1. Caramel ‘Nikau’ Baby Romper, £72.00 2. Les Tricots De Margot Cashmere Bonnet, £34.00 3. John Lewis Pack of 2 Tights, £6.00 4. Gap Velvet Mary Janes, £8.95
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?
1. Kate Spade Gap Kids Colourblock Tote, £29.95 2. Kate Spade Gap Kids Coloublock Tote (Large), £59.95
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
1. Pom D-Api Rose Pink Leather Boots (sizes 19-30), £54.00 (were £68.00) SHOP NOW 2. Start-Rite Gold Leather Mary-Janes (sizes 20-26), £48.00 (were £60.00) SHOP NOW
1. 10 IS High Top Trainers (sizes 24-38), £56.50 (were £71.00) SHOP NOW 2. 10 IS Girls Leather Trainer (sizes 24-34), £56.00 (were £70.00) SHOP NOW
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…
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.
M&S Metallic Effect Jazz Shoes (10 small-6 large)£16.00-£20.00 I was tipped off about these by super-talented interiors stylist, Twig Hutchinson when were on a shoot together recently in Ibiza. I had seen the gold glitter ones, but not these. Love the understated metallic with the pretty grosgrain ribbon laces… Loving these rose-gold Mary Janes too…
1. M&S Cotton Corduroy Dress (1-7 years), £20.00-£22.00 (plus 20% off at the moment) 2. Verity Jones Extra Large Antique Mauve Hair Clip, £7.00 3. Gap Metallic Ballet Flats (sizes US 5-11), £14.95
1. M&S Cotton Corduroy Dress & Tights Outfit (1-7 years), £20.00-£22.00 2. Gap Cable Knit Pom Pom Beannie (sizes xs-l), £9.95 3. Gap Biker Boots (sizes US 5-11), £22.95
I snapped this gorgeous dress up in M&S a few weeks ago when I was doing a sweep of grey school trousers, skirts and pinafore dresses. What a relief to find something so pretty! And it is so much prettier in real life – needle cord, gorgeous smocking at the neckline, and a cool smocky shape. A real Holly Hobbie style dress. And for the first time ever, I actually like the tights that come with it! They are a great colour. So at the moment Tabs is wearing hers like the first picture (we are loving those Gap Lanvin-esque pumps, and she has also worn it with these gold Mary Janes), then as Winter sets in, she will be busting out the tights, biker boots and beanie. I absolutely love this dress! And while we’re talking dresses, here are some others that I like… This one from The Little White Company; this one from Gap (they have done so much cute ones, and if you’re quick you can still get the 30% off until Monday); this one from Zara (bought for Tabs); this one from John Lewis (just add a cardi); and this one from Zara (also bought for Tabs).
ps: bought these super-cool leopard print ‘Birks’ for Tabitha yesterday. Now Marlow wants a pair, so have ordered him some too. Admittedly a bit late for a Summer sandal, but I couldn’t resist. Plus they look so cute with chunky grey socks (as modelled by Marlow yesterday when he tried Tabitha’s on)… Oh, and if you’re interested ladies, they go up to a size 40!!
M&S Glitter Effect Mary Janes (sizes 5-13 small) £12.00-£14.00 SHOP NOW When I used to be dragged to Clarks, kicking and screaming, just before term started to buy my new school shoes (between the ages of around 4 to 10), my mother and I always struck a deal. If I got my regulation (ugly) t-bar clompy flat sandals (which of course, I loathed), I was allowed to choose a pair of ridiculous ‘party shoes’ at the same time (presumably this was the only way my mother could survive the experience without prescription medication?). Every time I went for for an almost identical pair (except for one time when I went totally off-piste and plumped for a pair of blue knee high wellingtons with a cream high, block heel, but that’s another story…) of glittery Mary Janes (in either silver or gold) with a little, block heel. Not dissimilar from these in fact (although admittedly in hindsight, far less stylish). Unlike me though, Tabs will be wearing hers with her skinny jeans and blouses/jumpers. Hopefully.
The perfect transeasonal outfit to take your little girl seamlessly from Summer to Autumn, and through to Winter… Just add grey or navy knitted tights (and possibly these cute boots in ‘mouse’) as the temperature drops…
Papouelli Violetta Mary Janes (sizes 26-34) £59.00 SHOP NOW Here we go again, but this time it’s the girls’ turn. And I have to say, compared to the boys they haven’t got it so bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s slim-pickings out there, but there are definitely some more than ok options. Personally I prefer the more traditional style for girls – the classic Mary Jane is always a favourite of mine (in or out of school), so I was pleased to see so many around for school. The ‘Violetta’ style from Papouelli (above) is the girls’ front-runner (and almost certainly going to be Tabitha’s first pair of school shoes), and they come in navy and black (for some reason, most of my favourites only seem to come in navy, annoyingly). They look sweet, but are pretty sturdy too. I also like these options… These from Start-rite; these from Petasil (Blanche): these from Start-rite; these from Clarks (I actually saw these in the window of the Richmond store last week, and they are much nicer in real life); these from Start-rite; these from Geox; these from Lelli Kelly (I never thought I’d see the day when I would be featuring Lelli Kelly on Little Spree!!); these from Start-rite; these from these Menthe et Grenadine (thank you Lucy for the tip-off – they have some gorgeous shoes for girls and boys); and finally these from Next. Amen.
Geox ‘William’ School Shoes (sizes 27jnr-39) £42.00-£46.00 SHOP NOW I feel like this post should come with a disclaimer: WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS IMAGES THAT SOME PEOPLE MAY FIND OFFENSIVE. And if you don’t have kids about to start school/at school, consider yourself very lucky (for now) and go and pour yourself a large glass of wine and skip this post (believe me, it’s strictly on a need-to-know basis only). I have come to the conclusion (it didn’t take long) that a stylish (regulation) boy’s school shoe does not exist. Fact. I am more than happy to take on a challenge (and did), but try as I might, as far as I know, there is simply no such thing. But before you cancel your son’s school place and start googling ‘home schooling’, read on… There are some ok-ish ones that are pretty inoffensive. The ‘William’ style (above) is definitely the front-runner, and the style I will almost certainly be buying for Marlow (Nicky has already bought them for her son, Bailey). They are well-made, totally inoffensive (i.e. didn’t make me want to throw up when I first saw them); are a good price; and tick all the tedious ‘velcro etc.’ boxes. Plus they are even less offensive in person. Done. And seeing as boy’s school shoes is, by far, the most common request in my Little Spree inbox since launching, I felt I should give you a few other options. A lot of the ones I liked were more of a hybrid of a shoe and a trainer, which are not allowed at most schools, but I have included a couple just in case you know something that I don’t… These from Petasil (first spotted at Bubble and loved them); these from Kickers; these from Ricosta; these from Next; these from Geox; these from Kickers; these from M&S; and these from Dr Martins. Amen. I am certainly glad that is over (until next year anyway). That was, without doubt, the hardest post I have even had to write.
ps: if you happen to live in South-West London, The Shoe Station is fantastic for school shoes (and non-school shoes too).
pps: it’s over to the (slightly less offensive) girls’ options tomorrow…
Could Next have made dressing any easier? The perfect striped Breton already layered under the cutest dungarees shorts. This a ‘mini me’ outit if ever there was one (ok, maybe not the cat bag, although I do love it…)
I was having a bit of a snoop on the (always) gorgeous and inspiring Elias & Grace website when I found this sweet striped baby dress (above) at a really reasonable price. I have to confess, I was a little surprised. So I kept on snooping… And I unearthed a whole host of amazing bargains. So many in fact too many to include them all here) that I decided to dedicate an entire post to them. So here you go (sorry – just girls this time)…
This Miller navy (also comes in grey) dress; this putty coloured Maan dress; this Maan bow dress; this Miller printed blouse; this Chloe printed dress; this Noro cardigan; this Morley dress; this Miller blouse; this Miller dress; these Miller corduroy jeans; this Miller baby cardigan; this Simple Kids dot print dress; I bought this navy full skirt for Tabitha a while back, and she’s just grown into it and starting wearing it. I love it. I was never really a fan of skirts on her before, but these sweet styles are so versatile and pretty – they look great just with a simple tee and sandals. Oh and I also love this Miller striped brooch.
ps: I know I have already posted these cute gold Start-Rite shoes, but I wanted to show how versatile they are. They look just as great with little dresses as with jeans. Gold works in the same way as neutral colour – it goes with pretty much everything (except maybe gold…).
pps: and talking of bargains, how adorable is this floral ruffle bikini from Gap?? What is going on at Gap these days? I’m buying more in there these days than ever!! Loving this, this and these too.
We’ve got our eye on quite a few things from Smallable (too many things in fact!) at the moment. They have 15% off from 28th November-1st December for all orders over £80.00 (excludes furniture). Use this code at checkout: BLACKDY14