WEARING: [Josephine] Gap Kids cotton polo neck // milou & pilou skirt // La Coqueta tights and bow // Clarks boots [Coralie] Next dress // La Coqueta tights // Clarks boots

As I wrote a few months ago, finding beautiful vintage and secondhand pieces for Josephine these days is getting harder and harder. And when your girl has a growth spurt and everything is suddenly two inches too short, finding clothes that we'll both love can get expensive. When it was her birthday in January, she was lucky enough to get some money from grandparents and great grandparents, which excited me much more than Phiney! I had had my eye on a few lovely pieces for a while, and now had the funds to go buy them.

I thought I'd share a few things I consider when I'm buying clothes for the girls, in case you too are finding the nice clothes/limited budget balance a tricky one.

*Firstly, I am always on the look out for secondhand and vintage - that's a given. I'm more likely to find stuff in Coralie's size these days (which takes a lot of willpower as she has plenty of Josephine's hand me downs to grow in to, and does she really need any more clothes?!) so if I do find anything in age 4 and above, I snap it up. I found the sweetest 1980s smocked dress with peter pan collar in the charity shop for £2 before Christmas and I did a happy dance right then and there. eBay still serves me well now and then too, but it takes a certain level of dedication I find.

*With the increasing amount of new clothes I'm buying, I really take my time to think about what the girls need and not just what I want to buy. I remember when Josephine was about two having a wardrobe full of beautifully patterned clothes, but none of which matched each other. I've learnt from that mistake and now invest in plain coloured pieces too, that go with everything (mostly in navy blue, denim, brown or white).

*In the summer time, I'm mostly drawn to dresses (so easy to throw on and stay cool in) and for winter I bare in mind that a lot of outdoors time will be spent in waterproof trousers, making bloomers and tights or leggings the better option.

*I buy pieces at the beginning of the season, on the whole, otherwise I find the steady trickle of clothes arriving at the front door (because online shopping still feels detached from spending actual money to me!) gets very expensive. I go through the underbed storage boxes and find the pieces the girl's will have grown into and are seasonally appropriate, and work out what is missing: more tops, more tights, a new pair of bloomers etc.

*Until now, I've bought very little on the highstreet in all honesty, so lucky (and dedicated!) have I been on the secondhand front. However, I always get excited when the new season Next catalogue arrives, and can always find a few pieces that I love in there (and quite a lot that I shudder at tbh!). Often I buy in next year's sizes for Josephine, if I think she has enough dresses etc, so I can still get it in her wardrobe somehow!

*On the whole however, I'd rather support smaller business that shop on the highstreet. They offer the quality I want, the more unusual designs and fabrics and ensures our girls aren't dressed the same as every other child in the playground. Many of these companies have higher p&p (especially those that are overseas) so it's worth factoring that cost, and considering buying multiples in one order if you know you'll be back for more soon.

*Alongside her normal clothes, Josephine also has 'messy' clothes. These are her Pre-school uniform, allotment wear etc. I buy cheap multi-packs of leggings/shorts and long/short sleeved round neck t-shirts and a pair of Phiney-friendly daps (no laces!) and honestly don't care how messy she gets them. Most are stained with stubborn paint, mud, grass and crayon, but it doesn't matter. The last thing I want is for Josephine to feel restricted in what she's wearing - both physically and mentally; I don't want her thinking about not ruining her clothes when she's having fun at nursery. The girls also wear long sleeved bibs at messy mealtimes, when we're at home and out. That way they can slurp spaghetti as much as they want and not have me grimacing at that tomato sauce splattered white top.

*Finally if a piece is more expensive than I would normally buy I always buy it for Josephine. I can justify the price more if I know it'll be handed down to Coralie and both girls will get wear out of it!



Josephine: She's so fast on her scooter these days.

Coralie: Windswept and watching the world go by.



Sunny winter days are so welcome, and we always aim to make the absolute most of them. A few more pictures from our walk in the woods last week with my sister, and a few more pictures that she took of us.

Josephine spent most of the walk gathering armfuls of sticks to make a fort (which she'd then take down and move whenever we walked deeper into the forest) and Coralie was over the moon when we came across a group of four dogs - one of which happily fetched and dropped the ball over and over again.

Whilst these beautiful days are lovely, I'm desperate for spring now. For warm sunshine and no need for waterproofs and muddy boot cleaning!



Coralie's feet have had a serious growth spurt this month, and she now fits into Josephine's first pair of Clarks Desert Boots. Simultaneously saving us a fortune at the shoe shop, and making these feet the cutest in town.



I just love this picture, from back at the beginning of the month. We used it as our Christmas thank you cards, and I'm pretty sure those little smiles bought sunshine to a whole lot of people across the world.



Josephine: My, how she's grown this winter.

Coralie: Lashes for days.



As January comes to a close (that month zipped by!) it's inevitable that we reflect on the resolutions or intentions we made in the New Year, and see how we're doing. One of the focuses I was most excited about was Motherhood Captured; a photography project my dear friend Polly and I developed after realising how few pictures we were included in, and how that was something we wanted to change.

I am so amazed by how successful this project has already been in getting me in front of the camera. I've blogged four separate posts with pictures of me and the girls in already this month, and I love those pictures so much. And I love the fact that when they're older, and we look back at pictures of walks and birthdays past, I'll be there too. In front of the camera, as well as behind.

This week we headed out for a walk with my sister and she had my camera nearly the whole time, which meant she captured some lovely, natural moments between me and my girls. I'm so happy to have these beautiful photographs to post for January's Motherhood Captured.

If you've got involved in Motherhood Captured this month, feel free to post a link in the comments. I'd love to see your portraits too x



As 2016 began the realisation that my baby goes to school THIS YEAR hit me (excuse me while I pause to weep a while). With Phiney at nursery three afternoons a week, plus Thursday at my Nan's house, we only have Friday quiet time - two hours when Coralie's sleeping, after lunch - where it's just Josephine and I. I made the decision to spend the first half an hour at least of this time creating, baking, reading, puzzling or playing something specific to ensure some real quality mama/daughter time. It can be hard with two children (especially when Coralie's still very much into destroying puzzles and eating colouring pencils and sequins!), meeting friends, nursery and park trips to find the time, but it's vital for both of us.
Josephine loves her quiet time. It's her opportunity to play, read or watch her favourite film without the attention of her (adored, of course!) baby sister, so I didn't want to take all her time. So having something planned ensured time was well spent.
A couple of weeks ago I ordered some of Cotton Twist's kits, which I've been long admiring on Alexis' IG. They're sweet and simple and take just the right amount of time to create. I went with the Pirate Catapult and Football Game, and Alexis was kind enough to pop in a couple of others to try too.
Last week Josephine picked the Football Game to try out and I can't recommend these little packs enough. They include everything you need and Josephine was able to do it all (except tie the string to the goal posts) herself, which left her feeling very proud. Perfect for our Miss Independent. She loved moulding the clay, personalising the little goalie and constructing the goal posts.
And the best thing about all Cotton Twist's crafts are they offer plenty of playtime once they're made. We took it in turns to flick the pompom ball at the goalie and we even had a penalty shoot out (Josephine won.) It's been living on our dining table since Friday and we've all been playing with it. Phiney is really excited to make another this week, and I can't wait for more precious allotted time to sit down and do this with her.
Time goes so fast, and carving out these moments is so worth it. We both had a lovely time, laughing and talking and creating. The perfect mama/daughter date.

This is not a sponsored post, just a lovely product I wanted to share :)