Do or Don't: Dungarees


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

I'm fairly sure this look is one that divides people down the middle, and probably the majority will be saying, hey, nooo way! But there will be some who think, yeah, I get that. It's a love/hate thing I think... And that thing is dungarees on grown women.

I have to confess to wearing dungarees A LOT when I was about 11, back in 1991, and I'm fairly sure I wasn't the only one. Sure, the 90s are back, but I'm not sure my 11 year old self is a look I'm up for recreating. Especially since the ones I wore were maroon! Eek!

However, that being said, I've been stumbling across various images of very cool women in dungarees and can totally see why for some this trend is working.

I am fully aware that I am not really up there in the effortlessly cool, this-is-just-something-i-threw-on stakes with any of these women, nor do I spend my days wandering around NYC or somewhere similarly cool that isn't St Albans. But still I just can't let go of how much of a fun trend it would be to experiment with, and when it's done right it does look kinda cool.

What do you reckon? A no go or worth a chance?

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

This is the pair from Topshop that I've been staring at and wondering should I?

Autumn Wardrobe


Sunday, 16 November 2014

So whose loving checked shirts right now? Or plaid as we now all call them thanks to our american blogger friends! I got this one from Zara above, and I love it. Tomboy cool at it's best.

As promised to myself back in October I had a good clear out of my wardrobe and whilst I've not exactly devised a capsule wardrobe to see me through the winter, I did find it really useful in honing in on my style, taking note of what I seem to like and buy lots of (grey tops anyone?!) and what trends I might have bought into but never actually wore (hello charity shop). So with a clearer insight into what clothes I need for the rest of autumn and winter ahead, I've been shopping. 

I'm loving this 'shacket' from Topshop, which sounds more distasteful than it actually is. It's great for going over a tee or sweatshirt, rolling the sleeves slightly for a casual look.  

And also from Topshop, I bought this chunky cable knit card, which I've been wearing loads.

My beloved plaid shirt from Zara - I'd almost be tempted to get this in the Navy colour way too, but don't want to over do it! 

And finally on a bit of an impulse I bought this circular cut denim skirt from Oliver Bonas. I'd seen it in the sale in-store and was tempted but had been spending a lot recently so thought best leave it - but then I saw it further reduced online and it seemed meant to be. I've worn it a lot this week, my only bugbear is that I seem to be between sizes on this one and so it's slightly big around the waist, but figure if it drives me mad and I want to wear it lots then I can nip it in at the sides. I love it's simple pared back style, and perfect pockets!

All in all I'm pleased with my recent buys and have lots of wear out them already - there's lots more I could have bought at the moment, but right now it's time to stop buying clothes and turn my attention to Christmas shopping, it's that time of year folks! 

Navel Gazing


Friday, 14 November 2014

Well once again I ended up taking a massive blogging hiatus without really meaning too, but for some reason I just lost my blogging nerve. I felt self conscious about what I wrote, how I wrote, and couldn't help feeling anxious over was my blog actually any good. This always crops up with me... Am I good enough? Is this good enough? If I take up a new interest or hobby I immediately want to give up if whatever I'm doing doesn't turn out good straight away. Sounds childish right? And as a parent I always tell my kids, hey practice makes perfect, or it's about the fun of doing something not the outcome, etc.. But these things are always harder to listen to when it's you talking. So I'm back, not because I'm suddenly over my wobble but because I simply realised I enjoy blogging and life's too short to give myself such a hard time! 

I've not been up to much whilst I've not been blogging, just enjoying the awesome autumn we've been having, oh and watching The Great British Interior Design Challenge. We're still trying to move house (is there a record for the longest, drawn out house move ever? We might be up for it!), the kids are settling in well to school and playgroup, and I've also gone and got myself a part time job. I've not started yet, but I'm looking forward to earning a bit of money again and getting a change of scene from the house and housework! I'm going to be working at a new local independent cinema that's opening up in St Albans. There's already a fab cinema in a nearby town of Berkhampstead, which is owned and run by the same chap - and he was brave enough to buy our old Odeon cinema here and restore it back to it's former art deco glory so as a whole town we're excited for it to open! I'm fairly happy working with the public, I love the cinema and films, so all in all it should be a good way to return to work. Did I mention I'm looking forward to it?!

What have you been up to recently? Do you ever have "wobbles"?

A Good Song


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

This is random I know, I've not blogged in ages and for a while I wondered if I would blog at all again. But this song today is lifting my spirits to lovely places and I felt like sharing. Hope you enjoy and it lifts your day too :)

Do or Don't: Capsule Wardrobes?


Thursday, 11 September 2014

So what do you think? Do you believe in the concept of the capsule wardrobe? Do you think it works as a way to define your style, or does restricting your look like this take all the fun out of shopping and playing with fashion?

I've been getting quite into the concept of the capsule wardrobe recently, and have started following some pretty cool blogs dedicated to style and the creation of the capsule wardrobe. As you'll know by now I like shopping and I like my clothes, and try where possible to buy better and buy less in a bid to avoid cheap fashion and quantity over quality trap. So maybe in some ways my wardrobe is already edited, but believing more and more in the philosophy that less is more these days, I think there's still work to be done. 

The first blog I've been reading for a while now is Into Mind, which can seem like a bit of an unusual blog at first with it's ultra utilitarian style and minimalist approach, but has some really interesting features and tools for helping you explore style and what works for you.  

The second is Un-Fancy, a blog I'm really loving at the moment which is very down to earth and has a great free wardrobe planner to download, in case you fancy re-evaluating your current wardrobe. 

Another blog which can be good for outfit inspiration, even if it's not as polished a blog as the other two is Good Life For Less. Whilst not always completely my style, I do enjoy the 'This Season's Must Haves' and the 'How To Style' series.

So, in the run up to Autumn I've been trying stop and think about what clothes I wear the most, what suits my current lifestyle and where is best to spend my money and invest in my style. The first thing I've done is have a big clear out of my wardrobe - everything came out, and was either put in a yes, no or maybe pile. The maybe pile was then tried on and for each item I asked myself why I was considering keeping it - was it an old favourite? Did I just like the print or pattern even if the style didn't suit me? Was I hoping to slim down to fit back into it, etc. After being totally honest with myself I found I was able to let go of a lot of things that I perhaps had been letting clutter up my wardrobe (and therefore my head!) for way too long, and can at last see clearly what I own and actually like! More to the point, and this is the fun part, I can also see now what I don't have but could perhaps look to buy that would be useful and worthwhile buying. For someone who can be easily distracted at the shops, I think this will help me keep focused and not waste money on something I a) already own in some form or another, or b) don't really need.

I have downloaded the Unfancy wardrobe planner so I'm going to get stuck in and see if it can help me define my style for the new season ahead. Fun! 

A Big Day


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I haven't blogged for ages - what with the summer holidays in full flow and not getting a break from the little ones with nursery finished and all, somehow it just slipped off my radar. I hope to be spending more time blogging again now we're getting back into a routine around here, but for now I just wanted to commit to memory this big day - Tabitha started school!

Yeah I know I'm biased, but oh my gosh, cute or what!!? I can't believe my little bean is nearly 5 yrs old and that school is now going to be such a big part of our lives! We've been so used to lazy morning starts, playdates in the park, and generally being the rulers of our own day, I'm not sure how long it'll take to get used to this new set up, but I'm so proud of my little girl - she really took today in her stride and made some new little friends already. I can't wait to see how she'll blossom at school. I can't say I shed a tear (that's not really me), but it's definitely been emotional folks!

Quotes To Live By


Monday, 11 August 2014

Hi, no time to stop today, but came across this pin on Pinterest last night and it just made me feel like I'd received a shot of motivation. So thought I'd share, in case you need a boost too :)

Sometimes the simpler the message, the better!

Image c/o good vibe co

My Week/Weekend


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Well another week has rolled by (and then some!) and it's been a bit quiet on here, but without sounding like a broken record the kids have been full on and life has just taken over as per usual! Mec has been working overtime with some major project at work (something techy, I don't ask, just try to be supportive as a I can!) so we've barely seen each other this week and it's meant I've been in charge of the kids all week and over the last weekend. I actually took them for a short break down to Bexhill to see Grandma Seaside which was really lovely, and they had a great time jumping waves and running along the promenade.

The view from my deck chair! Nice :)

The De La Warr Pavillion - and yes, I did look round the design shop, again!

There's love between these two sometimes!

My mum and I also took the kids up to London during the week, for fun and frolics along the Southbank.  It's so easy on the train it was a no brainer, and there's just the right amount of stuff to do along there, and more really, to fill a long afternoon in the sun. We couldn't help but hop on the bright pink bus for frozen yogurt, it was really delicious and the view out across the Thames from the top was fab! Tabby and Sam got romantic on the top, so cute when they want to be!  

Pucker up! 

I have a photo just like this from last year when I took the kids along the Southbank so couldn't resist a double take to see how much they've grown up! 

We checked out the view from the Tate restaurant - I felt weak at the knees as the kids crouched up against the floor to ceiling windows, eek!

I hope you've been enjoying the summer, whatever you're up to - kids or no kids, summer hols or not! 
Here's hoping for a restful weekend ahead and hopefully feeling a bit more pulled together next week!

My Weekend


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Well I don't really know where this past week disappeared to! Looking back I think we've just been enjoying the gorgeous weather, hitting the parks and playing in the paddling pool. It's a tough life but someone's gotta do it! ;)

And after all that running around it's been nice to slow down this weekend and I have to say it's been a really great one. I kicked off the weekend on Friday night with an evening in by myself. Mec was out at his work summer party (I think he rolled in at about 1.30am, I'm not really sure, I sleep through anything!) and so once the kids were in bed I made myself a homemade pizza and watched a really interesting documentary film called 112 Weddings. I don't know if you've heard of it, it was recently posted about on the A Cup Of Jo blog, and seeing as I was home alone (Mec would not be into this kind of film, too much talking, not enough explosions!) I thought what better an opportunity to watch it. 

Directed and produced by Doug Block, a documentary filmmaker who has spent the past 20 years filming weddings as a side project to his day job, the film takes a frank (albeit slightly american) look at the institution of marriage, and follows up with a handful of Doug's favourite couples from the past to see where life and marriage has taken them. Being married myself, for a grand total of 8 years now, which is obviously only a dot in the many years I assume and hope I'll be married, I find the topic of marriage really interesting. I love hearing from different couples, older couples, etc about what marriage has taught them, or what the experience has been like for them. It was definitely an interesting film which I enjoyed, and one thing that stuck in my mind was how much having children affects a couple's relationship. No newsflash there though right!! 

Saturday was spent seeing friends - I'm really annoyed with myself for not taking any photos now (what kind of a lazy blogger am I!?) but it was a really lovely day catching up with some old NCT mums and their girls. Spookily, all 6 of us in our NCT group had baby girls and although we've not been great at catching up regularly, to see the girls together once in a while is really special and it's crazy to see how much they have grown up!  

The background sound to this weekend of ours has been the awesome My Head Is An Animal album by Of Monsters And Men. Whilst not a new album, Mec only bought it recently, we've been loving Dirty Paws. If you haven't got it, look it up on the iTunes store, you'll love it!

Today, Sunday, has been a slow kind of day. I had a much need lie in (thanks lovely husband!) and then after lunch decided to bake a fruit pie, as you do! The kids and I went fruit picking this week and we came home with overflowing tubs of raspberries and blackberries. The kids had wanted to pick strawberries but they had been rather over picked this past week I think and were cordoned off. But we were happy with our little harvest and after much consideration I decided a pie would do nicely for the fruits of our labour. 

It was a bit of a lengthy process but as it was my first pie (don't judge me) I wanted to take my time to get it right. I've made a savoury puff pastry lid type pie before, but this was my first shortcrust pie which involved blind baking the base first, etc. It was definitely worth the effort though as my pie turned out better than I expected and we've had two servings with a side of double cream already today - oops! A few pics below, I know it's not rocket science, but with two little ones running around I don't often make time for baking at home, apart from an easy banana bread I make all the time and fairy cakes that I make with the kids. But now I say hooray for home baking! :)

Apples with cinnamon

In go the berries - I don't know why the fruit looks day-glow here!

A couple of leaves to top things off!

If only Mary Berry could see this now!

So, this evening I think we pretty much continued the easy going theme of the day and, following the usual riot of getting the kids to bed, we ate dinner (more pie?!) and watched an episode of Breaking Bad. Also, I may or may not have hopped onto my laptop at some point as I've got my eye on this tee from Chinti and Parker (I seriously love everything on their site, I would wear it all. And with 70% off right now, what can I say, it's a bit like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey!), we'll just have to wait and see.

Stripe Tee with Love print, Chinti and Parker

I hope you've had a good weekend too, here's hoping for another lovely sunny week! x



Saturday, 19 July 2014

You know me, I love a bit of internet browsing, especially when I come across a new website or shop that I haven't seen before. I just discovered Nook this week and really love their carefully curated range of homewares and accessories.  This "Kompotti" ceramic plate range from Marimekko really caught my eye -  simple, scandi style with vintage appeal, I'd definitely have these plates in my kitchen! 

And this "Kukkuluuruu" bowl by Sanna Annukka for Marimekko is fab too - it would make a lovely, original children's gift! Or for an adult ;)

Nook has a bricks and mortar shop in Stoke Newington, as well as their online store, so worth a visit next time I'm in London I think! 

Blog Hop! (A Day Late!)


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

So it's been a bit of a crazy, hard week (well, I know it's only wed, I'm kind of referring to last week too) as my little man, Sam, had an operation last monday to have his tonsils and adenoids out, and grommets put in (ouch!). He has been so brave and it all went really well, so now we're just dealing with the recovery phase which it turns out involves a lot of sleepless nights, the film Cars pretty much on repeat, and many hard negotiating tactics to get him to take his calpol every 4 hours! We're getting there slowly though. The photo of Sam above bears no relation to what I'm saying, but it's a cute one of Sam from our street party a few weeks back and well, he's bouncing (or hopping, get it!) so I thought it would vaguely tie in with my blog hop post.

So that's kind of why I'm late with this post and why it'll probably make no sense on reading, as it's been written on not much sleep. I was offered the chance to join in with this blog hop by Jen from Little Birdie, whose blog I love and is a constant source of inspiration. She has a great eye for interiors and design, finds the best things on Etsy and takes simply beautiful shots of her home, family and the stunning countryside around where she lives. If you don't follow her blog already, then what are you waiting for!?  

So here's my Q&A:

1. Why do I write?

I started neatlittlethings back in Feb 2012 really as something fun to do for myself. I was a full-time, stay at home mum, having given up my job as an Assistant Buyer of baby girls fashion for Mothercare after having my daughter Tabitha in 2009, and was by then pregnant with baby number two. Although I was enjoying being at home full-time and doing mummy things, I was really beginning to crave some sort of outlet where I could be a bit more creative. I'd started regularly following a couple of blogs (mostly american blogs for some reason - A Cup Of Jo, Oh Happy Day, Oh Joy, etc) which I enjoyed reading as a bit of an escape at the end of a busy day, and after a while it seemed like starting my own blog might give me the side project I was looking for. A place to get back in touch with the old me, outside of all things baby (although I do of course like to write about my family too) where I can write about anything and everything I want! 

2. How does it differ from others of its genre?

I don’t think that my blog does particularly differ from lot of the other blogs out there, and I certainly haven’t found my USP! I wouldn’t really know what genre to put my blog into - I’m a mum but don’t really aim to be a mummy-blog or focus on my family too much (part of the reason I write my blog is to capture a bit of ‘me-time’ and keep in touch with who I am outside of being a mum) but I do write a lot about fashion and shopping, and also about design and interiors so maybe that’s it genre somewhere/somehow?… At the moment I just write about things I like and enjoy and perhaps my blog’s theme or style will just develop naturally over time as I become more comfortable in my writing. When I first started I got very nervous about putting my thoughts or views ‘out there’ in case people were unkind but I’ve learnt (or should I say I’m learning!) that worrying about what other people think is pointless and will only make blogging stressful not enjoyable, so now I push myself to just write about whatever I want and not worry. 

I am often amazed and in awe of all the different blogs out there, of all these fantastic creative spaces. But I try not to compare myself to many other blogs as otherwise I’d start to worry about not being good enough, and really I’m just happy to be joining in with this wonderful blogging world! 

3. What am I working on?

As I mentioned before, most of my of my posts at the moment revolve around either interiors, fashion or my family. Ive been spending a lot of time window shopping for our new house (were in the process of moving house but itofficially becoming one of the worlds slowest house moves I think having been going on since January!) so I’m enjoying finding inspiring interiors, researching cool children’s beds and furniture, or looking for G Plan dressers on Ebay. Otherwise I’m generally working on posts about fashion - recent things I've bought, things I want to buy for the upcoming season, or just people with inspirational style! I throw in the odd post about my kids or family trips we’ve taken every now and then too, just because that’s what my life revolves around and I try to keep my blog real to me and my life.

Something I’d really like to work on is my images - I got into photography a bit after I left uni and took a few courses but really just decided I wasn’t that good at it and so now I don’t really try, despite my husband owning a decent digital SLR that I could be using. Instead I take either really bad shots on my iPhone, or I’ll use images from the web of clothes, etc that I’m linking to. It’s lazy and I think that working on this is something that could improve my blog a lot. Also I keeping thinking I should get to grips with photoshop or something which would also help improve the look of my blog too, but I’m a bit of a technophobe and again probably too lazy after a busy day to sit down and learn the basics. Ah well, maybe one day! 

4. How does my writing process work?

I try to blog about 3 times a week - I started out trying to blog every weekday, but soon found out after my initial rush of ideas that I just couldn’t keep up, what with children and a house and life in general going on all around me too. So now I aim for 3 times a week, and as and when I have time I’ll go on my blog and start drafting posts about anything that’s on my mind at that time.  To be honest I’ve not been blogging as much I’d like to this year as I’ve found being at home with a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old a bit full on and so have stopped giving myself a hard time trying to fit it all in. But I’m hoping as Tabitha starts school soon and Sam is at preschool a few mornings a week I might have more time to do the things I enjoy. That is, before I have to go back to some kind of full time job! 

Sometimes if I’m out and about and I think of something Id like to blog about then Ill note in down in my notebook to come back to later  
as its more than likely that Ill have forgotten my train of thought by the time I get a chance to sit down with my laptop that evening. If I cant think of things to blog about I know its because generally Im over thinking things and trying to maybe be something Im not, and if I just focus in on whats going on in my world right now then I actually have lots I want to blog about. I guess thats my main goal - trying to just be myself on my blog, and not be something Im not, or not copy what others are doing (so well!) out there. I obviously take inspiration from other peoples blogs as I think we all do, but I really want neatlittlethings to be a space that, whilst it may not be unique, it is true to me.


I hope this has been somewhat interesting, I've enjoyed doing it and I'm looking forward to discovering more blogs out there as the blog hop continues! I was supposed to be passing on the baton to another couple of bloggers for next week but I've really just run out of time this week and so instead of getting in a spin about it, I thought I'd just throw it out there to anyone who wants to give this a go on their blog - just drop me a comment below if you're going to do it, as I'd love to stop by your blog and read your blog hop post.

The more the merrier right! :)

Summer Sale Shopping


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I can't believe it's taken me til the grand old age of 33 to get the real hang of sale shopping, but at last the penny's dropped and no longer do I trawl busy high streets buying end of season wear that I probably never wanted or needed anyway - instead, I now research, plan and prioritise. 

If I see something during the season that I just love, but for whatever reason is just beyond my reach that month, I make sure I keep a note of it. Then usually, without wanting to sound too obsessive, I keep checking back most days to the site where I saw it (of course if it was in your favourite store then stopping by the shop everyday isn't realistic but most things are online these days), to see if there are any special offers or flash sales happening. And, most importantly, I sign up for the e-newsletter which will alert me to any seasonal sales that are about to start. Being one of the first to know about the start of a sale can be the difference between bagging that much desired item and not! 

Which, I'm pleased to say, is just how I got my hands on these fabulous pieces from one of my new favourite stores, Chinti and Parker. I'll be honest, generally speaking this label is out of my price range and I couldn't justify buying these items at full price. However, on sale I feel it's worth the stretch as I just know I'll wear this top and this skirt over and over again.

Such a great everyday look with skinny jeans and trainers

I am in love with the midi skirt at the moment - such a flattering, easy to wear length. I plan to wear this with a simple, fitted black short-sleeve tee tucked in and some chunky wooden mid-heel sandals. And probably a statement gold necklace.

And truth be told I still have my eye on this dress (in grey) - fingers crossed it is reduced further in the next couple of weeks!

And going for the sporty look, I also bought a couple of vintage style, athletics-inspired tees from J. Crew which I just love. They're linen so they're really lightweight and drape really nicely. Perfect for taking it easy on the weekend!

So, have you been sale shopping recently? Bagged anything special? Don't you just love sale season! :)

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