Good Morning readers! Sorry for the lack of posts – I’m having some camera trouble which has been getting in the way and Pete is on his official paternity leave so we are out and about enjoying Bea. I’m sure things will get back to normal soon. Bear with me!
Maybe with the recent change in weather I’m already feeling nostalgic for the end of summer, or perhaps I’m hoping for an Indian summer to spend with Bea and the earth mother in me is coming out, but right now I’m leaning towards a much more relaxed sartorial style. Floaty tops, bright embroidered touches, cool fabrics and comfortable shapes are what I’m coveting, so I’m looking for the perfect embroidered top to pair with shorts, sandals and sunglasses for summer style.
They double as beach wear and don’t have to be restricted to summer – the black detailing on the first choice above would transition well into Autumn to work the folksy seventies vibe that will continue to be a hit for AW14. They’re also super kind to a lingering mum-tum and work well layered with a vest for breast feeding.
What do you think readers? Would you wear a kaftan?
I’m a real sucker for jewels and in recent years have moved towards buying pieces of real jewellery from favourites like Monica Vinader occasionally and building a collection that will last a lifetime, instead of frittering 10 and 15 pounds away here and there on inexpensive but poor quality costume pieces. I’m sure prolific accessory buyers would end up spending the same amount when totted up.
I have always loved Pippa Small’s pieces on Astley Clarke but they are way beyond my usual price point for purchasing so when I saw that Monsoon had collaborated with Pippa to make a capsule collection I was immediately interested. The collection also benefits the Turquoise Mountain Foundation (a minimum of £5 per piece is donated to the foundation) which employs craftsmen and women in Kabul, Afghanistan. Made of aquamarine and kunzinte, and 18K gold plated, the pieces are sure to be treasured for years to come.
What do you think readers, would you fork out a bit more for real materials instead of costume pieces?
Possibly the least sexy thing about being pregnant has been the bra’s. Conflicting advice about under wiring do’s and don’t's is confusing enough, without the then hideous selection available. Personally, I needed larger bra’s pretty much from the off and struggled on in my usual ones until about 17 weeks, when I headed off to the shops and spent a necessarily brief (for my sanity) trip scoping out the available options in M&S and John Lewis. I found a selection of twee or cutsy polka dot, floral and generally hideous bra’s and a rude sales woman who flat out refused to sell me an underwired bra ‘because I was pregnant’. Cue me leaving without getting measured and buying a 2 pack of navy and white lace non-underwired, lace bra’s from M&S (36D at the time and they were nursing bra’s – all of the maternity ones were.) The only other bra I have bought in pregnancy has been a strapless nude (heavily underwired) number to see me through events and various stroppy/halterneck tops. (FYI, I went from a 32 C/D pre-pregnancy, to a 34/36 E currently, and that’s pre-feeding.) The other 2 have been on rotation depending on what is not in the wash.
So with a new baby and the intention of breast feeding, I figured I’d need more bra’s – to help with the washing and also to try and make me feel better. I’m not obsessive about underwear and it’s certainly been a long time since I was wearing a matching set, but I know I’m going to feel a bit upset about my postpartum body and reckon if there’s anything I can do to make myself feel better, it’s worth shot. Plus, hopefully it’ll be a long stint of breast feeding, so on a cost per wear basis, these bra’s are going to earn their keep. I headed to Figleaves.com (first time customer) to check out their range after seeing a patient wearing a very pretty nursing bra and asking where it was from. It was Panache and I also found Elle McPherson’s range and HOTmilk. I was initially looking for a nude one but I bought all three of the above and sent the HOTmilk back, as it was too big (the others fit but have a little growing room, whereas the HOTmilk was slightly baggy.)
The service was great (free delivery and returns,) as was the range, so I wanted to share my finds. Have you bought any pretty nursing bra’s or can you comment on online sizing? I’d love to hear of any other brands that would be worth checking out…
As I’m already thinking post-baby clothes I was pretty excited to be able to legitimately consider the new Baukjen pre-fall collection that landed in my inbox last week. I’m looking for comfortable yet stylish clothes that I can wear around the house and out for baby groups and lunches with friends (whenever that happens!) and more than anything ease of wear. There’s a lot to be said for a capsule collection (I’ve talked about restricting seasonal clothes to a specific colour palette before to make getting dressed super easy,) and this capsule collection is perfect for late summer and early autumn days. These are my picks from the collection and they also act as great casual outfit inspiration.
One of the things I have been looking for lately to no avail has been a light cotton summer dressing gown for hospital and ease of feeding post baby. I’m not a dressing gown wearer and usually just opt for a vest and PJ bottoms when I’m up and lounging around out of bed, but I know the post natal wards will be hot and stuffy and I will want easy access so the hunt was on.
I eventually found the Cyberjammies one online then a friend told me her wedding party’s getting ready dressing gowns were Sainsbury’s so I started casting the net a bit wider. There are a few out there, just not in the places I expected and it’s harder again to find one that’s not too short/see through/silky. There’s always Etsy too, but I left it a bit late for that sadly. You should definitely check out Good Morning Beautiful to champion a boutique British brand too.
It’s fair to say that I am really getting to the stage of being truly fed up with maternity clothes. Dresses are fine and there are plenty of cute ones about, but when it comes to this warm weather I have been living in a pair of denim maternity shorts and vests. Comfy but I’m not feeling like much of a glowing mama. I’m also turning my thoughts to what I’m going to wear post partum, comfortable clothes that make me feel less of a wreck and allow me to wear something on top that is conducive to feeding. I decided a maxi skirt would be good and spied some in GAP (non maternity) with fold down waists that could go under bump now and over after baby, but they are not super inspiring. If you’re in the same boat as me, Seraphine also has a maternity split side maxi in the sale. However I did spot some gorgeous ones in the non-maternity sections (lucky for you guys!) and thought I’d share a couple here.
I’m going to do a feature on style for Breast Feeding soon, but if you have any tips, I’d love to hear them!
It’s not me sharing outfits today but Victoria. I saw her recent escapades on Facebook and just had to ask her to share her outfits, pulled together for what looked like a fabulous Indian wedding. Victoria is always glamorous and her four (yes, four!) outfits didn’t disappoint so I hope you enjoy looking and perhaps get some ideas for weddings you are attending this summer (or share some of your own outfits.)
I’ve been to a lot of weddings. 37 to be precise, not including our own, and I have four more over the next 12 months. I therefore have a lot of practise in putting together wedding outfits. Some of you that follow me on Instagram may have seen me in my wedding outfit planning efforts. I treat them in the same way I treat work projects – lots of preparation, diagrams and chat about the final product, but all thrown together in a panic in the last few moments, that often works out quite well, but is very different from the original plan. Shhh, don’t tell my boss!
I used to buy something new for each one – a new hat or dress, shoes or clutch… but then I totted up 12 invites in one year, some of them being two or three day events (so you know, you also need a special outfit for the big “night before” dinner and then something fancy-but-hangover-comfy for the morning/day after “survivors” gathering) and seeing as I’m neither a Kardashian nor a Middleton, it all got a bit much for my bank (in)balance and so I started recycling. I now have a pretty good suite of “occasion wear” from which I can mix and match future outfits.
So for 2014′s five weddings I sorted all my outfits out at the beginning of the year and knew exactly what I was going to wear…. and then I realised one was an Indian wedding and I had literally no clue where to start.
Thankfully the bride was on the ball, arranged a number of shopping trips for us less-clued up guests, provided a handy “what to wear, when” guide for the girls and boys for the various events and was kind enough to pick up little bits and pieces for us on her numerous trips to India.
So, here’s a run down of what I actually wore…
Civil Wedding(Friday afternoon)
For the Civil Wedding, the guideline was “British summer wedding” and having checked out the venue (One Marylebone) and spoken to the bride about her colour schemes (soft colours, white and pale pinks) at length I knew exactly what to wear. I pulled out a dress (special edition Olivia Rubin/Dorothy Perkins collaboration), a white Whistles clutch, some H&M hair clips (as I couldn’t fit a hat in my overnight bag) and my old faithful pink Louboutins (my wedding shoes – still the comfiest heels I’ve worn in five years!) and a fussy H&M pale pink necklace. I had intended to wear some new baby blue ankle strap shoes from New Look, but it was far too hot and I didn’t fancy “ankle-muffin top”.
Sangeet/Mehndi party – Friday evening
For the celebrations on Friday evening the guidance for Indian clothing was a trouser suit/Salwaar Kameez/Anarkali or Lengha (a skirt and a top with a scarf) and for western clothing, something bright. On a shopping trip with the bride, I found a nice hot pink and rose gold anarkali (a long floaty dress/top, trousers and a long scarf) which I dressed up with a pair of neon blue pointed courts (super cheap but super comfy from Linzi), some large gold chandelier earrings, some hot pink and gold bangles (a gift from the bride) and a rose gold evening bag from Mulberry.
We were performing a dance to Jai Ho as a tribute to the bride and groom at the event, and as it was incredibly hot and sticky that day, it was a no brainer that my hair was glued up and off my face in a bouffy beehive. It may look fancy, but let me assure you it’s not, I got dressed in a corridor and my hair is held up with a ton of dry shampoo, a gallon of elnett and quite a lot of sweat. Gross! Sorry!
Saturday was a day of rest and recovery for me, not so for the bride who had another two outfits to rock!
Hindu Wedding – Sunday day
The guidelines for this included “any type of Indian clothing, most guests will be in a sari” or if I chose western clothing, to be respectful and make sure it wasn’t too short or revealing. I was worried that wearing Indian clothing might have seemed odd, or offensive, seeing as I’m not Indian, but the bride assured me it was a good idea and even lent me one of her saris – in a beautiful pistachio green, embroidered and embellished in gold. It consisted of a petticoat, a blouse and a long, loooong piece of material which you fold, wrap, gather, tuck and drape around your body.
Thankfully, the bride’s mother had pre-folded and sewed the pleats at the front, so when I arrived (in essentially my underwear at a posh five star hotel (The Grove) it was only a case of wrapping, tucking and draping in the nearest toilet cubicle (which was thankfully rather plush, considering the venue). I found someone to pin everything in to place so I flashed no tummy (too soon in the year for that!) and to keep everything secure. I accessorised with big gold earrings, a sparkly hair band, more bangles from India (another gift from the bride) and some gold sandals I wore as a bridesmaid 7 years ago, from Faith, which are still going strong! I took along my trusty Lulu Guinness lips clutch for a pop of colour!
Reception – Sunday night
The instructions for the reception, the big finale, were “think black tie – go glam”… now those instructions I had no trouble with! I wore a bargain ASOS dress, that looks way more expensive that it was. I also have it in white, but I thought for the evening’s decor and theme, Art Deco London, the black would be better, as I last wore it at a Claridge’s Christmas party. You may have also seen it on the wonderful Rebecca as well. Great minds think alike and all that!
I accessorised with a box clutch (a fiver in an Oasis sale years ago, and until now, unused, due to its rather unuseful size!) pewter peep toe heels from the Ted Baker sale, also years old but dead comfy, some Swarovski earrings which were a 30th birthday present, a super-bling chunky bracelet – also a 30th birthday present – and again some bangles from India, given away as favours at the Sangeet/Mehndi party.
On Monday I wore pyjamas, lots of Sudocrem and Vaseline on all my sequin chafe and allergic flare ups from all the safety pins and soft, soft socks on my dance-weary feet.
I can’t publish photos of the bride without her permission, but rest assured, no matter what effort we put in, we paled in comparison to how stunningly breathtaking she was. Her outfits (designed bespoke to match each venue, theme and setting), accessories and make up had my jaw on the floor.
When she’s back from her well-deserved honeymoon, perhaps I’ll convince her to give you a sneaky peek.
How do you plan for wedding outfits? Or is it just me that’s this bonkers about planning?
There were some murmurings on Twitter recently about work appropriate shoes for summer and it can’t be only me who has been feeling stifled in shoes during these warmer days.
I’m in the market myself for some smarter sandals that are work appropriate so thought I’d have a look for some options – the bonus is that many of these are in the sale or will soon go in, so there are bargains to be had!
Obviously, ‘work appropriate’ is a relative term and really depends on your place of work. I am lucky enough to be pretty flexible about what I wear but I appreciate some offices may be much more formal and other places more accepting of trend led styles.
Tips for keeping it work appropriate:
Check your work policy about open toed shoes
Choose Tan for a classic look that goes with your whole wardrobe or modern neutrals (white/nude/khaki/navy/animal print/metallics)
A low wedge can look smarter than the same shoe when flat soled.
Done right, a block colour can lift a conservative outfit and not look casual.
Look for good foot coverage – i.e. wider straps and formal details for fastening
Avoid ‘thong’ or flip flop toe post styles
Unless you work in a high fashion environment, avoid ‘flatforms’.
Avoid woven or punched leather and canvas finishes.
If you feel better with a little lift, but can’t face a proper heel, the mid or low heel is also bang on trend and wedges work really well for summer. Peep toes are perfect for a bit of cooling ventilation too.
For higher heels, look for a block heel or wedge and again those wide straps to kept the look fresh and modern, although I take my hat off to anyone with the patience to wear a pair like this to work when it’s hot!
Now that we’re not getting the Cosatto pram (which came with a changing bag,) I’m starting to think that I can’t bury my head in the sand about changing bags anymore and need to find something to do the job. Trouble is, I’m kind of fussy about my bags and whilst I’m not bothered about finding a bag that is trying to pretend to be a handbag, I do want something that fits my style.
I thought I’d share some of my criteria and some of the better brands and bags I have spotted.
Wipe clean/waterproof (for pushing the pram in Manchester drizzle.)
Reasonably priced ie, significantly less than £100
Stylish (puts a rucksack out of the question – not me at all.)
Not huge – I’m not a big packer and don’t want to lug around everything but the kitchen sink.
Not overtly feminine (I have asked Pete about this and he doesn’t care what the changing bag looks like, but I don’t want him to feel totally silly.)
Not too bothered about inserts/included changing bags or bottle holders, but the more expensive it is, the more bothered I would be.
Babymel bags are from London (I do love supporting British brands) and have great designs and patterns. I really like this navy spot bag as it will work in winter and summer, without looking silly on Pete.
This weekend I saw my girlfriends for a kind of pseudo baby shower (Read: indulgent afternoon tea and dinner out while I grilled them for birth and baby info.) One brought along her 5 week old and this changing bag recommended by 2 of the others there as a unisex option and it has some amazing features, like top access without lifting the flap and a waterproof sealed pocket for soiled items.
ASOS maternity strapless dress, £18, worn with silver birkenstocks and silver Zatchel, aviators and Christy’s Nimbin hat
A couple of weeks ago we went to Italy for our friends wedding. I’ll share the travel aspect soon but I realised recently that I haven’t shared much in the way of what I have been wearing maternity-wise. Frankly, this has been due to the fact that we have been so busy in the house, painting, DIYing and running to places like B&Q and IKEA, that there hasn’t been much int he way of dressing up. However, on holiday I got to wear a few new pieces that I thought I’d share today.
In summer, I think strapless styles are a must as I can’t stand tan lines, even if they are inadvertently picked up whilst sight seeing. Unsurprisingly given the amble bust that arrived with pregnancy for me, strapless maternity styles are few and far between, but I love this Sea shell print white dress from ASOS. Unfortunately it’s no longer available but this similar style is.
Everyone needs a maternity maxi and this Striped GAP maxi is super comfy and wasn’t expensive. The only downside is that a strapless bra is required, due to the racer back straps. It’s currently on sale too.
For the wedding, I decided I’d be too hot and bothered in something clingy (like the body-con style I wore at 28 weeks to another wedding.) I had spied this Seraphine Maxi and wanted to buy it for general wear in summer, but realised the luxe jersey draping and elegant front knot were suitable for a summer wedding and I felt a million dollars in it. I wore it again this weekend at the black tie do I went to and loved it again.
Lastly, and slightly oddly, I’ve been back into some of my ‘normal’ clothes! You might remember this favourite Whistles dress of mine (seen here and here before.) – Now that my bump has overtaken my boobs, looser t-shirt and shift style dresses that I love but were super unflattering hanging straight down from my larger chest are now comfortable and fashionable, still showing the bump!
Obviously, I know this is all very warm weather appropriate, but I thought it was time for a bit of maternity outfit inspiration!