23 Jan
0

Style hack – make an old coat new without spending a penny

Hands down the easiest way to update your coat game?  Steal a belt from another coat and couple them up.  The coat in question is this one, last year’s Jigsaw number, and quite voluminous and the belt in question from this Topshop number, two years ago…  and the urge to create a ‘new’ coat arose after six solid days of snow and not enough coats in the world (aka my closet).  Job.  Done.

And the sneakers, whilst I know are fully impractical, make a nice contrast to the coat.  Plus it seems almost all of my ankle boots are either heeled or suede which, it turns out, are even less practical in snow.

And in case you were wondering what a week in the country in the snow looked like…  well there was a lot of battling with two snowball monsters on leashes whilst trying to navigate a pram through the white stuff and beautiful scenes like this.  Followed by a lot of time spent in front of the fire watching Netflix like this.  I would be lying if I didn’t confess to being a little sad it is melting away…

coat – Jigsaw   |   knit – Stefanel
toothpick jeans – J.Crew (ON SALE)   |   allie sneakers – Mint Velvet
aviators – Ray-Ban   |   spruce street satchel – Henri Bendel

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18 Jan
4

Winter weapon – leather legs for any budget

It is no secret that my winter weapon is encasing my legs in leather (prompting the husband to say ‘sausages’ every time he looks at my thighs – I think he means it in the sweetest possible way…  I mean, who doesn’t like sausages?  I love them).  So I thought I would share a few of my favourite places to hunt them down, from the budget friendly to the blow the budget options…

I live in this pair from Boden and think they are very special indeed but sadly they did not sell the same style this season so here is my round up of the best of the rest.  The Outnet is a great place to pick up leather (or anything for that matter) for less – here is their selection of leather leggings and trousers – when it comes to leather, designer is a safe bet for quality and fit.  Reiss would absolutely be my next stop as I always rely on them for having a truly superior high end high street offering and they have some amazing colours on sale right now.  But if all this is leaving you looking at your bank card and sweating then this Next pair will sort you right out (granted they’re pleather but honestly the best fitting realistic pair I have found and, to that end, in fact the only pleather I own and that includes shoes and handbags, I am a real stickler but broke the rules for these).

So here are my sausages, yet again, but this time under a skirt and with the best mustard jumper known to man (I think I have almost all of them) which happens to be on sale if you are also partial to mustard with your sausages.  Sorry not sorry.

And if you still are not convinced here are some further leather leg snapshots – under a dress, simple and kinda casual, the cheapies from Next and even when pregnant (which seems like SO long ago now)…

angled rib jumper – Jigsaw (ON SALE)
toscana shearling coat – Celtic & Co
leather leggings – Boden   |   skirt – Zara
boots – Reiss
rivington mini tote – Henri Bendel 

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15 Jan
3

Travel guide with baby – Costa Adeje

It is probably no secret that the Canary Islands are not my favourite place in the world to holiday.  Whilst there are beautiful corners there is also mass tourism at every turn…  but searching for sunshine and warmth in December with a baby friendly flight does not exactly leave you with a lot of options.  My initial suggestions of Columbia, Oman and South Africa were all vetoed by the husband and my mum…  and so to Tenerife we went.

We have in fact visited the Costa Adeje a few times in the past and in some cases, that case being travelling for the first time with baby, better the devil you know.  And you know what?  We had a really lovely time – it’s not always about where you go but who you go with.

That being said I do have some recommendations for you and, in particular, some tips on travelling with a tiny, little person.  Scroll down for my top tips on where to stay, what to eat and do and some baby essentials…

STAY

We had a very particular list of demands when it came to accommodation as we needed a two bedroom apartment with living space and a beautiful pool and on the front and close to El Duque which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful spot for strolling, eating and people watching.  If I had all the money in the world I would certainly have been delighted to stay at the Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque but due to financial constraints (i.e. not being millionaires) it was not an option.  At other times of year the Hotel San Roque in Garachico would have been top of my list and I would still some day like to go if I ever find myself in Tenerife again.  But, as it was, we found somewhere to meet our requirements and booked into the Lagos de Fanabe.  The apartments were nice and clean and spacious enough and the pool was lovely (you can see a little of it here) but what was truly amazing was the view from the balconies.  I could not have guessed just how much time we would spend on those balconies.  We snuck our buffet breakfasts up there, we ate lunch up there, had pre dinner drinks there, spend afternoons and mornings sunbathing there and a couple of nights we had takeaways, you know it, right there on that balcony.  The funny thing about holidaying with a five month old baby is that there seems to be little time to do those things you normally do…  nap times and milk times tend to dictate your itinerary and the best you really can do is find somewhere pretty in the sun to spend any free moments you might have around that schedule and enjoy it.

EAT

And so to the eating…  which, if I may say, I do very well.  Especially on holiday.  We were a fifteen minute walk from El Duque and it is so worth walking there for every single meal, coffee or cocktail you fancy.  It’s a pretty walk and the whole atmosphere is really delightful – laid back and infinitely classier.  I don’t mean to sound like an utter snob, I have equally been to the Costa Adeje and walked to Las Americas for free shots and Mexican at the Banana Garden (is that even still there?!) and had a rare ol’ time, but those days are past me now I’m afraid.  That baby thing again.

And so my fav places include the Cafe la Bahia for iced coffee, La Gomera Terrace for sangria and cocktails and El Chiringuito for daytime snacks, all of which happen to be part of the Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque…  For dinner though there are a few options and my absolute favourites are La Torre del Mirador for the abundance of fairylights and the sheer romance of dining on top of a cliff or inside a cave with live music and dancing with the oldies (oh wait, that’s me) and La Nonna where, although it is ever  so slightly set back from the front, the atmosphere is serene and the food is truly, truly delicious food (plump for the Chateaubriand if steak’s your thing, it’s very special).

DO

What I ‘do’ on holiday pre baby vs post baby it transpires is quite different.  Pre baby I would have most certainly hired a car and explored the whole island, for sure Garachico and Icod de los Vinos and likely Teide National Park.  Post baby, I walk.  In truth, I think in the past I have done more in a two day holiday than we did in that whole week.  But I’m ok with that; this holiday was about relaxation and genuinely just figuring it out whilst trying to steal the odd moment of relaxation (which in all honesty was only even possible because my mum came along too and helped out).  The lovely thing about the Costa Adeje is that there’s a perfectly maintained and flat promenade for strolling away to your heart’s content.  We walked to La Caleta for afternoon drinks round the harbour on a cloudy day and we strolled round the old, narrow streets of El Duque and we went for coffees and the odd cocktail and that was enough.  We spent time as a family and that was the most perfect thing.

Sidenote – some things to avoid doing would be walking in the direction of Las Americas and visiting the market up the back of El Duque which is anything but quaint (just ask any of the five thousand people who do go).

BABY ESSENTIALS

And now, not that I can claim to be any kind of baby travelling pro, here are some of my tips in that department (after many requests!) – some are mine, some are gladly inherited from friends…

Take a travel pram.  I love our Joolz Geo but that guy is Heavy (with a capital ‘H’ see?) and truly not suited for hauling in and out of taxis or up and down stairs or around airports…  We were kindly gifted a Nuna Pepp Luxx to try out and I loved it so much I keep it in the car now for any impromptu trips we wind up on (ok, mostly to the supermarket).  It steers and rolls super well but the best things were the three position recline, with one being perfectly flat, and the enormous, built-in sunshade.  These two things combined meant that eating out was pretty seamless with Hunter sleeping.  We gave him a bath and bottle as normal at bedtime, popped him in his pyjamas and sleeping bag and then straight into the Nuna with the sunshade down and an extra cloth to completely cover the gap – by the time we had walked the quarter of an hour to El Duque he was asleep and then it was an easy transfer into the cot when we got back to the apartment.  Nap times did not always got to plan on holiday but this bedtime strategy honestly worked far better than I could have hoped for.

That brings me to muslin cloths and pyjamas.  My favourite brand for holidays, and warm summer nights, is Aden and Anais (which I actually discovered in TK Maxx but have since shopped their own site and also been fortunate enough to receive some gifts from them).  They have the most beautiful linen pieces which are perfect for daytime and nighttime – I packed sooo many outfit options and truly, if I had taken just one day suit and one night suit that would probably have been enough (size up, they run narrow… or maybe my baby runs wide).  They also have absolutely beautiful giant muslin cloths which are the softest I own.  I don’t use them much at home but on holiday they seemed to have many, many uses including, blanket, sunshade, evening pram cover and scarf for myself once or twice – I have this silky soft indigo set which I think is so pretty and yet boyish.

I have quite a few sleeping bags and love them all for different reasons but decided to take the Babasac (I got this one from Amazon) on this trip because it has the option to zip in or out the layers for warmth or not depending how warm your room might be.

We took all our bottles and a microwave steriliser (which was filled with clothes in a case) which worked for us because we had an apartment.  Next time I’m totally taking these microwave bags though to save on space and because I know they’ll fit in any size of microwave.  There was a moment where we thought ours might not fit – oh the drama and relief of holidays with baby – the alarm is no longer hearing the happy hour bell and worrying if you’re going to make it to the bar in time, the alarm is thinking your steriliser might not fit in the microwave.  Wild I know.  You’re jealous.

Fortunately we did not need to think about food at five months but milk might have been a challenge.  Turns out you can pre-order through Boots to collect airside (that bit is important) and dodge all the hand luggage limitations you might have to deal with if you bring your own from home.  I ordered nappies, wipes, milk powder, readymade milk, suncream, the whole lot.  Set a reminder on your phone to collect it… (imagine you forgot).  Totally off the baby topic, I always order my holiday cash with Travelex and pick that up at the airport too so I had two collections reminders set this time.

We packed a few books and a teether and this toy arch which clips onto a buggy or chair legs or a table or just about anything you can think of.  But honestly, Hunter was mostly just fascinated to be somewhere new and do a whole lotta people watching, as was I.

If I missed any tips please do share in the comments below, I would love to hear them.  Next flights will be in April on a ski holiday…  eek.

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10 Jan
2

The definitive bikini

Somehow I always had this thought in my mind that cup-sized swimwear just really wasn’t that cool.  But as part of our partnership Panache sent me a couple of their new season styles to try out and they were a revelation, honestly.

Imagine a strapless bikini that you don’t need to adjust all day (even after swimming that few metres of less than warm water to get the shot); no tugging or hoiking or shimmying back into position – they just fit I guess.  Really, really well.  And when I spent most of my bikini clad day wrangling a five month old, I very much needed my bikini to stay in place.  One day I legit did not make it poolside until 4.50pm…  ha.  Holidays with baby are an unusual treat and not one to be missed (but do yourself a favour, grab one of these bikinis and that is at least one less thing to worry about).

anya stripe bandeau bikini – Panache
Steve Madden sunglasses – TK Maxx

anya spot bandeau bikini – Panache
kiera skirt – Boden   |   bag – TK Maxx
totem gold cuff – Edge of Ember   |   pebble bangle – Ottoman Hands

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With thanks to Panache for supporting this post.

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8 Jan
1

Shaggy

The most wintry of knits working perfectly well in the mid twenties.  If there’s one sale purchase you may want to make, make it this shag cardigan.  And if you happen to be a complete nerd like me and you’re just wondering where on earth did the word ‘shag/shaggy’ originate from…  well, Google of course has the answer – ‘The name derives from Old English sceacga, related to Old Norse skegg, beard’.  So really, I guess, it’s a beardy cardigan…  Hair enough (sorry).

knit – Gap (ON SALE)   |   tunic – Nu Denmark
See by Chloe diana wedges – Zalando (ON SALE)
aviators – Ray-Ban   |   earrings – Etsy
love pendant – Astley Clarke
twig bangle & pebble bangle – Ottoman Hands (ON SALE)
woven bag – TK Maxx

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5 Jan
4

The date night dream dress

This is the dress.  I mean it’s not ‘The dress’, it’s not my wedding dress obviously…  but if I could marry the husband all over again I might very well do it in this.  For that matter, if I could only wear one designer for the rest of my life then Zimmermann would be a fine pairing (except that I might need to relocate somewhere warmer).

So in my mind she still cost a bomb, even though I scored her on sale at The Outnet, but she is a keeper, a lifer.  And so, if in a decade I am still blogging and you are still reading, you may very well see her pop up again – perhaps over leather legs, perhaps under a chunky knit, perhaps with heels…  But today, here she is, on holiday, on date night with the husband (because behind the lens is undoubtedly, exactly how he loves to spend date night).

As if we didn’t already all feel like booking flights to banish the January blues – apologies.

Zimmermann dress – The Outnet   |   Pavement boots – Zalando
trudy bag – Modalu (ON SALE)   |   aviators – Ray-Ban
ring – Ottoman Hands   |   totem gold cuff – Edge of Ember

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2 Jan
4

2017 – a year of change

2017 was a year full of highs and lows – all at once the most wonderful and yet by far the hardest of my thirty-five years.  I like to keep Thankfifi as a space filled with positivity but behind the scenes this year was tough, it still is.  I was encouraged to assess what was really important to me and underneath the surface of fashion and travel and pretty things there is family.  And family will always be the single most important thing to me – this year has been a journey, gaining one and losing one, my heart has been bursting and breaking both at once.

I thank you all for being of this journey with me and for understanding the pauses and I wish you health and happiness for 2018.  Here’s a look back at the best bits of my last twelve months…

(Click the images to read the original posts).

After spending the first month hiding a growing bump I finally revealed the news in this post, sharing images in which I thought my belly was huge (I had no idea what was coming and just how much that belly was going to grow… and grow… and grow).

I spent the coming months trying to figure out how to keep my style in winter, spring, summer and wedding season whilst working that bump and generally buying as few maternity clothes as possible.  Turned out that dresses were my best friend…

   

   

   

Each month I shared some thoughts on my pregnancy, the highs and the lows at the six, seven, eight and nine month mark and then, one month on, my birth story.  Probably the most honest, personal and long post I had ever written and, as it turns out, my most popular post of the year…

I continued my partnership with Sassoon, changed my hair, many times, and finally took the plunge and cut in a fringe, squishing myself under the kitchen worktop to get that perfect concrete backdrop for the very last time (no mean feat at eight months pregnant I assure you)…

We redecorated our apartment together and you guys loved the budget kitchen makeover with that DIY concrete and those Spanish tile stickers.  I was also pretty chuffed when the post got picked up by Apartment Therapy and then shared on a whole bunch of cool interior sites and sent me a tonne of traffic.  We moved to the country and I shared a first look at our new home and the family room (more home tours are in the works for this year)…

   

I started working out again and shared my thoughts on post baby fitness and what’s working for me and my body wearing the best sports bra I have ever owned (from Panache who have been ‘supporting’ me every step of this year’s body changing journey).  Sooo ready to get back into working out after the holidays…

I got back out and about with a baby and a pram and sometimes with two dogs in tow…

   

I twinned with my baba and with one of my besties, I found what I am certain is the best coat of the season and confirmed my obsession with all things ochre and tan as well as rediscovering jewellery thanks to Ottoman Hands and wearing a ball gown in the middle of the day…

   

   

And of course we travelled…  but less.  2016 was definitely the year of travel – maybe in some way I knew that life would dictate there would be less travel this year, I don’t know.   But still there was the North of Scotland and London Fashion Week and a short trip to Gran Canaria and a babymoon in Ibiza (honestly the best few days) and our first family holiday in Tenerife which I’ll be sharing over the next couple of weeks right here…  so I certainly cannot complain…

   

   

And I am looking forward to new adventures this year, at home or away and whatever opportunities might come our way…  thanks for coming this far with me.x

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30 Dec
4

Snow day

Snowed in with nowhere to go and enjoying that fog between Christmas and New Year where you don’t ever really know what day of the week it is or how many hours of Netflix you have watched or quite how much chocolate you have eaten (although you have an idea it’s not dissimilar to your bodyweight)…

faux fur coat – Karen Millen (new season version here and here)
mimi l’amour tee – Sugarhill Boutique (on sale)   |   leather trousers – Boden
caribou boots – Sorel (on sale)
carsten earmuffs – Barbour   |   aviators – Ray-Ban
lyon crossbody bag – Boden (on sale)

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25 Dec
2

Love from Santa

His first Christmas…  I asked for family, he asked for more hair.  I got my wish and he got his – in the form of a beautiful rocking sheep.  To be in this home with my boys and my mum today is just everything.

Wishing you all the most wonderful Christmas.x

issa dress – House of Fraser   |   alexa boots – Boden   |   earrings – Etsy

jumper – Next   |    leggings – M&S   |   elf boots – M&S

rock ewe rocking sheep – Rowen & Wren 
robins – Paperchase
neon noel sign – Next   |   garland – Next
afaw berber rug – La Redoute   |   ezmir light – Cotterell & Co

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22 Dec
2

Few words Friday

Because it’s almost Christmas so I’m winding down and keeping cosy and enjoying frosty walks and hanging lights and am definitely on first name terms with the delivery guy who actually said ‘Me again’ when I answered the door this morning…

toscana coat – Celtic & Co   |   silk cotton polo neck – Jigsaw
leather leggings – Boden   |   toscana boots – Celtic & Co
aviators – Ray-Ban

 

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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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