APC Half Moon Bag | Image: Pinterest.
I recently came to the conclusion that I have a
new wardrobe void. I’m “missing” a small-medium sized, smart/casual black shoulder bag (with gold hardware). Having lost my phone, not once, but twice (and miraculously TWICE it was handed in by kind folk!) from my Chanel 2.55, I have decided I need a bag that will effectively contain my wares.
I’ve trawled through my favourites and here is my Edit of The Black Shoulder Bag – perfect for shopping to dinner to dancing, and back round the shops again.
A.P.C – Half Moon Bag – £280. Available at selected stockists.
SAINT LAURENT Monogram université – £1,500.
Chloé – Drew Bag – £1, 140.
Céline- Trio Bag – Around £650. Available at selected stockists.
Valentino – Rock Stud Bag – £1, 240.
Maje – Sharon Bag – £420.
GUCCI – Soho Bag – £650.
Mansur Gavriel – £395. Available at selected stockists.
I definitely have my eyes firmly fixed on the classic Céline Trio and the A.P.C Half Moon bag; with the A.P.C delight hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist! Which are your favourite(s)?
Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.
I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!
Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores. The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.
Details of showroom opening times are as follows:
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm
I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:
Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.
The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.
On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here.
Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).
*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*.
After having Eli my go-to daily outfit was a pair of wet-look leggings and the baggiest top I could find. I’d worked in Fashion since leaving Uni and had completely lost my way with getting dressed when King Eli arrived. 18 months later I had become so lazy and boring with my day-to-day outfits and didn’t feel like ME anymore. My excuse for everything was my 18 month old toddler, I didn’t need to dress up for him…
I had an epiphany when I stopped working from home and ventured back into the office. I started grabbing for those sacred pieces in my wardrobe that I’d kept “for best” and I started to wear them as everyday clothes. (Considering we rarely go dancing or even for meals anymore!). I became ME again. Dressing for YOU, makes YOU so much happier. (Gotta say here though, since moving to Berlin, 70% of my wardrobe is in storage, so I don’t really have a “for best” section anymore… I’m fairly happy with my wardrobe. Despite the constant stream DHL deliveries from Topshop, Zara and ASOS… (I send back more than I keep 😉 ). I’m more or less me though, depending on how much sleep I’ve had… ). But what’s important is these changes make YOU, YOU again.
I hadn’t realised until only recently, but I’d forgotten about MUSIC. Actual MUSIC. I’d always been an avid gig-goer from my teens; going to a gig every week (at least) whilst at Uni. We did the Festivals and the more intimate gig’s. Music was my EVERYTHING, just like my dressing up; from growing up, getting ready and going out, to my daily London commute! Even with my work, I had musicians come in weekly, sometimes daily, doing a session that I’d be posting across the HQ Social channels, or just help out with picking clothing from the shop-floor. Music was always with me. How had I forgotten about it? How had I forgotten how good music can be, how good it can make you feel?
Being in the office in Berlin, we have a communal Sonos system, which is great on a good day! But the majority of the time, the music can be, let’s say, eclectic (to be polite). Which is fine, not everyone has to agree on everything, all of the time! I also work from a very old laptop that doesn’t even connect to the Sonos system, so rarely, if ever, do I input to the playlist. I have resorted to listening to Radio 1 through my headphones during work hours. But the music is pretty dire from Radio 1, it’s repetitive and monotonous. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the laughs from Grimmy in the morning, Scott & Chris after 1pm and then Greg in the afternoon. But I dislike the 10am-1pm slot. A lot. Not to be rude about it. But I switch off. It’s certainly not the music that I liked to listen to. I either then grin & bare the Sonos playlist or put my Apple Music catalogue, consisting of mostly 2004, on shuffle. Last week I realised I hadn’t really listened to any new music since having Eli. I turn to The Beatles, Nirvana, David Bowie and The Lib’s for continued listening or we have shuffle on when we’re cooking or tidying up.
I’m eager to find out what other Mama’s enjoy… and what you’re listening to, right now. Basically, I want to know what exactly is ace of base! Or are you like me? Had you forgotten that music actually existed outside of that annoying Nursery Rhymes CD, the Peppa Pig theme tune or the Disney Top 100 tracks ? (Or indeed outside of Radio 1?). If you are stuck in a musical-rut then I propose a new hashtag!
Going forward, I want to start my new Monday-week with some new listening. So Mama’s, let’s get sharing! What are you listening to in work, at the gym, on the school run, on the commute? What do you listen to when you’re doing a tidy up with the kids at the end of the day? What do you dance around to in the kitchen? (Or prance around to when you’ve poured that so-needed Gin when the kids are eventually asleep?!). Share absolutely anything and everything with the hashtag #MamaMusicMonday – at any time in the week. From easy-listening to fast-paced! Any genre. Old or new! Just something with a beat that can set the tone for a new week – perhaps something none of us have listened to before – and definitely nothing remotely toddler related (please!). Music can help us in a million ways – it can do so much more than make your feet tap. And I’d so sadly forgotten that bit too. It wasn’t until darling Bowie passed away that I remembered how much music can mean, for so many. The emotions and memories you can feel from hearing one of your favourites…
SO with all that, I’m ready to resuscitate my musical education. I’m ready to regain that old ME who loved music so much. And you never know, you might spy me at a gig near you again soon 😉
I first came across CULT of YOUTH on Instagram last year… And it wasn’t long before I could see how utterly incredible Kelly, (founder) really is. She is the ultimate #MumBoss. An amazing Mama, juggling her gorgeous-chops little boy between everything life throws at you and this wicked jewellery business. She’s a total mega babe who is 110% dedicated; with her passion and frank honesty pouring out through her day-to-day postings. (Kelly generally responds to emails and comments with her son on her lap or in the middle of the night – quite likely both scenario’s at the same time (having received just a few 2am emails from her myself!). I literally have no idea how she’s doing it… I’m pretty sure she’s made of magic?!).
Kelly makes all her jewels by hand – the majority made to order – back in England. When Eli was Elvis’ age, I could barely make it to to the shops… (see, told you she was made of magic!) Not only does this mean that each piece is made with her love and care, it also makes her jewels extra special. (Yours
probably has might have even been made with a little added midnight magic too).
I instantly fell in love with the ace of base MOTHER necklace…
…and then one day this beautifully wrapped
(and ever so slightly psychedelic) parcel arrived on my desk in Berlin. My necklace hasn’t left my neck since (well, I will point out – it does come off for showers and bedtime – she’d probably slap my wrists otherwise).
CULT of YOUTH, may well be famous for the signature #MAMAChain (now available with added skulls, ‘cos you know, us Mum’s do enjoy Rocking and Rolling still), but do check out Kelly’s other products too as they’re proper good – from personalised slogan necklaces to dainty initial pendants in Gold, Silver and Rose Gold. Gift wrap is also available now, making your jewels fit for a magpie’s nest from the get go; whether it’s a surprise for your loved one, or a well earned treat for yourself.
Basically, I’m really very proud to be a Mama / Mother / Mummy / Mammy / Mum / Mam
/ Mummy Dinosaur. Being a parent is a daily struggle – and we’re all in it together, one way or another. Wearing a statement necklace, made by a Mama, who went through a struggle to present it to you, is so exceptional I can’t even get it into words. It’s admirable and inspiring and everything inbetween. As a real human being, Kelly is one of the most honest Mum’s I’ve come across. Her raw emotion hits every nerve within me. So truthful and so eloquent. From Mother to Mother, the Sisterhood is real.
All the loves Kelly – keep doing what you’re doing pet, you’re bloody amazing!
Shop all CULT of YOUTH products: Click Here
CULT of YOUTH was created early Autumn 2011 by head designer, London trained silversmith Kelly Seymour. Forged out of chaos in a Hackney warehouse, the first collection of heavy cross chokers and silk bound animal bones launched at London Fashion Weekend that autumn. Two years at Portobello market followed which led to meeting head accessories buyer at Urban Outfitters with three subsequent seasons in stores including Oxford Circus, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Berlin.
*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*.
I have a natural affinity for Norfolk, with my long, long, long, long, long (etc) lost ancestor’s naming their own land in Norfolk with our very own family surname – Briston. But it was Nor-Folk, the brand, who I fell in love with on Instagram last year (@Nor_Folk). Not only is this a brand that is founded by a Husband-and-Wife design team, but its an effortlessly cool brand to boot. Fiona and Bobby, along with their super-stylish (and super-cute) son Stanley, live in the most incredible of homes;and together they are The Nor-Folk. They’re a design-led lifestyle brand, who design and print their own clothing range, collaborate on Homeware & Gifts and feature local Norfolk contributors on the Journal.
As someone who has a very definite WORK HARD attitude, in all things in life, I thought that the ‘Work Hard’ Adult Tee was a proper piece of me. Of course, I found the #Twinning combination of ‘Play Hard’ Kids’ Tee completely irresistible and ordered both as soon as we were finally moved in Berlin. (Play Hard, a perfect slogan for my little one who cannot wait for play time!).
Eli was given the ‘Hello’ Tee as a gift from our lovely friends at Christmas (lucky boy!). Sadly, it wasn’t quite the right size. So I got in touch with Fiona (who I didn’t expect to be working over the festive period) and she replied at lightening speed. As the tee was purchased in the UK, but we’re now in Berlin, it made sense to send the new size of this wicked tee directly to me. After just a few emails all was arranged and a few days later the replacement tee was on my desk in Prenzlauer Berg. A really small team, but a team that fundamentally strives for customer care.
Both of these Tee’s are available in Black or White options, for the ultimate in minimal monochrome styling. I love that all the designs are unisex too. With my Mama-head on, I might also add that these cotton tee’s wash exceptionally well and are just so wonderfully soft. The three styles we own are all made in the U.K. and are finished with the hand printing in Norfolk itself. Which is just ace of base.
There’s something a little bit special about buying products from a family-run business; whether that be a Husband-and-Wife team or a Mum/Dad-preneur. You’re not funding a corporate machine – you’re supporting real people. A real family. And that feels really good.
Wishing Fiona, Bobby and the Nor-Folk team lots of luck and adventures for the exciting year a head. We look forward to seeing the brand grow from strength to strength!
Check out more from Nor-Folk here.
Nor-Folk is a graphic design-led lifestyle brand founded by husband-and-wife graphic designers who reside in Norfolk, UK.
“Together, we design and curate apparel and products for the whole family with a timeless minimalist design aesthetic.
“We create and sell products we love and want in our own lives. We passionately adhere to the sentiment ‘less is more’ and ‘quality over quantity’ in our product creation.
“Our family and adventures are our canvas and muse – we invite you to share in our journey and that of our contributors via our Journal.
“Together, we are the Nor-Folk.”
*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a brand whom I think is frikkin amazing*.
YESMUM Cards, by Hollie de Cruz, available in her shop, here.
Better late, than never, right? Happy New Year.
2016: The dawn of a new age for me. 2016 is all about positive vibes only.
I ended the year on a not so good note, I’ll be honest. I’ll go into further details when I get round to blogging about my wonderful YESMUM Cards. But that aside, I wanted to bring the old blog up to date now we’re in 2016. So what’s happened so far in 2016? Well, we’ve had the coldest of January days we’ve ever had, ever, a flight back to our Motherland in the North of England, the death of the incredible David Bowie – which has left me somewhat broken hearted, amazing snow-filled fun, a cough, a cold, a stomach bug and Tonsillitis. The past few weeks have also cemented the fact that I need to step back and CHILL – for someone with anxiety, this is obviously a bigger thing than just ‘chilling out’. I’m taking steps to indeed ‘chill the hell out’, and I feel much happier stepping into February. Onwards and upwards, eh!
Here are a few snaps from January and into February:
Our first flight of 2016, at 10am on 01/01/2016 – start the year as you mean to go on?!
Haupstr. 155, Schöneberg, Berlin – the apartment where the wonderful David Bowie lived during his Berlin years. Myself and Mr Memoirs were always Bowie fans, but something really struck us about his shock passing. Perhaps it was because we’re in Berlin and he did so much for this incredible city? We genuinely felt heartbroken and haven’t stopped listening to his back catalogue since. We found the trip to his apartment so emotional – albeit, Eli referring to Bowie as ‘The Starman’ and picking yellow flowers for him definitely didn’t help things! We’re so sad he’s gone, but so happy he existed. Wonderful Starman, we will be forever indebted to you for the musical education and creativity. Our son will live in a happier place for your music and choice-looks, and for that we will be eternally grateful.
We hope Berlin does change the street permanently!
Winter MOTHER – Jewels by the absolute SuperMum that is Kelly Seymour of Cult Of Youth.
FINALLY! The schnee arrived!
Wanna build a schneemann?
Eli got a mega bike for Christmas and refused to part ways on the Kita-run, regardless of terrain!
…tea solves everything. Especially a proper cuppa!
We dressed in lots of red to show our support for the recent British Heart Foundation #WearItBeatIt campaign. See more on my post, here: Our personal account, and #WearItForIvy!
…and here we are, today. Today saw the bluest of skies and a mild 12c! Spring is certainly in the air, and I for one cannot wait for sunshine filled adventures!
For now, over and out!
I can hardly believe it. Our darling little boy turned 2 on Wednesday!
We had a wonderful day celebrating. We started off our day at 5:30am, (as we do most days!), we had lovely cuddles in bed before heading downstairs. We’d set the living room up the night before, ready for Eli to pounce bright and early the next day. We sauntered down the stairs and said a big “1, 2 3… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as Eli entered the room. He stood completely still, mouth gaping, in utter shock! It was amazing. We must have stood there for a minute before he gathered that all these bright and exciting presents were actually for him! It was so sweet. He spent the entire morning overwhelmed, not quite sure where to look or where to run to next. It was amazing to see him opening presents this year, and even better when he realised what was actually beneath the wrapping paper. Just the best feeling in the world – I could have watched him all day, as he was just enjoying EVERYTHING. He even blew out his candles himself this year! (I spent the day previous baking his cake – never have I ever been so stressed in the kitchen in all my life! Blog post on the cake to follow).
We went off to the Big Smoke a little later than anticipated due to the present-opening overload. The weather forecast was torrential rain for the day… but it was bright when we got to London Zoo; and swelteringly hot by mid-afternoon. We went to Colchester Zoo for Eli’s 1st birthday last year… think we may make a Zoo visit it an annual thing for Eli’s birthday as he absolutely LOVES the animals! To the extent that he cried when we would leave a section of the zoo to move onto the next area! His highlights were definitely the giraffe’s, hyena’s, goat’s (!!!) and all the different monkey’s (takes one to know one!).
We had a very full day at the zoo and Eli had TWO naps! TWO! We had a not-so-good experience at Strada in Camden and headed home – we didn’t get in until 10:30pm! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!
Eli is the happiest little boy who loves adventure’s. It’s incredible seeing him grow – I never thought we’d actually be able to see it happening before our very eyes, but he is developing every single day. He completed our lives he arrived on 6th August 2012 and we couldn’t be prouder parents. Eli is quite literally magic.
Our precious boy, always ask questions – always be curious. We love you to the moon and the stars and back!
Here are some snaps from Eli’s 2nd birthday celebrations!
So there we have it. As of 21.43 on 6th August, we have our very own 2 year old human!
This is me and my shadow. My darling boy.
We were walking back from an afternoon at the local park. Eli was obsessed with the big boat, that is on springs, kind of bouncy-see-saw-thing. It doesn’t do an awful lot, but it definitely captured Eli’s imagination.
We’re HUGE fan’s of the Oliver’s in our house. Most food I cook, on a daily basis, is a recipe derived from one of our many Jamie Oliver cookbooks.
When I heard about Jools, Jamie’s
better other half, designing the Little Bird collection for Mothercare I just KNEW it was going to be amazing. (I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while!) I’ve always loved the quirky, cool and relaxed way Jools dresses her beautiful 3 girls and little boy. The Little Bird collection is reminiscent of just that – the fun, but trendy, way Jools dresses her own children – plus some harping back to the 1970’s and her own childhood memories for good measure too.
I thought I’d share my favourite Boy’s pieces from the latest collection for A/W 13. Albeit, Jools has cleverly made some of the pieces unisex – so great if you do have more than one child, the clothing can be passed on and around.
Little Bird by Jools, Long Sleeved Graphic Print T-Shirt, £7.00 – £8.00
We do have a penchant for 70’s design and interiors. Have to say, we’ve not yet really dressed Mr Eli is anything 70’s related as yet. Aside from his Converse, Fred Perry, dinosaur print tee’s, oxford shirts and skinny jeans. Things like that just look like modern-day as fashion’s are always revived like that. But I LOVE this 1974 long sleeve tee. Lovely and bright and will go with everything.
Little Bird by Jools, Desert Boots, £16.00.
These mock suede boots are just amazing – such a classic style. Just like what Daddy wears! You can choose between the red or yellow laces – which is great for outfit matching. Wear these boots with chino’s or jeans for a comfortable, smart or casual look.
Little Bird by Jools, Dark Wash Jeans, £10.00 – £11.00.
A lovely pair of unisex jeans in a nice dark denim colourway. I’ve seen Buddy Oliver sporting these and he looks super cool. These dark wash jeans feature a classic design which can be worn in many seasons to come. They have a mock leather back pocket patch and contrasting stitching inside. Team with colourful tees and shirts for a cool and casual look.
Little Bird By Jools Brown Cord Trousers, £10.00
A MUST for the 70’s wardrobe – the humble brown corduroy trouser. These soft cord trousers have a straight leg, so perfect for Mr Eli keeping that skinny-fit silhouette going. These trousers will look incredible with Eli’s classic Converse Low-Tops and a bright print top – or with a smart shirt tucked in!
Little Bird by Jools Socks- 5 Pack, £6.00 – £6.50.
How cute are these socks? Love the way they’ve been displayed in the campaign imagery too. You can’t go wrong with a bright and playful pair to jazz up an outfit. They’re great value in a pack of 5, to be washed and worn during the week. Each pair has contrasting toe and heel colours and ‘Little Bird’ stitched onto the bottom.
Little Bird by Jools Cool Pyjamas, £12.00.
Saving the best till last… I love, love, LOVE these pyjama’s. They’re so, well, COOL! With Eli wearing his Boots & Bar on a nighttime, we have to cut holes into his baby grow’s so that we can fit the bar through. It makes it a little easier for us if we need to remove the bar – and I think it makes it a little bit more comfortable for him too. I’m thinking now might be the time to switch baby grow’s for PJ’s! No more messing about with cutting holes into lovely baby grow’s, that can’t be used again. But my oh my, how adorable does the little chap in the campaign shot look here? Love the styling!
Want To Know More?
The Little Bird clothing range from Jools Oliver has been developed to reflect the unique and modern approach to motherhood that Jools enjoys with her wonderful family. From gorgeous newborn baby clothes to stylish and fun boys and girls clothes, this exciting clothing range is easily mixed and matched, the Little Bird range really is great value for money.
Inspired by Jools’ own childhood memories of growing up in the Seventies, this boutique collection is not about short-lived trends, but an eclectic mix of iconic, timeless pieces, that every child between six months to five years will want to wear.
You pick, they mix!
Loved by Jools, designed to be mixed and matched by you and your brood.