My skincare is pretty consistent, having tried so many things I know what works for me and what doesn’t. But having said that – as the seasons change so does my routine. The colder air means less water in the environment, and indoor heating changing temperatures suddenly from outside to inside – it can really play havoc with your skin leaving it dehydrated and prone to fine lines. Winter is usually the cue for my scaly skin returning oh and hello there rough elbows! Covering up with winter knits – who knows whether I shaved yesterday or last month. But it does make it trickier come the New Year when I am shocked into sorting myself out. So knowledge is power and all that – and the general beauty theme for Winter is hydration – skin, hair, body. This Winter I started early and pleased to be able to share with you my arsenal of Winter beauty products… the old, the new and the damn right impressive…

 

Face

Pricey I am afraid but so darn good I am never going back… Sunday Riley! I use UFO when I need help with breakouts, Luna every single night (I am obsessed) and Good Genes as an occasional treat. If your skin is sensitive it might be too much – see if you can give it a patch test before buying it.

Nuxe creme fraiche de beaute – a perfectly priced, perfectly effective little moisturizer that’s just been reformulated and gives you 48 hour hydration. I carry one in my handbag now as I kept getting a little dry patch by my mouth and this has sorted it right out.

Balance Me Hyaluronic plumping mist – this is brand new and seriously clever!!! Another one I leave around the house downstairs and give myself a mist when I see it. So clever it even works over makeup so if you find your skin drying out  during the day pop a bottle in your handbag. Winter essential!!!

Glamglow mask – I have to confess this has been sat in my bathroom cupboard for months now and I finally tried it a few weeks ago and now cannot get enough. When I wake up in the morning my skin feels incredible. And unlike some moisturising masks it hasn’t clogged up my skin. It’s also a great little bargain product which always helps.

Dermalogica daily microfoliant – this is a product I used years ago and forgot about, it’s quite pricey too but lasts a long time. When I was getting little bump spots on my cheeks I rushed out to buy it as the glycollic acid didn’t seem to be helping – I wanted a physical scrub to work on the rough patches. And it worked.

Peter Thomas Roth Acne face wash and glycollic acid face wash – these are year round favourites of mine and I cannot see myself changing my cleansers anytime soon. I use the acne wash which has 2% salicylic acid every night to wash the day away – all the makeup dirt and grime. Before I found it I had terrible hormonal acne all the time. Unfortunately they don’t sell it in the UK anymore so I have to buy in bulk and pay taxes from the USA. The one they do sell here (white bottle) just didn’t work as well for me – mine is a grey bottle and a very different formula. The glycollic wash I tend to use in the morning to freshen my skin up.

Vichy Mineral 89 – this is a new product for me and I would highly recommend it! It is an intense hydration product perfect for Winter. Helps with signs of tiredness too – you know I am sold on that! Feels like a watery gel and absorbs into your skin in an instant. I use it before I use a moisturiser and on days when I don’t use Sunday Riley. Really helps get the moisturiser to work hard. Great product and at a really great price.

Tea tree oil – anytime I feel one of those pesky hormonal spots rearing its ugly head I sleep with tea tree oil on. Nine times out of ten its gone by the morning. It does stink the bedroom out though!

Origins spot remover – another great little product in the spot battle! It contains salicylic acid and you can pop it over the spot and then wear makeup if you want to.

Elemis pro-collagen marine cream spf 30 – I have only ever used this when I got the teeny bottles from BA flights over the years and I finally got my hands on a tub and I am never going back. It is just so light and sinks straight into your skin. My absolute favourite moisturiser and having the added spf is fantastic as you really don’t want to forget spf in the Winter months.

Neutrogena hydro-boost gel cream – the best budget cream with hyaluronic acid – being a gel cream the consistency is lovely for Winter. This is always in my cupboard.

Rapid lash serum – another year round product I started using in my wedding-day prep all those years ago. When I actually remember to use it before I go to bed the results appear within about two weeks.

Charlotte Tilbury magic night cream – when my skin is looking really dehydrated this is my go-to night cream. It lasts a long time – very heavy formula so use just the smallest amount. It really works to get that moisture back in and makes for a great base for makeup when you wake the next morning.

Body

Lano allover – such a good cult-classic all over body moisturiser for the colder months. I’ve been lathering it on before bed and works a treat.

Vita Liberata body blur – I usually don’t use any tan in the Winter months but this is great if you just want a bit of colour for an event or night out. Makes your skin look airbrushed!

Ren anti-fatigue body wash – still loving this so much, as I said before – anything that helps with my sleep deprivation I am trying it!

 

 

Lips

Lanolips – wow I love this stuff. I love the packaging, the little nostalgic tube, the fact you can use the smallest amount and lips are instantly softened and moisturised. Love!

Makeup

Laura Mercier – secret camouflage concealer and invisible pressed setting powder. I have used the concealer before but rediscovered it. So good for blemishes! The setting powder works amazingly for me as I don’t normally use foundation so this just gives me some matt where I need it.

Laura Mercier foundation – in the photo above I was wearing their flawless finish foundation and it is amazing. It totally evens out your complexion, lasts and doesn’t look too ‘done’ if that even makes sense…I tend to just wear foundation for nights out so this will last me a long time.

Charlotte Tilbury – Healthy Glow, ‘Supermodel’ shade eyebrow pencil and their black mascara – all utterly fabulous and don’t buy anything else now!

Charlotte Tilbury – Pillow talk lipstick. This needed its own line as its taken me sooooooo long to get hold of one. Worth the wait though. And I am on waiting list for when they’re back in stock again… if you want to try you can sign up on their website.

Bobbi brown pot rouge in pale pink – I have used this for years now, I tend to swing between three shades but its been the pale pink for the past year. A few dabs on the cheek, bridge of your nose and the temples for a youthful sun kissed look.

Hair

Moroccanoil – I have been trying the range this month and my standout favourites are the glimmer shine that you use after its styled to give your hair a bit of shine – works so well on slightly frizzy hair like mine. And also the oil treatment in light. Makes my hair feel so silky!

Hair Xpertise – Argan Oil. This is my go-to budget hair oil. Have used it for years! Its sold in Boots in a little brown box.

72 Nourishing shampoo & Hydrating conditioner – this is really quite good. I don’t normally buy anything other than Aussie but was given this to trial and fell for it big time. Its the first time in about ten years that I have EVER not used the Aussie three-minute miracle that I am obsessed with. That’s saying something for me!

Elasticizer Philip Kingsley – addicted to this now. Just need to try to remember to use it more!

 

And as you all know how much I LOVE to wear a hat especially in Winter I wanted to let you in on my hat trick to not NOT get hat hair when you take it off!

  1. Hair must be 100% dry before wearing said hat.
  2. Traveling outside – loop and tuck into the hat to stop the frizz.
  3. Before you put the hat on just flip your parting onto the opposite side you would normally wear it. When you take the hat off flip it back to your usual spot and you’ll still have the volume! Ta-da!

Love to hear your comments, questions and tips.

Thank you so much for reading,

Ashley

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So Margot hit six months nearly a month ago now… six whole months of being alive. So innocent and sweet – and bringing so much joy into our lives. As well as sleepless nights, milk spewed clothes and an ongoing back ache from the usual hip carrying that happens all day most days. But its been incredible… so here is the story so far. How we have found it as a family, me as a mum and Vivienne as a sibling. The products I have loved the the equipment I swear by.

The Family story

I think it took us a good two months to find our groove. I am a routine-mum, I love a good help-book (Baby Whisperer my favourite) and so when Margot came along it was straight back to the E.A.S.Y. routine that worked so well for Vivienne. But not quite as simple, you have nursery school pick ups and drop-offs to consider, feeding Vivienne breakfast lunch and dinner on schedule, an over excited Vivienne at Margots nap time or bedtime…. It was much trickier. And I had to learn to be a little more chilled out – if she wasn’t having her milk at exactly 11am on the dot – it didn’t matter. The rules I stuck by and still do are – awake no longer than two hours at a time. Any longer and she gets overtired. After the first month we would never feed her milk in the night, she was ‘tanked up’ before bed at 6.30pm and given a dream feed between 10pm and 11pm. If she woke in the night we would settle her and leave the room swiftly. It doesn’t stop her occasional 5am wakes but she knows she’s not being fed and drifts back off. Wish I could do the same but that mind just goes into overdrive – as does the Instagram thumb! We dropped the dream feed last Thursday, accidentally really after we forgot it and she slept through until gone 7am. Tried it again the next night and she slept through again – the extra milk was leaving her filling her nappy each morning and hence the early wake ups.

The E.A.S.Y. routine is simple but not always easy to establish, the earlier you start the better – and once you have its heaven! So ‘E’ stands for eat, ‘A’ for activity, ‘S’ for sleep and ‘Y’ for you-time. We are on a four hourly schedule so she eats for example at 7am, plays until 9am and then naps – this is when I will try and shower/clean the house/tidy up or actually blog/shoot my outfit for you. Heres the link to the book I follow – its fantastic right up to toddler years… Baby Whisperer solves all your problems.

The Mother Story

I remember the feeling I used to get when I would drop Vivienne at nursery and skip back home to work… on my own. Yep I miss that feeling. With nearly three years between them I definitely got used to the freedom you have as your children grow older. Not having someone attached to your hip 24/7. So it was and still is sometimes quite hard always being with the girls. I just have to remind myself how precious the time is, and just hug and kiss and soak it all up as I am also so aware how quickly the time passes – soon I’ll have another bossy little three year old I am sure! And Vivienne six and even more of a diva! Oh dear! But the things I have found the hardest is loosing that me-time I got used to and I am not talking long lunches or mani-pedis, just the simple things. Waking up to a shower, being able to pop out for milk, being able to go the loo when I need to and not being tied down to feeding schedules. But having a baby again – oh it is just gorgeous. Seeing all the stages again – she’s just incredible, her smile makes me feel a million dollars – even better than a shower would! And this time next year I know I’ll have that me-time back. Nothing is forever – sadly.

The sibling story

Theres nothing better than seeing your babies play together – the look in their eyes when they look at each other, like real love. Margot just thinks Vivienne is the world, she’s obsessed with her. She just has to walk in the room and Margot will start giggling with joy. When Vivienne helps Margot up if she falls down it melts my heart – when she runs and gets her a toy or a tissue for her (forever) runny nose, just the sweetest. After a lot of reading up beforehand I wanted to be prepared for any sibling rivalry from the start. But with a lot of talking to Vivienne and making sure we are never giving Margot all the attention at home Vivienne has been very good with her. In larger family groups she can act-out for attention but she’s learning. She hugs her and plays with her handing her books and toys. She gets quite upset when Margot is upset I can see that sisterly looking out for one another thing there already. I am in no way delusional having two sisters myself – I know its going to be rocky but so far the foundation has been laid and its so magical watching them together.

Highly recommended….

The Snuzpod – such an attractive little bedside crib – we had it in blush and loved everything about it. You can rock it to soothe the baby, it comes with great handy accessories, perfect storage area underneath, great matching bedlinen and although we didn’t attach it to the bed you can – there are straps for different bed styles. Its a great size too – Margot was not a small baby and she was in it for quite some time with our house move and having to re-plaster and decorate her bedroom.

The Bugaboo Donkey – if you’re looking for a double buggy I highly recommend this. We have actually only used it as a double a handful of times. We mainly use the buggy board which is great and off centre so you don’t trip up. The side cart basket is perfect for your baby bag so when Vivienne uses the buggy board the bags not in her way. And then you have a giant basket underneath for all your shopping – whether thats food or clothes! The basket also makes the perfect place to slot the scooter into when they’ve had enough scooting and want to climb on. I love it! Its huge and takes up a tonne of space but I love it so much I am not ready to let it go quite yet. Plus Margot sleeps like a dream in the cosy-toes!!!

The Babyzen Yoyo – the best travel buggy ever ever ever! And hopefully eventually when Margot is napping less that this will be our only buggy as much as I LOVE the Donkey I am having to store it in the car boot these days as its so big in the house. This folds down like a handbag, is so lightweight and easy to use. My husband loves it too! But using the buggy board on it is a little tricky as Vivienne pulls on the buggy handle and it can topple back plus it weaves around a lot with the extra weight of Vivienne, so I tend to use just when I have Margot.

The Sleepyhead – does what it says on the tin – makes them sleep! We have just taken Margot out of hers actually as she was getting too big. We did consider the next size up but decided to trial without and she’s been fine so going cold turkey. But for young babies it gives them the security they love to feel as the sleep.

Ewan the dream sheep – we had to buy Margot her own one of these as I worried Vivienne would kick-off if we gave the baby her one. I also chose a different colour deliberately so there weren’t any upsets. Money well spent though. Seven months in and as soon as she hears Ewan she turns her head to the side, snuggles up and closes her eyes.

Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine – we bought this when Vivienne was a baby and was the best piece of baby equipment we purchased. Out of storage and cleaned up its proving incredible again. I think they’re much cheaper these days too – heard offers at Asda for about £40!!! Sure we paid close to £200!

Cybex Cloud Q car seat – this is amazing if you expect to be out a lot with the baby in the car seat as it goes completely flat. No more worrying about how long the baby has been in the seat for. A gentle warning though – it is a little heavier than most because of all the incredible safety features so with my nursery drop-offs holding the car seat I had to swap back to Viviennes old car seat after a few months as Margot was such a whopper I couldn’t manage her anymore.

Stokke tripptrapp – bought Viviennes second hand on gumtree and was the best purchase so Margot got a new one… went for walnut again so they match our Ercol chairs. In my opinion the most stylish highchairs and they grow with your child. We used the newborn seat at the start which Margot loved, now on the babyseat and eventually, like Vivienne, she will just sit on the chair part. I actually sit on it sometimes to work too, and makes a great ’emergency’ chair come Christmas!

Stokke Tripp Trapp

Mamas and Papas chair – this was an impromptu ‘dash to the shops to buy’ purchase when Margot couldn’t sit up on her own yet but was getting upset on the floor. Love it! Used it at the start of weaning too and so easy feeding them as they sit in front of you on the table.

Baby seat

Jumperoo – love! I had a second hand one for Vivienne and then sold it on… my sister lent me her second hand this time… probably sixth hand by now who knows but as long as its cleaned up who cares. They’re fantastic pieces of kit!!

Jem and Bea bag – I had this from before Margot was born and still use it everyday. Its an investment piece so great if you’re having your first and expect more. When I had Vivienne I had a nylon iCandy bag that went with the buggy. Served its purpose but looked horrific after a few months. The Jem and Bea still looks brand new, nothing like a nappy bag, and I am always proud to use it.

Pacapod bag – I have a backpack version and my husband and I both love it. You keep everything separate so things actually stay clean and it looks good on men and women. Again its not the cheapest bag on the market but with baby bags I do think you get what you pay for. Bear in mind you will be using it everyday for atleast a year probably longer – and more than once if you have more than one child. Its a great gift for people to club together and buy at a baby shower too.

Humidifier – we have used this so many times for Margot now, when she has had a cold and now she is teething. It really helps her breathing when she’s all blocked up/runny nosed. We have the Vicks one and works so well all night.

iPad – there I said it shock horror – but when you need to deal with a newborn emergency, or even just separate bed times,  having the iPad for the toddler is a god-send.

Baby skincare products…

This Works baby – I use the pillow spray for Margot, I just love it for myself and she does drift off well so I hope she loves it just a much. Such a beautiful scent too.

Aveeno – the hair and body wash is great for dry-skin, and I love the soothing wash especially when they have rough patches or nappy rash.

Weleda – I have been using their products on Vivienne since she was tiny and their new range is great for both the girls. I can wash Viviennes hair with it and she’s doesn’t get (quite as) fussy because of the colourful animal themed bottles.

Mustela cradle cap cream – used it once and worked immediately!

Mustela

Little Aurelia – the most beautiful collection of baby skincare I have ever seen. I’ve been using the pillow spray on Vivienne, she loves the little drawings on the bottle. And the wash on them both in bath. It bubbles up if you run it under the tap – Vivienne loves to have a few bubbles in her bath but I have to be so careful as she’s had eczema in the past and I don’t want it returning.

Water wipes – the best – enough said. Buy them in bulk size to keep costs down like these from Asda. And use them for Everything!

Any baby questions please don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll come back asap – i.e. the next nap time!

Ashley

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When does a trend become a wardrobe staple? I’m not sure but I am sure that the sumptuous, huggable, snug as a bug in a rug Borg coat has now been on the highstreet for three years and I have a feeling its not planning on leaving anytime soon. Topshop have brought back their sell-out design from last year, H&M have updated their bomber style into a biker and offer a heavenly full length version which looks a hell of a lot more than the £69,99 it costs. ASOS has a plethora and the higher end highstreet versions are just divine. Admittedly not for everyone – not particularly flattering – you wouldn’t find your typical guy putting it at the top of their ‘turn-ons’ list… but I LOVE them!

Don’t forget my favourite styling rule – the power of opposites. Think big coat – small legs. Whether its bare legs, tights, skinny jeans, tailored trousers. Just something to balance out the huge-ness of the Borg.

Shop my edit here (I’ve included mens too just buy small) and below is a plethora of styling inspiration to indulge in….

Ax

p.s. the biker I am wearing has sold out online but it’s H&M and may still be in stores…

H&M £69.99

 

 

 

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Gingham was huge this Spring/Summer, and last Summer so chances are you may have a few pieces you’re about to stow away. Hold that thought – it can look just as good in the colder months – with a few styling tweaks.

Your AW Gingham essentials

  • Leather Biker jacket

This absolute wardrobe staple will do the job of modernising the look to less floaty/girly and more ‘I mean business’. The more oversized and battered the better.

  • Black ankle boots

Whatever style you have in your wardrobe -leather or patent leather work best. They’ll give the gingham a harder edge.

  • Knitwear

Soft or chunky it doesn’t really matter – even a little mohair looks gorgeous. Throw one on over a gingham dress or with a gingham skirt and you’re ready for AW. I’d opt for a camel version – or a bright primary colour like red.

  • Chunky belt

I have already book-marked my gingham dress to be worn with my black leather Gucci belt – it draws in the waist and makes the look far more structured and less ‘summery’.

  • Black denim

Any little gingham tops? Grab some frayed hem black jeans to instantly change the prairie girl look.

p.s. I would always avoid head to toe gingham in the colder months – keep it up top, down below or layer it up.

Ashley

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It’s that funny time of year where its getting pretty cold, pretty quickly but you’re not quite ready to shelve those gorgeous Summer pieces you bought last month. It’s time to make your wardrobe start working harder again.

Tip 1.

Simple but oh so true – layer your clothes. That Summer dress will still work come Autumn, just add a long sleeve tshirt underneath and throw on ankle boots and a leather jacket.

Tip 2.

Buy a polo neck. Make it a lightweight knit style that you can wear as a vest under your other clothes. It looks super chic and is a really simple way to update a floral dress, summer shirt, or little cami top.

Tip 3.

Leggings. Yes seriously. But make sure they’re the new season Fuseau leggings. I’ve already bought two pairs. High waisted with stirrups. Wear them as a layering piece, by themselves with Summer and Winter shoes. In the evening with a silk top. And as the cold draws in – they’ll look great with a a giant chunky knit as they’ll balance out your silhouette.

Tip 4.

Go Max or go home. The Maxi skirt and dress, even one you normally ‘save for best’ or your most summery white pieces (see Caroline below) look effortless styled with a denim jacket, leather biker, over-sized blazer or a chunky cardigan.

Tip 5.

Hats are your best friend. No really – forget about doing your hair on the school-run just grab a hat. And it’ll give you that added bit of warmth you need too – just to mention the practical. Baker boy, boater, fedora… what ever floats your boat. Just wear with confidence and the more you wear one the more comfortable you’ll feel.

Tip 6.

Don’t forget your sunnies. Just because its no longer Summer it doesn’t mean you should pack away the sunnies. For one you should always protect those peepers – and two – they look good so why not. Just never inside. Ever.

Tip 7.

Keep up with the colour. Just because you have to wear a coat now it doesn’t mean it has to be black (says she that always wears black)…. a bright red leather jacket, a mustard trench or a blush pink wool coat.

Tip 8.

Go fishing – I am talking little fishnet socks that I wore last AW and will most definitely be wearing this season too. They look great with the little kitten heels pointy designs around courtesy of Dior – and with loafers – courtesy of Gucci.

Tip 9.

Pair a knit with your summer skirt – just remember to always think ‘opposites’ – so a feminine skirt looks amazing with a masculine knit.

Tip 10.

Thigh high boots. They’re back – again – well when did they ever go away?! Wear them flat for effortless style.

Tip 11.

A brucey bonus tip – don’t forget the humble scarf! It can transform an outfit – the bigger the better. And you’ll be surprised just how warm your chest keeps even if your legs are freezing in that summer skirt!

 

 

Above all, transitional dressing is about mixing what you already have – and filling the gaps where needed. Less trend led – more basic led. So if you’re wardrobe is stocked with the basics as you would your kitchen you’ll always have pieces to fill in the seasons. That’s why I always recommend either spending big on the basics – classic leather handbag/leather boots – or going cheap and buying the same piece twice or three times even, when they fit perfectly – the classic white t-shirt for example.

 

Hope this helps. Been a pleasure – if not a frantic pleasure, researching and writing, Vivienne hitting the keyboard and Margot insisting she sits on my lap. Perhaps they are tiny fashionistas in the making. Or I am just putting them off fashion for life.

Hmmm.

Ashley

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