Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

My recent Wardrobe Refresh session with Victoria was SOO AWESOME but not only that, she’s also very kindly offering a very generous discount to NHM Readers! See below.

If you are stuck for presents for anyone or feel you need a BOOST yourself, I HIGHLY recommend as you can read below.

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

About

Victoria messaged me and asked me if I would like to have a Wardrobe ReFresh in exchange for a review and I thought I’d give it a go as I had nothing left to lose and could definitely use the help.

She used to run the store in Vintage Treasures, a boutique specialising in vintage and vintage inspired clothing, on Church Street, in Basingstoke so she knows what she is talking about!

I’ll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to Victoria coming round to help me de-clutter my wardrobe.  In my head I had visions of Trinny and Suannah (I’m showing my age now!) and GokWan DECIMATING my wardrobe.

My focus for the past few years has been on getting Miss NHM well again and as part of this I have completely neglected my body and my wardrobe reflects this.

I’ve written before about having a uniform as I don’t have time to think in the mornings or the night before as I prefer to spend my time and energy on other things. If you’ve been reading NHM for a while you’ll know that I am allergic to most man made materials, particularly polyester.

Trying to shop for clothes these days, that don’t have polyester or lycra in is very, very, VERY frustrating. There are certain shops that I know I can shop in that have 100% cotton and I tend to stick to those as I know that they aren’t going to cause me any issues.

Although this does mean that I’ve been in a bit of a clothing rut. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and then having to double check every single label well… it’s depressing and I don’t have the motivation for it.

So the thought of Victoria coming round and telling me that I needed to go shopping for more clothes….I wasn’t looking forward to it….

Before we met

A couple of weeks before our appointment Victoria sent me a document with several questions asking me things like my hair and eye colour, what my current style is and what my dream look would be.

The document also asked me about my shopping habits and I think she could probably work out from there that I was going to be a total pain in the butt!!! (facepalm!)

Victoria also asked me to send some pictures of my face and my body, so she could see what she would be working with.

The Wardrobe Refresh Appointment

Victoria came round to my house one lunchtime, but just after I’d had a filling. So I was feeling a bit miserable, my face was all numb and I was really not in the mood for the appointment.

However, I haven’t laughed so much in AGES!!! Victoria spent about 15 minutes with me talking through my answers to the questions she’d sent me and I felt SOOOO at ease! You can immediately tell that Victoria’s main aim is to make you feel much better at the end of the appointment than you do at the beginning.

She asked me to write three words down describing how I was feeling right then about my clothes and those words were pretty depressing.

Victoria then talked through my colours and told me that I’m an “Autumn”. I had my colours done years ago and I already knew I was an Autumn and had told Victoria this in my answers but it was really, really good to go through which colours suit me again. Even though I have a colour wallet from when my colours were done when I was 18 years old, I wasn’t sure if they would still be the colours to suit me.

Victoria then briefly talked through which styles suit me best which was quite enlightening.

We then just got stuck in to my wardrobe.

I have quite a small wardrobe but it turns out that I have LOADS of clothes hidden away and even some in Miss NHM’s wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about.

We went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM of clothing in my cupboard and it was… AWESOME!!!

Victoria gave me permission (well, she didn’t actually give me permission but it felt like it!) to get rid of clothes that I’ve been hanging onto for years that I shouldn’t have been.

I read the Life Changing magic of Tidying three years ago (WOW, how time flies!) and even though there were clothes that I had purged then, there were some items that I still had an emotional attachment too that needed to be got rid of.

We went through everything and sorted them into three piles: keep, sell, recycle. It was SUCH an uplifting experience!!! Not at all what I expected.

Normally I’m quite self concious about my body, but I was just stripping off and getting stuck in and Victoria was brilliant. She echoed many things that I’d said in my head about some outfits, except she said it out loud. Hearing someone else say lots and lots of really positive things about my wardrobe was just amazing!

I realised that I do have lots and lots of beautiful dresses that I just don’t wear that I really ought too!

I felt absolutely AMAZING after the appointment. Victoria asked me to update my three words again, about how I was feeling, and it was like they were written by another person!

She advised me to start wearing more colours and notice the compliments that start rolling in and you know what, she was absolutely right! I’ve had LOADS of comments about what I’ve been wearing recently since my Wardrobe ReFresh.

Victoria also suggested making adjustments to certain items of my clothing and has recommended a local seamstress who can do this for me. I only actually need to buy ONE ITEM of clothing for my wardrobe! I expected that I would probably have to buy at least 4 or 5 new items but with modifications to my current clothes and that one item of clothing, it’s going to make such a difference!

Victoria is even going to find me the items that I need online and send the links over to me so I can just buy them directly. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Victoria says that that with her BOOST Style ethos:

“My mission is to have you with a wardrobe of clothes that are working for your body shape, not against you, in the correct seasonal colour palette and reflect your lifestyle and personality. Most of all I want you to feel empowered to be you! After all, you are the best person to do YOU!”

By the end of the appointment I was literally jumping with joy. I had freed up lots of space in my wardrobe, I’ve got a pile of clothes to sell on ebay so I can use that money to buy my extra item of clothing and it felt really good to “let go” of some clothes that I’d been hanging on to for years.

I couldn’t stop hugging the poor girl before she left as she’d made me feel so happy!!

After Care

A couple of days later, Victoria sent me a document which covered everything we had discussed. This was called “Louise style file” and it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!

I cannot stop raving about this document! It’s absolutely bloody brilliant!

I love that the document has my body shape analysis and explains what body shape I am and also has a wonderful list of Do’s and Don’t’s for my body shape, which is going to make it sooooo much easier to shop with now! The document even includes pictures of styles that are mentioned, so if you don’t know what bootcut trousers look like, there is a picture to show you.

I also really liked that there is explanation of my colour analysis with suggestions of colours for me to wear.

There is also a section which highlights the key pieces that I should add to my wardrobe (very delighted it’s only 1 so I don’t have to spend much! lol).

Victoria also sent me a private style board on Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE the private style boardt. It’s absolutely brilliant and has lots and lots of suggestions of outfits that will suit me. My style for swim wear, formal wear and even some pictorial examples of which make up colours suit me best!

Absolutely perfect!!

Other Services

Victoria also offers a “Virtual Shopping Session”: “This is a digital file the she sends to you containing links to all of the items mentioned above, you can them order those that you feel suit and when they arrive you have a session via Skype for Victoria to check the fit and style, helping you decide which to keep and which, if any, to return. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe for a new season, holiday or special event without having to leave home!

I will soooo be taking her up on this “virtual shopping session” when I have a wedding to go too as she literally picks out the items for you and sends you the online links so all you have to do is order them. AMAZING!

Discount for NHM Readers

Victoria is very kindly offering NHM Readers a discount code -(NHM25) giving you a 25% discount on the “Wardrobe ReFresh” session.

Please quote this code when getting in touch with Victoria.

Rating out of 5

Twenty Five Hundred out of 5, as Miss NHM says. This was one of the best ways that I’ve spent two hours in a very long time. Victoria is absolutely lovely and a very positive person who made me feel sooooo much better about my wardrobe and also myself.

The appointment is very good value for money and having now had the appointment I would happily pay double for another one (don’t tell Victoria that, obviously! facepalm). I will actually be saving money in the long run, because instead of ordering clothes and finding out that they don’t fit me properly which means I don’t wear them often, I will know EXACTLY what to buy and won’t be wasting any money anymore.

Victoria really is a Fairy ClothesMother and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend her services!!

You can find out more about The Fairy ClothesMother at: https://www.facebook.com/FairyClothesMother/

or at her website: https://givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Wardrobe ReFresh by The Fairy Clothesmother. The Wardrobe Refresh service was supplied free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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Bubbas and Mamas Children and Baby Sale Saturday 9th June 2018

Why not come to our first ever Bubbas and Mamas Children and Baby Sale, in Church Crookham this Saturday (9th June). We have sold out all the tables for our sale and are really looking forward to welcoming families come and grab some excellent bargains on toys, clothes, maternity wear, books or Moses basket, prams etc.

Entry cost is £1.50 (children go free) starts at 2pm – 3.30pm.

We look forward to seeing you all.

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Review 2018: HAIRaffair Basingstoke

I recently received a message on facebook from Aideen, asking me if I would like to have my hair done in exchange for a review on NorthHantsMum.

I jumped at the chance! 😀

(There is a special offer for NHM Readers at the bottom of this post :-D)

HAIRaffair Basingstoke

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a “girly girl” but I do take an interest in how I look. I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon in over 10 years as I have always found hairdressers to be very intimidating places, especially as I’m not into fashion.

It turned out that at a recent fundraising raffle I had won a voucher to get my hair cut but hadn’t realised it that it was with Aideen. I actually gave the voucher to a friend who needed pampering more than me, so when Aideen got in contact it clicked that I’d given away my voucher!!!! lol.

I explained to Aideen that I wasn’t really a girly girl and she was absolutely lovely about it. I did know that I wanted my hair to be coloured but I didn’t want her to be anymore out of pocket, especially as she’d been so generous with her raffle donation.

I explained that I just wanted a trim and colour and we agreed that I would cover the cost of the colouring and she would cut my hair in exchange for this review.

About

Aideen decided on her career path when she was traveling around Australia for a year after studying at college and university. She’s always loved playing with hair but at the time she thought that she would end up in a different career. Then she saw that lots of fellow travellers cutting hair and making money flexibly and it confirmed her career decision.

Once back from Australia she worked and trained at Arc in Basingstoke town centre and then progressed to a salon in Odiham where she was assistant manager and senior stylist. Then a couple of years ago, after her son was born, she decided to convert a room in her house to her salon and she hasn’t looked back!

We had a chat when I arrived and Aideen chose the best colour for me based on what I’d told her.

Aideen then applied the foils to my hair whilst we continued chatting.

Once the foils came out, Aideen washing my hair in her fancy hair sink and gave me a lovely mini head massage.

Then Aideen cut my hair and layered it a bit. I didn’t realise how long my hair was as she cut off about 4 inches and it was still really long! lol.

We basically didn’t stop talking for the whole two hours!!! It was really lovely to chat to her and she’s a great listener.

She did a fantastic job with my hair and blow dried it straight as my hair normally has a bit of a kink about it.

I came out of Aideen’s salon literally bouncing. There is literally nothing like having 1.5 hours of being pampered and coming out with a fab new hair colour and hairstyle!

My FAB new hair!!!

When I got home Mr NHM said “something’s different…” which is high praise in our household! lol.

Miss NHM kept telling me how beautiful I looked. She’s not used to me having my hair down.

I felt amazing for the rest of the weekend with my fab new hair!

Tips

Aideen normally works only on Saturdays but if you are desperate, she can fit you in at other times.

Facilities

Aideen’s studio is attached to her house but it’s fab because you literally have it ALL TO YOURSELF!!! She only has one to two people at a time so you have her full concentration.

Baby Facilities

Babies are very welcome at Aideen’s studio.

The perk of Aideen only having one client at a time means that you can take your baby along as there is room for a baby car seat.

If you let her know in advance that you are taking a baby with you, she said she will allow extra time in case you need to focus on your baby at any point. How fab is that!

Aideen is very understanding as she has two small children of her own.

Parking

Is free and on the drive and streets near Aideen’s house.

Prices

Prices are what you would expect for an independent hairstylist with her own studio.

For example, a cut, style and finish is £35.

Rating out of 5

Aideen did SUCH an AWESOME job! I absolutely love it!!! My hair looked amazing.

I will easily give her 5 out of 5 because she made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.

I love the colour and the cut was a really good cut. It was such a luxury to have my hair washed AND dried.

If you need a new haircut and are looking for some pampering at the same time, I highly recommend visiting Aideen’s salon!

Aideen can be reach on 07808316933 for any bookings. She also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAIRaffairbasingstoke/

Aideen is also very kindly offering NHM Readers a first time discount £5 off cut and £15 off colour and cut booked together.

Thank you Aideen!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of HairAffair Hairdressing. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Memory/Keepsake Bears

An NHM Reader asked: “can anyone recommend someone locally who makes memory/keepsake bears from newborn clothes?”

Thank you the the NHM community for your responses, these are below, in no particular order. Thank you also to Juliet for putting this post together!!! 

NHM Reader’s recommendations for Memory/Keepsake bears

Sarah’s Handmade

Sarah’s Handmade

Linda said “Sarah’s Handmade – She’s brilliant.”

Debra Designs

Debra Designs

Emma said “This lady is amazing, the teddy we had made for our youngest is amazing”

Stacey said “Debra Designs”

Debra said “Yes I do, Basingstoke based, but can post if needs be! My page is Debra Designs Keepsakes Feel free to pop over and have a look!!”

Kellbells keepsakes

Kellbells keepsakes

Claudia said “Kelly of Kellbells keepsakes – she also makes school memory beats which are fab.”

Kelly said “Thanks for the recommendation Claudia. I make memory keepsake animals. Please check out my page.”

Graces Creations

Graces Creations

Lucy said “My friend makes beautiful bits she’s online and posts highly recommended”

Memory Bears From The Heart By Paula

Memory Bears From The Heart By Paula

Nicole said “Memory Bears By Paula Not local but great quality and prices and willing to ship.”

Sew Memorable

Sew Memorable

Amber said “Hi…I am Bramley, Hampshire and I am Sew Memorable…have a look at my facebook page… My Bears have moveable arms and legs and you can choose where each fabric goes…”

Sarah’s Handmade

Sarah’s Handmade

Sarah said “I’m in Hook, Hampshire. I post worldwide.”

Other Suggestions

Wendy said “I intended to do this but I didn’t like the idea of the clothes being cut up so my kids cuddly toys wear them. Jelly cat toys fit newborn socks perfectly.”

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Gok Wan One Size Fits All – Secrets to Style & Body Confidence

Gok Wan, “the makeover maestro” has set himself a new challenge – to instill a sense of body  confidence in women up and down the country through a series of unmissable, fashion and style masterclasses – Gok Wan One Size Fits All – Secrets to Style & Body Confidence. Gok will also be sharing plenty of insider secrets at these exclusive events that will take place at hotels around the UK from 30 September 2018.

Guests at Gok Wan One Size Fits All – Secrets to Style & Body Confidence will have a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the man who encouraged women and men to ‘get naked’ in his six season Channel 4 series How To Look Good Naked and is now a regular on ITV 1’s  This Morning sharing his fashion and style tips.

Gok Wan One Size Fits All – Secrets to Style & Body Confidence will start at 11.00 am with a delicious 5* brunch and a glass of bubbly before enjoying two live runway shows featuring merchandise from local clothing boutiques. The shows will be followed by Gok’s Style School – where Gok will break down the myths about this season’s biggest trends before moving on to a bit of nip and tuck (no surgery required!), with a body shape and control-wear masterclass – Gok, of course, can’t wait to get his hands on those ‘bangers’! One lucky guest will also be plucked out from the crowd for a special Gok Wan Makeover on the day!

All guests will have the opportunity to shop in the fabulous Dreamspace that will feature an array of luxury local lifestyle products; from fragranced candles to exquisitely bespoke hand-crafted jewellery. It’s a jam-packed, fun-fuelled event that’s not to be missed, and if that’s not enough, everyone leaves with a goody bag of free products.

Tickets are on sale now with details on www.gokfashion.com
Facebook @gokonesizefitsall / Instagram @gokonesizefitsall / #OneSizeFitsAll / #OSFA

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Catwalk extravaganza comes to Basingstoke

Join Festival Place as the Love Fashion Weekend Returns on 28th & 29th April

Festival Place’s Love Fashion weekend returns on April 28th and 29th, when the hottest trends this season will be showcased live on the catwalk – and if that isn’t enough, there will also be a free “Personalisation Station”, staffed by skilled embroiderers.

Shoppers will be able to choose a design and watch as it is stitched on to their new purchases bought from any fashion retailer at Festival Place throughout Love Fashion Weekend.

Customers can also watch as the hottest Spring and Summer trends are showcased with stylist-led, choreographed catwalk shows featuring the best fashion brands in Festival Place.

Participating retailers include: Topshop, Topman, Laura Ashley, USC, Next, Jack & Jones, Debenhams, M&S, Apricot, Oasis, Monsoon, Quiz, Skechers, River Island, Slaters, Moss Bros, Superdry, Phase 8, Lipsy, Boros, Pandora and GAP.

Steven Connolly, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “It is a great event, enjoyed by all. We have such a wide variety of fashion retailers, so we cater for all shoppers no matter what their style and budget.

“It’s all about bringing the glamour of Fashion Week to Festival Place in a fun, family atmosphere, giving shoppers the chance to find out about the latest trends at our catwalk shows, before picking out their perfect outfit to be personalised.

2017 Love Fashion Weekend with stylist JP as host.
Festival Place, Basingstoke
Photos by Sarah Gaunt Photography 07931900834 taekn April29th 2017

“We’re expecting it to be a busy weekend and very much looking forward to two days of fashion fun!”

The Personalisation Station, run by experts from Hand & Lock, one of Europe’s leading embroidery houses, can be found at Porchester Square, where the hour-long catwalk shows will also take place at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm on Saturday and at 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm on Sunday.

Love Fashion Weekend is one of a series of events scheduled at Festival Place during the coming year. For further information on Love Fashion Weekend visit www.festivalplace.co.uk/fashion or find details on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Mum2Mum Markets Hampshire

Thank you for the opportunity to tell everyone about my events!  I’m Linda and I run the Mum2Mum Markets in Basingstoke, Eastleigh and Southampton.

Mum2Mum Markets are community events where parents (and grandparents and friends!) can buy and sell high quality nearly new baby and children’s toys, clothes and equipment.  Our friendly, popular markets are all held indoors and usually see between 200 and 300 shoppers at each event. Our stalls are packed with toys, games, books, clothing, shoes, walkers, buggies, play mats, bedding, travel cots, trikes, ride-on toys, sterilisers, nursery equipment – and more!  Our events are aimed at age 0-6 years and maternity. 

The Basingstoke markets are held at Hatch Warren Community Centre and Queen Mary’s College, the Eastleigh markets at Pavilion on the Park, and the Southampton events at Woodlands Community College.

Our upcoming market dates are as follows: 

To book a stall, simply visit our bookings website at http://www.mum2mummarket.co.uk/book-a-stall.html and select your market.  We supply the tables, and you keep 100% of your takings on the day!  Each stallholder receives our useful Information Pack a couple of weeks before the market, which is packed with information, tips and advice on sorting, displaying and pricing their goodies.  We have a loyal group of repeat sellers at each location and stalls usually sell out well in advance of each market.

If you’re looking to shop at our events, you’ll find our stalls packed with amazing bargains!  A huge range of high quality nearly new baby and children’s toys, clothes and equipment at a fraction of the retail price.  You really can save a fortune! There’s no need to book to come and shop, just come along on the day. Adult entry is £2, children are free and there’s free entry for everyone for the last 30 minutes of each market.  You can also download a 2for1 entry voucher from our website and bring a friend for free (or pay £1 each of course!). 

We also work with local baby and child related businesses, who promote their products and services through our events.  There are a variety of ways to do this, including placing flyers in our goody bags, booking a business stall, or sponsoring our events.  We love working with other local small business, so would love to hear from anyone looking to engage with local parents. 

So whether you fancy selling or buying, we’d really love to see you at one of our markets – come and join us!  

Join our Facebook page for our latest news, event dates, market photos and preview of items for sale! https://www.facebook.com/Mum2mum-Market-Hampshire-166582593693636/

Please email me at linda@mum2mummarket.co.uk with any questions or enquiries – I’d love to hear from you.

Linda x

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Finding Your style when returning to work – By Victoria Kennedy

Hi, I’m Victoria, mum to 2 crazy, lively boys, vintage frock lover, tea drinker and Personal Stylist. I am passionate about empowering women to love being themselves. My style ethos is that ‘you are best at being you’.

So embrace who you are and shout about it for the world to hear! I’m often contacted by women returning to work after having their children. The story is almost always the same, and 99% of the time it boils down to confidence, confidence in ourselves as working women. If you are considering returning to work, read on!

Going back to work after having a baby is a big move, your heart, mind and body are still adjusting to the new ‘normal’ and it can feel very overwhelming and stressful. Usually full of emotional turmoil and a bucket load of ‘mum-guilt’ at the thought of leaving your child.

Whether you took 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years of maternity leave, deciding what to wear to work after having a baby will be different but yet the same for all of us. You may still be carrying baby weight, you may still be breastfeeding and more than likely your confidence will have dipped.

For me, returning to work after the birth of my first son was so daunting. I was absolutely riddled with guilt as well as feeling totally overwhelmed about my ‘new body’ and how to dress for it. Let’s face it, I’d spent the majority of the last 12 months in my new found ‘mummy uniform’- rotating PJ’s for leggings and oversized sweaters. Marry that with a distinct lack of sleep and time to myself meant makeup and hair styling was no longer on my monthly to do list let alone part of my mornings routine!

When deciding to return to work, first and foremost, before thinking about what to wear: 

  1. Be kind to yourself

 Take some time to process the return to work decision in your own head. You may be feeling guilty about leaving your child, you may be feeling guilty about being excited to return to work. All of these feelings are normal. Do not beat yourself up about how you feel. Talk to your partner, friends, family and allow yourself those feelings.

2. Take up the offer of ‘Return to work days’

Going back into work in an informal way, for a chat & coffee can help it feel less daunting. Remember these days are for you to ‘catch up and refresh yourself’ don’t be pushed into working or being pulled into office politics!

3. Take care of yourself

Try to build a routine into the mornings and evenings on the days leading up to your return to work. This will help you ensure you get enough sleep and eat well- returning to work is tiring! Prepare yourself!

So once you’ve found good childcare, figured out logistics, battled tiredness and getting into the ‘work’ frame of mind, you can start to think about what you will wear on the ‘big day’.  This was such a huge challenge for me as I felt I had lost myself. I was ‘mummy’ and knew that role quite well- I knew the uniform! But I had no idea what ‘working Victoria’ looked like these days. Plus I had no idea what suited my new expanse of tummy!

I knew I wanted to return to work feeling confident about myself. I wanted people to see me as a professional, not as a ‘mummy’- which is strange as I have the utmost respect for mums- the jobs a tough one! But I felt, on my return to work, I would be judged by my appearance, that ‘how together’ I looked was a reflection on my ability to be a working mum.

So with that in mind I went shopping with a close friend, someone who had returned to work previously after having her children, and her advice is something I still use regularly with my clients today!

1. New Clothes

Whilst it seems obvious to say buy new clothes- after all we are all familiar with that ‘shiny new item’ feeling- much like the first day back at school adorned head to toe in new gear! But when I say buy new clothes what I really mean is take a good look at your new post baby body shape and buy new pieces that flatter this new fabulous shape.

If you’re unsure of your body shape- take a look at my facebook page for some tips and guidance! Dressing to flatter your shape can make you look slimmer, younger and feel more confident. There is no need to purchase the entire Next Directory- See my next point!

2. Buy 3 or 4 versatile items

For example, buying a black shift or wrap dress (great if breastfeeding/pumping) can be a great investment as you can wear it in different ways- with a blazer, with a scarf, with heels, with boots, with a bright necklace etc.

A great rule I impose on my clients is ‘never buy an item that doesn’t already go with 2 or 3 items you own’- that way you can wear it in many ways. So when you are choosing some new workwear think carefully about how the pieces can be worn to create multiple outfits.
Other good versatile items are;

  • ‘trophy blazers’- bright/jazzy fabric blazers that can be added to outfits to provide colour or texture.
  • Statement jewellery- another great way of adding colour and changing the look of an outfit.
  • Neutral coloured trousers or skirt- these can then be worn with a variety of tops and shoes to create different looks.

3. Bag & Shoes

You’ve probably got the hang of packing the changing bag with every possibility accounted for. You’re used to lugging around the contents of your house- just in case! But when returning to work the contents of your bag is entirely for you. So as well as having the luxury of carrying just your purse and lippy, you can do so in a lovely new bag! Treating yourself to a gorgeous-but- totally-impractical-for-mummy-duty bag can be a great way to bring your personality back into your style.

It’s a way of reminding yourself that ‘you’ are still ‘you’! This can also be the case with shoes! Although an air of practicality may well be needed, depending on your job, but it can be a great confidence boost to walk into work rocking a killer pair of heels! You’ve still got it girl!

Whatever you choose to wear to return to work, above everything else, it should make you feel most like you. Your style is a reflection of your personality as well as your lifestyle and body shape.

We are naturally going to feel most confident when we are being ourselves. Embrace who you are- an amazing women, who has carried and birthed a precious baby, a baby who loves you unconditionally for being their Mama. Return to work with this love in your heart and let your light shine- You are best at being you!

If you would like more tips and advice on finding your style join my ‘Style File’ group on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/groups/107764566603327

Alternatively, book a Personal Styling session with me for an in depth analysis of your shape, colours, style and personality- www.givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

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NHM Readers: Local places for Preloved items

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could recommend the best places to take second hand items. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend Local Places for Preloved Items

Spotlight Centre

Wendy said: Spotlight Centre. If you ask they can pass them onto those in need.  

Penny said: Spotlight have links with social services and can pass them on but please state that they are to be passed on.

Spotlight UK

Christ Church, Chineham

Vicki said: If you take them to Christ Church, Chineham we have contact that we can pass them onto one of which is a charity that helps trafficked individuals and has safe houses and refuges amongst its range of support.

Christ Church

Besom

Abigail said: Besom have taken loads of my baby clothes and baby items (and other stuff like kitchen goods and bed sheets etc) and they have gone to the women’s refuge. They come and collect and all the stuff goes to people in need rather than just charity and you even get a thank you letter in the post which was a surprise.

Besom

Basingstoke Voluntary Action

I have also suggested Basingstoke Voluntary action.

BVA

Community Furniture Project

You can donate unwanted furniture here.

CFP

National Childbirth Trust – Nearly New Sales

You could register to be a seller at the regular Nearly New Sales around the area throughout the year if you want to make a few pennies back.

NCT Nearly New Sales

North Hants Hospital Children’s Ward

Kathryn has advised that good quality toys (except soft toys) and books/complete board games can be donated to the hospital by being left with the ward clerks that wear purple shirts on Charlie’s ward or outpatients.

Emma also said that the children’s wards, CDU and children’s A&E room make use of toys that can be easily sterilised. Some wards may also accept clothing and nappies as they run short.

Little Hampshire

Katie said you can give good quality branded clothes to Little Hampshire and they will sell them for you and take a cut.
Little Hampshire

Basingstoke PCC

Michelle said that you can donate baby and toddler items to The Baby Clothing and Equipment Service. They accept good quality clothing (ages 0-2) and equipment such as cots, prams, stair gates, baby baths and high chairs.   
Baby Clothing and Equipment Service

Frimley Park Hospital

Desiree said that Frimley Park hospital are in need of toys (not soft toys) for their children’s A&E and F1 wards

Popley Little People

Run by Melrose Community Centre (a registered charity), Popley Little People always welcome donations of clean, working pre-school toys.

Popley Little People

As every, you can always take any unwanted items to any charity shop to see them put to good use and sold for a good cause!

Is there anywhere else you would recommend?

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When should you buy your child their first shoes?

When should you buy your child their first shoes?

Buying shoes for babies is such a minefield, it can be hard to know what to do. Here we will share some of the information we have found useful and you can make your own decisions.

Baby’s feet are still soft and not fully formed so it’s important that they wear supportive shoes which give them space for them to grow.

Toddlers don’t have a visable arch like adults and older children so they can look flat footed.

It’s common for children to walk with feet that turn inwards as their leg and ankle bones are developing. They normally align properly by 7 years old but check with GP if you are concerned.

Clarks

Clarks offer shoes from pre-walking. They are ‘specially’ designed to add protection . They are lightweight and flexible with seamless interiors that don’t rub. There are also whole and half sizes and a choice of widths. They then offer first shoes which have padded ankle supports and protection for the toes and still offer whole sizes as well as half sizes and different widths. Clarks also offer a free fit check after 6-8 weeks too.

With a bit of digging around the Clarks website, you can see that they even say “It is best to allow your child to go barefoot when possible in the early stages of walking to allow feet to breath and feel the floor”

http://www.clarks.co.uk/yourfeet/kidsfoothealth/factsforparents

The College of Podiatry

Here the advice is quite different to Clarks. They suggest that once a child has taken a few steps unaided, they are then ready for shoes. They suggest ensuring shoes have the following features:

  • Close cropped soles to prevent tripping
  • Room for movement and growth
  • Soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
  • Lightweight, flexible sole to aid walking development
  • Whole and half sizes in a choice of widths
  • Fully adjustable fastenings
  • Padded ankle for protection and support.

http://www.scpod.org/foot-health/for-parents/baby-first-shoes/

Made for Mums

Made for Mums says that when babies are born their feet and legs are curved having spent a long time cramped growing in the womb. As they grow their feet straighten out and you must make sure socks/shoes don’t cramp their feet so they can grow straight. They say that the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists say toddlers shouldn’t wear proper shoes until they can walk well (approximately 6 weeks of walking). They recommend places such as Clarks, Next and Start-rite.

http://www.madeformums.com/baby/buying-your-babys-first-shoes/33297.html

Baby Centre

Baby Centre says that you don’t need to buy babies their first shoes until they are walking confidently on their own and to only put them in shoes when they are walking outside. They say that walking barefoot around the house enables better balance and coordination and allows feet to develop naturally.

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1047721/when-should-i-buy-my-baby-her-first-pair-of-shoes

What are your experiences of buying shoes? Any recommendations of places locally to get children’s feet measured and/or buy shoes? Let me know!

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