Buying a Buggy…

As any long time readers of Florence Finds will know, or those who see me on Instagram, you’re much more likely to find me carrying my kids in a sling than pushing the buggy. We are huge fans of a woven wrap both for it’s closeness and convenience and before Cora was born the most use our Uppababy got was when my mum came once a week to look after Bea. However, once Cora arrived it started seeing a bit more action, although more as a pushchair with Bea than to put Cora in, as I think I would always choose to sling a baby and push a toddler. We were lucky and Bea became quite keen and proficient on her scooter when she started preschool and we started walking every day but prior to that when she was younger and less reliable both in terms of walking and behaviour, it was handy to be able to strap her in somewhere.

Now Bea is 4 and Cora is approaching 19 months and our travel system is once again gathering dust. Aside from my preference for slings I do resist using it because it’s heavy, cumbersome and inconvenient. I dislike getting it in and out of the car, I don’t like seeing it in the house and we have no where to store it easily (the cellar is the usual spot where it lives between mums visits but that means it’s much harder to whip out when we need a quick trip out.) It’s also really big for my mum who is quite petite and suffers with arthritis in her hands which makes it more difficult to manoeuvre up and down the three steps into our Victorian house where the cellars mean our ground floor is 1m above ground level. I should say, I’m not trying to be negative about the Uppababy. If you want a proper travel system and like a bigger pram I think it’s great but for me any of the travel systems or prams of that size don’t meet my needs as well.

We had been vaguely considering a Maclaren type pushchair for a while but not got around to doing anything, when I spotted the Babyzen YoYo+. A favourite of bloggers and Instagram it’s a good looking little pushchair, and folds up ridiculously small and light – in fact it was designed for its ability to fit in the hand luggage on an aircraft so if you’re into travelling with your little one it could well be worth the investment. But there’s the catch. An investment it certainly is, at around £370 for the pushchair (suitable from 6 months) and an extra £100ish for the newborn attachment to make it useable from birth, it was the priciest option that we looked at. For our needs it seems a bit excessive, but if you happen to be looking for a pram from birth it actually compares favourably with most of the travel systems (the Uppababy for example is around £900 these days for the full kit of frame, pushchair, bassinet and car seat adapters) – just check the car seat you have or plan to buy is compatible with the Babyzen as it doesn’t fit with all of them. The other major negative is the basket – it’s so ridiculously small that you’d struggle to put much in there at all, maybe your pre-baby handbag, which lets face it you probably won’t be taking out with the pram much, and I felt the frame seemed a bit light to hang a full changing bag off too. So despite my lust for it we started looking to see what comparable options were around but didn’t cost quite as much. I thought I’d share this as people often review their pram or buggy on blogs but don’t have much to compare it to which is a bit of a biased review imho.

On our first stop in John Lewis we were shown the Mountain Buggy Nano V2. This was £209 and very similar in terms of the fold down mechanism and size, although not quite as small so I don’t think it would fit in the hand luggage compartment. It was actually a few grams(!) lighter but to me I didn’t like the way it looked compared to the Babyzen (more like a Maclaren,) and it reminded me of a stripped out racing car where all the comfort had been removed in favour of reducing the weight. It did lie flat, so was suitable from birth, but didn’t take a car seat. It also felt a little sturdier than the Babyzen to me but I still didn’t love it, the basket was similarly small to the Babyzen and by comparison with other umbrella fold buggies it still seemed pricey so I kept looking.

Next stop was Mamas and Papas that I happened to wander into and asked what they had that compared to the Babyzen. By now I had refined my priorities and knew I wanted something that folded small for storage and was light enough to carry up and down steps/put in and out of the car with ease, but it didn’t need to be super small for travel. I also wanted a single push handle rather than two, to make it easy to steer with one hand. First I was shown the M&P Acro, which is super light, also folds really small (similar to the two above) and came in under £200 with the Bank Holiday discount they had on at the time. (RRP £179) Again, I liked it but it felt a little bit stripped out and basic, plus it was a bit flimsier and harder to put up and down.

Next we looked at the Armadillo City2 and I loved it! Again, with the BH offer it cost just £141, (and it’s currently in their mid-season sale at £139!) but weighed in at 7.3kg and folds in the same way as all the ones above to a very slim standing position for storage. The folding mechanism was easy (I found with some we looked at the sales person even struggled doing it!) and it felt sturdy despite its featherweight. The basket is a more reasonable size (although don’t expect much from any that fold in this way and you won’t be disappointed,) and it’s got a single bar handle so is easily steered one handed. It comes with the rain cover – I was surprised by how many considered a rain cover an extra, and a cup holder. The seat lies flat so could be used from birth which is handy to know as you never know when you might want to lie a baby in there even if you’re out with a toddler, and the hood even unzips at the back for a bit of ventilation in hot weather.

After quite a bit of use in the last month since we bought it, I feel confident recommending it to any of you looking for a light weight, slim folding multi-age group buggy. I’d love to hear if any of you already have it, or if you looked at it and opted for another alternative?

Rebecca x

Skin Solutions: Step 2 – A beginner’s guide to acid toning

As I’m getting a bit older (and frankly I don’t think it’s age, its lack of sleep courtesy of child number two!) I’m definitely noticing the signs of aging in my skin. Alongside my problematic breakouts that have dogged me throughout my adult years, it’s sparked a new interest for me, in trying to make the best of what I’ve got. I’m not into cosmetic surgery, or the explosion of fillers and botox that is being widely embraced (yet!) but I am more than ready to dip my toe into the world of more powerful skin care and with that I’ll hand you over to Penny, who has been guiding my way down the skincare rabbit hole. Today, she’s talking acid…


Acid exfoliants are everywhere these days and come in many forms, types and strengths – from gentle lotions to more full-on home peel kits. Today I want to talk about toning with glycolic acid – it is widely available, suitable for most skin types and tends to give results quickly. A glycolic acid-based toner (used post-cleansing and pre-serums/moisturisers) will gently remove dead skin cells, leaving fresh-looking, radiant skin beneath. Those with acne, uneven skin tone and visible pores can hope to see clearer,
more even-toned skin; those with dry skin will benefit too as the acid creates an easily penetrable base for your lovely serums and moisturisers to do their thing. Basically, it’s good news for everyone.

However – it pays to ease in gently. I am guilty of getting excited and over-aciding to start with (my skin type is dehydrated/sensitive so I should have known better) and ending up like a scrubbed ham – not a good look. Don’t be a plum like me – ease in to a regime
that includes glycolic acid, or any active ingredient, by using a gentle product and/or using every other evening to begin with. On first application you can expect a tingle – but it shouldn’t feel any worse than that.

After toning, proceed with the rest of your normal routine. I have learned it’s best for me to follow with a hydrating toner (more of that next time!) and/or hyaluronic serum to pack the moisture back into my dehydrated skin before moisturising. Then always, always apply sunscreen – AHAs increase photosensitivity so this bit is non-negotiable!

A brief side-note: very sensitive types looking for something gentler than glycolic might like to investigate mandelic and lactic acid products. If you have very badly congested skin and glycolic isn’t cutting it – salicylic acid might work better.

Happy aciding!

Glycolic acid toners – Pennys’ top picks

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner, £5.95
I managed to get this half price, which it often is. It doesn’t feel quite as nourishing as the Pixi version (see below), but if you’re using other hydrating products then who cares. Absolutely brilliant for the price.

Bravura London Calendula Toner, £12.40
This gorgeous toner combines glycolic and lactic acids and healing calendula

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads, £12.95
You can always find these discounted somewhere – scour TK Maxx, Superdrug and major supermarkets. The pre-soaked pads are particularly handy to pack for travel. For those on a super tight budget – Aldi Lacuna do a decent dupe of these for mere pennies if you can track them down!

Pixi Glow Tonic, £18
Pixi’s fabulous best-seller and my personal desert-island beauty product. Love it.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold, £33
A cult product with a deserved reputation, Liquid Gold is not an everyday toner, but an intensive overnight treatment (product suggests using 2-3 times per week but I tend to use once a week). Excellent for resurfacing, smoothing lines, evening skin tone and brightening up dull skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

I don’t mind admitting, I’ve been using the Pixi Glow Tomic on Pennys’ recommendation for about 4 months now and its definitely made a difference to the frequency of my breakouts and just general skin brightness. I’ve also added in the liquid Gold (courtesy of the M&S Beauty advent calendar 2 years ago!) as a bit of a trial before shelling out on a full size bottle. I’d love to hear your experiences and tips if you’ve got any! – Rebecca x

Hello September…

Well hello readers!

Let’s just skim over the fact that I’m finally saying hello on the 19th of September and embrace the season for new adventures and fresh starts. I love September. That whole back to school feeling, new fashion trends to embrace, the need for new stationary in a throw back to new school years starting, the shifting seasons… I can’t get enough of it. This year it feels all the better as it’s co-inciding with the never ending house project coming to an end. In fact as I write this I feel like today was a bit of a milestone. Our Crittall door screen and back door (yes, that of the 20 week lead time…) was finally delivered and installed today, and I couldn’t be happier with them. Also, our thermostats and wiring were finally completed for the underfloor heating, separating the two ‘zones’ in the living area and tiled hall/utility, from the house radiators. I was pretty desperate after the cold snap we had a week or so ago to get the use of the heating back and typically just as this tropical feeling storm passes through I finally am able to switch it on. Those were the two remaining things outstanding from our build and to top it all off we had our snagging meeting with the builder and architect today too! It really feels like the full stop at the end of the project.

It’s been a long old year in terms of the house renovation – I went back to work in January and we started the build 2 weeks later. The rest of the year completely flashed by in a groundhog day of dust, builders and research research research into the right this that and the other for the interior finishes. People often ask me on Instagram or here how I plan a room scheme or makeover and in this case it was 6 rooms at once, but the answer is that I research and plan obsessively over a long period. It’s a bit mind blowing but for me it gives me confidence in my decisions that I won’t go off something when I’ve loved it for 6 months already, and when I know that every bit of the scheme works together too. Now we are really at the fun stage of adding in the bits of decor like art, furniture and a few wall colours and papers here and there. So yeah, more research!

Getting back to September, Bea started reception this month, having just turned four, and so far it has been pretty seamless. She’s returned to the same school she went full time to pre-school at for the last year so it hasn’t been much of a change or jump for her and for that I’ve been very grateful. She’s very good at adapting to new situations and I was surprised at how resilient she was starting pre-school – 2 days in and she was waving me off without a backwards glance, so I was surprised how emotional I was dropping her off to school for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed by guilt and regret that in the whole summer I hadn’t made any time or space for a day of just Bea and I and put Cora in childcare. Our childcare set up means whenever we have childcare in place I’m working, and I also didn’t take time off over summer, preferring to continue with term time holidays whiles she’s under 5 and we can, so although we enjoyed loads of lovely days out together, that feeling of time slipping through your fingers as a mum really hit home. What is it with kids making your eyes so leaky! It’s really made me re-evaluate again the time I spend with the girls and whether that needs reconsidering. So watch this space. On the flip side, Cora and Bea are so good together, and love each other so much, I shouldn’t feel too bad about not spending time with them individually. A year ago when Bea started pre-school I really breathed a sigh of relief to get some respite from probably the hardest phase of her life so far in terms of challenging behaviour, whilst trying to parent a frankly pain in the backside sleep thief baby. This time around the summer has been so much fun now she’s more grown up and co-operative and Cora is able to play with her too, and I’ll genuinely miss her and our little girl gang trio.

I hope you don’t mind me popping in here for a bit of a ramble… I’ve been longing to get back to the blog for such a long time, but the mental space and actual time just hasn’t been there. I finally feel like theres a semblance of a chance that I might be able to come back a bit more regularly and I’m really feeling ready to flex some creative muscle, so watch this space. ;) I have a whole pile of half written blog posts on everything from reading lists and books, to the room reveals from our reno project, travel and just some more general mum and life stuff, ready and waiting to be finished and published so hopefully I can get a bit more of a rhythm going.

Of course being September theres a few other things I want to tackle while my motivation is high! Cora is 18 months old now (Noooo!) and I still haven’t got back into regular exercise. My diet is appalling too so I’m on a mission to find some exercise I enjoy doing – I was thinking of trying Zumba and I really want to sort out my midsection 2 babies down the line so want to find a pilates class. That and some forward planning on the food front wouldn’t go amiss – I’m hoping to totally nail the next two days (Thursday and Fridays are often a bit of a car crash as I work them both and so does Pete,) by prepping ahead with the Instant Pot, something I’ve never really gelled with. So wish me luck!

I’d love to hear what you have all been up to. Are any mums out there reading who have been tackling new school starts? Are you looking forward to anything about Autumn or planning anything now summer is (whisper it) over? Drop me a comment, it would be lovely to chat again!

Rebecca x

Toys for 4 year olds: Aquaplay

Happy Sunday readers! Yesterday we celebrated Bea’s 4th birthday and we bought her a bit of a last minute present that has turned out so well I thought I’d share it with you all here in a quick review.

I asked some friends recently what their 4yo’s liked to play with and one suggested a water play system like this. We didn’t really have a ‘big’ present in mind for Bea this year but all we had bought her were some dress up outfits and an electric toothbrush – I always try in vain to buy toys that might give me 5 minutes peace and encourage some independent play now she’s getting bigger and particularly with the summer holidays looming. I also hoped we might find something that was Cora proof too – Bea was always so delicate and liked to do arty things, we have never had to put the crayons out of reach – they were always out in her bedroom to use, but now Cora draws on everything so it needed to be something she could use too.


The Aquaplay Mountain Lake is amazing! Bea didn’t look up for an hour once it was set up for her and Cora has been wading in (quite literally) too! It’s an amazing toy for the garden and we are using it inside because our Karndean flooring doesn’t mind being wet. And it’s got educational value in teaching about water movement and imaginative play. Now just need to figure out where to store it! If you’re stuck for a present or have been eyeing this wondering if it’s worth it, I’d definitely recommend it! (more Aquaplay sets here, including a smaller transportable one in a case)

Rebecca

#FFHouseReno: The Bathroom

The bathroom looks like it will be the first room finished in this mad renovation project so I think it’s time I talked about the design process. Before I start, a disclaimer… I don’t really *cough* like bathrooms. That’s not strictly true I suppose. There’s many a bathroom I have enjoyed spending time in, but bathroom design just leaves me cold. So I basically ignored the bathroom for the longest time during the planning stages. We have never renovated or replaced a bathroom before so I also didn’t really know where to start. Expect of course, Pinterest.


This is the image which inspired our bathroom design as a whole.

A little bit of background first, Kate Watson-Smyth from Mad About The House says you need to know the who, what’s and where of a house before you plan anything and I wholeheartedly agree. This bathroom, although it will be a bathroom for all of us currently, will long term become the family/kids bathroom, when we complete the final renovation stage of this house and move up to the top floor. For now though we are a young family with many a bath time ahead of us in which all four of us will be trying to move around the space, so layout was important. I wasn’t prepared to compromise on having two sinks and we wanted a freestanding bath but that was pretty much it. This was a bit of luxury for us now but also half an eye on two girls competing for mirror space in future. ;) I also wanted storage for the myriad bath toys we now have, plus toiletries of mine which are bound to double again with the girls growing up. That was pretty much it in terms of what we needed. And what I wanted desperately was for it not to be boring. Easier said than done.

I scoured my bathroom pinterest boards and tried to establish some themes. It turns out I like my bathrooms light and bright, with simple natural colours and warmed by wood accents. However, every now and then a crazy tile I had saved would pop up and make me think, ‘Am I missing the opportunity to do something fun? Is it going to look boring?’ so I tried to find a way to bring in a bit of colour and personality. Not something synonymous with contemporary bathroom design.


The first moodboard I made to get my thoughts and ideas down on ‘paper’.

Now one part of bathrooms that I do love are tiles. But trying to find the cool tiles you just saw on Pinterest is not easy. And it’s even harder to find them at a good price point. It’s fortunate I don’t like the 4 tiled walls look because my goodness, tiles are expensive. I decided the way to include that pop of fun and colour I need was to have a patterned tile and quickly fell in love with encaustic tiles when we were researching for the hallway floor. My encaustic tile search is probably for another post as they are not the cheap option but I managed to source them at about half the price of some of the first ones I spotted. We finally narrowed the design down to a graphic starburst hexagon tile, after a brief flirtation with stars, in a dark marine blue.

For the walls, I considered tilling up the wall in the same tile but that would have been missing out on the opportunity to mix in another style I like. I have a lot of love for the clean, classic and budget friendly look of metro tiles, but I’m slightly obsessed with herringbone too so decided to tile the shower in a white elongated tile in a herringbone layout. I managed to find a handmade looking tile with quite an undulating surface in the right proportions for a fraction of the price of the higher end tile stores and to make it more of a textural effect rather than a graphic pattern, we have chosen white grout.

Black shower taps

Next up was taps. Again, I had decided on brass, but wow, taps are expensive (there’s a theme somewhere in here…) and I couldn’t find quite the style I wanted. When I was bath hunting I came across Lusso Stone who have really well priced tap and shower sets, and decided to cross over to the dark side and go for matte black. Those of you who are regular readers may remember that I really dislike black. I have barely anything black in my wardrobe but I’m finding that I am using it more and more in interiors as an accent neutral and I am so excited to see these go in. It was compromise that made me go for them, particularly as we chose everything for the bathroom so late we were starting to really try and cut the budget, so were under pressure to make savings in this room, but I think they are going to make a fantastic compromise and won’t look too stark because of…


Wooden vanity

The Vanity Unit. I knew I wanted a wooden floating unit or a sideboard style piece of furniture, originally thinking I’d source a vintage midcentury sideboard, but I just couldn’t find anything I was happy to make a decision on. Eventually I reconciled myself with the fact that anything we bought new would have to be chopped up and drilled into to convert and settled on the Fresco Sideboard from Swoon Editions. Unfortunately we had quite the debacle and had to switch for another one last minute but I’m really happy we did and can’t wait to see it in situ. The wood will add warmth to an otherwise quite stark room and the brass detail is just going to make me happy. :) We plan to top it with a piece of marble to save the wood top from getting stained and have chosen counter top rectangular sinks to fit the mid-century vibe.


The final moodboard where I put all my chosen products together to make sure they worked together.

Lastly the bath. We looked far and wide at baths and really fell for the composite ones with their matt velvety finish. The first we liked was Victoria and Albert then we found Lusso Stone which are vastly cheaper than most and supply a lot of hotels and building projects with very sexy baths. The one we chose was mainly due to size restrictions because I could easily have chosen many of their gorgeous designs and hopefully it will be with us next week.

I think that’s it! I’m still updating Instagram Stories most days with daily progress and much of that is currently bathroom progress, so please do check in if you want to see some behind the scenes action. (Disclaimer: I may or may not be found on some days tearing my hair out or rocking in the corner quietly, depending how bad a day it has been!) I think it will be another couple of weeks then I should have some finished photos for you!

Hope you like it!
Rebecca

Skin Solutions: Step 1 – Cleanse

Good Morning everyone! I wanted to introduce to you today a new series of posts we will be doing here at Florence Finds, from a not so new face! Some of you might remember Penny from her music series when FF was a little more active (In fact I’ve known her since the Rock My Wedding Days!) and she recently started a skincare Instagram. I didnt know about her personal skincare mission but she has been dedicating some serious time to sorting her own skin out and in doing so has become quite the guru. I’ve already switched up some of my routine on her advice (clueless newbie over here!) and the good news is she going to be sharing it with you guys on a semi-regular basis here! In between you can catch her on Insta @BrazFace

A post shared by Penny (@brazface) on

Step one: Cleanse

I have always thought my skin type was oily/spot-prone, so it came as a bit of a Scooby-Doo head-tilt moment when a beautician told me that my skin was, in fact, enormously dehydrated. It had become sensitised thanks to the procession of harsh, spot-fighting (some of them GP prescribed) face washes and treatments I had been putting on my hormonal-acne-addled skin. These products occasionally gave me short-term results, but long-term they had been making my problems worse.

I started investigating gentle, more balancing cleansers, triggering a skincare obsession that’s still going strong. My first cleansing oil (from Sanctuary, details below) had such an immediate impact on my poor, neglected skin that I was hooked. My under the skin, cystic spots reduced hugely, and my complexion started to look smoother and more even.

The discovery of double cleansing came next; two cleanses in the evening, first to remove makeup and second to wash the skin beneath. The concept has been around for a long while now and I came late to the party – entirely because I am lazy and the thought of so much as hot cloth cleansing every night sounded like a massive hassle. These days however, I am converted. This more involved routine has yielded such good results that I weirdly enjoy doing it. It’s virtually meditative – plus a good excuse to lock the bathroom door for a bit of peace.

These days I am constantly switching my favourite cleansers in and out of my ever-changing routine and I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Here are just some of my personal picks (particularly for problem skin like mine), I would love to hear about yours in the comments…

Sanctuary Ultimate Cleansing Oil, £12.
Beautifully easy to use, feels luxuriously hydrating but still gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Superfacialist Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, £10.99.
Cheerfully brightening and invigorating with a seriously citrusy fragrance. A good starter cleansing oil.

Coconut oil, £5 – £8, from any large supermarket or health food shop.
This one may seem unorthodox, but bear with me…I whipped a jar of coconut oil out of the kitchen cupboard and started using it as a pre-cleanse when I ran out of cleanser one time. My skin was being particularly bothersome and reacting to everything. You know what? It calmed my skin down a treat and made my face smell like a Bounty bar. Full marks!

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £10.
TBS always have some killer deal or other on, so you can often get this for less than a tenner – which is astounding given how good it is. The balm melts on contact with your face, which is very pleasing, and it cleanses thoroughly without stripping.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £15.
The famous hot cloth cleanser – a classic for all the right reasons. Manages to simultaneously cleanse, soothe and hydrate, all whilst smelling all nice and natural which always makes me feel virtuous!

Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser, £23.50.
I bought this when my skin was in a particularly stroppy period – so stroppy that I was willing to throw twice as much money at it than usual. I’m happy to say it did the job. It’s a cream cleanser (and I like so few of them so this is high praise!) brilliant for balancing tricky, combination skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

We would love to hear about your cleansing routine – do you double cleanse? And if you have any questions, lets hear them!

The Fash Flash: Spring Update

This Spring I’ve had a really strong urge to update my whole spring/summer wardrobe so I’ve had a proper clear out and started again. Looking back its been a long time since I have shopped or bought summer clothes – last summer I was only a couple of months postpartum and the year before I was wearing clothes I had pulled out from years before as I’d not long got back to my pre-Bea weight and shape. So some of my stuff had been hanging around for years. I felt really bored with the endless Boden and Joules breton tops I had accumulated and the style rut I had fallen into when wearing them. Don’t get me wrong, I will have endless love for the classic breton but I wanted to feel a bit ‘different’. So I thought I’d share the pieces I bought and I might do a bit of a ‘what I wore’ style round up in a month or so when this little lot has had an airing.


Mint velvet Palm print Jacket £129 (currently 15% off with code HOLIDAY15 until May 5th but bought at JL with 20% off!) // H&M Pink speckle club Tee £8.99 (also got my eye on the blue stripe version) // H&M yellow stripe cropped boxy tee £8.99 // New Look Striped knit khaki top £12.99 // New Look Broderie Red Stripe top £9 // H&M Pink Skinny Jeans £17.99 // H&M Grey jersey dress £12.99

A few things are quite different to usual… I’m having a complete obsession with blush pink which I’ve never worn before, (look out for it in interiors too…) and I’m loving it for a few fashion updates that feel completely different, particularly the skinnies which will be a nice alternative to the classic white jean. I’ve always been a fan of khaki, and I think it looks great in summer and with pink, so I’ve added that in with this palm print jacket and the tie front knit top for an different texture and style to the usual tee. The Jacket was a splurge but given the weather we have had so far this year, I’m thinking it’s going to get a LOT of wear and be a future classic too. The same goes for this gorgeous warm yolky yellow (the most flattering tone of yellow to wear I think) in a cropped boxy style. It’s got a nice swing but I must admit I’ll be reserving it for days when I’m feeling on the skinnier side. ;) (Note: It doesn’t show any skin as long as you’re not wearing low jeans with it!)

It’s unusual for me to venture into New Look too but because I was having such an update I needed bargain pieces to pad things out and was pleased to find serious steals that weren’t just fit for teens. H&M also came up trumps with this basic marled grey jersey dress for running around in in the week. Side note: I’m pretty much down to morning and evening feeds with Cora now, so dresses are making a reappearance in my wardrobe again, without having to scour the shops for breast feeding friendly details. Amen to that!

Office trainers £22.99 (Also available in Silver stars) // Solillas Sandals // Hush pink stripe tee £35 // Hush White and Black Midi skirt £65 // H&M x Anna Glover Palm print dress £17.99 // Hush Daphne Jumpsuit £60 (currently in the Spring Sale until Monday and available in blush or navy)

Although I don’t follow a strict capsule like I once did, I do try to shop in bulk at the beginning of the season too and to make sure I consider what I’m buying as a whole. So what I need for work, (that’s for another post perhaps,) everyday and the (few and far between these days!) occasions that crop up. I find that means I don’t end up panic buying or stressed at the last minute when invitations arise and I can make the most of impromptu date nights if we get the chance! I love this palm print shirt dress (sold out online but I found it instore so do check, and consider sizing down – it’s huuuuge! I bought an 8.) – it’s right up my street in terms of style and I can see it over the pink jeans as well as worn solo with flip flops on the beach. I’m usually a fan of Birkenstocks for summer utilitarian chic, but this year I’m giving these Solillas a go and they feel super comfy on first wear. They make me think of holidays! All my trainers had had their day and these were a super bargain so I snapped them up too.

The Hush skirt is a major departure in style for me but I’ve worn it already on date night with the trainers, black tights, my strong girls club sweat and my leather jacket so it’s proving it doesn’t need to be a high summer style. I used to think this style was unflattering but I’m loving the less showy, less try-hard style to it. And lastly, THAT jumpsuit. I hesitated to buy this after trying it on but then put a changing room photo on Instagram and the response was overwhelming – I’m so glad I bought it – it’s so comfy, flattering and I can see myself wearing it with heels as I did here, or with trainers in the day for a lunch date. I took a 10 in this and it’s not as loose on me as the model but I prefer the fit that way.

Items I’m recycling:
Ash Block Heel tan sandals (pictured above)
Madewell Leopard flats
All the sweats(!)
Dungarees
Distressed Boyfriend and True Skinny jeans – both GAP
Breton sweatshirt dress (also GAP
Classic Leather Jacket (Whistles)

I’m still on the look out for a few pieces. rather perversely I’m feeling the need for a warm jumper with all the horrible weather we have had, and I’m still so excited about summer dresses and having a choice thats unrestricted by breast feeding that I doubt I’ll resist a couple of extra purchases. A basket bag would finish things off nicely! I’ll keep you posted! ;)

Do let me know if you’re inspired by what you’ve seen here or if you’ve got any places I should be looking at – what are you wearing this spring???

Love, Rebecca

The Fash Flash: Don’t Sweat It.

Something has happened to my style lately and I am now a complete convert to a good old sweatshirt. Of course I’m not talking 80/90′s throwback oversized numbers but a super soft well fitted sweatshirt with a well chosen slogan can seriously do some wardrobe distance. It’s particular strength being the ‘I don’t even want to get dressed today but I can feel like I’m in pyjama’s while looking semi-cool’ look. I used to think they were super unflattering – particularly if you have a bigger bust, but with a complete boob monster in tow still and the cup size to match, I’m re-thinking my pre-conceptions.

I thought I’d do a little round up of some of my favs, with some boutique and small business finds.

Let’s get started!

Strong Girls Club and Rebelle by Mutha.Hood – Owned and designed by Gemma (follow her on Instagram for hilarious pink, tassel and llama loving stories) I love nearly every design she produces. Bea and I have the matching ‘Strong Girls Club’ sweats (see above,) and I recently bought my bestie and I ‘Rebelle’ sweats in the flash sale. A must have for all Mothers of Daughters, Boom.

Mother Neon pink hoodie by The FMLY store – Possibly the original purveyors of statement sweats, or certainly the first that brought them to my attention, The FMLY Store (formerly Selfish Mother but now expanded to include the whole family,) this brand has a huge range of styles and slogans. I’m currently coveting a supersoft design (I already have an original boyfriend grey and coral ‘Winging It’ and Hot pink ‘Mama’ scoop neck,) or the new super casual outline design on the spring hoody. Another bonus to buying from them is their #GoodTees programme where they donate £5 from each sale to various charities – a total of £811,574 has been raised so far!

Scamp and Dude – Next on my list to purchase are these super cool animal print and lightening bolt striking designs from Scamp and Dude. Another Adult/kid brand you can get these unisex designs and give a little person some superhero confidence too – every product has a lightening bolt embroidered on the sleeve for kids to press and feel when they need a little boost. The range was inspired by creator Jo’s stay in hospital when she suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage and had to leave her children while in hospital, which inspired her to make a product that made children feel more secure when away from their loved ones. Check out the accessories range too – I love the pouches and the Superhero Sleep Buddies. (You might also have seen on Instagram that ASDA have ripped off the ‘Superhero has my Back‘ design so please do support her ORIGINAL brand. Shame on you ASDA.)

A Finer Thread – For a luxe take on the trend A Finer Thread creates embroidered designs on classic colours, like these chic J’adore sweats. Everything is made to order and you can even order bespoke designs so check them out for a special treat.

Lastly, the very reasonably priced and wine inspired FWP by Rae range includes this Premier Cru – first spotted on our very own Erin, but also worn by the instagram fash pack including Kat from Does my Bum look 40, amongst others. (Check out her blog for fashion forward styling for when you no longer want to feel like you’re dressed like a teen.) Who doesn’t love a reminder that it’s almost wine o’clock?

Have I missed any? I’d love to hear of any new brands I should check out!

Love,
Rebecca

Renovation Ruminations: Tiles Tiles Tiles…

I think it’s time I kicked off with some interiors inspiration for the renovation project, right? In truth, you might expect that I would have this all sorted but in fact it has for a long time felt hard to see past the project even starting and getting those piles in, so I didn’t really focus too hard on the interior aspect. The bathroom has had the least of my attention because, well, bathrooms just don’t really excite me. Of course that hasn’t stopped me pinning them and fortunately, as I always say to people who are planning a project big or small, if you pin loads of images you like to Pinterest you can often then find a theme. Particularly because I’ve been using Pinterest for so long, I can also see if my tastes have changed, or pick out things that look dated already which helps to refine what I like, and also try to sift through rooms that are ‘Gorgeous but not me‘ and ‘Yes, I can live with that!

There are a few key themes that have inspired me and tiles have been my latest obsession so lets get on and have a look!


Grown up mermaid tiles

For the longest time I thought if I ever re-did a bathroom I’d keep it all white, white, white. In fact, I’ve learnt enough about myself that I can start neutral but I always seek colour eventually, and I also really don’t want a clinical or cold looking space. I’ve always love patterned tiles, be they Morroccan style, mosaics, or just interesting colours and lean towards anything with a handcrafted feel, so although I started planning a black hexagon tile floor, we soon moved towards looking for something more colourful.


Fish scale tiles // Circle tiled Shower // Star tiles // Concrete and patterned teal tiles.

How amazing are these? But could you live with it? There’s something very ‘holiday’ feeling about these designs I think. They remind me of a beach hotel, somewhere like Miami, or Australia, but I wonder if I’d tire of them or if they would feel out of place in the middle of a bleak English winter. But then maybe they would be just the thing to brighten up your day?

Or if you’re not 100% about taking the plunge with colour, how about this ever so pale and restrained touch of colour?


Pale and Interesting

I find these pastel and muted tones so restful. They’re just the thing I think for a change from the now classic white metro or subway tile, but with a bit of a modern twist. The pale green/grey/blue tones are just so pretty and elegant.


Pale Green shower // Blue metro tiles and marble // Pale blue herringbone // Grey metro tiles

Then there’s the Monochrome trend. Whilst I never would have described myself as a monochrome lover, I find myself decorating in Black and white more and more. Its the perfect backdrop for other materials (wood and metals in the case of the bathroom,) and a brilliant foil for colour too – in fact both the girls bedrooms have black and white wallpaper which is perfect to balance out all the colour that comes with the mountains of toys.


Black Chevron and brass shower // Black Hex wall tiles

What I do like a lot however is texture and a monochrome palette is the perfect way to introduce pattern like the current trends for interesting tile laying (herringbone or chevrons to name but a few) or shapes, like hexagons.


White Herringbone wall tiles

So what do you think readers. Could you or have you stepped away from white tiles? I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations!

Rebecca x

#FFHouseReno: Part I [Foundations]

Well hello, finally I can write our first post about the extension, not in the planning stages but the happening stage. Whoop Whoop!

Yeah, well it was exciting for about 2 weeks I think! Already it feels slow and dirty and messy and just muddy. The mud. Seriously. People warned us about starting building work in January and they were right! But let’s skim over that and start at the beginning.

We were supposed to start on January 3rd and were immediately foiled by the piling company still being on Christmas Break for another week. The next week came and went and I think it was 22nd of January before everything came together and the work finally started. 18x 3m steel tubes were delivered, the drain survey people, piling contractors and our building company all arrived on site at once and things finally started happening.

It was a pre-requisite of our build over agreement that we survey the drain below the works both before and after the building work, and although we had already surveyed the drain to get the drain position and structural calculations for the build over agreement in the first place, that was 2 years ago now so we repeated it to make sure there had been no damage in the interim that we could get blamed for later. All was well and the position was once again marked out ready for the piling.

The piling process was pretty incredible. Our piles were a combination of augered and driven piles. Most people think of driven piles when they think of piling – if you’ve ever been in the vicinity of piling work you might recall the thud thud thud of the piling taking place and the ground literally shaking for what seems like miles around. Because of the drain, our piles were augered which looked like a huge drill bit and essentially drills down, turfing the ground up out of the hole it creates. They did this to below the invert of the drain, about 5m down and then put the steel in and drove the last meter or so down. Fortunately for us, that meant the impact and vibrations of the banging was so far underground it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but that said, it was still thumpingly loud, like make-your-chest-vibrate loud, and the house shook. I’m so glad we have forgiving neighbours! There were other benefits to this method – one being that when drilling down, they would have had a heads up if they had hit anything (like the drain!) However, it also involved some guess work and the final depth depends on when the piles hit firm ground – at least one of the piles needed to go deeper than the planned 6m and the deepest is at 9m underground which is pretty mind boggling. Once in place we could look down the piles to the bottom and it was like looking into the centre of the earth.

Once the piles were in place we breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. It was a little bit weird that something we had been focusing our whole minds and worry on was over in a matter of days – I think they were finished in 4. However then there was another wait while the piling contractors disappeared again and our builders picked up the work, digging our foundation trenches, before the Piling company came back to finish off. They had several staffing issues and other overrunning jobs which was beyond their control but it was incredibly frustrating. They were responsible for not only the piles but the whole foundations on top of them so until they finished our builders couldn’t do anything. They eventually came back and created the ring beam – a steel frame that rests on the piles and then was set in concrete to form the foundations and finally the foundations were done! That whole process took 2 weeks, but it could have been a lot quicker as I think we had at least 4 working days where nothing happened at all in those two weeks.

Since then our builders have been on the job and it seems like everything has been happening really quickly. We joked that as they had already built up 9 meters we could expect the rest of the work to be done in another 4 weeks or so! Sadly not!

I guess it’s not surprising but we have had a taste already of the disruption the work will bring. There will be times when we have both the downstairs toilet and the first floor bathroom out of action and holes in the walls of the house so this rates pretty low on the scale of inconvenience, but the outside pipes to the kitchen sink and dishwasher were disconnected during the piling and we’ve had a bucket under the pipes collecting the water that gets emptied daily since then. I’ve been a bit paranoid about using excessive amounts of water, which when you’re constantly cleaning up after 2 kids is not that easy. However I’m sure there’s much worse to come!

I’ve also had my first wobble about the plans as the layout of the steps coming down from the extension were marked on the ground and it just looked massive. In fact the modest strip of paving outside the sliding doors, then the planters and stepped path down to the rest of the garden is almost as wide again as the new room we are building, and eats into the garden further than I expected, however, theres no other way of achieving the design I want so I’m trying to hold my nerve. The foundations for that area were concreted in last week and the supporting walls that are above ground but below the floor level of the house were put in too. The highlight of my week was the insertion of a piece of steel that will be between the glass corner and the sliding windows, that essentially holds the roof up over the largely glazed area. It gave the space a sense of a perimeter and felt like real progress.

Right now however, I’m still having a lot of trouble visualising it all. Because it’s below the floor level of the house it’s hard to get a sense of the space, and the weather has been so awful that it is hard to see past the mud. Thank goodness for the break in the weather. My to do list this week involves trying to pin them down to a rough timescale so I can try and plan when its going to be worst inside and we can try to get away. We met with another contractor to do the finishing last week (the bathroom/utility and loo fitting, tiling, wall panelling etc etc etc) and are awaiting a revised quote and I need to make a decision on who we will be sourcing our internal crittall door from. We’ve also got tile samples arriving and colour chips as I think we will be making a bespoke colour way of the tiles we want. So all together that is super exciting, especially as I feel like I’ve finally found my bathroom mojo after weeks of being less than excited about it – I just couldn’t get interested in off the shelf all-in design, but now I can’t wait to share our plans with you!

I hope that was interesting for those of you planning building work. The photos aren’t very inspiring but I hope they are illuminating at least and I’ll try to do a monthly update and progress report amongst the fun interiors posts. We are actually on week 5 now and a lot more has happened – as always follow along on Instagram – I tend to update my stories almost daily with progress including live videos walking around the site – quick and easy for me, brilliant if you happen to be super nosey. ;)

Happy Thursday Guys!

Rebecca

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