Ok this Girl Crush Tuesday it is all about the woman that pushed me to get the fringe chop. True I don’t wear it down all the time, (its hard work styling it and my hair has a touch of the monica-abroad about it most of the time) BUT I just love the look when I do make the effort. And if there is anyone in the world that rocks a fringe better than this girl – please point me in their direction.

I warn you that if you are on the edge and considering a fringe this might be your push… be prepared. And if you’re not in the market for a fringe – hope you can just enjoy soaking up the inspiration.

Introducing the uber stylish Julia Stegner.

Remember the Chloe campaign with the two girls walking around Paris all seventies boho chic? That was Julia back in 2015. In fact I am pretty sure she’s been in more than one of the Chloe campaigns. She is a Chloe girl through and through. Yes she is a model so of course she’s going to be genetically blessed (I had to remind myself of this when I read we were the same age – eeeeek!) but its the casual way she wears her beauty. I love the natural wave of her hair, the grown out fringe, casual mum-style, splattering of freckles and the no-makeup makeup look. She is well and truly in my locker of style inspo.

 

Thank you so much for reading…

Ax

 

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When you think of love do you think of loving your husband, your boyfriend, children, family, friends. I bet loving yourself comes right down the pecking order, if you even think of it at all. So here’s your Sunday night reminder to take a little look at the way you talk to yourself, the way you criticise yourself, put yourself down and demotivate yourself. Would you ever speak that way to your best friend? If you wouldn’t why do it yourself?

Negative self-talk is so powerful – it can take you from a low mood to a foul mood in moments. However – being your own best friend can actually do the reverse in just seconds.

It takes practice and won’t come naturally but if you can make that your priority this week and then look back next Sunday I am sure you will feel better about yourself. More positive, happy, in a lighter mood. And the more you can manage to do it – the more that self love will become unconditional.

So this Sunday evening it’s time to start the practice… think about where you feel unhappy, and start from there… nurture yourself… look after yourself. After all – to be the best mum you can be – you have to put your own gas mask on first.

Ax

 

 

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I am always hesitant to write resolutions for New Years – instead I like to think of them as my goals for the year ahead. Creating a plan for life. Things I would like to achieve and ways in which I can get there. This year there really is one goal. A simple aim – to just go through the year with a content feeling of happiness. And as pinterest and instagram like to tell me – happiness is a choice – not a result. So I am flying into 2018 making a conscious choice to feel happy in each and every area of my life.

How to achieve that – I have broken it down into five categories of my life that I deem to be really important to me…

  1. Happy as a mother
  2. Happy as a wife
  3. Happy in myself
  4. Happy as a friend
  5. Happy in my work

To be happy as a mother I know I must be humble enough to realise I certainly haven’t got it mastered. Brave enough to keep trying. And thankful enough to see the grace in it all. Its not easy through the mess and chaos. And I will continue to always try and be ‘in the moment’ as I know thats when I am always at my best.

As a wife I know my husband gets put to the bottom of the pecking order now the girls are here. I want to dedicate time that is just his. Not me talking about the girls, or life admin, schools and bills… nor saying ‘hang on a minute babe I just need to post this picture’. But time that is blocked out (in my mind) as time for just us like it always used to be. I truly believe the best relationships are nurtured. And my husband is my rock he needs to be shown that every now and then.

To be happy in myself… comes complete body acceptance, accepting the dimples that once weren’t there, the stretching post-pregnancy skin that no longer sits taught across my stomach… the lines on my face… the marks of having a life and a damn good one at that. And to be truly happy I know I also need to be healthy (maybe just healthier)… less McDonalds and more fresh produce thats going to nourish me. Chocolate wine and gin are non negotiable. But regular exercise is on the list.

Since having children finding the time to see my absolute diamond friends has become really hard. As people have moved to Hackney and Bristol (you know who you are) and even those close return to work and our schedules no longer pair up. I am going to be business like in arranging ‘meetings’ because there really is no other joy like spending even an hour with one of your best friends in the world, talking serious or nonsense, laughing, hugging, reminiscing, putting the world to rights. I think everyone needs that time.

And lastly being happy in work. A little tricker as I think I really need to work out where I would like to be this time next year. Perhaps thats a whole other post. But I know the thing that makes me the happiest with my blog is getting messages from people who follow my stories and read my Instagram posts. When I know I have made someone laugh or helped them find the perfect patent boot, cheered them up when they’re having a grey day or just helped them realise they’re not alone in this crazy motherhood journey.

I hope maybe this will help you think about what you want to achieve from the next year. Just breaking it down into areas and what you could do to get yourself there.

I’d love to hear what you’re planning and how you’re planning it.

Thank you so much for reading,

Ashley

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My daughter, little miss Vivienne Rose, loves pink. She loves glitter, dancing, singing, sparkles. She’ll have the odd dally with a few dinasaurs or a digger truck I’ve snuck into the playroom, but then she’s straight back to the dolls. Coming from a psychology background I have always been fascinated by the whole nature/nurture side of development but no matter what I will always make sure Vivienne has choices and support her decisions. Even if they currently involve wearing pink every single day and insisting on sleeping in a tutu.

Well her absolute favourite characters at the moment are from the new Netflix series – Lalaloopsy. If you haven’t heard of them yet I am sure you will in the run up to Christmas. They’re actually really creative and definitely encourage imaginative play so I don’t mind her watching the show at all. She loves dressing up like them – customising and styling the dolls hair and clothes. I find myself rolling my eyes at the cliche but I know its what I did as a young girl and I am sure what girls (and boys) will do for generations ahead. So I love encouraging her creativity and imagination with the character dolls.

So to give you a synopsis – each character was once a rag doll who magically came to life when their last stitch was sewn. Very wholesome, it plays on the fact that each character has a unique personality and you see them exploring it on the show and working together.  The core values are there and its actually really cute.

Ok and now the details which according to Vivienne are very important! Each core character has a name which I was told by my ‘threenager’ that I had to learn! Jewel Sparkles (a princess), Crumbs Sugar Cookie (a baker), Spot Splatter Splash (an artist), Rosy Bumps ‘N’ Bruises (a nurse), Dot Starlight (a scientist), and Storm E. Sky (a musician). Can you guess which one Vivienne always plays as? The Princess – always the princess. So they live in this land – Lalaloopsy Land, and have pets, and get creative every day.

So ways in which I use it when the TV is off – taking the creativity the characters have and doing the activities in our day to day life. Baking, singing, drawing, playing vet, making music, star gazing even! I can find it quite hard to loose my inhibitions and play silly sometimes, I get so caught up in work and chores I forget how important it is to be creative with her. This definitely helps me direct it and really engage with Vivienne. Her current favourite is the Lalaloopsy Jewel’s Glitter Makeover doll, she loves customising her hair with the provided purple chalk!

So if you haven’t heard of them yet – check the series out on Netflix and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Your kids will be forever grateful! And watch out to now see them everywhere in the run up to Christmas…

 

Lalaloopsy

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Netflix

This post was written in collaboration with the Netflix series Lalaloopsy – all images and opinions are my own.
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I remember about eight years ago hosting a birthday party for an old school friend of mine who worked at Red magazine as the Shopping Assistant. Her then boss, the Shopping Editor, had a blog – she showed me on her phone and from that moment on I was hooked. And that blog was WearingItToday.co.uk by the incredibly chic Laura Fantacci. I’ve followed Laura get married, move home, have two beautiful children – and always in the most incredibly glamorous chic way she is so well known for. And when she joined forces with Petro Stofberg to launch WardrobeIcons.com I was hooked once again.
So of course Laura was top of my list of people I wanted to speak to about exactly how she makes it work. How she juggles such a successful career with motherhood and the top tips, style secrets and makeup hacks she swears by. I hope you enjoy reading it…

What is the average morning routine for you?

I’m surprisingly quick at getting ready – I think it helps that I don’t plan my outfit the night before, because I think it takes more time to revisit a plan than it takes to make a new one. I like to see what the weather is like and then if it’s a work from home day, I would usually wear a pair of MiH jeans and a Chinti jumper, hair back and no make up. If I’m meeting a client I would wear something smarter, but overall it can take me as little as 15 minutes to be totally ready. My nanny gets the girls up, I prepare breakfast and go to every effort to have it with them, see them out of the door and then start my day.

Do you have any quick makeup hacks that hide a sleepless night?

I recently started using vitamin C in the morning, followed by SPF 50 – I find that it has transformed my skin and helped gaining some “glow” back. This combined with Hydrafacials at Medicetics every 2/3 months has really made a difference. I also sware by Erborian CC crea to even out skin tone.

Do you have any tips for keeping the girls entertained whilst you get ready?

I lock them in the bathroom with me and open my make up drawer! Both my 18 month old and 5 year old love it!! Each time I do I have a section of old make up I don’t care about that they can stick their fingers in…

Are there any essentials a mum should always have in her wardrobe?

  • Flattering jeans
  • A good quality pair of flat Ankle boots
  • A designer cross body bag
  • A good coat that will make you feel polished
  • And some cool Bella Freud sweaters

Any mum-life hacks you think make your life easier with the girls?

Always have a plan and always be prepared to change it. Post children it takes a while to accept that change is not failure, but adaptation. I always tell new mums: do whatever it takes to survive, there is really no right or wrong.

Amen to that! Thank you so much Laura.

Don’t forget to let me know of any mums you’d like to know about…

Thank you so much for reading and have a lovely week ahead.

Ashley

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