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)?
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:
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:
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.
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!).
*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*.
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.
&Other Stories is one of my favourite places to shop in store, browse online and take general inspiration. I love their forward-thinking, on a not so expensive level that doesn’t make your pursestrings tight. I was browsing online the other day, looking for more shoes, of course, and came across the recycling scheme that Stories are currently involved with. I thought it was bloody great, so wanted to share! They’re recycling both used & Other Stories Beauty packaging and Textiles (from any brand).
See full details below on how you can get involved in-store; you will also receive a 10% off voucher as a thank you!
We want to reduce the environmental footprint in the fashion world, and recycling is a big part of that. We try to find solutions for it in every part of our process and have, since our launch in 2013, established an in-store recycling program for our beauty packaging. Starting in 2015, our stores in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States offer in-store textile recycling too. To make the most of this exciting task, we cooperate with experts within this field, and rely on you to recycle with us.
We have an overall sustainable approach within our beauty range, using standard packaging and keeping the paper use to a minimum by printing all necessary information on the inside of the boxes instead of on a separate folder. To recycle & Other Stories’ beauty packaging, bring back the empty containers from our colour cosmetics, bath & body and skin care ranges to any one of our stores.
This is how it works:
1. Simply return one, or more, of our empty beauty containers to one of our stores, and get one voucher with a 10% recycling treat as a thank you. Please note that your voucher can be used once and is valid for three months.
2. The packaging is sorted according to material directly in the store and then passed on to the nearest recycling station.
Bring any textiles from any brand (old socks and tired towels are welcome too), to any of our stores in Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States and wish them luck in their new life as insulation material for the construction materials industry, geofleece, carpet underlay, and rear shelves in cars, stuffed toys, shoe insoles, among many, many other things.
This is how it works:
1. Simply fill a bag with any textiles (all brands are welcome!) and bring it to your closest store, and get one voucher with a 10% recycling treat as a thank you. Please note that your voucher can be used once and is valid for three months.
2. Your bags are then collected from the store by our recycling partners. They have the infrastructural solutions in place to sort the items ensuring that the different materials are handled in the best possible way. Each piece (no matter its age or condition) is a valuable source of raw material – a treasure ready to embark on its second chapter. By recycling with us you create a circle that keeps all these raw materials from being produced again from scratch.
3. All textiles are passed on for their next best use via our recycling partner and are sorted into the following categories:
• Recycling – everything that is not suitable for producing new garments is converted into recycled fibres and non-woven fabric.
• Rewear – garments that are still wearable move on as second-hand clothing.
• Reuse – textiles that can’t be worn anymore are turned into special products, such as cleaning cloths.
• Upcycling – when the product is turned into another product of higher, or equal, quality.
Read more about our partner I:CO and their process on
We are recycling-ready, hope you are too!
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*.
I have a natural affinity for Norfolk, with my long, long, long, long, long (etc) lost ancestor’s naming their own land in Norfolk with our very own family surname – Briston. But it was Nor-Folk, the brand, who I fell in love with on Instagram last year (@Nor_Folk). Not only is this a brand that is founded by a Husband-and-Wife design team, but its an effortlessly cool brand to boot. Fiona and Bobby, along with their super-stylish (and super-cute) son Stanley, live in the most incredible of homes;and together they are The Nor-Folk. They’re a design-led lifestyle brand, who design and print their own clothing range, collaborate on Homeware & Gifts and feature local Norfolk contributors on the Journal.
As someone who has a very definite WORK HARD attitude, in all things in life, I thought that the ‘Work Hard’ Adult Tee was a proper piece of me. Of course, I found the #Twinning combination of ‘Play Hard’ Kids’ Tee completely irresistible and ordered both as soon as we were finally moved in Berlin. (Play Hard, a perfect slogan for my little one who cannot wait for play time!).
Eli was given the ‘Hello’ Tee as a gift from our lovely friends at Christmas (lucky boy!). Sadly, it wasn’t quite the right size. So I got in touch with Fiona (who I didn’t expect to be working over the festive period) and she replied at lightening speed. As the tee was purchased in the UK, but we’re now in Berlin, it made sense to send the new size of this wicked tee directly to me. After just a few emails all was arranged and a few days later the replacement tee was on my desk in Prenzlauer Berg. A really small team, but a team that fundamentally strives for customer care.
Both of these Tee’s are available in Black or White options, for the ultimate in minimal monochrome styling. I love that all the designs are unisex too. With my Mama-head on, I might also add that these cotton tee’s wash exceptionally well and are just so wonderfully soft. The three styles we own are all made in the U.K. and are finished with the hand printing in Norfolk itself. Which is just ace of base.
There’s something a little bit special about buying products from a family-run business; whether that be a Husband-and-Wife team or a Mum/Dad-preneur. You’re not funding a corporate machine – you’re supporting real people. A real family. And that feels really good.
Wishing Fiona, Bobby and the Nor-Folk team lots of luck and adventures for the exciting year a head. We look forward to seeing the brand grow from strength to strength!
Check out more from Nor-Folk here.
Nor-Folk is a graphic design-led lifestyle brand founded by husband-and-wife graphic designers who reside in Norfolk, UK.
“Together, we design and curate apparel and products for the whole family with a timeless minimalist design aesthetic.
“We create and sell products we love and want in our own lives. We passionately adhere to the sentiment ‘less is more’ and ‘quality over quantity’ in our product creation.
“Our family and adventures are our canvas and muse – we invite you to share in our journey and that of our contributors via our Journal.
“Together, we are the Nor-Folk.”
*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a brand whom I think is frikkin amazing*.
What Eli Wore: Dinosaur Costume
Brand: H & M
Price: £17.99 / 24.99€
Sizes available: 2 years – 10 years.
It’s no secret, Mr Eli quite literally lives and breathes Dinosaurs. Some of that love is potentially down to us as his parents – we did
force the SCIENCE upon him encourage it from before he was even born; you know, the dinosaur prints here and there, the odd toy figure, a couple of books, DVD’s… (and had even meticulously planned that first trip to the Natural History Museum for when he was JUST the right age, of course. And, incidentally, it was the “BEST DAY EVER!” when we took him for his 3rd birthday). He was destined to be our little Science Boy. THANKFULLY, Eli is fully appreciative of our efforts and is 110% fully immersed and committed. If he’s not acting his role as Chief Explorer then he’s THE dinosaur that’s being searched for. (It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two roles… and sometimes, just for laughs, he merges them into one, to keep me on my toes!).
Eli did have a dinosaur onesie from his Auntie, but he outgrew it a little while ago and I’ve looked for something similar since. I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled across this gem in H&M at Alexanderplatz before Christmas. It was under the tree waiting for him on the big day… but looked massive. The sizing is quite broad, I’d bought a size 2-4 years. So, I whacked it in his wardrobe shortly after Christmas and expected we’d get it out again during Summer at some point. Yesterday he’d retrieved it himself and brought it over to me, whispering “Mummy, I think this is a real dinosaur!”. We tried it on, et voilà, it looked wicked! Eli was indeed instantly transformed to REAL DINOSAUR status – complete with sound effects and some pretty scary actions!
PRO’s: So, its a great price for a play-costume. The detailing is brilliant – especially the detachable padded tail and golden spiked spine. The print is spot on and kind of shimmers. It’s flowing and comfy – slight elasticated hems and a zip cover at neckline. Machine washable at 30c.
CON’s: It makes Eli sweat – its that sort of sweaty polyester material; could have done with being lined.
We’re properly chuffed with this outfit and know we’ll get LOADS of
daily wear out of it. And I think he makes a pretty cool REAL DINOSAUR!