’re wearing nothing. The pants are one size fits all which I always raise an eyebrow at, but the fabric is SO stretchy and I’ve found them to be so comfortable and great at dealing with any lockdown/Christmas weight fluctuations that have been thrown their way. Love the fact that they do a ‘nude’ shade for so many different skin tones too. Think of it like a slightly more affordable Skims that’s actually in stock.
Le Bon Shoppe Socks. Along with upgrading the entirety of underwear drawer, I also threw out all my hole-ridden socks and treated myself to some new ones, and this brand? Well, I think I’ve sampled every single design they do now. OOPS. Yes, they are an investment but as someone who had never bought fancy socks before I had no idea what I was missing out on – it’s a slippery slope guys! My favourites for winter are the Grandpa Socks, but the Trouser Socks make a great year-round staple too (I have one of every colour!).
Birkenstock EVA Sandals*. They started off as my house slippers and then slowly became the shoes that I wore everyday out of the house all summer because they are just the most darn comfortable things ever. They are SO light and although I worried that my sweaty feet would slide around these plastic sandals, I didn’t need to panic as they didn’t rub or slip around at all. Also I find that they weirdly go with every outfit – you wouldn’t think it, but they do. My only shoe purchase last year, but a good one.
Kiehl’s Made For All Shower Gel* & Biossance 100% Squalene Oil*. I’m putting two discoveries into one here, because I just can’t have one in my life without the other. As someone with Psoriasis-covered legs and extremely dry skin, a lot of highly-fragranced bodycare can just make me feel really itchy, but these? Ah they are heaven on my limbs. The shower gel is definitely an expense, but I use such a tiny amount and the bottle is massive that it lasts me about six months, and although I go through the body oil much quicker, I just love how quickly it absorbs and because of that I’m happy to use it as a daily occurrence because it isn’t a faff. It certainly doesn’t clear-up my psoriasis, but it doesn’t make it worse and it doesn’t make me feel itchy. SCORE.
Face Halo*. I have no idea how a little disc of microfibre fabric can remove your makeup when accompanied with just water, but there you go. In an attempt to decrease my skincare usage and try to clear up my skin (please do see below), I began using these before cleansing to remove my makeup and they are just great. I used to go throw cotton rounds like there was no tomorrow, but with these you can just throw them in with your washing when they are dirty. They’re such a good find.
Allies of Skin Promise Keeper Blemish Facial*. Ah come on – you knew this one would be in here. I haven’t done a skincare favourites video for 2020 because it would basically just be a 20 minute rave about this. I know it’s pricey and I know it’s an investment, but every friend that I’ve recommended this to has had visible results (and quickly), as have I. Since early August I’ve used this exclusively in the evenings after cleansing – three pumps onto clean, dry skin – and it’s cleared up my hormonal chin blemishes that have persisted since I came off the pill two years ago. They are now gone. I haven’t had a spot like that in months. I still can’t quite believe it. Using it as I do a tube lasts me about 3-4 months (make sure you cut it up and scoop out the remnants when it looks like it’s used up – you can get an extra week out of it!).
Peloton. I purchased a bike (just the standard one, not the new fancy one) when we moved to the new place and what can I say? It’s just a brill as everyone says. The ability to spin in your home and do a short walk to your shower afterwards and be downstairs making dinner like 20 minutes later is great (and even better now we’re not as close to our local studio). It’s basically completely silent and the playlists the instructors put together are B-A-N-G-I-N-G. If the spin bike isn’t for you, then I highly suggest downloading the app for your phone which I think is about £12.99 a month and has barre, pilates, yoga, HIIT, stretching classes, prenatal workouts, mediation – the lot – with new classes being added daily.
My Apple Watch. I am asked all the time about my Apple Watch (I have the 40mm Space Grey Aluminium Case* with the Gold Milanese Strap*) that I purchased last January. I have to say that I used it for about 90% of 2020 – the only times I took it off was if it was the weekend and I just wanted to be lazy, I was ill or we were moving and I was just too distracted to remember to put it on every morning. It’s been such a big help at encouraging me to get moving – HELLO DATA NERD! – and came at the perfect time with my local spin and pilates studios being closed for most of last year because I’d previously been terrible at working out at home. Such a great motivator.
SHOP THE EDIT*
Photos by Mark Newton