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).
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.
There's something about August. It's technically still summer but thoughts have turned to autumn. And that means that I've started updating our autumn/winter wardrobes. And like most mums, I make the kids' clothes the priority. Besides our favourite places, I love trying out new shops. Preferably online, as that is where I do most of my shopping. So when Angel & Rocket got in touch, I couldn't wait to see their clothes in real life.
Moozles wears a lot of casual clothes. While her brother prefers shirts and bowties, she likes baggy dresses and shorts. But I knew she would love the Imogen Tweed Blazer and the coordinating Linzi Tweed Shorts and Tights. It is smart, but not fussy or frilly. The blazer is cut extremely well, and the shorts have a waistband making it perfect for those with smaller waists. While the blazer and shorts look great together, they would also look lovely separately.
Last week was my 42nd birthday. And while it is not traditionally thought of as a significant birthday - I think all birthdays are special. So we packed the kids off to their grandparents for a few days, and Husband and I enjoyed the sites and restaurants of London. Regular readers may remember that we spent my birthday in York last year. We had so much fun, but this year we thought we'd enjoy the capital city.
On Friday, my actual birthday, Husband booked us a table at Bob Bob Ricard. It is a Russian restaurant, elegantly decorated. Rather than normal tables, they have booths, and each booth comes with a 'Press for Champagne' button. As you can imagine, it is a popular place for Champagne-lovers. As the restaurant is quite over-the-top, I wanted some dramatic make-up. One of my nieces works at Laura Mercier at the Bentall Centre in Kingston and she booked me in for a makeover.
Summer is upon us. It has been so warm this past week, at least it has been in London and Surrey. I've finally packed away my winter coat and plan to wear summer dresses as much as I can. A few days ago I popped into the Woking Shopping Centre to purchase a new summer outfit for our holiday in France.
First stop was Debenhams. I love having a range of shops to choose from and Debenhams has some of my favourite brands, including Oasis and Warehouse. This brightly coloured midi dress is from the latter. Normally I choose looser dresses, but this dress was so pretty that I thought I'd be brave and get it. I'm so glad that I did. Yes, I have curves. At 41, I am finally not so embarrassed at my shape. I've teamed it with a cardi, as well as a t-shirt, making it perfect for those cooler summer days.
Ah spring. One moment it is warm and sunny, and the next minute the sky is opening up and leaving you completely drenched. My children don't seem to mind getting wet, but I just feel better when they're warm and dry. This week, Dubz got a new rubber rain coat, just in time for the insane amount of rain we have had in the past few days.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that I also have a yellow raincoat that I wear quite often. Dubz has been dying to get one like mine for ages. So he was thrilled when his new coat arrived from Lighthouse Clothing. Dubz is barely five, so is still very excited about twinning with his 'honey best friend' (that's what he calls me).
I do like going for walks. And I have been enjoying regular walks in Richmond Park since the autumn. In January, one of my friends suggested that we take part in the Moonwalk London . If you're not familiar with it, it is a marathon or half-marathon walk around London in the middle of the night whilst wearing bras. Although this sounded like more than I could handle, it is for a good cause, so I agreed to give the half moon a try (15 miles).
After 12 weeks of training, it is almost time. The Moonwalk London 2017 is tomorrow, 13 May. I started out walking three miles at a time, and last week completed a 12 1/2-mile walk. At first I wore my normal clothes, but as I have walked for longer distances, I have seen that I need proper workout wear. The lovely people from Regatta sent me some items from their new spring/summer17 range.
Hooray, it's May! That means that summer is at our fingertips. I can't wait to go out without a jacket and enjoy some warm weather. We're off to France in a couple of weeks and I have high hopes for lovely weather. So I've gotten myself a few new things to make my wardrobe feel summery.
As a curvy lady in my 40s, I want to look stylish but definitely not frumpy. SimplyBe recently offered me some holiday outfits, and I was keen to choose some items that would make be feel chic. And I went straight to the dresses. I love how easily dresses can be dressed up or down, depending on accessories. I chose this indigo t-shirt dress as it is looked so comfy. And I wasn't let down when it arrived. It's nice and loose, so would be perfect attire for pizza, wine and ice cream (our favourite holiday meal). It looks nice with capris and a scarf for a bit of sightseeing, but it can also be thrown over your swimsuit for a more casual look. I'm debating getting the striped version as I love this dress so much.
I have a love-hate relationship with hair salons. I love having someone else wash (and massage) my hair. I love a good cut and blow-dry. But I hate the worry of a bad or unflattering hair cut. I hate it when my fringe is not cut perfectly straight. So when I was invited to try out the brand-new Rush Hair & Beauty in Wimbledon Village, I felt a bit nervous. But I was also excited as I had been wanting a new hairdo for a few months.
First impressions were good. Wimbledon Village is quite a nice area, so I would never expect to see a shabby shop or a bargain hair salon there. Rush Wimbledon Village looks quite luxurious. And besides the normal tea and coffee, I was excited to see that they also offer Prosecco (shame I was driving). My hair stylist, Zoe, turned out to understand my hair (fine, but wavy and there's A LOT of it). I showed her a couple of photos of hairstyles that I liked, and we talked about ways to make my hair look nice whether I straighten it or wear it naturally wavy.
I have put away my winter coats. Call me reckless, but I am ready for spring. We have already had some lovely days in the past couple of weeks (though we have also had a couple of cold, windy days). But I have decided to dress for the weather I want, so my wardrobe has had a bit of a spring overhaul. I've been adding colours to my usual monochromatic colour scheme and I have a new camouflage jacket that is jazzing up my outfits.
Camouflage and khaki are really big this spring. I was a bit nervous that I was too 'mature' for camo, But you get to a point in your life when you have to say 'f*ck it'. No 40-something wants to be accused of dressing too young, but I think fashion is more fluid these days. Teenagers and women in their 60s can be found shopping side by side in places like H&M. So I'm trying not to think of my age, and to just wear clothes that make me happy.