Friday, 21 October 2016

One for One Toy & Clothing Campaign with Natural Baby Shower

Looking through the spam folder of my email this morning I happened upon an email telling me all about this lovely campaign from Natural Baby Shower.  I am so glad I found this email, it could have been missed.  It's a wonderful idea.  For every Finn & Emma knitted toy or item of  Woodland Clothing sold between now and December 2016 Natural Baby Shower will donate like for like to a fantastic charity, REFUGE.  Here's a little more about it:

Natural Baby Shower Launch One for One Toy and Clothing Campaign

Natural Baby Shower are excited to announce the launch of their One for One campaign. During this campaign, for every Finn + Emma organic hand knitted toy or item of Woodland clothing sold between the 01st of October and December, Natural Baby Shower will be donating a like-for-like toy or piece of clothing to mother and baby REFUGE charities across the UK in time for Christmas.

Finn + Emma produce beautiful high quality natural products in stunning ranges that strike a balance of stylish and sustainable, classic and contemporary and whimsical and sophisticated.

All Finn + Emma’s toys and clothing are made from 100% G.O.T.S. certified organic cotton and eco-friendly dyes and all the toys are hand-knit or made from untreated wood. All their products are manufactured in fair-trade settings that focus on social and economic independence for local people and especially for women.

Boring designs and toxic chemicals are a thing of the past whilst modern colours and fresh prints are abundant alongside heirloom quality construction. If you love style as much as sustainability, with Finn + Emma there is no reason to have to choose between the two.

Finn + Emma are sold exclusively through leading online retailer of ethical and eco-friendly baby products, Natural Baby Shower. You can view the full collection at

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Spring in Autumn

Spring in Autumn.  What am I on about?  Well.  I got dressed this morning and the dress I put on, if I'm honest, it looked more like a dress for a Spring day than an Autumn one.  Having said that, today is particularly beautiful in this part of the country.  The exact kind of Autumn day you dream about.  Crisp air, colourful leaves in the trees, no rain and blue skies.  So I suppose, if it weren't for the leaves around my feet I could be fooled into thinking it was a little spring like out there.  If it weren't for the smell in the air as well...  Do you find the air smells different season to season?  I know I do.

Fashion Blogger Autumn Style Yumi Colourful tights Cherry Blossom

I like this dress.  It hangs in my wardrobe (which is bursting at the seems..) and doesn't come out very often.  It's one of those dresses, when I put it on, I'm not sure whether I like how it looks on my or not.  Today I like it.  And it suits the bright blue sky.  So whilst it has cherry blossom splashed all over it, it feels lovely and bright, just like the weather.  I'll take that..  Stick a pair of tights under and cardi over the top, I think it still works!

Smile woman!

Fashion Blogger Autumn Style Yumi Colourful tights Cherry Blossom

Dress - Who knows! Sorry...
Cardigan - Yumi
Tights - Ebay
Belt - H&M

Do you ever wear clothes that don't seem quite right for season but go with it anyway?  Oh, and before you comment. Yes, I am wearing my slippers.  I'm in my house! No shoes in the house!! Perhaps I should change the title of this blog to "Style in Slippers".  Or "Slip into Style".  Perhaps "Style V Comfort"?.  Hmmmm....

**Linking up with lovely Not Dressed As Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike**

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The boys' Saturday Style

I am an avid clothing lover.  I love clothes and accessories for myself and the boys.  I usually can't wait to make a few choice purchases from Beau Loves, BoBo Choses & Mini Rodini every season.  But I have to be honest.  AW16 sees me strapped for cash.  Or, if I'm honest, less likely to rack up debt just to have the latest styles.  I find it hard. Rationalising my desire to buy them some gorgeous items from the new collections against knowing that it's expensive and they probably don't "need" them.  The urge to click is strong... and the design is strong this season too..  The deer print from Mini Rodini and the whole of the Beau Loves collection.. it's got me twitching my finger over the "at to shopping cart" button..  So far, I have resisted.

This means the boys are rocking much the same stuff they have all year long.  It's not exactly a hardship.  My boys have heaps of clothes.  Like a crazy amount.  The have wardrobes bursting at the doors and draws that really don't like closing or opening.  It does make it difficult for blogging about their clothes though.  So.. Today, I'm not sharing new styles or clothes with you.  I'm just sharing how we're mixing them up.  And I happen to think the boys still look pretty awesome!

Mini Rodini, Metsola, Moromini, Zara, Hatley, George at Asda, Kids Fashion, Boys Fashion

Mini Rodini, Metsola, Moromini, Zara, Hatley, George at Asda, Kids Fashion, Boys Fashion

Mini Rodini, Metsola, Moromini, Zara, Hatley, George at Asda, Kids Fashion, Boys Fashion

Ethan Wears:

Stripy Coat - Hatley
Skeleton print leggings - George @ Asda

Felix Wears:

Stripy Coat - Mini Rodini
Raindrop top - Metsola
Trousers - Moromini at Funky Little People
Trainers - Zara

What do you think.  Have they still got it?

Linking up today with Hannah for Funky Kid Friday.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

How To Find The Perfect Jeans

Blue jeans are a staple item and once we find the perfect pair, we tend to wear them with great frequency. But how do we locate the perfect jeans in the first place? While you can use Kohl's promos from couponing sites as to save money on your denim purchases, you can also follow these helpful tips and pointers for finding the best pair to choose. Read on to learn more!

1. Don't Worry About The Label

When you're trying to find the right pair of jeans, there is a tendency to focus on the size that is displayed on the label, as opposed to the way that they fit. It is important to remember that there is no universal sizing to be found and one brand's idea of a 10 could be another brand's version of a 12. Once you've found a pair that you like, take multiple sizes with you to the dressing room, so that you can eliminate all doubt.

2. Know The Risks of Distressed Denim

Distressed denim is trendy right now, but as most women know, not every trend is for you specifically. Before buying a pair of distressed denim jeans, be sure to evaluate your level of comfort when it comes to the way that they fit. For instance, if it showcases too much thigh it can cause a person to become self-conscious and that's not something you want. Any area of the jeans that are distressed shine a flashing light on that part of your body, so be forewarned.

3. Mum Jeans? More Useful Than You Think

While mum jeans have got a bad rap in certain circles, more and more women are wearing them, as they have become somewhat trendy. Since they are able to fit a wide range of shapes and sizes, women are learning to prize their versatility. What's more, mum jeans are high rising and roomier in the seat, so they are able to easily fit a number of different body types.

4. Steer Clear of Teenybopper Jeans

Mum jeans might be back in style, but that does not mean that your daughter's jeans are. Bear in mind that what adolescents find to be stylish might not necessarily be appropriate for an adult. Wearing jeans that are meant for younger people does not provide you with a more youthful look. In reality, they might only make you look like a much older person who is desperately trying to fit in. Don't follow others blindly and find your own style that will suit you personally!

5. Pick The Right Shoes

You can pair your jeans with some Keds or some cross training shoes when your aim is maximum comfort. If you opt to wear trainers, keep the rest of your outfit polished, so that you can still look your best. There are plenty of options nowadays so if you want to be unconventional and wear heels it might work too! And if your aim is to show off your footwear, a pair of ankle grazing jeans will definitely do the trick.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Handmade kids leather shoes - What's new with Belle & The Bear

When Felix was a baby I got heavily into handmade leather moccasins.  I loved finding new small brands mostly run by WAHMs who were putting their hearts and souls into these gorgeous little shoes. There's something about baby shoes, isn't there.  I especially loved buying ones that I wouldn't mind saving.

As Felix got older, he continued to wear leather moccasins, often as his main shoes. Even out and about.  Whilst they don't have a hard sole they are very heard wearing shoes and research has shown it's good for developing feet to be as free from constraints as possible.  It's better for their development.  Obviously I wouldn't let him walk around in them if there was any danger on the pavement from glass or similar, but for most situations, they were perfect for him! I found them invaluable at playgroup. They were perfect for running around the hall but were soft enough I didn't have to worry about him crushing a baby's arm as he absentmindedly played with the toy cars.

Felix is three now and most people who make these beautiful shoes don't go up to his size.  This is quite a source of upset for me.  I loved those shoes.  And I think even though they wouldn't be right for him to wear outside of the house nowadays, they would make the perfect slippers.  I have all of his old pairs and I treasure them.

I am aware though that all these lovely shoe makers are still out there and there are still heaps of you who would love to buy their wears.  As such, I thought today I would feature one of my favorite online stores, Belle & The Bear,  Belle & The Bear are US based but their moccasins still come in at around the same price as UK ones, postage included.  I do try to buy from the UK where I can but I'm not apposed to not doing so.  It's still, in this case, supporting a small parent run business!

Belle & The Bear have a few new styles so I thought I'd feature them today.  First up is the retro & reminiscent of our own childhood days T Bar Strap shoes:

Handmade Leather Moccasins Shoes Kids Shoes

Handmade Leather Moccasins Shoes Kids Shoes

I love them in the gunmetal, makes them a little more modern.  I know Felix would love these if they came in his size because he's got a pair of what he calls "school shoes" which are T-Bar and he chooses them more than any others at the moment! These are available in other colours too including a gorgeous yellow.  These shoes are $44.

Second up are these beautiful boots:

Handmade Leather Moccasins Shoes Kids Shoes

I don't think even I could quite get away with these on Felix.  And to be honest, I don't think he's much of a bow fan.  But I do think they are beautiful.  They look soft, easy to pull on but look like they'd have good staying power on little feet,  Always a plus!  These come in at $55.

It's fair to say that these shoes aren't cheap.  But having bought from Belle & The Bear in the past I can confirm they are fantastic quality,  The leather is great quality.  The attention to detail and quality of the work is without fault.  They last.  They would last more than one child too.  I love them.

Linking up today with lovely Hannah for Funky Kid Friday.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Duns it right (again)

If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know that I love Scandi kids clothes.  In fact, my love of Scandi brands is one of the reasons I started the blog!  Back then it was Katvig, Molo, Plastisock and a few others.  I still love those, but I have to say that season upon season, Duns are my go to favorite for an appropriate print.

Duns are always eye catching.  And unisex.  Something I love.  I have two boys but I love that they can share their clothes regardless and they can be passed on to boys and girls alike.  Like all the other brands, Duns bring out a S/S range and A/W range.  For me, the best A/W print out there goes to them.  What says September/Autumn to you?  Autumnal colours, that's for sure.. leaves?  But how about the conker?  Everyone loves conkers! Amusing to find, fun to collect, a favorite toy throughout the generations.  I was ecstatic to see the conker print Duns created.  It's so bold and gorgeous.  

Duns Radish Conker Autumn Winter 2016 Scandi Kids Clothes

Duns Radish Conker Autumn Winter 2016 Scandi Kids Clothes

Duns Radish Conker Autumn Winter 2016 Scandi Kids Clothes

I bought Felix a long sleeved top from Funky Little People and myself the age 12 top (which fits perfectly, maybe even a smidge too big).  You know I love a bit of twinning.  They look brilliant.  Felix has worn his every few days.  As always it's washing brilliantly.  Anna from Funky Little People also stocks this print in a single bedding set and I can't tell you how much I want it.  I am truly in love.

Duns Radish Conker Autumn Winter 2016 Scandi Kids Clothes

Well DUNS! ;-)

Linking up with my lovely buddy Hannah for Funky Kid Friday

Friday, 16 September 2016

Papu - clothes for Mama and Child!

The twinning thing... sometimes it's a bit cheesy.. but I have to admit I do like being a bit matchy with my boys at times.  Why?  Well, let's face it, they are unlikely to want to wear anything like what their Mama wears for very long, are they!  I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that I quite like kids clothes myself. As an adult, I've always worn children's clothing,  Hopefully not in a "to look like a child" kind of way.  No.  What I mean is I'm a shorty. and often I've found that clothing made for a 12/13 year old girl often fits me just fine.  And it can save money too.  A lot of what is made for women is also made for teen girls and if I can buy a pair of leggings that fit me better and cost less, why not?  I think if you shop carefully there's no need for you to look like you're 13!

Still, what I like even better is when a clothing brand caters for adults as well as the kids.  This seems to be happening more and more these days, especially with Scandinavian clothing brands, which I love anyway.  Brands like Duns/More Than A Fling, Moromin & Danefae sell clothing for women.  Some different to their kids stuff but a lot of it just adult sized versions of the same stuff.  

A brand I find do an amazing job of it though, are Papu.  Papu are relatively new to the UK market. In fact, they are relatively new in general.   A Finnish brand, they describe themselves thus:

"Papu is about graphic unisex prints, certified organic cotton, flexible sizes and brave design.

The foundation for Papu is collaboration, transparency, sustainability and good spirit. Papu product design is based on high-quality, ecological materials and durability. The combination sizes grow with the children and the products have adjustable features. Papu clothing is produced in Europe and have OEKO-Tex Standard 100 certificate."

I must admit that it is important to me to buy sustainable OEKO-Tex standard clothes where I can.  Or if I can't I try to buy second hand.  I don't like to think of others suffering for the cloth on my back.  
How to look like a twit despite a cool dress
What of the clothes themselves then?  Well, the prints are bold.  There's a wonderful selection to choose from from their SS16 collection.  They are the kind of clothes that will look wonderful for a long time, both quality and style wise.  Myself and the boys have a selection of their clothes and I can reassure you that they wash excellently.  They haven't bobbled up or faded.  The boys and I all have matching leggings.  The boys have several tops and I have 3 dresses and two hats.  The hats are just adorable.  The dresses wash wonderfully.  I would say the sizing is generous.  I have small or extra small and they aren't clingy.  I can honestly say they are some of the most comfortable dresses I own and when I wear them friends always comment on them.  The patterns aren't totally outlandish but they do get you noticed.  In a good way! One of the dresses I have is plain black but has really statement sleeves.  I love details like that on clothing.  Not in your face but still a little 

Personally, I find the leggings we all have very flattering! Ethan loves the hooded top he has.  It's snug and whilst mostly black, it has patterned material on the inside of the hood and a cute button detail.

Ethan sporting his cool Papu hoody

Ethan wearing a Papu vest

The AW16 collection is avaible now and there are a few UK stockists to choose from including Yellow Lolly and Scandi Mini

Gorgeousness for women from Papu

**linking up with my old blogging buddy Hannah at Make Do & Push for Funky Kid Friday which will probably surprise her!**

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Seasons change, times change, we change...

Hello blog.  You're still here!  Is anyone else?  According to stats people are still visiting this site every day.  How funny.  I last blogged in March.  Very early March.  And even before then my posts were sporadic.  So.  Why is that?  Where have I been?  What's been going on?  Does anyone care?

The truth is.. life.  Life has been going on.  2016 has been one of the most, if not THE most difficult years of my life thus far.  I won't and can't go into great detail on here I'm afraid.  It just isn't appropriate.  It's one of the reasons I've not been able to blog.  Not that I've felt much like it.  But the things that have been going on in my life have just taken over.  It wouldn't be right to write about them, at least not here.

I am hoping now that these issues will be taking a back seat and that life as I knew it will be returning to some sense of normality.  However, that's not really possible either.. because it's September, isn't it.  That well known month of change.  So many parts of my life have changed in the last week that I feel I no longer know who I am, where I fit in my world, what I do, when I do it etc.  Ethan has moved schools.  We moved house last September (almost a year ago!) and we realised that one of the other local schools was closer to our new house.  This school is a bit more outdoorsy which we feel  will suit Felix better when he starts school. Which is only a year away!  So.  Ethan has moved schools and is now in the juniors section (I can't believe I have a junior school child!).  Felix meanwhile has started at preschool.  Another change.  Even at his gymnastics class things have changed, he's now in the preschool class which means I have to leave him there.  All on his own!  My little baby.  Except he's not a little baby anymore, is he?  He's 3.  A preschooler.  Becoming independent.  And I'm watching from the sidelines, reeling from all the changes.  New schools, new uniforms, new teachers, new timings, new routines, new friends, new ways of doing things.

I now have more time to myself.. and as yet, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with it.  I was thinking back yesterday, to when Ethan had just started at preschool.  When he started I would go to an exercise class after dropping him off and then go home, do some housework and blog.  That was about all I ever did bar meeting a friend for coffee sometimes, or popping into Bristol to do some shopping.  But shortly after he started at preschool I became pregnant with Felix and that meant that for almost the entire duration of his time at preschool, I was pregnant.  That was my real focus.  I found pregnancy with Felix pretty hard going and so was very glad of time alone to either blog or, let's face it, eat chocolate and sleep.  This time around I am not pregnant and I'm certainly not planning to be.  So I have to figure out what I'm doing.

I am a full time stay at home Mum.  It's pretty much all I know.  I last worked in May 2009.  Over 7 years unemployed.  Staying at home.  Looking after the house and children.  That has been my focus.  Being a Mum to my boys isn't a job that is going to end but it is a job that will change and it's currently going through a  huge change.  My boys need me a little less.  They are with me a lot less.  I now need to figure out who I am again and what on earth I do.  What defines me?  What do I like doing?  Am I going to work?  What work would I like to do?  What can I do realistically?  You see.. that's the thing.  I can't just go jumping into any old job.  For one thing, I have the chance right now to take stock.  My last job was unrewarding.  Badly paid.  Inflexible.  Boring.  Anything I do now has to work around the boys.  Yes, I have 15 hours a week when Felix is in preschool but that's from 8:30 - 1:30.  Ethan needs picking up at 3:20.  I still need to be available for them and I don't have the kind of childcare available to me to cover longer hours.  I would need something that's term time.   We all know how hard those gems are to come by.  No.  Right now is not the time to be taking any job that presents itself.  It's a time to think, evaluate.  At the moment we are used to managing on the money we currently have coming in.  It's the easiest time for me to take time to figure out what to do whilst we are used to managing on this income.  It's the best time to start my own business.  Choose a new direction.  Study.

Right now I feel almost frozen by choices.  I think I need a plan.  A simple plan to get me through the next few weeks, something that will allow me time to think but also feel like I'm not wasting time.  Like most Mums I often fall into the trap of feeling guilty for having free time.  As a Mum, or a parent, I should always be on the go, right?  Always with purpose.

So.  This plan then.  Something simple.  An exercise class one day.  Blogging (seeing if I can and want to get back into it!! And if anyone will read!).  Admin.  Going for a run.  Playing the piano.  Catching up with people.  Exploring business ideas.  Walking.  Yoga.

I'll take it from there.  Then hopefully, this time next year, when I am facing the fact I'll have two school children, I'll know exactly what I'm doing with myself when they are off making the world theirs.  I need to be an inspiration to them.  More than Mummy.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Wildlife Week at Wyevale Garden Centres Review

Half term - remember that?  Passed in a blink of an eye, didn't it!  Just shortly before half term, I was contacted on behalf of Wyevale Garden Centres to ask if the boys and I would like to take part in one of their children's holiday activities. Of course, I said yes... anything to keep us busy during  the hell wonder of school holidays!

Wyevale have several garden centres across the country and they run activities during school holidays to help us parents survive without a gin drip keep our sprogs entertained.  Our local centre is Cadbury nestled between Congresbury and Yatton (or outside of Bristol if you're not as yocal as us).  It's always been a good place to visit with children in tow.  It's large so they love to run around and get lost among the plants.  Or play house in all the summer houses and sheds.  They also have a Costa to keep you caffeined up and a cafe offering tasty yumminess.  There's a handy little soft play too.

We attended a Wildlife Week session entitled "Pollination Station".  Set up in the middle of the garden centre, we and a small group of children were given plant pots to decorate.  There was a lovely selection of craft materials, some lovely pens including glitter gel pens (who doesn't love those?  Like glitter but less messy!) and cute animal themed stickers.  The boys had a lovely time sticking stickers all over their pots and getting a bit glittered up.

Wyevale Garden Centre Cadbury Congresbury Yatton Pollination Station Wildlife Week

Once the pots were decorated, they were filled with soil by one of the centres helpful staff members (they were great - very patient with my dear Felix).  Once the pots were full, the children got to sprinkle on some seeds.  They were also able to decorate a sweet label to be stuck into the soil.

Wyevale Garden Centre Cadbury Congresbury Yatton Pollination Station Wildlife Week

We are now waiting for our seeds to sprout and the boys are very excited about what will grow.  Currently Grandma is looking after our pots.  She is the green-fingered one in the family and we look forward to seeing what grows in the coming weeks!  The seed mix includes flowers that insects and bees love, hence the title "Pollination Station".  We've all heard how our bee population is suffering so activities like this are great.  Good to give nature a little helping hand!

The session lasted about 15-20 minutes and the cost was £2.50 per child to cover the costs of the materials etc.  I think the length of the session was good.  Especially for a child like Felix.  Towards the end of 15 minutes he was itching to get away..  Ethan could probably have stayed drawing on his pot and doing some colouring for a lot longer, but he is six, not two!  Bearing in mind we've come away with two sweet pots and (in time) some flowers for the bees to enjoy, I think it was good value for money.

Wyevale Garden Centre Cadbury Congresbury Yatton Pollination Station Wildlife Week

To inject a bit of real life into my review, I would like to share with you the reality of doing an activity like this with a child like Felix.  The fact is that after a short period of time, he will get restless and run off...  Thank goodness I am able to leave Ethan whilst I chase Felix.  Felix being Felix, he managed to escape at speed.  When I finally caught up with him I found him wielding a hammer in one hand and a pen knife in the other.  Don't ask.  After our activity we went to the cafe where he proceeded to climb onto someone else's table whilst they had gone to get some cutlery.  Before I could grab him he had pinched their fruit scone and was making quite a messy dent in it.  Embarrassing doesn't cut it.  Let's also not forget when we visited the loos and he posted his glove into a sanitary bin.  So. Much. Fun.

Did we enjoy the activity?  Yes.  Would we do it again?  Yes.  Should I ever have another child? No. NO NO NO.

Thank you very much Wyevale. Hope you've manged to clear up after Felix's visit!

Funky Kid Friday

Hey Hey Hey!  Welcome to another Funky Kid Friday, a kids fashion linky hosted by myself and the rather awesome Hannah of Make, Do and Push.

Last week, as always, there were some fantastic link ups.  I really love the adorable Zara dungarees shared by Baby Sausages.  Adorable!

Now, back to this week!  If you have a kids fashion post you'd like to link up, please do so below!  Don't forget to tweet us your link so we can retweet for you!

Here are our guidelines:

- Link up your kids fashion post/s below
- Comment on the hosts and at least one other post
- Display our badge (see sidebar)
- Tag us on Twitter - I'm @medicatedfollow and Hannah is @mamamakedopush. We will retweet your posts. Don't forget to use the tags #funkykidfriday and #FKF as well!
- The linky opens on Fridays and is live until the following Monday.

Happy Friday everyone! X