Shopping with Kids

Shopping with Kids

Shopping with KidsOkay, shopping with young children isn’t the most fun and carefree thing in the world. But it’s not the worst thing ever. And it can actually be fun, if you are prepared. During the half-term, Husband and I took our kids to Westfield Stratford City for some afternoon shopping. And we had a great time.

Here are some of the things that made our shopping experience enjoyable.

1. Silly Games – You know that game you play in the car, where the winner spots a certain coloured car first? Well, we do this shopping. We see who is the first to spot someone wearing plaits, or red shoes, or a hat, and also who can find a shoe shop, book store, etc. The beauty of this game is that you can play it for ages and young children love it. You could even offer a prize – a sweet treat, a new book. Maybe even something you were planning to buy for your child anyway. Ooh, wow, new socks!

2. Pack Snacks – Like any day out, your child will want to eat constantly, and you won’t want to have lunch at 10.30am. Pack snacks that can be eaten while walking or in the buggy, and that won’t make a huge mess (or smell) so that the other shoppers shoot you evil looks. Think raisins and Babybels rather than jam sandwiches or hard-boiled eggs.

Shopping with Kids3. Let Them Play – Children can only handle so much waiting around time while you try on 12 different pairs of skinny jeans. Fact. We were so pleased to find that Westfield Stratford City had play areas. After shopping and dinner, Husband remembered he needed to buy new trousers. Rather than dragging the kids to another shop, I took them to the play area while Husband went shopping. The kids had fun and Husband had peace and quiet for 10 minutes. And I got to see what was happening on instagram using Westfield’s free WIFI.

Shopping with Kids4. Be Organised – You don’t want to spend half of your time at the shopping centre wandering around looking for your favourite shops. As we had never been to Westfield Stratford before, I downloaded the free app. It had maps and store information. And as we went on the Bank Holiday Monday, I was able to quickly check to find out that it was open until 9pm (wow!). It also has a parking section that is pretty cool. When parking, you can note down where you have parked. But if you forget to do that, you can put in your license plat number and it will tell you where you have parked. Genius!

I think it helps if you shop somewhere child-friendly, although that isn’t always easy. One thing that really impressed me about Westfield is their Parent Rooms. Besides plenty of room for changing nappies, comfy chairs for breastfeeding (and privacy) and child-sized toilets, they also have play areas and televisions in case your child just needs a break from the shopping.

So, do you go shopping with your kids very often? Have you been to any of the Westfield shopping centres? What are your tips for shopping without any meltdowns?

 

 

 

We were given a gift card for Westfield Stratford for the purpose of this post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

 

My Christmas Outfit, Styled by my Husband and SimplyBe

Can you think of anything scarier than letting your partner pick out an outfit for you? What about a festive Christmas outfit? When SimplyBe asked if Husband and I were up to this challenge, I felt nervous right away. Husband is a wonderful father and husband. But a clotheshorse he is NOT. His hair is normally scruffy and his clothes are often wrinkled. In fact, Husband hates shopping so much that I normally buy his clothes. So the prospect of him picking out an outfit? That I have to wear in public? Terrifying.

My Christmas Outfit
Such a sweet face, surely he wouldn’t pick out a leather mini skirt and matching crop top?

But, I have spent years trying to cultivate a sense of fashion awareness in Husband. And I wanted to see if he had an idea of what I like to wear and what styles suited me. So, armed with my sizes, Husband spent FOUR HOURS on SimplyBe putting together an outfit on Polyvore. And this is what he picked out.

Husband styling Californian Mum in London

 

What a pretty dress. I love the velvety fabric and the bit of tulle at the bottom. I have a tough time finding dresses that fit me since I wear a smaller size on top, but this fits extremely well. I don’t normally like a cap sleeve, but I like this one. It fits well and I can wear a normal bra with it. I find it hard to feel festive when I’m wearing a strapless bra. I don’t have any other clothing from Joe Browns, and am really impressed with the quality and fit of this dress. I will definitely shop that brand again. The dress looks nice with or without tights, depending on how cold it might be. I added some burgundy tights for some Christmas colour.

My Christmas Outfit

My Christmas Outift

I would have liked a brighter or sparklier dress, as it is a Christmas outfit, but I think the cardigan was put in for that touch of glittery fun. Although the cardigan is lovely, I would not wear it with the dress. Husband does know that I adore a cardi, so he gets bonus points for that. I think a shorter cardi or a shrug would have looked better. This cardigan is boxy, and would look great teamed up with a white tank/vest or t-shirt and with skinny jeans or a simple mini. Teamed with this dress, it looks like I am a member of the 1950s girl gang, The Blue Ladies.

My Christmas Outift

Oh, these ankle boots. Beautiful, soft grey suede. Divine, and so comfy. Husband knows that I can no longer wear proper heels. Last year I fell down the stairs and broke one toe and sprained another. My feet need to be held in well, otherwise they ache. I will definitely be able to wear these boots all night whilst feeling festive.

For anyone that follows me on Twitter or Instagram, you might have noticed there was an incident with the boots on Sunday. When I opened the parcel from SimplyBe, the first thing I did was try on the boots. While I was putting on the left boot, my two-year old threw the right boot into his sister’s bubble bath. Disaster. Luckily the boot dried well and the lovely suede was not ruined.

My Christmas Outfit

The handbag has a cool, retro look to it. I probably wouldn’t have picked it out but I’m glad Husband did. And for this outfit, I would have preferred something silver, gold or pink, just to brighten it all up. But it really is a gorgeous clutch. One side is black leather and the other side is black and gold. There’s also a handle that you can use, but I prefer it as a clutch.

My Christmas Outfit

My Christmas Outfit

 

 

 

 

 

I wear a lot of grey and black and navy blue. So all these colours fit really well into my colour palette. But as it is Christmas, it would have been nice to see some gold or burgundy in the outfit. Then again, jewellery and tights can really add a splash of colour and sparkle to any outfit.

There was no jewellery included in my outfit, so I grabbed a necklace that used to belong to Husband’s paternal grandmother. I don’t wear too much jewellery but I like to at least wear a necklace or earrings on a night out. Husband likes my hair down, so I styled it straight. I wore just a little bit of make-up as Husband does not like the stuff caked on my face. And neither do I (I don’t even own foundation). All in all, I’m quite pleased with my outfit. The dress, boots and clutch work really well together. Simple and elegant. Husband did a pretty good job. What do you think?

My Christmas Outfit

 

This post is linked to Real Mom Street Style on Reasons To Dress and Fashion Friday on Mummy’s Got Style.
SimplyBe sent me the outfit, that Husband picked out, for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

House of Fraser Women’s Fashion SS15

House of Fraser press day2

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to view the Spring/Summer 2015 Press Preview at House of Fraser. I got a little sneak peek of the gorgeous fashion that will be available online and in shops in January/February 2015. I completely ignored the men’s clothes and went straight to the womenswear.

Biba didn’t disappoint with its usual gorgeous and bright colour scheme, plus lots of golds.  And there were some gorgeous handbags. Biba, Lulu Guinness, Ted Baker, Dickins & Jones and Label Lab. Oh, the handbags. So lovely, so free of porridge stains and those little raisins that have fallen out of their boxes.

Hello snakeskin bag next to leopard print skirt!
Hello snakeskin bag next to leopard print skirt! Come to mama.
Feathery goodness
Feathery goodness
Headphone handbag! Practical schmactical.
Headphones! Practical schmactical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite pieces came from Label Lab. A brand that I’m not familiar with, but whose clothing seemed made for me. Tops were slouchy, with a Scandinavian touch. Lots of greys and yellows. I like clothes that are comfortable, but I still like to look a bit edgy. I’m not ready to dress like a pensioner, despite my various aches and pains. And there was a gorgeous dark grey biker jacket. If only I had a handsome and kind husband who would surprise me with such an item. if only. Biker jackets seem to be a hot item for Spring/Summer 2015, so don’t pack yours away in the back of your wardobe this winter.

Before I left, I had just enough time to coo over the sweet Liberty-print dresses and tops for little girls from Little Dickins & Jones. Can’t wait for Spring!

House of Fraser SS15

 

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com

House of Fraser invited me to their SS15 Press Day. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

Falling for Fall Looks from John Lewis Kids

Okay, I know that British people call this season ‘autumn’ and not ‘fall’, but for the purpose of alliteration in my title I had to go with ‘Fall’. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you will know that I love John Lewis. They’re an all-round great department store and they also have a fab line of kids’ clothing. John Lewis Boy, John Lewis Girl, Kin by John Lewis and the new Donna Wilson for John Lewis range – these lines are fashionable without breaking the bank.

I have picked out some of my favourite items from the kids’ autumn clothing. The girls’ clothes range from ultra feminine to funky tomboy to Scandi-cool. My six-year old daughter, Moozles, edges towards the latter two so these are our top picks.

Buy John Lewis Girl Brittany Tripple Buckle Hi-Top Trainers Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Girl Herringbone Shorts, Red Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Girl Contrast Sleeve Denim Dress, Light Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy Donna Wilson for John Lewis Girls' Tree Leggings, Black/Multi Online at johnlewis.comBuy Donna Wilson for John Lewis Stripe Dress, Multi Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Rabbit Ear Muffs, Grey Online at johnlewis.com

Buckle high-top trainers, £19-£20    Herringbone shorts, £16-£18    Denim dress, £20-£22
Tree leggings, £10    Stripe dress, £25    Rabbit ear muffs, £9

 

Boys’ clothing is a bit more difficult to source. Just because you have a son, it doesn’t mean that he must be dressed for a play in the mud. I like Dubz to wear more than just tracksuit bottoms and hoodies. But he does not want to feel constricted or be dressed too formally. John Lewis have some super cool boys’ fashion. The boys’ hats, gloves and scarves are especially cute. I mean, ridiculously cute. I could probably do an entire post on the accessories alone. But I have included my favourite, the balaclava below (Dubz just adores monsters).

Buy John Lewis Boy Spiders Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Boy Robot Jumper, Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy Kin by John Lewis Colour Block Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Charcoal/Yellow Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Boy Skull and Crossbone Pyjamas, Pack of 2, Blue Online at johnlewis.comBuy Donna Wilson for John Lewis Boys' Badger T-Shirt, Grey Online at johnlewis.comBuy John Lewis Boy Monster Balaclava, Navy/Red Online at johnlewis.com

Spiders t-shirt, £11-£13    Robot jumper, £16-£18    Colour block t-shirt, £10-£12
Skull & crossbones pyjamas, £20-£22    Badger t-shirt, £15    Monster balaclava, £12-£13

 

So those are my favourite autumnal pieces from the kids’ clothing lines from John Lewis. Do you like the pieces that I’ve picked out? Have you seen any items that are making you get your purse out?

 

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com

Aww, Autumn Clothes from M&S

Last Sunday I went to M&S in an extremely last-minute effort to stock up on back-to-school essentials. Instead of buying school shoes for my daughter, I was overcome at the gorgeous autumn collections for both boys and girls.

So I decided to put together my favourite items from M&S. First, the girls’ clothes had a great mix of tough, funky, feminine and cool. There were loads of great items, in mustard, navy and purple. And is there a girl who would not adore the leopard print faux fur coat? My six-year old loves a fur coat, and they are normally roomy enough to last a couple of winters. I expect some of these items, if not all, will end up in my daughter’s wardrobe quite soon.

M&S

I was also pleased when I saw the autumnal clothing range for little boys. Boys’ clothes can leave many of us underwhelmed. My two-year old son, Dubz, is quite particular when it comes to what he wears. He loves his clothing to contain animals, monsters and robots. I like him to look nice but to feel comfortable. Have you seen anything cuter than the fox welly boots?

M&S

Do you love autumn clothing? Have you started your autumn shopping? Will any of the above items be making their way into your little one’s wardrobe?

 

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com

Summer Dressin’

tulle skirt

We have had lovely summer weather. But with the heat, the kids need to dress to stay cool. In both aspects of the word. Here’s my little gal. She loves a long skirt or dress. And her favourite thing to wear? A tulle, ballet-type skirt! We got this pink number from Marks & Spencer, and it is soft and comfy. Plus I can just throw it in the washing machine. I do not have time for handwashing, and my girl gets messy. We dress the shirt down with a plain tee (as pictured) and crocs. For parties we add party shoes/sandals and a pretty top.

As for Dubz, he is obsessed with shorts. I don’t know what I’m going to do when the weather gets cooler. For now he wears shorts every day. And he has to wear a t-shirt with an animal motif. If any of his shirts are plain, he refuses to wear them. It’s a bit of a pain but I’ve given up fighting. What do you think? Don’t they look happy in their outfits? And cool too!

kids clothes kids clothes 2 shark top

Why not pop on over to Mother Geek and Clearly Bex for more fashion fun on Trendy Tot Thursday.

My Kitchen Story in London

My Kitchen Story in London

When we moved into our house last February, the first thing we had to do was tackle the outdated and ramshackled 1970s kitchen. It did not have an oven, and no one would install one due to the unsafe electrics and the wood cladding. There was hardly any storage and it just felt dirty. Another big issue – no plumbing for a dishwasher. Here are some ‘before’ pics from the day we moved into our house.

My Kitchen Story in LondonMy Kitchen Story in LondonMy Kitchen Story in LondonIt was tough going three weeks without a kitchen (we had a microwave in our living room and ate a lot of takeaways, which was far from delightful). But we made it through and ended up with a lovely cooking and eating space. A small kitchen is the price we pay for living in London. But I don’t mind. Our kitchen really is the heart of our home.

My Kitchen Story in London

Here are some of items that make my kitchen perfect for our family. Some items were sourced after weeks scouring the internet. Some were impulse buys. I found a gorgeous G-Plan highboard from eBay for £50 but we had to push the dining table against it when our two-year old son started trying to climb the highboard. The space isn’t entirely as I would like. But that is what happens when you have children. Their needs become more important that your styling needs.

bread bin
Bread bin. I have green accents throughout the house. This is my first bread bin. I am such a grown-up now.
G Plan chair. I had them reupholstered as they were originally red.

 

 

 

 

 

kettle and toaster
White Panasonic toaster and white Bosch kettle. My first two kitchen purchases and they really enhance the Mid-Century look.
sonos
Sonos speaker so we can listen to Spotify for our kitchen dance parties! Very modern.

 

 

 

 

 

tiles
Funky floor tiles. Yes,please!
IMG_7436
Kids can eat at the table in the dining area while I tweet tidy the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_7443
Small but perfectly formed! Here is a pic after my Husband had made dinner for the kids. Luckily we can stick everything in the dishwasher and not have to worry about the dishes.

 

Personal Styling for the Pernickety Shopper

When I told Husband that I was going to see a personal shopper, his reply was ‘She has her work cut out for her’. I had no snappy comeback because, for once, he was right. I am such a pernickety shopper. With a six-year old and a two-year old, I don’t have time to go to shops and try things on. But I love a bit of retail therapy. So normally I buy things from the internet (on which I spend hours), and for every 20 items I buy, maybe one item gets to call my wardrobe home. This means that I waste a lot of time at the post office or doing Collect+.
 
As I need a new outfit for Britmums Live (which is in two weeks–woohoo), I thought I would try a new approach to clothes shopping. John Lewis offer a complimentary, one hour ‘express’ session of their Personal Styling Service to help find a particular/special outfit. They also offer a complimentary two-hour service if your wardrobe needs updating. I went to the John Lewis in Kingston on Sunday and was greeted by a amiable personal shopped named Alison. I told Alison what I was looking for, my dress and shoes sizes, and we discussed flattering colours. While I relaxed in the comfy styling suite enjoying some water and a magazine, Alison went to get me some possible outfits.
 
I am looking for a dress that looks nice with or without leggings. Something not too short that suits either trainers/sneakers or sandals. I need something that can be dressed up or down as I spend most of my time on Mummy Duty and don’t normally go out more than once or twice a month. One of my issues is that I gained three stone (42 pounds) when I was pregnant with Dubz. He is now two years old and those three stone stubbornly remain. My shape is different than what it used to be and I am still adjusting to dressing a big tummy.
 
I tried on about eight or nine tunic dresses and dresses, two pairs of shoes and a necklace. Alison introduced me to a couple of brands I had never heard of, including Mint Velvet. Unfortunately for me, Mint Velvet seems to be flying off the shelves and they didn’t have a lot of the type of dresses I like in my size, in the shop or online (I am wearing Mint Velvet in the last pic). In the end, I was torn by two tunic dresses. But I have decided to keep looking. There was no pressure to buy anything that day, which is the kind of service I have come to expect from John Lewis. I have since spent a couple more hours looking for the right outfit. After all, I still have two weeks.
Please note that I was not paid for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own. I just really like shopping at John Lewis.
Family Fever

Violeta from Mango

A couple of months ago I received an email from Mango about their new range of plus-size clothing, Violeta by Mango. I was excited since Mango seem to have very few of their clothes available in size XL and I am still carrying the baby weight. Today I received an email from Mango. I was excited to check out the collection, which has clothing from size 14 to 24. Here are the some cute looks that I would wear:
 
Slim-fit Royal jeans Striped slub cardigan Tencel shirt dress
 
Although there were a few pretty items, for the most part the collection was quite bland. I had assumed the clothes would be for a similar age bracket as the regular Mango clothing. But it looks like some of the clothes are for older ladies. I’m no spring chicken at 38, but these clothes would age me twenty years. And I don’t know many 58-year old women who want to look 58. These are three looks that are neither fashionable nor flattering:
  Paisley shirt dressBelt flecked cardiganPolka-dot blouse
If you want affordable, stylish plus-size clothing, I suggest checking out ASOS Curve or New Look Plus Size.