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BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK 2018 // BREAK THE SILENCE

BREAK THE SILENCE

Baby loss awareness week

9th – 15th October 2018

 

I write this post as tears begin to flood my eyes. Warm, salty tears rolling down my cheeks, streaking the make-up mask I wear daily to keep me feeling/looking/seeming normal. To plaster a happy face over my sad one. This very time last year I was recovering from the ERPC operation that physically ended my miscarriage.

A whole year on, mentally, it’s still very raw, it’s still very fresh, it still very much hurts. A whole year on, I’m still longing for – unashamedly needing to have my arms full with a newborn son or daughter, a brother or sister for Eli. My heart aches. When you lose a child, at any stage, you are left haunted by wonder. Wonder who they might have been. That’s what makes it so hard to move on…

It’s been such a long time since we started trying for our second child – our journey began back in March 2017. And here I am, sat at my laptop around 580 days (thats 19 months, in new money, not that I’m keeping check) later – still wishing, still hoping, still feeling huge pangs of guilt because I’m covertly jealous of women that I spot with a beautiful bump; or those with a new babe in arms. It’s easily taking up the majority of my thinking throughout my day – not to mention rudely interrupting my sleep too. Tell me I’m not the only one who dreams mosts nights about parenting a brand new bebé?!

Never would I have imagined it would be such a long, drawn out process. I’m not just talking about the physical aspect of miscarriage – because that definitely sucks and takes ages to recover from too – but the mental heartbreak.

As I’m sat typing this, many other women, couples, families are also going through it too. Around the world. As I’ve mentioned many times, 1 in 4 of us will go through it at some point. 1 in 4 of you have been there. You too know the physical pain, the emotional pain.

Miscarriage and baby loss does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone. It is not rare. So, I wanted to write a blog post dedicated to you, as today marks the beginning of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018; which is held annually, globally, to remember those very tiny lives lost in pregnancy and soon after birth. The week will culminate with the annual Wave of Light on Monday 15th October at 7pm. See further details below.

I’m not sure how else to say it – but thank you for all the kindness shown to us over the past year. For listening and sharing.  365 days on, I’m still overwhelmed by the messages and and I’ll never forget it.

I’m an over-sharer by nature, sometimes to my own detriment, but mostly,  apart from this whole blogging process being cathartic for me, I also wanted to share because thats how we learn. We learn from others’ experiences. What I found, was that Pregnancy & Baby Loss was exceptionally un-talked about. It’s 2018 and this is still seen as taboo and very private – is that a British thing? Or is this the opinion people have worldwide? It’s crazy, don’t you think? Not to talk and share openly? To grieve and take time to do so.

In general, I am ridiculously British about things – I’m pretty naive, I’m pretty prudish. I get bashful at the mention of S-E-X. But THIS, this, I NEED to talk about. I also need you to talk out too. SO! Let’s get together to break the silence of miscarriage & baby loss during this, Baby Loss Awareness Month.

I’d like to propose that my blog serves as a platform for you to be able to share with me… and importantly, with others too. If your experience has proven too difficult to talk about openly, I am more than happy to publish stories anonymously. Whatever works for you – just PLEASE talk. Though I’m certainly not known for being concise,  yours does not have to be lengthy – just a few words from the heart to help yourself and others heal. It will definitely be a comfort and support for those reading – whilst also being therapeutic for yourself. Personally? I have found true solace in these online realms. I can’t be the only one?!

You can contact me via the comments below, FB & IG private direct messages or via email: claire[at]clairebriston.com

C
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BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK // EVENTS

Charities such as the below also have ways to get involved this week, in support for Baby Loss Awareness Week. Events that (are known) you can join are listed on the Baby Loss Awareness site, here.

Online events

  • 9 October 8 pm Join a webinar in the comfort of your own home: Baby Loss, Miscarriage and Stillbirth. With Dr Raj Rai – Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic, St Mary’s HospitalSign up here
  • 15 October 7 – 7:30 pm Online Wave of Light Group Meditation Further information here

Parliamentary activity & events (invitation only)

England

  • 8-12 October: Display in Upper Waiting Hall in House of Commons, Westminster, on pregnancy and baby loss and the National Bereavement Care Pathway.
  • 9 October: Debate in House of Commons
  • 11 October: Event sponsored by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss in the House of Commons to raise awareness of baby loss with MPs, followed by a remembrance service for MPs, peers and parliamentary staff.

Scotland

  • 3 October: Event in Scottish Parliament

Wales

  • 3 October: Debate in Welsh Assembly
  • 10 October: Candle Event sponsored by Mark Drakeford AM at Main Hall, The Pierhead, Cardiff

 

IMPOSSIBLY BRILLIANT HELP & SUPPORT NETWORKS // THERE FOR YOU 24/7

TOMMY’S

1 in 4 parents will have to go through the heartbreak of losing a child during pregnancy or birth. We need your help to stop these tragic deaths. Please join Team Tommy’s and help us find answers and cures.

Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy is a devastating experience. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, up to one in four women will lose a baby during pregnancy or birth.

Tommy’s exists to change the unacceptable statistics connected to baby loss.

Thanks to the support of our incredible community, our research has lead to a reduced stillbirth rate of 22% in Greater Manchester between 2010 and 2014 and a 23% reduction in premature births in high risk women attending our London clinic during 2014-15.

Learn more about the impact of our work here: http://bit.ly/2we9Cvk#Babyloss

DONATE >> Make a donation to Tommy’s, The Baby Charity.

THE MISCARRIAGE ASSOCIATION

Stories of good care
During Babyloss Awareness Week this year, the 40 participating charities and groups are calling for improved care following the loss of a baby during pregnancy, or during or shortly after birth.

As part of this campaign, we are asking people to share their experiences of good care they have received, perhaps from a midwife, sonographer, friend or colleague. If you would like to get involved, please email a story of less than 150 words to babyloss@sands.org.uk, copying us in on awareness@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.

You can find more details on the Babyloss Awareness Week website.

Wave of light this Monday
Last year we made a special video slideshow using hundreds of candles that lit up our Facebook page in memory of babies lost far too soon. If you’d like yours included this year, please add a note ‘For the video’ when you upload a picture.

While Baby Loss Awareness Week can be a special time of remembering and speaking about loss, we understand that it can also evoke painful memories. If you need to talk, please feel free to call our helpline on on 01924 200 799 (Monday – Friday9 a.m – 4 p.m) or see our website for other ways we offer support.

DONATE >> Make a donation to The Miscarriage Association

BABY LOSS AWARENESS

Share your experience – this could be by telling a friend about Baby Loss Awareness Week, talking about your experience or wearing a Baby Loss Awareness pin badge. You could also use our specially designed social media images on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, work intranet or noticeboard.

DONATE >> Make a donation to Babyloss Awareness.

SANDS – STILLBIRTH AND NEONATAL DEATH CHARITY

Sands is the stillbirth and neonatal death charity. We operate throughout the UK, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby, working to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, was founded in 1978 by a small group of bereaved parents who were devastated by the death of their babies, and by the total lack of acknowledgement and understanding of the significance and impact of their loss.

DONATE >> Make a donation to SANDS.

THE LULLABY TRUST

The Lullaby Trust provides emotional support for bereaved families, promotes expert advice on safer baby sleep and raises awareness of sudden infant death.

Working with the NHS, we run a national health-visitor led service for bereaved parents, Care of Next Infant (CONI) programme, which supports families before and after the birth of their new baby.

We are committed to supporting research to understand why so many babies a year die suddenly and unexpectedly in the UK and to find out more about how to prevent these tragic deaths.

The Lullaby Trust operates nationwide across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We run an information line for parents and professionals (0808 802 6869) and a dedicated line for bereaved families (0808 802 6868). Both are free to call from landlines and mobiles.

We campaign tirelessly, lobbying government to keep sudden infant death on the public health agenda. Since we formed as The Foundation for the Study of Sudden Infant Deaths (FSID) in 1971 we have been pivotal in reducing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by over 80%.

DONATE >> Make a donation to The Lullaby Trust

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Love. Want. NEED: Bella Freud | The 1970 Jumper.

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London jewellery designer, Sheherazade Goldsmith, wearing Bella Freud at home: Credit The Telegraph.


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?

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#MoMWishList

MM.

 

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.

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CALLING ALL > Music-Loving Mama’s!

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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!

 

#MamaMusicMonday

 

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 😉

MM.

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What Eli Wore: Dinosaur costume | H & M.

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What Eli Wore: Dinosaur Costume

Brand: H & M

Price: £17.99 / 24.99€

Sizes available: 2 years – 10 years.

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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!).

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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!

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You can shop this natty little number on the following sites: UK and DE.

MM.

#WhatEliWore

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OMM Design, “D.I.Y Banner” | This Modern Life.

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I’ve wanted a ‘DIY Banner’ for such a long time. I’ve wanted to write out our favourite slogans or words across the walls of Eli’s bedroom – obviously, without the permanent graffiti! So a few months back I finally got mine ordered from the really lovely This Modern Life online store. It was a toss up between the black and the gold – but the black just pipped it at the post. (It stands out against everything). As soon as it arrived, I took out all the letters and laid them out to see what I could write first…

Then realised that the metal fasteners were missing! A very swift response from the very lovely Suzanne meant that a new set of clips were in the post… (thanks a bunch again!)

I set to work…

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Even though Eli’s birthday was 6 weeks away at the time, I knew I wanted to debut my banner then. We removed the antique painting from above our sofa and strung the banner up in the centre of the wall. We were over the moon with it – I think it looks spot on! It was the perfect backdrop for Eli’s 2nd birthday (we will of course be wheeling this out every year going forward! A new little tradition!)

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Obviously, the birthday banner had to come down at some point… boo.

So, I set to work again – this time, I clipped together “Always be curious”. Our family motto. (Which is actually a little longer… “Always ask questions, always be curious.”) We *might* have taken inspiration from a certain Mr Richard Dawkins’ in his letter to his 10 year old daughter there; but it fits so nicely as we’ve always wanted our children to be curious about the world around them – and Eli has definitely always been a curious boy!

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This one is on the wall beside Eli’s library.

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And I just had to keep a little something for Eli’s bed-head too 🙂

What do you think of the DIY banner? What would be your favourite words to spell out?

MM.

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From the This Modern Life product page for the OMM Design D.I.Y Garland:

We love this multilingual DIY letter banner – use it to spell out your child’s name, a special song lyric, Happy Birthday, or even ‘MARRY ME?’

There are loads of letters in each pack, so you can create several banners with one kit.

Design Tips:

 Spell out your baby’s name in the nursery, or a cute phrase like ‘night night little one’ or ‘wake up bright’.

 Write out favourite song lyrics in your kids room, or use words like ‘PLAY’ and ‘READ’ to define areas of their room.

 How about ‘WELCOME’ by the front door, or ‘LOVE’ in the bedroom? Perhaps a family message in the lounge or kitchen.

 These not only make a perfect gift, they are also ideal for ‘Happy Birthday’ banners, and as a tag on beautifully wrapped presents.

Size: Each letter is approx. 8cm tall.

Good to know: 122 characters in each pack:

AAAAA BBB CC DDD EEEEEEE FF GGG HHH IIII JJ KK LLLL MMMM NNNN OOOO PPP QQ RRRR SSSSS TTTT UUU VV WW X YY Z ÅÅ ÄÄ ÖÖ ÆÆ ØØ Ë Ï Ü ßß Œ Ç Ñ & ! ? ‘ ‘

Plus 18 symbols:

♦︎ ♥︎ ★ ♠︎

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Belle & Boo | Birthday Badge Cards.

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Mr Eli recently turned 2… and it wouldn’t have been an occasion without Belle & Boo would it!
I love Belle and Boo; you can read my previous Belle & Boo posts below>
Mr Eli’s 1st Birthday!
BRAND IN FOCUS | Belle & Boo.
Belle & Boo | Very Merry Christmas (book).

Belle & Boo recently launched their “Badge Cards” collection – a range of 8 number cards for lovely little girls and boys, complete with birth-age badge. You can shop the new collection here> Badge Cards.

Sadly, at the minute there are only 3 ages for boy’s, but I’m sure Belle & Boo will have a great response to the cards and will hopefully extend the range. The “Ellis & Easy” badge card we bought for Eli is so charming and playful. We’re big aeroplane fan’s in our house, so this card was perfect for Eli (who will also be going on a plane for the first time very soon too!). What’s more, the badge is a safety badge, so you can let your little one show off their big age without the worry of them being covered in pin-pricks!

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We love this card so much that I will be framing it and adding it to the growing collection of prints he has in his bedroom – it will fit in just nicely!

MM.

 

xx

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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.

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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.