DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

THE EDIT: Something For The Weekend | 03/06.

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I’m going to be curating a weekly ‘Top 8’, ahead of the weekend, looking mostly at online shops. This week I’ve looked at the New Arrivals of some of my favourite online shops. All products are available currently on the UK sites and are priced in GBP. It’s been a real mixed bag weather-wise, so this week’s Edit reflects that!

This week’s online shopping Edit:

1: HELMUT LANG: Oversized Cashmere Coat – £955.

2: MARKUS LUPFER: Embellished Sweatshirt – £250.

3: ASOS: Pintuck Blouse with tie detail – £36.

4: SAINT LAURENT: Leopard Lunchbox Bag – £1095.

5: ANNINA VOGEL: Horsehoe Necklace, 9ct Gold – £250.

6: TOPSHOP: Ruffled Peplum Top – £40.

7: TOPSHOP: Topshop Boutique Boyfriend Jean – £55.

8: TOPSHOP: FANG Flatform Sandal – £49.

#MoMSFTW 

MM.

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

Brand In Focus | Southwood Stores.

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Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.

I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!

Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores.  The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.

Details of showroom opening times are as follows:

Monday 10am-2.30pm
Wednesday 10am-2.30pm
Friday 10am-2.30pm
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm

I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:

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WIRE MESH MEMO-BOARD (BLUE) – £55.00

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VINTAGE SCHOOL CHAIRS – £60.00

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PALM LEAVES – £55.00

Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.

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The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.

On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here. 

Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).

 

MM.

*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*. 

 

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

BRAND IN FOCUS | SAINT LAURENT.

That’s right, SAINT LAURENT.

Saint Laurent Creative Director, Hedi Slimane, decided to drop the ‘Yves’ ahead of the ready-to-wear collection during Fashion Week last year. A bold move, that of course did not come without criticism. A spokeswoman for Slimane said “he was drawing inspiration from 1966, when the ready-to-wear line was launched as Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. The name changed again after Saint Laurent retired. He produced the label’s last haute couture collection in 2002, and died in 2008. The founder himself may have approved, as he enjoyed making radical changes: he became the first couturier to diversify into ready-to-wear, pioneered the trouser suit and introduced the first black models to Paris catwalks.”

I was confused when I first saw ‘SAINT LAURENT’. I steered clear. But now I am well and truly obsessed. The re-brand has been magnificent. I want it ALL.

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SAINT LAURENT – Gold Vermeil Bapteme I.D. Bracelet, £260.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Polka Dot Silk Blouse, £605.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Medium Bucket Bag, £1265.00 | Click here to purchase from Selfridges.com
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SAINT LAURENT – Rock Suede Chelsea Boots, £695.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Zip Jersey Sweater, £395.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Slit Detail Leather Pants, £3, 395.00 | Available from Net-a-Porter.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Paris Suede Court Shoes, £390.00 | Click to purchase at Selfridges.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Sac Du Jour, £1560.00 | Click to purchase at Selfridges.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Classic Babylone Art Deco Ring, £395.00 | Available from SaintLaurent.com

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SAINT LAURENT – Leather Card Holder, £110.00 | Available from Net-a-Porter.com

 

 

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

Talipes | Struggling to find First Walker shoes.

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As I’ve mentioned, our darling boy is doing well with his walking – despite being born with Bilateral Talipes.

We’ve always just wanted Mr Eli to wear his Converse – just like Daddy (and occasionally Mummy too!). But we noticed that the Con’s just weren’t offering him much support around his ankles; and frankly, his new red Hi-Top’s are absolutely massive a wee bit big.

Eli’s Size 4 Black Converse trainers were too small, his toes are end the toe cap, so he had been wearing his new Red Hi Top Converse – which are a 5. We went to Clarks at the weekend where Eli was measured – his feet came up as a size 3F. The assistant did advise that Clarks sizing does vary against branded shoes, but it did make us think that Eli is really not wearing correct footwear right now. He requires a pair of shoes that will support his feet as he gains confidence in his walking, but also a pair that will encourage him to keep walking. The Converse he has right now seem to deter his walking as they’re ill-fitting, so he’s been mainly in stocking feet. Obviously, he can’t go outside the house like this, so we need to find him so First Walker shoes.

Here the issue begins…

It’s very common for children with Talipes to have odd-sized feet or feet that are on the smaller side. One foot could be a size 4, while the other foot could be a size 6. Meaning many children are bought two pairs of shoes to ensure they have correct fitting shoes for each foot. Clarks DO offer a discount for children affected however – you can read all about the Clark’s Odd Sized Feet Scheme on the STEPS charity website. Luckily, Eli’s feet do match up perfectly – but they are small. We didn’t realise until we started looking at the First Walker shoes in the shop… all of the shoes start at a size 4. The Pre-Walker/Cruiser shoes start at a size 3. But the sole is very thin on these styles and there isn’t the support on the shoe for a child who IS indeed walking.

We were looking online last night. Call me ridiculous if you will, but there are A LOT of boring or frankly unfashionable First Walker shoes out there. I know Eli is not par-taking in a fashion show, but we do take pride in our little man’s appearance, he has his own style. Also, these shoes are not cheap, so we want to make sure we’re all happy with them as he’ll have them on most of the day.

We don’t want velcro – we’re not a velcro family. We’d prefer Eli to be in Desert Boots, Brogue style shoes or at a push, some fashionable trainers. Take a look at the styles we’ve seen so far below…

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First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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First Walker Shoes, Crazy Crew in Khaki, £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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Digby, Zip up Brogue Boots, £40.00 – Available from StartRite.com

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Sullivan Brogue Shoes, WAS £49 NOW £18.00 – Available from StartRite.com

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Sullivan Brogue Shoes, WAS £49 NOW £18.00 – Available from StartRite.com

As you will notice, all of the lovely shoes above start at a size 4. So we’re in a wee pickle. If you have purchased from StartRite.com before, do their shoes match the size guide of Clarks? I’m so tempted to just get the size 4F shoes, especially considering the rate of growth; but can’t be sure that they will fit Eli correctly. So would ideally like to go into a shop to be able to have them expertly fitted.

Can you recommend any other stores where you can buy similar styles to the above? That perhaps start at ‘Clarks size 3F’ or the measured equivalent?  (And styles that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg, to boot).

MM.

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

Women’s Fashion | Check Mate.

I’ve been looking at Womenswear for some style inspiration this week and I’m noticing a lot of check prints across online stores. Check print is a great way to jazz up your Winter wardrobe – you can go for full on geometric digital prints or more muted tones to suit the weather.

Here are some of my favourite pieces, on my must-by list!

(Some check’s might be cheating as they’re not quite your stereotype check’s… but you’ll catch my drift, I’m sure).

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Houndstooth Check Blouse, £29.99 – Zara.com

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Noisy May Checked Shirt Dress, £28.00 – ASOS.com

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Lace Trim Check Top, £29.99 – MANGO.com

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Black & White Check Full Skirt, £30.00 – RIVERISLAND.com

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Checked Coat, WAS £14.99 NOW £79.99 – ZARA.com

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ASOS Smock Dress in Chain Print, WAS £30.00 NOW £24.50 – ASOS.com

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Lacoste Live Shirt, WAS £60.00 NOW £32.00 – ASOS.com

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Vintage O & O Trousers, £48.00 – UrbanOutfitters.com

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HOUSE OF HACKNEY Tartan Swing Dress, £175.00 – ASOS.com

See more on my Pinterest board: Women’s Fashion | Check Mate.

MM.

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

#ThisIsMyChild Talipes and Torticollis | MR ELI WALKS!

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I have been waiting to write this blog post for SO SO LONG.

Mr Eli was diagnosed with Bilateral Talipes when he was 25 weeks old, in utero. We were told it would be mild when he was born. Granted, it didn’t look anywhere near as bad as we were expecting when he was born – and there was a lot of flexibility in his feet, which was good news.

8 weeks into doing stretching exercises at home, we hit a brick wall (I was also told at Eli’s 8 week check by the top GP in the practice that his feet would “correct themselves”). I finally got a physio appointment for Eli when he was 10 weeks old. Roll onto 13 weeks and we were seeing our Consultant, who said Eli would be following the Ponseti Method of treatment for Talipes – plaster casts followed by wearing Ponseti Boots & Bar. Eli had plaster casts for 6 weeks, up to the top of his thighs. It was quite frankly, horrendous. He was old enough to understand a bedtime routine with his lovely soothing bath. He was old enough to want to roll over. We were without these things for 6 weeks and of course, without any sleep too! In December 2012 Eli began wearing his Ponseti Boots & Bar, 23 hours a day. For the one hour he had the boots off, he had a ‘run around’ and his lovely bath. He wore the boots & bar full time for 6 months, going down to just wearing them at nighttime (12 hours) after our 6 month appointment. At 10 months old Eli started cruising the furniture (and anything else he could get his hands on!). Since then, Eli has had several good reviews with his Consultant. The last appointment we had in November 2013 was amazing – his feet look just like a ‘normal’ child’s’ feet. Our Consultant was so happy, he almost packed the boots & bar in for good – but we have to be sensible, there’s always a chance of relapse and we didn’t want Eli to stop wearing the boots & bar too soon; after all, most Talipes children wear the boots & bar until they reach 5 years old.

At 16 months, Eli took his first few steps between Mr Memoirs and me – aided by the bribe of a dummy (which he only has for bed).

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At 17 months old he’s walking, completely unaided and with a degree of good balance (he’s currently having a bout of Torticollis at the minute, so he’s sloping off to the one side). When his Torticollis sorts itself out in the next few days we’re very confident that Eli will be dashing everywhere. Of course, the Torticollis does coincide with the fact he has reached yet another milestone. (He also has Chickenpox, to boot! That’s another blog post in itself).

We’ve had this lots before, but I know most people would be saying:

“Keep him crawling as long as you can, you don’t want him running about yet – you’ll be shattered!”

“Hope you’re ready for all that running about!” 

“Oh god, now the fun really starts.” (AS IF it’s a negative thing?!).

“You’ll regret saying you want a walker!”

But my goodness me, we’ve wanted nothing more than to be worn out after running around with our little boy. I don’t think people realise sometimes – and I understand that people do speak without thinking too. This still feels very surreal to us. An absolutely amazing achievement for our darling boy – we’re so proud we could BURST.

Without the treatment that Eli has gone through, he would not be walking – full stop. All the tears, endless sleepless nights, stress and strain was all completely worth it.

There is literally nothing more wonderful in life than seeing your child grow and develop. And our brave little soldier is growing and developing just perfectly.

MAGIC.

MM.

 

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

Welcome to 2014.

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Ok, so, I’m massively late with the old HAPPY NEW YEAR post… in fact, I’ve been really rather absent from my blog over the past few weeks. Work and life in general has certainly taken over. But alas, better late than never – HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

Today is Monday, it’s coming up to lunchtime and Eli is fast asleep (still…hmmm). So I thought I best check in and say WELCOME TO 2014. I’m sincerely hoping to keep on top of my blog this year, I did quite well last year – but as I say, my posts did tail off with life becoming mad-hectic!

I’m looking very forward to the year ahead – hoping for lots of adventures and memories made with my family and friends.

2014 so far has not been uneventful – and we’re only on Day 6 of the year.

Mr Eli went into hospital on Thursday 2nd January for a MRI brain scan to further investigate his Torticollis (following the horrid attack he had on 7th November 2013) – for which he had to go under anaesthetic for. Truly just the worst experience; and biggest challenge of our parenting lives to date. Just horrendous, and so so distressing for us. However, he did come through the other side ok and came back to his jolly-self relatively quickly. We’re now awaiting the results, this should take 4 weeks. When we’ve got the all clear (which we’re certain we will), I will then write a dedicated post on the processes we faced on the 2nd January and the outcome of course.

Not wanting to leave this first post of 2014 on a sombre note – Mr Eli took 4 steps between OH and I last night. We pretty much screamed the house down. Eli has been confident on his feet since around 11 months old, cruising around the furniture and between gaps at lightening speed. Eli does however, travel at the speed of actual light on all fours – always has. This has, we feel, come at a detriment to the development of his walking. Talipes aside, Eli is STILL well within the ‘normal’ remit of when children do hit the walking unaided milestone. We think he’s just being a little bit casual with it due to the fact he travels so so quickly when crawling instead. Hopefully over the next few weeks Eli will gain that much needed confidence and quite literally, ‘find his feet’.

Wishing you all well in 2014.

MM.

 

 

 

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

REVIEW | BLEACH London.

Bleach London - review

A few months ago I decided I wanted to be back blonde. Truth be told, I was bored with my dip dye; despite it being very low-maintenance. I thought it might be nice to be a ‘natural’ blonde – something along the lines of Sienna Miller. After 6 boxes of home dye I realised it just wasn’t going to happen. And now I had weird wishy-washy dip dye. YACK.

“Why didn’t you just visit a salon?”, I hear you ask. Well, juggling Mr Eli, work, driving lessons (yes, I am 10 years late to the game) and sorting out the day-to-day running of your family home does not leave much time in the way of pampering. (In fact, it leaves zero time!). I’d dyed my hair on an evening once Eli was in bed and Mr Memoirs could tend to him while my hair “developed” – albeit, it didn’t develop into much as I previously mention.

Fed up – I came to the decision that I now wanted to go back to my not so natural roots.  The platinum (with an old ladies blue rinse mixed in for good measure) me. The old me.

I’d seen LOADS of hype about BLEACH London. The salon itself residing in WAH Nails on Kingsland Road, was masterminded by Alex Brownsell (super hair colourist extraordinaire) and Samantha Teasdale (brains behind the business – also a one time friend-of-a-friend and Teasdale Twin to Louise; the actual live-in hair stylist for One Direction).

Anyway, I digress.

BLEACH London have done incredibly well – obviously helped along by their insane black book of celebrity clients, of course – but they have only been open just over a year. The salon prides itself as the first people to recreate the Ombre look. A BLEACH London dip-dye is not for the faint hearted, think rainbows and My Little Pony. Just amazing unconventional dye jobs – that also remind me of Kate Winslet’s character, “Clementine Kruczynski”, in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of our all time favourite films, EVER!). You also won’t fail to notice that BLEACH London cleverly names itself after it’s speciality (bleaching, and lots of it) and after the Nirvana album (which famous font they also share).

Back in October, BLEACH London launched a range of vibrant dyes, treatments and styling products to Boots.You can purchase in store and online at Boots.com, choosing from colours such as Awkward Peach, Washed Up Mermaid and Bruised Violet. All products in the range cost under £10; which is ridiculously good, considering!

I purchased two boxes of the Total Bleach and a box of White Toner (in the 3 for 2 at Boots). I have used both boxes of bleach and the White Toner and this is the current result:

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I absolutely LOVE the Total Bleach. It smelt like really strong peroxide as I was mixing it and took my breath away at times – but the consistency is great. It goes on fairly easily, but would recommend you buy two boxes for hair longer than mine as it doesn’t stretch too far. Within the Total Bleach box you also get a mixing bowl, mixing brush and gloves. In both the Total Bleach and White Toner boxes you also get a tube of the amazing Reincarnation Mask; which I was going to purchase on it’s own anyway. The tube states to keep the mask on for up to 20 minutes or so; but twice now I’ve left the conditioning treatment on my hair for a few hours and kept it covered with a shower cap. This has DEFINITELY rescued my poor hair which has been through the mill, to say the very least!

BLEACH London is my new favourite bleach. It feels like it is very kind on my hair and it actually feels in a much better condition now than it did before I started the bleaching process. I’m so so happy with it. The colour is even and has a lovely shimmer, which I didn’t get with the previous brands I’ve used to achieve this same colour. I’m also using the following BLEACH London products:

Bleach London
BLEACH London Reincarnation Mask, £6.00 – Boots.com
This mask smells so so nice – almost like Men’s aftershave; not your usual fruity scent. My hair has a shimmer and feels so much stronger and less dry. I will be using the mask once a week to keep on top of dryness and damage.

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BLEACH London Silver Shampoo, £5.00 – Boots.com
I have used several ‘silver’ shampoo’s in my time as a platinum blonde – but NONE of them compare to this one from BLEACH London. Again, it smells divine and took every tiny bit of yellowy tone that was present away. It’s made my hair very ashy, which is the look I was going for! Careful though, this could make your hair pretty blue if left on too long. I would also recommend that your alternate using different shampoo’s to avoid toner build up; which will definitely result in blue hair (unless thats what you’re wanting of course!).

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BLEACH London Split Fix Serum, £6.00 – Boots.com
I’m finishing my hair with this incredible serum. I’ve tended to avoid things like this previously as they can be overly greasy and do more harm than good. But not this Split Fix Serum! This serum is amazing, it is controlling my hair like nothing else, fights frizz and fly away – without weighing my hair down. It also has that wonderful scent to it. I’ve been using this serum both on towel dried hair and on dry hair to tame those fly aways.

I seriously cannot recommend the BLEACH London range enough. I’m shocked and surprised at how good each and every product is – I’ve seen amazing results of their rainbow home-dyes too. Check out their Instagram for updates from their many happy customers! @BLEACHLondon.

Would you dare to experiment with the BLEACH London range? Would love to see your results!

MM.

 

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

REVIEW | Meadham Kirchhoff x AMAZON.

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Following the amazingly successful sweater collaboration last year, Meadham Kirchhoff and online retailer, Amazon, have joined forces again for this incredible 4-piece silk scarf collection.

London Fashion Week design duo Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff are famed for their rebellious take on fashion. This second collaboration with Amazon Fashion is an exclusive collection of four distinctive scarves, in the spirit of the designers’ main catwalk collections.

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to get involved with this collaboration as I’d very much enjoyed their initial offering with Amazon – and we all know how Meadham Kirchhoff flies out of Topshop!

My absolute favourite scarf from this collection is ‘PEARLS’. The print is so pretty, and of course, I love all things gold.  I really like how it’s been styled on the model too (take a look at all the below photos for some unique scarf styling!).

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Each silk scarf is pretty massive and measures 120cm x 120cm! So LOTS of value for the £75.00 price tag. These scarves are all limited edition and can only be purchased from Amazon Fashion, here: MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF FOR AMAZON FASHION. PLUS, if you’re UK based you already qualify for FREE delivery – BOOM!

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“Pearl scarf is an ornate design of baroque gold detailing and drop pearls that we featured in our S/S 13 collection”.
Click here to purchase the PEARL scarf.

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“The Drawings scarf is a visual archive of Edward’s sketches from the ‘Cosmology of Women’ Autumn’11 show”. 
Click here to purchase the DRAWINGS scarf.

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“The Curtains scarf features signature imagery from our Spring/Summer ’13 collection, in this case opulent swaggered curtains with ornate gold fringes”.
Click here to purchase the CURTAINS scarf.

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“The Ballerina scarf features the tiny ballerina motif from our Autumn/Winter ’13 collection in a fresh new colourway. The artwork originates from a vintage silk scarf”.
Click here to purchase the BALLERINA scarf.

Which is your favourite scarf? And are there any different ways you’d style any of these scarves?

MM.

 

NB: I was sent the Meadham Kirchhoff x Amazon ‘PEARL’ scarf, for free, for the purposes of this review.  All opinions in this review are my own and are 100% honest. 

DESIGN_BYCLAIREBRISTON

Belle & Boo | Very Merry Christmas (book).

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This week I received the most wonderful book in the post – “Belle & boo, and the Very Merry Christmas.

We’re mad on Christmas, always have been – always will be. I think most people are surprised our tree and decorations aren’t up yet to be honest… but we’re traditionalists since Mr Eli arrived, getting a real tree again this year, on 1st December.

Anyway, I digress. We had decided last year, that we would buy Mr Eli a Christmas book every year; that we would sit and read on Christmas Eve. Last year we went classic with  The Night Before Christmas, by Clement. C. Moore. This Christmas Eve, we’ll be reading our amazingly beautiful “and the Very Merry Christmas” book by Belle & Boo creator, Mandy Sutcliffe.

I’d had this book on my ‘wish list’ since it was announced on pre-order. I was TOO excited. So imagine my absolute joy at opening the book and seeing the below specially signed copy from Mandy herself.

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I’ve had a very quick flick through the first few pages, but do not want to look further – I don’t want to spoil our Christmas Eve read!

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But from what I’ve seen, I can assure you, this is a very pretty book that will make just the perfect Christmas present for any little one! We really cannot wait to read this one.

Do you have any Christmas traditions you and your family create year-on-year?

MM.