mama spree: mini me

17 April 2014

Mango Ethnic Embroidered Dress (sizes 6-14)
£44.99  SHOP NOW
This week’s Mama Spree is going to be brief because I’ve been shooting pretty much non-stop for two weeks, so I have barely window-shopped online, let alone been near an actual shop (well not one that sells clothes anyway). But I have managed to buy two things. One of them is this dress (my favourite style of Summer dress – simple, cotton with a hint of hippie, and looks great with a simple flat sandal), and the other is the ‘mini me’ version for Tabitha. I cannot wait to wear them together on holiday. I’m not sure who’s more excited, me or Tabitha??

ps: if you’re not sick of me by now, you can read my ‘My Uniform’ interview with ‘Wear & Where’ style blog here.

mama spree: mothers’ day ‘hint list’ for all the dads out there…

14 March 2014

Anya Hindmarch Bespoke Loose Pocket
£135.00  SHOP NOW
Mothers’ Day is only two weeks away, so it’s time to start throwing out some serious hints. I have compiled a little selection of things that I definitely would be more than happy to unwrap on 30th March, and hopefully you will too. I have tried to choose things that we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves (when was the last time you actually bought yourself a pair of cashmere socks??), so they feel that bit more special and luxurious. I’ve also tried to cater for all wallet sizes… I would politely call this a ‘hint list’, so email this post to your husband/boyfriend/partner right now, then keep your fingers firmly crossed…
I’m going to start with this fabulous Anya Hindmarch personalised ‘loose pocket’. I have been a fan of these for many years, but I actually don’t have one (Tabitha and Marlow do though – Anya Hindmarch very kindly sent them both one after they were born – you may have seen Tabs’ on the Little Spree Instagram feed – it’s gold and super-cute). I like this  red ‘I love you’ version too. They are impossibly chic (personally, I love the red and the navy the best, but they come in a whole host of colours), and so useful. You can use them to keep pretty much anything in. And I love the fact that you can have them personalised in handwriting (like the one above) or embossed (there are lots of options available, or you can choose your own words) to make it a totally personal/bespoke gift (so all the more thoughtful). I would go for something that includes your name, but I also love the idea of a Mothers’ Day gift having ‘mummy’ in there somewhere – ‘mummy’s stuff’ etc etc. You’ll need to hurry though if you want to personalise (in your own writing if you want), as the deadline for this is Monday 17th. So make sure you waft this under your significant other’s nose asap! There is an additional charge of £40.00 for this service. Instead of cut flowers, how about this M&S lavender tree (I was sent two from my cousins for my birthday recently, and they are so lovely, and they are delivered to your door – mine are currently residing in our little courtyard); or this vintage lavender trough from Not On The High Street? This Valentino Rockstud leather headband (a lot cheaper than the shoes, and probably a lot more comfortable to wear…); these White Company cashmere socks (currently 20% off); you can’t ever go wrong with a  Diptyque scented candle – they are without doubt the best scented candles, and they smell amazing just sitting on the mantelpiece without even being lit – my favourites are Baies, Figuier, Roses and Tuberose; this (ridiculously tactile) Marc by Marc Jacobs heart paperweight;  I already have (and love) these cute Stella McCartney days of the week knickers (size up though – they come up tiny!); I have been dreaming of this super-cool Hillier gold bunny necklace for some time now; anything from Smythson always makes a stylish gift, and this ‘I love my mum’ notebook is so sweet (and we can never have too many notebooks!); an indulgent Cowshed (one of my favourite places) treatment gift card (anything from a manicure to a full body massage will make all us mamas out there feel truly pampered and appreciated; this Nuxe multi-purpose oil comes highly recommend by a very discerning friend. Apparently it’s amazing (and smells incredible); this fun personalised tote bag from Not On The High Street would be a cute, inexpensive pressie that I would probably use every day. And like the Anya loose pockets, you could either have your name, or ‘mummy’ or ‘mama’ – whatever is personal to you really. And no wish list would be complete without some Isabel Marant (show me a mama who doesn’t want to receive a little something from Issy?), so I am adding these gorgeous multi-drop earrings as a final wish. I hope I have provided all the men out there with enough inspiration. I think this should be enough to be getting on with. And dads, any questions, please feel free to email at the address at the top of the page…

pimp my ride

1 March 2014

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…

mama spree: mummy does not = mumsy

28 February 2014

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.

mama spree: accessories wish list…

21 February 2014

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!

mama spree: a few of my favourite things…

14 February 2014

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…