The Big Autumn list

It’s the 21st of September this Sunday, the date I always regard as the first of the new season and so my thoughts are well and truly turned towards log fires, fruit crumbles, falling leaves, bonfires and fireworks. Even though its more Indian Summer than crisp Autumn weather it’s fun to plan so here’s my big Autumn list of things I want to see, do, make and experience, and I hope you will join in with yours in the comments.

Last Autumn I made this list and then everything changed as I found myself pregnant and asleep most of the time on the couch. I’m hoping for a much more active and productive few months this time around!

  • Getting back into Autumn cooking with pies, roasts and crumbles
  • Shopping for a fireplace to kickstart our Lounge renovation
  • Kicking the leaves on autumn walks
  • Wearing my new capsule wardrobe and seeing how it works for mummy life
  • Our first family holiday as we head off to Florida to celebrate my Mum’s birthday with Bea
  • Meeting new people and making new friends at Baby and Mummy groups locally.
  • Celebrating 1 year in our ‘new’ house – 4.5 rooms done, 5.5 to go!
  • Slowly reclaiming my body with some dedicated post-natal exercise.

Make a list or share just one goal you have this season – I’ll be looking for more inspiration for mine!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS! Need more inspiration?
Read my previous Autumn lists here and here.

2 months with Bea

Wow. Where did the last 8 weeks go? Seeing your little baby grow is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying – time is going so fast!

So much has changed already in the last month. Last time I updated you all Bea was a tiny newborn, all snoozy and helpless. In the last month she has grown feisty and smiley and like a tiny best friend I always have around. :)

I was recommended The Wonder Weeks App just after Bea was born and was a bit sceptical – it talks about babies all having developmental ‘leaps’ (where they learn how to do something new,) at certain ages. The night before Bea was 5 weeks she was way fussier than usual and fed more, in a really out of character way and I was clueless as to the cause. Then the next morning she woke up and smiled at me! It was the best thing ever and now Pete says he will do absolutely anything to make her smile. (I also bought the book but admit I haven’t had much chance to read it! – The Wonder Weeks. ) The smiles were a bit hit and miss at first but from 6 weeks we reliably get them every day, always best in the morning.

That 6 week mark was a real turning point for us. After the smiles started we noticed Bea seems so much more alert and awake. Now it’s like she sees us when she looks at us and she looks for my voice and smiles when she hears it. She’s so much more sturdy now and looks around all the time at things when we’re out and about. Her sleep patterns are changing too, with longer and longer stretches at night, we’re now onto one ‘night’ feed between 3 and 5am then another morning feed between 6 and 9am which is pretty great. Those long ‘wake’ periods she had in the night have also settled thankfully.

At 7 weeks we had to go for her first injection – in Manchester all babies get a BCG (TB vaccination) as newborns and I was surprisingly (to myself at least) nervous about it. The thought of my little baby being hurt was awful and she did cry, but it was over in a second and she settled straight away. I managed not to cry, but it was a close call!

At just 8 weeks now she seems so big (although she is still wearing all newborn or 0-1 month clothes.) She is so much more vocal about what she does and doesn’t like now – often whinging a bit when she needs a cuddle to get off to sleep. Her sleeping has got better and better and we have had 2 nights where she has slept straight through but to be honest I prefer when she doesn’t, as a ‘full night’ means she wakes at 7 after a late 11ish feed and I get less sleep in total that way. The first time gave me the fright of my life though when the alarm went off and I realised she hadn’t woken me at all! I’m also seeing daytime patterns emerge with 2 sleeps in the morning and 2 in the afternoon before what I call ‘the witching hour’ starts and the evening cluster feeding begins.

The other big change this month has been her interaction with Pete and I. Since Pete went back to work there is a definite difference in the way she responds to both of us and when she is tired or fussy it’s me she wants and settles better with. I feel in equal measure disappointed and delighted by this – after all it’s selfishly so lovely to be her favourite person, but I always wanted Pete to be a completely equal partner in parenting and interchangeable with me. I suppose that was naive looking back as with maternity leave and breast feeding I was bound to have the upper hand at this stage and I hope in the future she will love spending time with Daddy just as much. For now though, when Pete is home, he’s left ‘holding the baby’ – it means I end up cooking often or doing housework instead but its worth it for him to have quality time with Bea and work on his quota of smiles. ;)

In some ways it has also been a month of adjustment. Although I have no desire to do anything else right now, it has been a big mental shift towards becoming a ‘Mum’. Now I’m at home I feel under pressure (although not from Pete, only myself,) to keep the house in order too, doing housework and preparing meals or shopping. I have at times felt insignificant in the world knowing I have so little impact in a wider sense as Bea and I go about our daily business together, despite my belief that mothering itself is an unmeasurable contribution to society as a whole. It has been a passing thought though and I’m finally getting into my groove of balancing all the different aspects of this new stay-at-home life.

I hope you have enjoyed the update and perhaps some of you can identify with my thoughts?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

#MomStyle

Have you seen the new ‘Mom Jeans’? When I was looking for boyfriend (or more aptly named by Warehouse Girlfriend‘) jeans recently, it was suggested I ‘take a look at the Mom jeans which are really similar’. They weren’t similar at all – they were high waisted and reminded me of the eighties – a look a flat-stomached teen could perhaps pull off in Shoreditch, but not for me. It got me thinking about how we stereotype mothers in the fashion stakes, whether it’s imagining a frazzled woman with spit-up on her shoulders or a Boden wearing middle class mummy. As I’m giving so much thought to my own capsule wardrobe right now I got pretty put out at the thought fashion is no longer aimed at me and can be seriously impractical at times.  (Who am I kidding? I’m a good 10 years above Topshop’s target customer profile!). Luckily for me there are loads of fashion trends right now that fit perfectly with my requirements of pram-pushing, baby carrying, new-body style and I thought I’d share some of the key pieces that I love from both a fashion and everyday reality perspective…

1 // 2

Joggers
Yes, the humble sweatpant (re-named ‘joggers’ to avoid the mental image of sofa lounging and baggy bums,) is bigger then ever. Re-imagined in drapey fabrics and new prints for work wear or going out, the good old jersey type is also a winner for every day. Wear with flats by day and pointed heels or sandals by night and unexpected tops like a buttoned up blouse for serious style credentials.

1 // 2

Fashion Trainers
Massive at the last fashion week in Spring and not going anywhere as a trend, this look is steadily filtering through to the mainstream. Perfect for pram pushing, keep it out of slummy mummy territory by choosing statement finishes like reflective metallic silver, neons or brights, and old school classic styles like New Balance, Adidas or Nike.

1 // 2

Boyfriend Jeans
I did end up finding a pair during the search I mentioned above and have lived in them since. Once you’ve got the right fit for you, they’re super comfortable with an air of off-duty cool. Boyfriend jeans just like joggers can be dressed up or down and are much more forgiving than skinnies if your legs aren’t as ‘skinny’ as they used to be. ;)

If you’re interested, I’m always collecting images of looks I love on my Pinterest Street Style board for outfit inspiration, take a look!

So what are your go-to wardrobe items that you turn to day after day and make life easy? I’d love to hear…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Warehouse AW14

Two weeks ago I was invited to view the Autumn Winter 2014 fashion trends in Warehouse. It served as a good idea of some of the big themes for fashion this season and so I thought I’d share the looks styled for the evening here with you and the trends I picked up on and liked the most. As an aside, Warehouse has always been one of my go-to high street stores. Although it’s up to the minute and aimed at a young market, I find the quality is good and the pieces fit well – great for a fashion fix.


Jason Lock

Surprisingly for the darker colder months, there are still a whole lot of pastel shades going on. I loved these fluffy coats and check out the dress below right -its actually printed leather and quite the showstopper close up, without being a bank breaker.


Jason Lock

I’m a big fan of sporty fashion and street style looks are still going strong with parka’s, joggers in drapey fabrics, more leather and the perennial neutral, animal print.


Jason Lock

My favourite looks were the new ‘co-ords’ – matching prints worn together as separates. It looks really modern and fresh in boxy shapes and big bold prints.

Jason Lock

Less my style but a look that is classic and going to be really big this season is the 60′s influence. Think shift dresses, a-line mini’s, shorter hemlines (for skirts and cropped tops or knits) and block colour.


Jason Lock

So readers, it’s fashion friday, are there any looks you would recreate here? And can you guess which one I’ll be wearing this season?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Found: Secret Linen Store

Now you all know how much I love my bed… so when I had an email from the Secret Linen Store I was delighted to find a gorgeous range of bedding that is right up my street. More and more recently I’ve been fancying a patterned bedding set and they are a brilliant way of brightening up a less fussy room inexpensively. Often however with my love of fresh white sheets I find printed bedding too busy or bright but their section is tonal, soft and calming – perfect for getting some quality rest.

Here are some of my favourites from the collection…



Be sure to check out the online store as the new Autumn collection is now in stock too if you fancy updating your bedroom for the colder months…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… Use a Dummy?

One of Bea’s most/least endearing behaviours is her vast repertoire of noises, made mostly when asleep in her crib, leaving me wide awake at night. She doesn’t do it as much in the day as she is often either in my arms or in the sling and having listened to these noises extensively over the last 7 weeks, they seem to mainly be made when she is getting herself to sleep or in light sleep. It’s probably the only thing about having her that has been a challenge so far, as it’s so frustrating to listen to when I’m trying to get a couple of hours sleep before the next feed!

When I was little I had a dummy, so did my sister and like so many things pre-baby, I never really had a problem with them before. I still don’t on other children. The only time I register it really is when you see some kids with a dummy in 24/7, but really, each to their own. One long night listening to her I thought, I wonder if a dummy will keep her quiet? She’s not a particularly ‘sucky’ baby and doesn’t for example need to fall asleep on the breast, she will happily be rocked off cuddling or in the last week or two in her crib by herself at night. But, if you put a finger in her mouth she will also drift off sucking that too and even better, soundlessly!

There’s a lot of chatter about dummies – some people just don’t like them, there’s the ongoing debate over whether it can cause ‘nipple confusion‘ in breast feeding babies and also if it can reduce feeding demand because the suck reflex is overused. It’s often recommended that you don’t use them before a certain age (6 weeks minimum) too. On top of all that is the whole dummy versus thumb discussion and which is better for a developing mouth and teeth? (FYI – Bea has found her thumb and does suck it but not at any particular time or as a comforter particularly…) I actually bought some dummies before Bea arrived and now I kind of don’t want to use them. Pete is dead against it as he feels it is too early and we’ll never get her to give the dummy up. Typically Pete’s judgement isn’t coloured by lack of sleep as he has ear plugs in when he is working the next day! My thoughts were that it would simply be a night time thing to get her to keep quiet (if it worked at all!) and drift off quicker so I could get more sleep. But would it then become something she was dependent on to sleep and cause her to wake if it fell out etc? Would I be making a rod for my own back?

So readers, I thought this was a good topic for discussion today… would you or have you given your child a dummy? Are you happy with that decision? Why did you give it and did it work? I’d love to hear your experiences…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Friday Finds… Back to School!

Well, it’s September now, which means back to school time. The roads are busier and the leaves are turning which so it’s time to treat yourself to some properly grown up stationery. I’ve spotted a few bits recently along with some old favourites here. The best part about this little treat is that you can kit your pencil case out without breaking the bank. :)

Book worms and English Literature students take note of this fab print – The entire text of Charlie and The Chocolate factory to celebrate the books 50th anniversary. So clever!

Happy weekend readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

How to Create Your Own Smoothie

I am always trying to get more fruit into my diet – veg I am good at eating, fruit not so much, so I loved this post that Katie sent in on DIY smoothies…

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Summer may be almost over after a sweltering July, but come sunshine or showers I think that smoothies are the perfect summer beverage. Indulgent enough to be a treat, but packed full of nutritious goodness. Filling enough to be a snack, but light enough to not feel heavy. #winning

The best part about them? How ridiculously easy they are too make.


Avocado, Blueberry & Ginger

With that in mind it seems daft to give you a smoothie recipe – instead here’s my formula for creating a delicious smoothie every time.

What you need:

Something creamy – bananas, mangos, or yogurt all work here.
Something liquid – apple juice, milk, coconut milk
Something sweet – honey, syrup, strawberries
A little something something – oats to provide a little more energy, cocoa powder to make your drink a bit more indulgent, your favourite spice… Whatever makes you happy.


Banana, Cocoa and Honey

You don’t have to use all four – ripe bananas are often both creamy and sweet, or maybe your fruit is so good it doesn’t need that something extra – but generally with this combination you’re sure to get good results. Equally, the exact proportions depend on how you like your smoothies – I try to use about half liquid to give a thick but easily drinkable consistency but you can use more/less.

Once you have your ingredients, just chuck them in a blender and whizz until smooth.


Banana, Peanut Butter & Honey

Here are a few of my favourite flavours:

Avocado, blueberry, ginger and apple juice
Banana, peanut butter, honey and milk
Banana, cocoa powder, honey and milk

Although really any combination of fruits will probably taste just great! Have you got any favourite smoothie flavours?

Katie x

PS. Find Katie on Pinterest and Instagram

Post Natal Style Dilemma’s

I’m tempted to follow that title with ‘what style?’… I certainly feel like I’m in the fashion wilderness right now. I know lots of women simply don’t care what they wear after a baby because they are too tired/sore/busy to even think about it and I totally get that, but for me, feeling well dressed (not necessarily smart,) is what helps me feel good about myself. With a new and different body, the biggest eye bags I’ve ever had and a slightly hazy and emotional take on life due to tiredness, cheering myself up with my wardrobe was something I needed to do.

Unfortunately for me and lots of other new mamas out there, it’s flipping difficult. I’ve got a double whammy of factors to consider, not just the mum tum and my still rapidly changing shape, but the soreness I’m still feeling post c-section. I’ve no waist to show off right now, and lots of things I would normally choose to sit lower on my waist or hips are too sore to wear for long or at all over my scar area. Fortunately that is improving day by day. Then when I find something that works for these issues (like my beloved t’shirt style shift dresses,), you can guarantee it doesn’t work for feeding in too. And don’t get me started on ‘breast feeding tops’ – the majority are dire, or simply not my style.

All of this led to a mini melt down (on my long suffering husband,) about how unattractive I was feeling and made me realise something had to give. I had been wearing old tee’s and tops (that didn’t fit,) my maternity jeans (no longer flattering,) and leggings (whilst breaking the cardinal rule by combining them with tops that didn’t cover my bum.) I’d been feeling even more morose as I realised that I couldn’t even shop the new season due to my changing shape and feeding restrictions. Whilst trying to save money on pointless purchases that I thought wouldn’t be needed for long, I was actually making myself unhappy by consigning myself to ill-fitting, inappropriate clothes!

By happy coincidence I happened to stumble across a blog on capsule wardrobe planning (Un-Fancy) which really speaks to me right now. I’ve talked before about packing for holiday and making sure you have pieces that work together by choosing a similar colour palate, then they can be combined in loads of different ways, so the idea of a capsule wardrobe wasn’t new to me. And giving it some thought has been a real eye opener…

I’ve realised for the foreseeable future my shape isn’t likely to change massively. I may or may not loose weight secondary to breastfeeding, but of my friends who did BF, I’d say more kept their ‘insurance blubber’ (what I call the extra pounds many women carry post baby that insures their breast milk against possible improbable cake famine,) for the duration that they fed, than those who were fortunate enough for the pounds to fall off. I’ve also realised that my usual ‘style’ isn’t that conducive to having a tiny baby. I need clothes that are comfortable to sit/lie/roll on the floor in, that wash easily and quickly, that don’t have hazardous embellishment on that might prevent me cuddling 24 hours a day and that are forgiving to my new shape. Oh and my favourite garment, the Dress, is pretty much out. Aside from that, I love the idea of having an edited selection of pieces that I can quickly get dressed from, feel good in and spend time on my life instead of fretting about how I look. And there’s the small matter of money – this way I hope I’m striking a happy medium between not spending anything and feeling rubbish about myself, and splurging on a wasteful short-term solution.

Some of the items I already have that will work for AW14…

So with Caroline’s blog and theory as a guide I have decided to create a capsule wardrobe for the next 3-4 months. It’s not an ideal time to start as I often find the weather in the UK is transitional in September and October, with as much chance of a crazy day or week of warm weather as freaky frosts, so it will be a tough job. As my circumstances are likely to change (I do hope I’m not wobbly and BF forever!) I don’t want to spend a fortune on this and Caroline champions using items you already have in your wardrobe for some of your capsule wardrobe. I’ve been surprised at how much of my wardrobe I can use already when I had a good look at it all. As you can see, I’m sorted for knitwear and found that I have historically invested in wardrobe classics and staples but I’m lacking in everyday jersey pieces. I’m using her tips to clear out my wardrobe (and the boxes and rails upstairs!) and find what is still good for me. I need to let go of things that I’m never going to fit again (hello wardrobe of 2009!) and get tough with the things I won’t normally ‘throw’ because I feel bad getting rid of clothes that aren’t technically ‘worn out’. Who am I kidding, I don’t throw the worn out stuff sometimes!

So over the next week or two I’m figuring out my capsule wardrobe for September to November/December, starting with the pieces I have and figuring out where the gaps are. When it’s all finalised I’ll share it here with you. I really want to start doing some what to wear posts again too so I will do some kind of periodic posts on the outfits I’m getting out of my wardrobe.

So readers, have you ever created a capsule wardrobe? Do you think you need one? or are you struggling with your wardrobe after a baby? Give me a shout with your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS, let me know how much you spend per month by completing the poll below…

Friday (not a) Frock O’clock


Baujken jumpsuit £99, Shoes & clutch Baujken, necklace Whistles // H&M jumpsuit £29.99, Tote and sandals H&M, bracelet Whistles

Always a fan of jumpsuits, I was pleased to see they are staying put in the new season collections. This one from Baujken caught my eye for it’s bright shade of blue and the lovely wide v-neck but then I spotted a (much cheaper) version in H&M. It’s not quite as eye catching but a great price if you’re not sure how much you will wear the trend.

Here are two ways to wear it to get you started… styled up for drinks or dinner, or dressed down with casual accessories for end of summer casual cool. What do you think readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo