At this hectic time of year we know you appreciate all the help and inspiration you can get, so we’ve re-stocked the Little Shop and the Mama Shop with some of our favourite festive things (this is just a taster of our edit for mamas and kids). It was hard to narrow down the pieces to include in the Little Shop, so much so that we just decided to increase the size of the shop (how could we resist the Fisher-Price record player which we both remember from our own childhood). As you know we’re not ones for overdressing, so each party piece in the Mama Shop was carefully selected for adding just the right amount of sparkle (or toning it down). Check back on Friday for our official Christmas wish-lists, but in the meantime there is some serious coveting going on. For me (Nicky) it’s the Boden boots and Mango dress, whilst Sarah has fallen for the velvet and lace dress and the military style reefer jacket (and has already bought the Topshop jumper), and we’re both obsessed with the cashmere trousers. Santa – if you’re listening, we’ve been very good this year!
Nicky & Sarah xx
ps: apparently it’s Cyber-Monday so many of the items in the shop (and our recent Mama Spree shoe and dress posts) are discounted until the end of the day.
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.
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.
Tabitha and Marlow were lucky enough to be invited to the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi (yes that is the correct spelling) Boutique in Harrods a few months ago. Marlow was a little unsure. Tabitha was in heaven. I tried to think of a comparison for me? Maybe discovering an Isabel Marant outlet store in central London that no one else knew about, where you are magically transformed into Daria before stepping out with a complete new outfit? Something like that anyway. So you don’t need me to tell you how excited Tabs was. She was asked in advance which princess (yes, you get to choose) she wanted to be (more of that later), and she immediately decided on Snow White. Apparently she was the first girl ever to choose her. Like her style! When the day came, the excitement mounted, and when we arrived at the boutique/castle, situated conveniently (or not, depending on which way you look at it?) in the Disney department, they were given a special ‘fairy godmother’ pager, which would alert them when it was time for their appointment. Actually, I was as excited at they were by this time! Two ‘fairy godmothers’ were at the entrance to greet us, and I have to say, they were so brilliant. They were ‘in character’ (don’t be tense, remember, it’s not for us…) the whole time, and really made the whole experience so special and magical. Once inside, Tabitha (and by then, a moody and reluctant Marlow) were shown to a special ‘changing room’ where their costumes were already hanging up inside, waiting for them. Boys get a very respectable Knight costume. Marlow refused to put it on. Tabs was beyond excited! Anyway, to cut a long fairytale a little bit shorter, she was then able to chose from a selection of make-up/face painting and hair styles (but all very child appropriate – no Miley Cryrus inspired looks here); then sat in a special chair where she was fussed over, and transformed into a ‘bespoke’ Snow White. Marlow sulked. I have to say, I was really impressed by the whole experience (and I was a little sceptical I have to admit). And mums, we need to remember, it’s not for us, so don’t be expecting dusky pinks, cashmere hand knit cardigans and desert boots – you need to let that all go for an hour, and just embrace (or pretend to anyway) the Princess makeover experience (and remember my Issy reference). They can choose from five (which includes the Knight one) personalised experiences (for children aged between 3-12 years), and they each include a magical transformation with hairstyling and face painting, as well as exclusive Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique merchandise. And now they have added the Frozen experience. Amazing!! I will warn you, it’s not exactly cheap. But honestly, I have to say, the experience was such a special one for Tabitha (ok, Marlow less so, but he did warm up a bit eventually and was given a very stylish sword, which he loved, and anyway, let’s be honest, it’s not really aimed at the boys is it?); and one that she will hopefully always remember. And it’s a one-off experience, so for a special birthday treat it can be justified. And just going to the Harrods toy department is a treat in itself (it’s just trying to get them out again that’s the problem) – it really is amazing. I remember going there every year with my brother and sister as a child, and always remember it so fondly (we were each allowed to choose one toy). And if you really feel you need a Disney detox immediately afterwards, there is a fabulous Bonpoint concession just downstairs…
Little Baby Company Halloween Trick Or Treat Card,£3.95
You still have a couple of weeks, but we like to get organised early. So we’ve ordered our cute Halloween costumes and they are on their way. So now that just leaves the sweet little extras that make it all the more fun… We’re loving these personalised trick or treating bags; this pumpkin window sticker; this pumpkin piñata; this door sign; these window stickers; these balloons; this bat card; and this light-up pumpkin (ok, so it’s not the real deal, but I bought one last year, and it looked pretty great – I’ve also bought the mini ones this year).
As many of you probably know, my sister Caroline got married on Saturday. Lots of you have been asking me recently about what to dress your little ones in for weddings (your own or friends/relatives). As you also probably know, one of my absolute pet hates is babies and toddlers in any kind of ‘formal’ clothing. And don’t get me started on waistcoats, suits or ties. So how do we navigate this tricky path of wanting to dress them up without the tackiness of the ‘mini adult’ look? So I thought I would share the (pretty much) exact three outfits worn by Tabitha, Marlow and my two year old nephew, ‘Baby James’ on Saturday. Tabitha was an ‘unofficial flower girl’ (it’s a long story…), and I wanted something pretty and whimsical, rather than big and pouffy (no hooped underskirts please). I fell in love with the Woodstock flower garland months ago (I challenge anyone to find one prettier…), so this was my starting point. It is SO gorgeous, and the picture really doesn’t do it justice. I saw the dress in M&S a while ago, and ummed and ahhed for weeks, but once I’d actually bought it and tried it on Tabs, I was pretty smitten. Again, it’s hard to see how nice it is from the picture (one of the downsides to internet shopping I guess). Plus, to be completely honest, I really didn’t want to blow £100 plus on an ‘unofficial flower girl’ dress. This one was perfect, and just ‘pretty enough’. It also comes in pale pink (I didn’t even show Tabs that one, for obvious reasons, though it was pretty I have to admit). And the satin ballet pumps were a cute finishing touch (she changed into her regular ballet shoes with the trusty elastic later on). I wanted Marlow to look smart-ish, but still cool and comfortable (he’s not one for dressing up, and even shirts can be a struggle with him). I liked this soft, collarless one from Cos (he also had another striped one from Cos that he also wore, but it’s not on the website) because it didn’t feel too stiff and formal. The shorts are denim, but the gunmetal grey was just smart enough. And he LOVES his silver sandals! ‘Baby James’ looked adorable in his classic sailor top and matching cropped trousers. He then wore the white version of the top the following day with navy shorts (I like these ones from Next). So if the complete look is a step too far into Victoriana for you, then just replace the matching trousers with shorts or regular trousers. And I love the navy t-bars (James’ were from BbBell). So there you have it. Check out Instagram (littlespree) for some pictures of them. ps: if you’re interested in what I wore, I will give you the details on Friday in my Mama Spree post.
1. Numero 74 Fairy Wings, £21.00 SHOP NOW 2. Numero 74 Glittering Crown, £6.00 SHOP NOW 3. The Little White Company Tutu Skirt, £26.00 SHOP NOW 4. Joules Breton T-Shirt, £14.95 SHOP NOW 5. Numero 74 Mini Magic Wand, £2.00 SHOP NOW 6. ilovegorgeous Mary Jane Shoes, £64.00 SHOP NOW
My favourite girls’ fancy dress costumes ever were from H&M. Yes H&M! They were part of the amazing UNICEF collection (as mentioned on Little Spree last October) that they do occasionally. One is a Marie Antoinette dress (straight out of the Sofia Coppola film…), complete with lace, bows and bustle; the other is the coolest mermaid costume I have ever seen (complete with tail that cleverly clips to the skirt when you need both hands free). Tabs rotates them, and they always get so many compliments (particularly the mermaid). I’m sorry to say that these were purchased quite a while ago now, so are no longer available, but rest assured, I will let you know if/when they do another collection. In the meantime, I have put together a cute little outfit (above) which should keep both mamas and daughters happy and sufficiently ‘dressed up'; plus some other ideas… This pink superhero; this forest fairy; this princess (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but Tabitha has this, and loves it even more than her H&M Marie Antoinette dress!); this vet; this Marie Antoinette; this nurse; this pirate; this doctor; this cat; this Tudor girl; and then this bat mask and wings and wizard’s hat (as seen in the boys’ post yesterday). And last but not least this diamante tiara for a bit of last minute accessorising…
Mamas & Papas Bow Collar Dress (2-6 years) £29.00 (was £58.00) SHOP NOW This is a great dress for a special occasion or party. How chic is that bow collar? And the quality is good too – 100% silk no less! Mamas & Papas? Who knew?
ps: coming soon to Little Spree – ‘book corner’. I (with the help of Tabitha and Marlow’s dad, who also happens to be a child psychologist and total book obsessive) will be sharing my favourite tried and tested children’s books to read to your little ones.
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…
M&S Foil Star Print Mary Janes (4-13 small) £12.00-£14.00 SHOP NOW I popped into M&S the other day for a quick sweep of the kids’ department. I had about five minutes to spare between appointments, but found myself lingering for a lot longer as I kept finding more and more cute things for Summer. Love these sweet star print Mary Janes (a little bit Chloe, non?) – the perfect ‘just bling enough’ party shoe. Here are some other bits that caught my eye, including a couple of things I bought for Tabs, and a blouse that I bought for myself! These navy spotty t-bar plimsoles for toddlers (they also come in grey); these white sandals; this printed blouse which I bought for Tabs (the flecks look more like a cool neon pink in the flesh); this printed blouse (also now in Tabs drawer); this t-shirt: this embroidered blouse (it reminded me of an A.P.C sundress of mine…); and finally this is the top that I bought for myself (in age 13-14). And yes, it fits! Sorry, didn’t make it to the boys’ section – I was too late by then! Next time…
Chloe Apricot Scallop Bib Dress (4-12 years) £74.50 (was £107.00) SHOP NOW This is classic Chloe, just scaled down. Gorgeous apricot colour; cool A-line shape, pretty pin tucking with contrast scalloped detailing; and (unbelievably) machine washable! I think I might just have found Tabitha’s birthday party dress…
Baby Bow Tie Metallic Bow Tie £15.00 babybowtie.com
I’m getting quite into the idea of boys in bow ties. They can look rather cool! This cute gold one would look great worn with a denim shirt. I also like this bunny printed one from Paul Smith if you’re not entirley convinced about the gold…
ps: I mentioned this book in a post quite a while ago now, but people are always emailing me asking for the details again. So here you go. Lostmy.name. It’s a gorgeous, personalised book that tells the story of a child who has lost their name, and sets off on a mini adventure to find the missing letters. I’ve just read Tabitha’s book to the twins. They absolutely love theirs! One of the most original, personalised (and not to mention, fun and educational) gifts you can buy. Such a lovely (and, at under £20.00, very inexpensive) present for any child from a newborn to six years. Sadly they are no longer able to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas, but they are currently offering a 15% discount. And they are wonderful all year round anyway…
Mango Tulle Miniskirt (sizes XS-L) £16.99 SHOP NOW I never tire of a pretty tutu (particularly when worn with a knit of some kind), and there are so many gorgeous ones out there to choose from a the moment, from the full-on flouncy to the more understated ones that just feel more like a ‘special skirt. These are my favourites, starting with this simple style from Mango, which comes in a whole array of other equally cool (un-Barbie) colours. I also love this beautiful ruffled vintage pink one from The White Company; this floral embroidered one from M&S (very similar to a little Zara skirt of mine actually that I wear with tights and a chunky jumper, but I digress…), this diamante ruffled one from Zara. this dotted tulle one from Kiahawo; this can-can style from ilovegorgeous; this star one from Carousel; this La Redoute one (that I have posted in the past, but is still available, and is now half price in sale!).
ps: just ordered these for Tabs from AlexandAlexa (thanks for the tip-off, Nicky!). Totally adorable. Hurry – they are selling out fast…
Cocoon Cotton Romper (0-2 years) £9.00 SHOP NOW
Looking for something cute and a little tongue-in-cheek for your baby boy to wear over the festive period that doesn’t involve reindeer ears? This is sweet, playful, but still cool and stylish. And not too silly. I love it. And for all the baby girls out there, the Angel baby grow is fast becoming a cute classic. For a more traditional take on the Christmas romper, this striped one from Gap is another favourite.
Okaou Charcoal Cotton Dress With Flounced Sleeves (18 months-5 years) £9.50 (was £19.00) laredoute.co.uk It’s that time when we need to start, not just thinking about party dresses, but actually buying them (before the best ones all sell out!). Here is a little round-up of my favourites around at the moment… This Okaou one from La Redoute (I have to say, La Redoute have some amazing dresses) is definitely one of my favourites. It looks black (I’m really not a fan of black for little girls) in this picture, but it’s actually a gorgeous charcoal grey. I love the pretty tulle frill and the gold studded embroidery at the hem, and it’s such an amazing bargain! Another favourite is this feather one from Kihawo: this sweet brocade one from H&M; this navy one with metallic stars from Mango; this gorgeous navy tulle one also from Mango; this navy corduroy one from J by Jasper Conran (not strictly a party dress, but it’s cute and it’s a dress, and I really love it/wanted to share it anyway); this velvet one from Gap; this pink chiffon one, also from Gap (it looks a bit boring in the picture, but I’ve seen it in the store, and it’s really pretty); this lace one from Hucklebones; and this super-cute spotted one, also from Hucklebones; this fabulous lace spotted one from Somerset by Alice Temperley (love!); and if you feel like having a major blow-out (alternatively you could always wait for the sales, and you might just get lucky…), this Chloe dress is to die for.
Autograph Cotton Floral Shirt With Bow Tie (12 months-10 years)
I can’t help getting preoccupied with girls’ clothes in the run-up to Christmas. So many gorgeous things to choose from (watch this space for my favourite party dresses and tutus – both coming up this week), and frankly, not enough parities/festivities to showcase them. Boys (particularly toddlers) on the other hand… Not so much. However, I have had my eye on this stylish little shirt and bow tie combo for a while now. I love the tiny floral print, and the contrast of the black trim and velvet bow tie. And you can’t really go wrong at £14.00 can you? My only problem now is persuading Marlow to wear it! He HATES dressing up of any kind. Oh well – I suppose a grey sweatshirt works for any occasion… £12.00-£14.00 marksandspencer.com
John Lewis Sequin Dress (2-12 years) I love a sequin (always in moderation of course), and so does my daughter. I have noticed that the high street is awash with gorgeous sequinned dresses, perfect for the Christmas party season, but also perfect for any other time too… I have hand-picked my favourites (Including this fab navy and gold one from John Lewis), which includes a couple of really low-key, un-blingy options for the sequin-phobic (if there indeed, is such a person?)… This Mini Boden dress (I love the combination of this particular shade of pink and the gold sequins – it has a bit of a Marni vibe about it…); this ilovegorgeous gold sequinned dress (full-on and fabulous!) and this one (just divine): loving the casual, everyday sparkles on this navy one from Zara; this classic ballerina style from Ted Baker; and this baby version; and this Little White Company dress (Tabs already has it). £22.00-£24.00 SHOP NOW
ps: all the details on how to enter the babyGap prize draw will be in tomorrow’s post. You don’t want to miss it!
pps: if you have a daughter who is OBSESSED with Hello Kitty (as I do), and try (as I do) to steer her away from the scary (and invariably, pink) branded clothing, I have a little find that that may just be of interest to you… This t-shirt from M&S is as tasteful as Hello Kitty comes, and I actually think it’s rather cute (and yes, it really is navy!). I bought it for Tabs, and of course, she LOVES it, and I don’t hate it. Result! I like it best worn with navy and white striped leggings, cream cable knit cardigan and her trusty Boden suede boots. And everyone is happy.
H&M Long Sleeved T-shirt (1-10 years)
As you know, I’m not normally a fan of ‘gimmicky’ clothes, but I just couldn’t resist this cute (technical term: trompe l’oeil) t-shirt. Perfect for a bit of tongue-in-cheek chic on special occasions… £5.99 SHOP NOW
pps: If you have a baby aged between 0-24 months, and live in the London area (or feel like a trip to London?), come and see me at the Gap flagship store on Oxford Street for an exciting Baby Gap/Little Spree event on Friday 29th November. I will the there all day, and would love to meet you (and your gorgeous little ones!). That’s all I’m allowed to tell you at the moment, but all the (exciting) details will be revealed nearer the time, so watch this space… It’s going to be fun!
Okaou Ruffled Tutu (18 months-5 years)
I am often asked about tutus, and where to buy a stylish, non-scary one. They are not one of my favourite items (unless at a ballet class of three year olds, when there is simply nothing cuter…) of clothing, but having said that, Tabitha does own three (not including her ballet one). One pale-pink, one cream, and one grey, although they don’t get out much I must confess… The grey one was a DPAM find on a work trip to Paris, and is by far my favourite. I suppose I just like the fact that it’s not pink. And it’s not too ‘poufy’, so can (and has been) worn with knitted tights, a (Breton) jumper and boots and still pass as a reasonably normal outfit. So I was rather pleased to find this similar one on the La Redoute website last night. I love the pretty layers/ruffles of tulle. And it starts from 18 months, which is a real bonus, as it is even harder to find a tasteful tutu for babies! And for the record, I do let Tabs express her ‘inner princess’ in suitably scary/flammable ‘dressing-up’ outfits. Inside the privacy of our house. Oh and by the way, this one does also come in pink! £11.00 laredoute.co.uk
ps: I also always love the Bob & Blossom ones for a slightly more ‘full-on tutu’ experience. And they do a grey one too!
We recently discovered lovely new dressing up site Little Kit. They make dressing up ‘kits’ so the idea is that you buy an entire outfit or individual parts of an outfit. Clever. Not only that but they’re handmade in the UK and are reasonably priced. Little Kit is the collaboration between fashion designer Laura Basevi and child development expert Victoria Blandford. Their tag line ‘imagination takes you everywhere’ perfectly describes their product. What’s more they’re offering Little Spree readers 20% discount until Christmas Day, simply use code LS20 at checkout..