11 Dec
2

A Christmas gift haul of ridiculous possibilities

Where is the one place you can pick up those really unique gifts for all the awkward people in your life?  The secret santa with the tiny budget, the mother who only likes extremely practical kitchen utensils (she has requested a bread knife this year, for real, and last year it was scissors), the discerning husband plus your friends, kids and dogs?  That place, my friends, is TK Maxx.

You know I am a big fan all year round but I genuinely think they upped their game for Christmas, not just in stores but online too.  I popped in to my local store to discover a great range of big gifts at small prices, ideas for everyone and every budget.  In my mind the best plan is no plan – and by that I mean, make a list of who you want to buy for, just get in there and get hunting.  Part of the thrill for me is that you never really know what goodies you might find but that makes for the best pressies, unusual, unique, thoughtful gifts that nobody else thought of – there is always a huge assortment of big names, designer labels and one-off gems.  Scroll down to see what I got my sticky little elf mitts on…  

You can probably see that my haul is… extensive… and varied…  I mean, I think I got everyone sorted now.  I found a pretty fancy bread knife at £15 (instead of £40 – score) and gorgeous wooden board for my mum for £17 (£8 off the RRP) in the home department and whilst I was in there I had to grab that amazing copper kettle for my house proud friend which was a steal at just £25.  A quick squint round the children’s book shelves and picked up that gorgeous book library; I had some of those books when I was little and loved them so much and this was only £35 (and the RRP was £140, seriously).  

In need of a little inspiration I took a wander round the gifting section and found myself picking up a beautiful panettone because, I don’t know about you, but I always like to have an inexpensive ’emergency’ gift under the tree just in case.  There’s always one isn’t there?  You know, the unexpected guest that turns up with a gift?  And I am primed and ready now, ‘Oh yours is here, just under the tree’.  Of course, if the emergency panettone remains ungifted at the end of the season, I’ll be delighted to give it a home (in my belly).  They had a whole bunch of them, all different and all so pretty for around a tenner but you know they won’t hang around for long so if you see one you love, grab it.

I had a quick nosey online when I got back home too and think I found the pièce de résistance for the husband…  a golden turntable for fifty bucks.  Yes.  To sit by the roaring fire with the man candle I had to get him – what?  A man candle is totally a thing… it’s Warm Tobacco Pipe.  Don’t worry if you’re not as organised as me (ahem, my mother is rolling her eyes right now, ‘ORGANISED?!’), TK Maxx receives fresh deliveries several times a week, right up until Christmas Eve so this is the place for you.  And I might have been feeling so chuffed with my haul coming in at under £150 that I treated my elf, sorry… myself, to a properly festive pine garland for just £10 – for years I have been dreaming about draping my mantel above my open fire with Christmas garlands and this year… it’s happening.

With thanks to TK Maxx for supporting this post.

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5 Dec
2

Into the blue : Ottoman Hands – an exclusive discount

Some of my favourite colours for winter – cobalt, burgundy and gold.  The gold in the shape of layered Ottoman Hands; I know I have said it before but these pieces have really helped me rediscover my love of layering jewellery.  I love that they are gold plated with semi precious gems and are all super delicate.  And I am delighted to partner with the designer to offer you an exclusive discount…

20% OFF
full price Ottoman Hands (valid 05.12 – 11.12) with code

THANKFIFI20

The gold twist circle necklace has become such a staple for me and paired with the length of the leaf charm necklace they work so well with the deep plunge of the top (which I can tell is going to be such an easy choice over the festive period…  that colour is just too good and the material is heavy enough that you can go bra-less without too much of a worry).  Finally the shoes…  oh those shoes.  You know I am a huge fan of Boden shoes and now they just released my favourite high heel court in velvet burgundy.  They’re leather lined so kind to your feet, high but not too high and, not that anyone can see it, have those golden polkadots printed on the inside.  AND they’re velvet.  Now, I haven’t fully got on board with the velvet trend, this year or the last, I don’t own a velvet blazer and the only velvet dress I bought, wound up being returned…  but these shoes, these shoes are spot on as far as I’m concerned.

gold twist circle necklace
small gold leaf and jade charm stone necklace
spinning cog braceletopen diamond bracelet
feather ringzodiac ring with emerald stone
all Ottoman Hands
use code THANKFIFI20 for 20% off

aviators – Ray-Ban   |   top – H&M   |   jeans – Zara
carrie velvet courts – Boden

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With thanks to Ottoman Hands for supporting this post.

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1 Dec
2

Crazy

I’m not gonna lie, my brain feels pretty much like the wild, rainbow stripes on this super soft knit right now and I don’t have any kind of stylish street-style post to share with you this week and I have been doing a heck of a lot of Christmas shopping and I am pretty much running on empty around now but I have moments like this and apparently evidence that my fondness of twinning is showing no signs of waning…

Sunshine is just around the corner though, so if I can just find the time to get our case packed (how does one travel with a baby and yet without a Tommy Tipee Perfect Prep machine I wonder?) and the dogs dropped off and the house cleaned (my cleaner let me go this week – yeah, she let me go – how dirty was my house?  I think I may know the answer to that in fact.  Baby plus two moulting bear dogs.  In any case, now, it is inevitably going to be dirtier) and finish off some work projects…  if I can just find time for that, then in approximately one day’s time we will all be taking a five hour nap in the sky and waking up poolside.

mama crazy stripe one piece – Gap
baba crazy stripe one piece – Gap

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28 Nov
4

Weekends with the Joolz Geo

So it feels like we’re getting the hang of this village in the country thing…

I have been meaning to share a mini review of the Joolz Geo pram for some time but obviously I needed a little time to properly road test him and here we are, at four and a half months in (woah), taking a look at my typical Sunday.

After a frankly horrifying pre baby trip to a large store on the hunt for the perfect pram I left with nothing, not a pram, not a cot, not even a sleep suit – I honestly questioned if I was cut out to be a mother that day, I just could not get ‘into it’ you know?  Turns out I was just looking in the wrong place.  Aesthetics sit high on my list and when I found Joolz on instagram I thought these prams, with their leather detailing and nice lines, were something I could get on board with.  So I’m gonna put this out there, I emailed them and asked for one to review.  That is absolutely not something I do often but prams are not cheap and I figured it was worth a shot.  So this pram was a gift from the lovely folk at Joolz, in that sense, but I definitely ‘chose’ it.

Now I cannot profess to be a pram connoisseur, in fact I have nothing to compare it to but scroll down for my thoughts…

geo studio pram in gris – Joolz
Heimess wooden pram string – Amazon
crazy stripe romper – Gap   |   teddy snowsuit – M&S

knit – TK Maxx   |   jeans – J Brand   |   Pavement boots – Zalando
fur trucker jacket – Next   |   aviators – Ray-Ban

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First off, he’s a beauty.  If you’re a fickle, design lover like me then this is the pram for you (the Joolz Day is perhaps even marginally more handsome but with a way smaller basket) – you can choose a variety of different colourways or go all out and customise your own.  I went through the online design process and wound up with a grey fabric body and tan leather detailing that was so similar to the Studio in Gris that I decided to just go with that standard option.  And I love it.  People comment on the pram almost as much as the baby…  and my baby is cute.

The basket is frankly huge.  And I fill it.  I imagined all these shopping trips where I’d be stuffing my bags full of clothes in there but the reality is a lot more like a weekend trip to the local florist and bakery followed by a pitstop at the coffee shop with my changing bag and dog walking coat stuffed in there.  Either way, it holds all the stuff.

It does all the fancy things I would want a pram to do including putting my baby into a lovely deep sleep usually before the end of the driveway.  Win.  But seriously, the handle adjusts up and down, high enough to be comfortable for the husband (just over 6ft tall) and short enough for his mum (a 5ft 2 nana).  I like that the crossbar can be hinged open from either side or off altogether.  The pram base (with seat but not cot) folds up in one motion and it feels strong – this could perhaps be considered a disadvantage as well, I mean he is heavy, but actually I want my pram to feel substantial but you probably wouldn’t be wanting to carry this up and down from your top floor flat for example.  Although it has been some time since we had reason to use it, there is also a built in air vent at the base of the hood for those hot summer days…  remember those?  Maybe these features are all standard, I don’t know, but I like them.

On the road, he steers well and I don’t have any problems manoeuvering in city or country even with two dogs in tow (see Exhibit A).  The husband proudly tells me (and anyone interested, or not) that it has four wheel suspension.  Occasionally I show off and push one handed…

On the flipside, other than being heavy, the only issues stem from that huge basket.  It is so big that sometimes it feels a little in the way of the footbar you use to leverage up pavement kerbs, etc. and when it rains, the basket sticks slightly proud of the pram body and collects all the rainwater…  we artfully created a drainage system in ours with a screwdriver and brut force…  problem solved but not ideal.  If Joolz brought out a basket rain cover I’d be all over it.  That being said though I would not switch this basket for the world – again, it is B I G.  And in the realm of pram baskets, bigger is indeed better.

And for those of you who already asked me on social media about a car seat…  yes there is a car seat travel system and yes we have it, purchased with pennies (ok, a gift from my mum and dad) and I believe it is also beautiful.  You use two adapters to fit it onto the base and, yes, it also sends babies off to sleep.

So, that’s my tuppence worth.  Whilst I cannot claim to be an authority on prams, I am a mother and have been using this pram day in day out since we first got our teeny bundle home from hospital.  And I love it.  If you have any questions fire them my way in the comments or on social and I will endeavour to answer.  For now, I leave you with some shots of our typical Sunday in the village.x

   

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24 Nov
4

Autumn layering – a giveaway with Ottoman Hands jewellery

Did I screech my car to a halt when I passed an unknown boulevard lined with golden yellow trees?  Why yes, yes I did.  But I want to talk autumn styling so I needed those trees…

To me autumn styling is all about the layers and the textures and the colours.  Golden jewellery from my favourite affordable luxury brand, Ottoman Hands, delicately layered over the most perfect fine knit in that colour, neck crumpled, not rolled (I like an undone polo neck) and, yeah, I went there and put that little twig bangle over the cuff.  I remember years ago taking a bit of stick about wearing watches over cuffs but, guess what, I’m still feeling it…  Over the knees in soft, soft suede and topping it off with that big fringed beauty of a cardigan by Gap.

I have genuinely been loving this partnership so, so much – it’s like I have rediscovered my love of jewellery – back in the early days of this blog I was all about the wrist party and now, whilst hopefully a little more refined, I still cannot seem to help but pile it on.  I keep the pieces on my desk and every day pick up a different combination; the rings are probably the easiest to add on because they just go with anything but I love that all the pieces work on their own or layered up or mixed in with my other jewellery…  so obviously it is a huge pleasure today to be able to offer you a little something too.

GIVEAWAY

Visit Ottoman Hands to find your favourite piece
Then head over to my instagram to enter here

Have a really good look around the site because there are so many really gorgeous bits on there.  I already have my eye on this ring for Christmas party season (aka me staying home and having friends round for drinks) and the new velvet chokers are sooo good.  I love that the prices are not scary yet everything is gold plated and with the semi precious stones too so the quality is really high…  anyway, enough of me gushing…  just go enter.

little twig necklace & open hexagon necklace – Ottoman Hands
little twig bangle – Ottoman Hands
feather ring & circle stacking rings – Ottoman Hands

loop fringe cardigan – Gap (40% off Black Friday)
silk cotton polo neck – Jigsaw   |   monroe jeans – Joules
curve over the knee boots – Duo Boots (£50 off Black Friday)
trudy bag – Modalu (30% off Black Friday)

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With thanks to Ottoman Hands for supporting this post.

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21 Nov
1

Rained off

Kicking the week off with a pretty basic rainy day look and feeling wholly uninspired by this weather…

So I’ll be spending the night warming my legs with my laptop and making notes for tomorrow’s Black Friday post.  So far my ‘research’ has already cost me this La Redoute rug for the new front room – but, I mean, at 40% off EVERYTHING I just couldn’t say no…

coat – Next   |   knit – Great Plains
leather trouser – Boden   |   galoshes – Hunter
maggie bag – LK Bennett
pebble ring & circle stacking rings – Ottoman Hands

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17 Nov
2

Ball gowns every day

When you buy what can only be described as a gown, because it’s just too pretty with its big obi bow and its chopped up hem, and you want to get a bit of mileage from it…  Add leather legs (yeah, I’m afraid it’s that time of year again – my legs will be leather for approximately the next three months in lieu of tights) and other layers of choice and wear at liberty – in this instance to the official switch on of the House of Fraser Christmas lights.

Just FYI, it looks quite special without all the extra layers too but probably a bit of a stretch to imagine it suitable for everyday wear…  Perhaps with gladiator flats and sunshine (I’ll see what I can do about that).

dress – Mango   |   top – Zara
leather leggings – Boden   |   boots – Reiss
isadore bag – Michael Kors
aviators – Ray-Ban   |   twig bracelet – Ottoman Hands

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14 Nov
3

Post baby fitness – what works for me

What came as something of a shock to me was just how exhausted my body was following the birth.  And not just for a day or two where I did not trust my legs to be steady enough to carry my baby safely or for the first week where a 100m walk was a great triumph (and required a park bench rest stop) but even now, four months later, that my bones would be creaking and my joints aching after just sitting, yep – just sitting, in a comfy chair.

I am an active person though and I knew that some form of fitness, however minor in the beginning, was going to be important for my mind and body.  Perhaps it was a blessing and certainly a curse that I felt so nauseous during the majority of my pregnancy and food in general so unappealing that I did not gain much weight to speak of (20lb a week before he was born and the last time I checked), or rather I was not left with any residual weight.

My general shape, however, is now somewhat different…  and my belly button seems to be left in a permanent state of confusion, undecided quite between ‘inny’ and ‘outy’ status.  Never before did I quite grasp the importance of a good sports bra, in fact I think I only ever bought anything that came with the size option of S/M/L, but post baby things are different.  I am now well stocked with a slew of my favourite Panache sports bras which keep everything firmly in place whilst providing options for regular back and racerback (for extra high intensity – not quite there yet) and being uber comfortable at the same time.  Wearing a proper sized sports bra is revolutionary – how did I not know this?  If you fancy trying some for yourself, or any of the Panache range for that matter, you will be delighted to discover the Click, Fit & Collect service – simply order a selection of styles and sizes online to be delivered free of charge to your local store where you can enjoy a free fitting and trying consultation before buying only the styles you choose.  If you’re anything like me you will be more than happy to wave goodbye to the days of lingerie shopping where you turn up and there’s no stock in your size.  Cheerio.

So, I am easing myself very slowly back into fitness, indoors and out, but here is a quick look at what’s working for me right now (and I would be neglectful not to mention sanding these floors because that, for sure, was a workout itself and one that I am so proud of – strong girls club)…

grey wired sports bra – Panache
bamboo contour workout leggings – Sweaty Betty
uberknit sneakers – Fitflop
water bottle – BKR   |   bodymax dumbells – Powerhouse Fitness

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INDOORS

All about the pelvic floor.  No sooner is the baby out than they are telling you to practise these guys, before your body has even recovered enough to feel that you’re doing them, you better be doing them…  at least if you ever want to trampoline ever again.

Within the first week I began light ab work but not the kind of ab work I was used to.  This is all about bringing those muscles back together where they belong.  During pregnancy everything moves and your six pack literally divides into a pair of three packs – that first week if I tried to sit up I could fit a whole fist between those muscles which was pretty freaky.  I did some pelvic rocks, flat on my back, knees bent, sucking my tummy in and rocking my hips up towards my chest slightly.  I’ve graduated these now to include pelvic floor and arm extensions with weights – triple threat.  Honestly I am still really wary of any traditional sit up type exercise as I feel my abs are a little undecided about their final destination and I do not want to encourage them anywhere other than together so I tend to sub this into any workout that includes intense ab work.

Following my ten week check I got back in touch with my old friend Jillian Michaels.  And when I say ‘got in touch’ I mean dug out the ipad videos and when I say ‘my old friend’ I mean I think I’m closer to her than she is to me…  My poison of choice right now is Ripped in 30 and I basically take the easy option offered for almost all the exercises and make some subs as I mentioned above with the abs.  I avoid anything high impact and modify high knees for high steps, etc., etc…  you get the idea.  I love these workouts though because her format is never mundane – two minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, one minute of abs in three different circuits.  I really appreciate home workouts because I avoid time wasted getting to and from the gym and, if I time it right, Hunter watches from his bouncy seat entertaining himself with his own little baby gym (FYI it looks waaay easier than my workout).  When in doubt I remind myself of my favourite mantra ‘Never regret a workout’ – I mean, have you EVER?

Moving forward I’ll be upping the intensity of the workouts and trying to get back to my five days a week – right now I usually average three.  And I am tempted to try Kayla Itsines after so many recommendations…

OUTDOORS

Walking.  Simple as that.  I started real slow and short on the first day home from hospital and built up little by little.  By around two weeks post baby I could comfortably walk fifteen minutes, not at any great pace, but I felt like myself again, that was the real turning point.  Four months in and I can hike hills and walk briskly for a solid hour just like before.  It truly is the best exercise and in any case, with two dogs and a baby, I have little choice in the matter and pushing the pram throws in some resistance work for free.

So that’s my tuppence worth as they say…  if you have anything to add, advice or questions, I am all ears – just drop me a note in the comments.x

jacket – Gap   |   zip top – Forever 21
white wired sports bra – Panache
high waisted postpartum leggings – Blanqi
kamona boots – Emu Australia
geo 2 studio pram – Joolz

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With thanks to Panache for supporting this post.

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7 Nov
2

When all that’s left of ERDEMxHM is the socks

When all that’s left of the Erdem x HM collab is the socks…  and you gotta buy them because you’re such a sucker for the marketing that £25 for a couple pairs of socks seems completely reasonable.  But you know what?  I kinda love them.  And I don’t think I ever had the challenge of building an entire look around a pair of socks but I think it worked.  And for someone who really hates tights, this whole knee high socks and heels thing works pretty well.  You can see how I talked myself into them…

knit – Reiss   |   skirt – Zara
socks – Erdem x H&M   |   bardot heels – Reiss
rivington tote bag – Henri Bendel
aviators – Ray Ban   |   rings – Ottoman Hands

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3 Nov
1

Sale alert : Scottish Blogger Shop pop up tomorrow in Glasgow

It’s happening again…  my closet has been pulled to pieces, my front room has been ensconced in a mountain of clothes, shoes and bags (sooooo many bags), everything has been priced and tagged somewhere between £2 and £80 – I mean, heck, my mum even had the iron out…

SCOTTISH BLOGGER SHOP

Saturday 4th Novemeber, 9am – 6pm
Taste Buchanan
Top Floor, Buchanan Galleries

So I shopped my own closet, just for the day, on loan for this shoot.  Everything I’m wearing will be on those rails and up for sale including those beaut Jimmy Choo sunglasses.   Most of my clothes are size 8-10 and shoes 5-6 but, don’t worry, there are handbags galore too…

Some of my fav Glasgow blogger girls will also be there so take a look at the Facebook event to find out who else is taking part.  Sorry for the short notice and I really hope some of you can make it!  Come with empty shopping bags and empty bellies so you can stock up and try out the delicious street food while you’re at it…  fashion and food – two of my favourite things.

knit – Gant   |   dress – Zara   |   boots – Daniel   |   bag – Boden
sunglasses – Jimmy Choo   |   watch – Daniel Wellington

ALL AVAILABLE AT THE SCOTTISH BLOGGER SHOP

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IN SHORT

Fashion, travel and life with Mr K and Tux (they're the furry ones). By Wendy H Gilmour.

Contact: thankfifi@gmail.com

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