How to Wear: January

Good Morning Readers

I hope you have all had good January’s. Mine has been interesting to say the least. Little did I think that it would include a four day hospital stay for Pneumonia! I’m feeling a lot better now, but it did take me, and my whole family by surprise. The one good thing that came out of the experience was that I actually got a chance to read (not much else to do in hospital!) so I’ve made a good dent into one of my New Year Goals.

Due to that stay, and the week preceding my admission when I wasn’t feeling well at all (I thought I had the flu), I’ve not really been wearing anything that exciting. I did make a couple of cheeky purchases though.

One was a fantastic pair of jeans from a boutique local to me, Quattro Rich. They are a pair of Twist & Tango jeans and the perfect burgundy red colour – something that will go very well with a lot in my wardrobe. Not proper ‘denim’ but more of a heavy cotton twill, they are so flattering on the leg. Quattro Rich stock a lot of Twist & Tango bits (these jeans have unfortunately sold out) but it’s always worth giving Ivy and her team a call to see what they have, as she does offer a mail order service. The best bit about these were that they were a sales bargain – thank you January.

Another item I got was actually some underwear. I have to admit it’s been a struggle finding underwear to wear that’s comfortable whilst nursing. I have been massively put off nursing bras since I had a bad bout of Mastitis in the Autumn (I partly blame the fact I got it on a bad fitting bra I had from a well-known Mother & Baby retailer, even though they measured me. Turns out they measured me hugely incorrectly!). Since then, I have been wearing some vests from H&M which have been great, but lacking in support. I was then looking for something of a similar ilk, and came across this vest. What can I say – life-changing! Not only does it give you good support and good access, plus feels so nice on – the straps are so comfortable – it slims your silhouette so clothes look better on. A miracle in a vest! Granted, they aren’t the cheapest option around, but for something I have worn EVERY DAY, the cost-per-wear is low. Once I’m wearing something other than jeans and a sweatshirt again, I’ll post a picture of the difference it makes underneath clothes. Really, I can’t recommend these enough if you are nursing, or about to be as I know some of you are.

Finally, I had my first outing in a new pair of boots. I succumbed and bought a pair of Topshop Magnificent “Sock” boots. I own a fair few midi skirts and dresses, plus cropped jeans/culottes, and had read that these would be perfect to update them for winter. The reviews weren’t wrong. Very comfortable with a good heel hight (I had to size up but I often do in Topshop shoes), they are great boots – perfect Cognac brown colour and a modern toe shape. The purchase was made all the more sweet as I had a credit note burning a hole in my purse. Win Win.

Apologies again that there aren’t more pictures of me. I am on the mend, and come the end of Feb, I’m sure I’ll be back again in full health. I’ll be back soon with what to buy in February… Until then!

Erin xx

 

How to Wear: June

Happy Monday Readers!

Hope you have all had good June’s. Mine as you probably will have guessed has been spent introducing our new Bubba to the family and learning to be a new Mum again. My goodness you forget! However, the tiredness and lack of sleep is much MUCH easier to cope with second time round 😉

This week is set to be a scorcher which I’m pleased about as it’s No 1 sons birthday and it means we can make good use of his present (a playhouse!). Can’t wait to see his face once Rich and I have managed to actually put it up :/
Now on to how I’ve worn June…

First things first. It’s been a joy not being in Maternity Clothes but… dressing has not been without it’s challenges. Oscar is exclusively breast-fed which I didn’t do last time down to several reasons, some beyond me, but it’s meant I’ve had to learn what to wear on the top half – something I didn’t have to do with Calum. Also, it’s massively surprised me how quickly I’ve been able to get back into about 50% of my wardrobe. Again, not something that happened quickly last time. It must be those extra 500kcals a day that BF is supposed to burn. OK, some of my waisted skirts I can’t do still, but wearing my old jeans (and some new ones) has felt amazing. It is “9 months on, 9 months off” after all and I still have a way to go to my happy weight but I’m much more relaxed about that (that’s a whole other post in the making!)

The M&S Limited Edition jeans have made an appearance as have my Gap Always Skinny… Worn mostly with Shirts for ease.

Jeans M&S / Top Zara

Jeans and Shirt Gap / Sandals Topshop

Jeans Gap / Shirt Zara / Shoes J Crew

Jeans M&S / Shoes Clarks / Shirt Primark

The other item that’s made an appearance is one of this seasons must wears which is of course the Jumpsuit. I’ve got a couple that are a “shirt” style at the top which works perfectly, and actually, they aren’t as tricky to navigate as people think. I found wearing a sling with one on much easier too.


Jumpsuit H&M / Shoes Clarks

As I mentioned at the start of the month, shirt dresses are a great option, and I’ve worn a couple of those too. This New Look one was great… Easy to wear and feed with even if it did crease (damn that Viscose!)

Dress New Look / Shoes Dune

Finally, I’ve been wearing a new summer favourite colour a lot – Khaki – and easy trousers with BF tops – getting dressed quickly with a Toddler and less-than-a-month old bubba is a must!


Top Zara / Trousers Dorothy Perkins / Shoes Topshop

Sling Hana Baby / Shorts F&F / Shoes Dune

Vest Next / Trousers Zara / Shoes Topshop

*Please excuse no make up in any of these photos. Time is of the essence!

So that’s June peeps. The Longest day has been and gone and we’re now over half way through 2015. Unbelievable.

See you back here in a couple of weeks for what to buy July – they’ll be some “buy now, stash for AW15” bits making an appearance 😉

Erin xx

How to Wear: May

Morning Readers!

I do hope your second May Bank Holidays have treated you well and that you all had lovely long weekends. It’s utterly amazing to me that we are pretty much six months into the year. My hubbies birthday in June marks the mid-way point for me and we are fast approaching that – it’s going to be nice to (hopefully) be able to slow down for the second half of 2015.

I’m hoping that by the time you are reading this I’ll have had Bubba No. 2 who is extremely late. It’s therefore in that vein that I’m posting a quick “How to Wear” as to be honest, my May has consisted of only a few things on rotation.

My maternity leave started at the beginning of the month – 8 days prior to my due date. I wanted to have more time off post-birth so worked as late as I could cope with my commute. Pretty late it turns out. However, it seems as though the little person had other ideas so May was an opportunity to sort out the house, have copious amounts of Reflexology and Raspberry Leeaf Tea and chill a bit.

It’ll be no surprise that stripes have been on rotation (my Cos Bretons have been workhorses. Non-maternity and so easy to wear and wash. Love them. They have some great colours this season too. Grab one here).


Sorting the house has also meant accessing all my stored clothes and shoes. My leather espedrilles made an appearance (how I covet the Chanel ones but these Park Lane ones from ASOS are perfect in the real world!). It was so nice to dress up this Gap Maternity tunic differently (I’m 40+ weeks in the pic below and feeling mightily fed up!)

I’ve also been rotating a couple of silk tee’s that I picked up in the Uniqlo winter sale. They’ve been great for wearing over Jersey trousers as they are loose and cool. The tangerine shade of this one instantly lifts your mood.  Not the easiest colour to wear but I love it. The other I have is in a raspberry pink. Good deals at £9.99 each. The Uniqlo Silk range is really great and some pieces are on sale now (plus machine washing is fine!)

I must also mention here that my world has been revolutionised by my new ToyShades (mine are the Andersons worn above and below pictured with my big bubba) – prescription sunglasses for £40! Get them here or visit the one-hour lab at Topshop Oxford Circus. All you need is your prescription. The need for contact lenses on ALL sunny days has now vanished. LIBERATING!

Finally, when I’ve not felt like wearing nice clothes (or can’t in actual fact) there’s always accessories in jewellery and shoes. Gaining access to stored things is like Christmas. These TopShop sandals and Hipanema bracelet are good examples 😉

Enjoy the rest of May everyone and hopefully I’ll be with you in a week or so for what I recommend to buy in June. There’s some great espedrilles that will make the cut.

Erin xx

How to Wear: April

Hi there Readers!

Since I’m still feeling OK, and there isn’t a Baby No. 2 quite yet, I’ll share what I’ve been wearing throughout April.

It’s been hard to wear the trends I recommended at the start of the month and to be honest, I now can’t wait to wear a few of the bits I’ve been saving for post-baby, so today’s post is more about how I’ve done Maternity wear.

Mostly, I hate the Maternity stuff that’s in the shops and I’ve favoured my regular clothes (with Maternity trousers) or things that have been made for me by my clever Mum.

Shift dresses and jeans with jumpers or shirts have been the uniform of choice. Dresses certainly worked fine for an Easter Sunday Mass and work events that I had this month. I have focused on the shoes though as it’s been a great excuse to get some wear out of the fabulous flats there are around at the moment (a caveat here are the Boden Alice Shoes seen in the picture above bottom left – heels for a few hours are manageable ;)!)

The gorgeous weather has also meant bare legs which has been wonderful. I love the fact that summer is just around the corner. These sandals from M&S tick the gladiator trend box and are really easy to wear. I went for the Beige but they come in a lovely Rust colour too. 

My last day in the office for a while was celebrated by dressing up a bit (despite the fact it was Friday and we usually dress down) in a Next Shift dress (my usual size) from last year and some Office flats (sadly sold out on line but I’m assured more are coming). A nice sunny yellow to start my Maternity Leave with 🙂

So… not that inspirational I’m afraid but I got through the month nonetheless.

Before I go though I wanted to share a fantastic service that Karen Millen offer and I experienced last week. The reason I know about this is because I had seen some press photos of their Atelier range, and some of their Brave New Stripe dresses leapt out at me.
I then received an email from them with a link to the collection and I decided to book a MyStylist appointment so I could take a peek at some of the pieces. Rachel was amazing. So friendly on email before, and during our session, nothing was too much trouble. She wasn’t even phased when I turned up almost 9 months pregnant!


I tried on a few things (with a bit of imagination!) but I loved the Atelier Brave New Stripes collection (funny that ;)) especially this Navy and Cream silk dress and coat set. Below are some of my other favourites.

Red Maxi / Yellow Kimono
  Green Maxi

Trousers / Bag / Shoes

Rachel was warm, welcoming and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her. She also even asked me before the appointment what my coffee order was, AND there was breakfast waiting. Amazing service!

Sitting and chatting to Rachel also made me look again at the Karen Millen collection as a whole and it opened my eyes as to how the brand has changed from the “studded and slinky” persona I had earmarked it with from the early 2000s. I’ll definitely be looking in there more now. If you are in the area then don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with her. She comes highly recommended!

So again, I may not be around in May but who knows!? Enjoy the long weekend we have coming up. We’ll be moving back into our house after four months of destruction and change. I. CAN’T. WAIT! 🙂

Erin xx

PS: The Boden Autumn Preview was also released last week. There are some pretty nice gems to be had 😉

How to Wear: March

Morning Readers!

So it’s the last day of March and I’m yet again left wondering where time has gone.

My Month has been a mixture of a short break away with Richard and Calum, lots of work on the house (our move-back-in-date-prior-to-number-two is, fingers crossed looking likely), a lovely pamper/sightseeing day in London with a great friend for her Birthday and of course work (with some fun events rolled in!).


P&O Britannia Launch // At Cowshed Shoreditch for a Pamper Afternoon // Portsmouth from the IOW Ferry on Mothers Day // One of the new bathrooms taking shape

I have managed to pick a few bits up this month that I’m going to be saving for the warmer weather in my “post-maternity/summer box, but more on that in a bit. On to what I’ve been wearing…

Baby Number 2 has definitely made more of an appearance this month and I feel about as big at this point (with about a month to go) as I did at the very end of full-term with Calum. Weirdly though I don’t feel like my legs or arms have changed (which they did last time) so some things are still fitting.

I’ve managed to try out some flares in the form of some Topshop Jessie jeans which I found on eBay in the Maternity style (although I’m finding that over and not under-bump style jeans are more comfortable this time round). These worked well with my Acne Pistol boots in Chestnut.

A pair of ASOS distressed boyfriend jeans (over-bump) have been my best friend and I’ve worn these loads, both for work on a Friday and at the weekends. These were a great buy at £19 in the sale (now sadly sold out but these are similar).


At the Sky Garden in London // ASOS Maternity Distressed Jeans

I also did have a Black tie event to go to but thankfully a Cos Black Sequin dress I found in the recent sale worked. I just sized up one size and as it was a shift anyway, it is fitted perfectly.

Other items that have seen the light of day are some Stan Smiths (proving I do practice what I preach!) and shoes without socks for the teasing warm spell we had mid-month.

Boden Lille Flats // Adidas Stan Smiths // New Look Flats // Office Flats

Finally, as per, stripes have been my friend.


With my team onboard P&O Britannia wearing H&M // DVF Chevron Knitted Dress (non-maternity) // Zara Light Sweatshirt (non-maternity)

Now quickly on to my “Summer Box”.

I’ve noticed more and more in retail that if you don’t get something you like straight away then you are in danger of it being sold out, never to return, and I do suffer from FOMO cases when it comes to clothes every so often. Here are the bits that have made my box this month (most of which you’ve seen before). I’ve bought my normal pre-pregnancy size knowing that I went back to it after Calum so there’s no reason (she hopes) that this won’t be the case again. Ah, the joys of hindsight 😉


Topshop Pintuck Blouse // M&S Denim Skirt // H&M Culottes // H&M Jumpsuit

So that’s it! I’ll be back after the Easter break with my What to Buy April.

There will be something on the list that I hope that you’ll subscribe to. I’ve tried loads of variations but it just doesn’t work on me, boo hoo. I’m going to have to live vicariously through you guys.

‘Til then then. Wishing you all a very Happy Easter that full of family and freinds time, Roasts and Chocolate.

Erin x

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

The Fash Flash: Maternity Jeans Reviewed

I’m going to talk more about maternity clothes and how I have been dressing in general as the weeks go on, but I wanted to dedicate a post to something that has been a gigantic effort and huge pain in the behind, maternity jeans. It’s a key wardrobe element and often one of the the first things you might buy (2nd for me) as jeans can be uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone when they start digging into this invisible passenger that is filling out your belly. I write this at 20 weeks and up to last week when I last tried I could still wear my jeans, (these New Look skinnies I reviewed a while back,) as they are plenty stretchy enough around the waist and quite soft. But I need a belt to hold them up which isn’t great and sitting down is really not comfortable at all. So, I have canvased Instagram and done a fair bit of personal research and wanted to bring you the results here for anyone who is looking, or might be in the future. Please do add your comments and suggestions at the bottom!

The first thing I did was ask you guys. There are a lot of places that do maternity jeans but I wanted to see where the popular ones were and hopefully reduce my shopping efforts. (I hate jeans shopping at the best of times.) So I asked Instagram for your recommendations and here is how the recommendations panned out:
Gap 8
H&M 10
Topshop (Leigh) 8
New Look 5
ASOS 3
Seraphine 3
Mamas and Papas 3
JoJoMamanBebe and Very.com also got 1 mention each.

Gap, H&M and New Look came out top of the pile by far, H&M being the winner, with New Look closely behind them. Your advice was invaluable too so I have shared a couple of comments that I felt were useful here. It’s worth remembering that one pair might not do all the way through as your shape changes, ‘Under bump Topshop ones were fab for me, but now at 33 wks everything is going over bump for sake of comfort’ and there were quite a few people (despite those people who liked Topshop,) who complained about them, ‘Some Topshop jeans fall down, others are ok. It’s trial and error!’. Under bump jeans were also deemed as good for ‘post partum wobble!’. Another reader suggested ‘Find one pair that fit you well then hit eBay for the same style’, although I wonder how second hand would stand up to the repeated wash and wear that is necessary with mat jeans? One other tip that Rachel gave was that they sell out fast, so if you see a pair you like buy them or order to try at home as if you go back they might not be available. I saw lots that I could have bought online and looked good but they didn’t have my size.

I decided that I wanted an ‘under the bump’ style because the majority of my pregnancy will be in summer and I thought it might be hot with a top layered over a bump band if I went for an over bump style. One gripe when shopping was that some shops do exclusively under (Topshop) or over (H&M) bump styles and you often can’t find the same wash or style in both (hello Mamas and Papas.) I found a lot of them lacked detail, even simple things like contrast stitching and as a result looked like jeggings. New Look and Gap under bump jeans waist band extended all the way around (as the over bump styles do,) which I wasn’t as keen on as they don’t look ‘normal’ from the back. My biggest problem however was finding the wash I wanted. I wanted a skinny jean, dark indigo wash (so it could be dressed up or down,) and prefer a bit of subtle fading or distressing than a block dark shade. It was almost impossible to find decent colours with a lot of paler ones or just generally cheap looking washes. A lot of the advice I received was to size down too which I didn’t – I tried on mostly size 10 everywhere, but having said that I wouldn’t normally fit a size ten Topshop jean so perhaps there is something in it! Here’s what I tried…

Number of pairs tried on: 13
Number of shops visited: 7
Number ordered online: 3

M&P Dark indigo wash under the bump skinny jean £36
I happened to try these when Pete and I were browsing Cots and they felt so comfortable straight away with a nice skinny style and contrast stitch. I actually went onto buy them but found when I got them home that the waistband at the back started to gape. They were falling down the minute I sat or bent over in the them after only having them on for 5 minutes, so I took them back.

Topshop Maternity MOTO dark vintage Leigh underbump £38
These were very tight and stretchy like leggings which I didn’t like, but they did have a contrast stitch and different leg lengths (mine are on the short side but I still preferred the 32 leg, so tall types wouldn’t do here.) After a few laps of the changing room and some bending/sitting the bum was sagging already so these were not a favourite for me.

GAP 1969 demi panel always skinny jeans £44
I love GAP jeans so was keen to try these. The only problem I had was availability. I could only get a pair to try in ankle length and they were SHORT but otherwise they were great. Great jean material, no sagging, and a slightly deeper ‘underbump’ band (although it goes all the way around) style that was a better shape on me. If I can get another pair in a better length these are my second choice and I’ll be looking out for a ‘summer’ style even though they were the priciest I tried.

Mamalicious Slim leg jean £38
These were considerably bigger than expected (in a size ten) and the leg wasn’t as slim as I would like. In the right size they might have been better, but I had found my winner by this point and didn’t persevere.

New Look £20-26
New Look’s offerings I didn’t test as vigorously as the others as I just couldn’t find a wash I liked. They are cheaper than most (look on ASOS as well as instore and online at New Look.) and very soft but availability was poor (online too,) and they are cheaper in finish/look I felt.

H&M Overbump (‘high rib’) £29.99
I initially discounted these completely as I found instore that there were only overbump styles but after seeing how popular they were from your Instagram recommendations I thought I’d give them a go. Over bump definitely gave me a better shape to look at and H&M came up trumps with the wash options and look of jeans rather than jeggins too. My one comment would be that they are VERY low cut for the actual jean bit before the bump band starts meaning you might be stuck with longer tops with it. This is both good and bad – good because the jean part is very tight around the hips and waist which means they stay put instead of falling down but in a size 10 (which fitted) I found it really tight and uncomfortable just above my pubic bone and bump so I sized up to a 12 (still super tight) and the discomfort wasn’t a problem. They are also amongst the cheapest! Winner!

So there you have it readers, the result of my extensive investigations. 1 week on having worn the H&M pair a LOT, (including long periods sitting down and walking around over the weekend,) I’m still impressed. They haven’t stretched excessively or gone saggy around the bottom and they are ridiculously comfortable. It’s is however a very personal decision and I’d love to hear your opinion readers, and any tips or recommendations you have. Hopefully this will be a really useful resource for those yet to need it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. If you still want more advice or brands to try, Hello Baby Blog posted about her Top 6 Maternity Jeans here.

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