29.12.15

Winter Wedding Style

Kaleidoscope asked me to style a winter wedding guest outfit and here's the look that I came up with. 

My stand out piece from this outfit has to be the sequin skirt. I have wanted one for a while and this one just ticks all the boxes, it feels glamorous yet comfy and I love the contrast of the sparkly and matt sequins. It's pretty versatile too, I wore it on Christmas day to add some festive sparkle to my outfit, paired with a long length taupe cashmere sweater and some nude heels.


The gorgeous clutch bag is faux snake skin, suede and rose gold. In hindsight I think the outfit would have looked better held in my hand with the chain tucked inside, although it is pretty useful to be able to sling it over your shoulder when you're chasing after toddlers!


I also chose some lovey heels to match.....


These breathtakingly beautiful earrings I won in in a competition on twitter by Duke of York Square, would you believe! They're from a local jeweller called Brilliant Inc who specialise in simulated diamonds and the style is called Kiki. I'm obsessed with anything made from rose gold and of course diamonds!


I paired the outfit with a fluffy white crossover top and a faux fur stole. I think I would have liked the top to be slightly longer but that's a minor point really because I adore the rest of the outfit.


Kaleidoscope have a great wedding boutique on their website which has a fantastic selection to suit almost everyone, there's even a section for mother of the bride outfits. I'm going to wear this outfit to my nephew's christening next month and I can't wait!!


21.12.15

Christmas Games

Nothing says Christmas like a good family trivia game! The lovely people at UKTV have come up with this super fun TV quiz, it's perfect for all those TV addicts out there.


All you have to do is spin the wheel, and a channel will be selected for you. The questions are based on TV shows from various channels such as Dave, Really and Watch.


When the wheel lands on a channel it will select a multiple choice style question for you and then you select the level of difficulty ( the harder the question the higher the points) The player just has to answer the question correctly in order to spin the wheel once again.


You get three chances and here's the link to the game

www.network.uktv.co.uk

Good Luck!!

*Collaboration


Mama Style: Duffle Coats

I've been on the hunt for a new coat, ideally one that has a hood so I don't have to juggle an umbrella along side everything else. I have the practical mac that's good for trips to the park whilst the little ones jump up and down in muddle puddles. Now though, I'm looking for something that a little bit smarter. Something that I can throw on for the school run but that could look smart enough to wear out in the evening. I have seen quite a few yummy mammas out and about in Chelsea wearing these gorgeous fur lined duffle coats. I did a little bit of research and I found a beautiful one from Burberry at an eye-wateringly expensive price.

Then, last week whilst having coffee with mamas from E's school. One lovely lady arrived in a gorgeous swingy duffle coat with the snuffliest and fluffiest fur hood. Of course I had to ask her where she had found what was literally my perfect coat. She informed me that it was from Maje and that it was one of their classic designs that they bring out each year. Excitedly, I hurried home to google it and lo and behold there it was... but only in beige!! Gone are the days when I would laugh in the face of practicality, there is no way that a beige coat would last more than a day without someone smearing chocolate or throwing a Babyccino over me.


Above Left Esprit and right Maje.

Back to the drawing board that is Google & Pinterest and eventually I came across the most perfect little black duffle from Esprit. It's not too fitted, it has a fur hood and the price is looking pretty good too. I think I'm on to a winner!!

What do you think? Have you seen anything similar that I should check out?

16.12.15

#CityCountryLife - Christmas Traditions

Welcome to this week's #CityCountryLife- Christmas Traditions. #CityCountryLife is a series run by myself and my gorgeous friend Lizzie. Living in the heart of London, I write about life with kids in the capital city and Lizzie writes about all the wonderful things that country life has to offer.

For me Christmas has always been about spending time with my family, especially as we're scattered all over the world, so it is always a time for us to get together, even if it's just via Skype. Now I have children, it one of my favourite things about Christmas is starting new family traditions. Activities that we can do together each year in the run up to Christmas day.

With people starting to celebrate Christmas earlier and earlier each year, it's hard not to go overboard too soon. Mr Jones would buy a tree mid November if I let him but I like our decorations to stay up until the 6th January ( the 12th day of Christmas) so if we were to buy a tree to early it would just look awful by the end. Each year we buy our tree, on the first weekend of December, we always get a real tree, I love the smell and it makes the house feel extra christmassy.




Then we go to the Chelsea Gardener at Chelsea Farmers market to pick some decorations for the tree, They have a huge selection of the most beautiful decorations to choose from. When the children were tiny babies I went and chose them a decoration each and now that they are old enough, they choose their own. On each decoration I write their name and the year so that when they are older they will be able to look back at all the decorations that they have chosen over the years. This year E chose a ceramic angel and Rufio chose a little wooden soldier.

The sad thing is that this could be the last year that we'll be able to uphold this tradition. The entire farmers market along with many beautiful and historic buildings in the area, are threatened with closure because TFL is proposing to knock it all down in order to build a Crossrail Station! Locals who love Chelsea, myself included, feel very strongly that this isn't the right location and that a station so hopefully TFL and those who love Chelsea can come to some sort of compromise. It would be such a shame to destroy a vibrant and thriving community!









A new tradition that we started last year is Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum. The back drop is just spectacular and feels like something out of a movie, with the huge tree in the middle of the rink adorned with twinkling Swarovski crystal decorations. This year we went straight after E broke up from school with some of her new friends and their mamas and Rufio stayed at home with Grandma, at 2 I think that he's still a little bit small to give this a go but next year I think he should be fine. After skating, we took the kids for hot chocolate in the cafe overlooking the rink. By that time it was dark and little fairy lights strung from the trees lit up the ice and it was just magical!




What Christmas traditions do you have? We'd love share and link up if your blogs:





Keeping Up With The Joneses



9.12.15

#CityCountryLife Christmas Style


Welcome to this week's #CityCountryLife - Christmas Style. #CityCountryLife is a series run by myself and my gorgeous friend Lizzie. Living in the heart of London I write about life in the capital City and Lizzie writes about all the wonderful things that country life has to offer.

#CityCountryLife Christmas Style



Sweater / Warehouse faux fur vest / Black legging / Boots / Clutch / Monica Vinader stud earrings, £310 / Jewellery

London folk are a funny lot when it comes to fashion, it's all about dressing down to dress up here. Make up is expertly applied to look non existent, hair is styled to look un done and the same goes for fashion. I really notice the difference whenever I'm away London and we go out for dinner or for a drink, people seem to dress up a heck of a lot more and I actually end up feeling underdressed!
I think the outfit above embodies my perfect christmas outfit. I'm having a bit of a Mint Velvet moment right now and I adore this jumper with a Star on the back, a subtle nod to Christmas, the tassled suede boots and clutch bags are also from there too. The Baukjen leather leggings and the cosy Warehouse faux fur gilet  give the outfit that extra edge and the rose gold accessories from Monica Vinader lift the look to give it some subtle warmth. OPI nails in Ce-less-tial is More work perfectly with the accessories and add an extra christmassy feel.

Keeping Up With The Joneses
Don't forget to link up your gorgeous Christmas style blog posts with us too:





2.12.15

#CityCountryLife Christmas Shopping at The Toystore Oxford Street

One of the best things about city life, is without a doubt the huge array of amazing shops that we have here in London, right on our doorstep. So I'm really excited to share this week's #CityCountryLife with you!!

A few weeks ago, my family ( including Grandma or Gaga as she is fondly known) and I were thrilled invited to be invited to a private tour of the newest toy shop on the block- The Toystore on Oxford Street. The Toystore landed in the UK this summer and is the first of it's kind in Europe although they have a network of stores already across the Middle East. 

The children were super excited to spend an afternoon in the coolest toy store around and it was a great opportunity for me to get some sneaky Christmas shopping done!


There are loads of brilliant toy displays dotted all around the store, showing off the latest and most unique toys sold in store! One of my favourite things about the shop was the staff, they were all just so great with the kids, really engaging and not at all patronising. E is very much a mini me, so our first stop was of course at the nail polish display....

E also tried out some pretty rainbow hair chalks which  you can just about see in the ends of her hair below. They also sell some super cute glitter tattoo, they look amazing but are actually really easy to recreate at home, even Mr Jones couldn't resist and got a glittery peace sign on his hand :)


E is really in to Barbies and My Little Pony at the moment and fortunately the Toystore has huge ranges of both. She also loved the interactive Barbie which she was able to dress and style and also the Bratz section that had loads of fun accessories that you can put on to create the perfect selfie. I actually have no idea how we managed to get her to leave this section!



Gaga, E and I fell in love with the Bonnie & Pearl dolls. They are made in Gagas hometown of Cardiff and are beautifully crafted and built to last years of love and affection. What I loved most about them is that the look like proper old fashioned dolls with realistic facial features and proportions, which reinforces positive body image in little girls.



My girlie girl might be in to ponies and barbies but the little Guy is in to cars in a big way. It's no surprise then that a toy car is top of his wish list this year and how cute do they look driving the toy Bentleys and Range Rovers below! I think Mr Jones would secretly would have liked a go too!!


I caught these two having a little snuggle in the Mr Men section, ahhhhh brotherly/ sisterly love!


The giant race track was just every junior car enthusiast dream.....


.....Grown ups get to relive their childhood.....


......and there's something for Thomas & Friends fans.....


E and Rufio both had in their words 'The best afternoon ever' Thank you so much to Paul the store manager and his fantastic team for taking the time to show us you're amazing new store.







30.11.15

Childhood Memories

Whenever we go back to my parents house, it's like a walk down memory lane. My darling mama has managed to keep so many of my favourite childhood possessions including much loved toys. I keep the toys at my parents house so that the children have toys to play with whenever they visit. I have a few Care Bears which I have to say are HEAPS cuter than the Care Bears of today, they have little hears on their feet and bums and beautiful embroidered logos on their tummies. My all time favourite toy has to be the My Little Pony Dream Castle. E is in to My Little Pony in a big way at the moment and she was thrilled when we dug this out and has had hours of fun playing with it. I still have some of the ponies including Majesty, Baby Ponies and even a Sea Pony, who remembers these?



My mum has also kept loads of my favourite outfits! She is a complete neat freak so most of the clothes are in amazing condition and because she only every bought us the very best clothes, the quality is always amazing. E often wears my old outfits and gets tons of complements. When she was tiny, I loved her in the red wool dress below which I also used to wear. My mum hadn't kept the shirt I wore underneath so instead I paired it with a Peter Pan Collar bodysuit from H&M and those adorable tights from Gap with a teddy bear on the bum. Below bottom and left is E in my old dress and top right is me with my ma & pa in the same dress!




My mum was always strict with us and sweets but occasionally we were treated to a quarter of rhubarb and custard or some jelly tots from the local newsagents.

My favourite films were Home Alone and The Wizard of OZ. E really wants to watch the Wizard of Oz but I think we might put that off for a year or two because the wicked witch is a little bit freaky but I think this Christmas would be perfect to introduce her to the adventure of Kevin McCallister in Home Alone.

What were the things you loved most as a child and have you kept any of your favourites toys or clothes for your own children?

25.11.15

#CityCountryLife Out and About

When Lizzie and I met up with our families at the Natural History Museum in the summer, she arrived with a slimline Maclaren and I arrived with what is fondly known as the family tractor, otherwise known as a Bugaboo Donkey! Originally bought as a doubly buggy for my then toddler and newborn, the Donkey is now used occasionally as a stroller for whoever needs a rest but now more and more as a mobile storage unit jam packed with coats, potties, nappy bags, drinks, snacks, changes of clothes, the list goes on.....





It was only when I spent a few weeks in Wales in the summer that I realised how much less stressful life is getting around with little kids out of the city. When we went to the post office, we were able to park right outside, there are retail parks a plenty for picking up bits and bobs where you can park for free, you go to a restaurant and if it doesn't have it's own car park you can park meters away without worrying about parking tickets running out! As a result I managed to get things done in a fraction of the time, and with far less tantrums ( from the kids and from myself!)

In contrast, getting around London with children can be something of a logistical nightmare. I tent to avoid public transport since my incident on the tube on 7/7 although the kids love nothing more than a trip on the bus. So we rely on our car, walking and taxis.  We're often walking long distances so both children do still occasionally use the buggy! I do sometimes get unkind comments from people because both children are tall for their age and therefore look older than they are but they're only 2 and 4 and their little legs do get tired. Both kids do have scooters which they love to use but as we live in a busy part of London, they aren't always practical from a safety point of view. If we do drive, I have to chose my route wisely to avoid traffic then there's the congestion charge and I will usually end up paying for parking which can get seriously expensive- two and a half hours at Kensington High Street Town hall cost £21 the other day because I hadn't renewed my parking permit.




So whilst city life does have heaps of exciting aspects for families, when it comes to getting around, I hate to admit it but country life wins hands down!!


Keeping Up With The Joneses

24.11.15

Buttercup Wool- Luxurious Merino Wool Camisoles

Brrrrrrr .... the temperature has suddenly dropped here in London and it is freezing!! Thank goodness for my luxurious Merino Wool Camisole gifted to me by Marianne of Buttercup wool!


I met up for coffee and cookies with Marianne and our kids at my favourite park, Chiswick House and she told me all about the amazing properties of merino wool. Did you know that it is antibacterial so you don't have to wash it after each wear, it is sweat absorbing and temperature regulating so it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer, it's also machine washable and completely natural. I could go on because the benefits of merino wool are endless!




Marianne has designed these beautifully cut vest in super soft and fine merino wool, that work as the perfect undergarment to keep you warm or cool whatever the time of year. It's such a simple concept and it is something of a wardrobe staple in Marianne's home country of Norway but something that she that she has been unsuccessful in finding here in the UK and let's be honest, with our climate it's something we could all do with!    



One of my favourite things about the vest is the cut. It's longer length, on me ( I'm 5'3) it stops at the top of my thigh so it's great for layering. I couldn't photograph the full length of the camisole without showing off my mum-tum and I really didn't want to subject you to that :) I love the look of the satin edging peaking out from under a shirt so I've photographed that instead! I usually find wool itchy unless it's cashmere or a cashmere mix but Marianne has managed to source luxuriously soft merino wool which feels super soft against my skin. In short I'm in love with my Buttercup camisole and have pretty much only taken it off to wash it a few times, LOVE!


With Christmas coming these would make ideal gifts, especially for those ladies who are super difficult to buy for because they seem to have everything! The camisoles come already packed in a beautiful pink box, with a grey grosgrain ribbon so you don't even have the hassle of having to wrap them. 




For more info check out www.buttercupwool.co.uk



















19.11.15

Crystal Holidays Family Ski Day

This half-term just passed, we were invited by Crystal Holidays to their family ski day event at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. Both Mr Jones and I love to ski but since we've had children it's kind of fallen by the wayside. We often talk about how much we'd like to take the children on a ski holiday but as they're both still very young, it would mean arranging childcare for the duration of the trip and if I'm honest it has always seemed like a bit of a nightmare. Unless you have your own nanny ( which we definitely don't!)  how do you find someone reputable at your chosen destination?


Well thankfully on this occasion, Crystal Holidays took care of this for us. They brought along their own team of trained and registered childminders to entertain the little'uns while the parents enjoyed the slopes!


Rufio has never seen snow, E has but she doesn't remember it. They are both huge Frozen fans and I'm certain E had visions of creating her very own Olaf. They were both extremely excited to say the least!! The Snow Centre has recently opened a Snow Garden section for young children, there's a little igloo to play in and two slides made from packed snow. Rather than leave the kids with the childcare team right from the start, we decided to accompany them to the snow garden and watch their first steps on the snow.


When it was time to leave them at the Creche, E just gave me a kiss and said 'You can go now mummy!' This never ever happens, even when I leave her at school, which she adores! The lovely childminder just winked at me and whispered, 'I'd make a run for it mama, go enjoy yourselves'!


The Snow centre itself is quite amazing. I didn't even know that such a thing existed in the UK until Crystal contacted me. It was so lovely to have a couple of hours skiing with the Mr, knowing that the kids were in good hands. Being something of a worrier though, every time I got to the top of the piste, I would try to look down to the creche window to see if I could spot my toddler throwing a tantrum. Rufio hasn't started nursery school yet and has only ever been left with family in the past.


Of course, I had no reason to worry! When we returned to the creche, I watched through the door for a minute before I went in and one of the nannies was cuddling Rufio and holding him up to the window to show him the slopes. When I rang the buzzer to go in the creche, she told that they'd both been absolutely fine and had enjoyed themselves. I later discovered that these ladies were actually part of the team of nannies who go out to the various destinations to provide childcare. I would be more than happy to leave my children with these ladies again, from the short time that I spend with them I could clearly see that they were all very safety conscious yet fun and engaging around the children.

 

We have used Crystal Holidays in the past to arrange ski trips and been very happy with them but I had no idea that they could cater for young families too.

Our day at the Snow Centre has definitely made us realise that ski holidays are still a viable option for families with small children. Crystal can even organise beginners ski lessons for kids when they're slightly older. So who knows, you might see me blogging from the slopes in the near future!!

To find out more visit www.crystalski.co.uk

17.11.15

Aubergine Parmigiana- Annabel Karmel Family Cooking App


You know how I'm a huge fan of Annabel Karmel- I think I might have mentioned it just a few times!! Well last week, I was uber excited because she asked me to create and blog about, one of my favourite meals from her Family Cooking app. I often use this app for recipes and there are so many delicious and easy to follow dishes so it was difficult for me to choose just one. In the end I decided on Aubergine Parmigiana. I always order Aubergine Parmigiana whenever we go to Italian restaurants. I try to avoid pasta because it makes me feel bloated so this is a really good alternative. It's low in carbs but it's so delicious and warming so you really don't feel as though you're missing out!



As aubergine parmigiana is one of my favourite dishes I have tried out quite a few different recipes but up until now, nothing has come close to the dish that you get in a restaurant. Luckily, Annabel's recipe is a winner, it's really easy to follow and the results are super delicious!



My children often pick out any vegetables that look remotely healthy . This time though, I think they thought that they were eating some kind of lasagna or pasta and wolfed it all up. Aubergine is a wholesome, meaty vegetable and combined with the mozzarella & tomato sauce you get a lovely and rich dish.  Annabel takes an 'everything in moderation' approach to her cooking so the recipe does include a small about of sugar, I didn't add the sugar as we're trying to cut back and I also omitted the garlic as I have recently discovered that I'm intolerant. The finished dish was still really tasty and packed full of goodness, aubergines are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

 Aubergine Parmigiana is a delicious dish for the whole family and you can find the recipe over on Annabel Karmel's Family Cooking app which is half price on the iTunes app store this week!!

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