Fashion and Style

Global Kids Fashion Week

Global Kids Fashion Week was a brand new event, and a highlight of 2013’s fashion calendar. The event saw a gathering of some of the world’s best-known designers, as well as up-and-coming talents in kid’s fashion. Labels such as Chloe, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry showcased their children’s collection on catwalk shows, alongside smaller brands like Jottum, Wildfox and Mischka Aoki. As well as the shows, there were playful activities for kids and adults and fundraising for GKFW’s official charity Kids Company. Catch up with the highlights of the four day fashion fest, with our pick of its highlights.

  • Experts and celebs were among the guests

Industry insiders attended GKFW to give their guidance and opinions on the shows, as well as celeb mums looking to pick up tips for how to dress their little ones! Ambassadors of GKFW included Sarah Curran, founder of my-wardrobe.com, Tanya Kazeminy Macaky, founding partner Mama Mio and model Portia Freeman. Model Jodie Kidd also attended, and was seated next to Kate Moss’s make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury. Jodie’s celeb sister was also a guest, and both sisters went along with their young children – sporting cute outfits with brown riding boots and black shoes.

  • Muted colours look demure and cute

Kids clothing has come a long way from plain primary brights, and instead, many designers featured toned down colour palettes – perfect for spring. Robert Cavalli’s collection for kids is a prime example: included in the collection were a pale grey suit with jersey jacket and a printed floral dress in washed out colours. For the boys a pristine white shirt lifted the grey and, for the girls, patent nude shoes added sheen to low-key tones.

  • Streetstyle is back!

The clothes on the runway weren’t all about smart attire for special occasions. Kenzo showed how laid-back streetstyle and urban wear looked cool and funky for kid’s everyday wardrobes. For the boys there were bright blue quilted puffa jackets and contrasting red caps, worn at an angle. Bright colours were also a feature of Kenzo’s girl’s collection, with one model wearing an orange dress and clashing blue checked jacket. Chunky Dr.Martin-style shoes finished both these looks brilliantly.

  • Old-fashioned chic

A number of more old-fashioned finishes were trialled on the runway, which avoided looking frumpy on such cute and youthful outfits! Oscar de la Renta went ultra-traditional, dressing one model in black leiderhosen-style dungarees. 1950s-inspired pussy bow collars were also seen, in collections by de la Renta and Billie Blush.

The event had something for parents and their children, though there were elements which could be improved on. The amount of celebs and industry insiders attending the event meant that ordinary mums could easily have felt excluded, and shied away from buying a ticket. Making the event seem more accessible could have attracted stylish mums from all walks of life and made for a more diverse event.

Crafts · How To

Upcycling Rose Petals Part One – Simple Table Centrepiece

I love receiving flowers, same as most people, but I always feel a bit sad when they start to die. Roses are my faves (in fact, Sausage’s middle name is even Rose) and they start off so beautiful and full of potential, but whither away to nothing in such a short time. Recently, Sausage insisted on making me buy buying a bunch of flowers for her Dad and she chose pink roses for him. They lasted quite a while, but when the time came to add them to the compost heap, I decided to keep the petals and dry them for later use.

Drying the petals

The drying itself was a simple process, I simply pull the petals off of the stalks, spread the petals out on a microwaveable plate and buzzed then for a minute at a time until they started to feel a bit crispy. I think it took three one-minute sessions in my 800w microwave and then I spread them on an old tea towel laid flat to soak up any excess moisture. I then stuck them in a lock-tight tupperware box until I needed them.

Simple but pretty table centrepiece

The first thing I decided to use my dried petals for was a pretty table centrepiece, based on an idea I saw at Christmastime on Pinterest but never got around to making. You’ll need:

Dried rose petals

Small bundt cake tin

Boiled water

Tealights

Pretty saucer or bowl

1. Fill the bundt cake tin with the dried rose petals. At this point, you can also add a few drops of rose essential oil if you want to, but mine hadn’t arrived yet, so I didn’t.

2. Pour boiling water on top of the petals

3. Use a spoon or other pokey thing to press the petals down so that they are all submerged below the water and laying flat

4. Place directly into the freezer (it’s a good idea to put a piece of cardboard between the shelf and the tin as it may freeze together and be a total pain to try and extract

5. Once it’s frozen and you’re ready to use the centrepiece, remove it from the freezer and run the outside of the tin under a lukewarm tap to release the ice

6. Place it upside down on your saucer or bowl (it’s a good idea to measure how much water the saucer will take as it may overflow as the centrepiece starts to defrost if you don’t use something big enough). Something vintage and floral would probably look lovely

7. Place your tealight into the dimple in the bottom of the ice and light

8. The ice will probably outlast your tealights, so you may need to replace the candle a couple of times, but as the ice melts, providing you use a plate or bowl that is deep enough, you end up with a candle floating on beautiful rose petals and rose tinted water.

This photo doesn’t really do it justice as it was quite late and taken under the light above my hob, but the water and petals looked a lot prettier in reality!

I think this would make a lovely (and pretty much free) table decoration for a romantic meal for two. You can replace the flower petals with seasonal things like berries or seashells for different occasions too and experiment with scents and colours.

Just a tip – boiling the water first is quite important as it makes the ice clearer when it freezes, allowing you to see what’s inside. As an additional bonus that I wasn’t expecting, the boiling water took some of the pink colour from the petals and make the ice a beautiful pale rose pink colour. The photo below is my first attempt, made without boiling water and it did not work at all!

Part two to follow – come back to see how I get along with making my own rose-scented bath bombs!

Cancer · Charity · Opinion

How Poor SEO Approaches Can Damage a Brand and the Implication if That “Brand” is a Leading Cancer Charity

I don’t want this blog to turn into a long list of posts where I moan about SEOs, but I had an approach yesterday that had me bashing my head against a wall.

It started well –

“Hope you’re well. I just wanted to get in touch to ask about your policy on guest posting on Mum’s the Word. I’m working with Cancer Research UK, to build awareness of the breast cancer help and resources offered on their site. We’re doing this chiefly by putting together some informative articles on related topics and working with bloggers like yourself to publish them on selected sites around the web, and I was wondering if you’d be open to running such a post?”

Then took a rapid turn for the worse –

“I do appreciate that it’s a difficult topic, and that it’s not the sort of subject matter that you’ve typically covered on Mum’s the Word, but it’d be great to work with you on this if you would be willing to consider publishing the piece.”

See, if this SEO guy had done even a modicum of research then he’d have realised that this is EXACTLY the sort of post I publish on my blog, in fact I already have several on this very topic.

If he’d used the tiniest amount of initiative or imagination, he might’ve typed the word ‘cancer’ into the very simple and prominently placed search bar at the side of the page and come up with no less than a dozen posts around the subject.

If he’d thought to engage his, no doubt, elite search skills he’d have realised that in 2011, my Stepmum lost her battle with cancer and I spent a long time trying to get my head around it, trying to work out how to process it, how to guide my infant daughter through it all and how to get our lives back on track afterwards. He’d have seen that I now run Race for Life every year in Lorraine’s memory and that I do as much for Cancer Research as I can.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with poor marketing from this particular charity and I can’t help but wonder who makes the decisions regarding their marketing budget, given that they’re using aggressive telephone sales people and insensitive SEOs.

The sad part is, (as my friend Ruth mentioned after I shared with some blogger friends how sad I was about all of this) if they were to be a bit more sensible and use what would probably equate to a minute portion  of their marketing budget to employ bloggers to help them with their blogger outreach programme I’m 100% certain that they’d be a lot more successful and would circumvent the very real risk of alienating a lot of people.

As I pointed out in my reply to this person, just off of the top of my head I know one blogger who’s child is battling leukemia, one who’s Mum has beaten breast cancer and several others who lost friends or family to this horrible disease and I hope to goodness he hasn’t used the same approach with them that he did with me.

Over to you, Cancer Research

(I’m including follow links to the Cancer Research page in this post. Despite me criticising their approach, I think they’re a great charity and support them wholeheartedly)

Uncategorized

SPAMALOT! – Or “How To Save Yourself An Hour A Day”

We’re having a quiet weekend at home after a hectic week and getting hunkered down against the cold. We’re doing lots of family things but we also have time to ourselves when Sausage likes to watch a film, Husband likes to play a game on his PC and I attend to blogging bits and pieces.

One thing I have vowed to get a handle on is the amount of spam that lands in my inbox. I don’t mean the fake cheap Viagra or Cote D’Ivoirian princesses offering to share their gold that Gmail deals with on my behalf and that I don’t even see; I’m talking about the countless newsletters, updates and notifications that I get everyday.

Most days, I wake up to at least 40 emails in my inbox and while I may not be the tidiest person in real life, I’m not the sort of person who can let her inbox build up. Having masses of unread emails drives me to distraction, so I tend to deal with emails as they come in, or at the very least read them and leave them in my inbox to be dealt with later. I also subscribe to a lot of blogs and often wake up to emails of new posts, many of which I’ll save to remind me to read properly when I have the time.

The ones that are getting on my nerves are things like ‘Daily Digest’ emails from LinkedIn groups (which I NEVER read and tend to immediately delete) and sales emails from the likes of Pixmania, Amazon, Jessops and Photobox. I’ve come to the conclusion that, far from saving me money or showing me great deals, these emails are eating into my life and wasting my time EVERY SINGLE DAY. I reckon, on average, when I think about the sheer amount of emails that I’m deleting every day, I probably spend about an hour altogether dealing with crap.

So I’m taking a stand. I’m going on a mass unsubscribing spree and reclaiming the time that I spend everyday dealing with what is, essentially, unsolicited and useless information.

I challenge you to do the same.

Look at your inbox when you wake up (or at your busiest time for emails) and assess how many of them you ever open. If you automatically delete a certain email every time you get it, UNSUBSCRIBE! I know there’s a temptation to stay subscribed, just in case you might save yourself a few pence on a really great deal, but the time you save is actually far more valuable to you and your life in the long run. I guarantee you’ll feel a sense of relief when you start to notice the difference it makes to your day and it’s a great start to decluttering your life.

This even extends to Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels – I’ve massively streamlined who I follow on Twitter as I found I was reading about 10% of the tweets that were showing up in my feed and missing stuff that I actually wanted to see. Same with Facebook, I skip past SO many things on my timeline and it didn’t even occur to me to unsuscribe from things. Now is the time to take a stand! If you still get updates from pages you liked in 2007, the chances are they are no longer relevant to to and just waste time that you could be spending looking at things you enjoy.

Anyway, I’m off for a spring clean of my online world!