How to style this summer’s off the shoulder trend

Summer is the land of sunshine, beach holidays and – our favourite – summer trends. This warm season is seeing a whole lot of shoulder with the emergence of the off the shoulder trend, with both summer dresses and flowy tops springing up like daisies in stores everywhere. It’s a cute and flirty look that’s comfortable for when you’re out and about with the kids and is surprisingly easy to style. All you need to keep in mind are these simple tips.

Make noise with statement jewellery
With the off the shoulder trend, your exposed chest and shoulders essentially become a blank canvas, inviting room for a piece of show-stealing jewellery to fill the empty space.
You can go big with a beaded statement necklace in your favourite colour, or even a pair of shoulder-skimming earrings. It’s summer, after all, so the brighter and bolder, the better. Long necklaces of the dainty variety work just as well, especially in layers.

Add a dab of shimmery lotion

Like we were saying about that whole bare shoulder situation – this trend, as the name suggests, leaves a lot of room for embellishment in the shoulder area. Your skin is very much on display, so this is your chance to show off your true colours but with a little help in the shimmer department.

We’re talking about shimmery lotion, obviously. Shimmer lotion isn’t new, so you’ve got a whole host of options when it comes to skin tone and what nourishing benefits you can find. When your shoulders catch the light, your skin will have just that little rose gold tinge, giving you the whole summer goddess vibe. And don’t forget the sun cream, either – nothing puts a damper on bare shoulders like peeling skin.

Sport beachy waves

We’re totally in the camp of wearing your hair however makes you most comfortable, but wearing your hair down and proud works magic for filling the space created with an off the shoulder top. Add a few beach waves, and you’ll look like you’ve just sauntered in from a holiday in the Med. What’s more, the beachy hair trend works for all types of hair, and is about as easy as easy gets, as far as styling goes. Even Vogue says so.

Pair with the right bottoms

If you’re wearing off the shoulder summer dresses like this floral number from Sainsbury’s Tu summer dress collection, you’re covered in the bottoms department. But if you’re planning to wear this trend as a top, it’s important to pair it with the right bottoms.

Dress: Tu at Sainsbury’s

A good rule of thumb is, if your shirt flares out, go with straight cut bottoms like a pair of jeans or colourful trousers. If your top wears close to the form, a maxi skirt – A-line or bohemian will do – looks incredible and elegant. You can always tuck your off the shoulder top into your trousers to create a more tailored look. It’s really all up to you.

And don’t forget the right bra!

Nothing looks quite as awkward with a top of any kind than the wrong bra. The off the shoulder trend is no different. Bras that work best with off the shoulder summer dresses or tops are strapless ones, bandeaus, sticky cups and even a cute corset. Whatever works best for you and your body – being comfortable is most important.

Last but not least, confidence is an essential styling tool for the off the shoulder trend. Your shoulders should be high, not slumped! So get out there and let those sun-kissed shoulders out into the light.

 

 

 

Collaborative Post 

Newborn Sleep Essentials & a giveaway!

Babies and Sleep – it’s a big subject isn’t it? Maybe one of the most talked about in the parenting realm or at least level with the whole breast vs. bottle debate I’m sure. So, on the topic of sleep I recently wrote an article for Babycentre called ‘My newborn sleeps through the night, should I shut up?’ and it really got people talking. I mean, nearly 200 comments in a few hours – people sharing sleep stories, woes, joys and everything in between. Talking about sleep really does resonate with all new parents and everyone has something they want to say, with some strong opinions coming out too. I think the sleep deprivation had even got to some as they seemed to miss the point of the article (which was about celebrating positive things about parenting whether it’s sleep or something else) and I received some spiteful comments too. Oh well! 🙂

So, upon seeing this huge reaction to a post about newborn sleep, I thought I’d follow it up with a post about the top products we’ve used that have helped Violet with her sleep. She’s now sleeping through the night and has done since she was about 11-12 weeks, so here are the things we wouldn’t be without. I’ve also got a little giveaway at the bottom so keep reading!

SIDE-BY-SIDE

So, first things first – here is our bedroom set up. My first big recommendation is a bedside crib, the one we use is the SnuzPod2 3-in-1 bedside crib and I LOVE IT, I can’t say it enough, I don’t know where we would be without this crib. I can’t imagine having a moses basket and getting up and out of bed for the smallest little thing, the Snuzpod makes life so easy as you can see your baby all the time, they are right next to you (since this photo was taken I’ve actually moved the crib slightly higher so the top is up by my pillow) which is reassuring for both parent and baby as you can see each other all the time. I really love the sleek design too with the white wood – it fits perfectly with our bedroom decor and design. I can’t tell you the amount of times I wake in the night and just take a quick peek to check Violet is okay and then I’m asleep within two minutes. This also really helped with the early days when she would only fall asleep in our arms, having the crib so close would mean I could gently pop her in and keep a hand on her until she was 100% settled. The last great thing about the Snuzpod (and other brands don’t offer this) is that is rocks so if your baby stirs you can gently rock them to settle them back to sleep. I’ve certainly done this for many hours in the night in the early days, I even admit I worked out a technique to rock it with my foot so I could stay snuggled on my pillow, haha! As you can see I’m raving about it a bit but I genuinely give the Snuzpod a massive 10 out of 10 when it comes to sleep options.

SNUGGLE

So next up in my top sleep essentials is the famous Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod. This snuggly cushion is supposed to replicate the feeling of being enclosed in the womb. The soft airy lining is 100% breathable which gives me piece of mind that Violet is tucked up safely for the night (especially as she’s able to turn on her side now) the material also does not harbour heat so little ones stay cool too. She loves her sleepyhead and sleeps so well in it we now use it every night and during the day for all of her naps too. I think she knows the Sleepyhead is her safe space, she can relax there and settles well. This is really handy as we can take it anywhere and she has a safe familiar space to fall asleep in, will be a lifesaver on holiday putting her in her unfamiliar travel cot. We currently have the Sleepyhead Deluxe which is from birth – 8 months (although she is already touching the ends at 4 months!) there is also a larger size – the Sleepyhead Grand which goes from 9 – 36 months, we will most definitely be buying this for her cot, when she’s ready for it.

SWADDLE

Newborns have a funny little thing called ‘startle reflex’ or ‘moro reflex’ and do the cutest little jumps when their arms lift up and make themselves jump. It’s all very sweet, but not to much at 4am and they are now wide awake from their freight! One of the best ways to stop this happening is to use a swaddle. We love sleeping bags more than blankets as I found they are so straightforward to use, you don’t need to remember any fancy wrapping techniques and little ones can’t wriggle free either. Our favourite swaddle bag is the Ergococoon Baby Cocoon (pictured left) – this was perfect as we could tuck her arms in and once she got over having such a frequent startle reflex we transitioned her to having her arms free. For naps, I must mention the Mama Designs Cellular Blanket (middle picture – the yellow glow is her jaundice not bad photo editing, ha!) this is a perfect light, breathable blanket we use if she has a nap on the sofa or in her pushchair. Lastly, the Babasac Multi Tog Baby Sleeping Bag  (right) – we are still using this one now as it’s a bit bigger, it’s been fab for this changeable weather as you can either have it as a 2.5 or a 1 tog bag by adding or removing the soft lining.

SOUND & LIGHT

Finally, on my list of sleep essentials is providing some soothing sound and light if all else fails and you can’t settle your bub. We’ve tried a few different toys for this but this cute little Slumber Buddy elephant has won Violet’s heart as she just cannot get enough of the pretty stars, moons and planets that shine from his back. He plays a variety of different songs, a heartbeat sound and trickling water (we don’t have that one on in the night!) plus the stars always catch Violet’s attention especially if we pop on the colour change mode. He’s been a lifesaver through the difficult colic days.

So, these are the products that we’ve used to help Violet get into her sleeping routine. Every baby is different and I’m sure different things will work for some and not other but just to finish,  a few other tips that worked for us have been:

  • keep to a routine – we stick to a daily routine and Violet absolutely loves it, she knows when to expect to eat, sleep or play so we both know how the day is going to pan out. This also stops her from getting too overtired which is just the worst if we are trying to settle her.
  • bathtime and baby massage  – we have bathtime at the same time nearly every evening, followed by a baby massage with some soothing lotion and sometimes music
  • soothe colic symptoms (I’ve written a whole post on his here)
  • feed baby up during the day so they are not hungry at night

Anyway, onto the fun part – it’s giveaway time!

Fill in the form below if you’d like to win a Slumber Buddy for yourself, there are seven designs to chose from!

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Post contains PR samples, all opinions are my own
Giveaway in collaboration with Summer Infant – open to UK entrants only – prize to be supplied by Summer Infant

 

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Top tips for travelling with baby

Before we thought about having babies, travel was ‘our thing’ we liked to do. We were always plotting our next adventure, usually something including a trek off the beaten track or somewhere you wouldn’t normally think of going. We’ve been to some amazing places. So, with the arrival of baby Violet our travel plans have screeched to a sudden holt. We knew this would happen and it’s fine, she is worth it! But now it’s now time to come out of our comfort zone and take her on her first trip. This time we’ve planned something super easy for first-timers and will be visiting family in France, making some stops along the way to break up the long drive.

As this is our first trip away with a baby I’m suddenly finding it incredibly daunting! I mean, a couple of the many questions in my mind have been – How do we survive the hot weather? How do we sterilise bottles on the go (and make formula!)  and how do we keep Violet busy in her car seat for the long drives? There is SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. Luckily our travel plans will be super easy though, so that’s all taken care of (Thanks Clickstay!) – Now all I need to do is organise the challenging task of packing for our journey.

So, following the success of my previous post about babyproofing, I turned to my same expert team of Mummy bloggers to share their top tips for travelling with little ones, as they’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt when it comes to travelling with little ones. They have shared amazingly helpful tips, not just on travelling by car but by air too, so if you are planning a trip with a baby this summer, I hope you’ll find this helpful. Here is what they had to say:

Use your hand-luggage wisely, leave any unnecessary bits for adults in the suitcases and prioritise things for your little one in hand-luggage. Make sure you have a ‘just in case’ bag of medicines and teething essentials, in the case of any unexpected illnesses on the flight. Distractions are key! Books, colouring books and crayons, magazine, small toys and even downloading your little ones favourite TV show to play on aeroplane mode will all help make the flight shorter for them. Tattooed Tealady

Snacks!! Lots of snacks. Both for the plane and the hotel. Also, spare change of clothes in the hand luggage for baby if you are going somewhere hot as you can change them straight away then so they aren’t irritable with the heat. If they’re weaned the pre-book meals for them, as a lot of airlines don’t assume you want them and wait for you to book them. Usually they need a few days notice too Then There Were Three

Pack extra nappies/spare clothes as the pressure in the cabin is likely to lead to explosions! Scandi Mummy

Pack plenty of nappies in your hand luggage just in case of delays, plus a spare outfit or two incase of accidents! My sister in laws baby had a poo explosion at the airport and had no spare clothes! Lylia Rose

Calpol an hour or so before you fly to pre-empt any discomfort from take off. I also made sure I gave them a bottle/dummy etc to suck on too.  Suburban Mum

Definitely spare clothing…. sitting in the car for long times can cause ‘leakage’. My son always timed accidents to the “perfect” moment, normally in public, miles away from a toilet..!  Planes, Trains and Meltdowns

Our little girl gets travel sick and GP recommended taking Piriton to relieve travel sickness. If you are hiring a car take a car seat with you, they are stupidly expensive to hire and you can check them in. For baby essentials I find it easier to find a local super market and stock up when we get there. I take enough stuff for a day or two. Part of the fun of exploring a new place is finding out what pampers are called in their country. 😜 The Tantrum Times

Pack a spare change of clothes (sleep suit etc) to get baby changed into for a comfortable sleep. Katy Kicker

If using bottles, a plastic tub and cold water steriliser tablets are really handy! The ready made cartons are also SO handy for travelling, as there’s no fear of powdery mess everywhere! Emily and Indiana

Ziplock bags – for packing changes of clothes for baby ( easy to grab one and know everything is all in there), also for ice cubes to keep milk/food cold ( refill after security and on plane) Spare change of clothes for YOU too ( or at least a top) Small Calpol sachets 5ml, Plenty of snacks and food if weaning/ post weaning ( most major airlines have baby purée in jars which you can pre request as a BBML. Something with a familiar smell or scent, CoziGo bassinet cover ( also great for prams too plus UV 50 and breathable) if your flight has a bassinet. A GALT ring is handy if you have a non mover- easy to pack, lightweight and very useful for a villa, or hotel room to keep baby in a safe spot or even by the pool. UV play tent – again very handy for the pool or beach. Flying with a baby

A baby carrier – far easier for dealing with airports and security (especially if it’s metal free as then you can wear your child THROUGH the scanners).
A handful of new toys to get out along the route when you need to provide some new entertainment. Just small things; a toy car, a small maraca (that type of thing. Devon Mama

We found our Snoozeshade invaluable – whether it’s sunny or not, it’s so helpful for even trying to get them to grab a quick nap in the pram. Life with Boys

Super helpful tips! Thank you so much to everyone that contributed – so basically I need a lot of spare changes of clothes, nappies and distractions! Luckily Violet isn’t weaning yet, so at least we only have one form of ‘food’ to worry about for her too.  These tips have really given me a good place to start with our packing so hopefully you’ll find them helpful too. We’ll be blogging about our trip as we go, so watch out for those updates too!

 

Post written in collaboration with Clickstay 

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Posh Totty pops up in Topshop!

I love supporting local businesses and living in Brighton I really am spoiled for choice. However one of my all time favourites has got to be Posh Totty, as a blogger I’ve collaborated with them numerous times now and been to their fab craft classes – they just keep coming up with new and exciting stuff, so it’s time for another update! They have some of the most beautiful, personalised jewellery. It’s the kind of shop I walk into and I just want everything – It’s just right up my street. The fab thing about Posh Totty is nearly all of their pieces are fully personalised, so they make perfect gifts or just a little treat to yourself too.

I was recently invited down to visit their brand new ‘pop-up’ stand which is located in the hugggeeee Topshop in Churchill Square, Brighton. The stand offers personalisation as you wait which is really cool if you are impatient like me as usually you have to order bits from Posh Totty then wait a couple of days for your design to be created. They have a lovely selection of necklaces and bracelets – in all different finishes, silver, rose gold and gold. I also thought the pieces were reasonably priced too for such high quality items being between £15-49 depending on what you choose!

So, I had a little look at the pieces and choose the one I wanted to be personalised. Luckily, the fab Posh Totty team were on hand to keep Violet busy (I think she won their hearts in a second!) so I had a few moments of baby-free shopping too! I chose the Double Hoop Necklace and of course, being a cliché blogger I am, I opted for rose gold (it had to be done, right?). I had one ring stamped with Violet’s name and have left the other blank for another day… you can get things added to your jewellery, so maybe one day I’ll get that one stamped too. I also enjoyed watching it being stamped and seeing how things would usually be done ‘behind the scenes’.

So, here it is! My beautiful necklace and the photo really doesn’t do it justice as my camera just hasn’t picked out the letters very well, but it looks beautiful in on – the personalisation is subtle and delicate which makes it look elegant as I find some personalised things can look a bit tacky.

Thank you so much for inviting me down to visit you Posh Totty – the personalisation station will be back in Topshop on the 24th July 2017 for 6 weeks, so make sure you head down and give them a visit. If you can’t get to Topshop they also have the shop on Sydney Street or you can order online if you aren’t local to Brighton too – and if you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of my favourite designs:

We’re moving, we’re grooving!

It’s official, we have a roller! Violet can now roll from her tummy to her front and she can kind of shuffle about on her back. I seem to put her on the playmat in one place, turn my back and she’s across it on the other side, I’m not exactly sure how but I know she is starting to move a LOT and the days of being able to take my eyes off her for two minutes to nip to the loo are now over! So, as I’m trying to be super organised I thought I’d start to think about ways to prepare the house for once she is truly on the go and trying to crawl/pull herself up. Looking around my living room we have plenty of unbaby-friendly things (if thats even a word! 🙂 ) – I can see an open fire with sharp metal tools, a delicate ceramic statue and plenty of cables and wires – just to name a few things right in front of me! Not to mention the fact we live in an ‘upside down’ house and our bedroom is downstairs, so we have the main stairs coming off the living room – we’ll need a stairgate there for sure!

We have also been much more conscious about fire safety in the house too – I mean you don’t even need a baby for this one, but having a precious little one does remind you to double and triple check everything. We have been ensuring we have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (testing them frequently too), we don’t leave any appliances running unattended and have checked all of the cables and plugs too. There is so much to think about, isn’t there?

So, as I’m a total novice on babyproofing and house safety when it comes to little ones, I’ve turned some expert Mummy Bloggers to share some of their top tips! Here they are:

“Pop any breakables out of reach & secure cupboard doors! Both mine loved pulling everything out of the cupboard under the TV, so we ended up tying the two knob style handles together with a hair band! We also put stair gates on the kitchen and stairs” – Lylia Rose

“We haven’t baby-proofed the whole house but instead went down the route of explaining to Willow why she can’t touch something/go somewhere in the house. We did look into those plugs you put on plug sockets but read they are equally dangerous, so instead, explained to Willow she shouldn’t touch them because it’s dangerous and she could hurt herself. We have a stair gate on the kitchen, as it’s a small kitchen and I don’t want her getting to the cooker etc, but other than that we just have stairgates on the stairs and that’s it.” – Tattooed Tealady

“Make sure you don’t have a Trunki near the top of the stairs – mine decided to ride it down them … she survived, but it aged me a good 20 years!” – Pack the PJs

“We chose not to because we didn’t want to always have to have devices and stuff as we were in rented accommodation. Instead we moved dangerous things away and then then they soon got bored of opening doors!” – Scrapbook of our Lives

“We didn’t do any baby proofing other than a stair gate at the bottom of the stairs in our old house. We just taught them not to touch certain things, go in the kitchen etc . It’s worked well because when we visit and stay over at family members houses where it is about as far from babyproof as possible, there are no disasters” Coffee, Cake, Kids

“It’s hardly babyproofing, but we’ve made it so you can remove the door handle to our living room door. Now our toddler is tall enough to reach the handle, it’s the only way we’ve been able to stop him from trying to escape the house! Ridiculous, of course… but massively effective.” – The Mighty Duxburys

“We tried those magic cupboard safety things, but toddler figured them out within a week! Just a lot of saying “please don’t touch” and making sure there was a clear play space is what worked for us.” – Lycra Widow

“We haven’t got any baby gates etc. I’ve moved a few things that are potentially dangerous but to be honest we haven’t done a whole load of “baby proofing”. Violet has full run of the house and I’m happy for her to go up and down the stairs with supervision. She’s very confident and independent so I’m rolling with it!” – Gold Dust Blog

“With my older daughter who is now 7 we didn’t baby proof just taught her what she could/couldn’t do/touch. My youngest crawled at 6 months and walked at 9 months. She doesn’t understand no and you can’t explain to someone so young so everything is up high. We have cupboard locks and gates on stairs and the kitchen (because she eats the dog food 🙈) someone said to us get down on her level and see what she sees….well thats lots of plugs, wires and doors to open so we fixed all that. Now it just takes ages to cook anything after unlocking all the cupboards!” – This Crazy Mamma

“Strap the television down (one of the biggest accidental killers in the home), secure furniture to walls, get magnetic locks on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen (while you’ve time to get used to using them before your little one is there waiting to gain access!) – get the ones that need a magnet to open them, rather than ones you open with your hand” – Katy Kicker

“Have somewhere higher near sofas to put drinks. We always used to just put on the coffee table or low shelves but small children will just tip those over. Move the coasters up high so you are not tempted to leave drinks where tiny hands can get them” – Someones Mum

A mix of opinions and some great tips! Some didn’t babyproof, some did. I think we will most definitely be doing some sort of babyproofing, the first thing being a stair gate and moving dangerous items out of the way! The rest we will see how we go.

How did you babyproof your house for your little ones? I’d love to hear some more tips in the comments below! Big thanks to all the bloggers who helped out with this one too!