INTERSEASON SHOPPING

I love the Summertime but I also love the changing seasons. I think it's good to have a change and makes you appreciate what you have when you have it. I also love being able to dress for different weathers - I like the cosyness of coats and the carefree coolness of a summer dress and look forward to both at the end of the season before. 

The end of the Summer before Autumn (September - October time in the UK - interseason) can be all sorts of seasons, weather and temperature in one day. So when I shop around this time I look for versatile clothes that can be worn in all weathers, all year around.

Mono Animal Ruffle Long Sleeve Blouse £34 / MOTO Side Stripe Skirt £30 / Two-in-One Reversible Bomber Jacket £79

TOPSHOP have some great inter-season pieces in at the moment, I recently purchased an amazing reversible bomber jacket - it's like having 2 jackets in one and really does go with everything including your mood! I am also pretty excited about this black and white ruffle shirt, which I intend to wear with jeans and under dungarees, but would also wear it with a smart skirt or bright coloured trousers to meetings.

We are also fast approaching boot season - I love a statement shoe and rarely play it safe when it comes to the colour of my footwear. If you have followed me for a while you'll know that I love a bright, leopard print or metallic (neutral) shoe and the same goes for boots.  I am really looking forward to styling these red ones, but also have my eye on TOPSHOP's  gold and pinks ones.

A denim skirt is also a wise purchase for September, wear it now with bare legs, trainers or sandals then as the colder weather sets in with tights, boots or loafers.

I also recently purchased this leopard print clutch. The good thing about a leopard print clutch is that it will go with everything and can be worn to anything.  I got mine to go with a blue playsuit I recently wore to a wedding but have since worn it with so many different outfits and know I will for years to come. 

So if you are interseason shopping look out for versatile things that can be worn in all weathers, that can be dressed up and down and as always that make you happy!

This post is kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP & Affiliate Window. All thoughts, clothes choices, ideas and purchases are my own!

BRAND: HOUSE OF SPRING

There is currently a rise in independent shoe brands which is really exciting to see. At last there is an alternative to the mainstream that is more accessible than the luxury market but that easily rivals them both in quality and style.

House of Spring's shoes are beautiful - I spotted them a while ago and was struck by the high quality craftsmanship and classic but contemporary designs. They are a brand that is perfectly positioned between luxury and high street and are built to last.

House of Spring designs are inspired by the creativity of London and the chic elegance of Paris - which you can see in every shoe. They are hand made in Portugal using the finest materials and craftsmanship.

Here is some more information about how and why the brand came about:  

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: House of Spring

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: April 2015

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: The French designer Radhia

WHY WAS IT CREATED: After finishing her studies, Radhia started to feel the desire to create her own business. Chic and elegant shoes, to make every woman feel beautiful, was her idea. Strong was the influence of her mum, a seasoned shoe hunter.

In 2010, while getting some experience in fashion buying, she met someone special in London. Here, she identified a niche in the market, between the high street and luxury brands, where positioning the product. The vibrant creativity of London, together with the French chic style, gave birth to House of Spring shoe collection.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Designed in London and handmade in Portugal, House of Spring shoe collection is made using the finest materials and craftsmanship. House of Spring philosophy is to create fashionable and contemporary shoes that represent an affordable luxury. Brilliantly mixing the effortless elegance of Parisians together with London's bold fashion sense, they want to make you feel an elegant, confident - a daring woman.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Check it out House of Spring permanent collection, the Iconics. Their Timeless shapes want to recall the vibrant energy of Notting Hill streets to follow you in every occasion. From an afternoon tea with friends to a romantic dinner out, the best skins they are made of, together with their quirky details, will give you an elegant twist.

@house_of_spring

DRESS LIKE A MUM AT FESTIVAL

My family and I and some excellent friends have just got back from Camp Bestival - we had such an amazing time it was so much fun, the kids loved it and we loved it and we can't wait to do it again.

One of the things I have always loved about festivals is the fashion. For me it is a place to wear whatever I feel like - no holding back!!!

Sequins are perfect for festivals, in the day time they look amazing when the sun reflects off them and at night they shine in disco lights. You'll always have a good time wearing sequins!

Rosa Bloom leggings now £65

Glitter and sunglasses are a couple of my festival staples - both of which are fun to wear and are perfect for hiding tired looking eyes. I also make sure I take a sunhat that can fit into my bag both for shading your face from the sun and having a nap under.

There is a lot of glitter around this festival season with most festivals offering places that you can pay to have your face glittered. Personally I like to do my own, it's really easy and fun to do - here is how.

For Camp Bestival I had a mixture of pearl coloured and blue glitter. I also applied this amazing iridescent eye shadow which changed colour depending on which angle you looked at it from. Don't forget to take a mirror!

Bevelled Round Sunglasses £20 / Glitter £7.50 / Mono Eyeshadow in Holograph £7 / Roll Up Straw Visor now £7

When you are at a festival you want to have free hands (for dancing, drinking, waving etc.) therefore you need to take a bag that allows this. This year because we took the kids I carried a backpack with all their stuff in and a cross body bag for mine - wallet, sunglasses, lipstick, glitter etc.

Patchwork Crossbody Bag £65 / Metallic Pocket Backpack £29

I travelled to the festival in this denim dress, tshirt and sandals, then put on a pair of tights, jumper and a bomber jacket for the evening. I like the versatility of this dress - you could wear anything from a swimming costume to a roll neck underneath and it would look good. 

Plait Strap Denim Pini £39 

I wore this super fun jumpsuit for the final day, it is so comfortable and perfect for sitting on the floor, playing with the kids and hoola hooping in. I would also wear this to work or dress it up for a wedding.

Slouchy Colour Block Detailed Jumpsuit £42

It gets cold in the evenings and sometimes rains at UK festivals so I always make sure i have a couple of jackets and layers to put on for when it does. It is also a good idea to take a warm scarf.

Holographic Festival Rain Mac £49 / Borg Western Jacket £59

This post is in collaboration with, and kindly sponsored by TopShop via Affiliate Window. All thoughts, ideas, clothes choices, festival tips and views are my own.

MY ULTIMATE HOLIDAY OUTFIT

One of the many many things I love about going on holiday is planning my outfits! Unlike the UK most places in Southern Europe can guarantee hot, sunny weather so you know what to dress for.

I am not known for packing light, mainly because what I wear everyday is so dependant on what mood i'm in, plus I like be prepared - plans might change - you might get invited to a crazy party for example. So to ensure I have every mood and situation covered I like to take a few spare outfits just in case.

However if i was pushed into planning my ultimate (no expense spared) Spanish holiday outfit this is what it would consist of:

PRISM £95 + £135

Since having children there are parts of my body I need a bikini to help me with - my mum-tum and mum-boobs. This bikini is the perfect style - a high waisted brief that holds the tummy in and an underwired, slightly padded top in a (go with everything) black and white leopard print. 

ANCIENT GREEK SANDALS £140 / Le Specs £40

I have a thing for metallic shoes especially in the summer, mainly because I believe a metallic is a neutral so they go with everything, plus these ones have wings too!! I also have a thing for mirrored sunglasses and these ones are very very cool.

ANYA HINDMARSH £425 / MATTHEW WILLIAMSON £550

This silk dress is stunning, it would be perfect for cocktails by the pool, dinner, dancing, promenading, a beach party, a boat party as well as a summer wedding - it's beautiful plus turquoise looks great on holiday with a tan. 

Being a lover of having my photo taken wearing nice clothes by a wall especially while on holiday (see @dresslikeamum Instagram) I would obviously need a beautiful background to photograph my outfit against.  This Villa in Ibiza would be ideal - beautiful views, stunning swimming pool and so many photographic walls (look at the curved one) :-)'

 

Clickstay the company that rent villas, chalets and apartments around the world are currently running a competition to WIN a £500 villa voucher and a Samsonite Suitcase from their Lite Shock range. For details on how to enter can be found here.

This post was created as an entry to Clickstay's #StyleYourWayToSpain Fashion Bloggers Competition. All thoughts, jokes, outfit and Villa choices are entirely my own.

BRAND TAYLOR WREN

Taylor Wren focus on beautiful, well made, socially concious clothes for women who prefer to buy classic, long lasting pieces.

Taylor Wren is a new brand founded by a husband and wife team who create timeless clothes and acessories for modern women. Taylor Wren's premier collection is beautifully refined, perfectly curated and focuses on quality not quantity.

I love this Liberty print skirt and top - it fits so perfectly and can be worn together or separately, for example the top with jeans or the skirt with a t-shirt. Because this is a skirt and top it would be a perfect breastfeeding outfit too (you would wear a vest under the top, the top top would lift up and the vest would pull down). I plan to wear this to a friend of mine's wedding in a couple of weeks, but would also wear it to work or a party.

Taylor Wren is the type of brand that you would never regret buying from, the pieces are so well made, classic and versatile that they would last a lifetime and surpass trends. Plus because most of the pieces are limited editions you are unlikely to meet anyone else wearing the same thing.

Here is some more information about this modern, classic brand:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Taylor Wren

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: March 2016

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Fran Taylor Wren and Simon Wren- newly wed husband and wife duo!

WHY WAS IT CREATED: To provide beautiful, thoughtful, well made and socially conscious clothing for the modern woman. Something that could be worn and loved season after season.

We were growing increasingly disillusioned with the 'fast fashion' concept of buying and wearing clothes, not to mention the increasing environmental impact of this type of buying. For the woman who is not dictated to by trend and can afford to spend a little more, it makes sense to invest in key pieces to create an individual and lasting look.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We are London brand with a passion for creating socially conscious clothing that not only looks great but feels great to wear season after season. Made for the modern woman, Taylor Wren provides the ultimate balance between perfectly polished and stylishly undone to create a capsule wardrobe that works anytime, anywhere.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: You should be buying everything from us of course- our debut collection is a capsule collection of 12 key distinctive and refined pieces that can be mixed and matched with each other but also with everything else in your wardrobe allowing you to both create and emphasis your own personal style.

In particular we think you should be buying the gorgeous Liberty printed pieces, inspired by the vibrant flora of an English meadow, resplendent in the spring sunshine, this bold painterly floral gives classic shapes a modern twist. Each piece made here in London and with only 30 of each available you're safe in the knowledge that you own a truly unique piece.

taylorwren.com / @taylorwrenltd

LOVED & FOUND AT JOHN LEWIS

John Lewis's loved&found section is a collection of fashion, beauty products, accessories and lifestyle brands  curated around a theme and title. Collections include Dressing Up BoxBalearic Beach Club and World Beach.

loved&found is a great way to discover new products and brands that you might not have thought to shop. When a website is as large as John Lewis's it can be hard to know where to begin, so a good place is an already curated edit of interesting brands.

I have found so many things in loved&found that I like. 

Star Mela £110 / Soludus £59

I  love a summer smock dress - so comfortable, flattering, practical, can be worn if you are pregnant and will last a lifetime of summers. I also love shoes with pineapples on, neither of which i would have thought to shop for at John Lewis. My bag is by Star Mela who I have been a fan of for ages, this is a perfect all round summer bag for work, beach, nappies etc.

Star Mela £70

From the Dress Up Box collection I love this black and white spotted dress, I might wear it for wedding I have coming up and it would become a really useful dress to have in your wardrobe - It could be worn with any colour, with or without a jacket, with bright coloured shoes/ sandals flat or heeled, it could also be worn casually or to work, you could wear a t-shirt underneath it or a jumper over it.

Another thing that caught my eye was this silver jacket, the good thing about metallic coloured things is that they go with everything (metallic is a neutral in my world) and can be worn anywhere. I would wear this dressed down with jeans or dressed up to a smart event or party.

Baum und Pferdgarten Adia Strap Dress £289 / Darling London Dulcie Coat £109

Another couple of brands i have discovered via loved&found are contemporary, fair trade jewellry brand Mirabelle and Scandi inspired British brand Waven (pronounced ‘who-vuhn’).

 Mirabelle Palm Tree Pendant Chain Necklace £57 / Waven Caaren Loose Jumpsuit £70

I love leopard print everything and I can see that this leopard print jumper is probably going to become one of my staples, (as well as metallics) I believe a leopard print to be a neutral too.

COMPANY: BEG BORROW BUY

Beg Borrow Buy is a new clothes rental service that basically allows you to borrow/rent a super cool dress to wear for an event and then return it afterwards.

They have a range of high street and designer dresses to choose from, in a range of sizes for a variety of occasions. Once you have selected your dress you can rent it for 4 days or 8 days, you wear it and then return it in the prepaid envelope, they then have it cleaned ready for the next person to rent it.

I borrowed a stunning Kooples dress that i've had my eye on for a while (but couldn't afford to buy) and a super cool black and white striped dress - both of which would be perfect for weddings, parties, events, meetings etc. I was sorry to see them go back, but its fine as I can just borrow them again.

This is a really great service and idea - you get to wear an amazing dress at a fraction of the price without having to invest in something you many only wear a couple of times. 

Beg Borrow Buy was founded by Natalie, who after seeing dresses she'd invested in and not worn for a while gathering dust decided there must be another way... Here is what she wants us to know about her company:

NAME OF COMPANY: Beg Borrow Buy

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: June 2016

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Natalie Getreu

WHY WAS IT CREATED: I found myself constantly being torn between wanting to buy beautiful and unique pieces for the events and special occasions I had coming up and trying to be economically responsible - especially living in London! More often than not I couldn’t resist the urge and the pieces I invested in, whilst I loved, were only worn once or twice and then just ended up sitting in my wardrobe, occasionally borrowed by a friend but otherwise just gathering dust. Which is how the idea of Beg Borrow Buy was born. I thought it would be great to have a virtual closet where I could wear new and special pieces for every event and party for a fraction of the price. Plus given our items are delivered straight to our customers door, and there is no dry cleaning involved, it really is an easy option for everyone!

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Beg Borrow Buy is not just tailored to the luxury and designer market. Rather our distinctive collection is a mix of vintage, designer, and contemporary high street labels from around the world. This makes our brand not only unique but an affordable and stylish option for all budgets.

WHAT WE SHOULD BORROW FROM YOU: You can’t go wrong with black, and our back to black debut collection features a number of black dresses in a variety of styles and sizes so there is something for everyone.

Photography by: Jane Looker Photography / @janelookerphotography

BRAND: RACHEL JACKSON

Rachel Jackson Jewelry is the kind that you can't go wrong with - literally everything in the collection is stunning and designed to perfection. Her pieces are the perfect combination of cool, contemporary and classic that will last you a lifetime.

Rachel Jackson's pieces are designed to be layered up, stacked and customised. The letter rings can be worn one on each finger to spell something or stacked on one for more impact, the earrings can be mixed and matched and the loquets personalised with birthstones and different colours.

If you want to buy someone a gift or you want someone to buy you a gift or you just want some solid, reliable, never let you down jewelry that goes with everything then they this is a good place to start (and end).

I am a massive fan of this brand and have my eye on so many of their pieces - since i got the hexagonal hoops last week i've worn them everyday.

This is definitely a brand to watch.

Here is what the founder Rachel would like us to know about her brand.

NAME OF BRAND: RACHEL JACKSON LONDON

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: 2016, but as a company we have 10 years experience and numerous awards to boot with previous label Cinderela B.

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Rachel Jackson, mother of one super cheeky two year old.

WHY WAS IT CREATED: A friend of mine died in a plane crash and this was an epiphany. I realised life is short and should pursue your dreams Previously I had a 10-year career in the corporate world but I knew it wasn’t my calling in life

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We believe life is short and you should live it to the max. Our customers are smart, stylish and fun. Our jewellery is feel-good, personalised and seriously addictive.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: 1/ Our art deco initial necklaces and stacking rings as they’re fun and meaningful (you can wear as many initials as you like) 2/ For a chic look our ‘Serenity’ hexagon collection (the necklace looks wicked layered) 3/ Our ‘Mixed Birthstone Amulet’ as it’s a truly unique and personal design (it can contain all you family member’s birthstones)

DISCOUNT CODE: 'DLAM' for 20% off until the 31st of July

Photography by: Jane Looker Photography / @janelookerphotography

BRAND: FOX IN A GLOVE

Fox in a Glove is a new made to measure fashion brand, who also offer a ready to wear collection and a complimentary styling service.

The designs are modern, individual and unusual and are fairly priced. All the clothes are ethically produced by teams of professional seamstresses/seams-men around Europe who ensure the customer achieves an absolute perfect fit.

I really like the idea of this brand, I know so many women who are a different size top to bottom or who just find standard high street sizes hard to shop, so it's great to see someone taking this on especially at a more accessible level.

I'm wearing the Copenhagen dress in pink and orange - it is such great quality and so well made and unsurprisingly is the perfect fit!

 

Here is what else you need to know about Fox in a Glove:

NAME OF BRAND: Fox in a Glove

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: October 2014

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Klaudia Trzcielinska

WHY WAS IT CREATED: To give buy, modern, 21st Century women the chance to experience made to measure clothes and get their perfect fit! We wanted to bring that retro-inspired experience of having your clothes personally tailored to fit you by a professional seamstress, but with the ease and speed of online shopping. We also offer ready to wear/standard sizes for a win/win shopping experience!

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Fox in a Glove believes that women shouldn't have to conform to a size on a coat hanger - we think you are your perfect size and it's all about getting beautifully-crafted, perfectly fitting clothes to suit your style and make the most of your shape!

We offer online made to measure clothes (and standard sizes too) and unlike bespoke and couture, which is usually associated with a pretty hefty price tag, we offer our clothes at high street price points.

We choose all of our seamstresses personally - they work in progressive workspaces in Europe where they are paid fairly and enjoy what they do (so you can enjoy wearing your clothes too!). We offer high quality, trans-seasonal pieces with fine tailored details in a choice of cool, modern, unusual prints and fabrics which we personally source from around the world.

Elegant, modern womenswear - and a complimentary styling service included. We love to hear from and keep in touch with our clients and we are happy to organise fun shopping gatherings at your home, work or for a weekend brunch where great women can gather to browse, bond and buy.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: This season we think our go-anywhere-do-anything stripey Copenhagen dress, available in two colour ways, channels Scandi-girl cool and will take you from work to drinks to the dance floor :) Or you could match our gorgeous opaque black poncho Berlin top (ideal for breastfeeding as it fastens at the sides with poppers) with our zebra print a-line skirt for a great monochrome look.

@foxinaglove #foxinaglove

Photos of me by: Jane Looker Photography / @janelookerphotography

DRESS LIKE A MUM ON A HOLIDAY

My family and i recently went to Kos, Greece with Mark Warner holidays and we had such a great time! Since having children the way we holiday has changed - in order to have to a relaxing time I have worked out that I need to eliminate cooking, cleaning and constant kid entertainment - which are the main things that Mark Warner do so well.

MELISSA ODABASH £140 (was £320) - I love this dress - so comfortable and flattering, the perfect thing to wear pre / post beach.

A typical day on our Mark Warner holiday consisted of waking up and going to the breakfast buffet (which had everything from freshly made smoothies, to a full English, to pancakes). We would then drop the kids off at Mini Club which is like a massive play room, with super friendly staff, loads of toys, crafts and activities - my son went sailing, windsurfing, swimming and played tennis. Then my husband and I would RELAX - we'd either go to the pool, to the beach (i actually read a book!) or to play tennis. We would then pick the kids up at lunchtime and have lunch in the restaurant together. 

LOVE MOSCHINO £110 (was £210)

The afternoon was spent with the kids by the pool, in our room, in the playgound and at the beach. We would then take the kids for dinner at 5.30ish and at 7.30pm we'd take them to movie night at the Mini Club - where all the kids sit together and watch a film before getting into their little camp beds and all going to sleep in a row. We would then go for a drink(s) at the beach bar before heading up to dinner. After dinner we would collect the kids (asleep) and carry them back to our room.

The whole holiday worked so well - it is a tried and tested formula where both the parents and kids have a brilliant time.

We went to Lakitira resort - it has tennis courts, swimming pools, beaches. As well as Greece Mark Warner also go to Sardinia and Corsica.

Of course being on holiday and somewhere with good weather all the time  gave me a perfect excuse to pose by some Greek walls in some amazing summer clothes. 

SENSI STUDIO bag £117 (was £195) / Pom Pom Sandals £110 / Toolally Earrings £45 

Iris & Ink dress £125 / Jigsaw leather clutch £34 (was £69)

More of my holiday outfits can be found over on my Instagram @dresslikeamum.

BRAND: ESMELOVES

EsmeLoves is a London based jewelry brand who create beautiful, timeless pieces for all generations of women.

EsmeLoves was born from a personal project - after the founder Sophie designed a matching bracelet and necklace for herself and her daughter to honor their relationship. The collection grew from there and celebrates the importance to connect with one another and to remind us of the people who are important to our lives.

I own a lot of jewelry but it's always the good quality, classic and meaningful pieces that i wear the most - this necklace is one of those pieces, especially as my daughter has a matching bracelet too. 

Here is some more information from the founder Sophie, on how it all began and what she wants us to know about her brand:

NAME OF BRAND: EsmeLoves

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: November 2015 (although it has been a personal project for much longer)

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: I (Sophie) am a mum of two lovely little people and I now live in London. I recently spent 8 years living and working in India in the education sector. I have spent a lot of my life living overseas and I always sought out jewellery, from the gem markets in Thailand and Malaysia to the silver bazaars of Delhi, over the years I have developed a hobby and passion for gemstone jewellery.

WHY WAS IT CREATED: It initially started out as a personal project. I wanted some jewellery to signify my journey and relationship with my daughter. I couldn’t find anything I liked and so I designed a small silver baby bangle for Esme and a necklace of the same design for myself. I loved the idea of wearing something that both of us had. I then had one made for my mum and the concept grew from there as friends requested pieces for themselves and loved ones. The collection grew as the story did.

EsmeLoves (Esme means ‘beloved’) is a brand that celebrates the relationships we have, as a mother, a grandmother, sister and more. I want a jewellery brand that appeals to both my Grandmother and my own growing daughter with subtle, timeless and delicate designs that will be worn through the years.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: It’s about women and our relationships. We live in world that is connected, across the globe 24 hours a day we can call, email, text people who we love. To stay connected has never been easier, yet the gap between the generations is growing larger. The world moves and changes at such speed it is hard to stay connected to what matters. Relationships and people are our connection. Our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, nieces and friends.

EsmeLoves is a London based independently run jewellery business with an aim to celebrate our relationships and reminds us of the people in the world who mean so much.

I want people to wear jewellery with meaning (and look good of course at the same time…)

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: The whole of the EsmeLoves collection are all my favourite pieces and I wear them often. I wear the silver rose quartz Grande necklace pretty much with every outfit. It is different to most long necklaces and it is unique in design. I find it is stylish and classical with the intricate filigree design over the rose quartz stone. People always comment on it. My daughter often wears the silver baby bangle of the same design. I also love the rainbow moonstone circle earrings and they are very popular and perfect when you want to ‘dress up’ an outfit.

BRAND: GIBSON GIRL

Gibson Girl is a new fitness wear brand that specialises in flattering, high performance, comfortable exercise clothes.

Gibson Girl was founded by an experienced technical womenswear designer from her desire to find fitness clothes that were functional and durable. All of the pieces have been carefully researched, designed and manufactured to ensure that they deliver everything you could possibly want from your exercise clothes.

I have been testing the Genius Vest, Sensation Tights and the On Point Tights out and i have so say i am really impressed - they are super comfortable and the attention to detail in the design is amazing. They somehow manage to hold you in but not restrict you, they are tight but flattering and feel good to wear!

 

Here is some more info on the brand from the founder Sam:

NAME OF BRAND: Gibson Girl

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: Launched April 2016, but design work began 1 year before

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Sam Gibson - who has designed womenswear, technical outerwear and sportswear for major brands, in London and New York – from Whistles to Barbour to Musto.

WHY WAS IT CREATED: I adore fashion and have done since being a little girl. With experience, I’ve become more excited by the challenges of designing within a specific brief where clothes have to be functional and fit for purpose than what’s this season’s hem height or what’s the new black.

As I started to work out more regularly, the more I found it harder to shop. Even with so many new brands emerging, I stuck with my “big brand” black tights… so boring! I wanted stylish, but it had to perform. There were so many things I didn’t want – crazy prints, skinny straps on tops that you struggle to get off when sweaty. Like so many women today I spend my life juggling kids, work, etc… I need things to be easy!

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: “Flattering” was the word that women kept repeating during our research. It’s taken a year of development to land on the best fabrics that support and sculpt the body that are not compression wear. From strap widths, to silicone care labels , precise zip positioning to the placement of reflective panels for outdoor safety and sweat wicking on ALL styles – EVERY design detail has been considered.

The story behind the brand name is a fundamental part of our ethos – I really wanted it to be relevant and have meaning. When I came across The Gibson Girl Vogue illustrations it was a lightbulb moment. They were lesser known early feminists from the Edwardian era – paving the way for the suffragettes and for the 1st time exercise was part of a woman’s lifestyle. They were independent, educated, sociable and glamorous. They made Athletic girls fashionable and socially acceptable. It was the perfect name.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: The On Point Tights - The ultimate design and production challenge – to create a super flattering pair of leggings that would tick every single box. Our customers tell us we’ve made it. These have been designed to be worn for EVERYTHING… spinning, running, interval training, school run...

The Genius Vest - When I told people I was designing a fitted vest with horizontal stripes, people thought I was crazy – but the Genius vest is one of the most flattering tops ever – It makes everyone’s waist look much smaller!

Warrior Zip thru - This super stretchy zip thru jacket is THE activewear piece that we are the most proud of - when we run 10k in the cold, we are truly thankful for its abundance of design features. Or just grab it as you're running out for a gym session. We wear it every day!

BAUKJEN SALE PICKS

I have written about Baukjen before, it's a brand that i have only really come across this past year but that i have been really impressed with. They do great quality, versatile basics that can be dressed up and down, that wash well and last.

I have some perfect leather leggings that i got last year and lived in, i think they were my most useful item of winter clothing - definitely worth the investment. I have also recently got a mint green leather biker jacket (of dreams), the leather is so soft and it fits perfectly.

The other thing to look out for is matching tops/ shirts and trousers which are great if you are a different size on your top to your bottom and can't find a jumpsuit that fits - if you get them as separates it gives the illusions of wearing a jumpsuit but will be your perfect size.

Chambray Jumpsuit £87 (was £145) / Dress £83 (was £139) 

Baukjen also do great sales (i love sales) and have the kind of things in the sales that you don't regret buying! Here are some of my top picks from the current sale:

Jumpsuit £77 (was £129) / Chambray Shirt  £76 (was £109) / Shirt £69 (was £99) /  Jumpsuit £74 (was £149) / Trousers £54 (was £109) / Skirt £83 (was £119) 

This post is in collaboration with Baukjen but all thoughts are (totally) my own!

BRAND: VILLAGE ENGLAND

Village England are a handbag brand who specialise in leather bags that are designed to last, that are top quality and luxurious but fairly priced.

The handbag designs are practical and really work well, it is obvious they have been thought about with the wearer's needs in mind. I have a Hempstead (in blue) and the first thing that stuck me about it was how practical it is and how well it works - it fits everything i need and is so easy and comfortable to wear.

Village England was founded by Eddie & Julia who both had previous experience within the handbag industry, they spotted the gap between super high end leather handbags and what the high street had to offer and so launched Village England to fill it.

Here they tell us what we need to know, why they launched and what we should buy from them:

NAME OF BRAND: Village England

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: First collection was Autumn Winter 2013

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Eddie Knevett - ex Head of Accessories at House of Fraser, ex-buyer at Harrods, and Julia Dobson - ex UK boss of Celine, LVMH Group

WHY WAS IT CREATED: There was absolutely nothing English between Radley and Mulberry (and at that stage Radley was going down and Mulberry up - things have stabilised!) AND the mid-price market was totally dominated by American brands, who just do not have our love of leathers. Eddie and I knew how to create gorgeous bags, that look, feel and will wear like a luxury brand, but we wanted to deliver it at a price that was not completely insane.  I feel like many women felt they had to spend thousands to get quality because what they were buying for £400 wasn't wearing well. But it's not true, it just that so many bags at £400 are created to sell profitably at a discount. Not us.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We want to make women happy! We want to create the "best friend"  you have at the back of your wardrobe, which looks great and really works for your life.  Gorgeous leathers, linings that feel luxurious, lots of pockets.  We really think about how the bag will function, as much as the form.  As my mother said; "Good haircut, good shoes, good handbag and it doesn't matter what else you wear"

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Whatever makes your heart sing.  Buy less often, buy better, and look after them and you'll be handing down your bag to your daughters!

My personal favourites this season - The Haworth, Chelmorton in Leopard, and the Beamish - our best selling bag which we update every season.  Oh and the Wentworth which is a great "normal" purse for cash, coins and credit cards with a chunky pocket on the side which is perfect for your phone and house keys, making it the one "must grab" as you rush out the door (and the wristlet means its safely attached to you!).  For work it's the relaxed Hazelmere tote, and for dressing up the Thurlaston is gorgeous - the clutch we all need in the cupboard for events (and they all have detachable X-body straps so you can wear it as you want).

SWIMWEAR

A few people have requested I do a post on Swimming costumes - so here it is! A lot of women's bodies change after they have children and as they get older and along with that so can their choice of swimwear.

Personally my breasts aren't as 'perky' as they used to be so swimsuits without support in this area can make them look a bit 'flat' (nice!). I also prefer to cover up/ get some help holding in my tummy (which i can't blame entirely on having kids) so I have started to prefer to wear swimming costumes as opposed to flimsy bikinis - although saying that there are some cool high waisted bikini bottoms around at the moment that show off the most flattering part of the tummy  - the ribs!

Things to look for are - support around the boobs, avoid weird cut outs or straps, pale or nude shades are never good,  low V necks aren't the most flattering on a flat cleavage and swimming costumes with no support or shape to them will not look good.

Swimming costumes are things that you really need to try on to see how they fit - so if you are shopping online order a few styles and sizes and don't be afraid to go for fun bold prints or patterns. From personal experience when i have spent a bit more on a swimwear i have not regretted it as it lasts longer and holds it shape better.

Good news is that one piece swimsuits are in at the moment so there are a lot to choose from. Here are a few i've seen that tick all the boxes:

TOPSHOP £36 / Laura Ashley £31.50 (was £45) / Ted Baker £55.30 / John Lewis £39 / Phase Eight £55.20 / & Other Stories £39

BRAND: HARLIG

I love scarves - summer ones, winter ones, large wooly ones or small silk ones, i love them all as they are all capable of completely transforming an outfit.

Harlig was founded by a fellow passionate scarf lover Isobelle, who after often wearing scarves herself decided it was time to set up her own brand.

Harlig scarves are manufactured by hand in Gloucestershire and are individually hand-painted in their London studio - as a brand they insist on ethical and sustainable production in the UK.

Harlig designs are colourful and contemporary and the scarves themselves beautiful and of a stunning quality, they are an item that you will keep forever. Here is some more information about the brand: 

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Harlig

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: May 2016

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Isobelle Rudman

WHY WAS IT CREATED: In a nutshell, I am crazy about scarves, I have always loved and collected them, in fact, I am rarely seen without one. Their versatility from a styling and practical perspective, is undeniable and selecting the right one results in an instant outfit transformation. I wanted to share the 'scarf love' and created Harlig to indulge explosions of colour and pattern, onto a luxury silk canvas.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We are dedicated advocates of bold colours and brave pattern coupled with UK design and manufacture. Our design process is undertaken by hand, resulting in texture, tangible depth and delicious colour palettes. Harlig printed silk scarves are crafted in the Gloucestershire countryside and finished with luxury, traditional hand-rolled hems. Alongside the printed range are hand-painted silk scarves, individually painted in our London studio, by myself.

After a decade of working and learnings within the demands of corporate fashion sourcing, I insist on ethical production for Harlig, to minimise any negative social and environmental impact. For that reason, Harlig will always work sustainably in the UK, keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum and buying small quantities from trusted suppliers.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: The debut range launches with an exploration and distortion of traditional patterns; herringbone, dogtooth and check. The pink dogtooth is an absolute winner for the breadth of colour, but, saying that, we have been also seeing lots of the printed herringbone flying out of the Harlig studio too.

BRAND: LULU KACHOO

LuLu Kachoo is a bespoke luxury jeweller based in London. They start with a one on one design consultation to understand exactly what you want and then create a design to fit the brief and budget. They can either design a piece from scratch or redesign an old and tired piece of jewellery. 

LuLu Kachoo was founded by an old friend of mine Louisa who is from a family of jewelers and so has been (lucky enough) to be surrounded by jewels her whole life. After leaving her job and meeting her husband she followed her dream and launched LuLu Kachoo.

One of my best friends has got the Hepburn and it's absolutely stunning - if LuLu was doing her thing when i got engaged i would definitely have got my engagement ring from her they are stunning!

Here is some more info on the brand:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Lulu Kachoo

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: 2012

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: I (Lou) founded Lulu Kachoo with my husband who works in investment with particular knowledge of the luxury industry

WHY WAS IT CREATED: I've always had a passion for jewellery ever since I was at school. I would carry around my jewellery box at the age of 10 to see if anyone wanted to buy my gemstones. My mother is a Jewellery designer too and she has been a huge influence. After university I followed my passion and worked in various jewellery shops on Bond street and Burlington Arcade but after a few years I took a de-tour and left the jewellery industry for finance until I met my husband who supported me in following my dream.

The luxury jewellery industry is dominated by more old fashioned brands, we wanted to create something contemporary, cool, colourful and classy.. Our own 4 C's! We take great inspiration from Graff and Faberge and aim to build a design around exquisite stones that showcases their brilliance and unique characteristics. I also love the way in which some old name fashion brands are recreating themselves: Fendi, Balmain, Saint Laurent, Moncler. They are all taking an established brand and going in a more contemporary direction.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: Lulu Kachoo is a bespoke luxury jeweller based in London. We specialise in colourful designs centred around the finest gemstones and crafted by highly talented and experienced craftsmen. We are young, fun and luxurious.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Yellow sapphires. The Sunburst and The Coco are great examples of making a beautiful piece of jewellery with a yellow sapphire. Yellow sapphires are extremely rare, they are in fact more rare than diamonds so not only are incredibly beautiful, they are also a great investment piece.

@lulu_kachoo_ / lulu@lulukachoo.com (please say i sent you!)

BRAND: CADENCE LONDON

Cadence London Jewellry is unique and timeless, it is personal and symbolic. The pieces are all made in the UK using a combination of modern technology and traditional craftsmanship. 

Inspired by her time as a dancer and yoga teacher Cadence has created jewellry that is symbolic of the body and that represents the respect she has for it. The pieces aim to inspire and empower the wearer, to remind them to reflect on the wonder of life's radiance, joy, and strength and to reflect on the beauty and power they have within.

Cadence London jewellery pays homage to your own history, spirit and desires - each piece is a talisman of strength sending a quiet message of inspiration throughout the day - I have a vertebrae necklace for integrity and strength. 

Here is what the artist, mother and creator Cadence would like us to know about her beautiful brand:

NAME OF BRAND: Cadence London

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: Autumn 2014

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Cadence Pearson Lane

WHY WAS IT CREATED: Cadence London jewellery was born out of my desire to create unique timeless treasures that speak to the heart and in turn inspire and empower.

The collection is inspired by my 20 year history as a dancer and yoga instructor, which made me fascinated, and in awe of, the beauty of the human form and the symbolism housed within it. The mind body connection in Eastern philosophy and healing has always resonated close to my heart. In reading the book Anatomy of the Spirit, I became utterly intrigued by the concept that our biography becomes our biology. Our emotions lodge themselves physiologically in our bodies and the story created is often quite archetypal. I chose the spine as inspiration for the first collection as, to me, it is a metaphor for life. The vertebrae fit together in a magical way that act as our scaffold and strength, yet they bend and twist to life’s demands and protect within them the sensitive spinal cord which connects mind to body.

Alongside of this, I am a believer in the power of energy and good luck charms and since I was little have made symbolic gifts for friends. Shortly before I had my two daughters I was also a practicing artist exploring concepts of women and identity. I am drawn to the way fine jewellery seems to have a personal story that is carried along with it. . . the pieces women wear day in and day out whisper a story, a personal history. I wanted to honour this concept and take it one step further, by imbuing the jewellery with a subtle inherent meaning.

In creating Cadence London jewellery I hoped to weave together all these strands into a heartfelt and meaningful business to uplift and embolden women. Each piece in the collection can act as a personal talisman, sending forth a quiet message of inspiration. A reminder to reflect on the wonder of life and think not about the stresses that come from without, but about the radiance, joy, strength, and healing that come from within.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We make beautiful talismans to remind women to reflect on the beauty and power they have within.

Fine jewellery inspired by mysticism, philosophy and the beauty of the human form, each piece is a symbol of strength sending forth a quiet message to:

Live your truth and believe in you. Find your inner warrior and have a backbone. Trust your softness and have a heart. Breathe to your own rhythm and always be you. . . pure and simple!

We invite you on our journey towards truth, joy, strength, and equanimity.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Any piece that resonates a note of inspiration: a heart for truth or belief, a vertebra for integrity and strength, or a word to motivate.

@cadencelondon

BRAND: SALT-WATER SANDALS

Salt-Water Sandals have been around for a long time - since 1944 in fact. They were founded (like many great brands are) from a problem that needed to be solved; in the case of Salt-Water Sandals it was as a way to cope with the leather shortages in America in World War II.

As the name suggests Salt-Water Sandals can be worn in (and out of) the sea, the buckles are rust proof and the whole shoe can be washed in the washing machine. They are designed to mould to your foot and are hard wearing and durable - i can also personally vouch for the fact they are very comfortable!

Salt-Water Sandals come in a variety of styles and loads of different colours and are both for kids and adults too. But be warned it takes a long time to choose which colour to go for....

Here is some more information on the brand's heritage and what we need to know about this summer staple:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Salt-Water Sandals

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: 1944

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Walter Hoy

WHY WAS IT CREATED: As a way to cope with leather shortages in World War II, Walter Hoy started making his sandals using the scrap leather left over from making military boots. Word soon spread and before long, families from all over St. Louis, were asking if Walter could make sandals for their kids. A summer staple in America for 70 years, they are now being spotted on a growing number of celebrity children such as Suri Cruise, Ramone Saasgard, Matilda Ledger, Romy Mars and Ruby Maguire. Grown up fans include Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung, Paloma Faith, Fearne Cotton and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: This is a brand with authentic heritage - Salt-Water Originals are defined by their tough little-way stitched rubber sole, whilst the Sun-San range is built upon a more bouncy urethane bonded base. The leather is coated with a water resistant sealant and they mould to the user's feet with repeated wear. The rust -proof brass buckles allow straps to be adjusted for narrow or wide feet. They are great for running in and out of the ocean and rock pooling and can be popped into the washing machine; the perfect summer sandal for both wet and dry conditions.

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: Seventy years on and Hoy shoes' classic designs continue to deliver durable leather comfort. Beautiful design, made to last. If you want to stay true to the original then go for a tan Salt-Water Original - or try one of the latest mash-ups (a combination of colour ways in one sandal). The Fisherman style Salt-Water Shark is a back catalogue archive design that we re-launched for the European market last year. For children check out the latest cherry print available in several different Sun-San styles.

This post is in collaboration with, and kindly sponsored by Salt-Water Sandals. All thoughts and views are my own.

THE OUTNET: EVENT & OUTFIT

I recently spoke on a panel at the Mothers Meeting & The Outnet event. It was so much fun and an excellent event. We spoke about everything from online shopping tips, outfit ideas for a breastfeeding, maternity style, wardrobe staples, wardrobe failures, what to invest in, what brands to look out for and much more...

I often feature and shop at The Outnet they have so many great things and bargains! The Outnet is Net A Porter's sale site and sells past season stock at a massive discount. They occasionally do 80% off flash sales which are amazing but sell out fast (so be quick), they are also great for jewelry, presents and are the first place i look if i need a special outfit for a special event.

My whole outfit on the night (apart from the shoes & bag) was from The Outnet and here it is: 

Helmut Lang cropped wool blend blazer £211 (was £470) / Vivetta £262 (was £525) / Alexis £200 (was £445) / TOPSHOP £56 / Bag by Hill & Friends £1095

More photos of the night can be seen here on the Mothers Meeting website.