Swatch the Eyes, not shady

I often get asked for gift ideas for tweens and teens. I mean heck it’s not surprising I have more of them than I do preschoolers! There really is sooooo much available for the little people these days – as soon as they hit the tween and teen years gift giving gets a whole lot harder. It’s time for that to change, from now when considering content I’m going to make more effort to keep an eye out and share our big kid finds. Especially when they are as fun as this is! So here’s the first one for the Christmas list!! 🙂

Lily and I were in hysterics creating this content to celebrate the release of “Swatch – the Eyes“! We are all familiar with the Swatch brand and their super fun, always unique watches (if you’re not you can check out some of our favourites: here). Fans will not be disappointed with the addition of sunglasses to the range. To say Lils was in her element would be an understatement. It is the perfect fit for her. With interchangeable snap on fronts (complete with lenses) the 35 styles allow for 245 DIFFERENT matchmaking possibilities! A different look for every mood ? They change here like the wind – we need them all!

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With so many fun styles it was really hard to narrow down a favourite. But here’s the top of Lily’s Christmas wish list: ‘the eyes of benno’ (the all white – shown above against the black) ‘the eyes of audrey’ (black and white polka dot photographed above against the pink) and  ‘the eyes of connie’ (the pink – shown above against the aqua). And the fun is not just for kids, I’ll take ‘the eyes of vicki‘ please!

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With interchangeable click on faces (each sold separately) the possibilities are endless!

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You can check out the whole range of “Swatch the Eyes”: HERE

“Her future is so bright, she has to wear shades.” 😉 


A week in Hong Kong

When the huzz has been on 14 overseas trips this year (and counting) and announces another impromptu sojourn (okay okay admittedly he works extremely hard but details) what else is an exhausted Mama of three to do but stash herself and youngest child in his stowaway luggage. Surprise ! We find you!

I joke I joke, but a mini break was exactly what we needed. Andy had a pretty full schedule and despite being practically local had no time to give me even the heads up on basic house keeping like – don’t drink the tap water. Which, admittedly is common sense. But I just. kept. doing. it. and blaming the fish. Until I finally worked it out. LOL! OH well didn’t need that extra 2kg anyway. Nothing a banana and coconut water couldn’t fix!! In all seriousness only a minor tummy upset and Rubes and I had so much fun exploring this exciting city together. So it turned out, we got a flag to a tonne of conference dinners too – the cheats way to seeing all the best restaurants in Hong Kong without having to do any research ! Was not complaining!

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We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel on Hong Kong Island. Brilliant location, so easy to get to everything we needed. Admittedly we chose the hotel for its amazing pool. Remembering our time in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands (you can read about it here) and how much Ruby loved the pool there this was the obvious choice. What we weren’t to know was she decided on arrival completely out of the blue, that she’s petrified of swimming. Thank heavens for the 3 inch decorative fountain surrounding the area, I could atleast have a latte every morning poolside while she rolled around in that like a mini hippo, other parents looking at us strangely, offering up their floating devices and bribes to try and help me get her in THE ACTUAL POOL. Bless. Didn’t happen. But we loved it all the same! And can you even handle the view from our room! We will definitely be back.

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Getting around: This scooter made the trip, 100%. we took it everywhere. I have a Bugaboo Bee. Normally super handy for travel. But with all the air bridges, and a nearly 3 year old with no interest in actually sitting. and the lack of lifts (escalators a plenty) I quickly realised the scooter was the way forward. All the airbridges (pictured below) connect the hotels and shopping centres and so many of the day to day places we visited were easily accessed via scooter. It was also easier to get on the MTR with a scooter than a pram (buy an Octopus card when you arrive – thank me later – the train is so quick and easy to get around on!) and didn’t get even a sideways glance from security in all the lush shopping centres. I just held on to the handle bars when the crowds got busy and steered her through, preventing any side eye glances from shoppers. I will never travel without it!

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The Peak: Worth a look but can be very busy with tourists. We arrived at dusk so we could see it in daylight and also lit up at night. There are restaurants (very casual) and a decent sized shopping centre. Catch the tram up for the whole experience and a stunning view of Hong Kong.

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Shek O Beach: This was one of my favourite outings in Hong Kong. I had no idea the beaches would be so beautiful, the surrounding fishing villages even more so. Everything so lush and green. just STUNNING. I was lucky enough to have a beautiful friend pick us up and take us on the most magical drive through this area. Colourful architecture at every turn. I could move in tomorrow. (Claire wearing Mister Zimi, Ruby wearing Oishi M)

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Victoria Park: located in Causeway bay, not far from Times Square, this lush green park in the heart of the city is a welcome break from the hustle. Ruby was beyond delighted to discover the playground and we visited frequently to break up our shopping trips. (Ruby wearing Oishi M)

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Times Square: Holy moly this was a surprise. Think BUSY. Don’t take your stroller, I would wear baby in a sling, and toddlers on scooters or on foot so that you can make full use of the escalators. Don’t do what I did and try and get a taxi out at 5 pm on a Friday night – didn’t think that one through! but absolutely worth the visit. Diverse range of shops and great food spots too. Atmosphere a plenty.

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Goldfish Market – Tung Choi Street North (Kowloon): Ruby and I caught the train from central and got off at Prince Edward Station. So easy and could walk from here to the Flower Markets (only a few streets away). Streets were lined with more exotic breeds of goldfish than I’ve ever seen. Some with the most alarming price tags! Ruby thoroughly enjoyed this walk, so much to see and a great way to soak up authentic Hong Kong atmosphere away from the plethora of high end shops.

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Flower Markets: appropriately located on Flower Market Road (Kowloon) absolutely beautiful. Not sure I could have gotten away with this one with my older children in tow (boring they would say) but Ruby loved it. Especially the pet kittens wandering around the place! Certainly one to put on your list if you have an interest in photography, or flowers, or both! I adored it and would visit again for sure. But I love flowers. And taking photos of them . So it was a win for me 😉

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Soho (south of Hollywood Road): I LOVED it here. We visited regularly as it was so easy to get to on the airbridge escalators. For this reason I would definitely recommend the Four Seasons Hotel as it was so close by. We loved being in this area. The streets are beyond chic. Full of delightful shops and delicious snacks. Set amongst some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful historic narrow streets you’ll find some of the best bars and restaurants. By day there are shops galore, art galleries, and stunning antique shops. And by night it really comes into its own, upmarket cocktail bars, delicious restaurants. SO much fun to be had. We loved Petit Bazaar on Gough Rd. The most divine children’s fashion and decor boutique spilling with all our favourite brands. Tutu du Monde, Bobo Choses, Numero 74, Louise Misha. This list goes on!

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Disneyland – a total highlight. You can read our Disney post here.

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Ocean Park. Basically Hong Kong’s version of our Aussie Seaworld! If I had my time again I perhaps wouldn’t have bothered going with just Ruby (nearly 3). It’s a big day. She absolutely loved it but we found it pretty exhausting in the humidity. Very large and everything quite spread out. Perfect for a large family outing where you can split up. So much to do for a wide range of age groups. My big kids would have adored it and I would definitely go back with them. If I was in town with just Ruby and had to choose, I’d probably head to Disney again as it’s focused more at her age group.

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Other things to do:

The Victoria Harbour Symphony of Lights Show

Big Buddha We missed out on this due to bad weather on the day we were planning to go. I will be making it an absolute priority on our next visit. Sad to have missed it this time.

Aberdeen Fishing Village Colourful boats galore. I would have loved to have seen this!

Instagram Pier : could be fun !

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Colourful Singapore adventure

Finally I have rescued my photos from our trip to Singapore late last year from my rapidly fading laptop so I can share them with you, for those who have been waiting, so sorry for the delay! This was SUCH a wonderful trip. My husband and I are still talking about it. It was completely impromptu, a conference came up for Andy’s work, the big kids were due to be with their Dad that week, so we decided why not extend his stay and Ruby and I hop along for the journey.

I am SO glad we did. Ruby was the perfect age for this adventure. All my kids have generally travelled really well over the years. But I particularly loved this age (22 months at the time) for travel. I know it’s a big call, some would say travelling with a nearly 2 year old is a recipe for a whole lot of stress. The secret? I think the fact that she still needed sleeps, but would happily have them in her pram on the go, meant that she was well rested the whole time, and we didn’t miss out on a single thing we wanted to do.

At home her normal routine is probably that of most toddlers her age, a long sleep in the middle of the day, bed around 7/8. So we found by the time we got up, took her to hotel breakfast (where she could eat all the healthy, filling, nourishing food she wanted – for free!) and then set off she was already getting weary. By the time we arrived at the days first location she would be getting tired already. SO, if we had stuck to her routine at home we literally would have spent the entire holiday in our hotel room.

Instead, by lunch time we would lay her back in her pram, and she would fall asleep on the go. The result? Child free lunch! She would sleep through lunch every day while we relaxed, refuel and re boost energy for the afternoons activities. She would generally only sleep for an hour, so once up we would carry on with that days itinerary until we were done, then head back to the hotel. We were staying at the Marina Bay Sands so would then hit the EPIC roof top infinity pool (if you haven’t visited or looked into this hotel, it’s a MUST, just try not to think about how high in the air you are, if you can get past the height factor, you will just LOVE this resort, we adored it!) for a swim (cocktail for Mum and Dad) and then back to our room where we would put her to bed around 4:30pm. She would then sleep until 6:30 while we relaxed, had a drink, read, worked, showered, got ready for dinner. By the time Ruby was up she was fully refreshed and we were able to take her out to dinner with us until 9/10pm each night. I was beyond thrilled with how easy this was. I’ve always followed a loose routine for the kids. Most days I generally stick to a similar sleep structure and meal pattern. But I also love to teach the kids that holidays can be different to home, as are weekends, or special occasions. The others are older now, and I love that we can take Ruby out to enjoy evening activities when we are away (or even at home for that matter) one night, and the next night she’ll happily go back to her usual routine of 7 ish bedtime. With a big family, and older kids (10 & 12) this flexibility is super important to us.

So here’s a collection of photos from our colourful journey, and some links and information below to our favourite places to go, some were touristy, others were more along the cultural trail, all super enjoyable. I was lucky enough thanks to Instagram connections to have a bunch of activity recommendations prior to leaving from my friend Joanne. We visited all her recommendations (included below) and also added some more discoveries of our own. Singapore was so lush and clean and it was really easy to get around on the underground transport system. The people were so happy, polite and welcoming, and Ruby was completely adored everywhere we went. We will definitely be going back with the whole family to see more of what Singapore has to offer.  xC 

Getting there:

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Singapore Airlines

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Singapore Airlines

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Where we stayed:

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Marina Bay Sands (looking up at sky park – pool/restaurants- on top)

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Marina Bay Sands

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Marina Bay Sands

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by the Bay

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by the Bay (wearing Kachel)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay wearing Molo)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay)

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Duxton Hill (wearing Coco & Ginger)

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

The Colour Trail

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing & Bohemian Traders)

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing & Bohemian Traders)

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Arab Street area

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing)

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing)

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Arab Street area

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Arab Street area (wearing Bohemian Traders)

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China Town

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China Town

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China Town (wearing Coco & Ginger)

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China Town

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Little India (wearing Kachel)

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Clarke Quay (wearing Coco & Ginger and Bohemian Traders)

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Clarke Quay

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Clarke Quay (wearing Feather Drum)

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Clarke Quay

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Boat Quay (wearing Feather Drum)

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Joo Chiat Shop Houses

Tourist Attractions

  1. Gardens by the Bay Just spectacular. You could easily visit more than once. Lucky for us this was at the base of the Marina Bay Sands hotel where we were staying, we visited the gardens regularly, the indoor atriums provide welcome escape from the heat and humidity, and the outdoor water play area and playground are a must for the kids. Clean, bright, shady, lush, Ruby could have happily visited every day. Between that and the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands she was in her element.

  2. Sea Aquarium at Sentosa From Marina Bay Sands Sentosa was only a 15 minute taxi drive, very easy to get to. I took Ruby over to the Aquarium (saving Universal Studios for another trip with the big kids) It was a great set up, worth the visit, however if you’re used to the aquariums in Australia (Sydney/Melbourne) there’s probably nothing particularly new here. Don’t get me wrong, we loved it, but for me I generally prefer to do things overseas that I can’t do in my own country, so I wouldn’t bother visiting again next time. Universal studios on the other hand will definitely get a look in, perhaps we will even stay a few nights on Sentosa island itself. Less traffic, lots of wildlife, so lush and green, I hear it’s fantastic.

  3. Universal Studio Singapore at Sentosa

  4. Singapore Zoo (Book in advance and have breakfast with the Orang Utans, highly HIGHLY recommend!) I have no photos of this unfortunately! I was craving a camera free outing so we literally just went along and soaked it up. Such a beautiful experience. You need to book in advance but it’s well worth the effort.

  5. The Singapore Flyer a great view of Singapore!

Outdoor leisure/adventure

  1. Botanical Garden (recently listed as UNESCO heritage site) is an absolute must https://www.sbg.org.sg/  There’s a small waterpark at Jacob Ballas Childrens Garden so pack bathers if you are taking kids.

  2. Forest Adventure Treetop Course at Bedok Reservoir Park http://forestadventure.com.sg/?utm_expid=22567813-2._zOP5p_cT52MMsDyUUM7kw.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littledayout.com%2Flisting%2Fforest-adventure.html We didn’t get here, it’s on the list for next time, call up to make an appointment as they limit the number of people who may go on the treetops

  3. Skyline Luge at Sentosa http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/imbiah-lookout/sentosa-luge-skyride/

Heritage/Cultural/Colour

Because we were away for my husbands work (conference) I had quite a few days exploring just Ruby and I. We didn’t take the big kids on this trip as they were still in school. So without their enthusiasm to attend every tourist park (Universal Studios etc I will save for when they are travelling with me) I spent most of my time on the Singapore culture trail. Ruby was more than happy to sit in her stroller and watch the world go by. Tasting new food, talking to people, exploring new places was enough for her, which was perfect for me as we could happily do all the things I wanted to do and both get value out of the outings. Here’s where we went:

  1. Little India http://littleindia.com.sg/ Think food, markets, stalls, temples and colour colour colour. I was on my own with Ruby this day so just wandered around on my own, ended up meeting up with another tourist and we explored together taking photos for one another! If I had my time again I think I would possibly book into the tour, I feel like Little India had hidden treasures and history lessons that I would have loved to have learnt more about. Expect lots of stalls, food, cafes, take your camera.

  2. Chinatown http://www.chinatown.sg/ Definitely worth a look. Great shopping and food of course. We explored the surrounding streets, hidden bursts of colour at every turn. I will definitely go back to explore further when we visit next. Id love to see it at night time with the lanterns all lit up.

  3. Arab Street area: I loved this walk. Basically for the photography. Colour at every turn, lots of cute shop houses. Unfortunately the day we went was bin day, but it wasn’t too hard to avoid them in my shots. The shops themselves are more so craft and fabric based. I would have loved to have looked further but not that useful to me whilst on holidays, probably more a shopping area for locals. That said the colour and interesting architecture, temples, well worth the visit if you have an interest in photography, I will definitely go back again next time.

  4. Joo Chiat Shop Houses: This for me was totally off the beaten track. I googled it literally using that title. I found it tricky to get to BUT once we were there it was really fun to wander around all the colourful homes and shop houses. Again, I got away with it because I was travelling with a toddler who was happy kicking back in her pram with a watermelon juice (readily available) while I strolled, I’m not sure my older children would have been quite as tolerant to travel so far out of our way to visit a street of colourful homes. But if you’re travelling with a baby or on your own, it’s a fun colourful spot to take photos.

  5. Boat/Clarke Quay: Easy to get to and more mainstream, this is where I stumbled on that GIANT colourful building. The MICA (Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Arts), which is virtually impossible to walk by without stopping to take a photo. Nearby to here is the waterfront. More of a tourist trail, rides, ice-creams, lots of restaurants, but also lots of colour. If you’re after a convenient family friendly wander where you can take great photos and everyone is happy, Clarke and Boat Quays are definitely for you.

A few of our favourite places to eat:

Lucha Lola in Duxton Hill. Possibly the best Mexican and cocktails EVER.

Absinthe in Boat Quay. If you love French food, this is a must. Not quite as family friendly, more of a date night for Mum and Dad. We took Ruby having had a late afternoon sleep. Sitting out watching the boats go by she was perfectly behaved. Not sure I’d brave it with all three. Probably would though but I love a challenge like that in the name of a tasty meal!

We also stumbled on this cute cafe near Little India called AEIOU. Avocado lattes and vintage treasures galore, a super cute stop over. Lots of whole-foods and eclectic delights to look over. So worth a look if you’re in the area.

If you’re staying at the Marina Bay Sands we found it very convenient to eat at the restaurants in the attached shopping precinct . Great Pizza and Seafood Bars, very handy after a big day of tourist activities to have a range of restaurants so close by to where we were staying. You can check out the range of restaurants at Marina Bay Sands: HERE.


Santa Baby: A short story about a failed monochromer and a vintage Christmas elf named Wonderbub.

Someone told me today Christmas is 7 days away. SEVEN DAYS. How did this even happen. So clearly I am not one of those people who has their tree up and presents wrapped by December 1 all ready to go. But here we are, December 18 (I’m not going to lie, I just googled and checked that – pretty much sums up the current state of life), and things are starting to look pretty darn smashing.

2014 has been the year of the monochrome. Quite possibly the most tasteful, stylish fashion trend yet. Imagine the era parties our kids will go to in the future, no hyper colour tees, no happy pants, bubble skirts? Forget it! black, white, clean lines – a fashion trend that can do no wrong. I adore monochrome. A proud owner of a mainly black and white wardrobe. Give me a tailored black blazer, white shirt, skinny jeans and heels any day of the week and I am good to go. The move to monochrome interiors, however, I have found somewhat trickier to master. I love LOVE my black and white things, but I just can’t ever quite get myself to put them all in the same place on their own. And this brings us to this blog post – our Christmas tree this year. I call it “Black, White and Rainbow all over”. She’s messy, she’s crooked, she’s unevenly spaced, she’s kinda monochrome, but kinda totally not, and we just LOVE her.

Featuring the amazing Poppies for Grace once again (I mean seriously I’d have been mad not to reuse those sensational decorations from Ruby’s birthday), and my latest discovery the talented Zilvi who has made me the most stunning magenta sign for the mantle I have EVER SEEN. And let’s not forget those stockings. You are going to flip! Our favourite in the middle hand-made by the super clever Pipla. And the star of the show, my darling Wonderbub Ruby, I mean have you seen a cuter Christmas elf!? We just had so much fun setting it all up this year. So the tree is now up, the presents are wrapped, I’d say it’s about time for some bubbles. Merry Christmas ! xx C

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Christmas Tree – honeycomb pom poms and gift tags: Poppies for Grace

Santa Baby Mantle Decor: Zilvi

Monochrome Pom Pom Stocking (centre): Pipla

Monochrome stripe and splatter stockings: FermlivngCissywears

Christmas Gift wrap: Kikki.k

Ruby wears: Bella and Lace Vintage Wonder Woman Suit: Winnie & B.

Miffy Lamp and Christmas Sonny Angel: Leo & Bella