Gap is offering a helping hand with our Christmas shopping, with 30% off until midnight on Monday (24th November). Just enter this code at checkout: PCDPDNMKXKFG.
Caramel is probably one of my favourite children’s labels – the colours, the shapes, the knits, the beautiful sprig prints… You could literally shop on their website blindfolded and still come away with the most stylish outfit ever. My bank balance however… not so keen. You can do some serious damage in less than a minute without even trying. So for me Caramel is a one-off; a treat; something for a (very) special occasion; or somewhere I might shop during sale time. A bit like Bonpoint I suppose. Which doesn’t mean I love it any less. In fact, it probably just makes me want and love it even more… But a couple of weeks ago I had an interesting conversation with someone who had a slightly different slant to shopping at Caramel. Her and her friends (all with little ones) buy a few pieces from Caramel each season (for newborns and up), then pass them all on to each other. But not just as casual hand-me-downs in a Waitrose carrier bag; as actual gifts for newborns and birthdays – washed, ironed and beautifully wrapped in tissue and ribbon. As good as new. So their little ones wear them, their mamas love them in them, they are carefully cared for (well you would when a romper sets you back £72.00 wouldn’t you??), then passed on, then the whole process is repeated. Everyone is happy. And it works because the quality is great, so the pieces really last and last. I suppose it’s simply the polar opposite of today’s ‘throw away fashion’ (a concept that I personally loathe). The chicest form of recycling. I just love this idea. And who wouldn’t want a gorgeous Caramel cardigan/romper/pair of bloomers for their little one, even second-hand?
This week it’s all about ‘slounging’ (as we like to call it at Little Spree). After much discussion about what to feature on Mama Spree this week, Nicky I am came to the conclusion that this is all we want to wear at the moment. Cosy, comfortable, luxurious, and very much ‘at home’. And preferably surrounded by the amazing scent of a Dipqtiue baies candle (our favourite)… Heaven. But having said all that, we also wouldn’t be embarrassed to answer the door to the DHL man wearing said sloungewear. This is an important detail. We all secretly own (don’t we?) a pair of those ill-fitting,unflattering, but oh-so-comfortable, can’t-wait-to-slip-them-on trackie bottoms that we wouldn’t be seen dead in in public. Eeek. Now is the time to ditch them once and for all. It’s time to say hello to the new, stylish ‘at home uniform’ – it does the same thing as the ill-fated trackies, but minus the shame and self-loathing (and obviously looks way chic-er). And these days it’s perfectly acceptable to wear your stylish joggers out – just add a cashmere sweater and a decent (not too casual) coat. You can even wear you joggers out for a drink if you remember to add heels (sounds odd, looks fab). Here are a few more ideas…
The White Company lounge trousers; Kin by John Lewis pants; Gap cashmere joggers (I love these in navy – they would be perfect for long haul flights too); Rodarte sweatshirt (the ultimate sweatshirt in my opinion – I am wearing mine today and love it); The White Company cashmere hoodie; The White Company cashmere hot water bottle cover (what could be more luxurious?); Hygge by Mint Velvet onesie; Gap cashmere cardigan; ASOS joggers; Hygge by Mint Velvet onesie; and these Mamalicious joggers are great for any pregnant mamas reading this. Go and get cosy.
ps: there’s 20% off and free delivery at The White Company at the moment. Just add this code: AD953.
Caramel is celebrating their 15th anniversary with 20% off the Autumn Winter collection!! Yes! But it’s for two days only, so get your skates on!!
Have you been into the baby department at M&S recently? It’s had a bit of a makeover (I had a tour of the newly refurbished kids department in the Westfield store, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed). Forget just popping in to grab a pack of white cotton sleepsuits after a mad dash around the food hall – you are going to want everything! The ‘baby shop’ now features everything you could ever need for your baby from stylish clothing (we are obsessed with the cashmere all-in-ones – we challenge anyone not to fall in love with the grey one) to gorgeous, chic nursery furniture (who knew?). We’ve rounded up our favourites (above), but here are some other things that we couldn’t cram into the pictures, but that we’ve also seen and loved:
This two piece cotton knitted star top and joggers; this 5 pack of pure cotton star bodysuits; this 4 piece pure cotton assorted t-shirt and leggings outfit; this fabric giraffe; these knitted poufs; this star print snowsuit; and this knitted elephant soft toy. You can even buy brands such as Baby Bjorn (baby carriers, bouncy chairs, travel coats…); Avent (bottles, breast pumps, thermometers…) and Dr Brown’s (sterilisers, bottles…). And check out this chic high chair (and such a great price)? It really is a one-stop shop.
ps: Nicky popped in to the M&S Spring/Summer 15 press day today. She has posted a few pics on Instagram (@littlespree) if you fancy a sneaky peak of what to expect next year…
Created in collaboration with Marks and Spencer
H&M Home Wooden Storage Box, £14.99
I’m a little obsessed with toy storage, particularly the stylish kind… And this wooden box makes a refreshing change from one of my many baskets. Here are a few other cute storage ideas, also from H&M (I do love a bit of H&M Home): this bunny ears basket; this fabric basket; this monster storage basket; and this wall storage hanger.
I may (frustratingly) not have persuaded Tabitha into a pair (despite my best efforts), but for everyone else with a less stubborn (er, independent) daughter, here is a super-sweet dungarees look for the girls. You may recognise the blouse from a previous post, so you may already have it. Bonus. Just pop a cardigan over the top if needed.
ps: huge congratulations to Zoe Crellin (and her daughter Maeve) for winning the amazing Mini Preen competition! You are now the owner of the Preen Line dress and the Mini Preen coat-dress. Both will be winging themselves to you very soon. We are very jealous! Thank to everyone who entered – we had an overwhelming response. But worry not, it wasn’t the first Little Spree competition, and it definitely won’t be the last…
pps: don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (@littlespree) for lots of extra stylish finds for little ones. Plus previews from the Spring/Summer 2015 collections for kids…
25% off Gap when you buy four or more items
30% off Mango when you buy one item, then a whopping 40% when you buy more than one (when you use the code: 6DISCOUNT)
A ‘secret’ 30% off Stella McCartney Kids at Alex and Alexa (with the code: DRESSUP30)
20% of at The White Company this weekend (with the code: AE360)
Having spent more than a decade as an Army lawyer (think more ‘A Few Good Men” rather than ‘Private Benjamin’) wearing green, green and more green, you might think that anything vaguely resembling that colour would be off limits. The truth is I’m hooked, although these days I prefer my military style a little more Marant than MoD. It’s fair to say that we’re obsessed with khaki cool at Little Spree (how many army style jackets do you have Sarah??). And we’re not alone, utility wear was a big trend in the Spring/Summer 2015 shows (isn’t is always?) with designers treating it as a neutral like grey or navy might be used, or layering different tones of khaki like Isabel Marant did for her Spring collection (above). At Little Spree we love to ‘tone down’ anything dressy and ‘cool up’ our casual outfits with a little khaki and so we thought we’d share some of our favourite pieces so that you can be combat cool too…
Jigsaw long military coat; Isabel Marant belted jacket; Topshop trousers; Mango shorts jumpsuit; Zara pleated dress; French Connection textured coat; Topshop plaid shirt; Topshop parka; ASOS coat; Topshop sweatshirt dress; ASOS coat; J.Crew cable knit jumper; Vanessa Bruno coat; Elizabeth and James jacket; ASOS cashmere roll-neck; Current Elliot trousers; Pull & Bear shirt; Hush parka (the fur collar is removable); and don’t forget the Issy boots that I’ve got in my Matches ‘wish list’…
ps: I wanted to mention an event called Hub Dot that I recently attended. You can read about them here but in short they run events at which women can come together to exchange ideas, talent and support. I’ll be honest that I had reservations about going but after the first speaker I was sold and would recommend keeping an eye our for future events, I certainly will be.
John Lewis Cotton Socks (Pack of Five), £6.00
I realise this is potentially a bit of a dull post, but I always find it a challenge to find decent boys socks. This pack from John Lewis is not only great value, but the colour selection is pretty great too. In fact, I think I would keep all five pairs (something I rarely do in any kind of multi pack situation). We also like (and regularly buy) these ones from Gap in grey and navy for Marlow and Bailey.
Nicky and I (with Tabarlow and Bailey in tow – it was during half term) went to the press breakfast for the launch of the new Kate and Jack Spade collaboration for Gap Kids. Whimsical, playful, kooky and colourful. We saw, we liked, we shopped. In fact, we actually preferred the boys collection (which is unusual because generally boys’ clothes are so much harder to find). Nicky bought these super-cool hi-tops for Bailey, and he/she absolutely loves them. They are so cool. And how sweet are these ‘mini me’ totes? Here are some other bits and pieces that we liked… these gift bow ballet flats (Tabs was obsessed with them!); this pom pom hat; this glitter satchel; and ok, so this is more of a Mama Spree purchase, but we love this iPhone cover too.
Available (for a limited period only) in stores and online now.
We are loving this pretty baby girls party dress. The metallic gold polka dots, layers of tulle, handkerchief hem, butterfly sleeves… Dreamy.
M&S Autograph Leather Metallic Ankle Boots (sizes 6-13 small), £38.00-£40.00
For anyone still looking for girls boots, these M&S ones are great. The picture on the website does them no justice at all, so we’ve taken our own. They are very similar to a Zara pair that Tabitha has (bought last year) and a lot of people asked me where they were from on Instagram. These are the next best thing.
We met the lovely girls from Bloom & Wild at the Boden Spring/Summer 15 press day on Wednesday, so saw the flowers for ourselves (I like to know what I’m ordering). They offer an amazing service of delivering beautiful flowers in a bespoke box that fits through the letter box! Genius. So no annoying time issues or delivery options to worry about. You simply choose form their gorgeous selection of fresh flowers, then click and you’re done. Also, I like to send flowers knowing exactly what they’re going to look like (I just don’t trust them when they promise not to add in any gypsophila!).
This is a look that both Nicky and I have worn before and since we met. It’s as easy and comfy as wearing jeans and a cashmere sweater, but with a little added prettiness that you just sometimes want/need in the long Winter months. I love the contrast of the knit, the lace (and ideally, you just want a sliver of lace to show below your dress) and the biker boots. Wear with bare legs for as long as you can stand it, then just add a decent pair of cotton knitted tights (our favourites are from Wolford and Falke – not cheap, but if you look after them, they last and last, and far out-live any cheap pairs) when the temperature plummets. I do also like the sound of these M&S thermal ones though. Here are some other jumper-dresses that we like… New Look (reduced to just £10.00!!); Next; ASOS, The White Company; Whistles; and this Mango Vioteta dress is great for curvy mamas. We also love this ASOS grey v-neck dress (so cool…); and this Jigsaw ribbed sweater would also look great worn over a lace slip. This Anthropologie slip is also gorgeous, and this Vera Moda one is a cheaper alternative. We’ve also rounded up a few of our favourite bikers (every cool mama’s best friend in Winter) for you. I love the idea of the Jigsaw ones with the cosy fleecy lining (imagine with the thermal tights!!).
ps: good news! The Autograph leather leggings at M&S are back in stock again (thanks Caroline for the tip-off). Yay!
As a huge fan of Preen (I remember going to one of their very first shows at London Fashion Week when I worked at Marie Claire, and just being blown away by the combination of beauty and ‘coolness’ of the clothes). I couldn’t have been more excited when they launched Mini Preen earlier this year. It’s just gorgeous. And just like the womens’ collections, is cool and pretty in equal measures. I caught up with one half of the Preen design duo, the lovely Thea (arguably one of the nicest people in fashion) to ask her a little more about the collection…
What made you decide to launch Mini Preen?
When our eldest daughter, Fauve was born I was always on the lookout for clothes that were a bit different, and as she grew she always wanted to wear my dresses, so the idea of a Mini Me, Mini Preen was born.
Do you always try to keep your Mini designs closely linked to your womenswear collections? I love the ‘mini me’ angle to the press look books. Completely adorable.
Yes, we always link Mini to our adult collections. We shrink the prints so they don’t look oversized on the smaller frame of a child. The coats are shrunken versions, also the dresses are of similar styles to the adult, but more age appropriate.
What kind of girl is the Mini Preen girl?
Well the main inspiration for the Mini Preen girl has been our daughters. Cute, cool, spirited, fun, ‘outdoorsy (is that even a word?), and must contain pink.
I love how you mix classic children’s clothes with a cool, modern edge (not easy to do!). Are your own daughters a big part of your inspiration?
Yes totally. Like with our Preen ethos we want to mix classic, modern and vintage.
Do you think you might ever do a high street collaboration with Mini Preen, like your womenswear collection for Debenhams?
I think that would be a great idea!
I am told you are a fan of Little Spree. Is this true?
Yes! I got introduced to it by a close friend and now I’m addicted!
Do you like to mix high street finds with more expensive pieces when dressing your daughters?
Absolutely. The high street are doing great clothes for kids, and I also like to look around markets such as Portobello for smocked vintage dresses for Blythe (2). My own children really love to wear Preen though. Fauve (6) loves a party dress and she has a sweatshirt dress that she lives in!
Any favourite high street haunts for kids clothes?
I find Zara Kids is great for coats, and tights in interesting colours. H&M kids is always a place I go to get my daughter, Fauve her skinny jeans. Also Mothercare are doing some great coloured corduroy trousers at the moment. They are meant for boys, but I dress my girls in quite a lot of boys clothes – coats, trousers and shirts. I think it’s a great look.
Preen has kindly agreed to give away the gorgeous Mini Preen red checked coat-dress, above, worth £294.00, as well as this super-cool Preen Line jumper-dress, worth £398.00. How lucky are we?? Two for one! All you need to do to enter is email us with the answer to the following question: What is Thea’s design partner/husband’s name? Easy peasy. And don’t forget to include your (UK) dress size and the name and age of the little girl who might be lucky enough to win the coat-dress. You have until Friday 14th to enter, and we will announce the winners (one big, one small) the following week. Good luck!
1. Miller Xono Beanie (from Elias & Grace), £40.00
2. Bonton Escale Dress (from Elias & Grace), £67.00
3. Martin Pederson Gemini Tights (from Elias & Grace), £16.00
4. Mango Wooden Leather Sandals, £34.99
Who says socks and sandals are a nerdy no-go? Not us. Nothing cuter!
ps: I have been scouring the shops, searching for the (Barbie sized) Elsa doll for Tabitha for Christmas (from Santa), but no luck. I was certainly not expecting to find one on the Selfridges website. But I did, and now Elsa is winging her way to Richmond… Phew!
Fancy joining me and getting a jump-start on your Christmas shopping? For a limited time only, Alex and Alexa are offering 20% off selected toys, including favourites such as FisherPrice, Le Toy Van, Numero 74, Maileg and Moulin Roty (I’ve got my eye on this adorable ‘the little wardrobe suitcase‘ for Tabs). Offer expires at midnight on 17.11.2014