Shoe Shopping For Kids With Dr. Martens

IMG_1888We love shoes in our house. I love them because, well, I just do. Flats, heels boots… I’ll take ‘em all. Elfie loves shoes as sparkly as she can get; pink monstrosities that I always vowed I’d never buy a daughter of mine until I was won over by the sensibilities of Clarks. Damn you, Clarks. Hux loves shoes, but mostly mine or Elfie’s shoes, his particular favourite being a pair of tartan wellies with bows on.

We’re an interesting bunch when it comes to our footwear.


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So a few weeks ago when Dr. Martens invited us in to their Milton Keynes store we were really excited. Time dedicated to looking for new shoes for my feet loving twosome? Perfect!

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I haven’t been that aware of the DM brand in the last few years. Back at school they were THE shoe to have and when I worked at Vice the cooler, more punky creatives would wear them. I was excited to check out how they’d evolved over the last few years and to see what their kids’ range was like.

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So off we went to the store in Milton Keynes!

The shop itself was lovely. There was no pumping music and overwhelming customer service a la Office, just plush carpets, a vintage sofa and quietly welcoming staff. Speaking of whom, the lady who served us was fantastic with the kids; Elfie is always ever so well behaved but in such an exciting situation Hux has a tendency to be a little more, shall we say, spirited. They took it in their stride and didn’t seem to mind my little terror – and the lollies certainly helped!

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Elfie was overjoyed at the prospect of choosing her own shoes and headed straight for the Mary Janes. We tried on a couple of pairs before she decided on the patent version, and very pleased she is with them too! I love to see her tastes develop as she gets older and am all kinds of chuffed that she gets as excited about shoes as I do ;) These ones are comfy and look great, and will be perfect for when she starts school in September.

Hux was slightly more frenetic when it came to trying on shoes so together we quickly chose a pair of boots. Now, I don’t often go ga-ga over kids shoes (far too sensible for that) but these are just GORGEOUS. They are so incredibly cute and really do turn him into a proper wee man. Happy sigh – I love them.

IMG_1910 IMG_1908 IMG_1906We left Dr. Martens having had a really lovely shopping experience, and treated the well-behaved (well, 50% of them were) babies to a Pizza Express lunch. The least said about that the better; just know that Hux came home with butter in his hair that evening.

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Thank you so much to Dr. Martens in Milton Keynes for treating my two to a new pair of shoes and for showing us a thoroughly wonderful shoe shopping experience! We will definitely be back.

Dr. Martens, 91 Silbury Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3AG

For 10% off at the Milton Keynes store just show this blog post to the sales assistant – happy shopping!

 

 

Terms and Conditions

For 10% off at Dr. Martens Milton Keynes store – show this blog post in-store on a smart phone or print out. Discount is valid until 21/8/14 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Discount is at the discretion of the store manager.

All About My Undercrackers

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It’s been noted here how taking care of what’s happening on the inside – paleo, juicing, the gym and all that jazz – is making me a happier person. After a week of spectacularly falling off the wagon in Amsterdam and devouring piles of bread, cheeseburgers and chips I came home a couple of pounds heavier but feeling like I was carrying a world of weight. It’s totally crazy how reverting to my old diet for such a short period of time left me feeling so heavy, sluggish and unmotivated but I guess shows how much changing my eating habits has changed my life. #Paleo4EVA!

Two days after enthusiastically returning to my juices and salads (bar a teeny tiny slip up at Bryony‘s house yesterday over a slice of way too tempting garlic bread) I’m still feeling a bit self-concious about the returning mid-area bloat but really pushed myself at the gym yesterday to mentally get back in the zone. As a result my thighs are protesting each time I climb the stairs but fingers crossed that by next week I will have more clarity of mind thanks to the lack of toxins and my jeans won’t be so freaking tight.

Anyway, as part of my body haul over I’ve been re-thinking something I never really paid much attention to: my underwear drawer. I always thought of lingerie as something lusted over by other girls, high-maintenance girls who wore perfect lipstick (mine always ends up on my chin) and knew how to iron shirts (i.e. not with their GHDs). But, somewhat out of necessity as my boobs shrunk with my dress size, I’ve gone out and bought an array of lovely lingerie. And wearing matching lacy loveliness under my clothes, well, it makes me feel like I’m looking after myself. I dress better and feel that little bit more confident.

Apart from the day this week I went to the gym after doing the school run in my workout gear and had forgotten to pack my undies. On that day I just felt breezy.

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Ages ago, when I wrote my Life List, I decided that  one of the things I wanted to attempt was to wear matching underwear for 30 days. Yep, it’s totally shallow and ridiculous but it’s something I’ve never done before and I wanted to see if it really could make a small change to my life for that month.

NB: the life list is in total flux and re-evaluation at the moment. I’m lol’ing at the fact that ‘find the perfect eyebrow shape’ is on there, gonna really change the world with that one. Though if you were blessed with slugs similar to mine you’ll totally get it. 

So that is what I am going to do in May. This afternoon I got my nicest smalls out, from M&S to Agent Provocateur (no grey tshirt bras allowed, OK?), paired ‘em up and took a good look. Apparently I’m a fan of lacy business and black lingerie, lots of black lingerie. There are a couple of bras that are too big (woe) so I’m going to allow myself to buy a couple of new sets this month in something other than black. Special mention has to go out to SBP who sent me the bottom (heheh) pair of black knickers you can see there, the Daphne; they specialise in ‘Sexy Big Pants’ and their high-waisted briefs make me feel amazing, like a sultry pinup or something. I love the fact their collection was developed for women who like their pants super comfy but don’t want to compromise on style and these would have been perfect for me post-C Section. Some of their designs are currently half prices so do nip on over and take a look.

I fully expect that, come the end of May, I’ll be feeling a little bit like this:

 

I’m totally making this A Thing: Matching Undies May. Who’s with me?

Springtime At The School Gates

Hi More than Toast readers! I’m Katie and Alice has very kindly allowed me to write this post for you. With each passing season it seems fashion rules relax even further, meaning you can wear the same pieces for work and play – and from season to season – if you choose them carefully. Thanks for having me!

I know we’re all still in our thickest winter woollies, but it’s never too early to start planning next season’s wardrobe, particularly when you can pick up some of spring and summer’s key trends now. For me, my wardrobe has to be pretty multifunctional – cosy enough to walk the kids to school in the morning, smart enough if I’m going into the office or comfy enough to wear if I’m working from the kitchen table at home. And while pieces that tick all those boxes can be tricky to find, I’ve already got my eye on a few…

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Subtly sheer

Sheer fabrics were another big trend on the 2014 runways. And because sheer pieces are bang-on-trend most seasons, vintage boutiques and sites are a great place to pick up blouses that are true multi-taskers. This polka dot blouse from Rokit looks very Stella McCartney but at a fraction of the price. I’ll be wearing with leather look skinnies and ballet flats for a gorgeous off duty look or tucked into black trousers for work.

New season flats

While fashion and practicality don’t always go hand-in-hand, when it comes to footwear, it was all about the flat during New York Fashion Week’s spring summer 2014 show. There were Helmut Lang’s white mesh slip ons, Peter Som’s psychedelic brogues and Oscar de la Renta’s floral pumps. These flats from Heels.com take in many of next season’s trends with their white, lasercut styling. I’m going to be wearing mine with wide-legged or cropped straight legged trousers or to give a bit of an edge to a girly floral tea dress.

The classic trench

When it comes to spring cover ups, you simply can’t go wrong with a classic trench coat. It’s a wardrobe staple that you’ll wear and wear, which transcends seasons and years. Burberry’s spring summer 2014 runway show, as always, showcased the most stunning trench coats. This time round, the designer most famous for iconic cover ups sent models down the catwalks wearing beautiful pastel hues including lilacs, minty greens and sky blues. But, given that I end up spending more on my little ones clothes than mine these days, my budget doesn’t quite stretch to Burberry. Instead, I’ve been scouring the high street and I love the gorgeous soft khaki version from La Redoute. It has stunning peplum detailing on the back meaning you can wear over everything from workwear to a LBD or just with a pair of jeans for the school run.

The statement necklace

A key look for many seasons, the statement necklace is showing no signs of falling out of favour. It’s one of my favourite go tos when I’m rushing around fitting in the 9-5 with doing the school run. By wearing a pair of black skinny trousers and a white t-shirt with my parka and high tops to take the kids to nursery and school, I can add low heels, my necklace and blazer for a work look which is smart enough for meetings with the boss. This Marni necklace is stunning. It’s pricey but would work with everything. I’d wear over t-shirts, under the collar of a crisp white shirt or to liven up my little black dress.

The slouchy trouser

We’ve been squeezing ourselves into skinny jeans for seasons now. And, while a great pair of skinnies, particularly a high-waisted pair, can be super flattering, it’s great to see a slouchier silhouette appearing. I’ll be wearing mine like the models in the Karen Walker show, turned up and teamed with brogues, a cropped sweater and a blazer. This pair by Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic combines this season’s checks with next season’s slouchiness – the perfect transitional piece.

Interiors: Moroccan-Style

Moving house. I’ve just done it, and it’s apparently one of the most stressful things you can put yourself through, along with Divorce,  a change in financial state and a child starting school. This is why I have more wrinkles in 2013 than in 2012 and should really stop making life changes right now.

Sidenote: that place up there isn’t my new house. Unfortunately.

It has been insanely stressful, not because I’ve had to pack up all my belongings and move them 7 miles down the road but mostly because I’ve had to do it ON MY OWN. When you move house with someone else you can at least delegate all the crappy jobs (oven cleaning, garage sorting) to them and get on with the fun bits (shopping) yourself.

Oh well, the crappy jobs are done, I’m treating myself to a hot stone massage next week to get over the experience, and I’m now on to the business of shopping. Yeehah!

I’ve always enjoyed the Moroccan decor aesthetic so when my friends from Moroccan Bazaar got in touch to ask if I fancied taking a look at their current range and make some selections for my new home I was more than happy to.

I love the intricate delicacies of furniture and accessories from Northern Africa: the carved mirrors, leather footstools, woven carpets and hand-painted tiles. There’s something so warm and comforting about the warm colours (and I write this wistfully in a vest, tshirt, jumper, jeans big socks and UGGS… brrr). If you put the heating on, lit some incense and closed your eyes you could almost be transported to the warm hubbub of a Moroccan souk. Here’s what I’m loving from Moroccan Bazaar at the moment:

morocco Kilim floor cushion £175, Kilim rug, £822, leather pouffe, £99, brass hand-chiselled mirror, £57.50.

London-based Moroccan Bazaar has been trading since 1970 and they use their active network of contacts throughout Morocco to bring the best quality of Moroccan furniture to the UK. They have a lovely space in Greenford chock full to the brim of North African delights which you can also see on their website. Or take a gander at the video below to see some of the outstanding craftsmanship that goes into their products:

This post was written in partnership with Moroccan Bazaar. For more information please see my disclosure.

Win! Joop Miss Wild

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I don’t often buy perfume. Perfume is such a special treat – it’s something I’m given as a gift or something you buy on a special occasion. The scent of a perfume evokes so much, marking points in time throughout mylife: CKOne for the teen years, Paco Rabanne Ultra Violet at Uni, Coco Mademoiselle for the early twenties, Ralph Lauren Romance for the mid twenties and Stella McCartney Stella for the single years. Perfume finishes off an outfit before I leave home, it makes me fee put-together before I step out the front door.

So when Joop sent me a bottle of their latest perfume I was intrigued. Joop Miss Wild is described as a powerful and addictive floral oriental fragrance; spicy top notes of berries with a sensual heart note of vanilla and a sexy base of rum accord. JOOP!’s Miss Wild is a good girl walking on the wild side and has the tagline “because sometimes, bad feels so good…”. 

You can take a test over at joopmisswild.com that will tell you which wild you are… I’m Naughty Wild (as if you even needed to ask?).

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Any naughty photograph of mine would probably be x-rated, so here’s me and one of my besties, Kaisa, the last time we drank jug upon jug of Margaritas. Good naughty times.

JOOP! have given me a bottle of Miss Wild to giveaway to one reader, all you have to do is…

- Take the online Are You Wild At Heart test at www.joopmisswild.com
- Using your result create a wild-inspired photo on Instagram. Go crazy!
- Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @aliceharold, tag me in the post and use the hashtags #misswild #badfeelssogood

Competition is open to UK residents only and winner will be drawn Wednesday 2nd October 2013. 

The AW13 Mumiform

I kind of like having my ‘mumiform’. The clothes I can, on days when I’m too tired/busy/stressed to wade through my cave of a wardrobe, just throw on in one combination or another and I know they’ll look good. And it not good, at least acceptable.

From Autumn through to winter it goes something like: jeans, comfy tshirt, sweater, boots; the jeans skinny and stretchy and the jumpers woolly. Comfy and warm, the sartorial equivalent of a big hug.

So when Dorothy Perkins got in touch with news of their new Essentials Range my ears picked up. A selection of 10 key pieces to simplify my A/W wardrobe? Perfect…

DP’s have selected The Biker, The Sculpted Tee, The 2in1 Dress, The Fit & Flare Dress, The Skirt, The Fur, The Blouse, The Item Sweat, The Cute Fit Knit and The Skinny (jean) as essentials we can choose from to quickly update our wardrobe this season. I selected The Sculpted Tee, The Cute Fit Knit and The Skinny as essentials I knew I would wear all winter. Here’s how I’ll be rocking them:

The Sculpted Tee

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The sculpted tee is great for days you want to just throw on a tshirt but need to look a bit dressy. I wear mine with a Zara leather jacket, skinny blue jeans and my new Liberty print Vans (yep, I bought them!).

The Cute Fit Knit

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The Cute Fit Knit is great for those like me who have felt the need to put the heating on already (BRRRR!). It’s lovely and cosy to sling on over the top of a tshirt and dress up with some indigo skinnies and boots.

The Skinny

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I love these skinnys. The rise isn’t too high but high enough to hide my leftover mumtum, the stretch is perfect and they really old their shape (no going baggy at the knee, side eye my old TopShop Baxters…). I wore these for my Radio 4 appearance earlier on this week and I’m wearing them on a date tonight, they truly are versatile.

Have a listen to Natalie Hartley, InStyle’s Fashion Director, as she chats about the new Style Essentials collection:

The collection is a great value way to update your A/W wardrobe – prices start at a happy £14 – and pieces are both versatile and on-trend.

Makeover your winter wardrobe with £500 to spend on this seasons Style Essentials! Dorothy Perkins will put you and a friend up in a fancy hotel and send you off for a posh meal after you’ve been given a styleover by one of their friendly Style Advisors. What’s not to love? Get entering!

Dorothy Perkins sent me my favourite items to try from the collection and also compensated me for my time to write about them. Which makes me one happy bunny.