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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE // THIS IS ME

THIS IS ME

Where do I even begin with this?

Right, DEEP BREATH. Here we go!

I have always been small, in height, the smallest at school… the smallest in every single friendship group since then. The smallest in the family. When I was working at Eli’s school last year, there were even children almost my height, and they were pushing age 8 (!!), if that. I was often mocked as a child because of my height, “short arse” and “little legs” are the nicer of the names I was referred to. It made me feel ‘picked on’, and singled out to be referred to because of my height. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I shouldn’t, but I actually really DO care what other people think – to my own detriment.

I had the familiar pang of sadness, that I’d had so many times as a child, when Eli came along. He’s on the shorter side of “the chart” for his age – he’s always followed the same line on the chart. He was born with several conditions too (Talipes, Torticollis, Hypermobility) which in turn could have some kind of effect on his growth. He’s actually only just below average height for his age. Most kids are ABOVE AVERAGE in height; making him look smaller. I became/become hyper-sensitive when we get adults proclaim  “Oh isn’t he small!” “Eli is so tiny for his age isn’t he!” “My son is 3 years younger than him and already his height!”. Why are you even referring to his height? Why is it such a BIG THING for you to point out? I’m totally digressing from my own issues here because I’m being defensive and protective of him; but just wanted to point out that your throwaway comments about something like height (and I’ll get onto this now, but also, weight) can actually hit someone in such a bad way, especially when they’re already mega conscious of what you’re pointing out. Instead of referring to my son’s height, how about you refer to how agile and strong and clever and cheeky and funny and how unbelievably caring and creative he is?

ANYWAY…

Back to it.

My height I cannot do anything about and I wholly accept that. So why oh why have I found body-acceptance so damn difficult?

I’m a complete little bit ginger (which again, I was cruelly bullied for as a child), I have a gazillion freckles, I have a rather large nose (which I do now accept and got pierced later in life because I was learning to embrace it… not embraced enough for me to tell my parents I’d had it pierced however!). I didn’t grow up with a good self image. At all. I’ve always struggled to look in the mirror.

I’m ‘petite’ – I’m quite literally 5 foot nothing. I have big old Mothering hips and a bust. I had a big arse well before it was in fash-un. I distinctly remember being told I had a ‘duck bum’ (that protruded as I walked), as a child. Putting on the odd pound here or there makes me look massive because of my height and stature.  My body shape is TOTALLY different to how it was when I was 8, when I was 15, when I was 21, heck, when I was pregnant with Eli at 26 and it’s even different to the months and years following the birth of Eli.

When I became a parent, I KNEW, I had to let go of the self-conscious me. I KNEW I had to let go of the cringing in the mirror. I KNEW I had to let go of the posing at my best angle and just live in the now and be the natural me in photographs.

I knew all this and still continued through life with the same mindset – just now being extra careful not to project any of my feelings onto Eli directly. I’m ALWAYS the one behind the camera. Never in front – unless my body is cropped – or unless I take a mirror selfie (the one I post is usually out of around 2000 that I take and cry over before eventually posting). It makes me so bloody sad going through our photos from our recent holiday to Florida; I’m barely in any of them. There’s probably 3 that I let James take of me and I would never ever post them. (He would be the first to admit that he is just awful at taking candid photos – so theres no point wasting phone memory on taking any of me at all). The confidence issue doesn’t stop with the photo-taking though.  I also walked around in 40c heat in Florida with my arms covered every single day. I was sweating like I never even imagined I could sweat, but still, I refused to take of the kimono or the jacket or the long sleeved dress. WHY? Because all of these strangers would see my bare arms?! GOD FORBID LASS. It’s nuts isn’t it? It’s actually nuts. I am my own worst enemy.

Since having Eli 6 years ago, my body has changed drastically. I put on 4 stone whilst pregnant with him. It came off quite slowly. I did every diet possible – but in the end I stuck to slim fast and the 5:2. Within a few months, I had gone down to a size 8-10. And I was still miserable. I was still unhappy with my body. The scars, the stretch marks, the wobbly bits. My dumpy little legs and my zero torso cos Petite. I still didn’t want to have my photograph taken. I still didn’t want to look in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m now 32 and I’m only truly learning what it means to have ‘self-love’. I had a tough time following my miscarriage last year – not just because of the obvious. But because I was blaming this sack of a body I had to get around in. I blamed by body for failing to protect that baby that was so wanted. But my body wasn’t to blame at all. My body did what it needed to. When I realised that, I realised and understood how strong my body really is. How amazing my body actually is. But still, I couldn’t get that emotional response to project onto the outside and transfer into true body confidence.

For years I have watched and admired the confidence of so many amazing women across the media. (REAL women, like you and I). People like @StyleMeSunday and her Body Confidence campaigns – instantly jump to mind. For years I have wished I had just an ounce of that confidence. To be able to dress to my size, to not hide behind the floaty dresses (I will still love my floaty dresses, but not for playing hide & seek in!) , at jaunty angles and to actually feel comfortable within my own skin. To allow photographs to be taken of me… photos of me and my boy.  After all, when we’re gone, the only thing that will remain are these photographs of precious times and now all I can think about is the lack of any photographic evidence of us all together. It’s really just so sad, isn’t it? It’s terrible.

So? What’s your point? Well, stranger on the internet, I have began to finally feel better about my body.  More recently, folk like @mollyjforbes, @Inpolife, @life_with_Ivycoco, and of course, @CharliHoward@Erica_Davies & @HannahfGale – have all posted such amazing content with such honesty, how can I not take just a little bit of it on board? How can I not think better of my own body and bones?

About a month ago I went to a gathering organised by @MidsizeCollective – I almost didn’t go. I felt massive. I was beyond nervous. I was going on my own (I did meet up with long-time IG pal @i0wen in the end!). It all felt too much. I didn’t want anxiety to get the better of me.

I’m so bloody glad I went. It was exceptionally inspiring to be in a room with other women who understood me and my body shape. To be able to chat and share in our shopping woes of being ‘middle sized’ women. Because, you know what, we are the forgotten women. Not skinny… but not plus size. We’re NORMAL sized women. But why does it feel like we’re invisible? Why is it so difficult to find clothing that fits us? Why, oh, why, do we find body confidence so damn hard to work with?! Why are we not represented within the Fashion industry… within shops and their marketing? WHY OH WHY OH WHY?

I just want to feel comfortable in the skin that I have. To be comfortable with the skin that I’m in; whatever my size. To have appreciation for my body; and confidence in where my body takes me. We ALL have a body, whatever shape or size or height or colour(s) it may well be. So that’s our NORMAL. No more, definitely, no less. We’re all NORMAL.

And you know what? I heard that THICK THIGHS, SAVE LIVES. So it must be ok!

I also just wanted to give  a shout out to @annacarsarina, who has also set up her new account all about Mid-Size and Mid-Age style – she has carefully curated such a beautiful feed full of body happiness and inspiration. So thank you Anna – and thank you to all the other women mentioned above (and to those beyond this blog post) who have shown true and honest versions of themselves in a bid to normalise body confidence. THANK YOU. You are wonderful women and it’s also kind of ridiculous that we’re even having to write about this in 2018, isn’t it? Anyway, again, thank you for being YOU. I wouldn’t be sat here typing this out, without you.

So from this day forward, I swear I’m going to be happier in my own skin – I’m going to ALLOW photographs to be taken of me, candid or otherwise. I’m not about to jump into a bikini and show off all my bits… but I promise that I’m going to beat these bloody body confidence blues and get on with my life. Because you know what? Life is too hard and too tiring and it’s just too damn short to be fussing over what you look like in a pair of skinny jeans or with your arms out… or ON THE DAMN BEACH. Yes I could do with loosing a few more pounds (I cycle every day for almost 2 hours, but I also love crisps and chips and gravy), but importantly, I’m giving up on feeling body-shame and I’m going to embrace what I have, in the now and at the minute. And I would urge you to do the very same.

I cannot imagine what life must be like for those who are bringing up daughters. The pressure must just be so immense surrounding body positivity. I find it difficult enough bringing up a son in this world and talk endlessly to Eli about how we’re all different shapes and sizes and colours and that’s what makes us all so cool! The fact we’re all different and truly unique and diverse. The more we educate and understand and share the honesty, then the more NORMAL this whole movement will become. Hopefully, it won’t even BE a movement any longer – because, we’re all just out there living our best lives.

Additionally, I’m going to be using my social media platforms as a place to shout about Petite styles and fashion and inspiration because no, there isn’t enough of it out there. I’ve always tried to be inclusive of my styling tips/recommendations, but the industry definitely isn’t inclusive of people like me and my size. So sod the industry, and PETITE WOMEN, LET’S UNITE! #PetiteWomenUnite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there we have it.  My body confidence post, DONE.

Peace & Love

C
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BRAND IN FOCUS // Topshop x STRANGER THINGS Collaboration

AN EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION

Ahead of Season 2, Stranger Things is having a fashion moment. Be first with the trend and discover our exclusive, limited-edition collection of retro-inspired tees and sweatshirts (think beyond jeans and trainers, and style yours over floaty blouses and dresses or tucked into a velvet mini skirt).

As part of the TOPSHOP & TOPMAN exclusive partnership with Netflix, they have also transformed Topshop Oxford Circus into a Stranger Things-inspired world.

 

The Byers’ living room

Flickering fairy lights, an alphabet scribbled onto floral wallpaper and a glitchy TV screen… It can only be the Byers’ iconic living room, brought to life in one of the store’s main windows on Oxford Street.

Hawkins lab

Are you telekinetic just like Eleven? Test your superpowers in Hawkins lab, set at the front of the store.

Castle Byers

Will’s hideaway is complete with a cassette player blasting “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash, a JAWS poster and messy bunk bed. You can find it on the first floor at Topman.

The Arcade

Step into the Arcade on the lower ground floor to win big or head to the Upside Down if you dare…

Walk the corridors of Hawkins High and discover Nancy’s locker, as well as a shrine to Barb.

It looks bloody brilliant, doesn’t it?

Be sure to get down to Oxford St asap though, this special instore experience is only open until Tuesday 31st October!

Not in London? Head to Topshop Liverpool, Birmingham or Manchester Arndale for Stranger Things 2 window art, Hawkins High lockers, giveaways, Stranger Things merchandise and exclusive tote bags if you spend £60 or more.

Check out my favourite pieces from the collaboration below – and don’t forget Barb to settle down tonight for the Season 2 premiere!

SHOP >> STRANGER THINGS T-shirt //  £20
SHOP >> THE BOOK OF BARB // £9.99
SHOP >> BIKE SWEATSHIRT // £32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop the entire collection instore and online here >> TOPSHOP x STRANGER THINGS collaboration.

Will you be watching the Season 2 premiere tonight?

C
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LONDON FASHION WEEK // TOPSHOP SS18

Journalist Harriet Verney has her place in the fashion industry firmly fixed. This London Fashion Week,  TOPSHOP have enlisted her to bring you insider insight from the backstage area and beyond. Follow @TOPSHOP on Instagram to get your access-all-areas pass.

From the neon lights of Soho to the headlights beaming through the venue and the flashing cameras of on-site photographers – fashion week is always defined by all kinds of bright lights. This season, TOPSHOP are taking it one step further, so have your shades at the ready…

Ever since their very first  London Fashion Week show in 2005, TOPSHOP has casted the coolest girls in fashion. Back then it was Erin Wasson and Sasha Pivovarova, and other runway alumni throughout the years include Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, Taylor Hill, Bella Hadid and most recently Adwoa Aboah. Who will it be this year?

So you gotta get ready for the new TOPSHOP London Fashion Week collection. Tune in at 4.15pm on Sunday 17th September to watch the show live and shop selected pieces straight after the runway.

The brand new TOPSHOP London Fashion Week collection is their most accessible and wearable runway edit to date.  Can’t wait to see the new collection – and its brilliant that you can add a touch of the show to your everyday wardrobe, straight away! Prices start from just £39.

C
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BRAND IN FOCUS // TOPSHOP x Liberty Fabrics

Quintessentially British brand, Liberty, is world-renowned for its iconic prints. Recently launched, they’ve teamed up with TOPSHOP to rediscover the print archives, on modern designs.

This season, three designs from the archive decorate Topshop dresses, skirts and tops in fresh new colourways. Choose
between Elderberry, a hand-drawn berry pattern in blue, yellow and green rose, along with a scattered pansy print in pink and the familiar Capel print – a floral motif from the 1970s now in redesigned in red.

I do love a Vintage print – this Minimalism journey hasn’t stripped that from me (yet!). And these styles are so lovely and summery too. Team with a leather biker & ankle boots to finish the look.

See my favourite pieces below // all pieces from the collection are available in The Shop.

 

Topshop x Liberty // Skater Tea Dress | £59.00
Topshop x Liberty // Floral Sun Top | £34.00

 

Topshop x Liberty // Ruffle Print Dress | £59.00

shop now

C
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SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND // 19.05.17

 

ALL FEATURED ITEMS ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN THE NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE // SHOP (AND PER LINKS BELOW).

TOPSHOP // Plisse Duster Jacket – Red – £59.00
TOPSHOP // MERCI Slogan Tee – £15.00
TOPSHOP // FERN Studded Slider – Red – £42.00
ADNAMS // Copper House Dry Gin – 70cl – £26.99
SARAH  BAILY // GIRL GANG Card Wallet – Turquoise & Silver – £39.00
BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE // Prism Cross Body Bag – Black – £265.00
SANRDO // Round Buckle Leather Belt – Black – £100.00
WHISTLES // High Waisted Barrel Leg Jeans – Black – £95.00

I think everyone can agree its been quite a rubbish week! (Unless you’ve had a good week! If so, do tell me why!). We’ve had lots of personal issues going down, things not going right, exhaustion and of course, one of our new rabbits sadly passed away last night. But hey ho, the weekend is here! WOO. We made it! And here are my ‘Something for the weekend’ picks for this week.

I’m still hooked on bright red. TOPSHOP have some brilliant wardrobe essentials in this wonder-hue. I’ve also picked the TOPSHOP // MERCI Slogan Tee as its a fab Gucci dupe of THAT tee, for the tiny price of £15.00!

After the week we’ve all had – I think in celebration of it being Friday we all deserve a big GIN – lots of Gin. Adnams are maybe most known for their Beer, but their Copper House Dry Gin is award-winning. I’ll drink to that. Cheers! #SOLIDARITEA

I wanted to give a bit of Friday Woman Love this week to SARAH  BAILY and have featured one of her wicked metallic accessories – the GIRL GANG Card WalletSarah is a London-based accessories and outerwear designer, offering the ultimate accessories for party girls and metallic magpies alike. Combining luxury with fun and using her signature bright metallic leathers – all pieces are hand-made in London, Sarah’s design ethos is to create striking and versatile items to inject an element of fun and party spirit into every moment, and to make her clients feel like rock stars every day. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Sarah at the MOTHERS MEETINGS Christmas Party. What an absolute babestation!💖

Have a lovely weekend gang – head to my Instagram to tell me which your favourite pieces are and why – or what you’ve got planned this weekend!

C

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THURSDAY KIDS | Kids’ Style: 16/06

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• T H U R S D A Y. K I D S •
Feat some of my current faves:
✖️Bag // @tibaandmarl
✖️Tee // @nor_folk
✖️Hareems // @stitched_up_apparel
✖️Feet // @vans_europe

MM.

 

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THE EDIT: Something For The Weekend | 03/06.

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I’m going to be curating a weekly ‘Top 8’, ahead of the weekend, looking mostly at online shops. This week I’ve looked at the New Arrivals of some of my favourite online shops. All products are available currently on the UK sites and are priced in GBP. It’s been a real mixed bag weather-wise, so this week’s Edit reflects that!

This week’s online shopping Edit:

1: HELMUT LANG: Oversized Cashmere Coat – £955.

2: MARKUS LUPFER: Embellished Sweatshirt – £250.

3: ASOS: Pintuck Blouse with tie detail – £36.

4: SAINT LAURENT: Leopard Lunchbox Bag – £1095.

5: ANNINA VOGEL: Horsehoe Necklace, 9ct Gold – £250.

6: TOPSHOP: Ruffled Peplum Top – £40.

7: TOPSHOP: Topshop Boutique Boyfriend Jean – £55.

8: TOPSHOP: FANG Flatform Sandal – £49.

#MoMSFTW 

MM.

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BACK | TO | BLIGHTY.

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The first weekend back in England and we had a forage in our new back garden, where we found the most marvellous rhubarb! 

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…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.

MM.

 

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THE EDIT | The Black Shoulder Bag.

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APC Half Moon Bag | Image: Pinterest.

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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.

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A.P.C – Half Moon Bag –  £280. Available at selected stockists.

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SAINT LAURENT Monogram université – £1,500.

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Chloé – Drew Bag – £1, 140.

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Céline- Trio Bag – Around £650. Available at selected stockists.

 

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Valentino – Rock Stud Bag – £1, 240.

 

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Maje – Sharon Bag – £420.

 

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GUCCI – Soho Bag – £650.

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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)?

MM.

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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*.