The swimwear dilemma…post-child

Fashion, Women

So, we’ve booked our first holiday abroad with Aria in tow for later in the year. An idyllic villa in the Spanish countryside complete with pool. Bliss! I literally cannot wait.

Of course, a holiday in a (hopefully at the time) hot country requires summer wear – shorts, floaty dresses and not forgetting, swimwear. There was a time I loved shopping for a new bikini for a sunny holiday, now the idea of swimwear shopping fills me with dread! I mean what the hell is supposed to flatter the mum tum and wobbly bits? Shopping for swimwear post-child is a fucking minefield!

I’ve been planning to shed the excess baby weight (Aria is now three…) since Christmas and had a shock this week when Mr S decided to resurrect the Wi-Fit. He proudly told me he weighed much less than when we’d last used it (over two years ago). I was too curious not take my ‘body test’ as well. “Close your eyes, don’t look! It’s going to say ‘one at a time’!” I looked, I stared….shiiiiiit, how much?! “That’s a great motivator” says Mr S. Cue death stare.

Back to swimwear. That day I receive an email from ASOS – ‘HOLIDAY SHOP’. I click, I browse. Okay, so bikinis are out. I’m not even entertaining that idea. On to swimsuits. Maybe I’m getting old, but the only people who could wear the majority of the styles, the likes of which include slogans such as ‘Mermaid off duty’ and ‘Body Glove,’ are 20-something gazelles! Wah!

I search ‘control swimwear’. Three results. All of which are bloody hideous. The search continues!!

Any tips ladies?!

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Can we talk about…velvet

Fashion

Velvet. A word that not too long ago actually made me shudder a little, revoking memories of being 10 years old at a school disco, wearing a velvet skirt and thinking I was SO grown up. Especially after I had somehow coaxed my Mum into letting me wear lipstick for the first time, much to my Dad’s absolute horror.

Then there was the Christmas my Mum MADE me wear a black velvet dress…with a doiley type collar…and a matching hairband. Thus my resentment of velvet began!

Understandably, I guess my love/hate relationship with the ‘V’ fabric in my adult years comes from being made to wear it as a child. This season however it’s unavoidable. Every man and his dog seems to have embraced it and not just in black. There’s baby pink, light bluey-grey, navy and red….the list goes on.

Finding something I feel that suits me is hard enough post-child, but velvet? Dare I give you another chance? So the temptation begins, perusing ASOS, River Island, New Look late at night while we watch The Apprentice, much to the despair of Mr S – “Did you see that? Can’t you put your phone down for goodness sake, look I’ll rewind.”

“Sorry” I say “just checking emails…” not “Sorry, velvet is puling me into temptation!”

So, safe to say, I am a little intrigued. Could there be some velvet pieces that wouldn’t make me feel like a school girl at a disco? Well, the answer is yes. I know, I surprised myself. I actually think velvet can be rather sexy, especially when in the form of a bardot top with added choker. It’s more grown up, womanly. Oops…*Add to basket* So there we have it, my first velvet item in over a decade purchased.

Here’s my pick of some more grown up velvet pieces of the moment:

(L-R) Pink velvet body, ASOS | Red velvet boots, Dorothy Perkins | Black velvet choker, Black velvet dress with lace inserts, Black velvet crossover top, all River Island

Have you fallen in love with velvet again? What are your favourite velvet items at the moment?

Thanks for reading,

Em x

 

Isn’t it time the fashion industry stop portraying skinny as normal?

Fashion

If you know me, you’ll know I love fashion. I also love reading fashion magazines. At least I used to. But recently, when that month’s Vogue pops through my letterbox I’ve started to feel uneasy as I read it. Not just Vogue, but the majority of ‘fashion’ magazines are chock (that’s a word right?) full of adverts and models that are skinny. Not just slim, but unhealthily, unattainably skinny – ribs bared, hip bones jutting out, many, I’ve noticed recently, who look about 14. Why would I, a nearly 30 year old, desire to buy into a brand who uses models like this? I can’t relate to them.

What worries me more is, now that Aria is becoming more aware, the thought of her seeing these types of bodies as ‘the norm’ scares me to death. Why would I want my beautiful, healthy girl growing up thinking she has to look like this.

Other than Vogue, I’ve recently become a subscriber to Women’s Health and the contrast in images between this and the fashion magazines I used to pore over is vast. Healthy, strong women adorn the pages. Recipes that make me want to eat better, do more exercise and look after myself – for my health, not to be skinny. These are the types of images and messages I want my daughter to grow up with.

And, as the news comes today that an advert by Yves Saint Laurent has been banned for portraying a model who is unhealthily thin, it gives me hope that things could be changing and people won’t see these images as acceptable.

Christmas wishlist

Christmas, Fashion, Lifestyle

Christmas is more about giving than receiving. I love watching my family open their presents on Christmas day, and watching their faces light up in surprise when they receive something totally unexpected. There’s more excitement in not knowing what you might receive from your loved ones, than handing over a list of what you’d like. Of course, that was fun when you were little, but now it’s nice when you receive a thoughtful gift out of the blue.

That being said, I’m sure we all have a little wishlist of things we would like and I’ve selected a few of mine to share:

Tha Minituarist

I’m a real bookworm and like nothing better than the excitement of starting a new one. There’s nothing quite like that new book smell, and although I own a Kindle there’s nothing quite like a real book! I’ve had my eye on The Miniaturist since its’ release earlier in the year and can’t wait to read it.

Magimix 11610 Blender

Magimix 11610 Blender

Magimix 3200 Food Processor

Magimix 3200 Food Processor

These two items are more gifts for the house, but ever since becoming interested in clean eating and a plant based diet I’ve had my eye on this Magimix blender and food processor. Both come recommended by Ella Woodward (check out her blog Deliciously Ella, she’s fantastic), who’s really inspired me with her recipes and blog.

Deliciously Ella

Linked to the above, is Ella’s book, Deliciously Ella – full of fabulous plant based recipes, it’s a style of eating I can’t wait to learn more about and experiment with.

Sekonda watch

Sekonda watch

Lastly on my list is this gorgeous Sekonda diamante mother of pearl watch. When I had Aria I found having  watch a godsend. It may sound strange but I’d never been a watch person before that, but I found it so much easier when she was asleep on me, rather than rummaging around for my phone, to see the time. Unfortunately my watch broke a few months ago and of  course, now that she’s nearly 10 months her falling asleep on me is a rare occurrence, but it’s definitely easier when you’re running around with a pram, handbag and shopping. I love this Sekonda one as it will go with any outfit and is timeless.

What’s on your wishlist?

Thanks for reading xx

 

All I want for Christmas is….Topshop

Fashion

Hi ladies

If, like me, you’re a little obsessed with Pinterest you’ll love the exciting Christmas Pinterest campaign Topshop are launching tomorrow (Friday 8th November) – ‘Dear Topshop.’

Search through categories –  “A gift that will wow,” “All things that sparkle” and “A bit of romance”, to pin and share items on your Pinterest boards, while the retailer’s top pinned products will be showcased on Topshop’s homepage each day.

Chateau-femme-image-wk10_v2

You’ll even be able to pin in the flagship London store, and enter a competition for the chance to win gifts such as shopping sprees worth up to £500, front row seats at the next Topshop Unique London Fashion Week show, tickets to the launch event of the next Kate Moss collection, and the opportunity to design your own dress. Amazing – I can’t wait to get pinning!

If you’re on Pinterest share your link with me below, and find me here.

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

A lifelong love affair – The leather jacket

Fashion

Everyone has a fail-safe go-to piece in their wardrobe. A key piece of clothing or accessory that represents ‘them’.

Kate Moss claims she’s at her most comfortable in jeans and a blazer, and always turns to the scarves, hats and sunglasses in her wardrobe. For Victoria Beckham, it’s a pencil dress and heels. For me, it’s a leather jacket.

My love affair with leather jackets started early when, aged 10, my mum bought me my first faux-leather jacket. It was black with gold zips and I wore it with EVERYTHING. I loved that jacket and was heartbroken when, on a visit to a park with friends, it somehow managed to acquire a huge rip in it.

From then on, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t own at least one leather jacket and my obsession has only grown over time. The great thing about a leather jacket is, it goes with almost anything. You can add an edge to an otherwise basic outfit and look instantly chic.

I’m not sure why the fascination started. I think it may have been watching female singers like Whitney Houston and Dannii Minogue’s character in Home & Away, Emma Jackson, work a leather jacket that influenced me. Either way, I was hooked.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Since the 90s, I’ve purchased numerous leather jackets that my 10 year old self would be proud of. From simple to studded, I can’t get enough.

The great thing is, the leather jacket is something that never seems to go out of fashion and can be worn in any season. Sure, there are adaptations – from cropped and quilted to the current oversized trend, but non the less it never loses its appeal.

I’ve put together a wishlist of leather jackets for this season below:

What’s your fail-safe fashion piece? Are you a leather jacket obsessive too? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith.

Thanks for reading, Stay Chic!

Fashion focus: Jones Bootmaker

Fashion

With Autumn in the air and Winter in sight, it’s time to think about a change in footwear. Gone are the strappy sandals and wedges we loved wearing during this year’s heatwave as it’s now time to think about boots.

This is probably my favourite time of year as I have to say, if it wasn’t for the heat of the Summer, I’d probably live in boots all year round! They’re comfortable, go with almost any outfit and can be as practical or sexy as you like.

One great place to start your boot wishlist is Jones Bootmaker. Specialists in quality leather boots, their boots come in a range of styles and colours to suit even the pickiest of fashionistas.

Below I’ve highlighted my favourite items from their current range:

These soft wedge boots are versatile and great for wearing during the day. Stylish yet comfortable, pair them with a winter floral dress and tights for a casual autumnal look.

I love these biker-esque boots. The studded detail will give any outfit an edge and they’ll look great with skinny jeans and a chunky knit jumper.

Knee length boots aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but this black pair will suit most. The strap details add sophistication and are a great casual weekend option.

These lace up boots in tan look expensive and stylish. The chunky heel is great for day-wear and will look great with blue jeans and a white shirt.

Have you invested in any winter boots yet? If any of these take your fancy let me know or I’d love to hear about your own purchases.

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!

P.s. For UK readers, there’s a fantastic charity fashion show taking place in aid of St Mary’s Hospice on the 15th November in Cumbria. Click here for more details.

Fashion focus: Jules B

Fashion

With the nights drawing in, the temperature dropping and a luscious smell of bonfires in the air it now feels like we’re officially approaching Autumn.

I love this time of year as it’s a chance to wrap up in cosy knits and faux fur coats, and there are already some great items in the shops to make you thankful for our British weather.

In this post I wanted to focus on a website I’ve newly discovered called Jules B. With a great range of designer labels it’s a must visit website for when you’re looking for investment pieces or are feeling the need for a designer piece.

I’ve chosen my favourite items for Autumn/Winter from the website to whet your appetite.

This Marc by Marc Jacobs t-shirt will look great with black jeans or leggings and biker boots. Add a leather jacket for a great look day or night.

I love the detail on this McQ by McQueen skirt, especially the zips which add an edge. This is a real investment piece which will last you for years to come. Team with a simple white tee and black heels for a simple but sophisticated look with a twist.

This Marc by Marc Jacobs black dukie vest looks super soft and is great for those days when it’s not quite full-on winter coat weather. Wear with blue jeans and a t-shirt during the day or over a simple skater dress in the evening.

I’m a big fan of Lulu Guinness and this bag is on my wish list. This would work well throughout the year and the black and gold will compliment any outfit perfectly.

Markus Lupfer always produces lust-have jumper designs and this hare sequin jumper is no different. A great Autumn/Winter piece with a touch of sparkle – perfect.

If you’ve read my What a stud blog post you’ll know what a fan I am of studs and spikes, and these Premi Baio studded boots need to be in my wardrobe!

I hope you like my picks. Why not visit Jules B and let me know what pieces you’re lusting after.

Contact me or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith.

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!

Floral fantasy

Fashion

Floral prints are everywhere at the moment, and the great thing is they can be worn day or night to add a touch of glamour to your wardrobe.

I think this is a trend that will never really fade as every Summer floral hits the high street, and there are some great items available at the moment. From day dresses to beautiful jewellery, floral is something you can embrace fully or just add a touch of to your outfit with accessories.

Here are my picks of my favourite floral pieces at the moment:

ASOS Petite Bodycon Floral Dress, £25

ASOS Petite Bodycon Floral Dress, £25

Topshop Botanical Floral Dress, £45

Topshop Botanical Floral Dress, £45

Ted Baker iPhone case available via Box Clothing,£29

Ted Baker iPhone case available via Box Clothing, £29

Virgos Lounge Una Blouse Ivory, £35

Virgos Lounge Una Blouse Ivory, £35

Alexis Dove Wild Rose Pendants £70 each

Alexis Dove Wild Rose Pendants £70 each

Angel Eye Floral Dress available via Box Clothing, £17

Angel Eye Floral Dress available via Box Clothing, £17

I hope you like my picks. Let me know your favourite floral pieces of the moment by leaving me a comment below, or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith.

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!

Pregnancy diary: weeks 15 and 16

Fashion, Pregnancy

This post is a little late as I’m now at the end of week 16, so I thought I’d give you an update on weeks 15 and 16 in this post.

Things have been a little manic as I’m currently taking a marketing course as part of my job, and have been working on an assignment almost every weekend for the past two months. Combined with full time work and feeling nauseous and tired, it’s been tough going. I can happily say the assignment is due tomorrow so I can take a breather now that it’s finished!

During week 15 my sickness started to subside and (touch wood) I think I’m now over the worst. It also helps that the weather has cooled down a lot as I think that was making me feel even worse. For once, I can’t wait until Winter!

Last Friday we had our 16 week check-up and heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I was a little worried at first as it took the midwife a while to find the heartbeat, but eventually there it was right near my belly button! It was an amazing sound but I don’t think Baby Smith was too happy about being prodded, as a loud ‘woof’ erupted from my stomach which turned out to be the baby moving!

It’s still hard to connect the sound and even the scans with something living inside you, but I’m sure it will feel more real the stronger the movement becomes and I start to feel proper little kicks.

My bump seems to grow bigger every single week and I have to say I’ve been pretty much living in dresses as they’re the most comfortable option! Hubby and I are due to go to Kefalonia soon and I think the best option will be lots of vest dresses. I found some great ones, all in the sale, on ASOS this week along with some maternity shorts which you can see below.

ASOS Black Vest Dress

ASOS Black Vest Dress

ASOS Black Cami Dress

ASOS Black Cami Dress

ASOS Green Vest Dress

ASOS Green Vest Dress

ASOS Denim Maternity Shorts

ASOS Denim Maternity Shorts

Thanks for your lovely comments regarding my blog, especially from other mums-to-be! I love hearing from you so do keep me updated with your own pregnancies. It’s now only THREE WEEKS until we find out if Baby Smith is a boy or girl and I cannot wait!

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!