Practical Fashion: My Casual Spring Get-Up

I started writing my blog almost 2 years ago, with the aim of offering fashion and beauty advice to mums with a keen interest in current trends but that don’t have the time to indulge in them.  I felt qualified to offer this advice after years managing the marketing for one of the world’s largest beauty brands – L’Oréal Paris, and also being a mum myself. But, looking back over previous fashion posts, it’s quite obvious I was new at this ‘being a mum’ business – for instance, suggesting you take 15 minutes out of your week for a DIY manicure was totally ridiculous – what mother has 15 minutes!? Well Scarlett is now almost 3, and with a demanding little 1 year old forever wrapped to my ankle, my wardrobe and lifestyle has had to evolve quickly. This week, I have discovered some style must-haves that are essential for fashion conscious mums who need to keep practicality at the forefront of their wardrobe decisions.

First up – the skinny ribbed vest. The most flattering of the vests as it hugs to your curves without being too clingy. Topshop offer a huge selection in a variety of colours.

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Team with a rustic scarf for cooler days such as this beautiful embroidered tassel scarf from Mint Velvet.

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I think 24 was my husbands last count of skinny jeans in my wardrobe (I still have no idea what point he was trying to make), but recently I have decided its all about the ‘boyfriends’ for ultimate comfort. Either denim or chinos, slung low on the hips and rolled at the ankle – these are the seasons must have cut. These are Reiko jeans but Zara also do a great selection at reasonable prices.

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This is an Argentine Polo belt by a brand called Pampeano, a seriously stylish accessory to transform a basic outfit. I wear one of these as my everyday belt and am constantly getting asked where it’s from, it seems to be so popular I have decided to put together a competition and chance to win one, so make sure you don’t miss out by following this blog top right of this post.

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Finally for the shoes… For unbeatable comfort you must check out the Footglove collection at M&S. I know I know, it’s not your usual Dune or KG shopping experience, but seriously, you put a pair of these on and you will never look back. I have just invested in these beautiful little boat shoes and am already considering buying a second pair should anything happen to them!

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The Single Accessory That Could Make All The Difference…

This week I have been on the hunt for some stunning accessories to add instant style to the most ordinary of outfits. I’ve been studying the glamour mums on the nursery run and I’ve worked it out, their outfits are no different to mine – it’s just one statement accessory that sets us apart. A brightly coloured scarf, a single piece of statement jewellery, designer shades or a bold bag is all that it takes. It’s all a bit of an illusion really!

Look at the outfit you are wearing today, what single accessory could you add to it to make it that little bit more special? For instance, I am wearing some bizarre khaki skinny jeans covered in zips from Zara and a plain black top – I could be mistaken for a fancy dress Lara Croft (sadly minus the boobs) so I’m going to add a bold print scarf to soften the look and to make the overall outfit more personal to me.

Here are some of the accessories I have found that will single handedly transform your outfits…

Steven Harkin Clutch Bag

Ok, so I’m not saying this is the most practical of bags for a mum out with her kids, but for those childless afternoons out with friends – a day clutch is the ultimate in casual chic. This little number is by Steven Harkin and is hand made at his studio in Essex (the glam capital!). It is just big enough for your iPhone, a coin purse and a Clinique Chubby stick, what else do you need for lunch with friends? This is perfect for a jeans and heel combo or (as i’ll be sporting this weekend) a bold statement against a monochrome dress. The Kylie is available in many colours, you can check out the full range here.

Steven Harkin, Kylie in Orange £110

Steven Harkin, Kylie in Orange £110

 

Bvlgari Sunglasses

The best high street stop for sunglasses is without doubt TK Maxx where you can pick up last season designer shades for a fraction of the price. Unfortunately my heart has been stolen by a pair of Bvlgari’s that I’m yet to find in any discount outlet… Sunglasses are a fantastic accessory to transform your look, not only will they hide a multitude of sins (including the obvious giveaway that your baby doesn’t sleep), the style will determine your overall look. I live in my Wayfarers and have done for years, but I am noticing now that all of my holiday photos are looking rather similar! It’s time to step up the glamour stakes…

Bvlgari Serpenti Butterfly Sunglasses

Bvlgari Serpenti Butterfly Sunglasses

 

Buba bracelet

I came across this brand in a beautiful boutique in Virginia Water, they have a huge jewellery and accessory range but it was the cuffs that really caught my eye. They make such a style statement without taking over your whole look. Team with a simple maxi dress for the summer, or a blazer with skinny jeans for spring.

SS14 Buba Jewellery collection - Cuffs

SS14 Buba Jewellery collection – Cuffs

 

Can’t Live Withouts!

I’ve recently discovered some new products that I now can’t imagine going a day without using. From hand creams to new eye brows – check out my current ‘can’t live withouts’…

Greenwood Organics Hand Cream

A good moisturiser can take years off the appearance of your hands, and as a sufferer of dry skin I am forever searching for the best hand cream. Since discovering the Ylang Ylang & Cocoa Butter organic cream, I can honestly say it is one of the best I have used. It doesn’t need constant application like others I have tried and leaves a subtle oil on the skin leaving your hands well moisturised for hours without feeling greasy. It’s just £14 and you can get it online here. It’s the perfect little tub to leave on your office desk!

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Natural Collection Nail Polish 

I’m guessing the last time you considered this as a nail polish was when you were at school! Me too, until my friend and beauty therapist recommended it as her personal favourite… At just £1.89, if you are looking for a natural gloss for easy application, that’s quick drying and long lasting – you won’t find a better polish than this for inbetween manicures.

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Clinique Superfine Brow Liner

After catching some shocking photos of myself eyebrow-less at a recent party, I began the search for a maintainable solution to getting the perfect brows. I started my research in to threading, waxing, dying and was even tempted by the 7 step “HD Brows” but when it came down to it – I was just too scared to try it for fear the hairs would never grow back and I would be left with a shape that I didn’t like! Instead, I have invested in the Superfine Brow Liner for just £13 in Soft Brown. I can’t tell you the difference just a few strokes makes in giving definition to my brows, I now can’t leave the house without it!

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TIP: The trick to naturally beautiful eye brows is to work with the shape you already have. Fill in the gaps with pencil or powder and just pluck the strays beneath the brows. The shape you’ve been given is already the best shape to compliment your face so don’t try and change it! 

Before and After the Clinique Superfine Brow Liner in Soft Brown

Before and After!

Daniel Sandler Fluid Blusher

After checking out the rave reviews of this watercolour blush I couldn’t wait to give it a go and it certainly didn’t disappoint! I apply a single drop to the apple of each cheek with my fingers and the colour stays put all day to give a fresh, youthful look.

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I’d love to know the products you can’t live without, please let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Mother’s Day Competition!

A bunch of daffs, an uninterrupted bath and a day without chores is all I ask for this Mother’s Day… But that wouldn’t make a very interesting blog post now would it?  So instead I have put together a rather exciting competition with Elemis to offer my readers the chance to win the Limited Edition Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules worth £140! Packaged in a beautiful gift box with bow, this really does make the most wonderful gift.

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I have been a huge fan of Elemis since discovering the Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (full review here), I had quite literally never experienced a moisturiser like it, so when the opportunity came to try these little detox capsules I jumped at the chance!

Included in this beautiful box, are 2 tubs both filled with 60 capsules (that’s approx 2 months worth of skin detox!), rose capsules to use in the morning for a fresher complexion and lavender at night to restore and repair.

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These powerful capsules contain moringa oil which has proved to be more than 1700% more effective at removing oxidants on the skin than any other cosmetic oil, leaving you with the perfect base to apply moisturiser.

“Youthful plumpness and elasticity are restored as the skin glows with renewed health and vitality.”

With the little travel tubs just big enough for a weeks supply, this makes an ideal gift for a mum that travels.

I can personally vouch for the beautiful aromas captured in these capsules and how smoothly the oils absorb into your skin. It’s a wonderful addition to my skin care regime and one that every mother should get to try!

So now for your chance to Win it…

There are a number of different ways you can enter to WIN this product and each way will count as a new entry.

  • Follow the blog by entering your email address top right of this post
  • Share this post on your Facebook page via the icon below

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Closing date is Wednesday 26th March and the extremely lucky winner will be announced that day so they can receive their prize direct from Elemis just in time for Mother’s Day! 

Good Luck! xx

This Is The Last I’ll Say Of It…

I’m afraid this isn’t going to be the most interesting of blog posts, but I felt it quite necessary to write!

I wanted to say an extremely heartfelt thank you to all of you that have taken the time to get in touch to offer words of support. After reading all of the awful comments on the DM I totally lost any faith in ever rectifying such an awful situation and yet, people who don’t even know me, whether they are mums or not, have been kind enough to share my story resulting in my side being read almost 8000 times in less than 48 hours. It might not touch the surface compared to the damage caused by the press, but It absolutely means the world to me. It has obviously been a pretty rubbish week, but I am literally overwhelmed by the kind thoughts.

And to my friends that have been texting, calling, emailing, commenting and coming to the house, I love you all, you really learn the value of true friendships when faced with a situation like this!

Without my blog, I would have just been another helpless victim of bad press, but thanks to it – I have been able to voice a response to the hideous article both on here and via the Huffington Post (thanks very much to them too!) and got the word around that I am actually just a very normal mum of 2 and not the monster portrayed!

But enough is enough. No more feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on the utter humiliation. It’s time to move on and tomorrow it is business as usual on this blog, I don’t know what I’m going to write about yet but it’s going to be happy and carefree!

Thanks again,

Much love xx

My Right To Reply

“O my God…” my opening line to Paul when I called him at work to tell him the Toddler Fashionista article had been featured on the Mail Online… Whilst I thought I had gone into this feature with my eyes open, and prepared for the worst – I could never imagine the scope of this story and how much debate this article would evoke. Mortified and embarrassed only touch the surface of how I felt when reading the awful comments left on this story. But I felt it better to address this life lesson and not hide away and wait for it to pass, (mainly because with the attention it has received, this ain’t passing anytime soon!), so I wanted to write a post to assure my followers and acquaintances that I’m not really the monster portrayed by the press! Hopefully some of you will already have read my Toddler Fashionistas post from Feb that was written before this feature and already have the real side of this story.

There is no point trying to hide this article, just 5 hours after it went live it was shared over 660 times with almost 900 comments. So here it is…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2582552/I-wouldnt-buy-girls-cheap-shoes-M-S-Are-Britains-pampered-children-Toddlers-lavished-45-000-designer-clothes-expensive-toys.html

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Landing page of the Mail Online. Digitally, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. When the features writer told me it was going here, my heart sank a little but I still thought – ok how bad can it be? The headline alone nearly bought me to my knees!!!

‘I wouldn’t ever buy my girls cheap shoes from M&S’: Are these Britain’s most pampered children? Toddlers lavished with £45,000 of designer clothes and toys

I read this, and thought – just shoot me now. The article has 15 images and reveals our full names, there is no hiding from this one. What I thought was a bit of fun and something to tell the girls about in years to come, has become a day I wish had never happened. Everything I said has been taken out of context, the obscene figures of money, the attitudes of my daughters and the general tongue in cheek banter I had with the writer not knowing that every word was being written and spun as I said it. But even after I read this article, I kidded myself that I could keep it hidden and that no one I knew would ever come across it. Then I scrolled down to the comments. Dear lord its enough to send someone over the edge, what a cruel bunch the Mail Online subscribers are! It’s beyond me that anyone would A. believe half of what they read and B. give enough of a dam to share such a ridiculous story and comment on it.

So now it’s my turn to categorise the facts :

  • Yes the girls have the odd label, who doesn’t like a bit of designer gear? But I certainly would never pay full price for it!
  • If Scarlett ever turns her nose up at an item of clothing, it’s because of the look of it – not because of where it’s come from! She’s 2 for crying out loud!?
  • We like a holiday, thats no secret, but £25k – I bloody wish!
  • Most of Scarlett’s nursery is Ikea, its no secret, it is there in the photographs! I’m not ashamed of that or try to pretend it’s something that it’s not, you can see that for yourself here on my post about her room!
  • It’s true that we don’t buy shoes from fashion shops such as M&S and Next, but what I added to this statement was that its because we are concerned about Scarlett’s ankles turning in so prefer to get shoes fitted professionally each time we buy new shoes!

Of course, none of this would make very interesting or controversial reading so its no wonder it wasn’t included. This whole experience has given me a totally different and very real insight in to the world of journalism, and one that I will never get stung by again. All I can hope is that just a few of the people that have read this article also see this and in future, don’t believe everything they read.

My Skin Care Secret

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I wonder how much we all spend on lotions and potions for our skin? Cleansers, toners, moisturisers, exfoliators, face washes, the list is endless. Well this little goody comes in at approximately £1.35 from any supermarket and I can honestly say I’ve been totally converted… For years my sister has been telling me to try this skincare secret but it just sounded too disgusting and not something I was prepared to try! Last week, she gave me a full demonstration and the results were too impressive to ignore any longer…

The secret? Extra Virgin Olive Oil…

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We all know this is good for our health as part of a balanced diet, but did you know how great it can be for your face?! Not only are the pure oils absorbed gently into your skin to hold in moisture, it is a brilliant tool at removing make up!   If you have dry skin, or have  trouble finding the right products, then you should definitely give this a go.

How to: Massage a small amount onto your face until all traces of make up and dirt have lifted from your skin and then simply wipe away with a damp muslin.

If you don’t have a muslin to hand and want to get started straight away, use damp kitchen roll – worked fine on my sister during her demonstration! Now, the smell isn’t exactly wonderful (unless you like the smell of olive oil!), but the application process is absolutely fine and without mess and the results, well I am on day 4 and literally can’t believe how great my skin feels. It makes sense when you think about it, our skin needs oils to hold in moisture and keep its youthful appearance and elasticity, so what better tool to use than oil in its most purest form. I use my Liz Earle toner after, just to remove any last traces of surface oil and grease build up around the neck, and finish with a rich moisturiser (Estee Lauder day cream or Elemis pro Collagen at night).

If any of you do give this experiment a go, I’d love to hear your feedback!