Cosy AND chic: My pick of this season’s snuggly styles

It’s easy to simply throw on a print dress and a pair of sandals in the summer – not forgetting the huge slouchy bag you need if you’re a parent, containing everything from plasters to sunscreen, crayons to baby wipes.

But, in the winter, coordination becomes key as you layer up against the plummeting mercury levels. My children don’t seem to feel the cold at all, they’re still desperate to get out and about – building snowmen in the garden, playing in the park, collecting leaves to make collages. So, determined this winter to enjoy the Great Outdoors no matter what the weather throws at me, I’m going to be investing in my wardrobe of warm woollies with some pieces that are bang on trend.

Here are my favourites so far:


Cuddly coats

It’s not very often that style and practicality meet. But with the re-entrance of faux fur coats on the fashion scene, I’ll be super warm and super stylish. Everyone from Kim Kardashian, whose style has moved from bodycon dresses to more fashion forward pieces of late, to Agyness Deyn, who never sets a fashion foot wrong, have been donning beautiful fur pieces. For a more relaxed version, I absolutely love this style from Browns. At £3,720 it’s way over my price range though – and I’d rather have faux – so I’m going to be searching for a high street copycat.

Hearts and minds

Heart prints have been all over the catwalks for autumn and winter, with Burberry’s heart motif shirt becoming an A-list favourite – worn by the likes of One Direction’s Harry Styles and Spice Girl turned designer Victoria Beckham. And the heart motif knitted dress from La Redoute is a cute take on the trend. I’ll be wearing with opaques and biker boots.

Essential knitwear

You simply can’t have too many pieces of knitwear in the winter. A sweater is perfect for throwing over jeans or layering over a crisp white shirt and wearing with a pencil skirt and heels for work. This sweater from The Kooples would work with just about everything. And, not only is it ideal for this season, it takes in two trends from next season as yellow is a key hue for spring, and it also has a sports luxe feel.

Boots made for playing

While ballet pumps are my summer staple – smart enough for work but comfortable enough for running around with the kids, for winter, flat boots are absolutely essential. They look great and you can wear thermal socks underneath them to stave off frostbite. With equestrian styling featuring heavily on this season’s catwalks, I’m going to be opting for a riding boot, like this Lucky Brand pair, with two-toned brown suede and leather styling and buckle details.

The sleeveless jacket

While it may not be warm enough in the depths of winter, sleeveless jackets have been showcased on the runways of Antonio Berardi, Chloé and Rochas. I love this blue version from N_8 for Emeza. You could easily layer over a white blouse and black trousers for an extra layer of warmth in the office, or make it work with your casual wardrobe by wearing over a rollneck and leather skinnies or jeans.

This season’s pieces just go to show that you can stay warm while channelling some of winter’s biggest trends. That’s not to say though that I won’t simply be donning my onesie and fluffy slippers once I get home from work and the school run.

Katie is the style-addicted blogger behind the Delightsome Blog. You can follow her adventures on twitter @delightsomeblog.

5 Celebrities Rocking the Ponytail

celebrities who rock a pony tail

Some of Hollywood’s top celebrities have brought back the ponytail. Image

What do Mila Kunis, Mariah Carey, and Kim Kardashian have in common? Here’s a hint: it’s a shared talent. When it comes to hair, they’re all masters of making some of the most casual, relaxed hairstyles look like ultra-chic, stylish masterpieces.

These five celebrities are all rocking ponytails while out and about shopping, going to premieres and media events, and even while taking part in fashion photo shoots:

          1.  Mila Kunis

Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis has come a long way since the days of That 70s Show. The Hollywood star is known for her natural beauty and stylish looks, and a stylish messy ponytail suits her sleek, chiselled face like no other hairstyle. Perfect for the stylish-but-not-too-formal look.

2.  Gwyneth Paltrow

Whether she’s trying to impress Tony Start or wow the paparazzi, Gwyneth Paltrow can make a simple ponytail look effortlessly stylish. We’ve seen this superstar rock a low ponytail, a high and tight ponytail, and the typical mid-length ponytail, making her one of Hollywood’s most versatile hair influences.

3.    Mariah Carey

Known for her amazing voice and thrilling live show, Mariah Carey is one of the pop world’s most stylish and timeless performers. While she may be best known for her curly styles of the 1990s, Mariah Carey’s current hairstyles are stylish, versatile, and perfect for everyday life.

4.     Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba makes casual cool look incredibly stylish. This dynamic Hollywood star is one of the ponytail masters, rocking the casual hairstyle at the gym, at live events and press conferences, and even at red carpet premieres. Whether it’s off to the side or loosely plaited, Jessica Alba’s casual hairstyles are excellent ponytail inspiration.

5.     Kim Kardashian

Whether it’s long or short, straight or curly, Kim Kardashian’s hair has never failed to impress. The world’s biggest reality show star has rocked a variety of ponytails in the last five years after hitting it big with the show Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

The key to Kim Kardashian’s impressive ponytail is length, which can be achieved using hair extensions, a clip-on ponytail, and other hair accessories. Straighten the ponytail and wear to the side for the ultimate reality superstar look.

Should I Take “Baby-bump” Photos or not?

reasons to take a baby bump photoThese days, it is typical for many to track large events in their lives through photographs that are posted online, given to family members, or even used on invitations or holiday cards. Even though the trend to take “baby-bump” photos during pregnancy is a huge one, in recent years, some mothers may have mixed feelings. Read on to decide whether you should take these sorts of photos or not while expecting:

Reasons to Take Baby Bump Photos

Many may take baby bump photos because they are excited or proud of their upcoming child, or of their growing family. Others may be influenced by photos of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kate Middleton, and more to celebrate their pregnancy with such photos. Some believe that taking such photos helps to keep their friends and family (especially those that are far flung) in the loop about the progress of their pregnancy, and how they are doing. Indeed, this is a good way to keep others up-to-date on your progress, health, and more. You can use the photos for baby shower invites or announcements.  These pictures may even serve as future family heirlooms that you later show your children or even pass down to them once they start a family themselves. For many, these reasons are enough to convince them to buy-in to this popular trend, even paying professional photographers to take such photos.

Reasons to Not Take Baby Bump Photos

Still, some other expectant mothers and families decide to not take such photos. This group may see such photos as an invasion of privacy, or as something that family and friends do not necessarily need to see, just as they would not post pictures of other intimate parts of their lives. Documenting your child’s growth and health on a social site such as Facebook, which can be searched via search engines such as Google without proper privacy settings, is a hot topic in many parental circles. Or, families may take these pictures for their own records or photograph albums, but not desire to share such things with others. This can be a great compromise if it is very important to you and your family to have such mementos, but you are not so sure about sharing them. These people often see their growth in pregnancy as a private matter, and to show-off such shots seem to invite comparison from others, which they may not be interested in.

Mandy is a proud mother of four.  She occassional writes for PaperStyle on parenting and baby shower planning, as well as other aspects of pregnancy.  She’s recently started her own blog about life at home,

Do You Let Your Sons Play with Dolls or Barbies?

Growing up I loved Barbies and I wish I had all of the collection I had back then for my daughter to enjoy but alas I don’t have that collection because I handed them down to my aunt and uncle for their children back in the day. My daughter has slowly worked on increasing her Barbie collection, but she has no other little girls to play with on a regular basis. Enter my two sons, they have grown up playing Barbies with their sister, granted usually this means that they hang the Barbie and/or Ken dolls by their feet, undress them and upset sissy by having her Barbies naked or just run off stealing most of her Barbies and hiding them.

For the most part my two sons love playing Barbies just as much as they love playing with their matchbox cars. Is this wrong? I say not. I honestly don’t have some phobia with my sons exploring whatever they see fit, dress up, playing with dolls, or playing house.  Some may feel having boys play with Barbies is a bad thing, because they are to grow up to be MEN, big strong, STERN men. Why can’t a young child who played with dolls or Barbies growing up turn into a big strong man? They can. I have seen it, and without setting examples, I do have first hand knowledge that boys playing with dolls at a young age does no harm at all, especially in my situation where the boys have a big sister that they look up to and want to interact with.

So, would you let your son play with dolls? Why or why not? Enlighten me.

Ragu Brand Ambassador NYC Trip #raguweekend @ragusauce

I am just back from a fabulous trip to NYC where about 27 of us Mom Bloggers got together to learn more about Ragu & Ragu Brand Mom’s The Word on Dinner program. The trip was scheduled and I packed light for the overnight trip.

This is the first time I was going to be flying completely alone and only the second time flying in my life, so I decided not to pack all of my hair gels and what not. I am still not up to par on the restrictions of what you can carry onto a plane these days. I boarded a propeller plan in Manchester, NH without any issues.

I took a few pics from the plane for my sons to see a big plane, well actually this is technically a small plane, but to my sons it was huge! I sat back and tried to see what I could see from my window seat on the way to NYC airport. After about a 50 minute flight I arrived in NYC.

I was picked up at the NYC airport in an Escalade which was pretty stylish, thank you Ragu! My driver wasn’t too talkative, but was very professionally friendly and even walked me to the door of the hotel I stayed at. Once I was inside the hotel lobby and all checked in, I walked up to my room to check it all out.

I met friends down in the lobby for lunch and after that I capture a shot of my best friend @mommadjane and new friend @angengland while we waited for cocktail hour.

Thursday was more of a “meet n greet” kind of night, we had cocktail hour and a fabulous dinner where Kim Kardashian actually ate & filmed right behind where we were sitting.

I had a wonderful time meeting and greeting all of the Ragu Brand Mom Ambassadors and the PR firm representatives. Dinner was pretty good and the socializing was fab! After dinner @mommadjane , @onescrappyblog and I walked around Times Square before retiring to bed.

More stories to come about my experiences at Unilever on Friday and the Ragu Brand Trip as a whole!

Disclosure: I am a Ragu Brand Mom Ambassador and I do receive compensation for this program. This NYC trip was free. All opinions and experiences are that of my own.

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