Sunday, 27 July 2014

Streets Style Sunday: Introducing Ígló&Indí

Let me introduce you to this cool Icelandic brand - Iglo&Indi, we're extremely happy to have been announced as their UK brand ambassadors. Absolutely thrilled as this brand is quirky, bright, fun and easy to wear apparel made for kids from quality fabrics - making it robust enough for the most active little tykes whilst not compromising on style. 

My girls absolutely love their new threads and my big girl wouldn't wear anything else when it was her birthday recently. 

Have a look at this adorable 49 second clip showcasing their AW14 collection:

Watch this space more to come on this fab brand soon....

Nat x

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Friday, 25 July 2014

My Life of Riley – The Reality

First off, I wanted to say how delighted and surprised I have been at how many of you lovely lot have made so many positive comments about one of my posts a few weeks back – The Life of a Housewife.  Whilst I am a bit of an open book and will discuss anything with anyone, however inappropriate, it was a bit of a leap of faith to talk about something so personal on such an open forum, so thank you.

In the spirit of this, I thought this week I would make a similar leap and continue my theme on “The Life of a Housewife” by discussing a pretty taboo subject: loneliness.

Now when I think of the term loneliness, the first image that pops into my mind is that of a little old man living on his own who perhaps has lost his literal life partner.  You do not often think of a busy mum running around after her single minded toddler trying to shove a top over her head and wipe the snot from her nose, but I’m going to break the mold and say it…being a mum can be pretty lonely at times.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a very lucky lady.  I have a genuinely amazing husband whom I adore and who adores me right back, a wonderful family, and I have always been surrounded by some pretty magnificent mates.  To the outside world I have it all, and as one friend once said, I’m living the life of riley! But here is the reality… despite very rarely being on my own, sometimes life as a mum is lonely and I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way.   A very close friend of mine who has a 10 month old recently told me that she sometimes goes as long as 48 hours without speaking to another adult due to her husbands work schedule, and I’m sure she’s not the only one.

When I first had Coco I was extremely fortunate to meet a warm and trustworthy group of girlfriends through our NCT class.  As one by one our babies were born we would hit the mean streets for coffee mornings and we would discuss at length every detail of being a mum and our new offspring.  But just as our babies were born, one by one the mums returned to work and before I knew it there were whole weeks to fill and a small person to entertain on my tod. 

Now, to some mums out there reading this it might sound like I’m having a good old moan (which to be honest I do enjoy!), but let me set the record straight.  My husband and I have made the conscious decision for me to stay at home and take care of Coco and our next bundle (set to arrive soon!), and despite desperately missing work and the “other side of me” I am glad to have this precious time with my children whilst they’re tiny.  However, like most things in life, this isn’t black and white, and whilst I will always be grateful, it won’t stop me counting down the minutes each evening waiting for my other half to come home.

We’re all quick to look at peoples’ lives and make assumptions (and I’m one of the worst!) but perhaps next time you see a mum sitting on her own with her child having a coffee and probably a much needed piece of cake, maybe say hi.  I’m sure she’d appreciate it.

It’d be great to get your thoughts on this article so please do comment below.

Gemma x

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A wedding with a refreshing difference

The weekend before last we attended our friend's wedding. The first inkling that this would be a wedding with a difference, is that the ceremony was held in Victoria Park, East London. Despite the forecast not being very good all week, the weather report made a dramatic turnaround that morning and the sun showed it's much welcomed face all day. We waited by the pagoda for the bride and groom to finish their official ceremony with a handful of their closest friends and family. And we were surprised to see the bride arrive in a very simple, but extremely beautiful cream jumpsuit, flat pumps, and no make up (or very little). I think that makes a huge statement on your wedding day, and I absolutely loved that she stayed true to who she was, and didn't change that just for her big day. I love dressing up glam, but it's not for everyone and it was a refreshing change to see a naturally beautiful and clearly very happy bride walk towards us, with her husband who was/is a little more flamboyant, in his checked suit and yellow tie.

Despite being a successful couple, they defied expectations and didn't go for an extravagant wedding. It was more about good food, good friends, good vibes and lots of laughs. 

There were a lot of thank yous' in the grooms speech, it was clear that many wedding guests had a personal part to play in the organisation of the day - be it the flowers, the cake, the music, and the styling. 

Children were invited to the day, however we opted to not bring our kids as there were a lot of good friends who we haven't seen in a long time, and we wanted to really enjoy ourselves with them for a change. Although seeing the all cuteness around did make me regret my decision for a few minutes. Then I had another glass of wine and that feeling quickly dissipated.

The main colour theme was yellow, but there was also orange and blue, which complimented the yellow perfectly. 

An eclectic mix of guests and sets from various dj mates after a fabulous brass band which played old house classics made sure the party got going from dusk until they kicked us all out.  

Guest's mouths were watering even before we sat down with this delicious hog roast and crispy crackling in the pub garden just by Victoria Park - The Royal Inn On the Park. 

The husband and me.

Simple and stunning table decorations. 

Here's my outfit in full before I left (and before I had too much wine!). 

Skirt: Mango
Bodice: M&S
Gold top: Borrowed from a friend (thanks Kim)
Hat: Old
Belt: Charity shop

To conclude the wedding was so fun, because they concentrated on the important things in life, and did it exactly how they wanted to. Everyone afterwards was broken (from too much partying) but very happy. 

Thanks guys we had an amazing time, we wish you a very happy life together.

Have you attended a wedding with a difference recently? 

What you are your thoughts on the outfits? 

Nat x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hand-making my camera strap with Elizabeth Dunn

As my regular readers will know I love to support British businesses, especially when they are small, unique and exquisite. That's the camp that Elizabeth Dunn falls into. She makes beautiful bags, wallets, journals, shoes and camera straps from leather.

Elizabeth invited a couple of my blogging friends and me to make our own camera straps. Which  was perfect timing for me, as I got a camera recently for my birthday, and the standard Canon strap it came with is frankly a bit boring - so I jumped at the chance. 

We arrived in a little back street a short distance from Holborn in London, having made are various journeys from home leaving the kids well cared for by dads or grandparents. We were faced with a big building of lots of little studios. I love buildings like this and luckily for me London has a plethora of characterful buildings for me delight over. 

We went up to the studio in an ancient looking lift, feeling a little apprehensive.

We needn't have felt anxious at all, the lift took us safely to our destination and Elizabeth has a great knack of making you feel welcome and comfortable. She is a brilliant teacher, and nothing is too much trouble even if like me you keep making mistakes. 

There was a great array of leathers in all different colours and thicknesses to choose from. And that was the toughest bit choosing which leather and then accessories to make my handmade uniquely bespoke camera strap from.

Hard at work with the very lovely Carissa from Little likely Lads and Katy from Modern Mummy.

In the end I went for a multicoloured number of purple, turquoise and mock croc grey with gold and silver accessories, clearly Elizabeth's warning of less is more fell on deaf ears with me. The others made really lovely, elegant looking camera straps, but I liked mine, it represented my scatty personality well. 

Hard at work.

Here's my masterpiece. I'd made a couple of mistake when stamping the letters, but I decided to leave it as I kind of liked it looking not perfect. 

All of us feeling very pleased with our creations. 

The extremely talented Elizabeth Dunn and me.

Elizabeth offers handmade camera straps on her website from £85  To discuss having a bespoke one made or to enquire about workshops please contact her directly:

What do you think of my creation? 

Nat x

Disclaimer: Elizabeth kindly invited us to make these camera straps in return for press coverage. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Country living

I'm back in the country for a three-week holiday. I've rented a cottage about 8 miles from my hometown, Great Malvern. This post is about country living. 

I grew up in a small town. Not a city. Cows, sheep, horses were all familiar sights throughout my childhood. Our home wasn't in the countryside but it wasn't exactly far from it either. One mile from the front door are farms. Five hundred feet away are the hills. 

I was soooo thrilled arriving back. The fields full of cows and sheep (unseen around DC and even in horse country nearby). I took my toddler to a fruit-picking farm on day 2. Pigs, chickens, chicks, Mr & Mrs Peacock, ducks and their ducklings - basically, lots of farm animals that the toddler doesn't see except in story books. Geese too. Big, angry, beady-eyed buggers that hiss and bark - and chase small boys who don't get the hint. "BAD SCARY DUCK!" Hilarious. How lovely, I thought. I could get used to this. *imagines baking fresh scones whilst wearing a Cath Kidston apron*

The cottage is surrounded by fields. It's quiet and lovely. The sun sets late, so it's still light until 10pm. We pick plums from the trees in the garden and hang the washing on a line strung between apple trees. *more Cath Kidston and even an Aga* You get the picture. 

We had tremendous thunder and lightning storms a few nights ago. Insanely loud cracks of thunder and lightning bolts that lit up the sky for miles. I have to admit, despite my efforts to be excited about the "beauty and power" of Mother Nature, I was in reality peeing my pants. Cue Sound of Music "These are a few of my Favourite Things". A sleepless night. 

The following morning, the skies were beautiful. A few branches had come down but that was all. 

Walking into the bathroom, I came upon a scene from a horror movie. SPIDERS. Not one. Not even ten. MORE. The buggers had sought refuge from the storm and come in through the open window (I'd forgotten to close it) and made themselves at home all over the bathroom. It was horrifying. The only thing that might've been worse would be millipedes. 

Just as I was about to attack them with a large towel and shower head, toddleboy walked in and exclaimed "Spiders! My FRIENDS!"    I've taught him not to be scared of insects by saying they're all friends of ours and we are to show them love. So now I had to be an example of this and could no longer proceed with my arachnoid annihilation. Is arachnoid a word? 

Spiders here run the gamut of shapes, sizes and ability to scare the shit out of a grown person. Some float about, others scuttle. Some JUMP. What in the name of all things decent is that about? 

I explained to the child that the spiders needed a shower, turned on the shower head and did a rather grand Tony Montana machine gun, but with shower head instead, assassination. I sprayed the bath, walls, window and well, even the floor. I got carried away, one might say. 

I turned around and realised I'd rebound sprayed onto the child. He was naked except for a toga number made entirely of drowned spiders. Instinctually I turned the shower head onto him. Oh, the poor boy. He ran, screeching into the bedroom and into the bed. The bed I SLEEP in. After I'd coaxed him out and dried him off, I spent the next hour cleaning up the bathroom and bed. Vile. It was vile. 

Everywhere I look since then, I see spiders. The green top off a tomato? Spider. A leaf? Spider. That mark on the tablecloth? A HUGE spider. 

I spotted a spider on the bedroom wall the other night. I came THIS close to waking up the toddler to remove it (ie, accidentally squash it in his chubby, clumsy fingers). Instead, I moved to another bedroom. Brave move. Hm. 

All I need to send me over the edge and back to city-living is the appearance of a snake.