"Live the life you love, love the life you live. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." How's that for a fabulous life motto ? Well, I have to admit, it isn't mine - it's what Joe Browns have written on their facebook page - but it applies so perfectly to my mentality that I'll borrow it as my inspiration for their brilliant School Run Style Blogger Challenge. Having lost 10kg since October, I definitely need to start sorting out my wardrobe, throwing out the "fat" clothes and getting in some lovely new bits for the summer. In fact, sod that. Not just for the summer, for EVERY day in every season because this is the new me !!
It's actually quite freaky how well Joe Browns seem to understand right where I'm at ! They say : "Are you fed up and tired of your wardrobe? Maybe you can't remember the last time you bought anything new for yourself. You've swapped stylish for comfortable. Those pretty high heeled shoes are forgotten somewhere in the back of the wardrobe, and your feet are tucked into those comfy old trainers that you bought sometime pre-pregnancy. At Joe Browns we want the everyday school run with the kids to be an opportunity for you to show off your awesome stylist skills and make all the other mums green with envy at your new wardrobe. Remember, being stylish doesn't mean that you have to dress up in your best party outfit, but understated casual style can also be super chic. Embrace the yummy mummy within you and tell us why you deserve to win some new attire."
OK, so out with the old Slummy Mummy and in with the new Yummy Mummy ? Time to throw out the "hide a multitude of sins" baggy T-shirts and sweatshirts with leggings and find a funky new look with a little help from Joe Browns? Well, OK ... I have to admit, I headed over to the Joe Browns website sure I wouldn't find anything I liked - clothes retailers seem to cater for pretty-young-things without a single wobbly bit or mumsy ladies-of-a-certain-age who still love 80's style power suits and padded shoulders. There's never anything for young-at-heart mums who want to look funky but still have clothes that flatter their inevitable mummy-tummies and also be totally wearable and practical for life as a busy mum. Well, Joe Browns have THE LOT ! Every style of clothing I love - floaty kaftans, pretty tops that cinch you in at the right place and billow out where needed, bright colours and practical clothes you can wear to run around after the kids at the park after a day looking smart at work... It's like they've taken my ultimate clothing wishlist and made it all real.
I was expecting to have trouble finding a single outfit I loved and, in the end, it was hard choosing just one because there are so many utterly gorgeous but also flattering clothes to choose from. In the end, I nailed it down to these :
The first thing-to-make-me-go-ooh was this fabulous Creative Crinkle Camisole - which could also be called a Tummy Toning Top ! As well as combining a lovely summery floral print with gorgeous not-too-flashy colours, I adore the flattering cut which cinches in under your boobs and flares out slightly to hide any wobbly tums (while cleverly drawing attention up and away from your waistline with that clever cleavage. This has to have been designed by a woman !) Even better news is that it's 100% cotton so is ideal for hot weather and it's crinkle fabric so it won't need ironing - perfect for throwing on when it's been screwed up in your suitcase. I don't just want - I NEED this top for the summer ! (Currently £19.95 in the sale, was £29.95)
Now for days when I'm feeling floaty and feminine, I'd love to pair this top with this Essential Summer Skirt. Again it's 100% cotton, perfect for hot summer days and, as it's plain white, would go with absolutely anything. It could be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. (£21.95 in the sale, was £27.95). On those "mad rush" days when I need something sportier (that won't flash my knickers as I dash across the school car park, with Pierre in one arm and a forgotten swim bag in the other !), these vibrant Raspberry Jeans (£29.95) look perfect and would go just as well with trainers as strappy sandals or killer heels.
Now, I have to admit, I spend most of my time in trainers these days but I may be tempted to trade them in for these lovely summery Sequin Floral Pumps. They're a bit like a grown-up version of Lelli Kelly (why should kids be the only ones to get fun, comfortable but girlie shoes ?!) and, as they are flats, they are perfect for playing football at the park and charging around after the kids. They wouldn't look out of place at work either though. As they go with everything from leggings to skirts to jeans and shorts, they're the only shoes you'd need to pack in your holiday suitcase too (which, if you're travelling with kids, is always a good thing !). (£15.95 in the sale, were £21.95)
This being the UK, I might need a warmer option though and I absolutely love this Eye-Catching Hooded Top. I seem to have an awful lot of black clothes in my wardrobe now - probably because it's been ingrained in us that it's a slimming colour ! - so I love the vibrant colour and fun, flowery pattern. It has that flattering cut again and the drawstring tie is fabulous if, like me, you're in the middle of losing your babyweight and don't want to have to keep buying new clothes every time you lose a few pounds. (£21.95 in the sale, was £29.95)
Like all parents, I take the kids' safety very seriously so they're not allowed outside to play in the sun without wearing a hat and suncream. I like to lead by example so I invariably end up scraping my hair back into a rough ponytail and shoving it through the back of a baseball cap. Not a great look if you're not a teen ! This Floppy Hat (£5.95 in the sale, was £14.95) looks much more stylish. I also love the idea of seeing life through rose-tinted spectacles so these Rose-Tinted Aviators (£9.95) are perfect !
I always seem to be juggling a million things on the school run - keys, bus card, phone, snacks for the childminder, notes for the teacher, paperwork for work ... - so this Essential Denim Bag would be ideal for stashing everything and looks much more chic than my normal bulging pockets ! (£21.95 in the sale, was £34.95)
And if it's raining, this stylish Vintage Panel Coat is the perfect cover up. I love the way the splashes of colour and patterned panels jazz up what is otherwise a basic, plain black coat. The panels also have a rather clever slimming effect again - genius ! (£31.95 in the sale, was £64.95).
I was over-the-moon to discover clothes that really appeal to me, that fit in with my busy mum lifestyle and that would be flattering to my body shape. When I actually started looking at the prices, things just got even better as there are some real bargains.
Joe Browns have really given me a wake-up call. I've been half-heartedly thinking that I should treat myself to a few new items of clothing to celebrate losing a stone and a half but, as is often the case, I always end up spending my cash on new clothes for the kids instead ! Just as Joe Browns guessed, I have been doing the school run in shapeless leggings, baggy T-shirts and - ahem - hubby's cast-off sweatshirts. With both Pierre and Sophie ready to start in new schools in September, this is the ideal moment to take steps to put all that behind me and roll up as a Yummy Mummy with a whole new wardrobe ! Fingers crossed that Joe Browns hear my plea !!
Disclosure : This is not a sponsored post. It is my entry for the Joe Browns School Run Style Blogger Challenge where one lucky blogger (me me me !) will win £250 of Joe Browns vouchers. Just think how many fabulous items of clothing you could buy with that !
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