Sunday’s Monday Mantra – Don’t be a Dick

February 8, 2016

Monday mantra - don't be a dick

Street Style Sunday – Overalls

February 6, 2016

 

I am extremely late to this party, as these are my first pair of dungarees since I was a nipper. I think it’s because I’m not a size 8 I have been wary that they could ever suit me. However I’m loving these ones from Wrap London. Perfect with heels or trainers, and so easy to grab in the morning because they are as comfy as an old pair of gloves.

 

Street Style Sunday - dungarees

denim overalls - dungarees

Street Style - denim dungarees from Wrap

 

Dungarees | Top | Shoes | Glasses

 

I guess the moral of the story is don’t write anything off without trying it out for yourself first. You never know you might just LOVE it.

 

What do you think of the dungarees? Would you wear denim overalls?

 

I’ve have started up a new IG account exclusively for Street Style Sunday – so follow me on and tag me in your favourite outfits for a chance of a repost.

 

Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday!

 

Love Nat x

The dungarees and top were kindly gifted to me by Wrap. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Why YOU should become a blogger

February 3, 2016

 

Bear with me here because there are many people who think that the last thing we need is another blogger on the block  (sorry Jenny) in this already oversaturated industry.

 

BUT I say if you have been mulling over delving into the dark, murky waters of blogging don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

 

Here’s reasons why you won’t regret becoming a blogger and then a few pointers at the end about why it might be the worst thing you ever did (to keep it balanced):

 

CREATIVE OUTLET – It is a great outlet to express your creative side. Blogging allows you to dip your toes in and explore things you like doing. Ever dreamed of writing a novel?  Well blogging is the perfect place to test out your writing skills and see how your audience reacts. For me, oh I do love dicking about with some flowers and a flat lay to satisfy my creative juices.

 

Flat lay dried flowers

 

THERAPY – Talking to people face to face is not always easy, I know this all too well. Blogging allows me to get myself heard without actually having to look anyone in the eyes and talk/cry. See my Happiness Is Not Always Something You Can See as a prime example. This post really brought around a huge change for me, many people reached out, and helped me realise that everything was not totally hopeless, and for that I am truly grateful.

 

happiness is not something you can always see

 

MEMORIES – I used to be crap at taking photos. There are so many stunning holidays and special moments that I wish I had snapped. Blogging has forced me to remember to keep my camera close by my side.  I know what a difference good pictures make to a great blog post. I have also massively increased my photography skills just by seeing what works and what doesn’t – there’s nothing like a big screen to highlight the horrible bits. So now I have tons of great pictures to treasure.

 

CAMERA READY – Sometimes when all I’ve felt like doing is throwing on my trackies and doing the school run in last nights make up, blogging has made be rethink. I now have to be ready at all times just in case I walk past a ‘good’ wall. Or god forbid someone might recognise me. My Insta-husband may not quite agree with me on this one 😉

 

Style Me Sunday

 

ONLINE DIARY – Sometimes I look back at what I posted 3 years and cringe, but sometimes I look back and smile and remember what we were like back then. Good memories captured forever.

 

EXPRESS YOURSELF – Whether you want to talk about breastfeeding your 10 year old kid or changing the world one step at a time, your blog is your domain, no one or nothing should dictate to you about what you do and don’t write. If that has to be anonymously or not, so be it, it’s your time to say exactly what you want to say.

 

FAILED MODEL – Ever dreamed of being a model when you were a little girl, only to be told you were too short, tall, big, ugly, commercial-looking? Yep me too.  Blogging is the perfect place to let all your model/ diva tendencies out to full effect.  F**k all those people who told you you’ll never be a model – because now blogging allows you to be the hottest thing since Cara D (even if it is only in your head).

 

And lastly I feel it’s my duty to give you the dark side too, here’s why it might be the WORST thing you ever did: 

 

Peoples comments may be very hurtful, and there’s always the risk of a complete nutter or two cyber stalking you.

You become addicted to social media and there no longer a clear definition between where your right hand ends and your iPhone begins.

You care too much about stats and rankings. Personally I never look at my stats because brands I work with don’t tend to ask for them, but I know people can get a bit obsessed with this and that is not good.

You look at everything in squares – oooo that will look so good on Instagram – the threat is all too real people.

 

So think carefully, but if that’s what you want to do what are you waiting for – GO FOR IT.

 

Have you ever thought about blogging? What kind of blog would you like to have?

 

Love Nat x

Sunday’s guest post from Elaine…

February 2, 2016

 

Is Your Child Maria Montessori Material?

 

Montessori

 

I don’t know about you, but when I saw the above  of what the educational guru suggests one’s child’s should be doing according to age….well, I just about fell off my child-sized chair laughing. Mateo has been in a Montessori for 2 years. At least, I think he has. Perhaps he’s been buggering off to sniff glue with the local squirrels.

 

This is the adapted Age Appropriate Chores for Children – according to the del Cerro household:

 

Age 3 to 6 tasks (Mateo is nearly 5)

 

Help sweep. Mateo loves to arrive at the last minute, when the pile of remnants is ready to go into the pan with one final, satisfying sweep. How much damage can be done with a short-handled broom? That’s a rhetoric question. The shorter the handle, the more control, right? Wrong. It merely means it is easier to flick crap off floor onto ceiling, behind fridge, into parent’s eyes and screaming mouth.

 

Help vacuum. This entails wrestling hoover from parent’s hands and proceeding to wipe out anything and everyone within a 2 feet reach. A midget version of Gladiator’s Duel. Imagine a mouse with a Q-tip and temper.

 

Help prepare meals and snacks. At school “Mateo LOVES to help. He just needs to be asked once.” Apparently, Mateo is a different child when at school. At home: repeat request for help at least 7 times. Proven winning strategy: Threaten death or dangle favourite toy over dustbin. Do not show displeasure when an entire box of cereal is upended into an eggcup. On the floor. Or when “get an apple” results in a bite mark taken out of all 6 apples, followed with “I don’t like apples.”

 

Set table. Mateo loves this. It’s the only time he’s allowed to touch a knife or anything remotely important. Try to remain calm and act thankful when you end up with 14 knives, 1 Tupperware container and 3 very expensive wine glasses in a weird layout on dining room table. Oh, and a cat on the chair to provide conversation.

 

Clear table. Let your child carry their plate to the kitchen. It’s okay if the sauce/remaining food falls onto his face “I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING, THE PLATE IS IN MY FACE, WOAH SOMETHING IS IN MY EYES”, then clothes, then floor, enroute. That’s why we teach him how to sweep, remember? See point 1.  F you, Maria.

 

Help wash dishes. Lock away all pets first (including goldfish and dry land tortoises). Do not ever let the sink be plugged. Ever. Maintain an open plughole at all times. Start using plastic crockery if you ever want to use it a second time. Rubber gloves are a bad idea as they can carry a lot more water than one might think. Up the stairs and to the sitting room.

 

Feed pets. This is also called ‘make your pets love then hate you’. Keep the plunger and vet phone number close to hand. “Do not give them jalapenios or frijoles, they are not Mexican!”

 

Clean mirrors and windows. Did this once. Never again. I mean, it’s fine if you clean your mirrors and windows with plain water (who does that?). Here, have some Windex. What harm? Never look away. Not even for one second. It’s very difficult to get toothpaste off mirrors and windows.

 

Make their bed. Not to be attempted if you like hospital corners or suffer from even the tiniest amount of OCD.

 

Help fold clothes. Shut up, Maria.

 

Tend to the garden. What, that 15yr old hydrangea he just dug up? That’s absolutely not bothering me at all. Remove secateurs, for the plants and child’s sake.

 

Tidy their room. Known as shoving crap into every corner possible. Or putting every single toy, stray clothing and piece of tiny lego (100s at last count) inside duvet cover. On a good day, there’s at least one pet in there too.

 

Polishing silver. There’s a reason it says to keep that shit away from eyes (and furniture *sobs*).

 

Wipe table before and after meals. Smear that shit everywhere. Preferably with a linen napkin that is hand wash only.

 

NB. The Toddler Tasks…. Well, these are all the above but with supervision. They’re an intro to the 3-6 yrs list. A sort of soft opening. The one worth noting here is the last one “Pick out clothes to wear“. This has no supervision, you’re supposed to let your child do this unaided, unguided and ALONE. We all know how naturally blessed a toddler is in the art of sartorialistic choices. If you know me or my husband – this was the ultimate “letting go” of any kind of control. It brought about MANY painful tears. Sobs, actually, and none were from the child. I’m not talking a superhero costume, by the way. Compared to what Mateo chooses for himself, his Batman costume is the equivalent of a bespoke suit.

 

The conclusion I have reached (for my own sanity, if nothing else), is that Maria Montessori must have been talking about girls.

 

Elaine

Sunday’s Monday Mantra – I choose Happy

February 1, 2016

i choose happy - yellow tulips

Street Style Sunday – A tourist in London

January 31, 2016

 

The other weekend we decided to go to the Tower of London, up the Shard (that is not a euphemism btw), to Borough Market, the Southbank and generally walk around London taking in all the sights, as there’s still so much I haven’t seen or experienced even though I’ve lived here nearly all of life, except a brief stint in North Essex.

 

WE WERE TOURISTS IN OUR OWN TOWN.

 

So grab your camera, and walking shoes and explore your own hometown through fresh eyes – I highly recommend it.

 

London

Shard - london

Tower brigade and the thames

style me sunday in a denim pinafore dress

I have found a very similar denim dress if you want to get one.

 

Love Nat x

Jenny Lewis in Malawi Part 2

January 29, 2016

I interviewed Jenny Lewis a few days ago about her time in Malawi for WaterAid  as part of an extension of her One Day Young project.

Here are some more photos she wanted to share with us. And if you want to hear her voice here’s a link to Jenny talking to the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03fz383

 

Postnatal ward in Malawi

This is the post delivery room… the beds were taken so Esnart who is in Labour and has been for 20 hours waits patiently on the floor she has already been moved in and out of the delivery room that only has 2 beds twice today. Ethel proudly holds her granddaughter while her daughter Miriam lays on the floor in pain bleeding heavily from the birth two hours before. The midwives seem concerned but Ethel said it was the same for her when she had children and is completely relaxed. There is a woman to my left who has given herself an abortion and has been writing in pain for two days …on my right lies Joyce with her baby born this morning. A few hours later there are five women sitting on this mat with their new babies. This is where they will spend the night until they are allowed to leave the centre and walk home..upto 13 hours walk away.

Postnatal ward Malawi
This is the other side of the post delivery room where i was standing to take the previous picture, its pretty clear to see the state of this room. I was here for 10 days and didn’t once see it cleaned.

Jennylewis maternity room in malawi

 Two women in labour.
jennylewis hand washing are a for midwives
Hand washing area for midwives
jenny lewis malawi wateraid
Labour room
jennylewis soap for hand washing
 Soap for hand washing.
Women carrying water in africa
The women collect water for all their needs washing / drinking/ cooking and have to provide the midwives with water for the birth. All this needs to be carried from the water pump about a twenty minute walk from the centre. The community is angry the water is shared by the hundreds of women staying at the health centre as this creates queues and when the water table  is low there is no water pressure in the pump it pretty much dribbles out. This water is not clean and of course carries a risk to anyone drinking it.

If you would like to donate to WaterAid please donate here for every pound donated the UK government double it. Let’s help transform the lives around the world with clean water and sanitation. 

Being Brave

January 28, 2016

 

I’ve been watching Mary Portas Secret Shopper (I think she’s bloody brilliant)  and in the last episode she recited a poem that someone had told her once, and it really resonated with me.

 

 

London, blue fur coat and denim pinafore dress

 

 

similar dress | socks | similar hat | similar trainers | similar coat | old non-prescription glasses

“Come to the edge, he said.
We are afraid, they said.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came to the edge,
He pushed them and they flew.
Come to the edge, Life said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, Life said.
They came. It pushed them…
And they flew.”

 

Don’t be afraid of going after your dreams. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

Love Nat x

Sundays 8k IG THANK YOU giveaway

January 27, 2016

 

I am so excited to announce a massive, huge THANK YOU giveaway I’ll be having on Instagram from tomorrow to celebrate reaching 8000 followers recently. To give something back to my lovely followers I have harass and cajoled 8 amazing brands to  collaborate with me and we will be giving something away every day for the next 8 days, so keep your eyes peeled. Go find me on Instagram to be within a chance of winning.

 

This has taken a hell of a lot of organising so I hope you’ll be happy with the prizes. Here they are:

 

Thursday 28th January – Win an item of the brightly coloured Scandi brand Moromini from Kyna Boutique’s available stock.

 

Friday 29th January – Win a Pinterest for business web course from PinRight worth £199. It’s a nine module course with step by step instructions of how to set up and optimise a Pinterest business account to drive traffic to your website. I’ve done it – it’s amazing!

 

Saturday 30th January – Win a stunning interlocking circles Elska infinity necklace from Lines and Current.

 

Sunday 31st January – Win a hugely popular A4 lightbox from Yellow Lolly.

 

Monday 1st February –  Win sweatshirt of your choice of Parent Apparel available exclusively at The Dandy Kid. 

 

Tuesday 2nd February – Win a beautiful glass terrarium from Southwood Stores.

 

Wednesday 3rd February – Win this stylish monochrome A3 cloud print (unframed) from Burp Boutique.

 

Thursday 4th February – Win a lovely pink Meri Meri flamingo necklace from Roo’s Beach.

 

 

 

8kThank You Giveaway on Instagram

 

 

Follow Style Me Sunday on Instagram to see how to win these fantastic prizes.

 

If you are already following me Instagram, thank you so much for helping me reach the 8k mark. And if you’re a new follower I will be thanking you at the next milestone in a big Sunday Style too.

 

Love Nat x

 

 

Sunday talks to…Jenny Lewis about WaterAid in Malawi

January 25, 2016

 

I am honoured to have the wonderful photographer Jenny Lewis on the blog today discussing her recent trip to Malawi. We randomly discovered we both have ties to Colchester, and we actually went to the same sixth form college in Colchester (where I met my husband), albeit at different times. Please have a read of this really interesting interview, and look at her stunning photos of her time in Southeast Africa:

 

Day4-JennyLewis-WA-JoyceSibande21-postnatalroom-ODY-_001

Day1-JudithChibwe-WA-JennyLewis-_0120 copy 2

 

I have admired your stunning feed on Instagram for a while now. Recently your pictures from your trip to Malawi really resonated with me (probably because I used to be a midwife), can you tell us what your Malawi pictures were for?
 
I was approached in the summer by WaterAid who asked if I would do an extension of my original One Day Young project in Malawi where they were working with very vulnerable women in a remote rural area where the community including the health centre had no access to clean sanitised water. To explore what this meant to the women and investigate the similarities and differences to their experience with their babies in that first day. I should explain the original project if your not aware of it are portraits of women captured back in their own homes within the first twenty fours since the birth of their child. I wanted to capture this intimate image and celebrate women to put them on a pedestal rather than tucked away in a family album. Making this image of empowerment and pride a topic to be discussed in the media and art world… no longer hidden away.

Why did you decide to go to Malawi?

The opportunity to explore this moment in another culture was very exciting and I lept at the chance. I did of course have a reservations that I would be an outsider, it was going to be quite different to photographing women in my own community where I am also a mother . I worried that language and cultural barriers would make capturing that intimacy quite tricky.

What did you see that really stays with you from your time in Malawi?
 
I think what shocked me the most was how I hadn’t considered that access to clean water is a basic right without that you have nothing…. Your choices are stripped back to simply survival. You think of no water as making you thirsty, or having health complications. You think of gathering water a social occasion with women talking and laughing washing clothes by a river. The reality is so different. Having no water means everything, your whole existence is based on gathering water and that is a relentless task that doesn’t go away. Some women had a 6 hr round trip to collect water for their family and that has to happen everyday so you see it stops your life progressing as there is no time and no energy for anything else. Firewood also needs to be collected to boil that water to make it safe to drink. These jobs are only done by the women in the community even the male children do not get involved in collecting water so I began to see water as a women issue. I didn’t see any flowing rivers with women laughing and chatting but muddy holes in the ground where a shallow scoop was used to collect it. Water stops girls being educated as they have this responsibility to the family. If there is limited water to drink then washing clothes is not a great priority or yourself for that matter.

As I sat in the health centre meeting women waiting in the Guardian sheds… in labour or just after in the post delivery room I was shocked by how unclean the rooms, visible dirt not just invisible germs. The two beds that weren’t broken looked filthy, clods of dust fell from the curtains which I rearranged to get more light in the room for a picture. As I sat on the floor photographing a mother with her baby twenty minutes old the women next to be lay bleeding and another women threw up on the floor… how was this going to be cleaned… who was going to collect water to clean this let alone find some cleaning fluid. The conditions were totally appalling and women had walked up to 13hrs to get to this health facility. I was angry that they deserved something better, somewhere safe, clean… an area to wash… an area to recover that wasn’t putting them and their baby at risk. But it’s so complicated the community doesn’t have water… where do you start.

 

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What can we do help?
 
The Deliver Life appeal that WaterAid is running till the end of February aims to reach 130,000 mothers around the world improving conditions in this health centre and many more like it. Its work that will immediately support these women and the midwives struggling to support them. The horrific infant and maternal mortality rates should improve overnight once these facilities have clean water. While the appeal runs the government has agreed to match fund all donations so your efforts will be doubled so its a great time to show support.

 

What else are you working on at the moment?
 
I’ve been working on another project much closer to home investigating the creatives in my community, the borough of Hackney. I’ve been working on this series for three years now with each subject nominating the next creating an authentic family tree of individuals. The project started as a celebration of the wealth of talent in the area but as I continue to shoot a feeling that this is the end of an era is creeping into the series. A political and historical documentation of what used to be rather than what is… roughly half of the subjects I have shot for the series have had to move on due to rising rents or more frequently eviction as studios are pulled down to make way for luxury flats. If you’d like to delve into the series take a look here http://jennylewis.net/hackney-studio/hackney-studio/2997

 

If you would like to donate to WaterAid please donate here for every pound donated the UK government double it. Let’s help transform the lives around the world with clean water and sanitation. 

 

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