WARDROBE PICK ME UPS

This month's M&S pieces are the perfect items to give your wardrobe an easy update. None are 'maternity' but can all accommodate a swelling belly (if you need them too). 

First up is this stripped top, I have seen many takes on the breton top but this one has some good ingredients. I love the longer length and the frill on the 3/4 length arms, perfect for wearing over skinny trousers or jeans.  

Cotton Rich Striped Ruffle Cuff Tunic £25 / Multi Colour Cup Drop Earrings £12.50

I love this pale pink cotton dress, it is simple and flattering - I love the gathering around the waist and wrists. I'd wear this to a wedding but i'd also dress it down for everyday.

Pure Cotton Ruched Waist Tunic Midi Dress  /£65 / Cross Body Bag £12.50

This is a top of two halves - simple from the front but super fun and bright from the back. This is a great top for anyone who likes to avoid anything to tight around their waist as it hangs and fits really nicely.

These lilac shoes have got to be some of the most comfortable shoes i've ever worn (and I have tried on a lot of shoes). They are so soft plus are available in 6 different colours - there is a chance I might get them all...

Pleat Back Short Sleeve Shell Top £45 / Leather High Cut Ballerina Pumps £35

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers and is part of my monthly collaboration with them.

VERSATILE M&S PICKS

This month my M&S picks are all about versatility - whether that be to accomodate a 6 month pregnant belly, or because you can wear them in all weathers or to any occasion or simply because they are very useful things to have in your wardrobe.

 

Interseason is the time in between seasons - when it is not quite spring but not quite winter or when it is not quite hot summer but it is getting summerey. Anyway you get the idea and whichever seasons you are between it is always a confusing time of year for dressing.

This floral dress is a great dress for all seasons (and incidentally perfect for maternity + breastfeeding). I've worn it with tights and boots (winter) but in a few months (summer) I will be wearing it with sliders and rolled up sleeves.

 

Floral Print Long Sleeve Shirt Midi Dress £45 / Wide Fit Leather Block Heel Ankle Boots £69

Do not underestimate how useful a good quality, classic design, black leather backpack is but also don't underestimate how hard it is to find one. I am always on the lookout which is how I spotted this one - it is perfectly balanced and will last a lifetime.

Leather Backpack Bag £59

These trousers are amazing - I am 6 months pregnant in these photos so I am only able to wear maternity trousers or ones with elasticated waists, comfort is always key for me but especially at the moment. These are as comfortable as tracksuit bottoms but at the same time are a checked print that look smart enough for work.

Cotton Blend Textured Trousers £27.50 / Round Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt £7.50

This is an ideal shirt for anyone who does not want to show too much tummy or bum off (or for someone who is pregnant). It is super smart and feels really premium. I've teamed it over jeans but would also wear it with a pencil skirt or over leather leggings.

Pure Cotton Striped Dipped Hem Shirt £39.50 / Sculpt & Lift Mid Rise Skinny Leg Jeans £35

This post is part of my ongoing collaboration with Marks & Spencers. All thoughts, words and outfit choices are entirely my own obviously.

TOPSHOP MATERNITY JEANS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

As you are all well aware I am a fan of TOPSHOP and highly rate TOPSHOP's denim, so it was the first place I went for my maternity jeans. 

I believe that it is worth investing in maternity jeans early on in your pregnancy - they are so much more comfortable on your expanding waist, even with a small bump so why wait? Also compared to normal jeans they will have limited wear (although I have friends who still wear theirs for a Sunday roast). You will most probably be wearing them for a while once the baby has arrived too - so get some you love.

Another thing to know is that maternity jeans can either fit under or over your bump. It is personal preference as to which you prefer but some style legs work better than others.

The advantages of over the bump is that it keeps your belly warm and you don't suffer from 'mum bum' when you squat down. Also you can wear shorter tops without exposing your belly. If you are looking to get a looser fit leg or a non-stretch denim jean then I would opt for over the bump as they will tend to stay up better - no belts remember!

The advantages of under the bump are that they aren't so bulky under tops and to combat exposure or to allow you to wear a shorter top you can always wear a belly band or long vest top under your top top. Under the bump tend to work better for skinny, stretchy style jeans as the stretch in the denim will hold the jeans on your leg as supposed to having to rely on the waist band only.

Up until very recently there has been a distinct lack of interesting style maternity jeans - and most still tend to be skinny which is fine and often what you feel like wearing as they tend to balance out the ever expanding top half of your body, but still it is good to have a choice of styles.

Here are my top 4 and what you need to know: (FYI I am about 6 months pregnant in these photos)

STRAIGHT JEANS

These are very comfortable and I love the cropped length. They are normal non-stretch denim but i've found them to be good at retaining their shape. Because they are a loser fit it is an advantage for them to go over the bump as this stops them falling down.

Over The Bump Straight Jeans £42 / Knot Woven Mules £39 / Double Breasted Tartan Jacket £59 / Shelly Straw Basket Bag £26

JAMIE JEANS

Jamie Jeans are made from super-stretchy denim which is good because they hold their shape well. These fit under the bump which works well with a stretch denim as the jeans stay up and on. These are great every day jeans and would work well with both boots and trainers too.

Rich Jamie Jeans £40 / 'Amour' Slogan Jumper £29

BOYFRIEND DUNGAREES

I am a big fan of dungarees (bump or no bump) these Boyfriend ones are a loser fit and are very comfortable. The advantages to maternity dungarees are that they do not fall down and feel super comfortable on the tummy. I personally wouldn't style them with boots but would wear them with most flats and trainers.

Boyfriend Dungarees £49 / Point Polly Cat Eye Sunglasses £18

JONI JEANS

These are similar to the Jamie jeans but are even more stretchy denim. They fit over the bump so create a smooth waistline. I like the rips - very rock n' roll mum.

Super Rip Over The Bump Joni Jeans £42 / Attitude Soft Ballerina Pumps £29 / 'Voila' Embroidered Slogan T-Shirt £16 

This post was kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP. All thoughts, ideas, poses and ideas are entirely my own - clever me!

Photography by Jane Looker

 

 

RETURN OF THE MAC

I think it would be too bold a statement to declare that Spring is here BUT I do know that it is coming (based on the fact that it always does). Anyway it means finally we can begin considering wearing clothes that aren't winter ones - and that is something to look forward to.

One of the first things that I put away at the end of the winter are my coats and I look to invest in a lighter weight version, and this year it will be a Trench.  A mac / trench is the perfect transition coat - it can be layered, worn with a scarf, over a dress/ jeans, dressed up, dressed down... etc. Plus trenches have a sophisticated coolness to them that I love.

There are some great modern versions of the classics around at the moment. I love this beige one with puffy sleeves. I don't usually wear beige but I love the simplicity of the mac with the contrasting statement sleeves.

I'm wearing it with a perfect transitional shirt dress and some pink and rose gold trainers.

Cotton Rich Puff Sleeve Trench Coat £89 / Floral Print Long Sleeve Shift Midi Dress £59 / Lace-up Trainers £35 / 

I am currently 5 months pregnant so although this comes with certain clothes restrictions it does not (for me) come with any compromises. There are so many non-maternity pieces that will accommodate a pregnant belly and that you can then wear post baby that I have not had to deviate from my usual style at all.

There are also convenient fashion trends that can be embraced - like slip on shoes! No bending around a belly to put on and off or for the need to ask someone to tie up your shoe laces - slip them off and off you go/waddle.

I love this modern take on on the classic Inspector Gadget style mac - green and purple gingham. It is long and oversized (and fits big - i'm wearing an 8) but it is so cool!

This striped bib shirt is also cool - it would look great with a chunky knit cardigan over the top or tucked into some blue jeans.

Gingham Trench Coat £89 / Pure Cotton Striped Long Sleeve Shirt £35 / Leather Block Heel Mule Shoes £45 / Garden Brooches £15

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers and is part of my ongoing partnership with them. All thoughts, outfit choices and ideas are my own (obviously). 

HAPPY NEW YEAR / CLOTHES

It's the New Year! And the time of year when people all over the world make resolutions and promises of self improvement.  One resolution I am continuing with this year is to wear an outfit I love everyday - because I believe that a good outfit can make for a better day. 

January is also a time when a lot of people aren't flush with cash so when you are thinking of new outfits and purchases then make sure that they are versatile and can be worn with what you already have in your wardrobe.

A leopard print pencil skirt is such an easy piece that can be worn everywhere - work, party, shopping... I've teamed this one with this super cool (catwalk inspired) beaded jumper and patent brogues. But it could also be worn with a chunky knit, denim shirt, trainers or boots. And as leopard print is a neutral it can be paired with any colour.

A new bag can be enough to make everything in your wardrobe feel fresh again - I love this round one it is a great size and somehow manages to be both serious and fun at the same time. 

Animal Print A-Line Mini Skirt £15 / Embellished Round Neck Long Sleeve Jumper £35

This is a great statement knitwear option - I like the detailing on it, the red trim and the way it is designed to be longer at the back means that it works well with tighter trousers; like these leather and lycra leggings - which make a great change from jeans and will make a very useful addition to any wardrobe.

Jacquard Print Round Neck Jumper £35 / Faux Leather Skinny Trousers £25

This shirt has what i'd call is a statement sleeve but because it is on a black shirt it doesn't seem so extreme. I love the longer length and that it contains some stretch - which is always good for expansion (which is something I am currently working on).

If you can't decide between a trainer, boot or shoe then this patent brogue is a good option. I really rate M&S shoes - I think they are good value, quality and comfortable, these have a soft pad on the heel area so that they don't rub. 

Cotton Rich Frill Cuff Shirt £27.50 / Leather Flatform Brogue Shoes £49.50

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers and is part of my ongoing partnership with them. All thoughts, outfit choices and ideas are my own (obviously). 

DRESSING FOR CHRISTMAS WITH M&S

Seasonal dressing is a dressing of opposites and extremes. One day you can be wearing full on sparkle, sequins and velvet shoes and the next you could be spending the day in jeans and a cosy jumper. Then there are the days in-between the big ones that get forgotten about - but that you always need outfits for!

THE PARTY OUTFIT

This dress is absolutely amazing - the green lurex fabric reminds me of some kind of Christmas party mermaid, the cut and shape of the dress is so flattering plus it’s slight stretch makes it very comfortable.

I’m wearing it with these amazing velvet platforms, black opaque tights and very cool velvet with embroidered star clutch. I’ve kept my jewellry simple with some gold hoops but it you wanted to glitz it up even more you could add some statement diamante earrings. 

This is the perfect outfit for a Christmas or New Year's eve party and makes a change from sequins but without losing any wow factor!

CHRISTMAS DAY

I always like to dress up a bit on Christmas Day - even if I am just at home with my family I like to be smart and make an effort (that is until about 7pm when the cashmere tracksuit comes on!). 

But whatever I wear it is crucial that it is comfortable and that there is room for expansion/indulgence. 

I love this navy Tiered Taffeta Swing Midi Dress, it is one of those go to dresses that is perfect for so many occasions. It can be dressed up for events, worn to work or dressed down for a more casual day look. 

These shoes make me so happy - I absolutely love them! They are my favourite colour, flat and super comfortable - they are available in other colours and with a heel but this version have my name all over them!  

BOXING DAY & THE DAYS INBETWEEN

There are always days post and pre Christmas and New Year that you need outfits for. The days where you might go for a country walk, be doing some last minute shopping, visiting family or going to the pub.

A decent pair of jeans is always essential - these High Waist Mom Jeans are great - they have some stretch in them which makes them super comfortable and as they come up high on the waist are flattering too. 

Another essential is a cosy knit - I love the bright red colour of this one (it also comes in cream) and it’s Christmasy gold cuffs and neck (I have sized up to make it more of a slouchy style).

These trainers are for life not just for Christmas - I absolutely love the glitter stars, they are so so fun and make a change from plain white ones while still being as versatile.

This cotton and sequin top is a perfect winter wardrobe staple - it would also look great dressed up with a pleated skirt or smart trousers and layered up with a cosy cardigan.

TRIPLE PINK

Pink is my favourite colour - I have always loved it and always will, but it is a colour people often forget to wear over the Christmas period as red is so prominent and takes it’s place.

I love wearing pink + pink (or in the case of this outfit - triple pink). This pleated skirt has an elasticated waistband and I love the way it moves and wafts when you walk - it is very comfortable. This super soft cosy knit is such a pretty colour and style - it would also look great with jeans.

More sparkly shoes - the small block heel on these are the perfect height for wearing all day and night - for both dancing or shopping. I will be wearing these a lot this season - both with and without tights. 

 

This post was originally created for Marks & Spencer's Style + Living Section on their website, you can see the original post here

TOP OF THE SHOPS

I shop at TOPSHOP a lot - it is defiantely one of my go-to high street stores.  I like the way they embrace colours, re-invent the catwalk for the high street and because a lot of their clothes are fun. 

I enjoy wearing different types of outfits and experiment with new trends (although I do tend to be attracted to colourful (often pink) and sparkly clothes) which again TOPSHOP do very well. I'm a big fan of their jeans and think that they are some of the best on the high street, I think they do great reasonably priced shoes and fun accessories.

This month I have picked 3 TOPSHOP outfits (a dress, sequin skirt and jeans) that can be mixed and matched, and that have all become my new wardrobe staples.

I have worn this dress a lot since I got it - I love the print (it reminds me of Smarties), the loose comfortable cut and the frill detailing. It would work well with a belt or jumper on top and is suitable as maternity wear and for breastfeeding.

The pink colour of these boots is so good (one of my favourite tones) and just because they are a bold colour do not assume they won't go with the rest of your wardrobe, they actually have the ability to brighten up all outfits!

Spotted Frill Dress by Boutique £95 / MARILO Knotch Ankle Boots £75

The perfect black biker jacket is not an easy thing to find - but when you do find it, you will love it and wear it often. I've been on the look out for a while and I have a feeling that this one and I will be together for a while.

Belted Leather Biker Jacket by Boutique £195 / KIKI Gem Shoulder Bag £32

I've been stopped in the street a few times already and asked about this skirt - i'd stop me in the street and ask me about this skirt. It is perfect.

 Textured Balloon Sleeve Jumper £46 / Premium Rainbow Sequin Midi Skirt £125

If I could have an incredibly impractical car - just for fun, it may well be a pink cadillac. Unfortunately this isn't an option when you live in London with 2 kids - so I have settled for a shirt covered in them instead. 

Cadillac Print Casual Shirt £32 / Supersoft Scarf £16

TOPSHOP kindly sponsored this post, but everythings else about this post is me.

AND/OR

AND/OR are one of John Lewis's new in house, exclusive to them, fashion brands.

Their jeans and denim have a great reputation and rightly so - they have loads of different styles, cuts, washes and colours and believe 'Great denim works with everything and it makes everything work'.  But as well as brilliant denim the rest of AND/OR's collection is great too. Their clothes are versatile, flattering and wearable, as are their fun accessories and shoes. And being John Lewis the quality is good too.

I love this embroidered, velvet bomber - it can be worn layered under a big coat or over a knitted polo neck in the cold or worn as a jacket on its own once the milder weather returns. I love the detailing and colours. 

I am always on the look out for a well cut, good quality and (hopefully) amusing slogan t-shirt and this OH WHAT FUN one is perfect.

Los Feliz Fray Jeans £120 / Valeska Velvet Embroidered Bomber Jacket  £160

I am a jeans lover - I have a lot and wear them often and I am always on the look out for a pair that are interestingly cut or have unusual details. These cropped and frayed ones are cool - I like the colour and fraying around the waist and along the bottom - the fit and quality is good too.

This long length striped cape top is a wardrobe staple - it would look great with leggings or leather trousers and it is suitable as (non)maternity wear too.

Another great staple is this matte leather biker jacket which is a great fit (something that is crucial with a biker jacket) - I love the long arms and zips.

Star trainers are having a moment and these are good ones, they are also available in silver with blue and red stars on - which are very cool.

Leather Biker Jacket £250 / Uhla Cape Top £49

A smock dress is a style of dress that I usually associate with summer but this velvet one proves that that is not the case. It is really easy to wear, so soft and flattering - I'm wearing it with my star trainers but it would also look great with ankle boots. A perfect winter dress for day or evening.

Vivi Velvet Tiered Dress £89 / Evita Star Lace Up Trainers £85

This post was kindly sponsored by (one of my favourite shops) John Lewis. As always I choose all the clothes and styled the outfits myself.

Photography by @janelookerphotography

ALL THE JEWELS YOU NEED

I love accessories of every kind - jewelry, bags, hats, shoes, scarves - all of them! I believe that the right accessory has the power to transform an outfit and I am never not wearing something.

I like to try different styles and trends but at the moment I am tending to wear thin gold necklaces with bolder statement earrings and always a few rings. In the evenings I tend to ramp up the sparkle - especially where earrings are concerned but that isn't to say I wouldn't wear a statement earring in the day time! Sometimes I will leave a gold necklace on for a few days before changing it for another one and others days I will layer them up - anything goes at the moment.

Stella & Dot have some stunning jewellry in at the moment - that is perfect for life, not just Christmas - although it is always good to sparkle a bit more around the festive period, plus all of these pieces would make excellent gifts.

 

These earrings are incredible, they are so pretty and despite being on the large side are light and comfortable. Also because they contain different colours they go with everything. I've styled them with an evening dress but I will also be wearing them with a simple t-shirt and jeans or a plain jumper dress.

This charm necklace is so pretty - it sits perfectly between subtle and statement and is so versatile. I can imagine wearing it on a beach with a beach dress and suntan.

 

CAMERON CHARM CHOKER £58 / MORGAN JEWELLED CHANDELIERS £58

I love a clutch bag (and have quite a collection). If I am going to a party or wedding I nearly always take a clutch. I have a thing for metallic bags (and shoes) - mainly because they go with pretty much everything. This pewter sequin one is great because it is the perfect neutral metallic because it goes with both gold and silver and will work equally well for summer and winter events. *Unfortunately my clutch has sold out but there is a similar one here or here.

I'm also a big fan of a statment ring and this adjustable backed one is awesome - it reminds me of an exploding firework and I love it.

MARGEAUX CLUTCH £68 / TROVE STATEMENT RING £36

These chandelier earrings are so chic - they caught my eye immediately. The art deco inspired design is so well proportioned and classic, they will last a lifetime. 

CASCADING CRYSTAL CHANDELIERS £48 / STELLAR PAVE RING £46

As statement clutches go this one definitely has the 'wow factor' - it is so fun, shiny and rose gold! I'm wearing it with a delicate personalised wishing bracelet and gold cuff - both of which would make ideal, very special gifts.

Personalisation is a great way to make a gift extra special - and on the Stella & Dot site is very easy to do.

IN CHARGE POUCH £13.99 (was £28) / BESPOKE WISHING BRACELET £58

My favourite piece from my Stella & Dot Edit is my gold Z Initial necklace which I haven't taken off since I received it. I love layering it up with other gold chains or just wearing it on its own, it seems to sit perfectly in between my collar bones and feels (and looks) (and is) so special.

COVET PAVE INITIAL NECKLACE £295 / COVET FOR ALL TIME NECKLACE  £245

This post was kindly sponsored by Stella & Dot who I have been big fans of for a while. All jewellry was selected by me.

WHAT TO WEAR TOO.....CHRISTMAS PARTIES

I love dressing for parties, especially around Christmas - mainly because it is the perfect time to indulge everything sparkly, shiny, lurex and fun. However, my priority (as always) is comfort, no matter how good you look you will never really enjoy a party if you are feeling uncomfortable or self concious.

Here are some party proof outfits that will pretty much guarantee you will feel good, look good and have fun. 

BLACK TROUSERS 

So many people rely on a good pair of black trousers for event and parties, and that is not a bad thing. They are great because they are flattering, you can wear them with pretty much any colour top and they are suitable for so many occasions. So it always worth having a pair in your wardrobe you can call on.

These black trousers are currently my new favourites and could not be more perfect for the Christmas season - they are a subtle black on black leopard print but also have elasticated waist so they can expand with indulgence.  This sequin striped t-shirt is another great party staple as are my black pointed flat shoes.

PER UNA Animal Print Tapered Leg Trousers £39.50/ Sequin Striped Short Sleeve T-Shirt £35

A SEQUIN DRESS

I LOVE sequins - Christmas (and festivals) are the perfect times to go all out on the sparkle and become the Christmas decoration or human disco ball.

The blue colour of this sequin dress is amazing, and I carried on the blue theme with these pompom/ Christmas bauble inspired earrings. Another bonus to this dress is that it is stretchy so is comfortable and perfect for dancing in too. 

Sparkly Sequin Long Sleeve Shift Dress £89 / Love Box Clutch Bag £45

A LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Another reliable party classic is the LBD and this one is great. It has buttons up the front, slightly puffed sleeves and cool green, pink and white print. It could be dressed down with ankle boots or trainers or up with smart shoes or heels. It would also work for many occasions - work, lunch, dance floor...

Printed Long Sleeve Shirt Dress £45 / Captain Winter Hat £15

This post was created as part of an ongoing collaboration with Marks & Spencers who I love.

(TOP)SHOP LIKE A MUM

TOPSHOP is one of my favourite, go-to high street stores. Whatever i'm looking for - whether it be something for an event, work or jeans I usually start with TOPSHOP.

I think that sometimes there is an assumption from ladies over 30 that 'TOPSHOP is too young for me'  - which I totally disagree with. Personally I believe it caters for all ages from teenagers to retirees. I also think that they do great affordable basics, knits, jackets, as well as super fun statement clothes, plus I believe they do some of the best jeans on the high street (yes i'm a TOPSHOP fan).

One of the other great things that TOPSHOP offers (in selected stores) is complimentary Personal Shopping. I have tried and tested this premium service a couple of times and can 100% recommend it. If you are stuck in a fashion rut, do not enjoy shopping but need some new clothes,  have an upcoming special event, need help and advice on what suits you, or you just need a whole wardrobe overhaul - then they can help. You book online and provide the stylist with some information on what you are looking for, then when you arrive at your appointment they will have already filled your (luxury) changing room with some suitable clothes for you. You will have your own stylist on hand to help with sizes, get free refreshments plus you can bring your baby! It is such a great way to shop because it is entirely stress free, you get dedicated help with what you need and there is no pressure. I always have a great time and wonder why I shop any other way.

So to prove that TOPSHOP has something for all of us and to hopefully give you some festive outfit inspiration, here are my latest TOPSHOP purchases, that with the help of my personal shopper are now happily hanging in my wardobe.

I love this outfit - this top is like some super cool lace-sequin-rock star hybrid t-shirt, easy to wear and very cool. I've teamed it with my current favourite trousers my sequin ones, which last weekend I wore with a white t-shirt, trainers and leather jacket to go for a Sunday lunch. I believe sequins can be dressed down and shouldn't be kept for special occasions.

Cape Embellished Rock T-Shirt £45 / Sequin Stripe Trousers £59 

This is a great take on a Christmas jumper - I love the stars and beading. This will also be a great festival jumper once the Summer comes back.

As you may have noticed I have a thing for metallic footwear, I believe metallics are neutrals and are way more fun than the black versions - these silver boots are so good! 

AMAZING Western Boot £72 / Star Cape Embellished Sweatshirt £69

This is one of the most comfortable, stretchy and sparkly jumpsuits i've ever worn - it is absolutely perfect for the Christmas (and potentially indulgent) season. It is backless i'd wear it with either a pretty lace backed bra or like I have here a colourful cami.

Glitter Jumpsuit £35.00 / Studded Flat Mules £62

This red statement shirt is great - it is a super flattering pyjama style and looks great with jeans. I'd wear it with a chunky knit cardigan on top or with a skinny polly neck jumper underneath.

Tiger Lily Print Shirt £39 / Loose Fit Jeans £49

Photographer @janelookerphotography

This post is kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP. My love for them is real.

MUM STYLE + BODEN

Ever since starting my DRESS LIKE A MUM campaign 3 years ago I have always expressed the importance of wearing what you want - of wearing what makes you happy and that makes you feel good. You are the most important person in your outfit and if you love it (whatever it is) you will in turn look great and feel more confident.

There seems to be so many pressures and opinions put onto women to dress in a certain way - whether that be dressing your age, to flatter your shape, dressing appropriately or like someone else. Fashion is a form of self expression, it allows you to project whatever image you want into the world and on the people you meet and it is up to you what this image is.

Historically mothers have got a bad reputation for dressing badly - for wearing boring outfits and not taking care of themselves. Three years ago when I started @dresslikeamum everything I found about mum style was negative - the media and internet was full of images and messages painting mum fashion as bad and something to avoid.

Terms like ‘mumsy’ which according to the Oxford Dictionary means ‘Giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable’ have been associated with mothers for too long. I’d like to think the way I and all the other mums I know dress - is in the exact opposite way to this description.

Dressing like a mum is now a positive thing, it is something to aspire to because dressing like a mum means wearing whatever you like and whatever makes you happy.

Boden are currently on a similar mission and have enlisted some brilliant women to help them.

MY OUTFIT

OUTFIT IDEAS FROM LA REDOUTE

Sometimes it is hard to decide what to wear. Often people (myself include) find themselves in an outfit rut - always ending up wearing the same thing just a different version of it. But, there are so many options and cool things to wear - that I encourage you to make an effort to not let this happen!

La Redoute has SO many great things in at the moment (some of which are on sale too). They have loads of reasonably priced, versatile pieces that can be dressed up and down and that might encourage you to branch out and have more fun with fashion - because after all that is what it's all about.

SKIRT + TOP

I LOVE this skirt - it is a summer, metallic pink fabric (such a good fabric to be). I've dressed it down with a grey short sleeve sweatshirt but it would also look good with a white t-shirt or a silk cami. 

I like the way this top mixes smart and casual - sequins and sweatshirts, on paper you might not expect this to work but on it really does. Same goes for pale pink suedette sliders - shouldn't work but do.

MADEMOISELLE R Short-Sleeved Sweatshirt £39 / R studio Pink Lamé Midi Skirt £29.40 (was £49) / R studio Mules with Crossover Straps £39

CHECK DRESS

This is an easy dress to wear and style. It works equally well worn to an office as it does to the pub. The buttons can be worn open or up to the top. When it gets cold it can be layered with a biker jacket or chunky knit.

atelier R Gingham Shirt Dress £41.40 (was £69) 

FRILLS & JEANS 

This is such a pretty, light and flattering shirt - i've teamed it with jeans but will also be wearing it under dungarees and tucked into a pleated skirt.

I love a statement shoe they have the ability to perk up an outfit - which is exactly what these do lips and glasses toed ones do.

R édition Ruffled Cotton Blouse £12.50 (was £25) / R studio Boyfriend Jeans £23.40 (£39) / MADEMOISELLE R Ballet Pumps with Patchwork Detail £21.00 (was £35) 

This post was kinding sponsored by La Redoute. I chose all of the outfits, wrote all of the words and wear all of these clothes in real life - not just for a blog post.

Photography @janelookerphotography

SUMMER HOLIDAY PACKING

Part of the fun for me of going on a Summer holiday is the outfits I get to wear.  I love digging out the summer clothes bag and getting a few new things to update it and planning what i'm going to wear in a climate that you can (hopefully) guarantee is going to be hot and sunny.

I always take a few (or more) swimming costumes and bikinis. There are so many different shapes and styles around at the moment but I look for ones with boob support. Since having children/breastfeeding/getting old... my breasts aren't so perky and shall I say self supporting as they used to be. I know to avoid styles that offer no support and that therefore give me 'flat tit' and go for slightly padded underwired ones instead.

These two are great - they have support in the cup, a detachable strap and are flattering on the mum-tum because they have Secret Slimming™ - an inner layer of control fabric that holds and flatters (and they really work!).

Secret Slimming™ Parrot Print Swimsuit £19.50 / Secret Slimming™ Tile Print Swimsuit £19.50

Generally for Summer holidays I pack 2 outfits per day plus a few extras tops/ bottoms for if I change my mind. I am aware that this possibly isn't the most efficient way of packing or that it isn't very excess baggage friendly but i've found that it works for me. I like to have options so I take tops and bottoms that can be dressed up or down, mixed and matched.

I love this pale blue crochet vest top (also availble in white) - it works equally well with a bright skirt as it does with denim cut offs.

Cotton Rich Textured Crochet Strap Vest Top £19.50 / Pleated A-Line Midi Skirt £25 / Denim Shorts £12.50

Denim shorts are a Summer holiday staple for me - these are good ones if you prefer a longer length. They are also flattering on waist as they come up higher.

This is a great, versatile and comfortable skirt. I love the colour and the elasticated waist band. 

Beach cover ups and kaftans are great things - perfect for mooching (an activity only done on holidays) around in pre or post the beach or for having lunch at the beach cafe. I love this snake skin print one - very chic and looks great with gold.

Animal Print Embellished Kaftan £29.50 / Coin Detailed Sandals £35

This black and white dress would be a great investment and would get worn a lot. It is slightly thicker fabric (linen) than I would wear on a super hot holiday but perfect for the UK or when it gets cooler in the evening.

Linen Blend Printed Tassel Tunic Dress £29.50 / Leather Eyelet Across Body Bag £79.00

This post was very kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers - a shop I shop in and guenienly love!

Photography by @janelookerphotography

SUMMER (DRESSES) IN THE CITY

'A dress (also known as a frock or a gown) is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice (or a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment). It consists of a top piece that covers the torso and hangs down over the legs. A dress can be any one-piece garment containing a skirt of any length. Dresses can be formal or informal. In many cultures, dresses are more often worn by women and girls.The hemlines of dresses vary depending on the whims of fashion and the modesty or personal taste of the wearer' Wikipedia.

I love Summer dresses (I actually like dresses in all seasons), they are great for so many reasons - comfortable, flattering, fun, cool.... Plus there are so many different style dresses in the world - maxi, mini, wrap, body-con, beach, wedding - but as Wikipedia states the hemline depends on the wearer!

Here are 3 very different styled, versatile dresses that will hopefully inspire you to get your dress on this Summer:

PINK + LIPS

This dress is the cool side of pretty and could be worn to anything. I love the pale pink colour but also love the fun red lipstick print.  This is defiantely a twirling dress and due to the buttons up the front is breastfeeding friendly too.  

 

 

MADEMOISELLE R Lips Printed Short-Sleeved Dress £41.30 (was £59) / R studio Leather Sandals with Cross-Over Straps £49

ROMANTIC + FRENCH

Everytime I wear this dress I feel like cycling an old bicycle through a lavender field in central France - which I know is quite a specific image but it would be such a perfect occasion to wear this dress. Saying that this dress is easy to wear and versitele, it is soft and comfortable and perfect for warm weather.

R studio Romantic Embroidered Dress £29.40 (was £49) / Hand bag with wooden handles £39

DINNER + DISCO 

I tested this dress out in Ibiza last week - I look it from dinner to the dance floor and it was perfect. It is stretchy enough for dinner but disco enough for the dance floor and perfect for packing in a suitcase as it doesn't crease.

MADEMOISELLE R Lamé Dress £69

Photography @janelookerphotography 

This post was kinding sponsored by La Redoute who are a French company that have been around since 1837 and that I have been shopping at for a while (and so has my mum). They have great kids, mens and homeware too.

HAVANA BRIGHTS

If you are regular reader you know that I'm a colour lover. I believe that beige is a waste of space where a colour could be so when Marks & Spencer asked if I would like to review their Havana trend for their Style + Living section I jumped at the chance.

Yellow - the colour of happiness. Lots of people think that yellow won't suit them but there are so many different shades that it is likely you can find one that does. This dress has the power to change you and the people around you's mood.

Tiered Cuff Detail Long Sleeve Midi Dress £49.50

Blue - is an easy to wear colour and this top is a flattering style. Perfect for both the beach and town, jeans / shorts.

Pure Cotton Embroidered Sleeve Blouse £35

Tropical Flowers - if you aren't ready to go for full on brights or full on florals then this is a great jumpsuit. It is super comfortable and the wrap style is flattering - great for every day and for summer events.

“The most important thing with any outfit, whatever the shade, is that you like it, wear it with confidence and always accessorise with a big smile – because life is just too short to wear boring clothes.” Please read the full article here.

Photos by @janelookerphotography

DENIM JACKET SEASON

It's denim jacket season! I love a denim jacket - they are so useful, perfect for over summer dresses, with jeans, skirts - basically everything!

There are so many good ones around at the moment - different shapes/ styles, ripped ones, embroidered ones, coloured ones, tasseled ones, tight ones, baggy ones...

Here are a few of my favourites:

& Other Stories £65 / ZARA £49.99

& Other Stories £69 / MiH Jeans £162. 50 (was £325)

H&M £34.99 / Etré Celine £250

EVERYDAY OCCASION WEAR

I am not sure on the term 'occasion wear' because I believe that clothes shouldn't necessarily be saved for special occasions. All too often people have things in their wardrobes that they are saving for best or for a special occasion that never actually comes around.

I like to buy things that can work for all situations from the super smart to the everyday. With the right accessories and styling you can make dresses/outfits work for many different events, parties and everyday life.

This is a great dress - it is on-trend, super fun, makes a statement but isn't over the top. It would be perfect to wear on holiday but equally could be worn to a summer BBQ (+ denim jacket), wedding (+ heels and clutch) or to work (+ a smart jacket).

Straw Winged Tote Bag £29.50 / Cotton Blend Striped Skater Dress £69

There is a lot of lace around this season and this mint green is such a pretty colour. I've teamed it with white pointed flats (very in for summer) and a snakeskin clutch to make it look less traditional. The hem and sleeve length on this dress is really flattering so if you are looking for a pretty, simple, easy to wear summer dress then this is a good one.

Cotton Rich Floral Lace Swing Dress £69 / Leather Block Heel Slingback Flats £49.50 / Faux Leather Chain Shoulder Bag £19.50

This is another easy and very versatile dress - flattering, lightweight with broderie anglaise detailing and a flattering hem length. You could wear this anywhere from beach to wedding.

Pure Cotton Broderie Shift Dress £55 / Aztec Print Hand Embellished Clutch Bag with Strap £25

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers. All the clothes, accessories, ideas and theories are entirely my own. 

EMBRACE A DRESS

Dresses are great because:

  1. They are an outfit in one
  2. If you get the right dress style it can be super flattering and make you feel awesome
  3. There is a suitable dress for every occasion from weddings to work to the playground 
  4. There is a suitable dress for all weathers from snow (knitted) to summer (light weight)
  5. Dresses can be dressed down eg. with trainers and a biker jacket or dressed up with heels and a clutch
  6. Dresses come in all different price ranges
  7. You can always find one to suit your shape / size / colouring

TOPSHOP always have a great selection of dresses and at the moment they have loads of different styles.

I LOVE fuchsia pink, it is my favourite colour so when I spotted this dress I had to have it. This would be a great dress to wear to a summer wedding. I've styled it with metallic (neutral) shoes and mirrored sunglasses and would pair it with a leopard print or metallic bag.

Frill Midi Pencil Dress £59.00

This dress is amazing, it isn't actually a style I have gone for before because at first glance I thought it looked too classic but the laced up back, asymmetrical hem and mix of florals gives it an edge and I love it. I recently took this dress on holiday with me and wore it out in the evening to dinner but it will also be great to wear in the UK too - I will wear it with a denim jacket and trainers.

Splice D Ring Midaxi Dress £59.00

This dress is so pretty, it is silk and lace and feels so luxurious on. Again perfect for a wedding or to a smart summer event. I've worn it with a sequin jacket and pointed flats but it would look stunning with super high heels and slick back hair. It is not the most forgiving style and you'll need some seam free underwear but on the right person will look amazing.

Satin Lace Dress £89.00

If you are in the mood for a tea dress then this one is great - the colour is amazing (but they also have it in blue), it is flattering and very easy to wear. The slit up the front and low V at the front stops it from being safe and instead makes it sexy! This is a great everyday dress - perfect for wearing to work in the summer or at weekends with cool flats or birkenstocks.

Red Spot Midi Tea Dress £49.00

So if you are looking for a dress this season then head to TOPSHOP and embrace them. And remember that if you like it try it, as you never know it might suit you and make you feel awesome!

This post has been kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP + Affiliate Window. As you know my love for TOPSHOP dresses is real and genuine as are all the words, dress choices and thoughts in this post.

AYE AYE CAPTIAN

The Nautical trend has been around for awhile now, in fact I think it is always around it just takes on different forms. Nautical is easy to wear because you can fully commit to it (sailor dress) or just nod to it (stripey top) and because it is fun.

This season the nautical trend has evolved - sleeves are like like sails, T-shirts have ropes attached to them and bags are like boats (kind of).

This top is amazing - i'm not sure how you could get more of a 'statement' sleeve, if i'm honest it might not be the most practical shaped sleeve for say eating / hosting / passing things but it looks very cool.

I'm wearing it with bright white culottes and (neutral) metallic flats but it would look cool with jeans or a pencil skirt too. This would be a great outfit for a wedding or a smart Spring event (and preferably one without children).

Pure Cotton Tiered Sleeve Bardot Top £39.50 / Button Detail Wide Leg Trousers £35

I love this outfit - it was so comfortable. It was easy to wear and is as comfortable as pajamas (and looking at it now slightly resembles them - which is fine btw).

Perfect for work or a smart / casual event. You could also team the trousers with a coloured jumper and/or denim or bomber jacket. The Flamingo slipper shoes need no explaining! 

Striped Tapered Leg Trousers £45 / Tie Side Eyelet Short Sleeve Jersey Top £25 / Flamingo Pumps with Insolia Flex® £35 / Faux Leather Across Body Bag £25

This skirt is incredible, look at the way it reflects the sunlight (that came out especially for this shot!). A silver skirt is easier to wear than you might think - it goes with every colour and can be dressed down (like I have here) and up with a black top and wedges. 

Metallic Pleated A-Line Midi Skirt £49.50 / Denim 2 Pocket Jacket £29.50

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers. All nautical thoughts, ideas and clothes choices are entirely my own.