style

Do you ever get a new pair of shoes that fill you with utter happiness? Well, this happened last week when my new leopard sandals arrived. I had been eyeing them up on the Hotter website for over a month. Umming and ahhing. Do I really need new sandals? It turns out that I really did. After all, my wardrobe was severely lacking in leopard ones (meaning I had none).

I almost never wear heels, so I try and find flat shoes that look stylish and not frumpy. And for summer, these leopard sandals are ideal. They ooze elegance but never make you feel like a nana (sorry nana). But it's true, I love being comfortable and refuse to suffer for style. Yes, I would love to wear some three-inch heels, but I know it would kill my back and give me a leg ache.

...continue reading

2 Comments

I have spent about a month searching for the perfect summer jumpsuit. I had tried on about 20, and I was about to give up when I popped into Sainsbury's last week. I went in to buy pyjamas, and ended up with this navy jumpsuit instead. Jumpsuits are such a versatile piece of clothing. One item can easily be made more casual, ready for drinks with the girls and then even be used as workwear.  But not all jumpsuits work with everyone.

I am a pear-shape (such an old-fashioned term, but  we all understand it). I normally wear a larger size for trousers than for tops. This makes jumpsuit-buying a bit tricky. Some jumpsuits are tight on my legs but fit my upper half. Then there are the insecurities I have towards my body. I don't like anything too tight. I don't show my arms. The jumpsuit is actually sleeveless, but I thought my denim kimono would look nice without screaming 'I'm wearing a cardigan because I hate my flabby arms'.

...continue reading

2 Comments

Regular readers will know that we underwent home renovations last autumn/winter. Now that the work is mostly done, and I've bought 90% of the furniture needed, I can now think about accessories. Last month, I was invited to an interiors event hosted by the lovely folks from Amara. And I was beyond excited to get some styling tips from the pros so that I could update my home. So of course I had to share my new found knowledge with you (as well as show you how I've styled a few products from Amara).

Our day began with a talk and Q&A with Sam Hood. Sam co-founded Amara with her husband Andrew in 2005. While it began as an interior design business, Amara then added a shop filled with amazing home accessories before becoming an online marketplace for amazing interiors. Amara now offers a wide array of beautiful pieces on their site, from home accessories to furniture to clothing. And they even offer design inspiration on their site for amateurs such as myself.

...continue reading

1 Comment

I love earrings, but I find it really tough finding earrings that aren't too heavy and which don't irritate my ears. Statement earrings have been all the rage for a couple of years now, but I haven't been able to join in. Not until now. I bought these earrings from a market stall a couple of months ago. They are very light and give a bit of a statement.

While wearing my new earrings from Esoteric London, I got to thinking about the history of earrings. Did you know that in ancient times, earrings were predominantly worn by men? And in ancient Rome, earrings were worn only by slaves while in ancient Greece, they were worn by prostitutes. In the 13th century, the Catholic Church forbade the piercing of ears; only thieves, pirates and lower class people continued to wear them.

...continue reading

A few months ago, I was doing my food shopping in Sainsbury's when some denim dungarees called to me. Now, I hadn't worn dungarees in almost 20 years. Back in university I was quite a fan of overalls (as us Americans call them). They're so comfy, which is perfect when you're young and don't have a job. At first, I felt a bit apprehensive about trying them on. But they were so cute, I just had to buy them.

...continue reading

2 Comments

Our house is slowly coming together. I'm taking my time with the kids' bedrooms and the living room, but the guest room is almost finished. I'm still waiting for the new desk and the shutters to arrive, but I couldn't wait to show you how it looks. Ta-da! This might not mean too much until you see the before photos. But the difference is huge.

...continue reading

4 Comments

And when I say new bedroom, I mean NEW BEDROOM. We didn't just give it a lick of paint. We are nearing the end of a major home renovation project. There have been new windows, plastering, painting, new carpets and new furniture. I even switched bedrooms with my daughter. And as of yesterday, the bedroom was 95% finished (shutters are arriving in two weeks). So I thought I'd share the journey of our new master bedroom.

Like I said, the bedroom was originally my daughter's. The previous owners had painted one wall pink, and the door was painted black. Add crumbling plaster and green carpets that were about 30 years old, and the room was kinda disgusting. But no more (I wish I had more before photos, but the workmen started on the room earlier than expected).

...continue reading

You know that I'm one of those people who puts time into their hair. I have naturally wavy hair, and I wash and straighten it every 2-3 days. I have a £100 hair straightener, but have always used fairly inexpensive hair dryers. So when the lovely folks from LanaiBLO offered me a hair dryer worth £99.99, I was intrigued to see what you get for that price.

First of all, I need to address the obvious. My hairdryer has my name on it. This is no coincidence. LanaiBLO offer personalisation on all their hair dryers (as well as three different colours: white, pink and black). How could I not get my name? You don't see Elfa on many things, so anytime there's an offer of personalisation, I take it. This costs an extra £15, but is totally worth it.

...continue reading

In my 20s, I was obsessed with shoes and handbags. I spent my 30s thinking about things for my babies. Now, in my 40s, I'm all about my home (okay, okay, I still like shoes and handbags). So I was thrilled when I heard that West Elm was opening their second UK store in Kingston-upon-Thames. And I was even more thrilled to be invited to the grand opening on the 8th December.

Personally, I love mid-century modern. I like furniture to be comfortable and useful, but also interesting. West Elm is like my mecca. Even if you're not looking for big pieces, or if you have a small budget, you are able to find accessories here that add a unique feel. They have some amazing plates, mugs and Christmas decorations that are both vintage and modern and oh so quirky. And despite West Elm being a chain, it's not like you'' end up having the same armchair or mirror as half of your friends (I'm looking at you IKEA).

...continue reading

Updating the Living Room with a New Sofa

We have been busy at Californian Mum HQ (by HQ, I mean my house). We are currently in the middle of home renovations. Although we have been having some major work done, we are also getting new furniture and giving the house a general update. Last month, we gave the living room a little update in the form of a new sofa and moving some furniture around.

Our previous sofa was brown and boring. It was also not very comfortable, even though it was only three years old. And the top cushions were in a constant state of sag. Also, after some calculations, I realised that we had had four brown sofas over the past 14 years. Husband really likes brown sofas. But I decided that I needed some colour in my life.

...continue reading