As you read this post, we are hopefully cruising down the M1 somewhere, on our way to Heathrow airport. Today is the big day – our holiday to the USA begins and we have all been super excited for adventures galore, sunshine and friends awaiting us on the other side of the Atlantic!

Packing for this trip has been quite different to recent ones. Usually our holidays are somewhere in Europe, budget airlines and the good ol carry on only option to save us a few quid. So normally because of that, I pack rather minimal as I have just a small wheelie case to get it all in. I find for a week in a sunny spot in Europe though that this is ample.

This time though, with it being a long haul flight, we have a lot more baggage allowance, which is good with all of the English treats we are taking over too! I have used this space wisely and packed rather sensibly in the sense that my baggage allowance and Ethans are combined (and we have even fitted Alice’s in too) – his case is our stuff for Arizona and mine is our stuff for Utah. Because we will be in 2 different climates throughout our 2 week stay, it made sense to pack one with Summer stuff, the other with spring/Cooler weather, rather than rummaging in either place through clothes that weren’t weather appropriate.

I have been really precise and Ethans stuff is packed individually for each day with Alice’s little outfits too, all in Ikea zip lock bags. These line the bottom of the case, along with treats in zip lock bags labelled with each families names, and then my stuff is rolled/folded on top – again all in outfits!

Arizona Wardrobe

In Arizona we expect it to be like a decent Summer’s day here – if not a little warmer! I want to dress cool and comfortably, as we will be rather busy and out in the sun a lot. As we will be in warmer weather it is the perfect excuse to dress more colourfully, and I have been making more effort to buy and make outfits that are more colourful and patterned too. I love these things in my life and want to wear more of them generally. I am very excited to dress for Summer!

For footwear in Arizona I am taking my new sandals from Primarni – these were bought a couple of weeks ago and are in a Birkenstock style (with added bling) but unlike the real deal, they were only about £5/6. For church I am taking my gold block heel sandals (again from Primark last year) and then I will have my grey Nike and Bronze trainers from Office, that I will wear when we go on a Hike/off into the Dessert!

Clothing wise, in this case I am taking my light wash ripped Zara Jeans with red striped/embroidered Zara T-shirt. My linen striped trousers from New look with a simple white Peplum T -Shirt from Tesco, My new comfy Zara dress (available here) and my Topshop wide legged (an a little mental) jumpsuit! I have also packed a black logo T Shirt and embroidered top from TU as an extra option for our overnight stay up to Utah after the Grand Canyon.

Utah Wardrobe

In utah I will be wearing more jeans and jumpers as the weather will be more Spring like! I don’t think I will be wearing sandals here, and so have put in my black suede heeled ankle boots from New Look and Next white leather high tops for casual!

I will be wearing these with either my black H&M leather look skinnies or just my primark blue skinny jeans or black skinny jeans. I have packed my Zara Denim shirt, Red Zara hoodie, H&M pink knitted Jumper and Primark Yellow sweatshirt. I have a red stripy T-shirt from Zara (I want to wear with the yellow sweater) and my grey “Living the Dream” T-shirt from DP! I have also packed my black T shirt with frilled bottom from H&M, My ASOS colourful jumper dress and leggings, and several pairs of cool earrings for both weeks!

When we head to Vegas, I will be rewearing whatever I loved in AZ and as I am travelling in my black Zara jumpsuit (its mega comfy) with my leather jacket and Nike trainers, of course these will be extras to mix in when we’re there too!

The good thing about taking all of these gifts is that it will free up space for my years supply of peanut butter M&Ms and taco seasoning! I am also hoping to bag a deal on some Levi’s and who knows what else will make it’s way home with us to add to my wardrobe?!

Now here’s keeping everything crossed our flight is on time and the kids fly well – for the whole 11 hours to LA!!!!!! See you on the other side!

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Pretty much as soon as Summer ends and we hit the back to school stage of life again, I pack up my Summer wardrobe and crack out the Autumn one. In recent years I have enjoyed the feeling that comes with seasonal rotation of my clothes, as it is an opportunity to rediscover old favourites and purge things you have managed with out. Obviously I have a lot of crossover items that remain in my closet, but overall it is rotated September and April time. With really Summery things coming out June time, and big warm Knits/Wintery stuff being introduced around November.

One of my staples in my Autumn Wardrobe, and one thing I look forward to wearing at this time of year, is my array of shirts. They are comfortable, versatile and feel so “me”.

Autumn is definitely one of my favourites style wise (with Winter close behind) as I find with my shirts and sweaters it is super easy to dress for. And as we near the end of this beloved and easy to style season I wanted to share with you my 5 go to favourite shirts that I wear on rotation and just love.

I love them all for various reasons, but mostly because the majority of them are decent brands, and because all of them were sale or charity shops!

My Favourite Shirts of Autumn

Up first is my Zara denim shirt – This was given to me by my younger and very stylish sister in law when we lived with them in the Summer. I love it because it’s Zara, so instantly brings some style to any outfit, and also because it was FREE! It is super comfortable and the light denim wash looks lovely on sunny Autumn days. I love the embroidery and wear it regularly with black skinnies and then either my tan suede ankle boots or pumps.

Also from Zara is my black and orange check shirt. This one was bought in a charity shop this Spring for a couple of pounds and I knew it would look great come Autumn! I call this my posh shirt as it feels a little more classy than the others I wear with the thinner, curved collar and piping down the buttons. This one is great to wear with jeans and ankle boots or knee high boots, and also under my denim dress with tights and ankle boots.

I have had my red Check shirt well over a year now and wear it all the time and through every season! I bought it in a charity shop, again for a couple of pounds and find it super comfy and cosy, I love to wear this with jeans and pumps or my favourite outfit – Black skinnies and black boots! I am a little sad that this one is getting slightly bobbly and worn as a result of lots of wear. But with its cosy fabric and vibrant colour, it will be a long time until we part!

Another checked number is my Levis pinky one with blue! I love this becuase it is super comfy and casual and great for the sunnier days of Autumn (and Spring). Its nicer with my lighter denims and pumps or trainers. When I want a really chill day this is the one I grab! It cost me about 3 or 4 pounds…for a Levi’s shirt – Yes!

My Jack Wills blue shirt is my newest shirt and has quickly made it in to the top 5! I bought this only in September from their pop up outlet store in Hull for £9. I love it because it is very different to any of my others in style and colour and with that it is also one I can wear with more crazy things too (my silver shoes). Like my others it wears well with boots, jeans and pumps day to day, but with its frilly collar, it has the bonus of being able to be dressed up with heeled boots and silvery shoes!

I have other shirts and blouses that I love too, with cool patterns or stripes, and some that are super easy to dress up with heels and funky flats, but these are my go to every day ones. I have realised with putting this post together that it’s only since I entered my 30’s that I can honestly put my hand up and say “Yes I am confident in myself and know my style”. I have gone through so many phases, fads and even copying of others styles through my teens and 20’s (all in an attempt to discover my style) but it’s only now that I feel I know what I look good in and what is cool for my lifestyle!

It is with trying out various styles and trends that has led to me finding “me” and what makes her most comfortable, and that makes me so much happier and more comfortable in my skin!

My style can be a little crazy at times, but so can I, so its a perfect combo. I tend to, in my day to day style as a busy mum, stick to things that are comfortable and casual and these often will have a sporty, glam streak running through them too. I love retro things but I mostly love anything that is rich in colour and patterns. I love to dress up casual things with earrings, scarves and necklaces, and I live mostly in jeans/black skinnes and pumps and boots. So, if it goes with these staples, isn’t too tight and clingy, and overall feels like it’s “me”, then it most definitely is a keeper!

Shirts, especially checked and denim ones I find look stylish, can be worn with pretty much anything and keep “me as a mum” both comfortable and stylish. I love them on their own, under jumpers, open with t shirts, and always with black skinnies or jeans! I love that knowing my style instantly makes me feel more stylish because of the confidence that now comes with that knowledge of who I am. I find it so much quicker to get ready these days because I love everything in my wardrobe and know how to wear it together…. especially my shirts and old favourites!

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Living in the countryside our lifestyle has naturally changed to having way more country walks, and lots of plans for wintry beach walks too. I love being outdoors with the kids, but I hate been cold! I therefore have felt a need for more practical and yet still stylish clothing. I like to have things that I can wear easily from a trip around town to a country walk, to on the school run. I need to feel stylish, but most importantly comfortable and warm!

There are 2 things I love to have in abundance in my wardrobe at this time of year; Checked shirts and Knitwear! Both feel cosy, practical, comfortable and are very versatile to make up so many outfit options. One thing I have been lacking on though it the latter – Knitwear. I find it a bit of a struggle to find a jumper that fits well, is warm (but doesn’t look frumpy) or isn’t too itchy, is long enough in the arms, and doesn’t have too many embellishments! I know that sounds like a long list, but I feel like a good jumper is a bit of an investment and needs to be right!

I was super excited when Saltrock sent me this lovely pink number as it is a great addition to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe and best of all… it ticks all of the boxes for both style and my lifestyle.

My Favourite things…

First up I love that is jumper (like many of their others) is on sale! It is £20 down from £50 and feels lovely quality!

I am wearing a size 12 and my favourite things about it are that its thick and warm but not itchy. It does contain wool, which obviously helps but is also blended with Nylon and Acrylic. I like that fact as it helps me when washing it (I tend to shrink pure wool!!!). The pattern adds practical detail that makes it a little bit different to a plain jumper, and I love the colour – I feel like its a good one for my skin tones, and great to go with black or blue jeans. Its not too light to get obviously dirty when playing with the kids, but is light enough to brighten up life on cool days.

Its relaxed fit means that it is easy to wear and comfortable. I have worn it as seen over my Zara denim shirt, and also with jeans and a long sleeved grey tee for a snugly bonfire night! It goes great with everything, and especially great with my maroon scarf. I love that I can wear it with all of my jeans and black shinnies, with boots, wellies or pumps!

I also love small things like its high neckline – I can’t stand gaping in necklines, especially when you’re trying to keep warm, and this one is just right… especially to wear with shirts as I do often with my jumpers! I also like the cuffs and long sleeves. I find a lot of jumpers too short in the arm which makes me feel chilly, but these fit well, keep me warm and are nice and snug around my wrists.

Saltrock is the original British beach lifestyle brand known for quality, style & affordability. Their clothes are designed for everyone who loves to get outside & have fun, and I am glad to have discovered them. They have some lovely things for all the family that are both comfortable and stylish for life outdoors. Their clothing is practical, easy to care for, and especially with the sale – really quite affordable. The only downside to this jumper is the logo on the bottom left, but honestly, I think that’s just me. I have had loads of compliments on it and when I wear the baby carrier, my scarf or coat, you don’t even see it anyway. I have loved wearing this out and about and chilling around the house too, because most importantly its a cosy and comfortable number and is a great addition to my wardrobe!

*Thankyou to Saltrock for sending me this lovely jumper for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and images are my own. 

Family Fever
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After a busy and tiresome trip to Norwich last weekend to see out newest nephew, we welcomed a chilled week staying close to home and lazy mornings! Despite that I have still managed to bag myself a few bargs, and this weeks deals and frugal choices have mostly been with thoughts of our summer holiday and getting prepared…if you are jetting off soon with the fam, you may find it useful!

Holiday Extras

We fly to Italy on Wednesday where the baraginous Summer holiday we have been so very much looking forward to will become a reality! All of us have holiday clothes, or at least a summer wardrobe that is sufficient for the Italian weather….Alice however does not!

Being only a baby last year her newborn summer style is long gone and her 12m one is lacking and all a bit random! She has a few dresses, shorts, tops and leggings, but not really enough of things that would be suitable and comfortable for her in 34 degree weather!

Its a real random mix of handmedowns and the odd thing iv’e picked up in sales and charity shops that need a few extras to boost it and make it enough!

With this as my priority I popped into H&M yesterday (it really is my fave for kids) and managed to get her a hat, 2 rompers (one of which was a gorgeous lace number), a pair of shorts and a dress for 11.99!! They were all (minus the hat for £2.99) on sale and then with the added bonus that all sale in store is on 3 for 2!  I easily saved about £15 and she has some lovely extras to make up outfits, and make it up to enough outfits, for our holiday next week!

Hand Luggage and toiletries

Our latest thing when flying is we NEVER check any luggage. To us we think its a waste of money when you can fit all you need in hand luggage cases, so we easily save some £’s by doing this!

We realised a couple of years ago that we can make do with the hand luggage only and so we mix and match our outfits, or only take what we need instead of like 10 extra’s, and it works great! If someone has more stuff than another we squish into someone elses case, but between 4 little cases there is plenty of space for the whole fam for a week!

The only down side to travelling this way however is our toiletries and sun cream – of course you can only take 100ml on flights and I find that the travel size ones are both too small and expensive with all of us using them for a week (we’d need quite a few)! Instead I buy the cheap clear bottles from the pound shop and fill them with our sun cream, and then just buy our shower gel, shampoo and conditioner from Lidl when I buy the food on day 1. It only costs about 3 euros and saves faffing and big spending on the travel size ones!

M&S Final Clearance

I know I am getting old purely by the fact I am loving a lot of things each season from M&S! What I didn’t realise though was that their final clearance in store is reduced to a whopping 90% off!!!! I’m talking £45 dresses for £4.99, £40 trousers for £3.99 and shoes for £4.99!!

I went into the Beverly store yesterday with my sister in laws and we were all going a little nuts about it so I decided to check out the Bridlington one today – I came away with a Zebra print skirt for £3.99 from £35 and a wicked shirt dress for £3.99 from £39.50!!! I was actually going nuts in the shop and was delighted. My only sadness came when I saw an amazing striped top down to £1.29 and they only had a size 16 or 20 🙁 

Be sure to check out those final clearances whilst you are out and about this weekend – let me know what you get!

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