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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*. 

 

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What Eli Wore | Little Bird by Jools, “Retro Pyjamas”.

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So, as dedicated followers of 1970’s interiors, we have been ridiculed a lot – to say the very least.

Some of the following statements are just a few of the regular comments that we get when people come by our house:

“Oh god, my Nana had that when I was a kid.”

“Christ, it’s like walking into a time warp in ‘ere.”

“Erm, my Nana called, she wants her crockery/cushions/lampshade/curtains* back” (*delete as appropriate).

I’d say our parents are most opposed to our fondness of all things 70’s. Apparently, they despised the era and just don’t “get” our love and adoration for the prints, the colours, the design, the style – the loveliness! We’ve had 7 houses in our 10 year courtship, so far – we love the 1970’s and we the feelings are mutual, we’re sure. We’ve collected some absolute treasures over the years – and the 7 houses – and we’ve also had some wonderful things handed down to us. We love that the majority of our ‘time warp’ of a house has a story. Most item’s aren’t just things that we bought for the sake of having a fruity looking house – there is sentiment and lasting memory.

As I have mentioned MANY a time, Little Bird by Jools is literally my favourite brand – EVER. I’ve always wanted to dress our children in that 70’s fashion – but not in the itchy or dowdy fabric’s and styles. Little Bird is spot on with design, colour and that whimsical nostalgia that surrounds being an actual CHILD. It’s a little bit of US.

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So, as soon as I clapped eyes on these fruity pyjama’s, I just had to have them! I ADORE them. I bought them back in July when they were first released and kept them for Eli’s 2nd birthday. It was so tough to not break them out of the wrapping paper! We’ve also kept the wellie’s for The Big Feastival at the weekend too. I’m definitely going to have to dress Eli in both, like the campaign – he’ll look wicked!

As you can imagine, I was pretty shocked when some of the usual folks – who would regularly give us jip for our 70’s affection – commented on the first photo of Eli, above, saying how much they loved Eli’s pj’s… and then I had a dozen comments across the social channels asking where they could purchase such wonderful sleepwear! Oh how the tables have turned… and I LOVE IT! I know they’re still just printed pyjama’s, with a retro inspiration – and I know that just because someone likes these pyjama’s, they’re not automatically going to LOVE our house and the rest of the clothes we dress Eli in. But it’s a start… and we love it all regardless, so we’re not changing for nobody! Hurray to the 1970’s!

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These ‘Retro Pyjamas’ are available in store and online at Mothercare.com now – just click here to purchase!

MM.

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Recipes | Harissa Chicken and Bulgar Wheat Salad.

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We’d tried this lovely Harissa Chicken and Bulgar Wheat salad a few times, from the Hairy Bikers ‘Hairy Dieters’ cookbook before we even knew about the 5:2 diet! It really is a delicious, well rounded meal – very tasty! And better still, it’s very filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! This cookbook is perfect if you’re also undergoing the 5:2 diet. A lot of the recipes are under 300 calories! So perfect for Fast Day’s.

So here is the recipe!
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HARISSA CHICKEN AND BULGAR WHEAT SALAD*.
SERVES 4 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
270 Calories, per portion.

Bulgur wheat salad:
100g Waitrose bulgur wheat
150g  cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/4 cucumber, diced
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 10g), plus extra to garnish
Small bunch of fresh mint (about 10g)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Harissa chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp Harissa paste (preferably Tose Harissa, I used Waitrose Ruby Rose Harissa).
Lemon wedges, to serve

1) To make the salad, rinse the bulgur wheat in a fine sieve and tip it into a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then cook for about 10 minutes until just tender, or follow the packet instructions. Rinse the bulgur in a sieve under running water until cold and leave to drain.

2) Tip the cooked bulgur wheat into a large serving bowl and add the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, garlic, parsley, mint, lemon zest and juice. You’ll need about 3 heaped tablespoons of each herb once chopped. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper, toss everything together well and leave to stand while you cook the chicken.

3) Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until about 1.5cm thick. You need to make the chicken breasts about the same thickness so they cook evenly.

4) Brush a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat until hot. Griddle or pan-fry the chicken breasts for 2 minutes, then turn them over with tongs and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.

5) Brush the chicken breasts with half of the harissa on 1 side only and turn over. Cook for a minute while brushing the reverse side with the remaining harissa. Flip over and cook for a further minute or until cooked through. Check that there is no pinkness remaining.

6) Transfer the chicken to a board and leave to rest for 3–4 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra parsley and the lemon wedges and serve hot with the bulgur salad.

ENJOY!

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Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

 

MM.

 

*Extracted from THE HAIRY DIETERS by Si King and Dave Myers published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson priced £14.99.  Copyright (c) Byte Brook Limited and Sharp Letter Limited, 2012. 

 

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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. 

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Mr Eli’s Quarters | Lion Print by Ingela P Arrhenius.

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INGELA P ARRHENIUS – LION PRINT, £20.00; Archie’s Boutique.

We’re still yet to properly decorate and sort out Mr Eli’s stomping ground, otherwise known as his quarters bedroom. But that doesn’t stop me trawling the internet for neat finds like this one!

I just LOVE this 50’s inspired print by Ingela P Arrhenius. Mr Eli is a Leo the Lion himself, so I thought this would be quite fitting for his bedroom. (Not that we’re a family of the zodiac I might add!).

I found this print on Archie’s Boutique and here is what they say about it:

This lovely chap has so much character and personality!

Ingela P Arrhenius’ Lion poster is full of vibrant colours that are guaranteed to brighten up any room, whether it be a child’s or adults.

Stockholm based artist Ingela Arrhenius designs the most wonderful cartoon-like illustrations that are inspired by work from the 50s and 60s.

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There are several other prints available online too – such as a Tiger print and Alphabet print. Just so cool.

MM.

 

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My favourite cosy jumpers, online now!

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BRRR! It’s getting chilly out there!  Here are my favourite cosy jumpers for your little boy (or girl!), that are available online, NOW!

#1 – Tootsa MacGinty New Forest Jacquard Jumper, Blue – £40.00 From JohnLewis.com
#2 – John Lewis Baby Moose Fair Isle Jumper, Blue – £15.00. From JohnLewis.com
#3 – Retro Cosy Jumper, £22.00 – £24.00. From Boden.com
#4 – Knitted sweater with buttons at the side, £15.99. From Zara.com
#5 – Cable crew neck jumper, £11.00 – £12.00. From Next.co.uk
#6 – John Lewis Baby Bear Jumper, Grey – £15.00. From JohnLewis.com
#7 – Black patterned crew neck, £13.00 – £14.00. From Next.co.uk
#8 – Cosy hotch potch top – #16.00 – £18.00. From Boden.co.uk
#9 – Tootsa MacGinty Cloud Knit Jumper – £34.00. From JohnLewis.com
#10 – Knitted stripe jumper – £5.99. From H&M.com
#11 – Fisherman style jumper, £13.00 – £14.00. From Next.co.uk
#12 – Marled sweater, reduced from £14.95 to £11.99. From Gap.com

 

MM.

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“Harmony of Spring” by Vernon Ward.

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For those who don’t know, I have a penchant for old interiors – especially from the 70s. I had been particularly fond of a certain 70s print (originally a 1958 painting) by Vernon Ward, entitled “Harmony of Spring”, since we first set eyes upon it back in 2006. I’d searched and searched vintage shops, car boot sales and antique fairs for years and years and not ever come across it. I’d been recently trying to get hold of “The Chinese Lady” by Vladimir Tretchikoff on eBay and low-and-behold “The Harmony of Spring” came up along my search. Why had I never looked on eBay for it before?!

As it happens, it’s quite a popular print. A new listing of the print was coming up every few weeks, but they were either going for far too much money, it would be local collection only or I would miss the listing! I almost gave up. I then found one that was ending within a few days, no bids, it was local pick-up in Leeds. I sent a message to the seller and see if they would be happy for a courier to take the item – obviously at my cost. This is where I praise MyHermes like no other delivery company! I LOVE them! They’re a fantastic courier, dramatically cheaper than Royal Mail/Parcel Force and are so convenient! You can drop your parcel off at a designated MyHermes drop/collect point or the courier can come directly to you and collect the parcel from you. I use them frequently for sending bulky or heavy items. Amazing.

Anyway, I digress. The chap who was selling the print was so so lovely and agreed to help get the print to me, with MyHermes, should I win. The auction was ending REALLY early on a Saturday morning, of course I was up with Eli. I could not believe my luck when I won! And for a ridiculously low price too. It’s stunning in real life, quite a large framed print; originally framed at Boots!

I’m in love with this print. Hope you like it too, here are some more photos. I WILL share more shots of our house when we’re more settled – still in a bit of upheaval post-move at the end of July!

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Are there any decades or interior styles that you’re in love with?

MM.

PS – Swans mate for life.

 

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BRAND IN FOCUS | Belle & Boo.

For those who know me, will indeed know that I have a penchant for all things old. I love things with character, a story. I’m a particular fan of 70’s interior, as can be spied throughout our family home. I wanted Eli’s bedroom to be no different (it is however still a work in progress, so I will follow up with a blog post when it’s all lovely and finished!). I came across the wonderful world of Belle & Boo completely by accident – but fell in love straight away. The illustrations are just beautiful, harping back to a by-gone time. All their products feature the whimsical drawings, everything they craft is of the highest quality (as is their lovely packaging!) and it’s just such a lovely, original and nostalgic brand.

Before Eli had even arrived I purchased the Pirate Party money tin for his nursery… but knew I’d be back for more!

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As soon as we moved house I wanted a few more  Belle & Boo pieces, so came up with the idea of using their greetings cards as pictures and promptly bought the simple white frames.

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But then of course, a fortnight after we moved into our new home, it was Eli’s birthday! I knew I’d seen some party decorations on the Belle & Boo website – and I just could not resist! I purchased some plates, napkins, a beautiful party garland, table cloth (which sadly does bear the stains of the incredible pulled pork buns and burnt beans that we had as our party food) and party bags.

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Everyone commented on how unusual and lovely the decorations were – oh, and how they matched our home perfectly too! We didn’t really have a a ‘theme’ for Eli’s party – we just wanted all of our close friends and family together to celebrate (plus we’d just moved house!), but the Belle & Boo decorations MADE the theme. I was so so pleased with how everything looked and I will certainly treasure all of the  Belle & Boo pieces from his party. In fact, I’m thinking about putting the party garland up in his bedroom, we only have bunting along the one wall, the addition of the garland would work really quite nicely.

MM.

 

Belle & Boo have not asked for this review or paid commission. I am solely passionate about this lovely brand and wanted to share my pieces with you.

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Mr Eli’s 1st Birthday!

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This weekend we celebrated Mr Eli’s first birthday with party at our (newly moved into!) home. All his friends came and the sun even made an appearance too! Here are some snaps from the day 🙂

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Dj Boy!

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Eli’s AMAZING cake! Made by Lady H Bakes, Essex.

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Eli wearing his amazing cake!

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I ADORE Belle & Boo, I used their party pieces as a kind of theme for the party.

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Ball pool fun!

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Eli and some of his buddies.

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A worn out birthday boy, ready for bed!

We had a wonderful day, with wonderful company and wonderful food. Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated Eli’s very first birthday with us!

MM.

xx

WHATELIWORE: Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt, Ralph Lauren Shorts, Red Converse Hi-Top Trainers. Blog post coming soon. 

 

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Up to 50% off at Cath Kidston!

I was just having a wee online shop around and noticed that there is a wonderful (up to) 50% off at CathKidston.co.uk!

As their Sale creative says, this means that the Sale is now “Cheap as chips” 😉

Shop the Sale online now>> CathKidston.co.uk