Mr Smith rarely wants for anything (which is a great attribute to have), at least until we get to his wardrobe, and then I really wish he did want for more  – more stylish things! Put it this way, he is still wearing the same jacket he had when I met him over 10 years ago, and would wear all of his clothes down to threads if I didn’t intercede now and again most the time and “advise” him otherwise! I don’t like to come across as a controlling spouse, and nor is this by any means ripping on my lovely husband, but he really does have his own unique style (which includes plenty of navy blue) – being brave enough to feel totally cool wearing combo’s that most people wouldn’t dream of wearing together (especially in public!). Therefore, I do feel somewhat responsible to direct and encourage him down a slightly more stylish path and give him some pointers on how to put things together (not to mention he looks way fitter when spruced up nicely!).

Its no wonder then that I jumped at the opportunity recently to work with Jacamo menswear on a style challenge for Mr Smith! I was asked by them to pick some things from their Summer range to spruce up his look for a particular event/purpose and then to share with you all his look/our thoughts on their brand!

I instantly decided to go down the “smart casual” path; both for our upcoming holiday to Italy, and also so he could have things that generally looked a bit smarter. The things I chose, as you will see, are also very versatile for work too. I believe part of being thrifty is that when you are buying pieces for your wardrobe, it always pays to have something you can wear for various things as oppose restricted only for one purpose!

The first thing I chose for him were a pair of knee length smart black chino shorts, which come with a belt. These I felt were a must for our holiday/essential for his wardrobe, as he only had denim shorts and I liked the idea of him having something a bit more posh! They look really good on him and suit him well. He loves the feel of them and said the belt was a great bonus.

For an everyday casual look I paired them with a white Tshirt that has a logo “Keep Exploring” on it. He liked the tropical vibe of this and said that the logo transfer was smooth and soft, unlike other cheaper T shirts he has had where they tend to feel more crisp! Both of these items were from the Jacamo brand and were very reasonably priced. We were both incredibly impressed by the softness of the fabrics and the excellent fit of them. Nathan is 6 ft 3 and wears an XL on top, with 38″ bottoms – both of these items (as well as the others) fit him very well and he commented on how comfortable and cool he felt whilst wearing them. He could run, play, move and carry the kids as he desired, and didn’t feel like his clothes were restrictive or irritable. I really like this outfit on him and he is pleased with my choices.

Up next are 2 short sleeved shirts. Nathan works in an office for the NHS and so is required to dress smartly for this! The office is incredibly warm too, and so he much prefers to have short sleeved shirts, paired with his Chino’s for work! I chose for him a lovely white French Connection short sleeved shirt as this one is super smart, trendy and would do him for church and work, as well as the fact that it would also look fresh in the sun on holiday with his new shorts for a smart look for when we go our dinner. It’s a great all rounder and he loves that it has a respected brand to it, is cool and a very comfortable fit and fabric.

The next one I imagined to be a little more casual for day wear when I chose it. I thought it would also look great with his new shorts for a more “smart-cas” look for sightseeing on holiday, or tucked in to his navy chino’s for work! It was a lovely olive green/navy checked shirt by Ben Sherman and was reduced by £16, making it only £34. This one was one of his faves, as he liked the longer length of it and has found it comfortable paired with both his shorts on a weekend, and with his chino’s for work (erm wonder wear those ideas came from?!)! The various colours in it make it work with so many other things, as well as through different seasons. I think it really suits him and is very flattering!

Mr Smith certainly feels the bees knees in his new gear and I think he looks rather attractive too! We both love the amazing array of sizing, brands and styles available through Jacamo and in our small experience here would agree that their clothing is excellent quality and we cannot fault their service. Jacamo cater for bigger and taller men and Nathan has certainly seen a big positive difference in the comfort and fit of their clothing compared to some of his current pieces.

If you have a man in your life (or are a man yourself reading this) then why not check out their site and see what gems you can find to spruce up your own/their look this Autumn. Whether for holidays, work, casual, or the upcoming Christmas season, there are some fantastic things for all shapes, styles and sizes, that are priced really reasonably too – ideal for gifting or sprucing up any man’s wardrobe/look.

Black Shorts – £30  |  White T shirt – £12  |  Ben Sherman Shirt – £ 34  | French Connection shirt – £30
*Thank you to Jacamo for gifting us these items in return for this review.They are so lovely and we will most definitely be shopping with them in the future. All thoughts and images are our own!

 

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If there is one thing I have learn’t from last weeks move, it is that Nathan and I are a team – and a good one at that too. We are both workers, both strong, and when there is something to do that requires us both then we get on with it side by side mostly with a laugh and lots of chatter, and we accomplish our goals.

It hasn’t always been that smooth (my birth with Ethan is a prime example of us “singing from different hymn sheets” with regards expectations of our roles), and there are times when I feel that we’re not on the same team and that maybe we are pulling in different directions, or rather our expectations of one another aren’t understood by the other. There are times of course where I may get quite mad at him or wound up and frustrated by all manner of things (and especially when I am tired I may be extra snappy)! And I am sure that I annoy him too, though he does well at hiding it, biting his tongue and his patience, love and quick forgiveness with me despite my attitude helps us remain on the same side!

But now after 4 kids and almost 8 years of marriage, we are showing the world in many scenarios we have faced and do face, that we are on the same team and it’s something that brings me great joy!

I love the feeling of accomplishing something together, the feeling of knowing we have both pulled our weight, put in the work and succeeded as a team. I love when we can celebrate at the happiness we have created and the things we have achieved.

I often wonder what I would do without Nathan…or even what life was once like without him in it. I wonder what I would do without my team mate and bestie or how I would have got through all we have faced? I am better, and life is better/more fulfilling (and he says the same) for being married to each other.

Our most recent adventure together of course has been moving house. People like to say how stressful this is, and I can certainly agree with that, but not in the way I thought. The actual idea of moving, finding a new home and the reality of being in a new place is all rather exciting. The jobs along the way with solicitors etc were mostly expected and now this weekend we have actually loved settling into our new life back home in East Yorkshire.

The Packing, cleaning and then driving all of your life elsewhere isn’t even that stressful either, it feels like an exciting new adventure and something I can only describe as being right. But for me, I found that the stress comes when you move with kids in tow. When you pack something and turn around and find it unpacked. When you clean a room and they mess it up again. When you’re trying to load/unload a van and they’re just there nagging away. When you tip something and they pull it out. When you need to unload the van to storage and realise you never arranged for anyone to watch them…Now that’s stressful.

But we worked together in the way we know how – side by side and as a team. Slowly and surly it came together with the help of friends and some family, and we did it! We were exhausted, homeless and at now at Grandma’s, but it was together that we got here in our lives, and it was as a team that we did what we set out to do and created happiness and a new chapter.

I am so glad that I found someone that loves me like he does, that can be clam under pressure, work hard alongside me and be my team mate and supporter of our team every step of the way. We have so many dreams and goals that I know we can fulfil because we are in with both feet, each others supporters and playing for the team!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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I stood on Wednesday afternoon with Mr smith over looking Huddersfield in the glorious sunshine, talking about the past present and future, whilst Megs clambered around below us and it all felt truly amazing and light. We had been to his university to hand in his final dissertation that he has been working so incredibly hard on over the last few weeks and then celebrated together with a spot of lunch. We stood and reflected upon how close the end was now, how hard it has been, how stressful at times, how we have voiced on more than one occasion “What were we thinking?”, but that we have also accomplished a lot as a couple and a family and together we have almost made it. Our ordinary for the last 4 years of being a “Student family” is on the edge of coming to an end… we are nearly done with this chapter of life and that is a little scary, mostly exciting and feeling all very strange as we wonder about what happens next.
WP_20160420_14_06_09_ProEthan was almost 2 and Megan just a couple of months old, when Nathan started university back in 2012. He had started uni like most people do earlier in his life, but it hadn’t worked out then and it wasn’t what he had expected, and so at the time the best thing was for him to leave. He since has worked hard in various things and as long as I have known him, I have admired his work ethics. He had a good job for the early part of our married life, and I was again grateful for how hard he worked, but I knew he wasn’t 100% happy and that he had more to offer the world, but faced the problem that despite applying to jobs that would further his career, he couldn’t progress to where he wanted to be and go without a degree. We made the decision to just do it, do it whilst the kids are young and then as their needs increase he will be in a job where he is happier, earning more and able to offer them more and so he did. In September 2012 he enrolled as full-time student at the University of Huddersfield to study “Logistics and Supply chain management” at the business school and most of the time I haven’t a clue what he has been on about!!!

That wasn’t an easy decision, it has meant that money has been tight, we don’t always see each other at exam time and stress levels too have soared at certain periods of the year, not to mention parenting continues and we have faced some incredibly challenging personal trials too. But now it is almost done, life feels exciting and whilst so much has happend in these last 4 years of being a student family, its almost a shock we are so close to the end. I looked at he and Megs together and couldn’t believe she was a new born when this journey started and in a few months she will be starting school. So many changes and so much growth.
WP_20160420_14_05_06_ProWhilst it his his degree, his hard work and his knowledge that has been required to get to this point, it also wouldn’t have been possible without our sacrifices as a family and couple… We all have just pulled together, which hasn’t always been easy with grief, pregnancy and general life, but I have helped and supported him however I could, and he me when I needed him, and together we walked the journey together to get his degree and help him progress in his studies and hopefully career. We have both known it is a choice we made together in hope that it will bless the rest of our lives as a family. We looked out to our future on the edge of that hill under the sun and bright blue skies, and wondered what our ordinary would be like now? In 3 weeks University will be a thing of the past and whilst we still have a graduation, a ball and a job to find for him, this chapter is nearly closed and the world lies ahead for us to discover something new.
WP_20160420_14_02_23_ProI am so proud of him and how hard he has worked. It has been great as his wife to see that characteristic of work in him continue and not be extinguished when things were hard or when work loads increased. I have loved seeing him develop a passion for something and it was therefore so wonderful to be with him and see his face as he finally handed in his last ever assignment and headed out knowing it was nearly done.
WP_20160420_12_03_26_ProThe late nights, the research, the missing out on family time and the sheer exhaustion some days will hopefully all have been worth it. Our Ordinary moments of student life we soon say goodbye to, but they will be years and memories we hopefully will be thankful for as they shape the rest of our story. Thank you Nathan for working hard for your wife, your kids and especially your self accomplishments!
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Yesterday we returned home from a 2 night city break in Prague. It was so nice to be away together from the norms of life, wander without an agend, eat a meal without little hands grabbing and wake up naturally and see some places of great interest to us both.

Since being married and more so since having kids it has become really important to Nath and I that we have a weekly date and at least one night away together per year. Its usually not too adventurous, a hotel not far from home (within an hr) so that its not too much faffing getting them to Grandparents. So far in our marriage we have managed it both around Valentines and around our Anniversary (October). We are very blessed to both have parents that see going away together as an important part of ones relationship – especially with Kids. Whilst we love taking the kids on adventures and trips we also treasure being away together; relaxing, exploring and going on our own timetable as oppose a 2yr olds!

We are lucky we finally made it as things just seemed to be going wrong the weekend leading up to it, the main thing being that the car wouldn’t start – don’t even talk to me about cars as these days its causing us such a headache. I was also gutted I had to rethink my wardrobe choice after my fave black boots decided to give up on me and whilst I did consider wearing them anyway I thought wet feet on a city break wouldn’t make for an enjoyable time. A minor set back but in the end it all seemed so insignificant when we landed and realised how great it was just to be together and to not think of anything else but relaxing and enjoying ourselves.
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Whenever we go away we like to make use of public transport, one because its cheaper than Taxi’s and two because we like to see and be apart of the culture. We made full use of our £3 24hr travel passes which we purchased as we left the airport – it covered trams, metro and buses and overall was straightforward, well until we took a bus in the wrong direction and got slightly lost!
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transportThe first thing we noticed, and the main thing we had heard so much about, was the beautiful architecture, we both walked the first half hour or so with our heads upwards and mouths open looking at how amazing it all looked.

WP_20150126_09_43_34_ProWP_20150126_10_18_17_ProWP_20150126_10_12_29_ProWP_20150126_10_14_15_ProWe were very surprised at how cheap everything was, food especially. We enjoyed some delicious meals; a 2 course italian and drinks £9, a gorgeous panini in this little bakery £1.75 and then we splashed out on a 2 course Mexican on our last night and spent £14!! The hotel buffet was a treat too each morning with delicious poached eggs on toast and a yoghurt on my radar to set me up for the 6/7 miles of walking we did daily.
foodfood2I would say that Prague is a very fascinating city, with a very sad history! I am very much into WW2 history and post war and to be among it and feel that rawness of everything id read in books was both humbling and educating. The 2 places that impacted us the most were Terezin (a concentration camp / Jewish Ghetto which I plan on posting about to give it more recognition) and The Museum of Communism. You learn about these things in school history (at least we both did) but the magnitude of it all and how peoples lives really were can’t be seen or understood without seeing it with your own eyes.
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This trip was greatly needed for us both after the last few months of pain and grief, it was great to just be together and even to miss the kids, as we headed home we made plans of where we can take them this summer and were excited to see them and be a family again. I believe every couple needs time together to do the things they enjoy, to relax and rejuvenate and we have certainly being able to that with the help of our families.
What to you do to spend time together and where was the last place you took a trip just the 2 of you?

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