In my early twenties, and older teenage years, I used to go clothes shopping on a weekly basis. Actually that’s a lie. It was a several times a week, if not daily, habit. I was hooked! I had a clothes addiction at one point and it actually contributed to me getting into a lot of debt. I touch on that in my blog post: A very honest account of how I ended up in £17500 of debt by the age of 20
I really did love to shop and buy clothes and never liked wearing the same outfit twice. It gave me a massive confidence boost when someone said they liked my outfit. I had rails and rails and boxes under my bed filled with clothes, shoes and accessories.
Nowadays I’m the total opposite.
I’ve gone from having a clothes addiction in my early twenties to having a minimal addiction in my early thirties. I now realise less is more and live with a capsule wardrobe instead. I have gone from one extreme to the other when it comes to clothes shopping. I now share a wardrobe with Ben which is a triple sized wardrobe and we have half the rail each. I have to fit my clothes into this half. If I want new clothes then I have to make space by selling things I don’t wear or donating them. Though I try not to buy clothes unless I really need something or an item has worn through.
It’s such a different outlook to ten years ago. It suits me now and I realise how frivolous I was with my money back then. It also didn’t matter if I wore the same outfit more than once. I try my hardest now to only buy clothes I love to wear so I can wear them as much as possible without getting bored!
One thing that is always good to have whether you’re a hoarder of clothes or surviving with a capsule wardrobe, is a great handbag. A good handbag can really make an outfit. Today I’m giving away this very versatile dark green clutch handbag in a rather generous large size. It has a gold chain with it too. (Told you it was versatile)
If you’re trying to cut down on your clothes or create a capsule wardrobe then one of the best things you can do is accessorize! A few fashion accessories can totally update an outfit, even if it’s the same outfit you wear over and over. This handbag is from my online fashion accessories store where you’ll find a load of great printed scarves and jewellery to update your look in an instant. Pop over and check it out! (There’s a huge clearance sale on now too)
For your chance to win this Lugano green clutch handbag just enter on this Rafflecopter widget (UK only):
Win £30 to spend on Party Supplies: A helping hand for your next celebration
We recently celebrated Bella’s fifth birthday with a Frozen themed party. Olaf was very pleased as it was a rather pleasant summer’s day! One of my favourite things about a party is the actual planning and gathering all the bits and pieces of table decor. As it was a Frozen party I went for a blue theme. We had nine girls in total, including Bella, and held the party at our home. We were able to fit them around our dining table for food without too much of a squeeze as the children were aged between three and five years old.
Wipe clean blue table cloth – a simple blue table cloth which we were able to wipe clean and store in a party box in the attic for future birthdays
Blue paper plates – to save costs I went for plain paper plates, but patterned napkins
Frozen napkins – this was only one of two actual branded items that I purchased – they looked great on the plates
Snowflake lunch boxes – I popped a plate of sandwiches, cocktail sausages, mini cheese and onion rolls and chicken poppers on the table. In their lunchboxes they had a packet of dried fruit ‘sweeties’, a box of raisins, a carton of juice, some pom bear style crisps (Tesco’s own bunny version as Bella liked the pink packets). There was also a small bottle of water each.
Silver hearts – I sprinkled silver shiny hearts over the table to make it sparkle
Cupcake stand – instead of a single cake Bella chose a pack of 12 cupcakes (only £1.90) and I used a cupcake stand saved from our wedfest – they looked great and we added a number 5 candle in the top cake to sing happy birthday to Bella. The children loved picking a cupcake each
Giant balloons – I purchased 6 giant balloons and these provided most of the entertainment whilst we waited for the princesses
Princesses – the most expensive part, but still quite reasonable at £115 for two hours, I hired Elsa and Anna to come and provide all the party games, photos and entertainment for one hour in the middle
Olaf – I bought an all in one olaf outfit for around £15 from eBay for Ben to wear! I didn’t tell him, but I think he secretly was pleased and had fun on the day, even if he denies it!
Party bags – I used plain pink party bags and stuck on a square gift tag of Anna and Elsa onto each one. Each party bag was filled with a small unicorn notebook and matching pen, pencil and rubber, along with a small tube of bubbles. Whilst the children ate the party food I sneakily printed off some photos of them with the princesses and added one of these to each of the party bags
It really was a fab party and went so well! The table set up looked amazing and the children had a great time. I love organising parties and seeing everything come together.
As Reuben is now two years old I feel like we are (finally) coming out of the baby stage and hopefully leaving a lot of the crying stages behind us. To be replaced with terrible two tantrums instead, then troublesome threes and so on I’m sure! Luckily Reuben and Bella weren’t huge criers, they tended to only cry to alert me to something they needed. The first few weeks, perhaps 6-8 weeks or so, were definitely the hardest with regards to crying.
Bella used to cry in the evenings. It was as though a switch went off at 6pm and it was crying time! This went on until midnight at first and the only thing that would settle her was walking up and down the room with her over our shoulder, bobbing up and down and patting/rubbing her back. She even knew if we sat down! We could hold her the same and comfort her in the same way as if we were standing up, but she knew we weren’t standing up and start crying again! Up and down the hall way and round and round the living room in laps, taking it in turns was our evening ritual for so many evenings.
Gradually over the first few weeks these six hours reduced down and down, until eventually this evening crying stopped. We continued to have crying and be woken during the night for several months still, but usually because Bella wanted a feed. I gradually worked out what the cries meant and mostly knew what Bella wanted.
Reuben never had the same evening crying patch as Bella. Don’t get me wrong, he sure could cry, but there wasn’t a pattern to it. The funny thing was I thought everything would come totally naturally with the second and I’d know what all his different cries meant as I’d learned with Bella, but every baby is different. It took me a few weeks with Reuben to work out most of his cries and what he wanted.
When you arrive home from the hospital, especially with your first, it can be pretty daunting once they start crying (don’t be fooled by the reasonably quiet first few days when they mostly sleep!) But over time you’ll work out what most of the different cries mean and how to comfort your baby.
Healthcare brand Care and Penny Lazell, a qualified midwife and independent health visitor are here with advice to help you comfort your little one.
“Babies are genetically programmed to call out for comfort when distressed”, says Penny. “Crying is your baby’s way of getting you to understand what they need as their brain isn’t developed enough to manage this on its own. Babies do not cry to exercise their lungs or to annoy you! They cry when they need to alert you to something that is bothering them, either physically or emotionally, and require you to meet their needs. The more these needs are met and understood over time, the less your baby will cry as you will learn to understand what they want before they become upset.”
Top 9 reasons why your baby might cry and what to do:
“Young babies’ brains are not developed enough to anticipate hunger”, says Penny. “Therefore when they realise they’re hungry, a message goes directly to the brain to alert the baby to let their carer know they need feeding. This can happen very quickly and the force and escalation of the cry often catches parents out and can be quite worrying.”
What to do: “If your baby has not been fed for 2- 4 hours then they may be hungry. If they are soothed immediately by a breast or bottle then that’s probably what they were trying to tell you. Over time, babies will learn to regulate their feeds and often manage to have longer gaps in between, which will help you anticipate when the feed is due and reduce crying.”
Wet or dirty nappy
“All babies are different so some don’t mind a slightly dirty nappy while others will cry as soon as it has been filled”, explains Penny. “Often babies will open their bowels straight after feeding so if they start to cry after a feed, it may be that they have a dirty nappy.”
What to do: “A cry for a wet or dirty nappy is often mistaken for them still being hungry. Try to change your baby’s nappy frequently to avoid distress.”
“Your baby yawning, rubbing their eyes, becoming fidgety, or disengaging are all signs of tiredness”, reveals Penny. “Once a baby becomes overtired, they find it really difficult to calm down again. This often causes anxiety for the parent and in turn the baby picks up on this and is even less likely to calm down.”
What to do: “A change of environment or someone different soothing the baby may help”, recommends Penny. “Or sometimes just allowing your baby to start using their own self-regulation; placing them in their cot with you nearby may actually give them permission to fall asleep.”
“Cries from pain can be quite frightening and are often very different to those of hunger or tiredness”, says Penny. “They tend to be more high pitched and have quite a sudden onset.”
What to do: “Trust your gut instinct. If you think your baby’s cry is one of pain, take their temperature and check them over. It may just be that a piece of clothing is tight or they are in an uncomfortable position. If the cry continues seek medical advice.”
“The brains of young babies are wired to crave attention so they can start to learn about the world. For this reason they become bored very quickly and will often alert you on a regular basis that they want you”, explains Penny. “Although this can mean you find little time to get things done, it is very important to respond to these cries to ensure your baby’s brain develops.”
What to do: “Babies learn from you so try to set aside time to provide short periods of stimulating activities. This could just be talking to them or singing. They love your voice and eye contact. Try to avoid putting them in front of a TV. Even watching you hang the washing out is fun for them even if not for you!”
“This can be as hard to deal with as boredom. Babies’ brains are like sponges but can only take so much at a time. An over stimulated baby will become very fretful and can be difficult to settle which may be mistaken for many other things.”
What to do: “If your baby appears to be fretful and isn’t settling with rocking or cuddling, try taking them to a quiet low lit room and just hold them still, gently sshshhing and talking to them. It may take a little while to settle them but stick with it.”
Wanting a cuddle
“Babies have emotional needs and having spent nine months tucked up in a nice cosy womb feeling secure, they can often feel a little lost when out in the big wide world”, adds Penny. “Cuddling babies is important for their emotional development and for growing their ability to self-regulate themselves.”
What to do: “Don’t be afraid to cuddle your baby. It will not make them clingy, in fact, it will help them become more independent.”
Being too hot or too cold
“Babies have immature temperature regulation which means parents have to regulate it for them”, recommends Penny. “Babies lose heat from their heads so you should leave this uncovered. If a baby looks red with their crying it may be that they are too hot.”
What to do: “Start by removing a layer of clothing from your baby. You may also need to check their temperature to see if they are hot due to a fever. Equally babies may alert you to being cold by crying. Try to remember to always be aware that this may be a reason for their crying.”
Transient Lactase Deficiency
The available evidence states that the immature digestive system of babies can struggle making enough lactase to digest the lactose (a natural milk sugar found in breast and formula milk) in their feed, which can induce colicky symptoms. This is called Transient Lactase Deficiency. Guidelines from both the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS Choices website suggest that Transient Lactase Deficiency could be an underlying cause of infantile colic, and that a one week trial of a Lactase Enzyme Drop is worth a try in colicky infants.
“Transient Lactase Deficiency is a common occurrence in young babies”, says Penny. “It can make them very uncomfortable and difficult to settle, which can lead to increased stress for both baby and parent.”
What to do: “Introducing a lactase enzyme drop with feeds can often resolve the problem without having to move to or change formula.”
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops
Designed to reduce lactose content in milk, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops help make digesting lactose easier for baby without delaying the feeding process.
These drops can be used from birth, and are sugar, preservative and flavour-free. They are to be added to breast milk or infant formula prior to feeding. The lactase enzyme breaks down the lactose in breast and formula milk which should reduce the symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency. Unlike other preparations, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops do not interfere with the feeding process, meaning a baby can be fed immediately (rather than waiting 30 minutes for the drops to take effect). They are available to purchase from Asda by clicking here
Blog Giveaway: Win a Branded Box of Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops
For your chance to win a branded box of Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops simply enter your email on the widget below and follow one (or more) of the entry requirements.
Enter my blog giveaway to win not one, but three cool summer scarves!
I’m a sucker for a lightweight printed fashion scarf. I’ve only been wearing them for about three or four years, but I can’t be without them now. I used to only sell jewellery in my store and then tested some printed scarves and they sold like hot cakes. I then braved trying one on myself and I just loved it straight away. I was a printed scarf convert! Before I knew it I was buying half my stock for myself.
They’re a cheap and cheerful way to brighten up any outfit and even add a bit of glam to your plainest or sloppiest attire. The ones I sell in my online boutique are so huge they can even be tied as a sarong. Pack a couple in your suitcase and you can wear them on the beach during the day and around your neck or shoulders in the evening to keep any cool breezes from chilling you.
My favourite way to tie my scarves in to simply loop them around my neck once and I often feel naked if I don’t wear one when I leave the house! Especially in spring, autumn and winter.
I have a fabulous deal in my store right now. 40% off everything! That means you can grab a scarf for as little as £2.99 with free 2nd class postage! You’d be a fool not to stock up whilst they’re so cheap and why not stock up on birthday and Christmas presents while you’re at it?
I’m being even more generous by giving 3 of the funkiest printed scarves away to one lucky blog reader!
For a chance to win (UK only) just enter by following the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. Make sure you enter an email address you can be contacted on!
Warm weather is finally here and you can win a summer dress in my blog giveaway!
I’m so excited the warm weather is finally here. I’m not so into the wind and rain, but I can cope with it if it’s actually warm outside! I find summer clothes so much freer to wear and love the simplicity of less stuff. Wearing sandals, shorts, dresses and not bulky coats, socks and boots, is my kind of style!
I’m also so much happier when the weather is warm and the sun is out. I absolutely detest being cold and it makes me want to wrap up warm in a cocoon and not move or talk to anyone! The warm weather makes me want to adventure out and take part in activities once again.
Waking up to sunshine puts an instant smile on my face. I feel at peace walking along the streets on a warm sunny day. I’m pretty certain I suffer with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as I can be a totally different person in the winter mood-wise. It does not suit me at all. I’d love to live somewhere where the weather is permanently warm, at least 20 degrees every day. No need for winter coats or boots. That would be my ideal!
To celebrate this shift in weather, I’m giving one lucky blog reader a Floral Maxi Dress in Size Large.
It’s a beautiful pale pinky/cream stretch long dress with a bright summery flower pattern all over. It’s gorgeous for the summer holidays with a pair of flat sandals.
Entry is to UK residents only and is open for two weeks. There are four ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget and you can come back to enter daily! Please share the giveaway with your friends and family. It really is a lovely dress (I have one!)