Early Valentines Day and Your Closet Hire

Dress: Nicolas via Your Closet Hire ($150 for 4 day rental), Shoes: Witchery (similar here $107.95)

Who else loves Valentines Day? I know it’s a “Hallmark Holiday” and I will admit that since having kids, it often ends up being pretty low-key but I can’t help it, I still love it. I think because I’m a girlie girl at heart, any excuse to wear a feminine dress, have flowers in the house and be surrounded by everything heart-shaped just makes me happy!

With all that being said, I think hubby will be travelling this Valentines Day (sad face) so this weekend we decided to celebrate a little bit early with a special date night on Sunday. We actually had a day date as well. We woke up early on Sunday morning, got the kids ready, piled into the car (with large coffee’s obviously) and headed up to the Yarra Valley. Our first stop was the Lavender farm which was absolutely stunning and of course smelt amazing.

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The rest of the day was then about the kids until we came home, cleaned up a bit and headed back out to one of our favourite restaurants in Hawthorn. I felt so amazing in that beautiful red dress from Your Closet Hire.

As I mentioned in this post, this past weekend I was lucky enough to be sent a few pieces from the girls at Your Closet Hire to help me out with my busy weekend. From hosting an Australia Day BBQ to a Girls Night Out and then an early Valentines Day dinner, I had the perfect outfits from amazing designers and what’s better; all the items I chose were $150 or under for a 4 day hire. Here is a little bit about them from their website:

“Your Closet is Australia’s premier online luxury dress rental destination. Your Closet allows you access to luxury Australian and International designers collections at a fraction of the retail price.

At Your Closet, we are rethinking the way Australian women have previously approached their closets. We exist because we believe a beautiful product shouldn’t only be experienced through owning it. Our team is prepared to go the extra length to ensure you sparkle in the perfect dress at all of your special events. We have experienced stylists on board to help every step of the way and to assist with your dress decisions.

By giving women access to remarkable luxury experiences, we’re changing the meaning of ownership and revolutionizing retail in the process.

We deliver Australia wide.”

As you know, I have worked with companies who do a similar thing with designer handbag hire and I have had great experiences but I wasn’t quite sure how it would work with clothing. How would I know my size? Surely clothing is much harder to maintain and keep at a high quality? What if I stain it, will I be paranoid all night?

Well first things first, all three pieces I chose arrived in pristine condition, you would never even know that they had been worn before let alone shipped all over the country. I was particularly impressed with the Camilla products as they are so light weight and delicate, you would think they would show signs of wear and tear but no, they were perfect. In terms of getting your size right, each product has a sizing guide online but you can also correspond with the girls via email and they are so helpful. I was undecided on my size for this Nicolas dress and the lovely Briella helped me to decide which size to go for, and in the end it was the perfect fit.

Finally, will you be paranoid to wear a dress that’s not ‘yours’? Personally I found that I wore it the same way I would wear a special or expensive dress whether it was mine or not. As I’m sure many of you can relate, when you wear something new for the first time, or that one item in your closet that you absolutely  love, you instinctively take a little bit more care and are a little bit more aware of your surroundings. With that being said, when you select a dress for hire you will pay a $5 insurance fee and that covers minor stains and damages. All dresses are dry cleaned once they are returned and before they are sent to the next lucky  customer.

If you head to the Your Closet website you will see a whole list of FAQ’s if you have any more questions, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use this service again and recommend it to everyone I know (like all of you :)). Perfect for weddings, hens nights, special events and celebrations, hiring an amazing designer outfit for a fraction of the price will allow you to look and feel a million bucks. Thanks again Your Closet Hire, I’m already scouting dresses for my next events ;). xxx

Diary Of An Expat: Week 14

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Hi everyone! Thanks for all your comments on last weeks craziness, it was a bizarre week that’s for sure! One of my friends actually said to me that it was good that I was in India during such a momentous time cause it will make a good story in future :). So let’s get into this week!

Highlight: Well the issue of the discontinued currency is still making waves across the country. Every morning we drive past tremendous queues at every bank and we hear stories of people we know struggling to feed their children or to send money to their families in the village. We still haven’t been able to get to a bank ourselves but we are very fortunate that it’s mainly by choice and a decision to wait until the rush dies down a little. We have however been able to help out a few people that we know are struggling and it feels really great to know that even small gestures like providing milk for another family, or giving the security guard at the kids school enough money to buy himself a chai each morning, really makes a difference during a time like this.

What I am loving: As I mentioned last week, going back to Melbourne means that I’ll be picking up some Personal Styling clients again. Given that it’s the party season I have been talking to a few people back home who have asked me to bring back some jewellery and accessories to pep up the outfits they already have planned. I have so many statement pieces from India that I love and shopping for finishing touches is one of my favourite things to do.

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See anything you like?

What I am missing: I didn’t miss much this week actually. I think I hit a sweet spot with knowing that it’s only a few weeks until we are heading back and hence I was able to enjoy what’s going on here and just take it all in as an experience. Anyone else find that as soon as you make a decision to make a change in your life, your current situation suddenly seems fun and like new opportunities are happening? haha, maybe it’s a grass is always greener scenario…

The biggest thing that I am missing in my life in general is SLEEP! My son is nearly 18months old and STILL doesn’t sleep through the night. He’s never been a great sleeper but the past two weeks have been tortuous. Multiple wake ups in the night, unsettled unless I’m with him then up for the day by 6:30am at the latest. I was really at my wits end but this morning I found another little tooth making its way up through his gums, so hopefully that is the explanation for the ‘worse than usual’ sleeping patterns.

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Permanently attached, lol. 

What I am looking forward to: Christmas!!! We’ve gone Christmas mad here as Hazelle is finally old enough to really get into it. Every afternoon we watch a Christmas movie or talk about Santa etc and it’s making me feel like a little kid again too. For the past two years we have had our picture with Santa at Chadstone Shopping Centre and I can’t wait to get another to add to our collection. Fingers crossed that this year the kids are happy enough with Santa and hubby and I don’t need to get in on the picture too haha.

Your questions:

Over the last two weeks I’ve had a mixed bag of questions, some of which don’t necessarily pertain to living in India but I love an ‘open forum’ so I’m just going to answer them all here.

“Do your in-laws live there with you? Will they move back as well?”

My MIL lives here in India and she will stay here but when we go back to Melbourne we will be staying with my parents for a little bit until we can find our own place. So we are going from one set of in-laws to another ;).

“Do they celebrate Christmas in India?”

Many Christians in India will celebrate and thanks to a more ‘westernised’ world there is much more acknowledgement of the holiday but it definitely isn’t recognised as much as it is in other parts of the world. There is a short break from school and businesses but it is only about a week or so.

“Do you catch public transport in Delhi?”

No! haha! Although to be honest, I don’t even take PT in Australia lol.  I wouldn’t want to take a bus here but I’ve heard that the train and newly installed metro systems are quite good.

“Your family is so cute, are you going to have anymore babies?”

haha! well thanks :). I guess my answer depends on how hard of a day I’ve had with my two ;). No, I think a third is on the cards, yes, but seeing as Hazelle and Xander are SO close in age (14months), the last 2 years have been crazy busy and we definitely need a little breathing space before we think about number 3.

“Can you help me find a dress for my work Christmas party?”

Yes!! 😉 Email me: themummystylefiles@gmail.com x

“Do you think you have to wear red or ‘festive’ colours for Xmas and New Years events?”

No absolutely not! Whatever the occasion I always recommend wearing something that you are comfortable in first and foremost. If red is not your colour or you REALLY aren’t a sparkly sequin kinda gal than forget it. Wear that killer LBD or a perfectly tailored pair of pants and blouse. If you are attending an event or function you DO have to adhere to the dress code to make sure you get the standard or dressing right. Other than that though, don’t feel pressured into gimmicky or ‘festive’ attire that is going to sit in your wardrobe for the rest of the year.

“You mentioned ‘hard water’ on snapchat. What is that?”

Here is a proper definition : Hard water is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with “soft water“). Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk which are largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates.

So I was talking (aka complaining) about hard water cause the tap water in India is considered ‘hard’. That means that you can’t drink tap water but it also means that when you shower you are using hard water which can be really hard on your skin and hair. I always notice when I’m in India that my skin breaks out a lot and I put that down to the pollution in the air and the salt and minerals in the water. Even after washing my hair it still feels salty and crunchy. I can’t wait to go back to ‘soft water’.

and I think that’s it! If you sent me a question in the last 3 weeks and I didn’t answer it today please just send it again and I promise to include it next week. I hope you didnt mind me going a bit off the ‘expat’ track today but a few of you seem to be curious about my life in general, which is totally fine with me :).

I hope you all have an amazing week and enjoy the downhill run to the end of the year; seriously where does time go? xx

Diary Of An Expat: Week 13

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Hi Friends!

Sorry for the absent week 12 recap, things have been a little bit crazy here and last weekend slipped by without me even noticing! I am happy to be back today because in terms of current affairs, this past week has been by far, the most interesting. From the city closing down due to extremely high pollution levels to the sudden and unexpected demonetisation of certain Indian rupee notes, it’s been a challenging but interesting week to be in New Delhi.

If you’ve ever travelled to India and in particular, New Delhi, you would know that the air quality is already questionable, particularly at this time of year, but this past week was off the charts. Early in the week it was so heavily polluted that you could barely see street signs on the road and asthmatics or those with respiratory illnesses reported an increase in difficulty of breathing. The government made the decision to close all schools from Monday- Thursday, which although was a bit inconvenient, it really was the best decision and it meant that we didn’t have to be out in the pollution. 4 extra days off school on the back of the 6 day Diwali break did mean that we went a little bit stir crazy but I will take a bit of boredom over litres of air pollution any day!

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Clean(ish) air means adventures in the garden 🙂

By Tuesday evening however, the air quality was much better and we were all set to get back to business as usual when on Wednesday morning we woke up to the news that the Indian Government had decided to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes in an effort to stop corruption and stamp out black money. This was effective immediately and the only places allowed to accept the old notes were petrol pumps and hospitals. India is a very cash driven country and a lot of people don’t even have bank accounts let alone credit and debit cards to use in lieu of cash. To say that this was a huge deal would be an understatement. We are fortunate to have a bank account here but we mainly deal in cash as well, so suddenly we found ourselves stuck too. We planned to go to the bank the very next day but we arrived first thing in the morning only to find 2-3 hour long queues full of people needing to open a bank account (so they could deposit money and get the new, valid currency) or exchange money. The situation has only worsened over the past few days with people getting even more desperate for money, ATM machines not working to dispense the new currency and rich people being forced to (literally) throw out huge stacks of cash so as not to draw attention to themselves from the tax office. We are hoping to get to the bank on Tuesday and will hopefully get some of the new notes but until then we are on rations at home haha.

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My last Starbucks coffee until we can get our hands on some of the new currency

Add in the results of the USA election and I think the world has officially gone crazy this week lol!

Aside from that I have some exciting news about our movements at the end of the year. We have decided to head back to Melbourne in early December and will stay for at least the foreseeable future. My husband has about a 3 month break in his project and we have really missed Australia and so we think that we’ll head back Down Under and then hubby will potentially do some fly in- fly out work for a little while until we decide what our plans will be after that.

I am SO excited to come home, we’ve randomly been singing ‘ I still Call Australia Home’ to the kids at night, for the past month or so, so I’m taking that as a sign haha. Given that it’s the festive season I plan to jump straight back into Personal Styling and will start taking clients from the 13th of December. Stay tuned for more details but if you’d like to book in an appointment or purchase a gift voucher for someone else then please send me an email and we can discuss it further.

I didn’t mean to stray from my usual format today but I guess I just had too much to say! It’s really been a wonderful experience in India and I’ve learnt a lot from our time here. I’m not sure that anything can prepare you for the experience of living in India, but there are so many amazing things that I will miss. For example, this week my MIL decided that she wanted to purchase a new Persian carpet for the house, so how does she buy it? She calls a man to come to the house with his collection of the finest rugs. I’ve never seen anything like it. The amount of carpets he presented to us, as well as pashminas and shawls for us to peruse was amazing. All in the comfort of our own house.

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The chosen ones.

My husband and I joke that Frank Sinatra said about New York that -“if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere”, well we are pretty sure that he never lived in New Delhi haha. I will continue to share what we get up to over the next 5 weeks as well so don’t worry this isn’t the end of my expat experience just yet :).

Next week I will get back to the original format and answer your questions which have banked up over the last 2 weeks. Don’t forget to comment or email me if you have any thing you are curious about too.

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post! I hope you all have a great week and that I am back next week with tales of a calmer Delhi. xxx

 

Monday Mornings

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Cardigan: Zara (similar here), Black singlet: lululemon athletica (similar here), Crop top: Forever 21 (similar here), Leggings: Forever 21 (similar here), Hoodie: Forever 21 (similar here), Shoes: Nike

Anyone else a sucker for Monday morning resolutions? No more alcoholic drinks until Friday night. No more sugar or junk food. Will work out every day. Sound familiar? I actually love Monday mornings. I can’t get to the gym over the weekend and am only able to work out when the kids are at school / day care which is Monday – Friday. I definitely don’t exercise all 5 days but having that little bit of freedom each morning is heaven for my sanity.

Last week I picked up some new activewear from Forever 21 and have since been busting to work out. I’m sure most of you can agree that having new clothes or shoes is the ultimate motivation to get your butt into the gym. I am usually a purist when it comes to my activewear. You know, Nike, Adidas, lululemon, Lorna Jane etc. Lots of fashion brands have added a sportswear line to their collections over the last few years but Ive always been a bit dubious of the quality. However with only two gym outfits with me in India and a constant  debate regarding our water supply, I decided to bite the bullet and just get a few pieces to see me through until the end of the year.

Well I think I’m officially a convert. At least with Forever 21. The quality is amazing, the fit is true to size and although I’ve only worn and washed it once, so far there are no complaints there either. Obviously in India I wouldn’t wear the crop top by itself but in Australia I would definitely feel comfortable thanks to it’s support and coverage. The sleeveless hoodie is a bit of a fashion addition for me, but it would be great for morning walks or post gym coffee’s too.

So what kind of Monday Morning resolutions do you guys make? Any tips to sticking with them ;)? Hope you all have a great week xx

Please note – the Forever 21 website is currently down so I’ve sourced similar products from Cotton On Body and linked them above. The Cotton On Body range is at a similar price point and although I’ve only worn a few items, I think the quality is quite similar too. 

Diary Of An Expat: Week 11

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Hi Friends! Happy Diwali as everyone is saying here. Today is Diwali which is the Festival of Lights. It is kind of like the equivalent to New Years Eve in Australia. Tonight we will light fireworks (yes we light our own on the rooftop terrace, eek), have some wine and just spend time as a family. Its been really fun to see all the goings on this week and to see how all the locals celebrate. Most of the houses in our community are lit up with fairy lights and have strings of marigolds hanging from their front gates. There are parties every night and my mother in law has been sent boxes of sweets, fruits and little gifts all week.

The kids had an early Diwali celebration at school as well and now they are on school holidays for a week.

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These Diyas are little clay pots used to hold candles on Diwali

Highlight: As I previously mentioned, all week there are various Mela’s (markets) all around Delhi where you can buy Diwali gifts, handicrafts, jewellery, traditional clothing etc. Most locals shop at these markets for everything they will need to decorate their house with for the holiday. One of the largest and most popular mela’s is put on by a local blind school and all of the proceeds go back into the school. I really wanted to attend this Mela so I was really happy that we were able to go on Wednesday. We decided it would probably be easier for everyone (mainly me) if Xander stayed home and so it became a bit of a girls only day out.

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I didn’t do too much shopping but as you can see there were heaps of wonderful things available and Hazelle scored a new handbag so it was a very successful day out in her book!

What I’m looking forward to:  Before we even left Melbourne a few months ago I was already hoping that we would all be able to go back for Christmas. As you know, I have a wedding on the 23rd of December so my tickets have been booked for months, but due to my husbands work schedule we weren’t sure if he and the kids could come back too. Well this week we finally settled on a date and booked tickets for the four of us to come home. I am so happy and can’t wait to see my parents and celebrate Christmas. This week has definitely put me in the festive mood and it will be so fun to keep that going back in Australia.

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Melbourne – we are coming for you!

What I am missing: You know, this week hasn’t been too bad in terms of ‘missing home’. We have a pretty good rhythm happening and I’m either getting used to the food and how things are or maybe the countdown to Christmas is getting me through, but all in all it’s been a pretty good week. I will say though, I am getting massive FOMO seeing the Spring Racing Carnival start in Melbourne. My stylist fingers are itching to pull some looks together ;). Next year I’ll be there for sure!

Your questions:

Do many people speak English? Do you find it easy to communicate? English is spoken by much of the population, and it’s the language of education, the professional workplace and politics. Most of the children will learn english at school too, no matter what kind of school it is. I still find it a little bit difficult to communicate however because most Indians have very thick accents and they feel the same about me. My dry / sarcastic sense of humour is definitely not a crowd pleaser either haha.

Can you wear shorts and mini skirts? If I really wanted to, I could. There are no laws or regulations about showing skin and in fact I see many Asian and Western foreigners wearing shorts or short dresses but out of respect I choose not too. I already command a fair amount of attention for being fair and tall, and female, so showing a lot of skin would only get me more attention. We don’t tend to go out at night much and I rarely go out without my husband so I never feel unsafe but for any young girls travelling alone or in small groups I would definitely advise against dressing skimpily at night.

How tolerant are the locals in New Delhi of foreigners? Is it easy to make friends? Making friends is just like anywhere else in the world, it takes time and good judgement but overall there are a lot of social opportunities and activities to get involved in if you want. Family is huge so if you find a good family to mix with then they will often introduce you to their connections and so on. Overally Indians seem to be quite tolerant of foreigners  however they only want to hear good things about their country. If you start a conversation listing all the things you miss about your home country, you can bet the conversation won’t last very long!!

…and that’s all I’ve got for you this week! Sorry I missed a few blog posts again this week, time went by so fast but I will make sure to catch up with all my scheduled posts next week. For now though its almost time to light those fire crackers! Have a great week everybody xx

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Diary Of An Expat: Week 10

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‘Week 10’ just sounds like it should be good, doesn’t it? Well thankfully, it was a good one for us! In fact it went by so quickly and we spent most days out and about that I fell behind with my usual posting schedule. I guess it is a good sign when you a living your life instead of blogging about it all the time though right? ;).

Highlight: As opposed to what I’ve been complaining about over the last 9 weeks, this week we had SO MUCH GOOD FOOD! We have really nailed down our favourite restaurants and cafes and eat out at least 3 times a week. This is more than we normally would at home but we also don’t do a big grocery shop each week so it’s not like we are wasting food at home. Dhaba is one of our favourite places. It serves Indian street food but all prepared in a high quality restaurant environment. It is the best place for hubby to get his fix of meat and the best place for me to feel like I am eating something other than bread and rice :).

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Xander obviously knows exactly where to go. We are fast becoming regulars here 🙂

 

We also found an amazing ‘Wine and Beer’ shop that sells imported brands as well as local. There is a local wine here called ‘Sula’ that is honestly THE WORST wine you will ever taste haha. Now I like my wine and I’ve definitely had my share of sub-par vinos but if I had to choose between Sula or nothing, I’d go nothing every time! Of course imported bottles equals highly inflated prices but we managed to find some of our favourites at an ok price!

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hmmm take me to the vino

Things I’m loving: The festive season is still in full swing over here and the next two weeks will just get even crazier. Every day there seem to be new mela’s popping up, live performances, fireworks at night and just a general atmosphere of celebration. We hit a few markets over the week and this weekend but we are planning on doing the most popular one in Delhi, which is put on by a local Blind School, tomorrow after we pick the kids up from school.

Things I’m missing: The greenery and clean (ish) air. The weather is cooling down and like I mentioned last week it is really pleasant in the mornings but now that the Monsoons have finished Delhi is turning into a dust bowl. You can see how dusty the road is in the picture at the start of this post. November / December is when we would usually come for our annual visit, so this is the India that I know, and trust me it just gets worse. Pretty much everything you wear gets covered in dust and dirt and the air quality is terrible, but having seen how green and luscious all the gardens were during the monsoons, it’s a big shame seeing everything turn brown.

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This was our front yard during the Monsoons.

What I’m looking forward to: Diwali school holidays start on Friday and we are thinking of taking a trip to a nearby city called Jaipur. Some of you might be familiar with Jaipur or ‘The Pink City’ as it’s often called. It is supposed to be really beautiful and have some of the most amazing textiles and fabrics so it would be great if we could get ourselves there. It’s about a 5 hour drive so that will be a fun logistic to work out with two kids under 2.5 but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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How amazing does this look?

Your Questions:

Are you still considering a type of online /blog store if a particular item is required for Aussie customers? Yes I definitely am however I haven’t been able to get a good enough lay of the land in terms of manufactures, seamstresses, suppliers etc yet. I do have a handful of good sources to deal with one on one client requests but not yet to fill a store. Definitely still in the works though :).

Is it safe to eat street food? I’d say eat at your own risk. Unless you have reliable sources and you know that all the produce is fresh and prepared hygienically I’d probably advise to skip it. If no other reason than the climate, it is really hard to ensure that the food is safe. If you really want to try the street food look for a very popular stall as the locals will be the best judge. A popular vendor also means that they will be making everything fresh and will have a high sell through rate.

Have you lost weight in India? I’m not really sure what the intention behind this question was and I thought for a long time about whether to include it but I’ve decided to give the asker the benefit of the doubt and assume nothing negative was being implied! But yes I think I have. We don’t have any scales here but I’d say I’ve maybe lost 2-3kgs. Nothing major and not at all intentionally. I think the change in diet, climate and probably a little bit (a lot) of general lifestyle adjustments have contributed to this. The gym has been good for me though as I am slowly putting on some muscle mass and I’m sure that Christmas back in Melbourne will sort me out quick smart ;).

And so concludes another week as an expat! Is anyone else starting to freak about how close the end of the year is? I am just excited as we will all be heading back to Melbourne to spend Christmas with my family. It is looking like our plans might be changing too (story of my life) so the next month or so will be crunch time for us figure out what we want to do in early 2017. Never a dull moment for the MSF family ;). Have a great week everyone xx

 

 

 

 

What I Wore Wednesday

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Tee: Zara, Jeans: Paige Denim, Shoes: Marks and Spencer, Bag: Zara

Happy hump day friends! Firstly I just want to thank you all for the lovely and supportive comments you sent me after last weeks rocky expat post! I am happy to report that week 10 is already shaping up to be a good one :). So lets get to today’s post! Is there anything better than a classic pair of jeans and a crisp white t-shirt? I know that it is very Jennifer Aniston, circa early 2000 but really, you just can’t go wrong.

I am so happy that the weather is slowly starting to cool down here because I am a denim girl through and through. Although I am on the ‘minimalist’ side when it comes to my staple wardrobe, I do love a pop of colour in accessories and this red cross-body bag was the perfect exclamation mark for my outfit. To be honest, I really wanted to add a burgundy / red felt fedora to this outfit but there is absolutely no place for a felt hat here in India, no matter how good you look in hats lol!

I know that some people are a bit funny about ‘mixing metals’ but it doesn’t bother me at all. My necklace is silver and the chain of my bag is gold. I usually wear a gold bangle everyday as well as my platinum engagement and wedding rings so I am definitely ok with a mixed bag of jewellery :). However, I will admit that often sticking to one metal either silver or gold, will create a more cohesive look over all!

I’m sure my fellow mum’s out there will agree that jeans and a tee are a major staple in the ‘mum on duty’ wardrobe, but next time you pop on your go-to pieces why don’t you try to add a little bit of interest somewhere too? Things like a bright bag like mine, a metallic sneaker, bright lipstick or a statement necklace will help take your jeans and tee to the next level and I guarantee that it will add a little extra pep in your step too!

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone. See you on Friday x