A Four-Year-Old’s Holiday Wardrobe

Look out the passports. Buy the factor 50 sun cream. Yep, we are on the countdown to a family break to Portugal and the usual giddy planning is taking place. But it struck me a few weeks ago that the four-year-old has had a growth spurt in the last few months, so now half of her summer gear from last year no longer fits. The other half of it is covered in paint/felt tip pen stains. In fact, yesterday she went to pre-school wearing a double whammy – a summer dress that was far too small for her and had black paint stains down the front. Mother of the year, right here.

So it was time to sort out a new summer wardrobe for her. My usual hit list for kidswear is H&M, Marks and Spencer, Mothercare, Tootsa MacGinty and River Island. I also hit Next and spent far too long checking out the swimwear and beachwear from Sunuva.

I love kidswear that looks like kidswear – bright colours, cotton, comfort. I’m not as keen on high fashion or grown-up trends shrunk in size (leather leggings on toddlers make me feel a bit uneasy) and brilliantly, there’s lots of fun kidswear around…

Holiday outfit kidswear

Yellow shorts, part of pack of 3 c/o Mothercare // Blue vest, part of pack of 4, Next // Blue sandals, Little Bird By Jools c/o Mothercare // Sun hat, Marks and Spencer

Little Bird by Jools sandals

Summer 2015 kidswear

Because I’m Happy t-shirt c/o Marie-Chantal // Blue sandals c/o Little Bird By Jools, Mothercare // Floral shorts, part of pack of 3 c/o Mothercare

Summer 2015 kidswear

White shirt c/o RI Kids // Blue smock dress c/o Tootsa MacGinty, Sun hat Marks and Spencer, Blue sandals c/o Little Bird By Jools, Mothercare

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The Perfect ‘Meeting Outfit’

alison-perry-boden-outfit

Because I work from home, I’ve got to admit, my usual daytime outfits consist of jeans, sweatshirt/tee and flats. If I know I’ll be meeting a friend for coffee, I’ll put some make up on and add a statement necklace to make myself seem less of a scruff. If I’m having a really lazy day, the postman and any delivery men have the joy of seeing my lovely unwashed hair scraped into a top knot and my PJs, when they knock on my door. I’m a vision of beauty, I can tell you.

So this means that since leaving the magazine I worked on and going freelance, last year, my wardrobe has slid from being semi-stylish to very casual. I no longer have a real reason to buy heels or smart clothes, so I don’t.

But I’ve had a bit of a problem recently, when I’ve had meetings with PRs or editors in London. Apparently it’s not acceptable to turn up to a meeting wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. To be honest, I’ve never been good at dressing smartly. Even in my days of working at magazines like More and Look, my day to day outfits consisted of skinny jeans, heels, a Breton t-shirt and a statement necklace. Working in a creative environment like a magazine office, no one wore suits (apart from the really top bods who usually sat on a different floor) so my outfits worked.

So I’ve struggled recently, when raiding the depths of my wardrobe for something vaguely smart. “Can I pull off this cocktail dress on a drizzly Tuesday?” I’d think, before opting for jeans again. Because that’s how the scale of my wardrobe goes…

SCRUFFY -> CASUAL -> COCKTAIL DRESS -> MY ACTUAL WEDDING DRESS

Don’t worry, I’ve never rocked up to a meeting in the latter.

So hurrah for Boden who have come to my rescue by sending me this outfit. The Long Line Shirt (£44) isn’t something I’d normally choose (mainly because shirts aren’t a fan of my boobs: see photo at the top for proof) but I love it, especially with the Bistro Crop Trouser (£59). I bought a pair of these in a green pattern last summer and loved them. They’re a great fit and look brilliant with sandals, flats or heels. I’ve been wearing them, this week, with my black Birkenstocks and a neon yellow necklace.

boden-summer-workwear

What do you think? Presentable enough for a meeting?

Win Tootsa MacGinty SS15 Kidswear!

One of my favourite kidswear brands in Tootsa MacGinty. Gender neutral, fun designs and great quality, we’ve bought quite a few things over the years – from a fox knit to harem pants and a dress – and they’ve all lasted well. Some of my favourite things from their Spring Summer 2015 range are…

Tootsa Macginty dress

This fab blue smock dress, £28
tootsa-macginty-ss15
This animal print tee, £23 and these yellow shorts, £25
Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 12.29.39
These espadrilles, £15
Isn’t it all gorgeous? And dress aside, you could put them on a girl or boy. If you love these items as much as me, then listen up. Tootsa Macginty have given me one of each to give away. One winner will win the dress, t-shirt, shorts and espadrilles in the size of their choice (subject to availability – see T&Cs for full details).

How to enter

To enter, comment on this blog post saying which is your favourite current Tootsa MacGinty SS15 piece (take a look on their site to choose your favourite) and follow this blog on Twitter. For extra entries, tweet about the giveaway, follow me on Instagram and visit the blog’s Facebook page. Easy peasy! Don’t forget to fill in the Rafflecopter box below for your entry to count. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Boden Spring Shoe Of Dreams

Every now and then (OK, every new season) I get a bee in my bonnet about a pair of shoes. Once I’ve seen them, I can’t get them out of my head and I either buy them or spend months regretting it – feeling pangs of sorrow each time I see them on someone else’s feet.

So let me introduce you to this Spring’s lusted-after pair…

Boden silver lace flats

I actually started getting slight palpitations when I saw these shoes on the Boden website. Isn’t that a bit mad? I bought a similar pair in black back from New Look back in December  – they’re a more affordable version of the Aquazurra shoes worn by fashion blogger Laura from WITblog.

New Look laced flat shoes

I’ve worn the black pair loads, but when I saw the SILVER! To me, metallic is a neutral, so these bad boys will pretty much go with everything in my wardrobe. Jeans, cropped trousers, dresses, skirts…

Just as an FYI, they also come in orange and navy and they’re not cheap at £89.99 but look at them…. they’re worth it, right?

boden-lace-point-shoes

 With thanks to Boden! For details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.

A Day Out At A National Trust Park With Joules

Morden Hall Park

At Christmas time, Mr P and I bought a National Trust family membership instead of buying presents for each other. Well, actually, we said we’d do this, but we haven’t got around to actually buying it yet. We will, though! And I’m fully aware this makes me sound like an actual middle-aged person but there is something so NICE about National Trust properties. Beautiful scenery, impressive buildings, amazing history, and often fun activities for kids too. I get a strange sense of calm when I visit one.

Last week, Mr P and I took a cheeky couple of hours out of our day (I really should have been working…) to visit Morden Hall Park. Free to get in, it has a fab little cafe, a garden centre, an artist’s studio/gallery, a rose garden, a stable yard, a beautiful white bridge and loads more interesting little nooks and crannies.

Morden Hall Park - National Trust

Morden Hall Park - National Trust

Morden Hall Park - National Trust

We started off having lunch (soup and a sandwich) in the Potting Shed cafe and then wandered around, enjoying the sunshine.

soup-and-bread

national-trust-joules-range

I was wearing my Joules National Trust collection Windermere coat – part of a country-inspired range and PERFECT for a chilly spring day out in the park – waterproof, cosy and covers the bum so you can sit on cold logs or rocks, in comfort. The lining of the coat – as well as other items like the silk scarf, wellies and brolly – has a gorgeous floral design. Joanna, the designer behind the print, explains, “I was really inspired by the incredible English heritage behind the National Trust. History and nature are rich and vibrant aspects of the National Trust and the work they do, so I used this to influence my design. I began by referencing old botanical encyclopaedias I found in the British Library, where botanists would paint intricate detailed studies of plants and flowers. This subject inspired me when I studied Fashion Design at University, and I was eager to take this forward into the National Trust print.” Isn’t it gorgeous?…

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