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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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The 5:2 Fast Diet | And so it begins…

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I’m rubbish with diets. I like food and wine far too much. I don’t really exercise; but I do walk 2 hours a day, everyday, to take Eli to nursery and back. So I’d say I’m lightly active. I’ll be honest here, because I think it’s important, I need to lose around a stone. Maybe even a little more. I feel dreadful. I’m exhausted, I’m sluggish, I’m bloated – and for some reason have recently acquired a sweet tooth. The 5:2 diet is brimming with health benefits, as well as the incredible weight loss results. Without going into the massive science and logic behind the diet… it sounds like the perfect for us. Due to work, I barely have lunch until 2/3pm anyway and we never have our tea before 8:30/9pm due to it taking Mr Memoirs so long to get home. We I do however have trouble with portion control – I cook for a family of ten, so we eat for a family of ten! Always have.

A friend had started the 5:2 diet a few weeks ago and has had great results so far. It took a while for me to get my head around it. Giving up food for an entire day, not once, but twice a week? NO WAY, GET REAL. No way could I do that! But actually, as a female, I get 500 calories for my fast day. If you’re lucky enough to be male, you get 600 calories. Bonus round. It doesn’t sound like a lot – but if you’re clever, and make the right choices, you can actually still have 3 meals a day! YES WAY!

Yesterday was my first fast day. It is advised by fellow 5:2’ers that you try and miss breakfast (I know, it goes against everything you’re taught growing up!) and try and last as long as you can throughout the day without food. Meaning you have more of those important calories left for your evening meal. I’m already a massive water drinker. I don’t drink tea or coffee. I don’t drink fizzy drinks. So at least I don’t have to give extra’s like that up. I kept gulping down the pints of aqua till around 12, when I quite literally felt like my stomach was eating itself. I also had a headache. Not wanting to ‘waste’ my valuable calories on paracetamol, I opted for a 13 cal beef OXO cube drink! This replaced the salts that my water intake may have been taking away. I somehow, managed to get to 3:30 and had my Knorr soup, 172 calories. I then had a medium-banana on my way to pick Eli up from the nursery, a around 89 calories. And for my big meal of the day, we had the below – Halloumi salad, at 215 calories, at 9pm. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed agsalad so much in all my life. I will be continuing to collate 5:2 recipes over on my Pinterest, here >> 5:2 Diet Recipes. I had a total of 489 calories yesterday and I SURVIVED! I feel proud to get through Day 1 of fasting.

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Halloumi Salad, by 5:2 Recipes Blog. Serves 1, 215 calories.

This is by far the most yummy salad I’ve eaten… I’m not sure if it was because I was so looking forward to my evening meal though! But it was delicious, calorie counting or not. You could easily slip some chicken in there to bulk it out. But it was zingy and filling – am looking forward to having this again!

Do you have any swear-by 5:2 recipes? I would to hear your recipe ideas and experiences with 5:2!
MM.

MILLER-PEWTER

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

 

 

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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.

MILLER-PEWTER

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.

MILLER-PEWTER

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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BRAND IN FOCUS | Whistles.

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As it’s London Fashion Week this week, I’ve been really drawn to what’s actually going on, right now, on the high street. One of the first places I always turn to is John Lewis. I’m a little bit of a John Lewis mega fan…  But that’s just because I always get the best service there; as well as the best selection from all of the designers and brands they kindly house under one roof!

This week, I’ve had a good rummage through one of my fave British High Street brands, Whistles. As the weather is absolutely abysmal, I thought I’d try and brighten your afternoon with my edit of Whistles treats that are available in store and online at JohnLewis.com!

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#1 – Whistles Katlin Heart Blouse, £125.00
WHISTLES SAY:  Crafted from luxurious silk, the Katlin Blouse from Whistles is a playfully lux addition to your new season wardrobe.
MM SAYS: Got to start off with this heart print shirt, reminiscent of Burberry’s own heart blouse that has taken celebritydom by storm. I actually prefer this Whistles one however! It’s got more going on, more interesting, lovely colourway. Tucked into skirts and trousers – or even jeans, this makes the perfect addition to your trans-seasonal wardrobe.

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#2 – Whistles Lula Tailored Trousers, £110.00
WHISTLES SAY:  These smart tailored trousers from Whistles are the perfect style for summer.
MM SAYS: I’d have to disagree with Whistles here, I think these smart tailored trousers are a perfect style all year round! Love the cropped length and side-slit detailing.

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#3Whistles Blake Dress, £135.00.
WHISTLES SAY: Chic and directional; this elegant shift dress from Whistles offers a round neck, short sleeves and a flattering waistband for feminine appeal.
MM SAYS: I’m really enjoying jewelled tones at the minute – think it’s that shift into Autumn and Winter. I love this emerald green dress. The shape is beautiful, will give you wonderful definition and silhouette.

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#4Whistles Kir Royale Ankle Boots, £150.00.
WHISTLES SAY: A smart pair of round-toe ankle boots that are a perfect heel height to wear throughout the day and into the night. Versatile enough to be worn with either skinny jeans or a dress.
MM SAYS: I love these boots! Much like the infamous ‘Pistol Boot’ from ACNE, these boots look really comfortable – yet fashion-conscious at the same time. I’d team these boots with midi skirts and dresses, jeans and smart tailoring. Great versatile footwear style for your Winter wardrobe!


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#5 Whistles Cora Exposed Seam Cardigan, £165.00.
WHISTLES SAY: This luxe cashmere cardigan from Whistles has a relaxed open neckline with a minimalist shape, raw exposed seams and two draping side pockets – ideal for layering.
MM SAYS: Don’t you just want to cosy up in this cashmere beauty? Again, the perfect piece for your wardrobe; perfect for smart or casual, plus great for layering on those chilly days!

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#6Whistles Long Sleeve Sculptured Dress, £110.00.
WHISTLES SAY: Update your wardrobe with this contemporary, chic style from Whistles. It has an on-trend midi length, side panelling and a simple straight shape, it’s feminine and functional.
MM SAYS: POW! Check this amazing dress out for a pop of vibrance in your life. I just LOVE this dress (I was saving the best till last). Great colour, again, for all year round. Definitely put a smile on my face on this absolutely miserable September afternoon that’s for sure! I love the length of this dress; as well as the sleeve length. It would certainly hide a multitude of sins when you’re not feeling your best. I think it looks REALLY expensive. It’s worth the pricetag this one!

Hope you enjoyed my picks from Whistles. Don’t forget you can shop Whistles online at JohnLewis.com – they offer FREE delivery for all order’s over £5o too. Bonus round!

MM.

 

MILLER-PEWTER

Woe is me… I have SPD.

As I’ve documented over my recent Weekly Updates, I’ve been suffering with what I thought was just ligament pain. Albeit, with ‘just’ ligament pain I should have probably kicked up more of a fuss (I hate causing fuss and I hate fuss!). But since Saturday last week I’ve been in absolute agony with my coccyx. To the point of screaming to just roll over in bed. And I like to think I’ve got a high pain threshold! Needless to say, I’ve not slept since Friday night (and that was a rubbish night’s sleep anyway!). On top of this, I’ve had a cold… a proper cold. Every single time I’ve sneezed it’s felt like my undercarriage was going to rip out of me. Horrendous.

I’d reluctantly started taking paracetamol on Sunday as the hot baths and heat compresses had failed to ease the pain; and had the long Jubilee weekend to rest. But forced myseld into work yesterday. I cried on the train journey in, just limbering on the edge of the seat. I got to work and was completely drained. I felt emotional and tired out. I couldn’t sit in my chair at my desk. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the first pregnancy in my department, EVER. So have found it difficult when having even just standard Midwife appointments – people continuously asking why I’m at the Midwife so much. (As if I need to explain my medical situation anyway! I would NEVER ask a colleague why they’d visited the Doctors, would you?!). So when I’d been suffering with the aforementioned ligament pain, I found that people were more or less confused or found my blatant explanation “distasteful”. Goodness knows why! So of course, when I got to work yesterday in obvious pain, explaining that my coccyx were killing me didn’t go down all too well. I don’t think people understand just how sodding painful it is!

So I thought SOD IT. And got myself to the doctors at 5pm. The Doctor examined me and diagnosed me with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction). I’ve been referred to a Physio (not sure how long it will be before I get my appointment mind!) and has given me a cream to rub onto my coccyx and upped my paracetamol intake. He did offer to give me Codeine aswell, but refused this as it can affect the baby. He also gave me a sick note. My first sick note. So close to the end of work, before my Maternity Leave begins on 22nd June… so I’m quite disappointed with myself. I’ve never ever had a sick note. I didn’t even know what to do with the damn thing.

So that’s that. I’ve had my first day off work today and literally slept the entire day through. The paracetamol and sitting on a hot water bottle has helped.

I just need to keep on top of resting and relaxing. This is definitely my body’s way of telling me to SLOW DOWN.

Has anyone else suffered with SPD? What are your coping techniques? Did you get better post-partum?

MM.

 

MILLER-PEWTER

Marks & Spencer: Mother’s Day must-buy gifts!

Marks and Spencer is always your one-stop shop for Mother’s Day gifts and treats for your Mum….those Mums-to-be in your life too!

Take a look at my gift recommendations below for some inspiration – or maybe purchase a cheeky treat for yourself! You know you deserve it ;o

Classic Collection Pure Silk Lightweight Scarf £9.50, MarksandSpencer.com

The perfect accessory to this season’s styles, this elegant pure silk scarf has a abstract print, adding a luxurious finishing touch to your look. Wear with casual or smart outfits to tie your style together.


Per Una Revere Collar Spotted Pyjamas £19.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Modern, feminine style is combined with soft fabric, making these gorgeous pyjamas stylish and relaxing.

Faux Pearl Dome Drop Earrings £7.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Feminine and elegant, these softly lustrous earrings add an instant touch of sophisticated style.

Crossover V-Neck Sprig Print Jersey Dress £35.00, MarksandSpencer.com

Chic and contemporary, this jersey dress has a sprig print. A fabulous fashionable look.


Kirstie Allsopp Tea Cup, Saucer & Side Plate £15.00, MarksandSpencer.com

Kirstie Allsopp for Marks and Spencer: A pretty porcelain teacup with contrasting saucer and matching side plate. Enjoy afternoon tea in style!


Maternity Pure Cotton Button Through Spot Minishirt From £12.00 – £12.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Marks and Spencers Maternity: Our great value maternity range is designed for style, comfort and functionality, meeting all the needs of mums-to-be. This stylish spot print minishirt has been cut to flatter and the button fastening makes it ideal for nursing after the birth.

Maternity Wrap Plain Jersey Dress £29.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Marks and Spencer Maternity: Relaxed and casual, this wrap style dress is designed to flatter you and your bump. A clever cut gives a neat, comfortable fit with room for growth. Enjoy your pregnancy in style!

MM.