Author Archives: marmaladepie

Three things I’m loving this week

Hello! It’s currently the autumn half-term holiday, so I’m spending time with my family, kicking through leaves and searching for the perfect pumpkin. All good fun. But there’s still time to call in here and tell you about some of my favourite things this week… 

Italian red leather journal by Central Crafts

A beautiful new journal

Whenever I’m planning something I always start with a notebook and pen. Scribbling down words and ideas always awakens my creativity in a way that computers never can. My favourite notebook right now is this beautiful Italian red leather journal from Central Crafts. It looks, feels and smells wonderful.

Italian red leather journal by Central Crafts

It’s sometimes a bit scary committing to writing in such a beautiful notebook – but that’s not a problem with this journal as it’s refillable. It’s stamped with my initials and I’ll treasure it. Looking for a special present? Central Crafts sources beautiful, ethical products from all other the world – all hand-picked for their quality and individuality.

Peacocks leopard print skirt

A little bit more leopard print

A few weeks ago I shared my love for a hint of leopard print. I’m back now to share another brilliant find. This skirt by Peacocks is not only a lovely example of subtle leopard print, it’s also incredibly soft, warm and thick. Not bad for £16. Plus, A-line skirts are one of the most flattering trends you can get on board with right now.

Peacocks leopard print skirt

A pair of new boots…

I can’t live without a pair of comfortable, flat ankle boots. I usually stick to brown ones, but after last week’s foray in coloured footwear, I decided on a new pair in navy. They’re by Marks and Spencer and cost less than £30. They are so comfortable, which is a real win!

Marks and Spencer navy boots

What are you loving this week?

This post was written in collaboration with Central Crafts

A new checked coat, and re-joining the fringe gang

New Look checked coat

This season is all about texture – cord, velvet, tweed and general fluffiness are all officially back in. Checked coats are top of the list. It’s a classic preppy look and I needed little prompting to give it a go.

After a bit of searching, I’ve found a good one. It’s by New Look, who I’m consistently loving at the moment. It’s simple and chic – and a steal at £39.99. Considering the price, it’s surprisingly thick too.

New Look checked coat

For easy autumnal style, wear your checked coat with a bold knit. This mustard coloured jumper is another great New Look buy.

And while we’re on the subject of embracing texture, this week I have rejoined the fringe club!

New Look checked coat

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that as soon as you’ve grown out a fringe, you want another one. It gets me every time. It goes so well with the whole seventies vibe going on at the moment. My hair needed a boost, so adding new texture was very tempting.

My hair is very thick and wavy, so a full-on blunt fringe can be a recipe for disaster. So this time, I’ve compromised on a half fringe. It’s cute and flattering, but can be brushed out of the way. I’m glad to be back in the gang.

New Look checked coat

I wear: Checked coat, £39.99, New Look

Boots, £27.99, New Look / Mustard jumper, £9.99, New Look (instore only)

Like what you see? Here’s a roundup of my favourite checked coats:

Marmalade Pie: My favourite checked coats

Clockwise, from top left: Red checked coat, £99, Marks and Spencer / Tweed field coat, £229, Joules

Grey overcoat, £69, Mango / Blue wool coat, £79.99, Mango

Pembrokeshire: the perfect rural escape

Pembrokeshire

Sometimes we all need to get away from it all.

And what better way to do it than a country-escape? Somewhere that feels a million miles from home, but isn’t really that far. No flights or passports are involved – just a little cottage in a beautiful part of the British countryside. A place to relax and re-charge your batteries.

My happy place is Pembrokeshire, in Wales. It has all the ingredients for the perfect rural getaway. Let me tell you why…

The coastal path at Pwll Deri

Rugged beauty… Pembrokeshire has some of the most stunning coast in Britain. It’s rugged, but exquisitely beautiful. The colours are so vivid – bright turquoise sea, yellow gorse and rich weathered stone. Every time I see it, it takes my breath away. The best way to enjoy is to walk a section of the coastal path. My favourite bit is the stretch around the lighthouse at Strumble Head.

Stumble Head

Or, for sheer variety, you can’t beat the walk between Porthgain and Abereiddy. It’s a three-mile circuit, and you’ll see everything from disused industrial buildings, a breath-taking blue lagoon to fossils on Abereiddy beach.

Porthgain

Porthgain

Beautiful beaches… South Pembrokeshire is where you’ll find the soft, sandy beaches. The bustling town of Tenby has a fantastic beach for families. It’s busy, but there’s plenty of space for everyone. If you’re after something truly magical, head to Manorbier. This beautiful little beach is overlooked by a stunning medieval castle. It’s like something from a fairy tale. The beach gets busy, but it’s worth it.

The beach at Manorbier

The beach at Manorbier

Bustling towns… When you’re ready to take a break from the coastal path, Pembrokeshire has lots of busy little towns and villages to explore. St David’s is a tiny city, dominated by its beautiful cathedral. It’s also packed with lovely shops, cafés and restaurants. It’s always busy, but has a lovely, friendly atmosphere. The local deli is a great place to stock up on local food. Newport is also a wonderful place to spend a morning. It has an antique shop, a gallery and the Canteen is a great place for brunch.

The Canteen, Newport

The Canteen, Newport

Captivating castles… There are a lot of castles in Pembrokeshire and you must visit at least one. As I mentioned earlier, Manorbier is a fairy tale castle perfect for romantics. For those that like things a little bit more imposing, try Pembroke Castle. It’s fantastically well-preserved and very impressive. For a relaxed family day out, I’d recommend Carew Castle. It’s a great place for kids to run around, and surprisingly relaxing for the adults too, thanks to its tranquil setting.

Manorbier Castle

Manorbier Castle, image via http://manorbiercastle.co.uk/

Ancient history… Medieval castles are just part of the story of Pembrokeshire. There’s so much more to discover. Visiting the ancient burial chambers at Pentre Ifan is a wonderful way to experience this history first hand. It’s a beautiful spot, which you reach by foot or by car. The standing stones are breath-taking and so is the atmosphere. There’s just something about it that feels, well, magical.

Pentre Ifan

Pentre Ifan

Where should you stay?

It doesn’t get much more perfect that a traditional Welsh cottage. I prefer the north of the county as it’s more secluded and rugged. A great place to start your search is with Powell’s Cottage Holidays. They have some beautiful holiday rentals available – whether you’re looking for peace and quiet, a beach, or a bustling town.

Where should you eat?

Porthgain is a great place to head to if you’re hungry. Sample the fish and chips at the Shed, or visit the traditional Sloop Inn. And I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the Welsh ice cream for sale by the green. St David’s also has no shortage of cafés and restaurants.

Sunset at Pwl Deri

Sunset at Pwl Deri

Which all adds up to the perfect rural escape. Visit Pembrokeshire and see for yourself! 

This was a collaborative post with Original Cottages

One pair of blue shoes, five different outfits – with Moshulu

Moshulu blue brogues

Buying a pair of coloured shoes is one of the most clever things you can do this autumn.

I need my wardrobe to be flexible. My days can be really varied: dashing to school with the boys, then heading straight to a meeting with a work client – or sometimes just working at home. I need my clothes to work hard for me – which is why I love classic pieces that you can dress up and down – all in one day.

Don’t worry though, being flexible doesn’t have to be boring. It’s still possible to make bold choices and make them work – whatever the time, whatever the place. And that’s wear the coloured shoes come in to their own.

To prove it, here’s one pair of bright blue shoes by Moshulu, with five very different outfits…

Moshulu blue brogues

My signature style… A stripy top, coloured tights and a grey coat – it’s my classic look. It’s comfortable and casual enough for the school run, but it’s also perfect for an informal meeting, or a coffee date with friends. The burgundy tights and navy brogues are a fun twist that really pulls this outfit together. Eye-catching, but subtle – if that isn’t to contradictory.

Moshulu blue brogues

The smart look.. If I’m meeting someone professionally for the first time, I like to keep things really simple. Navy is my favourite colour and I love wearing this jersey blazer with smart chinos and lacy shirt. It’s smart, but not too formal. The blue brogues add a touch of personality to an otherwise plain look.

Moshulu blue brogues

The kicking though leaves outfit… At this time of year I can’t resist playing match-matchy games with nature. I love jumpers the colour of autumn leaves and soft, checked scarfs. This is my go-to outfit when I’m working from home – and it also goes to prove that yellow and blue are a match made in heaven.

Moshulu blue brogues

The pop of colour… Wearing colourful shoes doesn’t mean the rest of your outfit has to be tame. Make a bold statement with a bright pink dress and grey tights. This is perfect for when I want to make an impact.

Moshulu blue brogues

Park life… Classic weekend wear. For those days sat on a bench, coffee in hand, watching your crazy kids tire themselves out. My blue brogues rise to the occasion yet again – matching this laid-back utilitarian look perfectly.

So that’s how you take one pair of blue shoes and make them work with five outfits. Which is your favourite?

Moshulu blue brogues

Thank you to Moshulu for sending me these lovely blue brogues to try. 

 

My favourite autumn beauty buys

My favourite autumn beauty buys

Autumn weather is notoriously unpredictable. Rain, wind and spending more time indoors can all play havoc with our hair and skin. Now, more than ever, I need a little helping hand to keep me looking good.

Which means buying new beauty products! I’ve made a few new discoveries lately and I’d like to share them with you.

Pixi glow tonic

Pixi Glow Tonic

Instagram is a great enabler when it comes to buying new products – especially when you live in the sticks and get bored with your local branch of Boots. I’d never even heard of Pixi Glow Tonic, but after reading all the rave reviews, I wanted to give it a try too. What is it? It’s an exfoliating toner, which you use after cleansing. It contains glycolic acid, which helps to refine pores. This, plus aloe vera, is supposed to improve your complexion and give you glowing skin.

Does it work? Yes, although don’t expect miracles. The thing I love about this tonic is the genuine glow it gives my complexion. Even on no-make-up days, the overall appearance of my skin is better. I haven’t noticed much difference in my pores, which is a little disappointing – but for the glow alone, I’ll be sticking with this tonic. It’s quite expensive, but the bottle is enormous.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand

Mini-miracle eye wand, by Charlotte Tilbury

I’ve been looking for a new under-eye concealer and this one is a bit special. In one end, there’s a hydrating eye cream, and in the other is a clever light-reflecting concealer. You apply the cream first, then apply the concealer over the top. I often find that my under-eye make-up has a dry and caked appearance – with the concealer settling into all the fine lines. This wand claims to solve that problem.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand

Does it work? Yes, definitely. After applying this clever duo, I look so much more awake. As you’d expect from a Charlotte Tilbury product, it also feels amazing to apply. The cream soothes my eyes in the morning and the whole area looks revived. I definitely notice the difference on the days when I don’t wear it. This is now a firm favourite. I use shade 2, which suits my skin tone very well.

Schwarzkopf Got2b Styling Oil

My last beauty favourite is a bargain hair oil. I have very thick, wavy hair which does not cope well in autumn. Mists and mellow fruitfulness basically means an uncontrollable thatch of heavy hair. I’ve been applying this oil before I blow dry my hair, and to tame frizzy flyaways between washes.

Does it work? It’s brilliant stuff – my is hair soft and silky, plus it smells amazing. Clearly, no product can work miracles on wavy hair when the air damp, but this stuff is doing it’s best. If I get caught in the rain, it’s definitely looking less hedge-like. And for £4 a bottle, I will be stocking up.

What are you favourite beauty buys for autumn?

Get reading this autumn with BEAR and Puffin’s Big Book Club

BEAR and Puffin's Big Book Club

There are lots of milestones in a child’s life. For me, watching my children learn to read has been one of the most joyful. 

I always knew that a big part of my role as a mother was to pass my love of reading on to my two boys, and they’re now both well on their way down that magical path. The things they see along that journey will feed their imagination, broaden their horizons and encourage their self-discovery.

BEAR and Puffin's Big Book Club

This autumn, BEAR Alphabites and Puffin books have teamed up to create BEAR and Puffin’s Big Book Club – and it’s ready to start inspiring little readers from all over the land.

Each pack of Alphabites cereal now includes exciting new story book magnets, which are guaranteed to get everyone giggling round the breakfast table. Plus, there’s a new online Big Book Club hub featuring a ‘Book of the Month’, printable activity sheets, games and free extracts from children’s classics.

This autumn, BEAR Alphabites and Puffin books have teamed up to create BEAR and Puffin’s Big Book Club – and it’s ready to start inspiring little readers from all over the land. Each pack of Alphabites cereal now includes exciting new story book magnets, which are guaranteed to get everyone giggling round the breakfast table. Plus, there’s a new online Big Book Club hub featuring a ‘Book of the Month’, printable activity sheets, games and free extracts from children’s classics.

My eldest son and his cat, Tabby, are the inaugural members of our very own book club – his brother and our other cat are honorary members too. The bottom bunk is now officially the reading cave – a place to enjoy all our favourite books, old and new.

Feeling hungry? Alphabites are a great snack to eat while enjoying a good story. They’re made from five natural whole grains and a touch of coconut blossom nectar, as well as containing no refined sugar, salt, artificial colours or flavours,

BEAR and Puffin's Big Book Club

One of our absolute favourite Puffin books is Dogger, by Shirley Hughes. I read it as a child, and I’ve shared it with the boys ever since they were babies. There’s just something about favourite books that makes me feel like everything is right with the world. It’s escapism, but they also inspire us and can teach us to be better people.

BEAR and Puffin's Big Book Club

Encouraging your child to read isn’t just about teaching them to recognise letters, it’s about giving them the freedom to relax and blossom within a magical world, safely nestled within the pages of their book. It offers them time-out after a hectic day, but also reminds them that there’s so much more still be explored.

Limited-edition story magnets are inside special packs of Alphabites cereal now – you can find them in  Tesco, Sainsbury’s , Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op and Ocado. To become a member of BEAR and Puffin’s Big Book Club, head over here to get started!

Join in on social media with #BigBookClub

This is sponsored post written as part of our on-going role in the BEAR Nibbles Tasting Team.

Beating the autumn gloom with fluffy coats and flowers

Fluffy coat and flowers

So far, I’ve been embracing everything about the change in the seasons. In fact, you might as well just call me Little Miss Autumn.

But last week, the seasonal shift suddenly didn’t feel so good. One by one, we’d all caught a cold. The mornings felt darker and colder – and getting out of bed wasn’t fun. Slowly, but surely, morale had begun to sink.

I felt like I’d come up against a brick wall creatively and I spent most of last week creeping around feeling as glum as the leaden grey skies. But on Thursday the sun came out and a couple of simple things reminded that, actually, autumn might just be ok again…

Fluffy coat and flowers

I wore my new teddy-bear coat for the first time. Fluffy coats, shearling coats…they’re all big this season and I urge you to try one. Wearing it is like getting a giant bear hug. If gloomy mornings are the downside of autumn, then getting to wear a snuggly coat is definitely the upside.

And I felt even happier about the fact that I bought it in the charity shop. Sure, I had to spend more than I paid for it getting it dry cleaned, but it was still a very virtuous purchase – and a reminder that I can still occasionally win the charity shop lottery.

Then I went to market and bought the brightest pink flowers I could find. Buying a massive bunch of flowers, and still having change from a fiver, is my weekly pleasure. Carrying them home not only made me happy, it also made a few passers-by smile too.

Buying flowers from Ely market

Of course, just buying a bunch of flowers doesn’t automatically make life peachy again, but it certainly helps. It also proves that when the gloom hits, you shouldn’t always follow your instincts and hibernate. Put on a favourite autumn coat, drag yourself out of the door and indulge in the little things that make you happy – whether it’s wearing a fluffy coat, meeting a friend or buying a new magazine.

Fluffy coat and flowers

I wear: Coat, ASOS, via the charity shop / Jeans, £14, Peacocks

Jumper, £19.99, Mango / Boots, £27.99, New Look / Cherry earrings, ASOS, £8

Love my fluffy coat? Here’s my pick of what’s available right now… 

Marmalade Pie: fluffy coats

Clockwise, from top left: Teddy bear coat, £89, Warehouse / Fleece coat, £29.90, Uniqlo

 Mohair coat, £69.99, Mango / Contrast coat, £79.99, Mango

 

Brands revisited: Mango

Mango autumn jumper and bag

Certain outfits remind of you a particular time in your life, don’t they? The last thing I bought from Mango was a denim blazer adorned with appliquéd leaves in 2003. I was at uni at the time and wearing fancy, spangly denim (while dancing to Justin Timberlake) was bit of a thing. Since then, Mango has remained off my radar. 

Until now. Strangely, I’d assumed that things would still be the same. But, wow, I was so pleasantly surprised. The collections are simple, unfussy and affordable. I’ve rather gone off Zara lately, and Mango reminds me of all the things I’d loved about it – a good mix of frivolous fashion with a classic backbone – all at a great price.

There isn’t a Mango store near me, so I ordered online. What caught my eye?

The simple elegance of this grey jumper with a funnel neck (£19.99). 

Mango autumn jumper and bag

And the easy style of this little bag (£17.99). It’s not real leather, but it feels really nice. 

Oxblood handbag by Mango

There was plenty more that I liked too. Here are my highlights. They’re all simple easy-to-wear pieces that will effortlessly update your wardrobe this autumn. 

Mango A/W17

Classic knitwear, coats and handbags

Olive jumper, £19.99 / Shopper, £39.99 / Wool Coat, £79.99 / Tassel Jumper, £35.99

So, welcome back to my wardrobe Mango. Let’s not wait another 14 years next time!

 

 

#OnePerfectThing in September

#OnePerfectThing in September

Perfection often feels out of reach. But however imperfect you’re finding life, you can make an effort to find #OnePerfectThing. Something which makes you pause, smile and feel thankful.

September has been a mellow month full of simple pleasures. It’s always sad to say goodbye to summer, but we’ve all been embracing the new season with gusto. Ice creams and beaches have been replaced by simple home comforts: boiled egg and soldiers, the first apples off the tree and kicking through leaves. The treasures of everyday life.

Here are my favourites from the #OnePerfectThing gallery on Instagram! 

#OnePerfectThing in September

Top row, left to right: @joy.margot / @topknotanddaisies / @mrs.a.king

Middle row, left to right: @pushing_the_moon / @acupfullofglitter / @meeyouandmagoo

Bottom row, left to right: @emilyandmore / @jess_soothill / @sallytangle

And now we have the joys of October to look forward to. I can’t wait to see all your #OnePerfectThing moments. Keep sharing and tell your friends! 

A botanical story…with Thought

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Autumn is all about the joy of discovery, isn’t it? Whether it’s seeing the leaves turn on your favourite tree, finding a gleaming conker or putting on the perfect pair of shiny new boots.

I have two autumn discoveries I’d like to share with you – the clothing company, Thought and the enchanting garden at Peckover House. Thought’s clothes are love-forever classics with an ethical heart. They’re a perfect match for this beautifully timeless garden.

Follow me down the garden path and I’ll tell you a botanical story.…

Thought clothing autumn collection

It’s a chilly morning, the kind when the September mist hasn’t quite burnt off yet. There’s nobody else here – and it’s the perfect moment to explore the orangery.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Despite the chill outside, the air is warm and humid in here. Every nook and cranny is filled with botanical delights – from succulents and ferns, to vivid blooms. At the centre stand two majestic orange trees, reputed to be 300 hundred years old, and still bearing fruit.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Let’s go outside again, shall we? We pass some cold frames and stumble upon another glasshouse…

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Now it’s time to choose some apples and leave the money in the honesty box.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

And look, who’s this?

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

It’s Algernon, Peckover House’s resident cat, who stands guard over the garden when he’s not too busy having his tummy stroked. And that’s where our little story ends – sitting in the now-bright sunshine.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

I wear:

Dress, £79.90, c/o Thought

Knitted overcoat, £140, c/o Thought

Peckover House and Garden are managed by the National Trust, with just a little help from Algie. I can’t think of a more perfect place to wear the beautiful new Autumn/Winter collection from Thought clothing.