Category Archives: Fashion

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?

Give me all the stripes

Mango striped dress

There’s something about stripes. No wardrobe is complete without a Breton striped top – or 20. And why stop there? This spring I’m reaching for the stripes again and again – and I’m not planning on changing course anytime soon.

Mango striped dress

Luckily for Breton lovers everywhere, stripes are big news this spring. There’s so many ways to wear them. Here’s just a few I love…

The stripy shirt dress. My pink linen one is by Mango. It sold out FAST online, but there are lots more to choose from – including a very similar version in blue. Choose a collar-less shirt dress like these three – its a unfussy and pretty look for spring and summer.

Stripy shirt dresses

From left: Blue linen, £49.99, Mango / Navy stripe, £35.99, Stradivarius

 Button up dress, £39.99 , Zara

The classic Breton dress. You need one of these in your wardrobe.  They’re perfect for city breaks, picnics, the beach and just about anything else in between! Just add shades and a basket bag.

From left: Sailor dress, £45, Seasalt / Ruffled sleeve dress, £15.99, Mango

 Ribbed jersey dress, £19.99, New Look

The flippy skirt. Choose a stripy skirt in a flowing or pleated fabric. It’ll move with you and keep you cool in every sense of the word! These three versions can be dressed up or down all summer long.

Stripy skirts

From left: Colour block skirt, £89, Hush / Yellow wrap skirt, £25, Monki

Pink linen skirt, £35.99, Mango

The stripy shirt with a twist. Update the classic shirt and jeans look with one of these cute tie-front versions by New Look. So versatile and flattering! Great for cooler days with jeans, or with shorts on the beach.

Stripy tie front shirt

From left: Multi stripe, £19.99, New Look / Blue stripe, £15.99, New Look

 Pink stripe, £19.99, New Look

Mango striped dress

I wear: Stripy dress, £39.99, Mango (sold out online, but try in store) / Shoes, £25.99, Marks and Spencer / Basket, from a French holiday – similar here

Do you love stripes as much as me? What’s your favourite way to wear them?

Three reasons why you need a floral dress this spring

Long sleeved floral dress by H&M

The floaty, flouncy floral dress. That alliteration sounds good, right? 

Here’s three reasons why you should try one…

They’re fun and flirty. Say goodbye to heavy winter coats and start showing off the beautiful details on your clothes. Pretty sleeves, cute necklines and nipped-in waists all scream spring and feel so perky and happy. Toughen the look up with a utility jacket or a biker.

Long sleeved floral dress by H&M

They’re great for in-betweeny weather. Longer sleeves and longer hemlines are so forgiving when the weather can’t make up it’s mind. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your legs still looking pale!

Long sleeved floral dress by H&M

Dress up or down. A long floral dress is so versatile. Great for a trip to the market with flats and a denim jacket – but also perfect for a summer wedding. The sleeves on this H&M dress are fantastic and really make the dress feel really special – but can equally well be hidden away under a jumper or jacket.

Long sleeved floral dress by H&M

I wear: Dress in size 10, £39.99, H&M (in store only) / Jacket, £69, FatFace / Shoes, £25, Marks and Spencer / Bag, for similar try Not on the High Street

Have I convinced you? My dress isn’t available online, but is still available in store at H&M. Here are some more I love…

Floaty floral dresses

From left: Kathleen dress, Boden, £130 / Heavy Petal Dress, Topshop, £49

 Crinkled long dress, £49.99, H&M

Wear yellow, be happy

Marks and Spencer yellow dress

Yellow. It’s a mood-boosting colour. Cheery yellow flowers, runny egg yolks and a sunshine-coloured new dress – they all make me happy.

As soon as I spotted this dress by Marks and Spencer I knew it was for me. It’s just the right shade of yellow – not too bright, not too mustardy. It’s perfect.

Marks and Spencer yellow dress

It also feels really rather nice on – light, floaty and gratifyingly figure-skimming. Which is just what you need for those spring days when you’re starting to emerge from your safe cocoon of winter layers. It’s also made of that seventies cheesecloth fabric which I love because it doesn’t crease.

Marks and Spencer yellow dress

My shoes are also by Marks and Spencer. Lilac is one of the colours of the year, and they make sure the dress feels very 2018.

Marks and Spencer yellow dress

Can a dress make you happy? Well, this one certainly has that effect on me. Maybe it’s the holidays vibes, or the fancy sleeves. Whatever it is, it works.

Marks and Spencer yellow dress

I wear: yellow dress in a roomy size 10, £39.50, Marks and Spencer

 Jacket in size 10, £69, Fat Face / Shoes in a generous size 6, £35, Marks and Spencer

A basket for every day of the week

Summer baskets

I’ve always loved baskets. So imagine how happy I am that they’re this summer’s must have accessory? They’re everywhere and available in every shape imaginable. It’s possible to have a different one for every day of the week – plus a few to spare!

To help you find the best of the best, I’ve created an edited collection of my favourite baskets and string bags.

First up, the classic market bag. Perfect for holidays, trips to your local market, swimming pool…the list is endless. You need at least one of these in your life.

Classic market bag

Clockwise from top left: natural straw tote, £32, Next / long-handled basket, £28, Not on the High Street / coast path basket, £27.50, Seasalt / round handle basket, £29.99, Zara

The round straw bag. Eminently chic and very photogenic. For instant glamour, wear anywhere from St Tropez to St. Ives. It also looks pretty good worn to your local supermarket.

Round basket bags

Clockwise from top left: circle tote bag, £30, Topshop / woven circle bag, £68, Rock n Rose / red circle bag, £39.99, Mango / circle bag with tassel, £29.99, Zara

The humble string bag is back! Another long-term favourite of mine. A bit seventies, a bit granny-chic – and actually very useful. The classic kind screw up in your bag and expand to fit all your shopping – and I love these grown-up handbag versions too.

String bags

Clockwise from top left: mauve bag, £14, Rock n Rose / Red string shopper, £22, Topshop / Natural bag, £29, Weald Store / blue string shopper, £29.99, Zara

The embellished basket. Because in 2018, embellishment is king. You need one of these for your holiday this summer – and for days when you need a little sunshine in your life!

Embellished baskets

Clockwise from top left: monkey bag, £28, Topshop / pom pom clutch, £28, Next / zig-zag bag, £29, Topshop / Floral bag, £49.99, Zara

Summer baskets

The only tough bit now is deciding which one to buy!

Hello British Summer Time + why every mouse needs to roar sometimes

New Look yellow shirt

I normally whinge about the clocks going forward. Because who actually likes losing an hour of their weekend? Well, me, it turns out. It means entering British Summer Time – which feels just as good as it sounds.

New Look yellow shirt and M&S shoes

I’m celebrating with some new spring buys. This yellow shirt by New Look is not only cute with jeans, it’ll also be the perfect cover-up to wear with sleeveless summer dresses if, like me, you don’t like your upper arms. And the shoes? Soft leather pumps by Marks and Spencer – available in a variety of ice cream shades – and as comfortable as walking on fluffy clouds.

New Look yellow shirt

All in all, it’s very nice. Which allows me to neatly segue into the next part of this blog post – my niggling fear that I’m too nice. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always think it’s important to be nice and kind. But I sometimes I feel I take it too far. I’m that mousey person who writes a vaguely opinionated tweet and then has to delete it five minutes later when someone disagrees with me. I’m also the person who hates to tell people what I’m really thinking.

Sometimes being too nice can backfire on you. This weekend, I had a little revelation. I’ve been left feeling really unsettled by the collapse of our house move, and unable to work out why I can’t move on. And I think this is mostly because I’ve just been too nice and calm about the whole thing. I haven’t always been so reasonable: the old me would have wept and gnashed her teeth until everyone was sick of her. And eventually, I’d have felt better for it – but in the process I’d make everyone around me miserable.

New Look yellow shirt

So life, motherhood and the universe have all taught me that’s it’s easier to be nice and avoid confrontational tantrums.

You can have too much of a good thing. I’m starting to realise though I need to allow myself to feel angry about things that go wrong – and to not be afraid to talk about them. I like to write about the sugar-coated version bits of my life: fashion, beauty, lifestyle, happiness. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a bit more honesty in amongst the prettiness.

Being nice doesn’t make you weak – but burying your true feelings probably will. So, I’m going to be a little braver. Clichéd as it sounds, the mouse needs to roar sometimes. 

New Look yellow shirt and M&S shoes

I wear: Shirt, £15.99, New Look / Jeans, £25, Nasty Gal

Shoes, £35, Marks and Spencer / Bag, £29.99, Zara

Pale Green Pants

Green trousers by H&M

Can’t resist this title. My youngest son and I were reading the Dr Seus classic together the other evening. By luck or accident – I’m not sure which – our reading matter appears to have influenced a recent purchase.  Some green pants from H&M. Or trousers, as they’re more commonly known.

Green trousers by H&M

Mine are nicer than Dr Seus’ – and I’ve been itching to wear them since I bought them last week. Now, finally, the arctic chill has lifted a little and I’m ready to brave bare ankles.

I’m wearing these green trousers from H&M with a soft grey coatigan from last year and a floaty top which is currently on sale at ASOS.

Green trousers by H&M

I also wanted to show you my new leather rucksack, by John Lewis. Cute, and perfect for lugging round all my stuff.

Trousers, £19.99, H&M / Top, £14, ASOS / Loafers, £22.99, New Look / Rucksack, £119, John Lewis

H&M trousers always come up super small – so I’ve sized up from a 10 to a 12.

I’m loving this outfit and it feels perfect for early spring days. Because, yes, it is officially spring now! 

Checkmate, winter!

Checked coat and slogan t shirt

So, March arrived, but so did the snow. Winter wasn’t quite ready to leave us yet – and it’s been more stalemate than checkmate. But now, finally, temperatures are on the up.

Winter’s had its last gasp and we’re officially in transition. Which basically means you’ll spend the next couple of months taking off first scarf, then your coat…then putting them both back on again. The weather’s fickle, so you need to be clever to outwit it.

Remember those checked coats we talked about in the autumn? Well, they’re just as big for spring – and just as useful. A lightweight checked coat strikes just the right balance between winter and spring. 

Here are my favourite ways to wear mine…

With a cute slogan tee

Apple tee, £12.99, New Look / Coat, past season New Look (similar here) / Jeans, £26, Nasty Gal / Brogues, past season Moshulu (similar here)

Classic checked coat

Layered up with a soft scarf on colder days

Coat, past season New Look (similar here) / Jeans, £26, Nasty Gal / Scarf, old (similar here).

Keeping it simple with grey knitwear and boots

Coat, past season New Look (similar here) / Jeans, £26, Nasty Gal / Boots, old (similar here) / Bag, £7, Peacocks

Checkmate, winter! It’s downhill all the way now to Spring.*

Checkmate, winter!

*May regret saying that.

Working 9-3: my freelance style

Joanie Peggy checked trouser

It’s a myth that all freelancers work in their pyjamas. Ok, sometimes we do – but mostly we just want clothes that are flexible. I fit my work in around the school run – so my working hours are 9-3. During that time I need an outfit that’ll take me from the school run to my home office – via client meetings and a bit of coffee shop hot-desking.

Joanie Peggy checked trouser

Right now I have a nice little formula going on: smart trousers, a simple knit and a camel coat. It’s a look that can take me everywhere, whilst also passing the school-run test. This basically means: can you wear it while balancing a combination of lunchboxes and papier-mache lighthouses in your arms? If the answer’s yes, then it’s a winner.

Joanie Peggy checked trouser

One of my favourite brands, Joanie, have recently launched a new workwear collection – and it’s gorgeous. It’s a wardrobe fit for Mad Men’s Joan Holloway in all her gorgeousness – full of cute dresses, trousers and tops. Now, I’m clearly no Joan – but I couldn’t wait to try a bit of this retro-inspired collection.

Joanie Peggy checked trouser

I chose these checked trousers because I knew they’d fit perfectly into my 9-3 freelance style. Why? Well, they’re low-key – but they’ve got that subtle style and sass that I just love. The fabric is soft and stretchy so they’re comfortable and practical at home – but they also looked pulled-together and smart for work meetings. Perfection!

Joanie Peggy checked trouser

I wear: Peggy checked trousers, £32, c/o Joanie / Loafers, £22.99, New Look

Bag, £19.99, New Look / Sunglasses, £2.50, Peacocks  / Coat (old), ASOS