christmas day dressing

girls party

1. Miller ‘Pop’Jumper, £85.00
2.. Zara Sequinned Skirt, £17.99
3. M&S ‘Best Of British’ Pure Wool Coat, £80.00
4. Gap Velvet Mary Jane Flats, £14.95

This is a great Christmas Day/party look that’s not too blingy. Cosy, cute, with just a smattering of sequins. Perfect.
It’s a different vibe altogether, but I just ordered this robin jumper for Tabs and it’s SO sweet. Christmas-y, but in an adorable old fashioned way. She will definitely be busting it out with a skinny jean (possibly even dungarees if I can bribe her!!) and a gold Mary Jane.

Sarah x

Boys party

1. Mango Batman Sweatshirt, £16.99
2. Zara Velvet Blazer, £45.99
3. Next Super Skinny Jeans, £13.00-£19.00
4. Converse High-Tops, £30.00

Whether it’s a birthday, wedding or Christmas it’s the same dilemma: how to make your little boy look dressed up but not overdressed? Oh how I’ve envied mothers of little girls at these times, but we think we’ve come up with a cool Christmas solution here. We also like this grey jumper from Next if the Batman sequins are a step too far; and these amazing boots if these hi-tops aren’t far enough.

Nicky x

kate spade loves gap

Kate Spade Gap bags

1. Kate Spade Gap Kids Colourblock Tote, £29.95
2. Kate Spade Gap Kids Coloublock Tote (Large), £59.95

Gap Kate Spade

1. Jack Spade Gap Kids Contrast Cardigan, £29.95
2. Jack Spade Gap Kids Wool Jacket, £69.95
3. Jack Spade Gap Kids Selvedge Straight Jeans, £27.95
4. Jack Spade Gap Kids Google Eyes Hi-Tops, £29.95

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.
www.gap.co.uk

mini me, mini preen

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MINIPREEN_53575_1.jpg

PREEN LINE SARAH CLARK

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!

Mini Preen is available in 4-11 years (sorry, girls only) from Selfridges and Harrods

more peas please

Peas

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.

coat edit part lll: girls

Girls coats 2

1. Next Grey Faux Fur Front Coat (3-16 years), £38.00-£44.00
2. Zara Double Breasted Mohair Coat (3-14 years), £49.99
3. Jigsaw Junior Faux Fur Trim Tweed Coat (4-13 years), £74.00-£79.00
4. Gap Wool Zip Coat (12 months-5 years), £34.95
5. Monsoon ‘Ana’ Coat (3-13 years), £45.00

Here are our our favourite Winter coats for girls. Fancy winning number 5? Monsoon is kindly going to give one away to a lucky Little Spree reader, as well as the two baby girl coats featured in our edit on Monday (numbers 1 and 4). All you need to do is tell us which Winter coat I bought for myself (as mentioned in a recent Mama Spree post); subscribe (just go to the right hand side of the website and enter your email address) to the daily Little Spree email update (if you don’t already), then send your answer to the usual email address (find it here). Don’t forget to state which coat you would like, and in which size. You have until Friday 26th September to enter, and we will announce the winner the following week. Good luck!

little coats for little ladies

Baby coats

1. Monsoon Baby Bear Coat (3 months-3 years), £40.00
2. John Lewis Tweedy Hooded Coat (3 months-3 years), £30.00-£32.00
3. Zara Coat With Shearling Lined Collar (9 months-3 years), £32.99
4. Monsoon ‘Sophie’ Coat (3 months-3 years), £38.00
5. La Redoute Double Breasted Coat (1 month-3 years), £35.00

It’s all about coats this week on Little Spree. We’re starting with our edit for baby girls (although all of them go up to three years, so not strictly just for babies). Could they be any cuter? I almost cried when I saw this pistachio green one in Zara and realised that Tabitha was too big for it (I’m not even joking). I have since consoled myself with another Zara one, which is coming up in our girls coats post later in the week. See you tomorrow for the baby boys…

school coats (girls & boys)

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La Redoute Hooded Parka (3-8 years)
£27.00  SHOP NOW
Another pretty uninspiring subject is school coats. Sigh. We know they need them, so we know we need to buy them, but are we getting excited about them? Er, no. This La Redoute one is the current favourite (a great unisex option). In fact, most of the ones we found were unisex (well the ones we could stomach anyway), but then who really wants a pink belted puffa coat for school (well, apart from Tabitha given half the chance!) anyway? We just want a non-hideous (there seems to be a trend emerging this week for school wear…) one that will keep them warm and dry (ish) right? So here you go… This one from F&F; John Lewis; this one from Uniqlo (in navy); this one from Gap; this one from Zara; this one from M&S; this one from Zara; this one from Next; this one from M&S; this one from Gap; this one from Joules this one from M&S; this one from John Lewis; this one from John Lewis; this one from Polarn O. Pyret; this one from John Lewis; and this one from Trespass. Is it too early for a drink?

ps: tomorrow it’s all about those little extras…

buy now, stash for later…

Kin By John Lewis Boys Parka (2-10 years)
£10.00 (was £15.00)  SHOP NOW
Thank you Jacqueline for this great ‘buy now, stash for later’ find. And an amazing price!! You can’t go wrong with a parka, and I’m definitely buying one for Marlow to ‘stash’ for the Autumn. And here’s another (slightly longer) one, also from John Lewis.

ps: here’s a super-cute girls Winter coat from Monsoon to buy now too (it’s just £40.00). So tempted…

pps: Tabitha is wearing her Next shorts dungarees and striped tee combo today (she did take a bit of convincing: “but it’s not pretty enough…”, but I managed to talk her round). It’s so sweet.

summer coat

Zara Double Breasted Coat (3-14 years)
£35.99  SHOP NOW
I have just bought this for Tabitha, and have concluded that it’s the perfect Summer coat. After seeing the fabulous Joseph one (as mentioned in Mama Spree on Friday), it inspired me to find a scaled-down version for Tabs. A Summer coat does sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but anyone reading this from the UK will testify that one is essential (it’s a brave person who dares to venture out without some kind of coat, even in the height of Summer, as you just never know…). As the weather has been getting milder (then colder again, them milder again…) I have been relying on the twins’ trusty M&S yellow rain macs, but they don’t always seem/look quite right somehow (unless it’s actually raining obviously)… This one is a gorgeous grey-blue; it’s cotton, so lovely and lightweight; slightly quilted; and has a pretty floral lining (which looks great with the cuffs turned back, plus meant it passed the Tabitha ‘it’s just pretty enough’ test). I think Tabs will mostly be wearing hers cool and casual with jeans and trousers.

ps: on a separate trip to  Zara (yes, I have weeks when I never set foot in that store, then others when I’m in there virtually every day – I think it’s clear what kind of week last week was) I also picked up these crocheted shorts for Tabs. Love them. They will ‘prettify’ any simple, easy-to-chuck-on tees/Bretons for an everyday go-to Summer/holiday look. And she chose these sandals herself (she loved them because they’re pink, pink, pink, I love them because they are neon pink which gives them a much cooler edge than a regular pink, and it’s a win-win because Tabs can’t tell the difference). They will look best worn with more girly things I think (she put them with her Mango ‘mini me’ embroidered dress this afternoon and they looked great). I also bought her these striped shorts, which I will pair with pretty blouses and smocks.

two in one

Zara Parka With Detachable Waistcoat (3-14 years)
£39.99  SHOP NOW
I have always loved a bargain (my father’s daughter), and I always love the idea of getting something extra. Now this girl’s navy parka ticks both those boxes, but also looks great. Such a cool idea to have the detachable waistcoat (ok, so we’ve seen detachable linings before, but personally I have not seen any that also double up as waistcoats), and such a pretty one too! This is the ideal coat for ‘right now’, and I will definitely be snapping one up for Tabitha (the floral lining/waistcoat should hopefully balance out the lack of pink for her…). Pretty cool.

skater girl

Massimo Dutti Striped Linen Skirt (4-14 years)
£29.95  SHOP NOW
I like to call this kind of skirt a ‘skater skirt’ – full-skirted but short and cute. They always look adorable on, and work well with most kinds of tops – jumpers, long sleeved tees, also with or without tights. In Winter I would add knitted tights (love these colours), a cosy jumper and ankle boots, and come Summer, Mary Jane’s or sandals and a simple short sleeved tee. I love this striped one. Here are a few more that I have found and like… This grey spotty one from Lands’ End; this blousy floral print one from Gant (it’s all about bold Floral prints this Summer, trust me on this); this embroidered cheesecloth one from Mango; this sequinned tulle one from Jigsaw; and this gorgeous ‘dancer’ version from Cyrillus (possibly my second favourite).

ps: just spotted this great tweed coat in the sale at Jigsaw. Size up and put it away for next Winter…

pps: it’s all about the boys tomorrow…

the ‘french factor’

Alice a Paris Boiled Wool Pea Coat (3-36 months)
£37.00 (was £54.00)  SHOP NOW
I LOVE this French brand. All the pieces are beautifully simple and well designed, and just have that inexplainable ‘French factor’. The colours are neutral and expensive looking (but the prices are anything but), and they stock the same styles season after season (this definitely appeals to my ‘repeat offender’ shopping habits). And it’s equally fabulous for boys and girls. And look what I found in the sale?? Another pea coat! But how gorgeous (and so French!) is this chocolate brown boiled wool version with a plaid lining? Beyond gorgeous in fact. And on sale. As one Little Spree reader put it: “it’s the guilt-free Bonpoint”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

ps: ilovegorgeous has a great sale on at the moment. And talking of coats, how cool is this teddy boy style for girls?

to peru and back…

Paddington Bear For Baby Gap Rain Parka (0-24 months)
£29.95  SHOP NOW
As one of my all-time favourite childhood characters, Paddington Bear is definitely worthy of a collaboration of his own. And we know that Gap can work a collaboration like no one else. Forget naff gimmicks and cartoony motifs, the execution is always spot-on, and the pieces always have that ‘want it right now’ appeal. Pus we know that the pieces are always going to be totally affordable. The collection is primarily made up of red, white and blue, with a few splashes of yellow. This parka is one of my favourite pieces – love the toggle buttons and the striped lining. My other favourites are this super-cute embroidered dress (love it!); these classic yellow rain boots; these days of the week bodysuits; this quilted floral print jacket (if you have a daughter and you haven’t bought one already, you have to buy her a cotton quilted jacket for the Spring – there are so many cool ones around); and this bodysuit. And no need to journey to Peru to buy them…

ps: Tabarlow and I spent a lovely (rainy) afternoon with our friends Nicky and Bailey at Maggie & Rose in Chiswick today. For anyone living in West or South-West London who doesn’t already know about it, you need to. It’s a little (well, not so little – 12,500 square foot actually) haven for anyone with young kids, hidden away in deepest W4. The amazing soft play area has been designed like a cool farm (complete with with mini barn, not to be confused with a mini bar) and horses, and is over looked by an all-day family brasserie open seven days a week serving healthy and delicious food (so we can catch up while they play where we can see them). There is also a walled garden with a tree house and a vintage double decker bus; a cinema snug, mini allotments and loads more… It’s basically an amazing place to hang out with your little ones (regardless of the weather), where you can all have a lovely time. It’s a total win-win. I’m hooked.

pps: just spotted this fab checked blouse from Miller. It’s 70% off and so cool…

designer bargains

Little Marc Jacobs Cannoli Jacket (4-12 years)
£78.00 (was £195.00)  SHOP NOW
I am clearly still subconsciously searching for the ultimate navy pea coat. This is a fantastic one from Little Marc. It is still quite pricey, but I think it’s worth investing for next Winter if you size up. There are still quite a few things out there in the sales if you look hard enough (you just need to be lucky with the sizes). And this is definitely the time to pick up some designer pieces that might normally be unaffordable (or more accurately, unjustifiable). Here is my edit of the best things out there… These boots are old favourites (Marlow has had at least two pairs over the years) that I still love. Quite tempted to buy him another pair actually. He’s also had a pair of these (I love that they repeat the same styles season after season). I really love these suede boots (they also come in navy) for girls (a lot more affordable now they are half price); this owl jumper from Stella; this gorgeous Chloe dress; this Chloe cashmere hat and scarf set (it would make the most adorable baby gift); this printed Miller dress; and finally, how cute are these Bonton booties??

sale time!

Mango Double-Breasted Plaid Coat (sizes XS-L)
£19.99 (was £47.99)  SHOP NOW
This boys’ jacket is an amazing bargain, and it’s certainly not too late to jump into the plaid trend (let’s face it, Winter is going to be here for a while yet..). I love it. This  (very Isabel Marant-esque) fabulous charcoal flecked girls’ coat, also from Mango is another hit. Love, love, love this gorgeous girls’ tulle skirt from Chiara; this cool tee from Bang Bang Copenhagen; these pretty vests from Stella McCartney; this simple Miller grey tee; this smocked Liberty London dress; and finally, this Miller printed dress.

chic tweed

Zara Tweed Coat With Detachable Fur Collar (9-36 months)
This is the cutest coat ever. I love everything about it, from the tweed, to the double breasted style to the detachable fur collar (two coats in one). I also love this one (Tabitha had a very similar grey version from Zara the Winter before last); and this one, which is very similar, but for girls older than 36 months. This is a really sweet little coat from Mothercare; and how cool is this shaggy fake fur one from Mango (and such a practical colour!). And finally this super-chic one from Cos for a splash of colour.
£32.99   SHOP NOW

ps: just seen this neon pink tweed coat with a fur collar on the John Lewis website. It’s from the Somerset collection by Alice Temperley. I have actually seen it in the flesh, and it’s so lovely (I don’t think the John Lewis still-life pics ever do the products justice I have to say).

pps: navy pea coats still leap off the screen/rail/page whenever I see one, and I still feel compelled to share. So after spotting this great cord one (love the fur collar – lots of them around at the moment), how could I not share?

marlow’s duffle

Mothercare Herringbone Tweed Duffle Coat (3 months-3 years)
This is the first time I have ever posted something twice, but I felt it had to be done. I posted this exact duffle coat on 7th February 2012! I also mentioned it in a post a few weeks ago, as one of my favourite ever buys. It was Marlow’s first proper Winter coat, and I absolutely loved it on him. And yes, this is the one that everyone thought was from Caramel! It looks really expensive (and is anything but), and is really warm and cosy (thanks so the borg fleece lining); has the all-important zip and buttons combo; and unlike many baby duffle coats, it’s not stiff and hard to get on (I found so many to be so cardboard-y that unless your child happened to be double-joointed they were virtually impossible to get on…). So I am sharing it for the second time around because it’s just such a brilliant find.
£26.00   BUY NOW

navy peacoat part ll

Autograph Wool Blend Peacoat (12 months-7 years)
The navy peacoat is still as elusive as ever this Winter (on the High Street anyway), and I have now become slightly obsessed about it. I think this Autograph one from M&S is one of the best options (thank you Nicky), and it has a cosy padded lining, and is machine washable (why do kids’ coats get SO filthy?). Here are a few other recent finds I’ve sniffed out on my travels… Thanks to all the mums (and there were lots of you!) who recommended this fab one from Zara (it’s a girls’ one, but obviously perfect for boys too). This is the same one I bought (and loved, and amazingly still fits!) for Marlow from H&M last Winter. Annoyingly they have made it in black this year instead of navy (don’t they realise that navy is THE colour of the season?), but it’s still a good option (I love the extra sewn-in ribbed collar for those extra-chilly days).. This is not a peacoat, but it’s navy, wool and really cool (do not be put off by this terrible picture, which bears no resemblance to the fab coat I saw in the flesh in the store last Thursday – trust me, it’s fantastic). I really like this new (ish) Kin collection at John Lewis (it has a whiff of Cos about it…). I think I might go back and get it. Again, this one from F&F is black, but it’s a good one. And finally, if you feel like a splurge, this Cyrillus one is really lovely (and probably my favourite of the lot), and definitely navy: as is this Petit Bateau one – a classic naval officer style, complete with gold buttons. That’s it for now, I’m going for a lie-down…
£28.00-£30.00   BUY NOW

ps: just in! I spotted this one on the Mothercare website a few weeks ago, but for some reason thought it was black, so discounted it, but in actual fact it’s dark navy (thank you ‘Belfast Mummy’). So I’m adding it in as late contender. Definitely more of a boy’s pea than girl’s I would say, but a really good (and affordable) option.

pps: girls’ boots coming this week…