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?!

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!

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!

Pregnancy diary: week 14

Beauty, Fashion, Pregnancy

I’m now in the second trimester!! It feels like the last few months have gone so quickly and to be honest I’m hoping the second trimester isn’t as tough as the first. I’ve read that I can look forward to feeling more energetic and little or no sickness…..fingers crossed!

This past week has been particularly tough. Just when I was starting to feel like the nausea was passing, on Thursday it came back full force and I was unable to keep anything down for two days. I think the heat contributed but I’m just not sure what sets it off – hormones I guess! So as you can imagine I was feeling pretty miserable for those few days and felt like I just couldn’t take another day feeling like that.

I’ve also been feeling really tired and haven’t been sleeping well at all – it’s been difficult to get comfortable and again the heat hasn’t helped. Roll on winter I say!

Anyway, on a more positive note I wanted to share with you a few pregnancy buys which should make the next 6 months a little easier. First of all I purchased Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil, which was recommended by a friend to prevent stretch marks. It was a little on the expensive side at £38 but is absolutely lovely to apply and smells great. I’ve only been using it for a few days so we’ll see how it works out but I have high hopes!

Clarins Body Treatment Oil

Clarins Body Treatment Oil

Since none of my jeans or trousers are comfortable any more, I’ve been practically living in black leggings for the past few weeks! These maternity leggings from ASOS are so comfortable and as they’re cropped they’re great for someone’s who’s petite like me. I’ve mostly been teaming them with long t-shirts and shirts and heels.

At £10 they’re an absolute bargain and it’s great to stock up on a few as I’m sure they’ll get worn even more the bigger I get.

ASOS Cropped Maternity Leggings

ASOS Cropped Maternity Leggings

I hope this gives some comfort to the other pregnant ladies out there and do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!

Pregnancy diary: week 13

Beauty, Fashion, Pregnancy

It’s been a long time since my last post back in June and to be honest it’s been hard to find the time (and the energy!) to focus on my blog. Mostly due to the joys of early pregnancy! Yes hubby and I are adding a Baby Smith to the family and we are so excited, as you can imagine, to be expecting our first little one.

I’m 13 weeks pregnant now and coming towards the end of my first trimester. I’ve read that things can only get better in terms of symptoms, as the first trimester is reported to be the worst, so here’s hoping! Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier to be pregnant and I know I’m very lucky however, absolutely nothing can prepare you for the early stages. It’s a complete change that affects your entire mind and body.

Of course, I have read that some women sail through pregnancy with ease and I have to say I envy you!

I found out I was pregnant when I was about 5 weeks gone. I had a feeling something was up – I had a strange metallic taste in my mouth, which I’d read could be an early sign of pregnancy, and I just felt different. I think you know your own body and I knew something was off.

At the time I was on jury service and the queasiness of morning sickness (which by the way lasted ALL DAY!)  was starting to kick in. It was an emotional time – as well as having to deal with a sensitive case for nearly three weeks, my hormones were all over the place.

At 6 weeks, the queasiness turned into not being able to keep anything down for about 2 days out of 7. Carrying plastic bags everywhere became the norm, just in case I was caught off-guard! Up until about a week ago I found this aspect very hard to deal with. I love my food and seem to have gone off everything I used to love. Even the smell of the fridge makes me feel sick!

Coming into this week I have started to feel I have a little more energy, which I hope is not just a phase but means the worst part is over. Although certain smells still make me feel sick, I think I’m learning to deal with them better.

I think one of the worst things about the first 12 weeks is not being able to share how you’re feeling with close friends. We wanted to wait until we knew everything was fine with our first scan, and not being able to talk to people when you’re feeling down and explain why is tough. It certainly feels a lot more real now that we have told people, and it’s lovely to share it with the people we love the most.

Below I’ve highlighted what’s been happening in the past week in terms of symptoms, emotions and various changes that an expanding waistband brings:

First trimester weight gain: 1/2 stone as of last Thursday. I don’t think this is too bad, as I have read a healthy weight gain is 25-30 pounds during pregnancy.

Bump: Definitely showing now. I’m only petite so even a little bump is quite obvious!

Symptoms: Still queasy on a few days during the past week and actually sick last week – apparently Baby Smith has gone off spinach.

The biggest thing for me has been smells. The smell of cigarette smoke, and people who smoke – stale clothes, really makes me feel ill. As soon as someone is near me who smokes I have to hold my breath!

Another smell, as I mentioned above, is the fridge. This is a strange one but I have read it’s fairly common.

The smell of food cooking, especially ready meals which smell absolutely repulsive!

Emotions: Relief after our 12 week scan and combined screening test results.

Disbelief there is actually a baby in there. More relaxed than I’ve felt in months.

Teary at emotional television programs, adverts, books…you name it!

Clothing: I’ve been trying to wear looser clothing – lots of roomy dresses, leggings and skirts.

My jeans will still do up but are very uncomfortable to sit down in so I’m not wearing them any more! I’ve purchased some maternity jeans from ASOS but at the moment they’re still a little big, so I’m at that in-between stage at the moment!

I have treated myself to some lovely new dresses though and my current favourite is this one from Topshop. It’s so colourful and will be perfect as I grow bigger.

Topshop Animal Print Dress

Topshop Animal Print Dress

Beauty: My skin has had a flare up this week which is delightful, but I’ve started using an organic tea tree stick for blemishes so hopefully this will improve things! People have said my skin is glowing and that I look different, but to be honest I do not feel it!

I received a sample of Mum & Me stretch mark cream in a bounty pack from the hospital which felt really nice, so I may purchase this. Although I can’t see any stretch marks yet lots of people have said to me that daily moisturising is great at preventing them.

Mum & Me Stretch Mark Cream

Mum & Me Stretch Mark Cream

I’ve also been using an organic Aloe Vera body lotion from Holland & Barrett which has left my skin really soft.

Highlight of the week: The highlight of this week has to be seeing our baby for the first time at our scan, and feeling reassured everything is going as it should.

Another highlight was sharing the pregnancy with our friends and extended family. Being able to share it with them has been amazing.

The blog is going to be a mixture of pregnancy and as always fashion and lifestyle from now on, and I’d love to hear from any other expectant mums or mums. Share your experiences by leaving me a comment below or email me using the address on my contact page.

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!

The shoe makes the girl – a heel obsession

Fashion

My love affair with heels began at a young age. I remember, aged four, tottering around in a pair of my mum’s red high heels and not being able to wait until I could wear my own.

From the ages of 16 until about 22 I don’t think I even owned a pair of flat shoes (much to the despair of my now husband when I complained of blisters!), and even remember going whole days doing bar work in my heels – yes it was painful, but I still loved them.

At just 5 foot I have to say high heels are a godsend, but not just because they add a few inches of height – they can completely change your posture and boost your confidence. And I’m not the only woman to think so. Iconic women through history have praised the person who invented high heels – particularly Marilyn Monroe, who even supposedly had one heel shorter than the other to create her infamous ‘wiggle’.

"I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot." - Marilyn Monroe

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.” – Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn isn’t the only iconic woman to have had a love affair with high heels – Filipino politician, Imelda Marcos is said to have a collection of over 3,000 pairs.

Of course, there are some women who detest them, finding them uncomfortable, hard to walk in and, if they are tall, a bit of an issue. However, I’ve always thought the right pair of shoes can make or break an outfit, and in the right pair of heels a woman can conquer anything.

Here’s some heels I’m lusting after at the moment:

Mustard perspex wedges, ASOS

Mustard perspex wedges, ASOS

I love the colour of these wedges from ASOS, and the perspex heels really make them feel on-trend. They’re perfect for Summer and priced at £40 are fairly reasonable. I’d wear them with jeans and a white t-shirt for a casual day look, adding red nail polish to really make the colours pop.

White ankle strap court shoes, Topshop

White ankle strap court shoes, Topshop

White heels are red hot this season, and these ones from Topshop can be worn day or night. Priced at £48, why not pair them with black jeans and a  white peplum top or a black dress to channel the monochrome look.

Black and neon sandals, New Look

Black and neon sandals, New Look

The embellished detail on these sandals from New Look really creates a festival feel. The contrast of the black and neon will make your feet the envy of many, and priced at just £34.99 how could you resist?

Blue and green heels, Zara

Blue and green heels, Zara

I love the artistic feel of these heels from Zara. The jewel colours are gorgeous and the style is so elegant. These would look perfect with black peg trousers and a white shirt. At £49.99 they are a little more expensive however, they would be an investment as I can see these being on trend for years to come.

Thanks for reading. Stay Chic!

Jessie Ware

90’s Nostalgia

Fashion, Music

Growing up in the 90’s I remember the trends of that era well – good and bad! Whether you’re a fan or not it’s impossible to avoid the 90’s comeback at the moment. With the return of crop tops, tartan grunge and gold jewellery.

However, it’s not just the fashion world that’s embracing this, with artists like Disclosure causing us to reminisce the days of Garage and Jessie Ware‘s Lisa Stansfield-esque vocals taking us back.

There are aspects of this comeback I love – such as black maxis and lace as well as chunky gold jewellery. Below I’ve put together a 90’s inspired look and I’d love to know your favourite 90’s style items.

90's Nostalgia

                                                                            90’s Nostalgia by emlsmith featuring hoop earrings

Sleeveless top
$16 – newlook.com

Aso
asos.com

Allsaint
allsaints.com

Topshop
$13 – topshop.com

Hoop earrings
maxandchloe.com

Thanks for reading – stay chic!

Small but perfectly formed

Fashion

For a while I’ve wanted to write a post about petite ranges as I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who is, shall we say, vertically challenged.

At a petite five foot I’ve always struggled to find clothes that fit well and look good. In the past I’ve had to have clothes altered by either having them taken up or taken in, which is not only tiresome but gets expensive! However, nowadays the majority of high street and online stores do offer petite ranges, but what I wanted to write about is what I’ve found are the best stores for certain items – so here’s my pick of three essentials and where to buy them.

#1 Jeans

Style: Personally, I would say the best style for petite women are straight legged or skinny jeans as these will make your legs look longer and leaner – always good!

C’est Chic pick: Topshop

In my experience Topshop are the best place for petite jeans. Their lengths are perfect and the fit is flattering. Plus they come in a range of colours so you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Topshop Petite Jeans

Topshop Petite Jeans

#2 Maxi Dress

Style: Definitely not an easy item for us petite ladies to pull off, but they really do look great day or night. If you’re going to go maxi I’d opt for one colour rather than a pattern and always wear with heels!

C’est Chic pick: Dorothy Perkins

After a LOT of searching I finally found maxi dresses that are an accurate petite length at Dorothy Perkins. Prior to my honeymoon in June I bought a beautiful navy one which can be seen below, and they have a great range during the spring and summer months.

Dorothy Perkins Maxi Dress

Dorothy Perkins Maxi Dress

#3 Coats & Jackets

Style: When it comes to outer wear, more often than not it’s best to go for cropped or short and no longer than an above the knee length, as anything else tends to swamp a small frame.

C’est Chic pick: ASOS

ASOS are great for a lot of petite products but especially coats and jackets, and they have a great selection from leather jackets to blazers all year round.

ASOS Petite Coats & Jackets

ASOS Petite Coats & Jackets

I hope you’ve enjoyed my petite picks. Thanks for reading, stay chic! x

Oh So Faux

Fashion

With the nights drawing in and the temperatures reaching single figures it’s safe to say Winter has arrived. I love this time of year as it means I can wrap up in my fur coats (faux of course) to keep the cold at bay. One of my favourites is a three quarter, soft leopard print one with crystal buttons from River Island. It’s about three years old but still on-trend, and the perfect partner to black jeans or a dress with tights.

The A/W catwalks were yet again full of fur and this seems to be a trend that just gets better every year, with something for all tastes from animal print to fur collars and gilets.

A/W '12 Fur Trend

A/W ’12 Fur Trend

If, like me, your budget won’t quite stretch to designer prices there’s some great ones to choose from on the high street and online this season, and all at a fairly reasonable price.

If it’s 1950’s glamour you’re looking for, this one from Ted Baker fits the bill. With its’ classic cut and large collar it’s the perfect accompaniment to an evening dress or even for wear during the day with a floral skirt.

Ted Baker Faux Fur Jacket

Ted Baker Faux Fur Jacket

Alternatively for fuller coverage, embrace your inner animal with this gorgeous leopard print coat from ASOS.

ASOS Animal Print Faux Fur Coat

ASOS Animal Print Faux Fur Coat

If you’re not keen on full on fur then why not opt for one like the Topshop coat shown below, which has a detachable collar so you can choose to go with or without depending on the occasion or weather, or this River Island biker jacket which is definitely on my wish list.

Topshop Faux Fur Collar Coat

Topshop Faux Fur Collar Coat

River Island Faux Fur and Leather Biker Jacket

River Island Faux Fur and Leather Biker Jacket

To add just a touch of faux to your outfit opt for a shaggy gilet, the perfect accompaniment to skinny jeans.

Topshop Faux Fur Gilet

Topshop Faux Fur Gilet

I hope this has provided some inspiration but whatever your preference one thing’s for sure, this Winter embrace the faux!