08.01.15 ★ Lola Wears
07.01.15 ★ Black and white makes me happy
07.01.15 ★ Fashion: Lola Wears
07.01.15 ★ January: A fresh start
I really can’t explain the bond between siblings. I have 3 children. They are all close, individually with each other and as a three. But how have I encouraged this and what do I do to keep it this way?
(P.S. They are 7, 5 & 3…I can’t promise this will work forever but it has done us all pretty well so far
1. Keep them physically close
My youngest two still sleep together, in single beds they want pushed together so it’s like them sharing one bed. I might as well have put them both in a double. I shared with my sister until I was nearly a teen and loving or hating her at times it’s like sharing a dorm or a house at university. You are bound by a shared experience and a physical closeness of being a team, sharing a space. It won’t work for everyone but if your children want to sleep together don’t dismiss it just because you have enough bedrooms for them all.
2. Promote a positive family expectation in discussions and arguments.
I don’t allow my children to talk badly to each other whenever possible. They have to explain themselves to each other and apologise. Properly. Kiss, cuddle, make up, whatever! But it has to be genuine. I tell them that in life your family is always first. That we will all be here for each other no matter what and that means thinking about your brothers and sisters when planning things and playing games too.
3. Enjoy playing and holidaying together
We love to take them on holiday. Luckily we can afford to do this every year and for us its a priority. I’d say most of our favourite memories and experiences come from a trip somewhere and one that we have taken together. Neither of my parents are alive but i have a special bond with my sister even though we don’t see each other often, because we shared a childhood of memories together that no one else has shared with us….and yes we definitely hated each other a lot at points too! I recently met someone with a large family of brothers and sisters, all now with their own families. She said they were all still really close. I asked how and she told me that every Summer her parents rent a house for 6 weeks and invite everyone to stay. They all manage to cross over staying there for at least a few days and that special time is what keeps the families connected and still making memories even though they are all grown up.
4. Visual encouragement
I’m a visual person. Everything I see matters and it also influences me on a daily basis. I think my children may learn in this way too. If Lola doesn’t want to go swimming, if i show her a video from my phone of her swimming unaided and show her what she is capable of its like she suddenly remembers and is a lot less resistant about going. It’s the same with the way they act towards each other. If I take photos of them having fun together or even of places or things that we have done together it triggers a memory of positivity towards each other. Keeping or showing them photos or videos of them together often brings out a sentimental part where they want to create how good they felt and this has an immediate effect on how they interact with each other.
5. Don’t expect too much
I like my children to have a caring responsibility for each other. If they fall over, help them up, check they are Ok etc. but not many children want to be 2nd parents to their siblings. They are siblings and friends and over and above looking after each others well being I would not expect them to ‘babysit’ each other. This generally leads to resentment and feelings of dissatisfaction about their role in the family.
6. Finally spend time on each child individually
This is easier said than done but there should always be times every so often where each child can feel special without his siblings being there. One on one time with your children is the fastest way to boost feelings of happiness and make each member of the family seem important, even if this is done inside the home whilst the others are occupied. I try and spend an extra 10 minutes at night sitting talking and reading with all my children and I love buying experiences for their birthdays as opposed to things so that they get a memory which lasts, sometimes together and sometimes just for them.
09.10.14 ★ Art: Rafael and Jimmy
So I’m just a little bit in love with Rafael and his dog Jimmy Choo.
Apparently using his art as a hobby, Brazilian Rafael Mantesso, found himself taking more pictures of his dog after being left alone in an empty house after his divorce.
A very small part of me thinks about one day having a dog for the kids and also for security, if it could be perfectly trained and well behaved! I’m not sure how I’d feel about a Jimmy if he ate my Jimmy Choos?!
Do you have a dog and children? How do you find the balance?
25.09.14 ★ Shop: Bicester for Kids
Most of you in the UK have heard of Bicester Shopping Village which as they describe it, is ‘a chic shopping outlet’. It’s a designer haven of delightful shops all at discount prices near Oxford. During the Summer I went to check out what they had on offer specifically for the kids.
My favourite store was their centrally placed pop up shop area which is changed seasonally. Over the Summer it was home to the beautiful and eclectic ‘I love gorgeous‘ which made it their own with a huge selection of pieces from ditsy prints to sequin party dresses, all colour organised in rails. A true visual treat and even included their own small garden for children and events at the back.
I love gorgeous, started in 2006 by two mums and has gone from strength to strength ever since. The concept of the store at Bicester was a perfect environment to provide inspiration to other mothers looking to dress their girls in whimsical partywear and everyday funky yet feminine pieces at a reduced price to that in the stores and online. The pop up shop therefore giving people the chance to try the brand before making additional purchases when they are hooked!
The Bonpoint store was another favourite space crammed full of heart achingly divine French fashion for the little ones. From embroidered cherry logo pins to linen and cotton mix blouses perfectly chic, displayed on your very own Delphine or Pierre.
Stella McCartney‘s main store offered a beautifully curated collection of on trend designs for the smaller clientèle, including the popular cowboy boot and tiger print knitted rompers.
The village offers a wide selection of brands including Dior, Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci as well as more high street names you may be more familiar with, such as Clarks and Cath Kidston, where you can pick up the latest nappy bag or lunch box in that perfect retro print.
Hackett and Ralph Lauren also offering smaller sized pieces of their classic mens key looks. The Ralph Lauren kids shop being one of the largest and busiest stores I viewed, but with a lot of choice and a wide range of price points.
It is never as fun to shop with the kids as it is without but there are facilities in place for the children, with good toilets and various eating spots including plenty of high chairs and playgrounds for when they really have had enough!
To get the most out of a trip here, I would definitely recommend the ‘Hands Free Shopping’ service which for a small fee, lets you make the most of browsing and purchasing without the need to carry everything you purchase around with you. This is especially helpful if you do have children with you as you can keep your hands free for making sure they don’t make a quick escape!
The village overall is perfectly laid out and just the right size to fully appreciate it in a whole day of shopping. Once parked, (valet parking is optional) everything is within a 5-10 minute stroll through the part cobbled and decorated centre. It is clean, well staffed and really quite pretty. I adored the very British red telephone boxes scattered about and feel they make a special effort to keep the grounds of the village attractive with flowers and being partly covered, it is still a great place to be hopping between the shops when the weather is not so great.
For a full list of stores available here go on to the Bicester Village website to view the map and brands available.
24.09.14 ★ Shopping someone else’s Wardrobe
Do you do second hand, vintage or passed down? Or are you a strictly ‘brand spanking new’ only person?
I have to admit there is something about new and shiny things all wrapped up in beautiful packaging and then again, I also love something almost new, but at a fraction of the original cost.
Recently I purchased these uber cool Jimmy Choo ‘Carrera’ black and gold wayfarer style sunglasses on line from Charlotte’s wardrobe over at The Fashion Guitar. I know how much she loves her clothes and can assume therefore that she looks after them pretty well too. They arrived all the way from NYC in their case, nicely packaged and ready to wear. If I didn’t know better, I would have said they were brand new.
The popularity of the second hand designer shop is definitely on the rise where I live and really it makes sense. I buy great clothes for me and my kids, look after them and when I fall out of love, need a clothing purge or the zip gets too tight, I take them in to one of the stores near me and someone else resells them. None of the time, effort or drama. Just a cheque at the end. It’s a great way to buy too and if you are local enough to visit these in person, you can try everything on before you buy. My most epic second hand purchase was a fitted black Givenchy jacket I paid £80 for. It still is epic.
To buy from Charlotte’s wardrobe yourself check out her shop here. Or for inspiration, go on over and check out her style at The Fashion Guitar.
02.09.14 ★ Abercrombie Kids launches in the UK
So they took their time but finally the giant of teen Cool, (you know the store that is so dark it feels like a swanky bar and has staff that are basically models) and somewhat controversial, Abercrombie & Fitch, has launched their first UK Flagship store in Saville Row, London.
With a range of trend driven looks from ‘boho pretty’ to ‘girly grunge’ and classic Abercrombie & fitch styles for boys in smaller sizes they are sure to attract some new smaller customers.
Situated in the beautiful historic No.3 Saville Row, across the street from the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store, it showcases three levels of clothing and accessories for boys and girls, in addition to iconic memorabilia that pays homage to Apple Records and The Beatles after the Beatles performed their last concert there in 1969.
02.08.14 ★ Lola’s first ponytail
Sometimes the smallest things seem unimportant but actually it’s often these little moments that we remember over the big picture. I’m trying to work on being mindful in the moment and finding the easiest way to remember special little moments is to record them, instagram them, write them in the notes section on my phone.
This week we are on holiday and one of my favourite little moments of this week will definitely be Lola’s first ponytail. She has never before kept anything much in her hair but in the heat of the day, she came to me and asked with her pigeon speech,
I think I love her little ponytail very much.