What to Buy: October

Ahhhh, the Autumn. My favourite season of all and the start of the time of year I love the most. What is there not to get excited about? Halloween, Fireworks, Thanksgiving (14 years of working for an American company has rubbed off on me), and then Christmas. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but having children of my own has really made these “holidays” even more special. And to top this all off – the cooler climes and the parties mean clothes I love to dress up in too ;)

October should be the time that you start to think about the winter months, and it’s wise to invest in some pieces that will see you through to the New Year, even if you think it may be a little premature. You and I you know what will inevitably happen. You’ll see it now, love it, and then dilly-dally and when you do want it, it’ll be sold out! (This is what usually happens to me)

Something has struck me this season though. The mid-mid season sales. Huh? We all got excited about the new season drops at the end of August, but in fact, those were just teasers to the pieces that we ACTUALLY wanted. Oh no, those pieces are coming into stores shortly, and the August/early September pieces are now going into sale. Naughty, naughty retailers.

So here’s what I think you’ll regret not at least seriously looking at/trying on, if not buying, for those cooler months. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…!

A Coat 

Grey / Burgundy

Probably a no-brainer, but if you want one that you actually want and/or like, then now’s the time to have a look. This seasons styles range from bright block colours to grey; from Pea Coats to Parkas. Pretty much anything goes. I REALLY like the Zara grey coat – something that would pretty much go with everything, and dressed up or down. I also love a red coat. I still have one I bought from Oasis a million years ago, and will be dragging it out this winter. The perfect colour to pop your outfits. There’s also a red out there for all colourings – from pillar box to burgundy.



Jacket / Dress / Top / Sweatshirt

What’s not to love about sequins – ideal for the festive season. This bomber jacket will add a certain something to an every day outfit – casual yet special. Or perhaps for something a little less bling, this dress is a nice nod. Get it now whilst it’s in the sale ;)

Fringed Boots 

ASOS / M&S / Zara / Next

Less yes-ha and actually more chic, these are everywhere. Choose a style with a heel height to suit. I can vouch for the M&S Autograph ones – easy to walk in with their “Insolia Technology” and a fringe that’s not too out-there. The Next ones come highly rated too. Keep them black so that you definitely stay away from the Western look.

Wide Leg Trousers 

M&S / Zara / ASOS

These remind me of a time just after university into starting my career and are now back again. The luxe look of a wool pair, teamed with a fitted coat and perhaps even trainers, really appeals. Make sure your top half is fitted to balance out the look.

The long sleeveless Cardigan 

Topshop / H&M / ASOS

Last month it was the long cardigan, now we have lost the sleeves :) I know this won’t be a look that everyone can manage – in my opinion you need to be over 5’5″ to be able to wear this effectively – but it’s a great in-between and layering option. I wouldn’t go so far however as to prescribe a coat in this style, layering under a coat for the winter is tricky. Stick to neutral colours that will tone or contrast with, what you wear underneath.

I must also mention Shearling. Something that comes out most winter seasons, this year sees it featuring in coats, waistcoats and even accessories. Although faux, this waistcoat is a nice nod to the trend – great to throw over a jumper, worn with jeans or a skirt and opaques.

Until the end of the month then… Have great Octobers!

Erin xx

PS: I read with interest Rebecca’s post at the beginning of the week about her Autumn List. I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s new Superfood series, and last night cooked the Squash Dhal for supper. It was DELICIOUS! Winter comfort food without the bulk and calories – sorted as Jamie would say. Give it a try if you can…


On Vacay…

iPhone photo taken from the High Line looking over the Hudson River towards Newark.

I’m taking a little break until next week while we spend the last days of our holiday in New York. If you’re lucky, Erin may be popping up later in the week with Octobers ‘What to Wear’, mummy commitments permitting!

If you want to see what we’re up to and where we have been, head on over to Instagram online or follow me @rebecca_norris. We are having an amazing time and Bea is doing brilliantly :)

See you next week!

Rebecca xo

The big Autumn list…

I usually like to write these posts around the official calendar start to the season but holidays and warm weather in the UK took my mind off the impending season. Now we are in full ‘fall’ swing over here in the US however, I’m ready to think beyond our trip, but not as far as the Christmas madness ahead.


As is tradition, here is my list of things I plan to do to fully appreciate the season and some general life cleansing that needs to happen.

1. September shape up was a wash out for me, as after a busy couple of weeks I came down with a disgusting cold that put an end to breathing through my nose, never mind running. I still managed to get down to 1lb off my pre-pregnancy weight but am really feeling the lack of exercise. I suspect that will be even more of an omnipresent thought when we get back from 2w of American food, so I’ll be getting back to running and healthy eating, hoping to shed another half stone before December.

2. It’s bulb planting time and I love nothing more than crisp sunny autumnal afternoons in the garden – clearing leaves, planting bulbs and generally tidying, with a roast dinner filling the house with welcoming and warming smells for when the evening draws in.

3. I plan to use the longer evenings to get some personal projects done, instead of just collapsing in a heap on the couch. Most pressing are some photo books, I have all the images collated for a 2014 book but need to tackle arranging them into the book itself. After that there’s the mammoth task of documenting Bea’s first year and some big holidays we have taken over the years that deserve a book to themselves.

4. The house renovation continues and with limited budget post holiday and limited time pre-Christmas, we have to make some decisions about how best to proceed. In the offing are Bea’s playroom, the dining room or our dressing room, so I need to decide which and get a move on.

5. It’s also time we did some serious clearing out. With the upstairs bedroom being made over and the playroom pending we have moved a lot of stuff around and are slowly making usable rooms from neglected spaces that were just accumulating junk. There are cupboards full of stuff I haven’t opened in 12 months so I plan to be ruthless and start clearing out at least one, or even two of the rooms.

6. Autumn always feels like a time for comforting foods like sausage and mash or pies and stews but this Autumn I’d like to find some healthier yet warming options that don’t leave me bloated and in need of a lie down.

7. Given the list above this may be ambitious but I want to start incorporating something for me. Pete plays footie twice a week yet I struggle to get out on a regular basis. It’s starting to feel like I need the me time and yoga is so emotionally balancing that I want to make it a regular part of my week.

So readers, what do you think? Please share your seasonal to-do list in the comments, be it goals or simply a seasonal bucket list. I always love reading your thoughts. 


Rebecca xo

Triple Temptation: Brown Leather Tote

Now Bea is getting bigger and with the majority of our trips being local, I tend to just grab a nappy, some wipes, a bib and some snacks. So for the first time in a long time, this Autumn I’m not just thinking about clothes, but a new bag that’s not the changing bag.

Reversible vegan leather tote – Urban Outfitters // Zip Transport Tote – Madewell // Brown leather tote- Etsy

In the past, I’ve always favoured medium sized bags, big enough to look stylish but without the weight or size of a bigger bag. This season, I’m thinking about oversized totes, both for practicality and the slouchy style that suits the way I’m dressing right now. It also happens to coincide with the first time I’ve looked at a bag that is brown in years, but it just seems so right as the weather gets cooler paired with berry shades and rich navy, plus mixing leather colours feels very on trend right now.

Have you got a favourite readers? Seen anything similar I should check out?


How to Wear: September

What a glorious month September has been. Not only has the sun shone, we had a lovely family holiday in Cornwall as a foursome and it’s now the start of my favourite season of all, the Autumn.

The sunny weather has meant that sandals and espedrilles are still featuring in my shoe repertoire, even if worn with chunky knits and jackets – the perfect warm-ish Autumn attire!

Sandals and Espadrilles – Topshop; Jeans – J Crew; Jumper – J Crew; Culottes – Warehouse

My trusty kicks have also had several airings. I know they are essentially both white trainers, and both Adidas, but they make outfits look and feel very different, depending on which style I wear.

Adidas Cracked Leather Stan Smiths; Jeans – J Crew. Adidas Superstars; Chinos – Gap; Jumper, J Crew

We had a STUNNING week in Cornwall and we really lucked in with the weather. On the day we went to St Ives, the beach could have been found somewhere in the Caribbean (this is Carbis Bay for those who don’t know the area). Heaven.

The great weather meant that shorts were on the cards although starts to the day were still chilly. It was a great week and both boys, especially the biggest, loved it. We definitely have a beach lover on our hands ;)

The rest of the month has consisted of wearing the Coatigan I have mentioned before (I love how it goes with my woven wrap for Oscar, perhaps not deliberate…) and also getting dressed up for two Christenings on the same Sunday. The dress was really easy to feed Oscar in too.    Dress – Phase Eight; Shoes – LK Bennett

Finally I got to dress up again on Monday night this week for a work awards do. It felt liberating going out with only a small bag – my first evening away from No.2 since he was born.

Skirt –  c/o LK Bennett; Vest – Mango; Jacket – H&M (Sold Out)

I’ll be back next week with October’s “What to Buy” – coats will feature… ;)

Erin xx

PS: I was very excited about the Boden Icons launch that happened this month too and ordered a couple of pieces from the collection, but unfortunately, they’ve gone back.

Cardigan // Dress // Skirt

It’s nothing to do with the quality or fit, they are so well made with quality fabrics. It’s just I don’t think I’m quite ready to “fight for this love”…! (Although if the Mini version of the Brigadier skirt ever went into the sale, I may be tempted to order again…)

Big Kitchen // Little Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram (you can here,) you might have seen my post this sunday sharing the Ikea Hack Pete did (I take no credit for the labour but it was totally *my* ahem, Pinterest’s) idea. ;) Now it gets more attention than the actual kitchen does when people come to the house.

I thought this kind of thing was pretty commonplace but guess thats what you get from being a Pinterest addict as many of you asked me to share it… so here’s what we did to make Bea’s mini-kitchen.

It was pretty straight forward. Our kitchen cupboards are painted and we had some of the paint left over so they got a coat of undercoat and then 2 coats of Farrow and Ball’s Dove Tale grey. You can buy the Ikea Duktig play kitchen for £45

We have marble worktops so I found a marble effect adhesive vinyl (basically sticky backed plastic) they we used to cover the worktop, folding it around the edges and cutting in to make it smooth round the corners and under the sink and hob.

We sprayed painted the handles and tap gold (Wilko’s is my favourite for the best gold tone.) I always wanted gold hardware in our kitchen but it didn’t quite happen so I thought why not for Bea?! We are thinking about sourcing some knobs to add to the front of the kitchen above the door with the window to make an ‘oven’ for her but I haven’t got around to it yet.

Of course you could do anything with your IKEA kitchen, and this doesn’t have the upper part that you buy separately – Bea is as yet not tall enough to reach it so we though we would save it for a future birthday ;) . I’ve seen these kitchens done in vintage style with pink cupboards and frilly gingham curtains, or putting a wood effect vinyl on (or real wood top) and adding some metro tiles to the backsplash would be awesome as a country style kitchen.

I hope it has inspired you – it was so quick and easy, and dare I say, although Bea probably doesn’t appreciate it yet, I love that it looks great in our kitchen!


PS! more inspiration here

Beauty Box: Diorshow Mascara

For quite some time now I have been a devotee of Bobbi Browns Extreme Party mascara but I have been steadily getting more irritated that it really doesn’t last. The tubes always seem to run out (or dry out – I’m not sure which) in less than 6 months, and whilst I know it’s recommended to change your mascara regularly for hygiene reasons, well, I ahem, don’t.

I happened across a free sample of the Diorshow Mascara recently however and have become a convert. Perhaps I should say I resurrected my devotion to it as I’m sure I have in years past used this particular mascara, along with YSL. I am a bit fussy when it comes to mascara. I like a super fat brush and a formula that doesn’t put big blobs of mascara on the lashes, particularly at the corners. Strong fragrances also put me off (take note Lancome,) and I want it all when it comes to effect – lengthening AND volumising, plus a bit of curling please. I don’t want spidery lashes, but super fat lashes that look like they will cause a draft when you bat them. I don’t ask for much clearly but Diorshow has got it covered. If you fancy treating yourself I’d highly recommend it. Available in all good department stores and Boots, it’s about £25.

Happy Friday readers!

Love, Rebecca xo

Travel tips required! Boston/Cape Cod

We are very soon leaving for a family holiday, with a little trepidation I must admit as it’s the first looooong flight we have subjected Bea to since she was mobile. We are doing a road trip I’ve long wanted to check off the bucket list – New England in the fall. Our route takes us to Boston, then Cape Cod, back inland to do some real ‘leaf peeping’ and finally 5 days in New York for a bit of fun before flying home. I absolutely can’t wait.

Image credit

We have both been to New York before so have places we want to revisit and new sights to see, but I’d love to hear any tips you have on Boston particularly or Cape Cod if you have been.

Image Via

We plan to do the Freedom trail in Boston but are pretty open other than that as I don’t know much about the city. In Cape Cod we will mostly be enjoying playing on the beaches, cycle rides and some mooching around the towns but if there’s anything you recommend please let me know. I know there is a Dr Seuss museum and and Eric Carle (of The Very Hungry Caterpiller) museum on our route as both Authors originate from Massachusetts.

Thanks in advance for your tips! (Bonus points if you know of any quick pit stop places where we can let Bea loose to play for a break during all the sight seeing!)


PS Our first trip with Bea – Flying with a baby

The Garden: During and After

If you’d like to see how the garden looked before, then head on back to my first post here. We started ripping out the garage at the beginning of May and had it ‘sort of’ finished by mid-June. I hasten to say from the outset, we did not do this work ourselves! We had the amazingly good luck of stumbling across a brilliant garden designer and builder who was just a pleasure to work with – Iain from Outer Space Landscapes and his very capable sidekick, Shaun. I knew straight away from our first meeting when he asked me if I knew of Piet Oudolf, (you might remember me mentioning him as inspiration for the garden a while back,) that I was sure we were going to be able to work well together. These are all quite candid phone photos that I took as we went along. The finished ones are a bit glossier. ;)

This was the initial design on paper:

The first thing we had to do was knock the garage down. We actually listed it on eBay on the advice of our builder and unbelievably sold it (for less than £100 but it paid for one of the 3 skips we needed to complete the work so not bad,) when it would have cost us hundred more to have it dismantled. In the end it became clear that the people who bought it weren’t able to remove it fully and we got our usual builder to finish the job but it just goes to show, its amazing what will sell on eBay!

Of course it got a lot worse before it got better. The weather was against us (although the wet summer was later on a godsend for the new grass and plants.) One of the first things that were built were the raised vegetable beds at the side of the house, before the old grass was even taken up and the whole plot levelled.


When the border edging, grass and patio went in, it all started to take shape and I could see where the design was going. It all seemed very vast to finish with plants! I did a huge order at a local garden centre, (I chose all the plants myself and designed the planting scheme,) and you can see them delivered here on the steps to the deck.

As you can see, part of the design was these three large box balls in the lawn to give a sculptural element and I thought they would also be fun for kids to hide behind and jump over! ;)

The final part of the design was the modern pergola. Our patio is in full sun pretty much from sun up to about 5pm in the height of summer and as we planned to enjoy lazy lunches there we were going to need some shade. Eventually wisteria and other climbers will provide dappled shade over the whole structure.

I’m going to post some more pictures in the next week or two that show how the garden has changed again since these were taken at completion. The way it has filled out and matured already is amazing, but for now, this is what the process looked like. Please do ask any questions and if you’re looking for a garden makeover in and around Manchester I would recommend Iain at Outer Space Landscapes in a heartbeat – incredibly hardworking, knows his stuff and beautiful results.

I hope you like it readers! I can’t wait to show the more recent pictures – the difference is amazing!


The 5 best books for babies…

I love reading to Bea and whilst our evening routine doesn’t always involve a story at the moment we do read to her every day, if not several times. We have done this since she was tiny, when it was really more for us than for her, so this is a little list of the best books we found for the first 12 months and I’d love to hear if you have any to add for that specific period.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

“But the next baby born was truly divine, a sweet little child who was mine, all mine.”

My mum bought this for Bea when she was born, it is such a cute story and I loved reading it to her, in much the same way people enjoy ‘Guess how much I love you’.


One of my favourite books from childhood, I loved reading this to Bea for nostalgic reasons but it’s also one she can interact with by turning the (board) pages and I imagine will grow with her. We even ended up walking around when she’s tired or sad sing songing away, ‘Here’s a little baby one, two, three, carried in her mummy’s arms, what does she see…’ – and now it’s one of the staple gifts I buy for new babies.

That’s Not My Puppy

This was given to us by a friend with 2 kids who clearly knew what she was doing when she bought it! It became the first book that Bea really enjoyed and interacted with due to the touchy feely  panels on every page and with it’s sturdy board pages was also the book she learned to turn pages with herself. We now have Thats’s not my … Monkey, Owl, Kitten and Robot – just for a bit of non-stereotypical reading material ;)

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

There are things about you quite unlike any other. Things always known by your father or mother. So if you decide to be different one day, no worries…I’d know you anyway.

Totally schmaltzy in a way only a parent will appreciate ;) this was the first book that I personally ever bought for Bea. We bought it in the US on holiday and as such it is by an American Author, and refers to some unusual animals like the ‘blue footed booby.’ The illustrations are beautiful and it’s just a story I really love reading to her. It also has side notes encouraging children to make the actions for certain animals that we leave out now but will be great later on. I always think of this one as ‘our’ book and it’s another great one for a gift as it’s not that common over here.

The Snail and the Whale

This is the tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey blue hump backed whale…

Overtaking The Gruffalo in our affections comes this Julia Donaldson book about a snail who hitches a ride sightseeing around the world on a whales tail. It has wonderful alliteration and is quite a tongue twister to read but I love books that sing song and rhyme as you read them so I enjoy it and it never fails to settle eea down as a result too. This is a good one for the parent to enjoy reading as much as the child – no matter the age and its long enough to wind down with before bed.

This is just a selection of our personal favourites and is by no means exhaustive. Which books are your favourites for under ones? 

Love, Rebecca