The first weekend back in England and we had a forage in our new back garden, where we found the most marvellous rhubarb!
…and just like that, we’re back in Blighty.
For me, our secondment to Berlin feels like such a whirlwind. A total blur. We were there 9 months, and for the most part, I loved it. Loved being at work, loved the people, the culture, the places to see and the things to do. Berlin was incredible for kids. Which I had never anticipated! Even restaurants will go out of their way for children. It’s a highly child-friendly City.
But the truth is, England is home. And in Essex, we’ve found a county that I’m not sure I could ever move away from again.
Also, just wanted to shout out to some new friends. I felt majorly disconnected and really quite lonely when we were living out in Berlin. Whilst this may, or may not, come as a surprise, I found the Insta-Community to be ERRRRRRRRYTHING. I can’t tell you how much the chatter and support helped me. Even if I wasn’t mustering the energies to join in – just keeping abreast of how everyone else was getting on, also helped. Never underestimate the power of a Digital-shoulder, and how it can impact on others! I look forward to meeting you all IRL soon.
It feels good to be back.
I have started writing a Things I Missed list, in true Mother Of All Lists (aka
and/or Clemmie @Peckham_Mamma) style! Might be helpful for prospective/current Ex-Pat’s living in all different corners of this lovely globe of ours.
So here is to being back in Blighty. I’ve missed you, you gorgeous thing.
APC Half Moon Bag | Image: Pinterest.
I recently came to the conclusion that I have a
new wardrobe void. I’m “missing” a small-medium sized, smart/casual black shoulder bag (with gold hardware). Having lost my phone, not once, but twice (and miraculously TWICE it was handed in by kind folk!) from my Chanel 2.55, I have decided I need a bag that will effectively contain my wares.
I’ve trawled through my favourites and here is my Edit of The Black Shoulder Bag – perfect for shopping to dinner to dancing, and back round the shops again.
A.P.C – Half Moon Bag – £280. Available at selected stockists.
SAINT LAURENT Monogram université – £1,500.
Chloé – Drew Bag – £1, 140.
Céline- Trio Bag – Around £650. Available at selected stockists.
Valentino – Rock Stud Bag – £1, 240.
Maje – Sharon Bag – £420.
GUCCI – Soho Bag – £650.
Mansur Gavriel – £395. Available at selected stockists.
I definitely have my eyes firmly fixed on the classic Céline Trio and the A.P.C Half Moon bag; with the A.P.C delight hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist! Which are your favourite(s)?
I first saw this jumper around 2 years ago. It was being adorned by the likes of Kate and Alexa; and like my favourite fashion-people I’d also lusted after the monochrome version of the now infamous 1970 slogan jumper. Much to my family and mates’
disgust confusion dislike, we’re big fans of the 1970’s. Fans of the fashion, music and most predominantly, the design and (Mid Century) interiors of the era. So this jumper struck more than *just* sartorial chord with me. But then I saw a Telegraph article on (aptly named) jewellery designer Sheherazade Goldsmith, and she was wearing a red version of my favourite woollen piece. Be still my beating heart…
So from then, I lusted for the red colourway. The super-soft Merino Wool. The cut and design. The design itself takes its signature motif from a book clipping that Freud used to wear pinned onto a plain jumper.
I do have splashes of colour in my mostly-black wardrobe and I would tend to go for red or green, unless its a vintage or leopard print (or red or green variations of leopard print!) of course.
So the red 1970 Jumper by the lovely Bella Freud is firmly on my NEED list. More or less at the top.
If you so desire, you can own this seemingly cult classic by clicking the link here: Bella Freud at Selfridges.com
Which colourway would you go for?
About Bella Freud:
Freud was born in London, England. She is the daughter of Bernardine Coverley and artist Lucian Freud and great granddaughter of the inventor of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.
She is renowned for her signature jumpers Je t’aime Jane, Ginsberg is God and 1970. Fans of Bella Freud include Alexa Chung, Laura Bailey, Kate Moss and Alison Mosshart.
Bella launched her eponymous label in 1990. Her first collection featured sexy knitted dresses in bookish colours, mini tailored suits and a small selection of shoes and bags. Bella went on to win Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards in 1991 and produced a Super 8 short film ‘Day at the Races’ as an alternative to a fashion show. Bella’s second film ‘More Clothes’ directed by Kate Garner was shot on 35mm film and showcased the SS 1992 collection.
Seasonal catwalk shows followed, then in 1999 Bella began her fashion film collaboration with John Malkovich, co writing and producing three short films: Strap Hanging, Lady Behave, and Hideous Man. In 2001 Bella also collaborated with rock icon Anita Pallenberg on Memo, a limited edition magazine featuring the AW2000 collection, inspired by the film Performance.
From March 2000 to 2003 Bella consulted for British heritage brand Jaeger, rejuvenating their image and bringing British dressing to a younger audience.
Bella’s love of film continued and in 2013 she art directed the short film Je T’Ecoute, produced by Laura Bailey starring Lara Stone, which screened at White Cube Bermondsey. Bella’s directorial debut ‘Girl Boils Egg’ is a two minute film featuring Punk, commissioned by Nick Knight for SHOWstudio.com.
2013 also saw the development of the RTW collections and expansion into the beauty market. The Bella Freud Eau de Parfum collection was launched in 2014 and has gained a cult following.
After having Eli my go-to daily outfit was a pair of wet-look leggings and the baggiest top I could find. I’d worked in Fashion since leaving Uni and had completely lost my way with getting dressed when King Eli arrived. 18 months later I had become so lazy and boring with my day-to-day outfits and didn’t feel like ME anymore. My excuse for everything was my 18 month old toddler, I didn’t need to dress up for him…
I had an epiphany when I stopped working from home and ventured back into the office. I started grabbing for those sacred pieces in my wardrobe that I’d kept “for best” and I started to wear them as everyday clothes. (Considering we rarely go dancing or even for meals anymore!). I became ME again. Dressing for YOU, makes YOU so much happier. (Gotta say here though, since moving to Berlin, 70% of my wardrobe is in storage, so I don’t really have a “for best” section anymore… I’m fairly happy with my wardrobe. Despite the constant stream DHL deliveries from Topshop, Zara and ASOS… (I send back more than I keep 😉 ). I’m more or less me though, depending on how much sleep I’ve had… ). But what’s important is these changes make YOU, YOU again.
I hadn’t realised until only recently, but I’d forgotten about MUSIC. Actual MUSIC. I’d always been an avid gig-goer from my teens; going to a gig every week (at least) whilst at Uni. We did the Festivals and the more intimate gig’s. Music was my EVERYTHING, just like my dressing up; from growing up, getting ready and going out, to my daily London commute! Even with my work, I had musicians come in weekly, sometimes daily, doing a session that I’d be posting across the HQ Social channels, or just help out with picking clothing from the shop-floor. Music was always with me. How had I forgotten about it? How had I forgotten how good music can be, how good it can make you feel?
Being in the office in Berlin, we have a communal Sonos system, which is great on a good day! But the majority of the time, the music can be, let’s say, eclectic (to be polite). Which is fine, not everyone has to agree on everything, all of the time! I also work from a very old laptop that doesn’t even connect to the Sonos system, so rarely, if ever, do I input to the playlist. I have resorted to listening to Radio 1 through my headphones during work hours. But the music is pretty dire from Radio 1, it’s repetitive and monotonous. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the laughs from Grimmy in the morning, Scott & Chris after 1pm and then Greg in the afternoon. But I dislike the 10am-1pm slot. A lot. Not to be rude about it. But I switch off. It’s certainly not the music that I liked to listen to. I either then grin & bare the Sonos playlist or put my Apple Music catalogue, consisting of mostly 2004, on shuffle. Last week I realised I hadn’t really listened to any new music since having Eli. I turn to The Beatles, Nirvana, David Bowie and The Lib’s for continued listening or we have shuffle on when we’re cooking or tidying up.
I’m eager to find out what other Mama’s enjoy… and what you’re listening to, right now. Basically, I want to know what exactly is ace of base! Or are you like me? Had you forgotten that music actually existed outside of that annoying Nursery Rhymes CD, the Peppa Pig theme tune or the Disney Top 100 tracks ? (Or indeed outside of Radio 1?). If you are stuck in a musical-rut then I propose a new hashtag!
Going forward, I want to start my new Monday-week with some new listening. So Mama’s, let’s get sharing! What are you listening to in work, at the gym, on the school run, on the commute? What do you listen to when you’re doing a tidy up with the kids at the end of the day? What do you dance around to in the kitchen? (Or prance around to when you’ve poured that so-needed Gin when the kids are eventually asleep?!). Share absolutely anything and everything with the hashtag #MamaMusicMonday – at any time in the week. From easy-listening to fast-paced! Any genre. Old or new! Just something with a beat that can set the tone for a new week – perhaps something none of us have listened to before – and definitely nothing remotely toddler related (please!). Music can help us in a million ways – it can do so much more than make your feet tap. And I’d so sadly forgotten that bit too. It wasn’t until darling Bowie passed away that I remembered how much music can mean, for so many. The emotions and memories you can feel from hearing one of your favourites…
SO with all that, I’m ready to resuscitate my musical education. I’m ready to regain that old ME who loved music so much. And you never know, you might spy me at a gig near you again soon 😉
I first came across CULT of YOUTH on Instagram last year… And it wasn’t long before I could see how utterly incredible Kelly, (founder) really is. She is the ultimate #MumBoss. An amazing Mama, juggling her gorgeous-chops little boy between everything life throws at you and this wicked jewellery business. She’s a total mega babe who is 110% dedicated; with her passion and frank honesty pouring out through her day-to-day postings. (Kelly generally responds to emails and comments with her son on her lap or in the middle of the night – quite likely both scenario’s at the same time (having received just a few 2am emails from her myself!). I literally have no idea how she’s doing it… I’m pretty sure she’s made of magic?!).
Kelly makes all her jewels by hand – the majority made to order – back in England. When Eli was Elvis’ age, I could barely make it to to the shops… (see, told you she was made of magic!) Not only does this mean that each piece is made with her love and care, it also makes her jewels extra special. (Yours
probably has might have even been made with a little added midnight magic too).
I instantly fell in love with the ace of base MOTHER necklace…
…and then one day this beautifully wrapped
(and ever so slightly psychedelic) parcel arrived on my desk in Berlin. My necklace hasn’t left my neck since (well, I will point out – it does come off for showers and bedtime – she’d probably slap my wrists otherwise).
CULT of YOUTH, may well be famous for the signature #MAMAChain (now available with added skulls, ‘cos you know, us Mum’s do enjoy Rocking and Rolling still), but do check out Kelly’s other products too as they’re proper good – from personalised slogan necklaces to dainty initial pendants in Gold, Silver and Rose Gold. Gift wrap is also available now, making your jewels fit for a magpie’s nest from the get go; whether it’s a surprise for your loved one, or a well earned treat for yourself.
Basically, I’m really very proud to be a Mama / Mother / Mummy / Mammy / Mum / Mam
/ Mummy Dinosaur. Being a parent is a daily struggle – and we’re all in it together, one way or another. Wearing a statement necklace, made by a Mama, who went through a struggle to present it to you, is so exceptional I can’t even get it into words. It’s admirable and inspiring and everything inbetween. As a real human being, Kelly is one of the most honest Mum’s I’ve come across. Her raw emotion hits every nerve within me. So truthful and so eloquent. From Mother to Mother, the Sisterhood is real.
All the loves Kelly – keep doing what you’re doing pet, you’re bloody amazing!
Shop all CULT of YOUTH products: Click Here
CULT of YOUTH was created early Autumn 2011 by head designer, London trained silversmith Kelly Seymour. Forged out of chaos in a Hackney warehouse, the first collection of heavy cross chokers and silk bound animal bones launched at London Fashion Weekend that autumn. Two years at Portobello market followed which led to meeting head accessories buyer at Urban Outfitters with three subsequent seasons in stores including Oxford Circus, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Berlin.
*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*.
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.
SAINT LAURENT – Gold Vermeil Bapteme I.D. Bracelet, £260.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com
SAINT LAURENT – Polka Dot Silk Blouse, £605.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com
SAINT LAURENT – Medium Bucket Bag, £1265.00 | Click here to purchase from Selfridges.com
SAINT LAURENT – Rock Suede Chelsea Boots, £695.00 | Available from MatchesFashion.com
SAINT LAURENT – Paris Suede Court Shoes, £390.00 | Click to purchase at Selfridges.com
SAINT LAURENT – Sac Du Jour, £1560.00 | Click to purchase at Selfridges.com
SAINT LAURENT – Classic Babylone Art Deco Ring, £395.00 | Available from SaintLaurent.com
SAINT LAURENT – Leather Card Holder, £110.00 | Available from Net-a-Porter.com
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…
First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com
First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com
First Walker Shoes, Crazy Crew in Khaki, £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.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).
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).
Houndstooth Check Blouse, £29.99 – Zara.com
Noisy May Checked Shirt Dress, £28.00 – ASOS.com
Lace Trim Check Top, £29.99 – MANGO.com
Black & White Check Full Skirt, £30.00 – RIVERISLAND.com
Checked Coat, WAS £14.99 NOW £79.99 – ZARA.com
ASOS Smock Dress in Chain Print, WAS £30.00 NOW £24.50 – ASOS.com
Lacoste Live Shirt, WAS £60.00 NOW £32.00 – ASOS.com
Vintage O & O Trousers, £48.00 – UrbanOutfitters.com
HOUSE OF HACKNEY Tartan Swing Dress, £175.00 – ASOS.com
See more on my Pinterest board: Women’s Fashion | Check Mate.
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).
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.