Saturday, 20 September 2014

Water play

What is it with children and water?  Both of mine love it whether it's hot or cold.  They are both a bit funny about it, both Ethan and Felix love to fill a paddling pool but neither of them are really interested in paddling in it.  Ethan loves a bath but doesn't like to have Felix in with him because he gets splashed.  Felix loves spray a hosepipe but hates it if it gets turned on him...

They are both happiest when they get to take turns "watering" the garden.  It's just as well we've not had a hosepipe ban round our way in a while!

I could choose to get hung up on the fact that neither of them want to get in the paddling pools that I've bought for them, but I've decided just to go with it, if they are happiest playing with the hosepipe for a bit, so be it!

Do your children love a paddling pool or are they like mine, do they prefer to brandish a hosepipe or run through the sprinklers?

Linking up with Coombe Mill for Country Kids.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Existing, not living..

Some periods in life are a struggle.  For the last five or six weeks we've had a tricky time.  We are so SO lucky in so many ways and I know that.  Our boys are healthy happy lads, we don't suffer from any serious illnesses or disabilities, our families are close by, we have friends.  However, there are times when none of that seems to lift your spirits.. and the last few weeks have been one of those times.

Illness.  Our family seems to have been ill almost constantly this year, especially Felix.  I can promise you that I am not exaggerating when I say we have mere days between illnesses.  If Felix isn't ill, he's teething.  He's cut nearly 18 teeth now, that's more than one tooth for every month he been alive!

Mental health.  Mine has been struggling of late.  I can't imagine that you don't know, but the reason this blog is called "Medicated" Follower of Fashion is because when I started this blog I was recovering from PND and was taking citalopram.  Over the last 5 years I have come on and off medication.  I most recently came off medication in May this year and since then I have been constantly evaluating how I'm feeling.  This in itself isn't helpful to mental health.  To be constantly analysing myself, constantly wondering if what I'm feeling is "normal" or abnormal.  Wondering if coming off the medication was the right choice.

With the last few weeks being so hard, it's especially trying on my mind and spirit.  I've got to point where I have to take each day hour by hour.  Sometimes I think I'm going to have to get myself straight to the doctor.  Some days are better.  I've been receiving great support from my local Health Visitor team which I'm hugely grateful for.  I am an anxious person and constant illness and loss of sleep has a huge effect on me.  I've been suffering from low moods, doubting negative thoughts, huge self doubt.  For now I've decided to stay off the meds, but as I say, I'm taking things hour by hour and if I feel that changes, I know just what to do.

All in all, I feel that at the moment I am existing.  Surviving.  I don't truly feel I am living.  I don't always feel very present in the moment, often I'm caught up in an anxious cycle, trying to figure out exactly how my day will pan out, planning and planning and feeling panicked until I know exactly what I'll be doing.

I don't like feeling like this... but I suspect that whilst Felix is still so young and so susceptible to illness, this may well just be how it's going to be for a while.  It seems awful but I tend to focus on a year from now.  This time next year I'll have a toddler who well on his way to being two and a half.  Two years from now he'll be in preschool.  Three years from now he'll be at school.  Time will fly by.  I don't want to wish it past, I want to be in the moment, enjoy him, hold him, know it won't last forever, but at the same time I need to focus on the future.

My blog is suffering a little at the moment I feel.  I love my blog and I'm so proud of it but I'm having to hold back a bit.   I just don't have the energy to work on it until 1 am several nights a week like I was a few months ago.   The summer holidays and a string of illnesses have sapped some of the joy for me.

If my posts are a little sporadic, if I don't reply to comments quickly, if I'm not tweeting much, this is why.  I don't know how some parent bloggers manage to write as much as they do and take part in so much social media, but I just know I can't compete on that level.  Not unless I want a breakdown.

Tell me I'm not the only one who feels like this sometimes?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Trendy Thursday - Donna Wilson for John Lewis

This time of year is EXPENSIVE. All the new AW collections coming out... it's a drain on my budget man!

It's so hard to resist though.. and everyone is getting in on the game!  Take Donna Wilson for example.  I've loved her knitted whimsy's for yonks.  When I came into a little bit of spare cash a few years ago, something I treated myself to were a few Donna Wilson cushions and other bits and bobs.  To this day I still adore them.

Last year Ms Wilson collaborated with Mamas and Papas.  She designed a gorgeous buggy for them and some accessories.  I had recently become the owner of a fantastic Cosatto number, so there was no way I could treat us to a Donna Wilson buggy, but I did buy the fab fox blanket and toy fox she had designed.  Regret those purchases I do not...

Leap forward to now and what do I discover?  Donna Wilson has collaborated with John Lewis and has a GORGEOUS collection of clothing for children.  And I do mean gorgeous.

It's hard not to buy everything.  Honestly, the colours, the prints, the contrasts.  She's covered all bases, monochrome, pattern, tribal, animals.  It's all there.  I bet you want to know what I've gone for?  Here you go:

Donna Wilson for John  Lewis

Donna Wilson for John  Lewis

Donna Wilson for John  Lewis

Aren't they amazing?  I bought the Blah Blah leggings to fit Felix - he's always jabbering away!  The stem print leggings will be for Ethan.  They will look awesome with his Whistle and Flute tees.

The forest print top is for Felix.  I've ordered it in age two so hopefully he can wear it baggy and keep wearing it until it's tight.   I think it's going to look fantastic with the monochrome leggings and trousers Felix has from Shop Haute and H&M.

The leggings both retail at £10 and the top is £15.

So, are any of you planning on a purchase from the Donna Wilson collection?  Are there any other new collections you're loving?  Link up your kids fashion posts below.  Please don't forget to link back to my blog in your post and preferably, display my badge (see right).  Please also pop back to the linky and visit others who've joined in!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Lustings.. Pray for Trax Necklace

Being a huge Instagram fan, I'm always finding something new to lust over.. something I'm currently really keen to get my hands on is one of these gorgeous necklaces made by Mrs Paulie.  The neclaces were created by the lovely lady and her son and the idea behind them is to raise funds for Trax, a young boy with Cystic Fibrosis.

Pray For Trax Necklace
Image Source: The Little Vikings

What do I love about these necklaces?  Well, first and foremost they are for a good cause.  Buying one raises money to help a child.  That's a good thing.  On top of that, they look cool.  They are unique.  They are appealing to adults and children.  They are also suitable for children to wear due to their magnetic lock.  What's not to like?
Image source: The Little Vikings

The problem I have is that these necklaces are hard to come by.  Mrs Paulie is based in Australia.  The necklaces are socked via her website and a small group of stockists.  The necklaces are in such demand they often sell out within hours.  As we're in a different time zone in the UK, I keep missing out!

I'm hoping, really hoping, that one day soon I'll be able to buy one or two of these necklaces.  Perhaps one for me and one for Ethan.  That would be lovely!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Swing time! Having fun close to home.

Some weekends you just want to take it easy.  Of course, there's a limit to how "easy" your weekend can be with young children in tow.  Gone are long lazy lie-ins, drunken nights out, hangover Sundays, or, in our case, 48 hour The Sims marathons (yes, for real. Shush now).

Quite often we go out for the day.  We visit a National Trust property, go for walks, a picnic.  Those sorts of things.. but sometimes we just want to hang out at home and then pop out to a park for a bit.  That's exactly what we did last Saturday.

We took ourselves for a coffee and after that took a small drive to a playground near my parents house (where we were going to stay that night) and spent 45 minutes mucking around on climbing frames and having a long swing-a-thon.

Despite the fact it might seem a bit boring and run of the mill, we actually had a really enjoyable tome and managed to take a fun family photo of all of us on the swings - no mean feat with just the camera on my Nexus and no one to take the photo.  I had to get the boys swinging then run around in front to position the phone, start the timer and jump on a swing myself.  It came out well though!

Do you just keep it simple sometimes?  Linking up with Coombe Mill for #CountryKids.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Esska Shoes Review

I love to discover new brands, especially clothing and footwear brands.  One such brand is Esska Shoes.

I was contacted by Esska a little while ago and asked if I would like to try a pair of shoes from their Autumn Winter collection.  It would have been madness for me to say no.  The trouble was, I then had to peruse their AW collection to choose a pair.  And believe me, it was NOT easy.  AT ALL.  In the end I plumped for a beautiful bronze pair of ankle boots in their Hoola style.

I had to wait a few weeks for the AW collection to arrive in the Esska office before my pair would be sent out and it felt like a long wait.  Every now and then I'd remember they would be on their way to me and I'd get a fizzle of excitement in my belly!!

Well, last week they arrived and boy, they did not disappoint!  Beautifully packaged and including a lovely canvas tote bag, they were desperate to hop onto my feet (they were, I asked them!!).

My worry was that they wouldn't be comfy.  I'm not really a heels person.  I'd love to be, but I always end up back in flats.  These boots have a heel on them.  Not too high, but a heel non the less.  I was very happy to find that they are comfy.  I wore them for an entire day and didn't feel the need to take them off - that's running around after two boys as well!

Esska Shoes Bronze Hoola

Esska describe their shoes as:

- Comfortable
- Practical
- Stylish & femminine
- Take you from day to night

Key features are:

- A double padded in-sock
- A rubber anti-slip sole
- Leather upper & lining
- A fun cotton bag

I have to agree with all points.  They are comfy.  They work for day and night I'm sure.  I've only worn them during the day so far but the next time I have an evening off I am building my outfit with them in mind!

Hoola Bronze Boots Esska
Bronze Hoola Boots

These beautiful boots retail at £140 and can be bought via Esska themselves all from one of their stockists around the country (details here).

Linking up with Mummy's Got Style for Fashion Friday.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Trendy Thursday - Socks, socks, glorious socks!

I do like a nice pair of feature socks.  Is that a thing?  You know, like a feature wall.  Check out my feature socks!

What am I on about you're wondering.. Well, right now I'm really loving socks worn pulled up (you know, geek stylee, the opposite to how you would have worn them at school in the '90s) and preferably with a cute design on them.

I'm really in love with Bebedepino socks, they are total awesomeness.  The best place to buy them is via Gnome and Post, they stock quite a few of the designs available (and watch your credit card, they stock loads of other cool brands!).

Bebedepino socks, Marmalade Sky Baby

Another place I discovered is The Bamboo Design.  They stock a few pairs of adorable socks.  Ethan has a pair with snow clouds and lightening on.  Felix has "little drummer boy" socks.  I particularly like the drummer boy pair.  The biggest problem I have is taking a photo of him wearing them!!

The Bamboo Company

The Bamboo Company

The Bamboo Company

He's always on the move.  Not very helpful for someone who blogs about kids fashion!   Anyway, despite the photos not being the best, hopefully you can see just how cute these socks are!

Is it just me pulling my boys' socks up?  Have you got any especially cute pairs you like to put your children in?  Why not share your kids fashion posts below.  Just don't forget to comment here and on a few others who join in and to link to my blog (or display my badge). Thank you!

Monday, 8 September 2014

My Wall Stickers Review

We're big fans of wall stickers in our house.  I first became aware of wall stickers, or decals about 8 or so years ago.  My husband and I like Threadless tshirts and they were working with another company producing what they call decals (wall stickers) that were inspired by some of their t shirt designs.  I bought some for hubby as a present and it all spiraled from there!

Pretty much every room in our house has a wall sticker.  We have robots in the bathroom, a tree with owls and squirrels on the landing. Ethan's room has Space Invaders, Soot Sprites and geometric shapes. Felix's room has Soot Sprites, raindrops, clouds and a Totoro.  Our bedroom has an owl on a branch.  We really go for wall decoration in a big way!

My Wall Stickers recently offered us the chance to review on of their extensive collection of wall stickers so you can imagine that appealed to us!  It was very hard to choose a sticker, the choice is quite substantial.  I have to admit that a deciding factor for us was the lack of wall space remaining in our house!  I wanted to choose something different to the wall stickers we have already.  My Wall Stickers stock a range of chalkboard stickers that struck me as different so decided to plump for an A3 Chalk Sheet.  I liked the idea of something a little interactive.  Not just another cute design stuck on our wall, something I could plan blogging projects on or Ethan could draw on.

Our chalkboard sticker arrived quickly and was well packaged to prevent creases and damage.  On opening I found detailed step by step instructions for application and a very handy tool for smoothing out the sticker when applying it to a wall.  A little extra was a free packet of chalks - My Wall Stickers send a free pack of chalks with every chalkboard sticker.

My Wall Stickers

It took me a little while to decide where to place the sticker.  After all, as I mentioned before, most of our rooms have wall decorations.  I decided to go with the living room.  That way, all of us can have access to the "chalkboard"!

Placing it on the wall was straightforward enough.  I found the instructions helpful, though I must admit that being a bit of a wall sticker aficionado also helped!  Basically you position your sticker on your wall and once you are happy with the placement you secure it with some masking tape, usually across the middle of the design.  Once you have done this you remove half of the backing from the sticker and then begin smoothing it out with the tool over the top.  Once the top half is stuck down you can remove the masking tap and the other half of the baking paper and once again, smooth down over the top.  Once this is done you can remove the protective covering and there you go, your wall sticker should be happily attached to your wall!

My Wall Stickers chalkboard A3 Sheet

I think our new chalkboard looks great.  I'm especially pleased to find out that you are able to use chalk pens as well as traditional chalk.

My Wall Stickers chalkboard A3 Sheet

I'm going to have some fun writing lists now!

Our chalkboard sticker retails at £13.99.  I was sent the sticker for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

Linked with Family Fever for Tried & Tested Tuesdays.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Trendy Thursday - My picks from the A/W collections

Instagram has been abuzz with A/W14 collections over the last few weeks.  Beau Loves, Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, they've all been at it.  Every time I pop on there for a quick nose around more and more folks are sharing what their shops will be stocking or what they've ordered or bought.

I'm really loving the Beau Loves and Mini Rodini collections for this season.  Beau Loves are sticking with their cool mask motif but also adding in statement crosses and arrows.  Very unisex, very cool.  Mini Rodini have some awesome animals and a bit of a circus theme going on.

I've found it very hard to pick just a small few items.  If only I had thousands to throw around!  After great deliberation I went for a strong man print top, some pug print leggings and a bear cap from the Mini Rodini Collection and a bow and arrow print top from Beau Loves.  It really wasn't easy!

Mini Rodini Beau Loves AW14

Strong Man top - Mini Rodini via Scandinavian Minimal
Pug leggings - Mini Rodini via Scout & Co Kids
Bear Cap - Mini Rodini via Scout & Co Kids
Bow and arrow top - Beau Loves via Scout & Co Kids

The strong man top arrived on Saturday and Ethan wanted to put it on straight away.  In fact, he spent most of the weekend wearing it!  He had it on when we visited MShed in Bristol to look around the Wallace & Gromit exhibition (it was well worth a visit!) and it looked pretty darn cute!

Mini Rodini Strong Man AW14

Mini Rodini Strong Man AW14

The cap, arrow top & pug leggings have yet to arrive but watch out on Instagram because when they do, you'll know about it!

Have you bought your kids anything from the A/W collections this year?

If you've written about your kids fashion and style why not link up below?  It's easy to get involved, at your link below, link back to me in your post (and/or display my badge) and don't forget to comment here and read the posts others link up.  Nice and easy!

Happy Thursday folks - it's nearly the weekend!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Trendy Thursday - First Shoes With Clarks

This week for Trendy Thursday I'm going to share with you our Clarks "First Shoes" experience.

I was recently contacted on behalf of Clarks and asked if either of my boys would like to try some shoes from their range.  We decided that as Felix hadn't been measured it would a be a great opportunity.

We ended up combining the first shoe purchase along with a long planned trip to Clarks Village.  We are lucky to live fairly close to it and usually visit at least once a year.  I find it a good place to get measuring done and the outlet shop is good for school shoes!

Clarks Village
Let's get our feet measured!

Both boys got measured.  I wanted to check that Ethan's feet would be OK for the school shoes he already had.  It seemed to me that they hadn't grown at all in the last year and this proved to be the case (crazy - how can his feet not have grown?!).  At least he can stay in the same school shoes for a while longer.  This is proof of the quality of the shoes, he's worn them for a whole school year and they are still going strong!

Felix took to the measuring experience very well.  These days they have fancy measuring machines that you stand on and ipads to help the shop assistance measure - very clever stuff!!  As Felix was unlikely to stand still for them, they used a hand held more traditional measuring device which was just fine.  As it was something new to him he was calm and didn't try to fight the shop assistant off - thankfully!

Measuring feet at Clarks

After we'd got the boys measured (Ethan was still a 9F and Felix came in at a 5G) we went to have a look around to see if there was anything that took our fancy.  We were in the large outlet shop so I was quite hopeful.  Nothing jumped out at me though.  My only real criticism with Clarks is the choice for boys.  It seems to me there is quite a lot to choose from online (though still far less than for girls) but in the actual shop, there were really only about 3 different styles in Felix's size.  Even in larger sizes the choice was out of maybe 4, perhaps 5 styles.  And they were all brown or blue.. perhaps a bit of khaki green and of course black for school shoes.

Feeling a little disappointed we left the shop.  All was not lost though, because a full price shop was also on site just around the corner.

As soon as we stepped in the door I was a little more hopeful.  Although the selection was still small there were quite a few styles that hadn't been in the other shop.  There were some quite funky looking trainers and some cool smart looking shoes that stood out with day-glow laces.  They really grabbed my attention and a lovely looking grey pair with green day-glow laces were on the shelf in Felix's size.

I asked a shop assistant if we could try them.  The answer was yes, of course, but we were also offered what Clarks call the "First Shoes Experience".  We thought this would be fun, so of course, we said yes!  The First Shoes Experience is basically the same as a normal children's shoe fitting but you get a photograph taken, a little leaflet telling you all about how children's feet grow and a record card on which you record your child's foot size each time they get measured.

Clarks First Shoes Experience

The sales assistant servicing us was lovely, very attentive.  I felt we received great one to one attention and I had confidence that the shoes were being fitted correctly.  Especially because they ask another member of staff to check the fitting of the shoes.  Very reassuring.

The shoes fitted Felix perfectly and he was soon tearing around the shop causing mayhem in his new kicks.  He even attempted to shop lift them by running out of the shop several times.  The looked adorable on him so we were very happy to take them.

Since then Felix has worn the shoes on many occasions.  They appear to be very comfortable for him, he hasn't experienced any rubbing on his feet or toes.  He walks very well in them.  They aren't big and clompy, he can run about in them freely.

I'm always happy to recommend Clarks.  I do love their quality and service.  I wish they'd broaden their stock for boys and I wish their girls section wasn't so pink, it does seem a little dated to me.  There are some gorgeous unisex styles that I think they could be stocking.  I'm sure something a little retro would go down a treat.  Overall though, I feel confident when I buy from Clarks.  I know my child's' feet will be well looked after.

As it's #TrendyThursday if you've written a children's fashion post lately you can link it up below!  Please don't forget to comment here and visit others who join in.  I will tweet your link at least once, more if I can!  Please link back to my blog in your post and/or display my badge (available to the side).  Thanks!

**I was provided with a voucher with which to purchase Clarks shoes but all views and opinions expressed are my own**