Thursday, 27 September 2012

Boys & Girls hoody giveaway

Roll up, roll up! It's giveaway time again!  I'm going to be away next week (Centerparcs, here we come!).  I'm not going to blog whilst we're away.  I will no doubt Instagram (@MedicatedFollow) but I'm going to take a break from the blog.  So.. to make sure there is something exciting for people to do/read when the visit whilst I'm away, I thought I'd hold a giveaway!

I have recently placed my first ever advert on my blog.  This is quite a big deal for me.  I've never used adsense.  I only want adverts that are completely relevant to me and my readers.  As page views and follower numbers have risen lately (yay! thank you!) I decided it was time to think about a few adds.  After all, my blog takes up a great deal of time.  I love doing it, but we're finding money getting tighter and tighter all the time being a one income household, so if I can, I'd love to bring in some extra dosh.  I love my blog, but it'd be nice to make a little money from something that takes hours each week.  So, I recently contacted a few companies, ones I use and love, asking if they would like to have an add placed on my blog.  One lovely company replied saying they would - Boys & Girls.  I love everything about Boys & Girls children's clothing.  They are all about unisex clothing, something I'm a big fan of.  They like bold statements and colours and aren't afraid to offer something a little different (for example, I've just got Ethan a poncho from them - where else can you get a poncho for a boy to wear?!).  Here's the exciting bit!  I have a gorgeous, fantastic quality (I know because I have it in my possession!) hoody from their new collection for a boy or girl age 3-4.  It's just gorgeous.  Any child would look fantastic in this!

Oatmeal Big Chevron Hoody (Image 1)
Image source: Boys&Girls

So - the giveaway.  It's easy peasy.  I've used rafflecopter, it's fairly straight forward.  Just follow what rafflecopter asks you to do.  The more parts you complete, the higher your chance of winning!  The giveaway will close on the 8th October and is only open to UK residence I'm afraid.

Good luck and spread the word - I'll see you when I'm back (refreshed) from our holiday!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Matalan Style Project - English Heritage

A few weeks ago I was checking my email when I stumbled across one from Matalan asking if I would like to take part in their September Style Project!  Would I?  Of course!! I was grinning from ear to ear.

Matalan provided me with £50 online voucher (I chose to shop online because it's easier for me).  The theme given was English Heritage which I must admit scared me a little at first.  This was the brief: "Inspired by the lady of the manor and country pursuits, Heritage explores tartans, checks, leather and hounds tooth, mixed with alpine knits in sumptuous shades like wine and bottle green"  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it!

Well, I had a good look at the Matalan website and quickly found there was a lot of choice! I decided I wanted something that looked like I could be strolling around my estate, but I didn't want to go down the wellies or boots route, I thought it a little too obvious, so I decided to go for a look which could be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. Shades like wine and bottle green were easy to pick - they are some of my favourites anyway! I knew I wanted one statement piece, and as shawls are really 'in' this season, their dogstooth/houndstooth check shawl seemed the obvious choice. After that, I knew that I would have to go down the skinny jeans route because otherwise I'd look like a huge bag! I thought skinny cords would be perfect, a little more "country" than jeans, a little more sumptuous. I went for a teal pair. I know that's not bottle green, but it's in the neighbourhood!

Next, I needed something to wear under the shawl. It had to be something long sleeved to balance the look, but also nothing to "in your face" so I decided to keep it simple with a black long sleeved crew neck.

When I was browsing the Matalan website I stumbled across a skinny horse belt which I felt just screamed "lady of the manor" and country pursuits. I knew it had to become part of my ensemble!

To make this a smart look, I plumped for a pair of wine coloured block heeled ballet shoes - this heel type is all the rage this season, so I thought it an appropriate way to update a heritage inspired look. For example, I've just been out in my wellies walking the hounds, but I'm off out for lunch now, so I've slipped on my heels!! Haha...

I accessorised with a wine coloured satchel. When are satchels not in? Every lady of the manor needs a bag to keep dog treats in....

I was super excited when my package arrived - it was the moment of truth!! That's the trouble with compiling an outfit online (Matalan do have an "online dressing room" but unfortunately the items I wanted weren't available to "try on" there). All in all, I was very happy with the results. I would have loved to add some jewellery but I had to stick to my £50 budget and obviously for this competition we were only allowed to feature items from Matalan!

Well, the style challenge is now live and I am up against 3 other fantastic bloggers. I must say I'm hugely impressed with the looks they've chosen and it's nice to see we all look different! If you would like to vote for me (beg beg) then you can do so over here. I will be so so grateful if you can spare a moment to vote for me. It would be wonderful to win. I must admit I put a huge amount of effort into this challenge, even creating a peacock inspired eye make up look for my photos (not that you can tell that on the Matalan page of course, lol but I thought I would show it off here!). Of course, Peacocks are what I would have mooching around my mansion.. I enjoy being woken by their mournful sounds.

You wouldn't argue with this gorgeous Peacock, would you! Attitude!

Thank you so much for reading and again, if you vote for me, it will mean such a lot!!

Lately I've noticed my number of followers (now 65) climbing up which is wonderful. I feel I would like to say thank you to those who follow me, it does mean a lot. I've decided that when I read 100 followers I'm going to give away a gorgeous piece of Stella & Dot jewellery!

This post will be linked up with Transatlantic Blonde, Rae Gun Ramblings and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

Trendy Toddler Tuesday - Spiderman, Wellies, t-shirts & skinny jeans

I've been buying a few additions for Ethan's wardrobe lately - ha! like he needs it!  Well, actually, he did need some new wellies.  You probably already know I buy ahead.  Ethan is currently in size 7 wellies, but I had bought size 9 and 10 wellies when I'd seen some on sale.  For some reason though, I'd failed to get a pair of size 8 which he should hopefully move into soon!  I was at a garden centre recently and spotted a gorgeous pair of Joules boys wellies with moustaches on them.  They were amazing, but unfortunately they were far too big.  I decided to track some down online and finally found a pair in size 8 on a site I hadn't used before, Welly Warehouse.  They stock loads of cool welly brands.  I'm salivating over their ladies selection (I could do with a new pair myself!) so I think I'll be visiting them again soon!

The other items I bought for Ethan recently were some Threadless t shirts.  If you are in America, you probably know all about Threadless.  You may well know about them if you live in the UK.  They are quite well known these days.  I love Threadless, they seriously have the best choice of cool t shirts ever.  Most of my "picture" tees are Threadless ones.  Ethan had a few of their tees and onesies when he was younger.  I decided to get him a couple of tees to grow into.  They are so awesome and I can almost guarantee that no other children in Clevedon will be rocking them!

I popped into Asda this week and they had these gorgeous fleece spiderman onesie pjs, so I decided to get some for Ethan, I thought they could double as dress up.  They are so warm and soft.  To be honest, I want my own.  In fact, the guy at the checkout said the same to me when he scanned them, "If only they had these in adult sizes!".  Of course, I know Primark do adult onesies.  Perhaps I'll have to invest in a pair.  It's the loo problem that puts me off though...

I also got Ethan a pair of Asda skinny jeans in a burnt orange colour.  He doesn't need more, but I love having a variety of colours for him to wear on his bottom half.  I'm always really impressed with the quality of Asda children's jeans.  For £5 they are perfect.

Shirt - H&M
Jeans - Asda
Stripe Wellies - bought in France
Moustache wellies - Joules via Welly Warehouse
Tees - Threadless
Purple owl long sleeved top -

What have your little trendies been rocking this week?  Join in and link up!

Here's the boring bit:

1) Please, please link to my blog in your blog post and display the badge (available to the side).
2) Tweet me @MedicatedFollow so I can share your link!
3) Please visit as many of the other links as possible so we all enjoy the benefits of joining in!
4) Tell blogger friends who you think might be interested in joining in - we need to grow this linky!

Thank you all for joining in, it means the world!  XX

***I have not been compensated for this post or recieved anything for review purposes, all views expressed are my own and I have written about these brands because I wanted to***

Monday, 24 September 2012

I'm like a bird..

I don't know about you, but I have to have a few go-to "comfy" outfits.  They are usually leggings, chunky socks and a baggy jumper or skirt.  I don't do "lounging around in tracksuits".  I want to be comfy, but I also want to look nice.  After all, with all the deliveries we get at our house (Royal Mail know us very well...) it's more than likely I will have to open the door and I don't want to scare off the delivery person!  Ethan does that for me by appearing at the door butt naked..

I digress... Comfortable outfits are essential, especially for a Mum, but they don't have to look slobby.  A few weeks ago in TKMaxx I found a new addition to my "comfort" section of my wardrobe.  A beautiful angora mix jumper dress that is absolute heaven to touch and wonderful to wear.  Even better, it has swallows printed all over it!! It's so flowy and light, I feel like a bird when I wear it!

Although it's baggy and slouchy, I feel it's still quite flattering.  Very important when you have large breasts I think because otherwise baggy tops and dresses can make you look a bit sack-like.  I have worn this dress with a waist belt, but mostly I like it just as it is.  It hangs beautifully.

What do you think?

Do you have "comfort clothes" or do you stick with baggy bottoms and a t shirt?

Linking up today with Patti for Visible Monday!

Thanks for reading, oh, and before I forget, if you have any trendy children in your life and want to show them off, I hold a weekly linky on Tuesdays called Trendy Toddler Tuesday.  It's not just for babies and toddlers, all you have to do is compose a blog post with some photos of your children and then link up over on my blog and you may get some new followers!  I'm always looking for people to join in, it's a great linky but needs some love.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Wonderful weekend

We have just had the loveliest weekend.  One day of gorgeous weather, the other a total wash out, but both days have been lovely, just lovely.

Saturday started slowly, I needed a lie in to get over my insomnia ridden Thursday night.  Pete woke me up at about 9:30 am with a herbal tea and a freshly made bacon and brown sauce sarnie. Mmmmm.  I opened up the curtains and the sun was shining down.  Ahhhh!  Now, that's got to be the best way to wake up?!

As it was so beautiful outside, we decided to pick up some picnic provisions and head to one of our favourite National Trust properties, Stourhead.  We've been there so many times, but it's so beautiful and there's so much walking to be done there, we always find something new.  I could never get bored of the fantastic views there.  We got going slowly, so by the time we arrived and had eaten our picnic (by the side of the car!) many people were setting off home.  It was actually quite nice, it was quieter and we felt very relaxed, everyone else was rushing home and we were taking our time.  That's one of the benefits of Ethan being a bit older now and quite often not falling asleep until 9pm.  As he'd slept in the car on the way to Stourhead we felt we had no need to rush home.

We had a lovely stroll around, it was a delight walking with Ethan, he pootled around pretending to vacuum the ground with sticks, as he does!  A couple were getting married there and were having their photos taken so we spied on them from a distance.  What a place to get married, their wedding photos will be beautiful.  I must admit to feeling quite emotional and wistful, seeing them on their wedding day.  It brings back memories, even though our wedding was quite different!

After our walk, we bought Ethan an ice cream and then made the decision to stop at a country pub for supper on our way home.  So nice to make spur of the moment decisions sometimes!

We weren't sure which pub we would stop at, our route to and from Stourhead takes us past quite a few pubs as it's cross country.  In the end, it was Ethan needing the loo that led to us stopping where we did, and we couldn't have been happier.  We ended up at a pub/restaurant called The Mendip Inn and we were SO impressed. The decor was gorgeous, there was a warming log fire (we chose a table right next to it) and the staff were lovely, just the right level of attentiveness without being annoying.  The menu wasn't cheap, but it was sooooo worth it.  Pete and I both chose lasagne and we both agreed it was the best lasagne we'd ever tasted!  Home made pasta, you could tell the meat was great quality and the sauce home made.  Lovely, just lovely.  Ethan chose fish and chips and we were impressed with his as well.  It was from the child's menu but though it was £5 it was a very decent sized portion, two pieces of battered fish (home made batter, no bones found in the fish at all) home made chunky chips and a huge amount of peas.  Ethan ate almost all of it!  They also had the most fantastic range of soft drinks from Orchard Pig - I had pink grapefruit and mint and it was the most morish refreshing drink I've tasted in a long time!

When we left the pub, the sun was setting.  Ethan found that thrilling!! Being out whilst the sun sets!!  The rest of our drive home was fun, we were singing along to songs and enjoying chasing the sunset.  We didn't get home until just before 9pm but Ethan went to bed happily.  It really was one of our happiest family days.

On Sunday we woke to find a very wet day, but we were determined to do something, so headed to Puxton Park, a local farm park we have membership at.  Ethan loves it there.  They have a huge soft play area, but best of all, they have owls!! At weekends they have an "owl encounter" where you can have a go at holding owls.  Ethan and I had done it before but couldn't wait to do it again!  So much fun.  The owls are just beautiful and awe inspiring.  I'm so proud of Ethan, he has no fear when it comes to animals!

After Puxton we headed over to Pete's parent's house for a lovely home made beef pie.  Yummy yummy!!

What a lovely weekend!  I hope you don't mind all the writing today, but it was such a lovely weekend, I wanted to get it down!  I thought I'd share photos of all us so you can see what we all wore over the weekend!!

Did you have a lovely weekend?  Do anything special?

My outfits:


Green cord skinnies - Matalan
Cardi - Asda
Stripy t shirt - Primark


Light brown skinny cords - New Look
Jumper - New Look
Socks - New Look
Pac-a-mac - Cath Kidston

I'm linking up with Sunday Style and Watch What I'm Wearing.

If you've managed to read this far down, well done! I have one more thing I want to mention.  I run a weekly linky called Trendy Toddler Tuesday where I show off Ethan's outfits and encourage others to link up with that their babies/toddlers/children have been wearing.  I'm trying to grow this linky, at the moment only about 6 people join in each week.  If you have trendy children and want to show them off, please consider linking up with me on Tuesdays!  Thank you!!

Firmoo Sunglasses

A little while ago I stumbled across an on line glasses retailer, Firmoo.  I was having a good nose around their site and was incredibly impressed by the variety of frames they stock, but also the prices! Just as I was getting excited, I then noticed that they offer free glasses for Bloggers!  Whoop whoop!  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.  In return for free glasses or sunglasses, Firmoo ask that us bloggers write about them and the frames in our blogs, but that's only fair!

Now, I have to say, from the first step to the last, I've been impressed by Firmoo.  Their website is easy to use and good to navigate, they group frames together in a very useful way, so you can shop by looking at styles or types of frames you like instead of having to sift through everything.  They also stock a large amount of frames which are unisex.

After a good look around, I decided I wanted to choose a pair of prescription sunglasses as my current pair were nearly 6 years old and looking a little dated.  Firmoo stock a few pair of frames which are specifically sunglasses, so at first, I chose one of them.  Very quickly, Firmoo got in touch with me to tell me that my prescription was too strong and wouldn't work in those types of frames, but that I could have a sunglasses tint in any other frame of my choice.  Fine with me!  I was happy just because they got back to me so quickly, very reassuring!  I had a good look at the rest of their frames and in the end decided to choose a very different type of frame than those I normally go for.

After I placed my order, I received confirmation very quickly and within a couple of weeks, if not less, my frames were with me!  Again, I was impressed, they were packaged well inside a hard case, but also came with a soft case (handy for bags so they don't take up much room but save from scratches).  What I was most impressed with though, was that along with the frames and cases came a tiny screw driver and two spare screws with which to repair my frames should one or both of the screws come out and get loose.  No where I have EVER bought from has ever included something as useful as this.  I thought it was a fantastic edition!  I've popped the repair kit in my handbag.  Very reassuring, especially for someone like me.  I rely on my glasses, I can't see without them at all.

I'm happy with the frames, they are good quality.  I didn't go for a pricey frame, they would've been $8 if I'd paid.  The arms aren't on hinges/don't spring back, but for that price, I wouldn't expect that.  They are perfect for my needs, a spare pair of prescription sunglasses I can keep handy, but are also trendy!

Because they are so different to my normal style, I'm still getting used to them.  What do you think?  Do they look ok?  I'm sorry my photos are so dreadful, I've not had the weather to wear them out in yet!

It has to be said that Firmoo offer good quality frames at excellent prices.  You could buy a whole load of different styles for the price of one pair elsewhere!  Firmoo don't just offer free glasses to bloggers, they also offer them to first time customers, so if you need a pair of glasses, why not go for Firmoo?  The only difference is that if you are not a blogger you will need to pay postage.  Still a bargain though! They even have a "virtual try-on" feature so you can "try" before you buy!

Firmoo have a facebook page which you can find here.

***I would like to reassure you that whilst I was sent this pair of sunglasses for no cost, all words used and opinions expressed are my own***

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Easing the transition into school with the help of books

Ethan, like many children, was starting preschool for the first time this September.  In the run up to him starting, I wanted to make sure he knew what was going to happen, that it was normal, fun and exciting.  I wanted him to know it was normal to be worried and scared about going, but that it would be an enjoyable experience   It was hard to get the balance right between informing him about what would be happening and going overboard and giving him more concerns!

Harper Collins very kindly sent us some books to review in August.  They couldn't have been on a better subject; starting school!  Now, I know Ethan wasn't starting "proper" school, just preschool, but as he'd never spent time away from me in a "learning" environment (even if it's learning through play) before, I knew that books on this subject would be helpful.  I honestly believe the two books we were sent helped ease his (and my!) concerns and made school something to look forward to!

So, what were we sent?  Well, we were sent a copy of "Come to School Too Blue Kangaroo!" by Emma Chichester Clark and "Foxy" by Emma Dodd.  Seems to me ladies called Emma are good at writing about starting school... sorry, lame!

First up, Come to School Too Blue Kangaroo!  This book was written by Emma Chichester Clark and is part of a series of books featuring Lily and her Blue Kangaroo.  Ethan and I hadn't read any of these, but we have read the Melrose & Croc books she wrote.  We borrowed all of them from the library and Ethan was smitten by them for a long time.  Such sweet books.

This book captured Ethan's attention straight away.  When I read this to him, he goes quiet and doesn't fidget, a sure sign he's looking and listening.  He loved the idea of a toy kangaroo who can think and gets up to all sorts of things.  What a lovely way to capture a child's imagination, it's just what they like to believe (to be honest, I still like to believe that.  Toy Story is real, right?!).

The story is simple. Lily is due to start school and wants Blue Kangaroo to come with her.  She believes Blue Kangaroo is worried about going, but in actuality, he can't wait!  It's lovely, it's a subtle way at hinting that actually, Lily is the one who is worried, just like most children are at the thought of such a big change.  For the reader, or the child being read to, it's wonderful because they can hear what Blue Kangaroo is thinking, which is of course that he is excited and looking forward to trying out all the new experiences school has to offer.  I won't spoil the story, but suffice to say Lily and Blue Kangaroo get on fine and adjust very nicely to school life.  Lovely.

The illustrations are gorgeous.  This book is enchanting and has me in a spell.  I often pick it out to read to Ethan at bedtime, it's just lovely.

Secondly, Foxy by Emma Dodd.  Foxy is a very unique fox with a large magical tail from which he produce anything he wants.  Although he's a magical fox, he often gets his magic a bit wrong with amusing consequences 

This book is a little more "out there" but the sentiment is the same.  Though school is new and scary, it is normal and fun too.  Emily is a little girl trying to sleep on the night before school starts.  Foxy appears at her window and helps her to get everything she needs ready for school.

This story isn't too wordy, so is quite good for the 3-4 age group, especially if you have one with a short attention span (Ethan likes longer books his favourites being The Lorax & The Cat in the Hat so we don't usually have that issue).  It's a little bit wacky, but it's still a sweet story.  I do find it a little confusing to read and often have to add things myself so I can be sure Ethan understands what is going on, but it's still a book we both enjoy and Ethan often chooses it.

The illustrations are very bold, very current.  Lots of eye catching bright colours.

The message is reassuring.  Emily is concerned that no one at her school will likely, but Foxy reassures her that she doesn't need magic to help her with that, everyone will like her.  A sweet message!

If I had to pick between the two, Blue Kangaroo would be my favourite, but they are both lovely books that we continue to read and I'm sure will become very useful next August in the run up to "big school".

***These books were sent to us by Harper Collins but all views are completely my own***

Stylin' out my charity threads..

A few of you who popped by on Monday saw the two dresses I bought from a charity shop at the weekend.  Well, I've worn both of them now and I'm so pleased with them!  They've been comfy and look lovely, I think!  What do you think?

I wore the ASOS dress with turquoise tights and wine coloured crochet tights over the top.  I felt lovely in this dress.  The top half is such a statement, but the lower half is flows and is so soft and comfy.  As you can see I teamed it with some statement jewellery.. For a change! Haha...

Dress - ASOS  (via charity shop)
Tights - both pairs New Look
Cardi - Room 31
Heeled ballets - Matalan
Necklace - vintage via my Mum
Bracelets - New Look
Earrings - eBay

My little cardi from Room 31 came out again with this dress.. This is where I think cropped cardi's really come into their own, they go so well with dresses and are very handy in Autumn!  I kept the colour pallet very simple, orange and russet colours. Very Autumn again!

Dress - Monsoon (via charity shop)
Tights - New Look
Cardi - Room 31
Boots - CAT
Bag - Marc Jacobs

I took my second lot of photos in the garden on Tuesday, and it struck me how the seasons are now changing... the light has changed, the smell in the air.  I love Autumn!  I always feel a little sad for the garden though..  Soon it will be stripped bare.  I do love our garden!

Do you have a garden in your life?  We're not great gardeners, we don't do much, just keep it neat and tidy. Pete designed our garden and brought it to life.  He did a fantastic job I feel.  It's like a cottage garden, full of little surprises!

Linking up today with Transatlantic Blonde & The Pleated Poppy.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Blazer back in action - Trendy Toddler Tuesday

Brrrr... Autumn is in the air and Ethan and have pulled our blazers out of our wardrobes!  Today's photos are from Sunday.  We didn't get up to much, just a very quiet day visiting family.  You can still look trendy even when nothing much is going on though!

I've featured this blazer and these jeans on here before, but they are favourites of ours and deserve another showing!

I had to include a photo of Ethan pulling his "sad" face!

Blazer & jeans - H&M
T Shirt - Store 21
Trainers - Convers

Striped jumper - £5.99
T Shirt - £3.99
Striped top - £1.99
Fleece - £5.99

All H&M

Last week I was really inspired by Emma from They Grow So Quick last week with her gorgeous bright H&M buys.  So inspired I had to order a few for Ethan.  I bought age 4-6 though because he has everything he needs at the moment, and I always buy ahead! All accept this cute fleece though, for £5.99 I thought it was brilliant value.  Ethan's rain coat is lovely, does the job, but it's quite thin.  This will be just the thing to keep him cosy underneath and is great for Autumn (and Spring) as well.  He wore it to Pre-School today and looked so cute.

***Edited to add***

As of today, I will be taking over the Trendy Toddler Linky.  Maria has given me her blessing to take it over as she is too busy at the moment. I want to give a massive shout out to her though, she is one of my closest blogging friends, I truly consider her a friend.  She is always here to give me a helping hand and advice.  She has been a great help to me.  I am honoured to take on this linky from her and I don't want it ever forgotten that Trendy Toddler Tuesday was Maria's creation.  I do hope that people will continue to join in with the linky.  Chances are, if you are a parent blogger, you know other parent bloggers who would like to show off their trendy offspring, so spread the word, blog about it, join in, tweet others etc.  It all helps!  Let's not let Trendy Toddler die off!!  So.  Trendy Toddler will continue to be held on a Tuesday, but it'll be over here on my blog.  All the usual rules will apply.  Link your blog post to mine, tweet your links so I can re-tweet them.  I'm in the process of designing a new badge which I would really appreciate people displaying if they take part.

Badge for TTT, Badge

Thank you all those taking part, it means a lot to me and Maria.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Magpie Monday - Holga camera!

Hey bargain buddies!

I've not joined in with the fantastic Magpie Monday for a few weeks, quite simply because I've not found anything worth splashing my pennies on in the charity shops!  This Saturday just gone, though, provided quite the haul!

I headed into town for a haircut on Saturday but had some time to spare.  As I was on my own, the charity shops were calling me.  The first one I stepped into had all of their board games priced at 75p so I bagged myself a rather ancient yet still whole set of Monopoly.  I'm afraid I haven't photographed this beaut, but it's quite an old edition!

Spurred on, I popped into a Clic Sargent charity shop and found myself two dresses, one from Asos and one from Monsoon.  I also found two gorgeous little hand knitted baby jumpers which I got for my friend who is due in January.  I'm not going to pop a photo of them on here, just in case she reads!  These four only set me back a tenner.

Last but not least I visited Mind, one of my favourites in Clevedon.  In here I found a beautiful, pretty much unworn Jules boys shirt for Ethan to grow into (£1.50) and a Holga camera!!  Just like most of us, I love Instagram and all the other apps which age our photos, but I thought it'd be fun to have a go with the real thing.  I had an old spare film hanging around at home, so I've already loaded it up and taken a few shots.  I must say, it was a real trip down memory lane putting film into a camera!! Also, it's so strange not being able to see your photo straight away!  Kind of nice though!  The camera was a fiver.  I've no idea if that's good or  not, but it seemed reasonable to me.  It's in excellent condition!  I'll let you know how the photos come out... assuming somewhere still develops film?!

If you want to check out what other bargain hunters have found recently, head over to Missie Lizzie's blog!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

"I'm looking for my husband! He's got my bra and knickers..."

Last Friday, hubby and I went for a spa day.  Ahhhhhh, I know, how idyllic does that sound?  Lovely.  And mostly, it was.... but just like Ethan will end up in the accident book 2 our of 3 days at pre-school, so will I end up in some awkward and embarrassing situation when I am supposed to be doing something relaxing/fun.

I have been known to wonder into men's changing rooms.  Let me explain.  I am very short sighted, and when I used to swim pre contact lenses, I had a very hard time telling apart men's and women's changing rooms unless I was very familiar with the layout.  There have been several red-faced occasions on which I have wondered into a changing room only to come face to face with a bevy of dangling dongs and overweight hairy men.  Not nice, especially when you are 12.

Still, of all of my changing room disasters, I think last Friday was the worst.  At least it was the most humiliating.

We had been lounging by the pool for a while, Pete reading whilst I dozed on and off.  Lovely.  We decided it was getting late, we wanted to fit in a coffee before dashing back to parenthood, so went our separate ways to get changed.  I happily mooched into the ladies changing rooms, took a shower, dried myself off with my complimentary towel and then meandered back to my locker to get out my clothes... all well and good.. except I soon realised my grave error.  In my attempt to be organised and save time, I wore my bikini under my clothes on our way to the spa.  On entering the changing rooms, I gave Pete our bag to keep in his locker because he hadn't worn his trunks (they were neatly folded away in said bag).  That bag also contained my bra and knickers.  All fine.  Except I bloody well forgot to get them off him!! I was stuck in the ladies changing room with clothes but no undies to go underneath them!  Now, I know many of you will be thinking, OK, that's annoying, but just get dressed without them!  No.. NO WAY.  You don't have 32F breasts, do you?  Nope, I'm sorry.  I'd already spent the day mooching about in an oversized dressing gown, I was not about to top it off my going to ask for an Americano with my tits flapping all over the place, probably knocking over children.  No.

I grabbed my phone from my bag.  I could call Pete, tell him what was wrong and meet him between the two changing rooms.  Phew.  Except I had no bastard reception, did I?!  Couldn't phone and text messages wouldn't even send.  I stomped up and down the changing room muttering to myself a few times, but soon realised I was getting strange looks.  I would have to take a more dramatic form of action.  I exited the ladies, steeled myself and strolled nonchalantly up to the entrance of the men's.  I peered in.  I couldn't see anyone.  I peeped in a little further.  I could hear someone in a shower, but that was it.  I prepared to walk in a little further when a father and son appeared.  Deciding I couldn't be seen "perrving" into the men's changing room by a young boy, I ran out of the way, panting back into the ladies.  Damn!!!!

Again, I strolled around the ladies, considering my options.  No, I couldn't come up with anything else, so again, I made my way back to the men's.  This time, I peered around with more conviction, but again, I couldn't see anyone.  I decided to shout for Pete.  At first it was a tentative "Pete?!" but after four or more shouts it was more of a scream "PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETE!".  Nothing.  Not a sodding thing.  Again, I made my way back to the ladies.

I was fuming by this point.  I just didn't know what to do.  I got my phone out and typed a shirty message to Pete "You've got my bra and knickers! I need them!" but of course, it didn't send.  Sigh.  I felt I had no choice but to go back and try one more time.  After that, I don't know, Pete would just have to send out a rescue party for me, I was going to move into the steam room.

So... back again.  I walked straight into the men's changing room and yelled out for Pete.  Nothing again.  So, I just stood there.  I decided I would accost the next man that appeared.  I didn't have to wait for long.  Of course, it just happened to be a super buff good looking man.  It would be, wouldn't it.  You should have seen the look that passed his face when he saw me, a short, scraggy looking woman clutching a towel around her. God only knows what he thought.  He gave me an odd look and then went to step past me.  Oh no Mister, I thought.  I grabbed him by the arm and implored "Excuse me!  I'm looking for my husband, dark blonde hair and glasses - you haven't seen him in the changing room have you?" The poor man looks bemused "Err, no, I haven't seen anyone looking like that in there" (like he was eyeing up the other inhabitants anyway!).  I wasn't willing to let him go though yet.  No, I couldn't just let it go with little embarrassment, could I?  No, I had to add the following, just to ensure he really had a good story to tell his mates down the pub "Are you sure?  Only he's got my bra and knickers and I really need them!"  My God, you really should have seen his face.  He actually couldn't contain the laughter.  The poor man just exploded with laughter and ran off into the pool.  What did I expect?   I stood there, rooted to the spot.  Yes, I was embarrassed  but I still didn't have any fecking underwear, did I?  At that very moment, Pete appeared, running into the changing room. He looked surprised to find me clutching a towel around myself in the men's.  I shout at him "You've got my underwear for Gods sake Pete! I can't get dressed without it!" " I know", he replies breathlessly.. "I just realised when I got outside,  I saw you weren't there yet so I reached into our bag to get my kindle and pulled out your pants instead!".

Oh thanks.


Yeah, that was a really relaxing day at the spa.  Can't wait to go back!

Complimentary Autumn Shades

The reason for today's blog post title is twofold.  First of all, the colours in this outfit are very Autumnal and compliment each other well.  The second is that when in this outfit I received a compliment from a complete stranger which was lovely and unexpected!  So.. Let me introduce you to my "Complimentary Autumn Shades"!

Vest - H&M (last year)
Cardigan - George @ Asda - current season
Jeans - F&F @ Tesco - current season
Socks - H&M (old)
Uggs - 2009 old school classics!
Jewellery - all Stella & Dot

I loved this outfit.  Ohhhh... it was so happy making!  Some of my favourite colours (I know, all us style bloggers seem to go crazy over mustard, but how can you not?!).  Mustard jeans teamed with a rust coloured baggy cardi.  Mmmmmm!  It was slouchy in the right places, comfy, especially worn with Uggs, and warm to keep out the Autumnal chill that's now in the air.  My Stella & Dot jewels look fantastic with this look I think, they glam it up a bit.  I was stood in Superdrug moaning about the fact that the toothpaste we buy is never on offer when this lady stopped next to me, touched my arm and said "those colours you are wearing are absolutely beautiful".  Well, I was grinning from ear to ear.  It's so lovely to get a compliment, especially from a stranger.  Really made my day.

Have you ever got a compliment from a stranger?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Styling the School Run with Lands' End

The fabulous people at Lands' End contacted me recently and asked if I would like to take part in their Bloggers Style Project.  Of course I said yes!  I couldn't type out my reply quick enough!

Lands' End asked me to choose a dress from their Autumn dress range to showcase on my blog.  I have to admit it was difficult to choose.  I could have gone for any of the gorgeous dresses on there.  In the end, I decided to go for something with a bold pattern.  I love bold patterns, I'm pretty much "known" for them.  Can you guess what I chose?  I went for the floral print jersey wrap dress.

Image source: Lands' End website
The customer service was excellent and my dress arrived quickly.  I was chomping at the bit to get to it, so it's just as well the dress arrived quickly!  Once my package arrived and I opened up, I wasn't disappointed.  At first look, the pattern just jumps out of you.  On first touch, I fell in love.  This dress is so soft and comfortable!  I couldn't have been happier.  The idea of this challenge was to choose a dress suitable and versatile enough to become the linchpin of a "school run" outfit.  Something you would be comfortable and happy in, something you could style in different ways but a dress in which you would still be stylish.  For me, this dress has all boxes ticked!

It has to be said that perhaps it isn't as versatile as some of the other dresses Lands' End stock, due to it's length, shape and pattern, but I still feel you can change your look.  Different shoes/boots, different jewellery, a jacket, a cardigan, a bright pair of tights for a flash of colour.  I feel this dress could easily become evening wear as well.  Something stylish yet comfy to wear to a dinner party in I feel!

I have worn this dress several times now.  I mostly team it with a pair of boots, I think that's how it looks best, though I have worn low heeled pumps and flats as well.  I feel this dress really needs a belt and preferably a big one.  It helps to emphasise your figure!  Important when there's a whole lot of pattern going on. Talking of pattern,  I love the way it contrasts with my autumn jacket and my statement jewellery works brilliantly with it.  Time and time again though, I'm just bowelled over by how soft and comfy it is to wear!  I've washed this dress a couple of times now.  It washes well, retains it's shape, dries quickly and looks just as good as before.

Couldn't get Alfie to stay out of shot...
When wearing this dress, I have received compliments, particularly about the pattern!  My Mum mentioned that I "looked lovely" in it.  I'm very very happy with this dress - I bet that's clear now!

Thank you so much, Lands' End, for involving me in this project, I've enjoyed it and can say, hand on heart, that this is a new favourite dress of mine that has already made it to the school dates twice since the start of term!

If you want to see some other Lands' End dresses "in action" then check out these other bloggers!

The Online Stylist
The Life & Times of a Working Mum
School Gate Style

Other outfit details:  
Necklace - Stella & Dot
Bracelets - Stella & Dot
Ring - H&M
Belt - New Look
Earrings - eBay
Pumps - Matalan
Boots - Art
Jacket - Jasper Conran
Bag - Marc Jacobs
Umbrella - Love Umbrellas

**I was sent this dress by Lands' End for review purposes and have also been compensated for this post, but all views expressed are honest and genuine**

#ISpy.. the letter K!

Well well Wednesday. What does it mean? Jbmumofone's fantastic I spy meme of course! It's simple. Can you see the K in the pic below. It's easy, I couldn't think of much and I'm blogging at the leisure center!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bold stripes at the school gates

This week has seen me stomping back and forth from Ethan's new pre-school.  You can read all about that here.  I want to be comfortable for all that walking, and also in what I think of as "easy to hug in" clothes..  I know that might seem a strange requirement, but some of my more funky/adventurous looks involve more delicate clothing or massive amounts of jewellery which don't really work well when you want to hug and kiss your three year old - which obviously I want to be able to to unhindered when dropping him off at pre-school!  Sooooo... I've been in comfy outfits.  I don't want to look dowdy or boring though!  This is where this dress comes up trumps.

I adore this dress.  I actually fell in love with it when it was stocked in H&M a few seasons back.  I'm not sure whether it was last year or the year before, but I loved it from afar.  I never tracked it down in my size though, and eventually forgot all about it.  Until I stepped into a branch of Oxfam last week and saw one on the rack IN MY SIZE!! Whoop whoop!! I tried it on and was so happy.  It looked like it had hardly been worn at all, so without hesitation, it came home with me and we've been the best of friends ever since.

It's so comfy and yet so bright.  I feel happy, happy, HAPPY when I'm wearing it.

Dress - H&M via Oxfam
Uggs - Macy's
Bag - Marc Jacobs
Bracelet - H&M
Sunglasses - TKMaxx
Earrings - eBay
Necklace - Stella & Dot

It was so chilly here on Tuesday morning I teamed it with my precious short Uggs (bought on honeymoon in America 4 years ago almost exactly!).  I'm not sure they are the best footwear for this dress, but again, they are comfy and make me happy.  I don't think I'll ever be able to throw these Uggs away.  The fact I bought them on honeymoon, that they travelled through 9 states in America with us and then all the way back home. Nope, I'm never parting with them!

Someone pay for me to go back to America - I want to go back soooooo badly!

Linking up today with Transatlantic Blonde & The Pleated Poppy.

Pre-school style

I'm sorry it's so quiet on my blog at the moment.  "Real Life" is taking over at the moment.  I'm in the middle of a huge, time consuming project for my Mum's 60th birthday (can't reveal anything on here, just in case!).  The other exciting event?  Ethan started preschool this week!

I can't tell you how worried I was about Ethan starting preschool.  I'm not at all worried about him being there, I know he needs it and he'll benefit from it. No... my main concern was that he wouldn't settle, that'd he'd play up, bite, hit, shout and then when I went to pick him up they'd tell me never to darken their doors again! Noooooooooooo! Obviously that didn't happen.

The last few weeks have been hard.  Ethan has been acting up, sleeping badly, shouting, hitting.  It's been very hard work.  I know this was due to preschool looming over us.  When we arrived there for his first afternoon session yesterday, he hid behind me, whimpering about not wanting to go in.  As soon as they opened the doors though, he ran in, went up to his Key Person (who we'd met last week at our home visit - a great idea and something more preschools should do I think!) and asked to use the loo.  I left him doing some painting.

I felt odd leaving him.  Not sad.  No tears.  If anything, I felt numb.  I don't know if that's an effect of citalopram or if it just hasn't sunk in yet.  I'm not sure.  I went off in the car and did the food shop.  What a different experience that was!  I whizzed around Tesco and was home within an hour.  I didn't have to abandon my trolly whilst chasing after a child making a game of knocking pasta sauces and wine off shelves, I didn't have to placate anyone whilst unpacking the shopping, or dash from one room into the next because Show Me Show Me had come on and "I DON'T WANT TO WATCH IT, IT'S TOO SMELLY!" or to rescue someone from an ill-advised table top climb.  I then sat down and had a coffee.  In peace.  And - novelty!! Watched some TV!!!   Now, I'm not going to spend all of my free time like that, though to be honest, buy the time the shopping is done and unpacked, there's not time for much more than coffee and a spot of TV before walking to pick Little Lord Fauntleroy up.

It occurred to me as I walked up to the school gates yesterday... this is it now.  This is my routine for the next God knows how many years.  Me, running up to school gates, panting and slightly sweaty, anxious to be there first because "It's hard when they're new, they need to see your face first, so try to be first in line!".  The school we want Ethan to go to is right next door to his preschool, so at the very least, I'm going to be making this journey many times a week for the next.. Um.... eight years?  If we ever manage to have No.2 it'll be even longer!! That was a strange thought.  By the time I'm finished making that journey on a regular basis I'll be well into my 40s.  I wonder if I'll still be blogging then?  Even More Medicated Follower of Fashion?  HRT and citalopram?!  Haha.....  I'll probably have been told to get off the internet by my child/ren by then for being "uncool" and "embarrassing".

That's enough chatter... you want to see some cute photos I expect!  Now Ethan's at preschool, he isn't going to be wearing quite so many nice outfits.  I'm not going to send him there in Ted Baker or Katvig am I?  Nah, it's a Sunbeams Playgroup t-shirt & sweatshirt teamed with Asda jeans (which, in my opinion, are actually damn good and hard wearing!).

I've got a few pics of Ethan from the weekend though.  We went to the park to celebrate my brother's 26th birthday.  Ethan had a great time running around, riding his bike, riding the train and tree hugging... yes, tree hugging.  Here's a few pics:

Do you like his shorts?  They were a bargain, unworn Jojo Mamanbebe for 50p from a charity shop!!  Whoop!! He's wearing his Boys&Girls star print top which we all love loads.  I can't wait to invest in some more Boys&Girls clothes - their Autumn range is out now, check it out!

If you want to join in with Trendy Toddler Tuesday, the linky is below.  You can link up whatever the age of your child... I'm sharing this linky with Maria from Very Busy Mama - she's the brains behind it!!

There are a few rules:

Please post a comment on my blog post - it's only kind!Tweet me!  That way I can share your link!Link back to my blog on your blog post.You can also display the TTT badge which you can get from Maria's blog.

Look forward to seeing all your trendy children!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A day at home in a vintage skirt.

I've been at it again... spinning around that is!! I am really loving skirts and dresses at the moment.  This outfit really lifted my spirits.  I'm finding being at home with Ethan quite hard at the moment.  I don't know if he's "punishing" me for being away in London the other week, or if he's worried about starting preschool next week, but whatever it is, he is being VERY HARD WORK!! I can't wait for him to start at preschool so we can get into our new routine...  and I can have a break!!

Anyway, getting distracted!  This is what I wore yesterday.. It was a bit smart for a day that was spent entirely at home (Ethan refused to get out of his pjs all day) but as I said, it lifted my spirits.

The skirt was the second one I picked up in the vintage shop when I was visiting my friend in London.  This skirt feels amazing to wear, it's really soft and floats around you.  I feel like I can fly downstairs when I wear it!!  I teamed it with a very old black tee and my owl belt.  Simple!  Do you like the pattern on the skirt?  I adore it.  Would you class it as baroque?  That's really in this season... get me, so trendy! ;-D

I hope you are all having a good week?  I expect many of you have children returning to/starting school.  I hope it's going well.  Ethan's preschool do a staggered start for new children, so as I said, he won't be starting until next Monday.  Do any of your preschools do the same?  So far, I haven't met anyone else who's child attends a preschool that does that.

Linking up today's post with Transatlantic Blonde and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

Trendy Toddler Tuesday - Polarn O.Pyret

It's Tuesday, so of course it's time for Ethan to strut his stuff all over my blog.  Today I want to share some gorgeous clothes we were sent by Polarn O.Pyret (PO.P).  I'm sure you know by now that we are bit PO.P fans in this house.  Ethan has many of their clothes, brand new or second hand (or even third hand!) they always look great, wash well and stand out from the crowd.

PO.P sent us a Friendly Monsters top and a pair of cargo trousers.  The trousers are lovely, really great quality material, tough wearing and practical.  They are a little on the large side for Ethan at the moment (even though they are age 3, I think he's a bit smaller than average!).  I know they are going to form an important part of his wardrobe when he gets bigger though.  Brown isn't the most exciting colour, it has to be said, but it's very practical and will go with so many other colours.  I especially love the reinforced knees.  Children kneel down and play on rough ground so often, this is a very useful feature!

The top we are in love with.  It's become a firm favourite with Ethan.  When asked to choose his own clothes for the day, more often than not he pulls this one from the wardrobe.  People always comment on it when he wears it out as well.  As the top fits him, he's been wearing it a lot.  We've washed it about 6 times now and it still looks in excellent condition.. But I know PO.P clothing and this is exactly what I would expect from their clothes!

S'cuse me in the background, this is from a few weeks back when I was trying to take pics of me for the blog!

Both these items are from their Autumn/Winter collection and as of this week are available online and in store.  If you have older children, PO.P are currently offering 20% off their age 6-12 range.  The trousers retail at £30 and the top £14.50.

What do you think?  Do you dress your child in PO.P?

Linking up with Maria and Little M for Trendy Toddler Tuesday!

Monday, 3 September 2012

I'm spinning around...

This outfit I actually meant to share the other week, but totally forgot.  I'm amazed really, because this ensemble made me so happy! I am a big fan of dresses and skirts which lend themselves to twirling and spinning around, and this skater dress from Room31 definitely does that.

When it first arrived after ordering, I was a bit concerned it was too big, but with a belt (which it does come with!) it was perfect.  It's actually a really nice fit.  The quality is excellent, it was a bargain in their sale, reduced from £15 (still a steal!) to £10.  It feels like it cost way more than that.  I wore one of my net skirts underneath to pad it out.  It worked brilliantly!  Room31 had this in navy as well... wish I'd bought it.  Both are out of stock now. They do have some other prints still available though, and for £10 still!  I teamed my dress with a cropped cardigan also from Room31 and also in the sale.. I think it was a fiver.. Another bargain, I really love it.  A cropped cardi is an essential in my wardrobe I think, it's a useful coverup but without being too bulky.  They are great with dresses because they look neat and smart.

I know, I'm shoe-less... excuse me.  I wore it out with my clarks flats which I often wear because they are smart yet comfy.

I'm rocking some Stella & Dot bling, the Olivia Bib necklace which I adore and some bangles (which are mixed in with a job lot from New Look and my charm bracelets).

What do you think?  This was a really fun outfit, I thought!

Dress - Room31
Cardi - Room31
Bracelets - charms, newlook & Stella & Dot
Necklace - Stella & Dot
Ring - Local boutique
Nails - Collection 2000

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Autumn/Winter 2012 - key jewellery

I've been thinking about key trends for A/W '12 and for me the stand out piece is a statement necklace.  After all, if you buy no new clothes at all, you can update every outfit and be on trend with an "in your face" piece of bling!  It's quite a cheap way to update your wardrobe, even if it's a pricey necklace, if you're not buying anything else, it makes sense!

I've been trawling through the Stella & Dot website, choosing what to update my samples with.  I've gone for this gorgeous number:

Now, I have to say this isn't a cheap necklace.  It's in the sale at the moment so retails at £75 but because I hosted my first party recently, I was able to use my "hostess credits" of £80 which obviously more than covered it.  So this gorgeous number which is currently on it's way to me is mine for free! Whoop!  I also qualified for two items at 40% off so bought a few other samples as well.  When they arrive I'll be sharing them on here.

I really cannot wait to wear this necklace out and about.  It was hard to choose this one though because there are quite a few statement necklaces to choose from!  Here's my top 5 (after this one):


The Bamboleo necklace is beautiful.  These colours will suit all year round. I love how the strands are interwoven.  This will definitely get you noticed!


The Olivia Bib necklace is one I am lucky enough to have in my samples.  I love this one, it always gets comments and compliments and goes with so many different outfits.  Ethan recognises this as "Mummy's necklace".


The Serenity necklace is very classic, I can see this being worn for years.  The colours are beautiful, lovely large semi precious stones.  A statement, but in a classy way!

The Zahara bib necklace is stunning.  No one can miss you wearing this! The fact that there are so many colours in this necklace will mean it's very versatile!

The Indira necklace is one that will definitely look good over A/W.  Not quite so colourful, but still a statement.  Would love to have this in my collection!

So, there we go!  My top Stella & Dot necklaces for the next few months.  No doubt you'll see me rocking some in the outfits I post on my blog..  Don't forget that if you are in the UK you can buy Stella & Dot through me.  You can also host a trunk show through me.  I'm in the Bristol area, but get in touch, you never know what could be worked out!