Category Archives: Lifestyle

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

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

 

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.

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

Be your own best friend: why it’s time to start taking your own advice

Wild flowers in the garden

Good friends don’t knock you down, they build you up. They give us advice when we need it most – with kindness, firmness and tact. But sometimes that friend isn’t there, and we have to rely on ourselves for advice. Not so easy. So often we’re full of self-doubt and criticism. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to be your own best friend. 

Re-visit the classic pros and cons list.

Remember those lists you used to make with your friends about boys as a teenager? Use them now to remind yourself that there’s always two sides to every tricky situation. Don’t just think about this in your head. It’s really important to actually write this stuff down on a piece of paper. Divide a piece of paper in two and write down everything in favour and against a particular decision. Writing things down conquers messy thoughts and forces you to take a more balanced approach – just as you would if you were explaining something to a friend.

Pick yourself up after a fall

What would you do to help a friend when something went wrong for them? You’d commiserate with them and give them a hug. Then you’d start building their confidence up again. So why is it that we’re so mean to ourselves when something doesn’t go to plan? More often than not, we’ll blame ourselves. Every little failure you chalk up against yourself will weaken your confidence. Stop it now, and be nice to yourself. If you made a mistake don’t dwell on it. Learn from it and move forward. And if you have a run of bad luck, remember that you’re not responsible for everything. Things hurt, but remind yourself that you’re strong, adaptable and flexible.

Wild flowers in the garden

Be your own biggest cheerleader

What would you tell a friend suffering from self-doubt? You’d tell them they can do it. You wouldn’t say, yup you’ve never done this before and you’re bound to be crap. Well, at least I hope you wouldn’t. Yet, this is what so many of us think inside our own heads every single day. These unhelpful thought patterns have great sticking power and are hard to shift. Interrupt that internal monologue of doubt by talking out loud. Have a few little mantras ready for tricky situations. You can do this, Lizzie is my favourite, and I say it to myself when I feel overwhelmed. And if things don’t go to plan, then tell yourself that you gave it your best shot.

Stage an intervention on yourself

It’s easy to get stuck in little ruts of unhelpful behaviour like going to bed too late or looking at your phone too much. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out what we’re doing wrong for us to want to make a change. But you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell you what to do – make a change right now.  It’s easier not to act, but sometimes you have to be firm with yourself. Start taking the advice you know you need – whether it’s a digital detox, asking for help on a project or cutting down on your drinking.

Dear Diary

Don’t have someone else to confide in? Write things down. It’s funny how as soon you physically write something down, it feels more manageable. It’s like talking about a bad dream, and realising half way through how ridiculous it was. Keep a simple diary. It doesn’t need to be an essay. Jot down interesting things that you can enjoy looking back on. Or, if that’s not your thing try doing a daily brain dump in a notebook. Write down everything that’s niggling at you, then screw it up and chuck it away. It’s every bit as cathartic as a good chat with a friend.

Wild flowers in the garden

Are you good at being nice to yourself? I’d love to hear your favourite ways to be your own best friend.