Betty Bramble Liberty Print Buggy Liner (universal design to fit most 3 and 5 point buggy harnesses)
£39.00 SHOP NOW
I LOVE this idea. Move over sheepskin, it’s all about the Liberty print buggy liners now!! How chic and totally gorgeous! I particularly love this classic Tana Lawn Liberty Arts print (equally for girls and boys). And it’s reversible – printed cotton on one side and luxurious navy corduroy on the other side. Genius. It’s padded with a hypoallergenic filling to give your little one the most comfortable ride, and it’s 100% cotton and machine washable. Perfect for adding a little extra style to your buggy. There is a more girly print too, and you can also get a blanket to match. They would make wonderful presents for a stylish ‘mummy-to-be’ (practical, but beautiful), and the prices are really reasonable too. I also love the fact that all of Betty Bramble (love the name too – sounds like a Beatrix Potter character) products are designed and manufactured in Britain, and the quality is amazing. I only wish they had been around when Tabarlow were babies…
Mango Wool-Cotton Blend Navy Peacoat (xs-xl)
£89.99 SHOP NOW
Today on Mama Spree it’s all about what to wear when you’re in ‘mummy mode’. Just because you’re a mum (whether you’re a full-time mum, work part-time, full-time, or are a freelance ‘juggler’ like myself, you don’t have to compromise style over comfort. I just make little tweaks to my look depending on whether I’m in ‘work’ or ‘mum’ mode, but the principles are pretty much the same – a wardrobe of pieces that (ideally) work together. So, your chic, but low-key (who wants to be running around the playground in a head-to-toe catwalk look and a statement shoe, looking ridiculous??), practical ‘mama wardrobe’ needs to start with a great coat (and great does not necessarily mean expensive). But if you’ve got the right coat, everything else will fall into place, and if you don’t manage to think too much about what you’re wearing under that coat, it doesn’t actually matter that much. We already know we are all obsessed with finding the ultimate navy pea coat for our kids, so I thought it was fitting that we start with one for us. I’m loving this one from Mango. At this time of year, start with your coat and work back from there. You need one that you can just chuck on, and run out the door. A neutral colour is essential, and navy is so much chic-er than black, and will go with everything. Personally I find that sticking to a bit of uniform most of the time makes things a lot smoother and easier in the morning – there’s just no time for faffing around when you’ve got to get the kids out the door by a certain time (‘herding cats’ always springs to mind). This is my selection of simple, stylish pieces that will all work together (if you need them to), look good, feel comfortable, and above all, are anything but mumsy.
Isabel Marant ’Bobby’ trainers (I have these, love them and live in them – I love the hidden wedge for that little lift – it makes all the difference, and you still feel feminine); John Lewis mens’ cashmere crew neck (like Alexa Chung, I can never have too many navy crew-neck jumpers…); Mother Of Pearl leopard print skate shoes (this has been my go-to shoe since the twins were born – cool and comfy); Gap ’sexy boyfriend’ jeans and Gap mens’ cashmere Breton sweater (I always check out the men’s department in shops, and often prefer the shape/style of the knitwear); leather ‘chuck everything in’ tote bag from The White Company; Cabbages & Roses navy long sweater (perfect for those ‘bloated’ days or when you just need a bit more coverage); Whistles skater shoes; Jerome Dreyfuss leopard print cross-body bag (I often just have a little handbag if I’m also carrying a larger tote bag with the twins’ stuff in, and this one is great because it’s hands-free); this ASOS jacket (at the last count I had a total of four army-style jackets!); this French Connection faux fur parka and these French Connection leather biker leggings (so comfy for running around in – just go for a slightly longer jumper – the Cabbages & Roses one would be ideal); this Acne cashmere beanie (for these dreaded ‘damp mornings’); and last but not least, these biker boots from Office are the perfect playground/park essential.
Boden Pointed Slingbacks (sizes 36-42)
£69.00 SHOP NOW
This week I wanted to share a few of my favourite accessories. Each of these things, in their own way, will inject a little ‘something something’ into your wardrobe. I first clapped eyes on these super-chic striped flats many months ago, and it was love at first sight. I know there is currently a bit of a wait for them, but I really think they are worth waiting for (and it’s far too wet to wear them now anyway). You can order them now. Personally I like them best styled with jeans – preferably a skinny crop or a slouchy boyfriend style; or with a printed cigarette pant (even a camauflage print could work) for a bit of a cool ‘print mash-up’. I also like the pink and orange stripe and the plain silver version (if striped shoes make you nervous).
Here are a few other fab accessories that I have seen (and want) on my travels… Firstly this White Company studded belt (why is it so hard to find good belts to wear with jeans? I first saw this one on a shoot last year, and it’s fantastic); this Maison Michel fedora; these M&S white brogues (so cool, and really beautifully made); this Marc by Marc Jacobs laptop case (I have this one for my beloved Mac Air); these Zara leather slides (I first saw these on a collegue’s feet (the lovely Shola) on a shoot in Cape Town in January, and practically offered her cash for them on the spot, I was so desperate for a pair!). I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you, but the ‘slide’ is the shoe for the Summer. Not for everyone, but they will instantly update any outfit. I particularly like them with simple dresses or cropped skinny black trousers; these amazing Mango white loafers (the loafer is officially back); this dreamy Saint Laurent bow necklace (a great way of adding a little Saint Laurent to your wardrobe without necessarily alerting your bank manager); this Cos leather folded bag; these John Lewis embroidered knickers (sorry for the over-share, and ok, not strictly an accessory, but John Lewis’s bikini briefs are the best, and these ones really remind me of the much pricier, Hanro ones…); and finally, these Chloe flats (beyond gorgeous!) are definitely top of my wish list this week…
ps: next week’s Mama Spree is all about how to look stylish when you’re in full-on ‘mama mode’. Who ever said that mummy = mumsy? Not me!
Whistles ‘Ziggy’ Leather Biker Jacket (sizes 4-16)
£350.00 SHOP NOW
I have been searching for a decent leather jacket for a couple of years now (sounds ridiculous I know, but I just haven’t found an affordable one that I like enough to buy…). I found the most amazing one a few years ago in a charity shop (of all places) in Wales – an original ‘Perfecto’ style (more Jamie Hince, less Jeremy Clarkson). Sadly just a little too big for me, so I dutifully gave it to my boyfriend, who loves it. So I have sort of been looking for a girls’ equivalent to live up to it ever since. Not as easy as I’d hoped. Now I’m pretty fussy (surprise, surprise), and I also didn’t want to bankrupt myself in the process, so I’d been looking mostly on the High Street. I saw and tried on countless jackets, but each one had at least one thing that wasn’t right about it (too cropped, cheap looking leather, cheap looking details, too shiny, too thin…). At the risk of sounding like Goldilocks, I wanted one that was ‘just right’. And here it is. The leather is great quality, the shape is good (fitted, but not too snug), it’s pretty warm (ok, over a cashmere sweater, but I still braved it out one evening last week and I was fine); and I love the biker-style quilting/padding detail on the arms. All in all, I’m loving it. And it works just as well with jeans/tousers as with skirts and dresses (I’m actually more likely to wear it with the latter. Ok, so she’s still quite pricey, but I think £350 for a great leather jacket is a pretty good buy, and it will last, so it’s also a great investment. I think it will look even better once it’s a bit more worn in and battered looking. Trust me, this is the best non-designer one out there right now.
Here are a few other things I’m loving (and lusting after) this week. This super-chic, but super-cool graphic print wrap skirt. Another Whistles find that I spotted in the store when I was buying my jacket, and regret (yet more regrets…) not buying. I shall return! It’s the perfect dress-up/dress-down skirt – wear with a sweatshirt/cahsmere crew neck and flats, then switch for a high ankle boot/ankle strap sandal. LOVE this jumpsuit from Isabel Marant Etoile (my favourite go-to designer when I want/need a quick, high-end fashion fix – I call it ‘fashion crack’ as it’s so addictive). My friend Nicky has already bought this, and I am consumed with jealously!! But I love it so much, I might just have to get it anyway (sorry Nicky…). It would make the perfect low-key statement that I love on a night out (I don’t like anything too showy or too obviously sexy) – ‘cool sexy’ if you will. I’m also obsessing over these Stella McCartney cropped boyfriend jeans (I am currently on the search for the perfect cropped, skinny jeans, and I think I may have come pretty close with this looser, boyfriend version). Love them with heels. Want a pair now! I definitely need this Mango parka in my life (the perfect running around, every day ‘non mumsy’ coat). This very Isabel-eque embroidered blouse from Zara (pair it with the Stella jeans and you immediately have a fabulous high/low outfit) also caught my eye. Anyone who know me will already be all-too familiar with my obsession with white/cream tops/blouses. But one more can’t hurt surely? Oh and for anyone who missed Wednesday’s post, this cute denim dress actually goes up to age 16, so we can buy one for us too (and still have change from a £20.00!). Put it away for the Summer, then just add a simple tan flat sandal. And lastly, this isn’t even strictly fashion, but I am totally head-over-heels with this gorgeous cashmere travel blanket from Jigsaw (and it’s on sale!). As someone who travels a lot, I need this in my life (and my carry-on). Happy Valentine’s! Until next Friday, it’s back to Little Spree…
Zara Dress With Lace Hem (s, m, l)
£39.99 SHOP NOW
I have lost count of the amount of requests (pleas?) I’ve had from you all to launch a ‘big spree’; but up until now have always said no, as I simply do not have the time (frankly, my life is hectic enough!). But I have finally relented, as women’s fashion has been my career for over 17 years now (eeek, did I really just type that??), and ultimately it’s still what I love the most. And as you know, I’ve always loved a bargain, and nothing beats the thrill of finding an amazing High Street find. But having said all that, I simply do not have enough man hours to commit to another separate blog for us ladies I’m afraid, so a compromise had to be made. So welcome to the very first ‘Mama Spree’ Friday. Every Friday from now on (travel/work schedule permitting) I will post something for us to buy/wear (we deserve it right?) that I peronally love, and hopefully you will too. Be it something I am coveting (obsessed with), about to buy, or am quite possibly already wearing! I will try to keep it as affordable as possible (believe me, I am just as much of a fan of the High Street for myself as for my kids), but I also believe in the whole ‘hi-low’ ‘philosophy to fashion (my seven years as a Fashion Editor at Glamour magazine were the perfect training ground for this, plus it’s so much more fun to ‘mix it up’), which to me sums up the cool, modern way to shop and dress anyway (there is nothing cool about a head-to-toe designer runway look). But the more expensive pieces have to work a lot harder than their high street counterparts – we need to justify the ‘big sprees’ (to ourselves as much as our bank managers), so I will only be featuring things that I truly believe are worth the splurge. I get my shopping inspiration (I have a permanent ‘to buy’/lust list) from anywhere and everywhere – from my shoots for Red magazine; from trawling the web; from travelling constantly for work; to zipping in and out of shops on an almost daily basis (I can scan an entire shop in minutes to find the one thing worth buying). Anyway, I hope you like what I find. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to email me… Happy shopping! And apologies in advance for the inevitable tiny dent that is about to appear in your current account…
So let’s start with this varsity-esque dress. Varsity jackets are huge this season, and you will find them everywhere from Vuitton to H&M as the Sport Luxe trend is going nowhere fast. Personally, I prefer the more feminine spin on this trend, in the form of a dress. This Zara one is the perfect blend of feminine-meets-cool. I love the contrast of the lace trim with the sporty stripes. And if you’re tense about the length, don’t be. I will be wearing mine with black opaques and a flat Chelsea boot (my favourites are from Church’s, and I LIVE in them). You can get away with much shorter hemlines if you add flats into the mix (it’s impossible to look tarty in a flat). And come Summer, I will switch up the boots for flat sandals. But equally, I would definitely ramp this look up for evening with a heel. Only for evening though. I also saw this version in J Crew (way cooler in the flesh – this picture is not doing it the justice is deserves) when I was in L.A last week shooting for Red (check out my stories in the upcoming May and June issues). I really regret not trying it on. Next time…
ps: some of my favourites finds are the ones that I have stumbled upon in unexpected places, such as kids/mens departments etc etc. I recently bought these Gap pyjamas bottoms to wear as pyjamas (bear with me…), but have since decided that they would work equally well as cool, slouchy trousers in the Summer/on holiday. The stripes are a little faded, which I love, and I like that they are cropped with the turn-up. I will be wearing mine on the school run/on holiday in Italy with a tan or gold flat sandal and a grey tee/sweatshirt.
Gap Python Leather Tote
I’ll admit, I have been in a bit of ‘Gap bubble’ this last week, and have been in the flagship store a number of times. In fact, I now feel like I know the collection (womens, kids, babies, and some of the mens – they have done some amazing jumpers) so well, I could probably get a job there for the run-up to Christmas. But this tote was the first thing that caught my eye when I entered the store last Wednesday. It’s amazing. Firstly, it’s super-chic, but then on closer inspection, it’s also really roomy; light as a feather (love that!); and can be worn on the shoulder or as a tote. So I have now decided it’s the perfect ‘mummy bag’, for all us mums who would rather be seen dead than be seen with a frumpy, practical, mumsy ‘mummy bag’. I’m not going to lie, it wouldn’t necessarily make the ideal ‘baby bag’ (you definitely need pockets for all those bottles and numerous bits and pieces), but for anyone with toddlers up, it’s perfect. Even though Tabs and Marlow are now almost four (how did that happen??), I still always need to carry certain ‘stuff’ (water, snacks, assortment of favourite toys, ranging from fire engines to enormous Jelly Cats bunnies…), wipes (I don’t think I will ever be able to give up the wipes – I even carry them in my bag when I don’t have the kids with me) around with me when I have them in tow. This is at the top of my shopping list. She’s quite pricey, but definitely worth every penny in my opinion. Oh, and as a seasoned traveller (I am literally like a robot at the airport, I have my ‘routine’ down to a fine art), I know it would also make the perfect ‘carry-on’ bag. It’s so light that you’ll be able to just chuck all your magazines (I buy every magazine), Duty Free, bottle of water etc in it, along with your travel wallet, then you don’t need to carry all those nasty plastic carrier bags (that give you welts on your fingers). I’m going away on a work trip on Wednesday (I’m not going to tell you where, you’ll hate me), so I will definitely have mine by then… Oh, I almost forgot! The winner of the babyGap £150 shopping spree is… Marie Hale. Congratulations! I will be emailing you soon to arrange the date.
£79.99 (was £99.95) gap.co.uk
ps: check out all the gorgeous baby pictures I styled on Friday here. And don’t forget to vote for your favourite!
Anya Hindmarch Baby Emergency Kit
Now before you shoot my down in flames (I’m talking about the price tag), hear me out. I was lucky enough to be given one of these when Tabarlow were babies, and it was one of the few things that I literally couldn’t live without. Ok, it’s definitely not cheap. But, in the same way that you use your baby/nappy bag every day, you will use this numerous times, every day, day in, day out (sometimes when you’re not using your nappy bag) for a minimum of two years. Wherever the baby (or babies in my case) go, this goes with you. It’s compact (I would just chuck it into whichever bag I was using that day); I could get everything I needed in it for two babies (including four spare nappies); it looks super-chic (no embarrassment in whipping it out to do a quick (stylish) nappy change. But the best part about it is the way it’s organised to make the whole process as seamless and stress-free as possible. It comes with a wipe-clean, black changing mat (no need for a bulky, padded one) that folds up into a tiny size (with attached elastic to keep it in place), and various labelled compartments and pockets so that everything you need has a place. So when you’re in the process of changing a nappy you literally have everything at your fingertips (no faffing around looking for the wipes whilst balancing two babies…). Anyway, I could go on and on, but I won’t because I haven’t had dinner yet… This was one piece of baby kit that I loved, and it made my life just that little bit easier (and particularly with twins, those things can make such a difference, however silly that may sound…). And of course, there’s no getting away from the fact that it looks super-chic and stylish, and is beautifully finished. But with Anya that’s simply stating the obvious. It’s the clever, carefully thought out design, and attention to detail that made in invaluable to me. Mine is currently on loan to my lovely friend, Des, and she loves it as much as I did. And it still looks as pristine as when it was first given to me. This is the kind of thing that would make an amazing present for a few people to club together and buy for someone as a baby gift. After all, as lovely as it is to have drawers groaning with beautiful cashmere separates in neutral tones, it’s the practical (and still chic, obviously) things that you actually end up loving the most… The end.
John Lewis Leopard Print Tote Bag
I was in John Lewis this morning (buying a letterbox if you’re interested) and stopped in my tracks when I clocked this beauty on the ground floor. I am slightly obsessed with leopard print, but only in small doses, and it has to be the right kind of leopard print. I have mentioned my bag before (I have a great leopard print bag from Antik Batik that always gets a lot of attention whenever I use it), but have never come across another one that even comes close. Until today. This is a great size to just throw on your shoulder. It’s lightweight, and the design is really simple. I love that it looks slouchy (well it will once you’ve filled it anyway) The leopard print is spot-on (sorry, but it is!) and it is just a really cool bag. I think it would make a great baby/kids bag to chuck all that stuff in that we all lug around the whole time. I love it! I was so tempted, but I managed to resist. This time. Oh and by the way, it looks much nicer in the flesh (you have to trust me on this). Would look super-cool worn with jeans or anything low-key and casual (so perfect for us mums). I can’t stop thinking about it…
Zara Home Kids Maternity Bag
Now this really is a first for me. A ‘maternity bag’ (‘hospital bag’ to you and me)! How gorgeous is this? I have seen the baby bags that Zara Home do, and love them, but have yet to see their slightly smaller ‘sister’ bag until now. And the thing is, this would make a great baby bag afterwards anyway. Plus you can buy a matching changing mat and little zip-up sponge bag (I have loads of these for all Tabarlow’s varoius bits & bobs – they are so handy). It’s just so pretty. But I also love that it is slouchy so it has that whole ‘pretty cool’ thing going on. Would look great with jeans or khaki cargo pants. And I love the option of the long and short handles. And you don’t need me to tell you how adorable this Liberty print is. Plus I like that it’s cotton, not nylon. Just chuck it in the machine if it starts to look grubby. Obviously it would help to know that you were expecting a girl, but if you do, this is the bag for you. Treat yourself! It would also make a lovely present from say, work collegues (and if they’re feeling extra generous with the whip-round, they could even throw in the changing mat and sponge bag!) for someone about to head off on maternity leave. Love.
Oliver Bonas Alphabet Bag
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have things that can only be classed as ‘bits & bobs’ (well there are other, even less technical terms, but I won’t be sharing those with you now!) that I carry around when I am with Tabarlow. These can range from a bottle of Calpol, to little snacks, to tissues, to well anything… But I don’t like to just chuck them into my bag because then I can never find them quickly when I need them. So I always have a little bag like this one onboard at all times. Ok, it’s technically a make-up bag, but the size is always perfect – not too big, not too small, and has a zip to stop everything falling out. I also really like the Liberty print ones that Zara Home always do – I have a few of those. They always go in the sale, so look out for them if you are in there over the next few weeks. Anyway, I love this one because you can choose your letter (like the tote bag I have already posted), so you can have your child’s initial, which I always think it really sweet. Obviously you could just have your own of course. As I’ve said before, I just love anything monogrammed – it always looks so chic. And this is going in your bag, so you don’t want it to look ‘baby-ish’. I love the grey with the yellow contrast zip. And a great price too!
Oliver Bonas Alphabet Tote Bag
In addition to the various ‘non-baby baby bags’ that I have, I also have a supply of simple, cotton tote bags (just to confuse my nanny and Tabarlow’s dad!) that I also use for ferrying all their stuff around in. In fact, now that Tabarlow are two and a half, I don’t really need the full-on baby bag at all, and often just use a tote to chuck everything in. They are just so easy. I spotted this one in Oliver Bonus in Chiswick the other week, and loved it. I am also obsessed with anything monogrammed. You can get the initial of your child (with twins – not so straightforward – will probably have to get an M and a T and alternate?), and there you have it – a personalised ‘non-baby’ baby bag. Obviously I love that it is grey too. Oh and it has a zip, which is always a bonus (no pun intended). Would make a great, inexpensive gift (anything monogrammed always goes down a treat I always find – just feels a little more thoughtful…).
ps: I am off to Paris tomorrow morning to shoot a story for the October issue of Red magazine. I can’t wait to hit my favourite high street haunts for kids. DPAM (Du Pareil au Meme) is always the first place I go! Can’t wait. I will be posting from my hotel room tomorrow evening (hope they have wifi!).
Marc By Marc Jacobs Eliz-a-Baby Tote
Don’t get me started on the subject of baby/nappy bags! I could literally dedicate an entire blog to the subject. Why is it that people assume that just because you have a baby, you will automatically want to start running around town with a naff, brightly coloured bag (that may or may not match your pram/buggy)? Just because you now have a small person in tow, why would you suddenly want to start accessorising like Mr Tumble? I wouldn’t be seen dead with one of said bags (and you know the ones I’m talking about!), and neither should you. Now I know this one is not cheap (please don’t hate me!), but you need to factor in how much you will be using it (every day for a minimum of two and a half years, which ‘cost-per-wear’ works out at 26p a day). This is one of the best I have seen (and I only wish it had been around when I was pregnant). I love that it’s navy (one of my favourite colours as you know, and much chic-er than boring old black), and comes with all the important trimmings that you would expect/need from a practical (not my favourite word, but one I can’t ignore as a mother of twins) baby bag – handy pockets, foldaway changing mat etc. But the best thing of all? The simple fact that it doesn’t look like a baby bag – it’s just a great bag.