A Capsule Wardrobe with Miele

Some of my favourite posts to do over here are fashion collaborations. As a little girl I used to make 'paper people' and create changeable wardrobes for each girl I drew (with paper tabs that you could fold over to keep in place). My parents at the time were quite anti 'Barbie' or similar toys so creating my own girls and their outfits was my way of combating that, I suppose it actually meant I was forced to be more creative and imaginative. I always wanted to do 'something' to do with fashion when I grew up and until I first started taping away at this little blog of mine I didn't quite know how I could make that work.

I was really thrilled then when Miele got in touch and asked if I'd like to collaborate on a winter capsule wardrobe post with them. They sent over their fantastic W1 Washer and T1 dryer and set me a task of a 'luxury collection' that I would then use the machines to wash and dry. What's amazing about these machines is that they can wash and dry the items of clothing that are usually relegated to the bottom of the laundry basket. The wooden jumpers, cashmere, mohair or silks, these are the items that usually get worn once and then spend 3 months in the basket before seeing the light of day again. No more!

I've been so impressed by thee machines, previous 'dry clean only' items (hello coats that never ever usually get cleaned) are now able to fit the spacious drum. To test it out I created a wardrobe that featured a lot of delicate items and as so pleased to be able to pop them in the machine after I was done with them with no worry about how they may turn out afterwards!

So here's what I chose :
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Wrapping gifts for Great Ormond Street with M&S

A few weeks ago I found myself on the train to London heading to a location in Soho to help (with 19 other bloggers) Marks and Spencer wrap 150 gifts for sick children. There were so many dramas on that journey to the capital, my train ended up taking three hours, the cash points were all out of money and an over crowded station at Paddington meant they shut the entrance to the tube.

Finally, and just in the nick of time (good thing I give myself extra time to get to places!) I made it to the address, noticeable by the huge Christmas tree in the window and found myself getting stuck in with wrapping paper, ribbon and bows to decorate these gifts as beautifully as we could. It gives me all the warm fuzzy feelings thinking about how excited those boys and girls will be opening their gifts (and sorry in advance for the mini drum kit I wrapped ;))

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Make the most of Autumn and Winter Seasons, without the colds!

With Winter fast approaching and Autumn settling in, we enter the seasons that are one of my most exciting of the year (I'm very much a Christmas person!), but also one of the trickiest when it comes to kiddos catching colds and bugs. As a parent I know that coughs and colds come hand in hand with little ones, in many ways they are an essential part of growing up and building their immune systems. That being said we want to ensure that these moments are made as comfortable as possible. We're working with Sterimar children range in this post to highlight their 100% purified natural seawater based formula as an aid to clear, unblock or decongest tiny little noses this cold and flu season. As a parent these products can help save unwanted stress, as well as easing the symptoms that little ones might be experiencing. 

For me I found it really reassuring that the range is the UK’s Number 1 GP recommended saline brand for nasal conditions, it means I feel comfortable that I’m not putting any nasty's into my children's bodies. Its natural seawater based formula works in harmony with the bodies natural functions and eases winter sniffles for the little ones. 

What’s brilliant is that Sterimar Children Range covers children’s needs straight from birth. The baby nasal spray product aims to clear and unblock nasal passages, which aids natural breathing by washing out impurities. I know from experience that when Mabli is feeling under the weather sleeping and night time feeds can sometimes be the worst for her, so something that offers a more restful nights sleep is a huge plus! There is also a kid’s nasal spray within the range, which can be used on children from 3 months old and focuses on decongesting the nose by eliminating unwanted mucus. One of the things that can often happen when your kids get a little cold is that they are susceptible to secondary infections so having a product that can help reduce that risk is one less thing to worry about. 

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Weekend:IN - Recharging and feeling creative again

Lately I've been feeling really burnt out. There's been that shortness in my breath when I feel like anxiety is about to take hold. I've felt overwhelmed by the blogging world and felt like it wasn't a particularly welcoming space at times. I've worried a lot about my impact on the people that engage with me, am I being a good person? am I sharing a mix of the pretty and the important? If I'm posting about buying things am I part of the problem, do I make people feel good or bad about themselves?

A friend was saying she took a break from Instagram as whenever she logged on she felt like she wasn't good enough. She didn't have this or that, she wasn't working hard enough, had a nice enough house, looked fashionable on the school run.

Another part I don't really want to go into TOO much is the mean aspect of a sometimes competitive industry.  I was never one of the cool girls, always the shy one, always the one who would feel sick before entering a class, who didn't want to be noticed for fear of being different or picked on. My confidence has grown massively in the last few years and I finally felt like I was in a great place doing something I loved making friends and being creative. There is a bitchy side to blogging, there are Facebook groups and private messages and 'I heard she said about such and such' (my friend Morgana actually wrote about it recently here). The people that make you question yourself or not feel good enough. I started to feel like I was drowning in it, like I couldn't work out who was genuine and that I wasn't in a good place or around good energy. So I took myself out of those situations as best I could, stopped worrying (so much) about the numbers (I wish I couldn't care completely but I do!) and reavaluated about what I wanted to get out of this strange industry.

And just at this point in my life when I was feeling the most anxious I attended Weekend:In

I was invited over for a weekend away (or a Weekend In rather) by Oliva Tripp, a lovely Bristol based freelancer who had a vision for a gathering of creatives. Myself and my friend Lucy took a little road trip to the location, the beautiful Chicken Shed in Monmouth where, after a good old moan and a lot of laughs in the car we were greeted on arrival with hot coffee and pastries. Whilst I knew a few girls there (Lori and Lyzi) I was excited to meet the other ladies and get stuck in with the workshops. It was just what a needed after feeling a bit like I'd 'lost my way'.

What set this event apart immediately was just how beautifully it had been thought out, from the location to the relaxed atmosphere. With workshops from Papersmiths (where we wrapped beautiful presents) and wreath making from the fantastic Talulah Rose Flower school we chatted and laughed together and learnt new skills.

In the evening after a spot of wine tasting with 'More Wine on Tap' (fizzy wine in a can anyone? Yes please!) we listened to an interesting talk from Caro Somerset where she talked us through 'trends and forecasts' and how there is a trend for people wanting to learn skills, for bricks and mortar stores and for moving out of the fast paced city.

It really hit home to me that one of the reasons I've been feeling quite overwhelmed in my life at the moment is how isolating sitting behind a screen can be. Of course I have friends and a great support system in my 'mum friends' (who are a lifesaver!).  I've also been missing that work socialising and support. I miss bouncing ideas off other creative people, sharing skills and just being supportive of each other.

Although being a mum is OF COURSE the most important and fulfilling part of my life, I also have other parts of me that crave that kind of grown up creativity. Getting my hands covered in dirt making wreaths for no reason other than that they are beautiful and make me smile whenever I pass mine on my front gate. Getting back to those kind of basics was a reminder of what I want, I need to not feel like I'm drowning or feel like I'm working towards the wrong goals that are driven by the wrong motives.

Wrapping gifts and geeking out over pens and pencils whilst we chatted about everything from travel to ambitions to baby names! When Sid from Papersmiths talked about her own childhood dreams and her Christmas wishlist of stationary from a wholesale magazine. It reminded me of my own childhood ambitions, how I only ever wanted to be an artist or design clothes. It inspired me to remember these parts of me that might have got a bit lost lately.

My Seven Boot Lane Freya Boots (old season but these toasty ones will be appearing on the blog soon!) 

I did actually plan to stay over and attend the second day but I was actually feeling a bit too anxious about leaving Mabli overnight. It's funny as she's almost a year old now and I thought I would be so ready for something like that, but after stewing it over I knew that a day was enough. Thankfully everyone totally understood and was so kind about it! I'm only sad I missed the lovely workshops the next day and that I didn't get to meet up with Seven Boot Lane in person (an ethical shoe company who I've worked with a few times on the blog).

Thank you so so much Olivia for inviting me to your brilliant event! I feel recharged and excited about my little blog again. For supporting women and local business and remembering who I am and what I'm inspired by.


One week, three items of clothing & two accessories with People Tree

Illustration by Laura Redburn 

Most of you will know that I'm a big fan of ethical clothing company People Tree. We've been working together now for a number of years and it's always an honour to collaborate with them. They are a brand that I respect so much as well their founder Safia being a real hero of mine. I was so thrilled to be part of the book 'Slow Fashion - Aesthetics meets Ethics'.

When they asked if I'd like to take part in the '5 looks challenge' I thought it would be really fun to document it over on my IG and see how hard it was to wear only three pieces plus two accessories through the week.

Being a mum, and especially a mum to a baby means that keeping my clothes clean during the week is a bit of challenge in itself I think so as part of this challenge I was also allowed to mix vintage pieces into the week if needs be. I'm currently on day three and so far have managed to keep to the three pieces but I imagine that I'll be needing a new T-shirt tomorrow if I'm honest. Whilst my wardrobe isn't 100% ethical I do try and mix it up with ethical brands/vintage and long lasting well made high street items. Regardless of the ethical issue I find that lots of 'fast fashion' is so badly made that it would never last a year let alone become a vintage piece. Some of the vintage dresses I own must be fifty years old by now which I find amazing. I love the idea of passing down my clothes to my daughter and they still be made so well and made to last.

This is the first look I posted on Monday

I chose the 'Swallows Print' Tee and the 'Uma Corduroy Skirt' which I bought in a size 12. I thought that the skirt could be a staple for the week and that I could also pair it with a vintage Tee when this one got grubby hands on it!

On Tuesday I wore my second outfits which was the Cassandra Shirt Dress which is unfortunately sold out now but the Shelby Shirt Dress is cut in the same way which is really flattering I think.

The accessory I chose was this navy striped hat.  I love that at this time of year you can pull of a beanie and it means you don't have to wash your hair for another day ;) essential when it comes to the school run I can tell you!

I'll be posting my last two looks tomorrow and Friday so do check out my instagram if you want to see how I wear those. Don't forget you can get 15% off full priced People Tree items with code TLQ15 if you want to grab any of these pieces or others!

P.S People Tree are actually running a Crowd Funder campaign right now to develop their Tencel collections. Originally all their items are made with Organic Cotten but by using Tencel which is 100% recyclable they can really develop their collection and designs with a different material whilst still treating their workers fairly. You can read more about the material and the crowdfunder here! 


In preparation of Mabli's first Christmas (warning this post contains a whole load of cute!)

baby boden christmas 2016

Warning - Extremely picture heavy post with an emphasis on CUTE!

I am a Christmas person, through and through. There's no point even trying to be cool about it. I LOVE this time of year, in fact I think I love the run up to Christmas more than the actual day itself. We were never particularly heavy on traditions in my family growing up, we loved spending time with each other and being one of five children there was always a child young enough to still believe in Father Christmas enough to make the day magical but when I became a mum for the first time Christmas time just became something even more special.

I'm working with one my favs Boden in this post to talk about all things Christmas and all things Baby Boden at Christmas time so if you are a fan of babies in fluffy reindeer slippers and robin PJ's then head this way..

baby boden christmas 2016 robin pj
baby boden christmas 2016 pj robin

I only seen to be able to make Christmas babies, with Wilf born just days before Christmas 2011 and Mabli born before Christmas 2015 it makes for a pricey December but an even magical one in my opinion with so much to celebrate!

Boden asked us if we'd like to pick three Christmas outfits from the Baby Boden range and these are the ones we went with.

There isn't anything I enjoy more than a new snuggly pair of PJ's. I love the tradition of everyone getting new jim jams on Xmas eve to go to bed in and make Christmas morning so comfy and cosy for opening gifts in. I picked the Robin Pointelle Twin pack and couldn't resist picking up the Jersey Long Johns for me. If you can't try and twin with your baby daughter when she is 11 months old when can you??

baby boden christmas 2016 robin cardigan
baby boden christmas 2016 robin cardigan

This Winter Friends Cord Pinnie in the Robin print is probably my favourite piece from the three we went for. I love that it's so festive without going completely overboard. I teamed it with Sparkle Pointelle Body which is just so so soft and this adorable Robin cardigan, no such thing as too many Robin's over the holidays I say!  

baby boden christmas 2016 christmas dress

OK this is my new favourite picture of Mabli ever.. sums up her cheeky personality so well! 

baby boden christmas 2016 christmas pj
baby boden christmas 2016 christmas mini boden
baby boden christmas 2016 christmas mini boden

For the third look I chose her a Christmas day 'party' dress and went for the Sparkly Stripe Jersey Dress. I like the idea of a baby party dress that is also really cosy and easy to move in (or in Mabli's case crawl in!). This one is really simple but the sparkle adds that extra festiveness and I love the peter pan collar too.

baby boden christmas 2016 christmas mini boden
baby boden christmas 2016 christmas mini boden cardigan

This year has honestly been the fast year of my life. The first year with a baby is always so intense, so many sleepless nights and highs and lows. I thought that it went quickly when Wilf was a baby but I feel like it was literally just a couple of months ago when she was born. Madness! I couldn't imagine how another child would effect our family, I couldn't imagine loving someone as much as my little boy but this little pudding has fitted in like she was always here. She was always meant to be part of our little gang and I can't imagine life without her.

baby boden christmas 2016 christmas mini boden cardigan
baby boden christmas 2016 christmas mini boden tigerlilly quinn

I'm over on the Boden blog chatting about our Christmas traditions and more if you fancy a peek then head over here. I hope you liked this little collaboration and thanks as ever to the brands that support this blog.

What traditions do you have for Christmas? I'd love to know!

In association with Boden / Images Nell Mallia 


DIY Advent Calendar!

OK it is just me or has 2016 been the fastest year that's ever existed!? I know I have a baby and their first year means that time moves faster than normal anyway but seriously I feel like I blinked and it moved from Spring to Winter!

I'm going to show you how I made a fun DIY advent calendar using a few different items.

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Quality time with the kids and win a years worth of housework done for you!

Every time I see pictures of my two little people and me I'm always exclaiming 'these are my favourite pictures ever!' Even if a couple of weeks ago a different set were my favourite a month later I change my mind again. Basically any new pictures with my gang are 100% my favourite pictures without a doubt. One of the reasons I'm so thankful for my job as a blogger is that it prompts me to do this, record moments and get in front of the camera too rather than always being behind it. I'm working with Slumberdown in this post to chat about the important of play time with your kids.

According to a recent study families spend roughly four hours a day doing household chores (which add up to 59 full days a year!) in comparison with just under four hours a week playing with their kids. I can't say I do four hours of cleaning a day ;) but if you add up general life admin, making dinner, putting on the washing etc etc I imagine it quite easily does add up. I'm often guilty of saying 'just wait a minute whilst I do this' rather than being able to get down on my kids level and really play properly. Obviously in an ideal world those stats would be flipped and we could spend quality time daily but I'm fully aware that we all have jobs and homes that need to remain at sort of tidiness and food to be cooked too!

Slumberdown tasked us with finding the time to have fun in our home with simple games without having to leave the house. Fitting in that extra time to just be silly and play even if it was for twenty minutes before making dinner or tidying up the toys from the day. They are also running a competition to win having your housework done for a year (amazing prize or what?!) which you can find out more about here.

We used the Slumberdown king size duvet and pillow set to create these games. Here's how we got on..

Building forts - A classic in most households I'm sure! Wilf loves making forts and they never fail to make him excited. Even if its just as simple as piling up the cushions up high on either side of a duvet and snuggling down. I often make them for him on rainy days when I don't want to have him in front of the TV yet again. Grab a couple of softies and an audio book and you can have a pretty chilled half hour when you're four!

Our next game was 'stepping stones' I used to play this as a kid and throw all my softies in the 'water' and pretend their were sharks that I'd have to step on the cushions (stepping stones) to try and quickly save my teddies. Adds a whole level of thrill, a lot of giggles and a lot of falling over into the water to shrieks!

Our next came was building igloos. We raided the dressing up box for these headdresses although I'm not sure if it's traditional eskimo attire, space pjs and feathers in your hair ;) I have to say they look pretty cute regardless.

If all else fails you don't need to anything fancy, my kids just love a story or a tickling episode!

PJ days and bedtime games for the win! Especially on a Sunday, I feel like it should be mandatory! Do you have any bedtime games we should add to our list? You can visit their 'Fun with kids' page for more ideas too if they inspire you!

Don't forget to check out the competition to win your housework done for a year!
This post was written in association with Slumberdown but all words and thoughts are my own

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