Is there anything more iconic of Jane Birkin (apart from that toothy grin) than the wicker baskets she would carry around day and night, dressed up, dressed down… and the little wicker basket has had a huge sartorial resurgence that everyone from the highstreet to vintage restorers are enjoying. The most simple of bags – you can pick one up from your local charity shop for a few pounds or go high end with a Prada version for over £1000. Basket shaped eliminates the panic search for your keys and is actually a pretty practical mum-bag you can throw the contents of your life into and dip in and out of. And following in the footsteps of Ms Birkin – don’t be afraid to dress it up. Back to my old rule of opposites – pairing the casual wicker bag with a smartly tailored suit of Friday-night-lights party dress looks effortlessly cool.

I’ve linked some great vintage finds, highstreet bags and designer pieces below. And take your inspiration from these stylish ladies who do it oh so well….

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The past few months have been pretty busy. Having a baby and buying a house has certainly kept me busy. But as the dust is starting to settle and we are in our new home I thought I’d go old-skool and bring back my Sunday inspo posts. And today’s inspiration centres on feeding the soul… looking after yourself, taking some time to yourself, relaxing and resetting.

It’s all too easy when you have little people to look after to neglect yourself and it’s something my blogs always promoted – happy mother happy child…

 ‘always put your own gas mask on first’

So whether its taking time out to read a book in the evening, going for a run, using a face mask, or just sitting in silence in front of trash tv – don’t forget to indulge yourself.

And my favourite ways to restore the equilibrium

  1. The cliche of a glass of wine in the bath exists for a reason. Mine is always red and large.
  2. Exercise – still not quite back into that but when I am it feels great. And my gym has an amazing creche – even better.
  3. Dancing – alone, or with Vivienne, to loud music (Kisstory always a winner for me)
  4. Cooking. Being in the kitchen preparing and cooking a meal from scratch. Less common since the arrival of Margot and the end of ‘bedtime’ but hopefully it’ll return soon.
  5. Blogging – saved my sanity when I started after having Vivienne. It’s an outlet that allows me to be creative and have fun. And I am so grateful to you for reading it.

 

 

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Margot is one month old now, it has gone so quickly, and in a complete sleepy blur. After what was quite a traumatic birth, loosing a large amount of blood (nearly three litres) and opting to not have a transfusion – I have been quite weak and just walking up the stairs at home had me having to sit down and catch my breath. With the help of a lot of tablets and my amazing husband helping with the night feeds I am feeling so much better now. A walk with the Bugaboo Donkey no longer leaves me feeling like I have raced a marathon and instead makes me feel energised and healthier. So after a rather indulgent Easter weekend it’s time to start looking after myself – eating healthily and moving more again.

I know a lot of people on Instagram have commented I have ‘sprung’ back into shape, and weight has dropped off etc. It’s not the case at all. One posed for shot doesn’t portray the reality. But neither does that mean I am unhappy with my body. I know its a cliche but after having a baby you have to be kind to yourself, emotionally and physically. It’s a rough time, magical sure but it’s a rollercoaster of hormones, sleep deprivation and the pressures of the outside world we all put on ourselves. So putting myself in that outside world even more with the blog I am extra cautious to take it easy.

Ok so starting from the beginning here are my stats…

First midwife appointment – 11.9 stone (size 12 dress size)

Last weight taken before I had the baby – 13.2 stone

Current weight – 11.12 stone

I am almost back to the weight at my first appointment which was around two months pregnant, and I don’t normally tend to weigh myself so I am not sure what I was before I became pregnant but would estimate around 11.5 stone. My jeans now do up around my waist – but are not comfortable for any length of time. There is a lot of post-baby jiggle and I’ll be working on toning that area.

So the plan of action…

I think it’s really important that I state I have no expertise in health, fitness or nutrition. I am only sharing what I like to do for myself. I love to exercise (when I am in a routine) and so to make sure I keep it up I have to do what works for me and what I enjoy doing. I have tried intense programs and crazy diets and they just don’t work for me. I cave and end up eating all the chocolate or stop going to the gym for months on end. 

Exercise

One month post-partum

  • Walking – if possible one hour three to four times a week. I am hoping to do this after I drop Vivienne at nursery three times a week and if not then – at the weekend. I prefer to do it in the morning as the later in the day it gets the more excuses I make. It also puts me in a good frame of mind diet-wise.
  • Bicep curls with overhead press. Grab bottles of water (milk even) and go for it. Two to three sets of ten to twelve. If you’re unsure what the exercises are I google them or a quick look on youtube.
  • Lateral arm raises – the same sets and reps.
  • Overhead tricep extensions – the same again.
  • Skull crushers – my favourite as I get to be on the floor! Same reps and sets.
  • Squats – two to three sets of ten to twelve again.
  • Don’t forget the pelvic floor muscles either!
  • As for the tummy – this can be a tricky one so I am going to follow this light exercise plan on Youtube until I feel stronger.

The Gear

And of course you want to look good when you’re doing all this bettering of yourself. Enter the brand new Biba Activewear range from House of Fraser. Cut to make you feel good not only look good the leggings have flattering mesh inserts and leg lengthening panels. The waists are high and figure hugging and the seamless bra tops are not only stylish but supportive. I love the Zebra and tiger print on these but they also have a brighter blue print covered in jaguars that is stunning. (And the Biba holdall would double up as a great baby bag!). I have linked my favourite pieces below.

Biba logo bra £30 

Jungle Jaguar leggings £35

Zebra legging £35

Zebra bra top £30

Biba Holdall £59



www.HouseofFraser.co.uk

 

I’ll be covering the healthier diet swaps I am making in the next post of the fitness series. Any questions in the meantime please don’t hesitate to ask.

Ax

 

This post was written in collaboration with House of Fraser but all photos and opinions are my own. 

 

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After spending nine months looking forward to being able to wear ‘normal’ clothes again along comes breastfeeding and all the sartorial complications it brings with it… but it doesn’t have to be hard. With a few simple rules to take with you to the shops and key styles to look out for you can still wear your favourite looks and confidently breastfeed.

  1. Buy a handful of tight, stretchy vest tops – H&M are perfect – make sure they’re long and can be popped under the boob when you feed. I wore these when I was pregnant too – the longer length is great over a bump.
  2. If you’re wearing a ‘normal’ top I just like to choose something looser I can easily pull up. I’ve linked the Stradivarius breton I have been wearing a lot so far just below. The fabric is great on the post birth tummy too. And this where the vest comes into play so you don’t get an eyeful of belly whilst feeding. Top up, vest down.
  3. Wrap dresses and shirt dresses are everywhere right now and so easy for feeding in.
  4. Test the top in the changing room – literally whip a boob out and check you’re comfortable. If you feel too exposed you’ll end up never wearing it out.
  5. I like to have a really lightweight scarf with me that I can just drape over my shoulder if I feel exposed out and about. Zara scarves are great for this – really big but light fabric.

 

I have rounded up some of my favourite breastfeeding friendly pieces here, from wrap dresses, shirt dresses, button dresses and jumpsuits – to loose tops perfect with a vest underneath, stylish shirts and silk blouses.

Ashley x

Dresses

Jumpsuits

Tops

 

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How can you still feel like you when knee deep in nappies, nipple pads and having no sleep?

My blog was started as a means of making myself feel better… after a years maternity leave feeling less than glamorous and slowly falling into a bit of an elasticated waistband, dry shampoo, make-do hole I missed making an effort and feeling good about myself when I looked in the mirror. So I started taking photos of my outfits in a bid to force myself to make more of an effort again. Even if it was just to pop to the shops or out for a playdate. A Mothers Edit was always about ‘bringing style to the every day’. So taking every day life and making sure you feel good in it, stylish in it, that it makes you happy. Of course there will always be days you spend in trackies or don’t even get out your pjs but not so much that it effects your mood.

With little Margot well and truly here now, I have had two weeks of chaos. The first week in hospital, a few visitors but mostly just me, little MG and the doctors. I had a few tricks up my sleeve to make the stay a little more comfortable though. A silk pillowcase, lavender pillow spray, my favourite music and indulgent fashion magazines (when else do you ever get to read magazines?). There were some days I didn’t shower until the evening, I just sat in the hospital bed feeding and feeling sorry for myself. But as soon as I got myself up, cleaned, fresh and back in a good headspace everything was better.  So I wanted to share with you some of the little ways I’ve been holding onto my personal sense of style, then, and the past week at home in the newborn bubble. How to feel like you.. even when you don’t recognise yourself in the mirror.

Beauty

  • Keep it simple – when I was in hospital I didn’t wear makeup but I did use Dr Lipp lip balm and used the Jurlique rosewater balancing mist. The scent every time I sprayed the mist over my face was just the perfect amount of luxury. 
  • Toe nails – paint them. Get a pedi or do it yourself. When everything else is falling apart atleast when your chin drops you see a good set of talons. 
  • Showers – find time. This morning, my first alone getting both girls up and out the door, I set the alarm for 6am and jumped in for a quick wash before they woke. I’ve been using this gorgeous natural shower gel from Elemental Herbology too, it made even the hospital bathroom feel like a spa! So important its natural post-baby and well worth treating yourself to a little luxury that won’t irritate down below. 
  • Moisturise – when your skin feels good you feel good. The sprays are great when you’re down on time, I’ve been using a dry body oil from Liz Earle which I just slap on before bed. I think you’re supposed to massage on but I have been far too tired. Anything is better than nothing right now. 
  • Body – I am a huge fan of the Belly Bandit range. Mentioned before that I have been wearing the BFF. I am now just wearing at home rather than out and about but I swear by it in getting my stomach back to where it should be. 

Clothes

  • Buy yourself some new pjs. If you’re going to spend a lot of time in them at least treat yourself to a pair you wouldn’t mind being seen in. Just be aware you sweat a lot more after pregnancy – there is a lot of water your body is shedding so cotton pjs are best! 
  • Don’t do what I did and try on all your old jeans a week after birth. I cried. Just for a minute though, then realised I was being ridiculous as well as the fact it totally did not matter. But good to have a few items of clothing that aren’t maternity but are more forgiving so you feel a little more like the old you. Drawstring trousers, shirts, floaty dresses… if you can organise them before the baby comes too then all the better. You’ll be too tired (and emotional) to start organising your wardrobe when the baby is here.

Home

  • Clean sheets – nothing feels better.
  • Pillow spray – I love This Works and Blossom and Bloom. 
     
  • Cleaner – hired help or friends and family helping out. Makes such a difference and not something you want to be worrying about.
  • A special glass for your gin/wine/tipple – get out the special china, crystal or flutes – enjoy.every.last.sip.

Life

  • Music – turn the TV off and just listen to some music. Daydream. It’s good for the soul.
  • Online shopping – one of the only things to keep me sane during the night feeds. Shame most of it gets returned.
  • DO NOT COMPARE – easier said than done but social media is the devil for this. A few truths – that girl isn’t that thin, it was a good angle/lighting, her house is not really that tidy, the crap is hidden behind the lens, their children don’t always have perfect hair/clothes/smiles, they’re devils 50% of the time and remember Instagram is a show-reel of the best bits… not the full picture.

 

Ashley

x

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