Triple temptation: Sparkling sneaks


Carvela Jasper // Dune Ennis // Kurt Geiger Lucca

I’ve always been a jeans and converse girl at the weekends and now more than ever I’m in flats and re-discovering my love of trainers. I’m in need of an update in the shoe department this spring and top of my hit list are some statement trainers to give that breton tee and jeans a little edge. What could be better than leopard and glitter?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

How to Wear: February

Hello Readers!

Well February has been a mixed bag hasn’t it? We’ve veered from really beautiful, Spring-like weather mid-month to snow (where we live anyway) last weekend. It’s also been an extremely busy month for me work-wise and coupled with being almost 7 months pregnant and knowing we have a house that has no roof, I feel pretty exhausted to be honest.

I did enjoy a few precious days away with Richard and Calum just before Valentine’s Weekend. We decided to head to the New Forest (barely an hour and a half from us but it felt like far enough away for a nice break) and spent a few nights at The Pig.

Honestly, we love these hotels having now stayed at three of the four. I think for me it’s all in the marketing (“a restaurant with rooms”). They are so low key. Very little to do except wander round the kitchen gardens and check out the animals; perhaps have a little treatment in the Potting Shed; sit in one of the comfy public rooms and enjoy a cocktail whilst you play “Pass the Pigs” (does that remind anyone else of their childhood (the game not the cocktails!) or is that just me?) or just read, and really, chill out. Anyone who knows the properties will know the food is exceptional too and a fantastic added bonus.

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One of the Comfy Lounges at The Pig, Brockenhurst

A delicious array of home-infused Chase Vodka’s and of course, homemade Sloe-Gin. Must visit again when alcohol is on the menu ;)

What we loved this time was that they treated Calum like a king. The family room we had was wonderful, and the little treats that he was given throughout the stay were priceless.

Anyway, I digress a bit, as this is supposed to be a Style Column, but what we did this month dictated largely what I’ve been wearing.

Work-wise, it’s been all about pointy flats and dresses. Most of the dresses are non-maternity, either they just fit (thanks goodness for the shift shape that’s in this S/S) or they are a size larger than I usually take, and the flats are some I have and also supplemented by a new acquisition in these. I also made a cheeky purchase from my What to Buy Feb list – the TopShop stripe dress. This does come in Maternity too, but I decided against that and went for the normal one and it’s fine.

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Casually, it’s been all about sneaker- flats, jeans and oversized jumpers. Perfect for this transition weather. I do love the Zara boots above I picked for a steal in NYC. They are such a beautiful colour IMO ;)

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The other thing I’ve rediscovered is my love of a hat. There are certain styles I can’t wear (I struggle with a Trilby) but wearing a hat is something I’ve always loved and winter is the perfect time to try some of the lovely felt styles out there. This TopShop one has been a favourite over the last couple of weeks. You also can’t go wrong with a bobble hat. Mine (from Bobbl) is great as it’s a nice mix of Black and Navy which goes with a lot of my wardrobe.

So, how have you worn February? Did you pick up anything in the What to Buy list from earlier this month?

See you back here in a couple of weeks!

Erin xx

Triple Temptation: Spring backpacks


John Lewis Backpack // Boden backpack // Orla Kiely Backpack

I’ll be honest, when backpacks came into fashion again a couple of seasons ago, I thought it was a pretty unpalatable trend. However, as these things often do, the trend has grown on me and now it happens to fit in with my lifestyle brilliantly. I more often wear Bea in a woven wrap when I’m going on our errands rather than use the pram so a backpack would be perfect, and it suits my more casual sporty style currently. I’m thinking a backpack would be the perfect upgrade from a changing bag when the time comes.

Can I tempt you with one of these readers, or have you seen a better one?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Must Have Monday…

Where do you think this beauty is from then? Bright spring shade, contrast print interior, stylish swing cut with vented back flap?


Coral cotton blend jacket

Boden perhaps?

What If I told you it was £19.99?

H&M.

Kids!

My friend Alka was wearing this H&M coat at the weekend and I couldn’t get enough of it. She’s a petite lady but was wearing a (kids) size 12-14. It also goes up to a 14+ (kids size) so I reckon you could easily fit into it up to an adult size 12ish, perhaps more. I hope those of you who are bigger don’t feel excluded – that’s not the intention at all, I just had to share it as it looked so good on!

Have you got any other adult worthy kids clothes tips? (Rachel mentioned last week that adult size 10-12 can fit Bodens teenage range, meaning quite a saving!)

Happy Monday readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Breton basics


Boden // embellished stripe // woven back top

One of the things I learned by making my capsule wardrobe is that I never invest in basics. I’m always inclined to buy cheap versions and that’s if I buy them at all – I often buy all the statement pieces and am left high and dry when I need a simple pulled together item, like todays breton top. So this year I’m investing in a few quality basics and starting with the perfect breton tee. Of course Boden must be the king of the breton (or Petit Bateau?) so I’ve included their classic here. Perhaps you like a bit of glitter and sparkle? I think this jewelled version would cover the smart/casual bases for casual work to weekend wear. Then I got distracted and had to include my favourite: A plain breton front hides a denim blue woven back. 2 tops for the price of one and the easiest way to make sure your breton is never boring ;)

Have you seen any amazing examples of the breton tee I should know about?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

What to Buy: February

Happy February Readers!

Although I do hate to wish time away, as I feel it speeds along so fast at the best of times, I’m glad we are now firmly in to 2015, and thoughts can be turned to Spring, and all the new-ness that comes with it.

The January sales seemed to last forever, and it’s really nice to see the new season stock coming in, especially when the trends for SS15 are not only beautiful, but really quite wearable too.

It’s a tradition of mine since I was at school to buy a copy of Vogue for my Mum twice a year for their Catwalk Report, and this still continues 20 years later! When I was living at home, I used to earmark the pages for Mum who would then make me something from the season (she’s a Bio-Chemist but loves to dress-make in her spare time), and she still uses the pages for her inspiration now.

This issue didn’t disappoint, and here is a round up of my favourite trends of the season.

Denim with a Difference

ASOS Dress / H&M Girlfriend Jeans

This take on the Denim trend takes me back a little to my late teens, when I LIVED in a Denim pinafore dress that Mum had actually made me. There’s an M&S Full Skirt that I’m waiting to come into store which looks perfect, but in the meantime, I love the easy look of this ASOS White dress and the patchwork pattern really lives up to the “with a difference” tag. H&M are also on fire with their jeans selection at the moment. If you haven’t tried their “girlfriend” fit I urge you too. Skinner than Boyfriend, but a slightly higher cut (something I prefer now I must admit!) and not too tight on the leg, the silhouette they give is great with flats or heels. This distressed pair would look great with a sweatshirt now, or strappy cami come the warmer weather.

It’s all about the Stripes

Next Skirt / Boden Top / M&S Shoes / TopShop Dress

I really never do tire of a stripe, and they are set to be big this season on everything from clothing to accessories. Bold colours, monochrome or the classic Bretton, anything goes really. This is good news for me, as a LOT of my wardrobe is already stripes, but I am drawn to these M&S shoes (sold out in my size, BOO!) and also this Boden top is very like the Karen Millen dress I’ve been living in this winter. I also love the way that some stores have styled stripes with other prints in this summer – Next, I’m looking at you :) There’s lots of choice out there so just go for a colourway and size that you know suits you.

Fancy Florals

Next Shirt / H&M Trousers / Boden Trainers / TopShop Trousers

As the Vogue supplement suggests, flowers are big news in SS15 and what I really love is that it’s not just one particular print. From big and bold cartoony type prints, to the more chintzy Liberty-esque styles, again, there is something to suit everyone. I personally think the bolder the better, but I think I’m in the same camp as Rebecca here – having grown up with Rainbow Bright as a style icon ;) I love this Next shirt, especially teamed up with the stripe pencil skirt, and these Topshop trousers, although not strictly floral, really drew my eye in the iciness that was NYC last week. I may just have to get these and store them in my post-baby box to wear come the late Spring.

On the Fringe

J.Crew Top / H&M Bag / Zara Boots / ASOS Bag

Fringing was around last season, but it’s not going anywhere fast, and you can now find it not only adorning accessories, but clothing too. Although I’m not what you’d class as a hippy chick, there are ways to nod to this trend. These Zara boots are a nice way in, as is this J.Crew top, which when worn with slim trousers or jeans, gives just enough movement to satisfy that swish. For something a little easier to wear, the blogger-favourite H&M bag is now back in stock, and although I know this isn’t actually fringing per se, the ASOS clutch has a gorgeous tactile look to it.

Jump to it

H&M / Zara / Mango

It’s so much more commonplace now to see a Jumpsuit in your favourite shop. Actually really easy to wear (although granted, NOT that easy when nature calls) they can be dressed up or down depending on the look you are going for. These three jumpsuits really stood out for me, mostly down to the print on the first two, and the shape of the third. Personally, I prefer a jumpsuit that looks less like a boiler suit, but that’s because I’ve not found a “boiler-suit” one that suits me. I’d be interested to know if any of you guys have.

Now, this is a fashion column I know, but I wanted to just touch a minute on a couple of beauty buys I’ve found and wanted to share, hope you don’t mind. I’m not saying they are must buys, but I’ve certainly found them revolutionary. First up with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I bought this on a flight back from the US towards the end of last year, and have used it nightly, give or take a few misses, ever since. It smells wonderful, and really moisturises my skin. I’ve found with about three months use, texture is better and I do actually look less tired and worn out without make it – a big achievement!

The other is the lip products by Bite Beauty. Now Rebecca mentioned these a while ago on this blog and I bought a couple then (when Cocosa was selling them) and ever since, I’ve picked one up in the US (they are sold in Sephora) when I’ve been there. You can pick them up on eBay, and Sephora now ship to the UK, but my favourites are the High Pigment Pencils (Zinfandel is my go-to) and the Matt Creme Lip Crayons. The colours are mostly bold (which I love) but it’s the fact they are made with natural ingredients, and don’t make my lips feel dry at all that I like the most.

So that’s my tips for February readers. I’d love to see if you bought something from here, or from one of the trends above. Do share if you do, by using #ffWTBFeb on Insta or Twitter.

Until the end of the month… :)

Erin xxx

How to Wear: January

Morning Readers!

I hope you have all had good January’s and that the month hasn’t been too long for you. I was lucky enough to have a week in NYC last week (although I wasn’t with my family, boo) which broke up the month a little, but I normally suffer from the “extra long month” syndrome like most.

I do hope my #JanuaryJoy post at the beginning of the month helped to elicit some pleasure though, especially since my recommended buys were all under £40. Here’s how I wore a few of them…

Sparkles and Leather

I mentioned the H&M Sparkle shirt a couple of times – once in January and once before that in October. It’s very J.Crew-esque in my opinion and a great length to wear with skinny jeans or leggings. I’ve paired it here with Black Skinnies but have also worn it with a skirt. A great buy and there are still a few larger sizes left, although I have seen them in-store too.

I know that Leather Leggings weren’t officially on my What to Buy list, but wearing them with an Oversized Jumper was, and that’s what I’m doing here. This was is a charity shop cashmere men’s find which I love, and brought warmth easily at the beginning of the month whilst at Chessington Zoo for the day. These leather skinnies are old from Zara, but there are plenty about – check out my post earlier in January where I’ve commented where the best place to get them is.

Lace and Oversized Jumpers

I actually bought the Green Lace Insert Next Dress I featured for a Black tie event that I had mid-month. I didn’t fancy something long, and I had found these Carvela Red Shoes (now sold out) in the John Lewis sale, and although not usually two colours I’d wear together, I found the green was dark enough to carry them.

Whomever invented the Oversized Jumper was a genius. As I said, I wear this H&M one (now sadly sold out in all three colours online) as a dress with tights and boots, or as I have done here with Skinny Jeans. This was the perfect Travel outfit. I had a Stripe Long-sleeve t-shirt on underneath it so I could de-layer on the plane, but I was grateful for the jumper, and Parka, when I got to NYC! The cold there is BITING!

Embellished Shoulders

Now THIS jumper I actually found in Zara in NYC as I wasn’t quick enough to nab it from my own list at the beginning of the month, and I love the detailing on the neck and arms, plus the fact it’s machine washable. What I don’t love in retrospect is that every darn thing catches on the jewels. Note to self – do not wear with a snag-able blanket scarf. However, it’s the picture on the right that will draw your attention… ;)

Yes, I’m going to be a Mummy again! I’m now six months pregnant with bubba No. 2 and we can’t wait. I had a rough start this time, something I wasn’t used to as I sailed through the whole nine months the first time round, but after week 16 or so, I began to feel better. The second trimester is definitely being more kind to me :) The day this picture was taken I actually ended up walking about 70 blocks in NYC and felt fine afterwards, although a little stiff the next day I must admit.

I am going to continue to write the What to Buy posts at the beginning of the month, and still continue to the How to Wear whilst I feel OK, but these may lessen off. I’m also without the majority of my wardrobe whilst our house is renovated. I feel a little like Rebecca in the lead up to having Bea with all the house improvements and impending deadline :)

So, there we have it – the news is finally out, although I suspect a few of you may have guessed in my lack of waisted items which I love. Do follow me on Instagram for some daily updates if you like. I’ll be back next week with my pick of what I’ve seen of the New Season. Until then…!

Erin xxx

Find Erin on Twitter @ErinLauraWalsh or Instagram @ShoeQueen79

#JanuaryJoy – Clear out your wardrobe

I’m not using this prompt to give you a prescriptive list of methods for clearing out your wardrobe. (We’ve done that before and if you would like some pointers read michelle’s detailed post here.) Instead, I’m using it as an opportunity to share with you my experiences of my capsule wardrobe. I started it in September but only blogged about it in October, inspired by Caroline over at Unfancy.com and driven by my post-natal style wilderness.

Before we start, if you want to read about my original choices, here is a link to the AW14 capsule wardrobe reveal post. I’m going to take you through what I chose now and what I actually wore…

Starting with the tops. As you can see there was a lot that went unworn here or I didn’t wear much. As I bought a lot of cheap stuff there was a lot I didn’t wear because of the quality – that top left t-shirt from Forever21 was dire, and the top middle sweat I wore quite a lot and still love, but hasn’t washed well and has gone out of shape. The big sloppy oversized tee’s were a real winner. That happens to be a style I like and was super-forgiving on my changing shape. I must have worn that wine coloured Zara TRF number (all links in the original post,) twice a week for months. The Superdry sparkly logo top (bottom left) was a surprise winner too – it had a bit of sparkle to cheer me up but was a flattering weight of waterfall and longer in the body, also a bit more flattering. And the cream v-neck zip front top was great for feeding and looked a bit smarter if I was going out.

The things I didn’t wear were for 3 main reasons. 1. They were too fancy for the occasions I had to get dressed for ie. there weren’t many occasions I needed to dress up for in this time period. And 2. The weather really scuppered my plans – I didn’t wear the pink cashmere Whistles jumper at all as it was too warm and only wore the other knits a couple of times, but I haven’t marked them ‘worn once’ as it wasn’t a failure on their part or mine in choosing them, just circumstance with the weather. Lastly, reason number 3. was that I didn’t need them including in my capsule in the first place but I panicked and thought I ‘ought to have’ a chambray shirt, for versatility, for example.

Moving onto the bottoms… I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, lest of all me who lives in jeans, but I basically wore the boyfriend jeans everyday, then moved onto the skinny jeans as soon as they were more comfortable and as the weather turned too cold to bare my ankles. The joggers were a surprise favourite again – probably not that stylish, but great for bumming around the house in and just being super comfy. I hardly wore the skirts or dresses – I think they were optimistic in how I would feel about wearing that style given my new shape. And the black skirt was an error. I never wear black and I bought this because I couldn’t find a striped or grey one anywhere. Error. Oh and that khaki jacket? I wore it every day that was dry. A brilliant buy for the transitional weather.

On the shoe front, I LIVED in those trainers. I know they’re not for everyone, but I love them and I’ll definitely be including fun fashion trainers in future capsule’s. The over the knee boots I would have loved to wear (and tried to for a dinner out,) but amongst the extra stone of weight I was still carrying at that time, some of it was mysteriously distributed on my calves and I feared for my circulation so gave up. Sad times. ;) I didn’t wear the leopard flats as much as I could have because (again, online shopping error,) I settled for a cheaper pair I didn’t fit very well and they feel too big so I always reached for the trainers first instead.

So, what have I learned from the whole experiment? Before you ask, I didn’t cheat. I went all the way through to Dec 1st (probably further,) without dipping into my stored clothes (barring my holiday when I had to wear different summer clothes obviously.)

1. I DO NOT NEED MANY CLOTHES. Really. I knew I could get away with a lot less than I had, but really, out of the 35 pieces, I could probably have lived with about 20-25 pieces. That’s the moral of this exercise for you all to think about… how many of the items in your wardrobe do you actually wear? I suppose that could seem wasteful given the amount I purchased and that bothers me more ethically than financially as they were low cost items on the whole. But a lot will be worn in future, it’s just not right for now. And that may not apply when I have to incorporate work clothes into my wardrobe again.

2. Quality over quantity is a worthwhile investment. I know, I know; Lots of people baulk at spending £100 on a pair of jeans. But if you wear them 5 days a week, why the heck not? Equally, you could spend £20 and save the rest. That’s up to you, I’m just saying that if you remove all the unworn/hardly worn items and the money you spent on them from your clothing budget, think what you could get for the money…

3. Do not settle for quick fix items. A lot of the items I didn’t wear were because they weren’t right in the first place. Often I had something in mind but struggled to find it and settled for something similar that ended up being something I disliked, precisely because it wasn’t what I really wanted.

4. On the post-natal/breastfeeding front, I learned 2 things. Regarding the feeding, I didn’t have to modify my wardrobe much once I discounted my favourite item, the dress… those with buttons are ok, but the styles weren’t really me – I like t-shirt and shift styles that would have been tricky. Other than that, as long as a top is loose enough to lift or won’t pull out of shape if it’s stretchy, you can do the whole pull up thing to feed. The most discreet way is to use a vest underneath as many of you recommended but it was too hot for many of the months, so I just used Bea to cover my tummy and maybe a muslin tucked under her if I felt really exposed or self conscious. When it comes to post-natal style, I think I only really needed  a few really nice tops that were loose and comfortable, decent jeans that fitted and were comfortable, and flat slip on and off shoes that were comfortable – sense a theme there?!

So would I do it again? Yes. Definitely. I am doing right now and I’ll share my current capsule with you as soon as I have time, (it takes a while to compile these posts.) I’ve created a new winter capsule that I anticipate I’ll be wearing until the end of February at least, but whether I’d be so strict about a set number of pieces and a 3 month time frame, I don’t know. I think a one in one out policy is more sensible and infrequent shopping as our seasons are difficult to predict. Just think, if you had to remove an item from your wardrobe every time you bought one, either to store it for a future season or to bin it, would you think about whether the one you replaced could be reworked, whether it was worn out and really needed replacing, or whether the new item was worth losing an old one? I think it will really help me keep my purchases in check. I’ve actually enjoyed having less, spending less and shopping less! I’m having too much fun with Bea!

So what do you think readers? I’d love to hear if you did it, or if you’re inspired to try it – even if it’s just to pare back your own wardrobe.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

#JanuaryJoy: Refresh your Style

Hello Readers!

HNY to you all. 2014 was certainly a blur but I enjoyed the pace of the final two weeks where I had the time off work to spend with Hubby and son. Returning to work on Monday was a big struggle!

I know I didn’t recap what I wore in December but I’m sure you were all too busy enjoying your festive periods to care anyway ;) Thank you to all those of you that joined in with #fffestivefun – it was lovely to see your interpretation of the daily prompts.

January can be a bit of a mixed bag. With the Media serving up initiatives like Dryathalon (all for good causes though), the inevitable return to the norm (be that work, school or just regular life after the buzz of Christmas) and the fact that it can be so long until Pay Day for some, it’s not surprising that January is often billed as a depressing month.

However, fear not! This month’s What to Buy features some great pieces that you’ll mostly find in the remains of the Sale, and as some of you may be on a budget, nothing exceeds £40. Coupled with Rebecca’s #JanuaryJoy, we can make this years Jan a bright one!

A Classic Jumper

My love for J Crew knows no bounds and although my American boss doesn’t know what all the fuss is about (“It’s like M&S isn’t it?”… erm No!), the Tippi Jumper is one of my favourite pieces. Bracelet length sleeves and a close enough fit to be worn smart or casually, the Tippi is a good alternative to a T-shirt for the Spring. These two colours are reduced in the sale and are actually great Spring colours. Uniqlo and Gap are also good places to find really good alternatives, also in Merino Wool.

J Crew / Uniqlo / Gap

An Oversized Knit

These are everywhere and since the winter months firmly still with us, you’d get a lot of wear out of it. I wear mine either as a Jumper dress for work or with faux leather leggings for easy weekend wear. I especially like the camel H&M style – not a massive lover of a polo neck, this is loose enough to be cosy and not make me look too top heavy.

H&M / H&M / M&S / Topshop

Something Lilac

This notorious “Granny” shade is set to be big for SS15. Ranging from the palest purple to something more Neon Parma Violet, it would be a good time to pick up one of these pieces to add to your wardrobe as a nod to Spring, but at AW14 sale prices.

New Look / Clarks / H&M / ASOS

Sparkles

The Magpie in me will never die and anything Sparkly always cheers me up. The F&F flats above have a whiff of Tabitha Simmonds about them. For £7 just click and collect with your weekly shop. Also, I’ve mentioned this shirt before, and now it’s in the sale ;)

H&M / F&F / Zara / Monica Vinader

Lace

Again, lace was big on the SS15 collection catwalks and you could easily nod to the trend early with something you pick up now. Granted, the lace seen on the Runways was beautiful pastels and whites, but really, lace is lace right and these colours are much easier to wear in January…

Next / Next / Whistles / Zara 

So what do you think readers? Will you choose something here to brighten up your Jan? My Month has kicked off with our Renovation Project starting at home – meaning we’ve had to move out for a while. I’ll be back later in the month with “How I Wore” January but please forgive any less than salubrious places that my outfit post pictures are taken from. #realliferules after all ;)

Erin xx

Monday Must-have: Your Christmas Party dress


Dress, Marks & Spencer, £45

This year I’m looking for a Christmas dress that doesn’t break the bank as it’s likely I’ll wear it for all of 5 minutes before losing patience and opting for something more baby friendly. I was pretty taken with this gorgeous tulle number from M&S which at £45 fits the bill perfectly. The deep v-front is loose enough to pull down for feeding and I’m thinking it’ll look great with a jumper over it on colder but festive days if I want to dress up and look fancy sometime. It’s the nod to the festive season my Winter capsule needs so look out for it featuring again here soon…

Love,
Rebecca
xo