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 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…
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!
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?
This week is my last at work and although I’m feeling ok from a tiredness point of view I am looking forward to having some time to devote purely to getting ready for baby. At present (36 weeks) I have the sum total of a pram, 1 blanket, 1 cardigan, 2 sleep suits, 1 baby bath and a rocking crib with 2 sheets. No nappies. No car seat. In fact there are plenty of essentials still missing.
I had no idea where to start with baby stuff and even had to ask my sister in law what you even put a baby to bed in (clothes-wose) after getting very confused about swaddling and blankets or no blankets advice. I found the John Lewis Nursery checklist very helpful and not at all excessive in terms of things to buy and so I edited it and created my own version here.
Do bear in mind that the different sections of the list may not apply to everyone. The feeding section for example is geared towards breast feeding as I intend to give it a good go, and I’m not sure a play mat or bouncer are essential for the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Although I’m lucky enough to live close to supermarkets and John Lewis, and there’s always Amazon, I don’t want to be unprepared so these are my basics to stock up on so I can concentrate on baby for the first few weeks.
You can download the list by clicking on the image above if you want to, or just click here.
I’d love to hear if you think any of it is unnecessary or if I have missed any essentials off that you found you couldn’t live without in the first few weeks?
June has absolutely flown by in the Norris household, probably because so many projects were completed or nearing completion and we started a couple of new ones too. Now that it’s almost June I’m pretty terrified to see my due date looming on the next months calendar and excited to meet baby Norris at the same time. An equally large amount of things need to happen before baby arrives for me to feel even remotely ready, so I hope time doesn’t fly quite as fast!
The kitchen has gone from almost finished to very almost finished and usable, which has felt fantastic and meant we moved from takeaways, to easy cook no-mess dinners like Pizza (and the re-initiation of Friday-night-is-pizza-night in the Norris house,) through to the Sunday-brunch-this-kitchen-was-made-for Pancakes. We also finally had the stained glass put back into our bedroom windows and I’m loving our new kitchen floor.
At the beginning of the month I spent a few days in Windermere for a work course and as usual, remembered that I should spend more time there as it’s so close.
In full on nesting mode we also started 2 more rooms in the house. As Francesca is still with us, we needed a nice room for mum to stay in when the baby comes, so we ploughed through one of the attic rooms, having it replastered, a new window fitted and new carpet, then decorated it all in 2 weeks. More on that soon.
Lastly, this weekend we started the nursery – It’s now ready to wallpaper, having took longer than we expected to paint and I have a much clearer picture of where we’re going decor wise. More on that to come soon too!
So what did you do this June? (I’m sure lots of you have had babies or are due next month like me?) Have you been decorating like us or being sensible and just enjoying the weather?!
Since the house is kind of getting there (i.e. the builder is more outside than inside now…) I’m thinking about the best methods of cleaning. Microfiber and e-cloths were a revelation for me in the fight against dust and dirt so I love posts like this one from Real Simple on the best cleaning supplies.
Do you smile then apply your blusher? I do, but wondered if that look was getting dated (after all, I’ve been doing it for at least 10 years!) so this post on how to apply your blusher perfectly was well timed.
Dana from one of my favourite interiors blogs House Tweaking is giving a whole house tour right now. She is working on an epic renovation and I love her style, so head on over for some serious interiors porn.
This weekend we are decorating the nursery and in an about turn after this moodboard, we’re going (surprise surprise, ) grey with this stunning paper. Check out their Ostrich paper too for a healthy dose of quirk that would look great in a bathroom or bedroom.
As this is the first proper weekend Pete and I have to ourselves with the new kitchen in, I’m planning on making the most of it and cooking a weekend breakfast. Pancakes are top of the list and I might try this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s protege, Anna Jones (she was one of the first trainees at Fifteen,) and her book is on modern veggie recipes – A Modern Way to Eat, check it out… (and the recipe here.)
Happy Friday readers,
The last 10 weeks of pregnancy has absolutely flown by and I feel bad that I have let these updates slip, not because I think you’re hanging on my every pregnancy related word, but because I use this as a record for myself too. I even have a little note book of pregnancy milestones and haven’t recorded anything in it since before 20 weeks.
The truth is, so far (touch wood,) I have been very lucky and pregnancy hasn’t really stopped me at all. That is definitely changing now (more in my next update,) but up to 34 weeks things have been pretty normal. That coupled with all the things we have been having done to the house has been a massive distraction and I speak no word of a lie when I say aside from the pram, we are no more prepared for a baby now than we were at my last update.
I feel kind of sad about this. I know my second pregnancy (again, touch wood,) won’t be the same as my first, with a small one around to run around after I doubt it will be given much attention and I wish I had had time to indulge in pregnancy related treats like Yoga. I haven’t done a single jot of regular exercise since becoming pregnant and never made it swimming as I intended. But, I guess the physical activity in the house has more than made up for that and whilst I now feel huge, I’ve only just hit the 2 stone weight gain mark. And health wise, it’s only really been working hard in the house that has phased me – my lower back has been really stiff and sore if I over do the cleaning or decorating. Oh that and tennis…
28 weeks seemed like a good time to suggest a game of tennis with Pete and whilst we took it easy – I wasn’t sprinting for any long shots, it was fab to be active again. I more than paid for it however and had terrible back pain for about three days, even sleeping propped up one night, then fortunately it passed. Lesson learned. We also went to a wedding at 28 weeks (I posted my outfit here,) and I felt fantastic. One of the lovely things about pregnancy has been how happy people are for you. Everyone is interested and wants to talk about the baby, and whilst it’s not helping me get my patients seen on schedule at work at all, it feels really special.
At 31-32 weeks we travelled to Italy for our friends wedding, a little over the recommended time limit for flying but I paid for a fit to fly note from my GP and had no problems at all. I wasn’t going to not go ‘just in case’ when in all likelihood baby’s arrival was another 10 weeks off. As a side note here, if you do intend to fly with a visible bump, it’s well worth getting a note – I didn’t think I looked that big but was asked for my note on both legs of the journey at check in and although I don’t know what would have happened if I had simply said I was under the 28 week limit most airlines impose, it was good to have the back up and no stress. Travelling was fine – I made sure I stayed hydrated and did leg exercises but it was a short 3 hour flight and all felt pretty normal. We did make concessions to our usual style of travel – after Barcelona I knew an all day sight seeing walking tour wasn’t for me and we had a lot of ice cream stops but I was still fine cycling all around Florence for the day. Tuscan hill top towns were another matter and I felt like a steam train much of the time puffing around!
We went away mid kitchen renovation and came back to the final weeks of it which have since passed in a blur of project managing electricians, buying and returning lights, co-ordinating flooring fitters, painters (for the kitchen units) and marble installation, whilst actually decorating ourselves. In the midst of this we thought we had better get on with one of the attic guest rooms as Francesca is still with us due to hold ups in her purchase and so we need somewhere for relatives to stay when the baby is here. So that has been stripped, re-plastered, a new window is being fitted as I type and carpet coming later today. And before you ask… no, the nursery isn’t even partially started. Although the wallpaper did arrive yesterday!
All in all I had so many people scare-mongering about the third trimester and how awful pregnancy is/was that I hope a positive account of it is a balancing post for those of you contemplating making the leap. I know when I was planning to get pregnant (I promise, more on that too soon,) I had seen so many people struggle with it that I wondered how I would even manage to work, but even now I’m doing fine, so don’t worry before you have to! I’m hoping I can squeeze in another 2 updates before baby arrives, more for myself than anything so I’ll keep you posted, but we’ll see…
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.
Dawn orange suedette flat £45 (also available in white) // GAP two band tan leather sandal £29.95 (also in black) // Kurt Geiger London Dahlia gold sandals £99 (also in nude or leopard calf hair) // Flexi-P calf hair blue sandal, Steve Madden at Dune £32 (also in B&W animal print)
Flats this season are all about the wide strap which is lucky as it’s a little more office appropriate if you are allowed to get your toes out. Metal plaque details also up the smart factor.
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!
Have you seen any work summer shoes readers?
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.
- Cross body strap for hands-free ease.
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.
Pacapod Napier £85
I’m a real sucker for anything organisational, so the Pacapods really appeal to me. Is it just a gimmick though and will all those compartments just add to access difficulties?
Skip Hop Forma changing bag £65 and grab and go wet/dry bag £13
Also love the chevron print of the Skiphop Forma bag and the wet/dry grab and go bag. Although there’s no cross body strap for this one.
What do you think readers? Got a recommendation I should look into? Roz suggested TK Maxx. What I really need to know is:
What are your essential changing bag contents?
A couple of weeks ago I told you all about our plans to buy a pram and the couple we had looked at. Amazingly, I got so much feedback and advice, along with your recommendations, and the feedback on the Uppababy Vista was so overwhelming we decided to take a second look. Pete was much happier with the build quality and for me it just has a few things that edge it over the other choices.
- Pull out full sunshade as we’re going to have a summer baby
- Huge shopping basket.
- Not too bad a price
- Bassinet is safe for baby to sleep in there as a travel cot – fully ventilated (as we have a holiday planned for when baby is 12 weeks old)
- The frame folds down and stands up on it’s end for easy storage.
- Smaller when folded down to fit in the boot then others we looked at.
- You can buy a travel bag for it to keep it safe in an aeroplane hold and that also insures it for damage while travelling.
- Comes with rain covers and insect nets too
- Works with the BeSafe iZi Go car seat (which is Pete’s preferred choice) or the Maxicosi – adapters included
So that’s our choice, we’re going for the bright orange to satisfy my colour cravings and although I’m sad to be missing out on the fun prints on our previous choice, I think this is the better option. Thanks so much for all the advice and recommendations – I know future readers will find it really useful too.
Just need a baby to put in it now!
I tend to find that I lean towards repeating the same fonts on graphics when I’m producing images for Florence Finds and thought today I would share my favourites.
Some I have paid for, some are free but these 5 seem to cover all my needs for creative and consistent image branding. I hope you find one you like!
As the completion of our kitchen comes to an end, the outside space is also getting underway. As our kitchen is above full height cellars, the ground floor level is about 1m above the garden. So we can step directly out instead of going up and down stairs, we are building a deck that the bifold doors open onto and I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that it is finished this week.
Having spent so much money on everything else, garden furniture just isn’t in the budget right now, but I’m loathe to have an empty deck, or be unable to enjoy the rest of the summer months (hello maternity leave!) after working so hard on this space. I had been browsing at outdoor seating options for this area but they are all so expensive – we are looking for a sofa style seating solution, as our main outdoor dining area is planned for further down the garden. I was on the point of saying blow it (with another maxed out credit card flashing before my eyes,) as I fell in love with the NEXT Palermo range, then Pete spotted this IKEA set when we were there buying a spare bed. We couldn’t believe the price and snapped it up – The cushions are a bit thin, but I’ll simply buy some different foam pads and perhaps recover them. For the price, we couldn’t say no and it doesn’t matter if it’s not a long term option.