mama spree: the coolest mama – kate

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Kate Mama S

1. Boden Cashmere Off Duty Jumper, £199.00 (get 15% off with discount code J9G7)
2. Celine Traveller Dark Havana Frame Sunglasses £130.00 (were £210.00)
3. Jigsaw Mini Bowling Bag, £129.00
4. Gap Desconstructed ‘Always Skinny’ Skimmer Jeans, £19.99 (were £44.95)
5. Alaia Suede Ankle Boots, £810.00

Everything about this outfit is working for us. We want it all!! Kate is the ultimate ‘cool mama’, and this is one effortlessly cool look. The slouchy oversized roll-neck (we’re guessing Celine?); the perfect skinny, but not too skinny mid-blue wash jeans; the ultimate Louis Vuitton SC Sofia bag (I have a long-standing obsession with this bag – after all my initials are SC!!); the sexy, but oh so cool Alaia boots… Sigh. Ok, so we need to do a bit of saving/serious hint-dropping/lottery winning (or possibly all three?) before we can have this exact look, but in the meantime here’s our slightly more wallet-friendly version… I have this Boden jumper from last Winter, and I love it. The perfect ‘chuck on and go’ piece that’s really warm and cosy (no need for a coat for the school run) and covers your bum (always a plus in my book, particularly in Winter). Ok, so I might have been dreaming of the Sofia bag for what feels like forever, but I have to say, this Jigsaw bowling bag is really, really great. So great in fact, that Nicky and I both stopped outside the Chiswick store on Monday when we spotted it, and rushed straight in to give it the once-over. It’s now firmly at the top of my latest wish-list. And I am a very picky about bags. It does come in a slightly bigger style in leather which we also really liked, but personally I love the little suede one. If you’re looking for a less expensive roll-neck, but still want that loose, oversized shape Boden also does a very similar one in merino wool (charcoal is our favourite colour). Gap also has a good one; as does Malene Birger. Ok, so the boots are still Alaia, but at least you can still do the school-run in them… (but here’s a cheaper alternative from ASOS).

ps: This Topshop jumper (thank you Louise for the tip-off) is another one we’re coveting. If Topshop has sold out of your size (as is the case for me), it’s also available at Net a Porter. I will be wearing mine with a little lace trimmed skirt, tights and boots.

forever in (cobalt) blue jeans

boys pb

1. Petit Bateau Wool & Cotton Sailor Sweater, £50.00
2. Petit Bateau Long Sleeved Wool & Cotton T-Shirt, £19.50
3. Mango Five Pocket Trousers, £14.99
4. Petit Bateau Striped Jersey Socks, £8.00
5. 10 IS Silver Hi Top Trainers, £48.50

Cool and cosy layering, with a pop of colour…

ps: 30% off the most expensive item in Petit Bateau when you buy three things at the moment…

sweatshirt girl

girl sweater dress

1. Uniqlo Urban Sweats Sweatshirt Dress, £14.90
2. Zara Bag With Tassels, £15.99
3. Mango Snow Boots, £39.99

Such a cool girl’s outfit. And we love that if you want to pull a ‘mini me’ with your daughter, you can buy yourself a version of the dress, and the Issy boots (Nicky has these from last Winter).

ps: Mango has also done a similar sweatshirt dress that we love.

mama spree: working mama & mama’s going out…

TS Work

1. Boutique Seamless Cashmere Tee, £25.00
2. Olivia Burton Midi Dial Watch, £65.00
3. Long Trench By Goldie, £79.00
4. Textured Scuba Cigarette Pants, £42.00
5. Gemini Suede Court Shoes, £46.00

TS Night

1. Double Ball Stud Earrings, £6.50
2. Heavy Cotton Shacket, £48.00
3. Sequinned Panel Pleat Dress, £65.00
4. Access All Areas by CJG Ankle Boots, £130.00

For all you working mamas out there (well ones who have ‘proper’ jobs anyway, unlike mine, where an Isabel Marant jumpsuit and Birkenstocks are a perfectly acceptable outfit – and in fact what I wore to work yesterday), here is a chic, pared down work look, inspired by the French Vogue Editor, Emmanuelle Alt. Nicky has bought this cashmere tee and hasn’t stopped raving about it. And we’re loving this cool slouchy, trench. And here’s an evening look that we absolutely love. We both regularly throw a military style jacket over a black dress for a dressed up, but laid back (our favourite combo) look. We both have this ‘shacket’ (to be worn open) and it’s proving invaluable in this ‘is it Summer or Winter?’ weather we’re experiencing at the moment.

Created in collaboration with Topshop

extra spooky

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 23.57.34
Little Baby Company Halloween Trick Or Treat Card, £3.95

You still have a couple of weeks, but we like to get organised early. So we’ve ordered our cute Halloween costumes and they are on their way. So now that just leaves the sweet little extras that make it all the more fun… We’re loving these personalised trick or treating bags; this pumpkin window sticker; this pumpkin piñata; this door sign; these window stickers; these balloons; this bat card; and this light-up pumpkin (ok, so it’s not the real deal, but I bought one last year, and it looked pretty great – I’ve also bought the mini ones this year).

spooky baby

Haloween baby boy

1. Gap Devil Knitted Hat, £4.99
2. Boden Baby Cardigan, £16.20-£18.00
3. John Lewis Halloween Skeleton Sleepsuit, £14.00
4. M&S Halloween Pull & Go Bat, £6.00

Who says babies can’t get in on the Halloween action? Just make sure they’re bundled up and cosy, and off you go! We also like this cute bib; and as baby Halloween costumes go, this bat print onesie is a pretty cute one.

a spooky little boy like you…

Halloween boys

1. John Lewis Glow-In-The-Dark Pyjamas, £15.00-£17.00
2. Gap Oversized Pom Pom Hat, £9.95
3. Urban Sweat Long Sleeve Hoodie, £19.90
4. Little Baby Company Halloween Pack Of Eight Trick Or Treat Bags, £10.95

Today it’s the boys’ turn, and we’re sticking with our stylish pyjama based Halloween costumes. You may already have a pair of glow-in-the-dark pjs (Marlow and Bailey do), in which case you only need to add the accessories for a trick or treat outfit. We also love this bat tee; these glow-in-the-dark pyjamas; these glow-in-the-dark leggings (these would look so cool worn with a jumper like this); and this wizard costume (ok, so it’s 100% polyester, but for £6.00 for one night…).

pretty spooky

Halloween girls

1. Gap Glow-In-The-Dark Sleep Set, £14.95, Shop Now
2. Numero 74 Super Hero Outfit, £39.69, Shop Now
3. Hunter Sillver Wellies, £30.00, Shop Now

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about little Halloween costumes. After trawling through (what felt like) hundreds of ‘scary’ polyester outfits; various Halloween themed items of clothing (most of which were pretty dodgy it has to be said); and far too much black and orange for our liking, we came to the following conclusion… Buy a pair of ‘spooky-ish’ pyjamas, pimp them up a bit with a few carefully chosen accessories, et voila! You have a stylish, comfy, inexpensive ‘trick or treat worthy’ outfit that means you can just pop your little ones straight into bed after trawling the streets because they’re already wearing their pjs! Perfect. We always love a Gap set of glow-in-the-dark pyjamas (Marlow and Bailey already both have a pair), and these girls ones are so sweet. Just add the (super-stylish) cape,  mask and wellies and you’re all set. Who said Halloween has to be scary anyway? Let’s leave that to the older kids. Also, there’s nothing stopping you from adding a pretty cape or tutu to the pyjamas… I’m also going to be buying Tabitha this Hello Kitty Halloween DVD to get her in the spooky mood (and let’s be honest, how scary can Hello Kitty actually be??). Tomorrow it’s the boys’ turn…

ps: we have had a few requests for some more purse-friendly leather pencil skirts following Friday’s Mama Spree. Here are a few we found on the high street… This ASOS one; this River Island one (we like the pockets); this French Connection wrap one; and this petite one from M&S.

mama spree: slouchy sexy cool


1. Topshop Boutique Slouchy Jumper, £60.00, SHOP NOW
2. ASOS Plaited Chain Necklace, £8.00, SHOP NOW
3. Baukjen Leather Skirt, £309.00, SHOP NOW
4. Sam Edelman Zavier Suede High Heel Shoes, £149.00, SHOP NOW

I got a little obsessed when I saw this picture of Alexa. I have been thinking about investing in a leather pencil skirt for a while now, but just wasn’t sure it was very ‘me’. I like the idea of one, but thought it was maybe too sexy/vampy for my style. Then I saw this pic, and thought: that’s exactly how I would want to wear a leather skirt. For me, anything sexy has to be diffused with something a bit slouchy/tomboy-ish/masculine. Nicky and I both already have this Topshop camel sweater and it’s really great (and I also have the charcoal one). Size down though, as it comes up large, even for a slouchy fit. And I have it on very good authority that Alexa rates this particular leather pencil skirt (she is wearing the Baukjen one in the picture) as her favourite. I know what you’re thinking – that’s all well and good if you as tiny as Alexa Chung. Well, I happen to know someone who assures me that it is also super-flattering in a size 14 (they are a size 14, and have one too). I’m sold! By the way, these shoes are such an amazing find, we were a little hesitant about sharing them before actually buying them, but we’re nice like that… And we simply couldn’t not share them!

ps: a lovely reader (Chloë) asked me just yesterday for ‘Isssy style cool’ outfit suggestions for her upcoming 30th birthday celebrations. My immediate thought (after mentally trying to actually remember what I wore to my own 30th??) was a cool, slouchy jumpsuit/boiler-suit. Add heels, and a chandelier earring, and this has now become my go-to evening look. So easy, effortless and with a ‘not trying too hard’ feel that I always love and try to achieve. I have been living in my black Isabel boiler-suit from the Summer (I hunted one down in the sales – I was a woman on a mission), and Nicky has just bought this one. I’m now coveting this more affordable one from Zara; and these, also from Zara (I’m now so taken with my denim dungarees that I want a pair for evening now!).

bat hat

boys silver hi tops

1. Mango Navy Pocket Wool Blend Sweater, £16.99, Shop Now
2. Oeuf NYC Bat Beannie, £53.00, Shop Now
3. Zara Slim Fit Trousers, £12.99, Shop Now
4. Petit Bateau Unisex High Tops, £59.00, Shop Now

This low-key boys look, is just cool enough…

ps: for anyone who has tried to buy the Geox ‘William’ school shoes from yesterday’s post and were unable to use the discount code, our friends at Alex and Alexa apologise, and assure us that the problem will be resolved by tomorrow (Thursday) morning, and the code will definitely work then.

shoe shoes shoes

A&A Girl

1. Pom D-Api Rose Pink Leather Boots (sizes 19-30), £54.00 (were £68.00)
2. Start-Rite Gold Leather Mary-Janes (sizes 20-26), £48.00 (were £60.00)

Boys A&A

1. 10 IS High Top Trainers (sizes 24-38), £56.50 (were £71.00)
2. 10 IS Girls Leather Trainer (sizes 24-34), £56.00 (were £70.00)

Alex and Alexa currently has 20% off online, then you get an extra 15% on top with the code: SHOE15 until midnight on Thursday. Woohoo! These are our four favourites styles, and we also love these Pom D’Api feather fur girls boots (Nicky saw them in person last week and said they were adorable); these Start-Rite lilac Mary Janes; these Minetonka fringed ankle boots; these Start-Rite white T-bars; these Hunter unisex silver wellies; these Hunter navy ‘first’ wellies; and our favourite boys’ school shoes the Geox ‘William’ (a great time to buy the next size up). They also have a great selection of Pom D’Api girls sandals. Buy now. stash for next Summer…

cable knits & mary janes

Girl cable jumper

1. Mini Boden Cosy Cable Throw-On, £31.00-£36.00 (was £35.00-£40.00, SHOP NOW
2. M&S Cotton Embroidered Skater Skirt, £16.00-£20.00, SHOP NOW
3. Zara Ribbed Tights, £5.99, SHOP NOW
4. Start-Rite Gold Leather Mary Janes, £48.00 (were £60.00), SHOP NOW

We love this chunky cable knit sweater (it has the cutest pom pom on the hood, which you can’t see in this pic). And I bought this gorgeous skater skirt for Tabitha back in the Summer. Perfect with or without tights. It really reminds me of the Miller ones that I bought her last year in that amazing Elias & Grace sale.

softly softly


Rain Starts Play Handmade Wool Slippers (3-12 months & sizes 2-12), £24.99
Nicky’s son Bailey has these, and she loves them. I also still love these Gap bear slippers (Marlow is currently on his fourth pair – he’s had every size over the years) , which some of you may remember, were the first thing I ever posted, back in January 2012. We also love these from M&S, these from Minnetonka; and these slipper socks from Falke.

mama spree: what lies beneath…

photo: sofia coppola by mario testino for french vogue, 2004

This is most definitely not a post for husbands/boyfriends’ eyes, so position your laptop/ipad/phone carefully if you plan to click on any on any of these links. This post contains classified information that must stay just between us. Men do not need to know our secrets – it’s in their best interests. This is all about foundations, or ‘scaffolding’ if you will. What goes on under your clothes is every bit as important as your actual clothes. Personally I have a very schizophrenic underwear drawer – one half is crammed full of pretty, frilly whisps of lace, tulle and ribbons; the other looks like it could belong to Mrs Doubtfire. Horses for courses, that’s what I say. There is a time and a place (and indeed, an outfit) for everything. And a good outfit must always start with good underpinnings – without question, ill-fitting lingerie can ruin a look in seconds. Nicky and I have decided to share the less glamorous side of our wardrobes/drawers (no pun intended) this week – some of this lingerie is definitely not the kind you want to prance around the bedroom in (unless you never want to have sex again, in which case, prance away). My theory is, the less attractive the underwear, generally the better the effect once you’re dressed. Here are our favourite go-to undergarments that we can’t live without (and that our boyfriends/husbands remain blissfully unaware of)…
Top of our list is this Wacoal minimiser bra (available in black, nude and ivory) – in our opinion the best minimiser out there for sure. Unlike most others we’ve tried, this one won’t squash your boobs or give you the dreaded matronly ‘mono bosom’. It simply keeps them up where they should be and under control; this Wonderbra Ultimate strapless bra looks terrifying (it almost needs a drawer to itself, it’s so huge!), but Nicky claims it’s the only strapless bra worth owning if you’re anything bigger than an A cup. My theory on strapless bras is that they are about as useful as a chocolate teapot, and usually wind up somewhere around your waist. This design is literally like two hands supporting your boobs. Needs to be seen to be believed; Nicky and I are not the only fans of these sheer Glossies bras from Gossard (and matching Gossard shorts style knickers) – apparently French Vogue Editor, Emmanuelle Alt is too (we love that even in the larger cup sizes, the straps and back are still quite thin); Wolford nature forming dress (Nicky swears by these). And for all those annoying ‘what am I going to wear under it’ sheer dresses these M&S reversible slips (they come in four different lengths and colours) are great (I like that they aren’t clingy); Urban Outfitters Vintage Remnants slip and this Calvin Klein slip are also good options. We haven’t tried these M&S knickers yet, but I love the leopard print, and they also have ‘light control’ and promise no dreaded VPL. I’m in! For a slightly more ‘hardcore’ pant, I have heard these work wonders, and I actually really like a large ‘Carrie Bradshaw-eque’ fifties style knicker sometimes (not to be confused with the Bridget Jones style industrial pant). For the smaller boobs Myla half cup cleavage enhancer/bra inserts, more commonly known as ‘chicken fillets’ are brilliant. I always have a set of these in my kit bag (aka: my bag of tricks) on shoots. I have the larger ones too. They are the most natural looking ones I have seen if you need/want an extra boost. Think of them as ‘maximisers’; Fashion Forms strap solutions are great for when you’re wearing something sleeveless, and the last thing you want is an pesky visible bra strap peaking out (one of my pet hates, both professionally and personally). And finally, when you need to call in the big guns, you need to bring out the Spanx. Uncomfortable, impossible to get on and off without falling over/winding yourself/looking stupid, but they do do the job. This particular is style is the best in my opinion. And sometimes only the Spanx will do. And if it makes you feel better, plenty of celebs swear by them for red carpet events.
If you have any lingerie secrets of your own, please share! Email us at the usual address. Apologies that the bras are more geared to larger boobs, but weirdly Nicky and I share the exact same (largish) bra size, so our first-hand knowledge is at that end of the sizing spectrum (plus we would argue, the trickier end of the sizing spectrum).

ps: Figleaves currently has 20% off and free delivery, so it’s definitely worth giving your lingerie drawer a Mrs Doubtfire makeover sooner rather than later…

more peas please


1. Cos Wool Coat (1-8 years), £55.00
2. Feraud Navy Coat (5-10 years), £29.99
3. Mothercare Navy Coat (18 months-8 years), £28.00-£30.00
4. M&S Indigo Coat (3-14 years), £28.00-£32.00

Remember last year’s obsession with finding the perfect navy pea? Well it seems that you can’t move for them on the High Street this year! Here are four of our favourites (this M&S one is even machine washable!!). We also like this one from Gap; and for a non navy one, this grey herringbone one from La Redoute is pretty great.