Midi skirts and slogan tees

Slogan tees and floral skirts

In summer it feels like the rules change. Fashion becomes playful. On a sunny day things that shouldn’t work, just do. Midi skirts and slogan tees are a classic example. On paper, it shouldn’t work. But it does.

Why does it work? I think it’s partly because opposites attract. And also that slogan tees stop midi skirts looking too old-fashioned – and vice versa, because I don’t want to look like a teenager either.

I wear: tee, New Look (old) / skirt, £24.99, H&M / sandals, £59.50, Saltwater at FatFace

Want to see more? Here are some of my favourites right now!

Slogan tees and midi skirts

I wear: tee, £20, Blossoms Store / skirt, £25, Monki / Sandals as before

Skirt, £24.99, H&M / Tee, £9.99 Mango

Skirt, £30, Monki / Tee, £15.99, Mango

Milk bottle tops and paper bags

Milk in glass bottles

Milk bottle tops and paper bags…iron bedsteads, dirty old rags… Anyone else remember sitting crossed legged on the floor at primary school and singing that song? 

There’s nothing dirty about milk bottle tops these days. In fact, they’re a welcome sign that kerbside deliveries in glass bottles are on the up. We recently signed up, and haven’t looked back.

Milk in glass bottles

There’s something so simple and satisfying about milk in glass bottles. Pressing in the foil tops gives me a nice little reminder of being a child in the 80s, and knowing that the bottles will be trundled back to the depot to be refilled makes me happy.

Yes, it’s a little bit more expensive than walking to the shop to buy it yourself. And, yes, transporting and washing out bottles uses energy too. But surely it’s got to make more sense than single use plastic.

I’m using a local firm, Plumb’s Dairy, who deliver my milk in time for breakfast, three times a week. And get this, they also do orange juice in glass bottles too.

Milk in glass bottles

Paper bags. There’s nothing bad about those either. When I can I like to shop at the local market for my fruit and veg. But when that’s not possible, I’ve taken to using the mushroom bags at the supermarkets for my apples, tomatoes and other loose produce. No one’s told me off yet. It gives me a quiet sense of satisfaction, and stops my peaches getting squished in my bag.

Little by little, I’m trying to live more thoughtfully. How about you?

Milk in glass bottles

Early summer favourites

Celtic & Co Cardigan and gold coin necklace

I love dressing for summer. When the weather’s warmer I feel so much happier and inspired. I’m sure I’ll have lots of favourite clothes and accessories as the months go on, but right now this is wear I’m at. 

Mixing textures. Right now I’m loving lots of different weaves and fabrics. Wool and jute, gold and leather. It feels natural and effortless and perfect for the soft days of early summer.

Celtic & Co Cardigan and Turtle Bags jute bag

A throw-on cardigan. You can always rely on the weather to be unpredictable. And you’ll never regret throwing a cardigan in your bag at the last-minute. This cable cardigan, a present sent to me by Celtic & Co, is everything you need in a summer throw-on. It’s structured, so works well in place of a jacket. It’s also made right here in the UK and it’s as British as cricket matches and cucumber sandwiches. You can view their Women’s Knitwear here.

Celtic & Co Cardigan and gold coin necklace

Gold jewellery. Gold hoops are always a summer classic. Coin necklaces are also a big deal right now. At £18, this gold-plated one by ASOS is really affordable.

Celtic & Co Cardigan and gold coin necklace

A jute bag. I’ve already waxed lyrical about string bags and baskets this summer. Now it’s the turn of jute. I love the stripes, the shape and the natural feel. This one is ethically produced by Turtle Bags and I found it a fabulous interiors shop called Forest London. I recently stumbled across it on Clerkenwell Road and it’s well worth a visit.

Celtic & Co Cardigan and Turtle Bags jute bag

Simple tan sandals. I’m currently eyeing up a pair of Saltwater sandals, but these New Look sandals are filling the gap for now. The cute low heel is very flattering.

Celtic & Co Cardigan and Turtle Bags jute bag

In all photos I wear: Cable knit cardigan c/o Celtic & Co (sizing is generous, I’m wearing a XS)

Navy shirt dress, past season Simply Be – similar here at Boden

Sunglasses by &Other Stories

Sandals by New Look – sold out but these are similar.

White Stuff & The National Gallery

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

White Stuff are already known for their beautiful prints, and things have just got even better. Their latest collection is a collaboration with the National Gallery and features designs inspired by two of Van Gogh’s paintings: Wheatfield with Cypresses and Long Grass with Butterflies.

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

It’s a small but beautifully formed collection. The colour palette of blues, greys and greens is wonderful.

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

My favourite item is the dress – which I think would look absolutely beautiful just about anywhere! There are also bags, mugs, tees and a gorgeous reversible skirt.

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

White Stuff arranged for me to have a special tour of Van Gogh’s paintings in the National Gallery. Seeing the original paintings that inspired the collection was incredible. It’s easy to rush around an art gallery, but we stood and looked at these two paintings for a long time. The colours, textures and emotions in the paintings are amazing and I felt really moved by them – especially when you consider the rather sad and turbulent life of Van Gogh.

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

White Stuff & The National Gallery collection

https://www.whitestuff.com/womens/the-national-gallery/

You can see the whole collection here

 

Three outfits I’m wearing on repeat

I love it when late spring begins to drift into summer. It’s warm, but not too warm – and I couldn’t be happier. Here are three simple outfits that I’m loving right now.

The maxi skirt. A new shape for me. I always thought I was too short for maxi skirts, but this year they feel right and actually make me feel taller. A simple white tee is all you need to go with it.

White Stuff Maxi skirt

Skirt, £49.95, White Stuff / Top, £8.99, H&M

Sandals, New Look – sold out, but these are similar 

The jumpsuit. Or possibly romper suit. Again, a new shape for me. I asked my seven-year-old if it was cool or ridiculous – or somewhere in between. He choose the latter, and I think he’s probably right. Wearing it on a warm day made me feeling childish and ridiculous in the best possible way. I don’t like my bare shoulders, so I covered them with my favourite yellow shirt.

New Look jumpsuit

Jumpsuit, £24.99, New Look – sold out online, but I bought mine in store

 Yellow shirt, £15.99, New Look

The trousers that feel like PJs. I have found my perfect working-from-home/school run outfit. Pull on these soft trousers and silky shirt and you’re ready to go!

Trousers, £12.99, H&M / Top, £14.99, H&M / Shoes, £25.99, Marks and Spencer / Bag, old

 

Marmalade Pie and GDPR

Yellow flowers

Like everyone else, I’ve been getting dozens of GDPR emails over the last few weeks. I’ve realised that this blog has never published a privacy policy – so in the interests of transparency, I’ve decided to add one. You can find it here.

The main data this site collects is when someone signs up to receive updates by email. If you’re reading this in an email then that includes you. Thank you!

Those subscriptions are handled by the WordPress system. The only information I can see is your email address – no other personal data – and that never leaves my system. I don’t share it with anyone else and won’t use it for anything other than sending the email updates you’ve requested.

If you ever change your mind about keeping in touch then just click the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom. It’s on every email sent from the site.

Thanks for reading – and if you’re a subscriber, thanks for being on my list.

Introducing Roo-tid – a new homewares brand made in the UK

Roo-tid fox apron and Victoria sandwich

A move to the New Forest inspired Carly Stalker’s beautiful new range of homewares, Roo-tid. Her aprons, tea towels and bags are bright, bold and whimsical. I’ve been wearing her beautiful Fox apron while baking in my own kitchen and it’s the perfect combination of cute practicality.

I caught up with Carly to find out more about life in the New Forest and to hear more about the inspiration behind her work…

Making new friends

“I live just minutes away from the New Forest in Dorset with my husband and our two naughty house rabbits,” says Carly. “We used to live in a town, but we don’t miss it at all. We’ve replaced the sounds of the bustling streets with chirping birds, buzzing bees and pecking woodpeckers”

The New Forest is a haven for wildlife and Carly soon made friends with her new neighbours. “We spent many months doing up our new home. Every day we saw blue tits, squirrels and even sometimes badgers. We were spending so much time at home that these visitors became like friends with little characters of their own. I looked forward to seeing them and started snapping away with my camera whenever I got the chance!”

Roo-tid fox apron and Victoria sandwich

A new direction

Carly has worked in the design world for many years. Since university she’s worked for a magazine publisher and, more recently, for one of UK’s biggest craft suppliers. In her spare time, she turned a room overlooking the woodland into a craft room. Sketching the animals that pottered into her garden was lovely way to relax.

Carly Stalker, founder of Roo-tid

“As I sketched our new furry friends they seemed to come alive on the page. I wanted to share these little creatures,” explains Carly. “I was ready for a new challenge and my designs gave me the confidence to launch my own homewares business, Roo-tid.”

Bright bold designs made in the UK

Carly launched Roo-tid at the end of the March 2018 and it’s been non-stop ever since. “I design everything myself and everything is printed and made in the UK.” So far, the collection includes foxes, mice, badgers, hedgehogs and birds – all combined with bold and distinctive patterns. There are bags, aprons, cushions and more to choose from. “We want to produce homewares which will brighten your home and be cherished for many years to come. I’m thinking of new designs all the time and can’t wait to expand our range!”

Roo-tid fox apron and Victoria sandwich

Dreams for the future

“We’ve got a busy summer ahead of shows and fairs. As well as building up the Roo-tid range to include ceramics and childrens’ wear, we’d love to see our products stocked in shops up and down the country,” explains Carly.

Roo-tid fox apron and Victoria sandwich

Starting out is always tough, but Carly has a few words of advice for other small start-ups:

“Be kind to yourself, save hard, be patient and plan. The first few months are really, really tough but remember to reward yourself for the little wins. High five yourself, eat chocolate or do a little dance! Don’t let the ‘knocks’ rob you of this, otherwise you’ll forget you’re living the dream!”

Carly Stalker, founder of Roo-tid

Wise words, Carly – we wish you all the best for Roo-tid! 

I wear the Mr Fox apron in all photos, which is available online and costs £26. New customers can get 50% off their first order, find out more here!

Roo-tid Fox apron

This was a sponsored post

In the mood for summer – with Moshulu

Moshulu summer sandals

Are you ready for sandal weather? I am. Because sandal weather means happiness.

I’m talking about those wonderful spring days when we all skip around saying: it feels like summer, doesn’t it? We have to make the most of those days – because, let’s face it, the British summer isn’t particularly reliable. When one of those warm spring days comes along, drop everything! Put on your sandals and race outside to soak it up.

To really put a spring in your step you need a pair of sandals you can actually walk in. Because no one wants to hobble their way into summer, do they? Moshulu are on a mission to make their sandals as comfortable, colourful and bouncy as possible.

When I invest in a pair of new sandals, I need to know they’ll be practical and versatile – my days often combine client meetings, photo-shoots and racing to school and back. They have to work hard and match my outfits. Knowing this, Moshulu challenged me to test out a pair of their Comfort Sandals with three of my favourite outfits…

Moshulu summer sandals

The statement blouse… Wrap-around blouses are big for spring and summer. They’re a fabulous combination of pretty femininity and practicality. Styled with my Jalapeno sandals, it’s a perfect look for anything from lunch with friends to exploring a new city. And the bouncy, cushioned sole means my feet feel happy all day.

Moshulu summer sandals

Low-key weekend style… My weekends are spent running around after my two boys. We love visiting our local market and buying our favourite bread, coffee and street food. I need an outfit that’s laid-back and flexible. I love a soft, washed-out blue shirt and skinny jeans – accessorised with my favourite shopping basket and a bright scarf. My sandals are comfortable enough for miles of walking – and colourful enough to give my outfit a real lift.

Moshulu summer sandals

The pleated skirt… For warm summer days, my go-to outfit is a pleated skirt and a Breton tee. It’s floaty and fun, but the stripes stop everything feeling too girly. Slipping on my pretty sandals makes me feel ready for anything – from a cream tea in the garden to a glass of Rosé on a summer evening.

Moshulu summer sandals

Three different outfits: one pair of sandals. And a very clever pair of sandals at that. So comfortable and bouncy, and also a bit of a fashion chameleon – capable of looking fabulous with all kinds of colours and prints.

 They’ll see me through this summer in style and many more to come!

This was a sponsored post written in association with Moshulu

Spring beauty favourites

Spring beauty routine

Anyone else get really excited about new beauty products in spring? As we move into warmer weather, my outlook changes and so does my skin!

Most of these products aren’t actually new, but they’re new to me. Here’s what I’m loving right now.

Spring beauty routine

Pixi Nourishing Skin Balm. I’m a big fan of hot cloth cleansing. This balm turns to an oil on your skin and is great at getting rid of make-up. It’s gentle but thorough. I have classic combination skin so don’t want to dry my skin out too much and encourage it to make more oil. This stuff is great and I’ve been using it for about six months now. One tub lasts me a few months.

Pixi Glow Tonic. I first started using this toner last summer and I’m still a big fan. It’s not too harsh, but gives me a satisfying tingle after cleansing! I wouldn’t be without it now.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate by Kiehls. This stuff in amazing. I’ve been using it every evening since November and the change in my skin has been noticeable. It’s hard to put my finger on what’s different – other than it just looks better and I get far fewer breakouts. I love the nightly ritual of massaging a few drops of this scented oil into my face. It’s a real luxury and a bottle lasts long time (unless your cats knock it over in the middle of the night). I use this at night and stick to a simple Liz Earle moisturiser during the day.

Bondi Sands fake tan

I’ve never been confident with fake tan, but this year I’m determined to boost my glow. My skin never really goes very brown, so it’s great to have a helping hand. I’ve been using Bondi Sands self-tanning foam for a subtle golden effect. I’m an anxious fake tanner, but this stuff is reasonably easy to apply and I didn’t get any streaks. I exfoliated with Clarins body scrub beforehand which definitely helped.

Magic Organic Apothecary

Finally, I must tell you about Fortifying Green Bath Potion. A big bottle is quite an investment so I was thrilled to find this little sample bottle (£4) for sale in a local shop. It was just enough for one bath. It’s full of exhilarating things like fir and peppermint and it’s amazing. Zingy, reviving and perfect for aching muscles. I’m going to invest in a big bottle soon!

What are your beauty favourites right now?

Outdoor entertaining – with Sainsbury’s Home

Dining alfresco with Sainsbury's Home

Outdoor entertaining is so simple. All you need are a few simple accessories and some great company. Food just tastes better outdoors – as does a glass of wine! Everything feels more relaxed and it’s one of the things that I really look forward to every year.

Sainsbury’s Home recently asked me to choose my favourite pieces from their outdoor dining range – it was the perfect opportunity to spruce up my outdoor entertaining kit…

For fabulous al fresco meals you need a great set of outdoor plates, bowls and glasses. We often have children round, so I prefer to choose melamine plates that won’t break.

Dining alfresco with Sainsbury's Home

These dark navy plates (£3.50 each) and the matching stripy salad bowl (£8.50) look really gorgeous and are a great choice for colourful summer food. They’re also surprisingly heavy and grown-up.

Dining alfresco with Sainsbury's Home

A set of pretty pink plastic tumblers (£2.75 each) work beautifully with the navy coloured tableware. I think they look just like pressed glass, except they’re about a thousand times more practical.

Dining alfresco with Sainsbury's Home

It’s also a great idea to have a couple of key pieces that’ll really add some pizzaz to your outdoor table. I love this pair of rose gold salad servers (£6.50) and the enamel wine bucket (£10) – which also doubles up as a planter.

Dining alfresco with Sainsbury's Home

Finally, don’t forget to make your guests as comfortable as possible. I love these outdoor cushions  (£10 each) in a pretty blush pink. And if it’s a cool evening, why not put out some throws too?

Dining alfresco with Sainsbury's Home

What are your favourite tips for perfect outdoor entertaining?

Sainsbury’s Home sent me a voucher to use to create this post. You can find items in store or order them with your grocery shopping.