Say hello! Styled by Life & Lily

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ


Life and Lily is a blog I’ve been following for a while, so it’s super exciting to see Holly, the creative babe behind it, take a step in a new direction with the launch of her online Pop-Up shop – Styled by Life and Lily.

Having met Holly before, I can say that the empathy and respect she shows towards her delicate and very important role as a step-mum translates effortlessly in the first person.  Her blog focusses on her amazing DIY ideas, her own ideas on parenting and her experience of growing up in a blended family.

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Holly’s new venture offers ready styled, budget friendly, on-trend outfits for little ones presented in a gorgeous gift box.  These are easy-wear combos, that combine staple basics with fashion classics – think stripes, denim jackets, slouchy marle and great quality.  With 20 options currently available, Holly’s picks are just as perfect for gifting as they are for building up your own little ones wardrobe.  I die over both pairs of slouch pants Nix is wearing in these shots, they are SO soft, the cotton slub fabric is divine – thick and warm too!

Say hello! to Holly in her own words:

Blended Families can be tough.  How did you decide to begin blogging about your relationship/experiences with Lily?

Blended families are so prevalent in today’s society and I truly believe it is important to embrace and normalise these different relationships. I grew up in a blended family so it is second nature to me. My brothers were my brothers, never my half brothers, and my mother always treated them as if they were her own. I have always admired her for that, and now that I am in her position I respect her even more, as you are right, it can be tough!

The blog is a way for me to be honest and open, a place where I can feel confident expressing who I am and the role that I play in our family. I am also an obsessed DIY’er so this is my creative hub of ideas, activities and recipes to help and inspire other working mums or families living on a budget – like us! The blog was not designed to be directly about Lily, but more my collation of ideas and thoughts on making the most out of life, regardless of family make up or budget.

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Making the move from blog to business seems so daunting to me!  How have you managed the transition with your Styled by Life and Lily range?

I love to try new things and I am constantly challenging myself. I enjoy the thrill of putting myself out there and fighting the fear of failure. I created this as a pop up shop, another way for me to express some creativity.

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The concept of the ready styled boxes is awesome!  Where do you get your outfit inspo from?

This concept is very similar to that of my own! I don’t tend to buy from chain stores in NZ as I have started to see people all wearing the same thing. I buy the majority of my wardrobe online, usually from the sale section, so my personal style is different and cheap you could say! I have carried this through into Styled by Life and Lily. I feel there is a lack of smaller line children’s clothing that is affordable in New Zealand. I wanted to focus on complete outfits, in limited quantities, that were affordable. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram looking for styles in children’s wear that strike my eye, then search online for items to match together and create easy complete outfits. 
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Nix wears Box #7 – Super soft grey cotton knit slouch pants, white basic tee and black aviators $35

As a mama who’s trying to stay at home and make this blog work for me, I know how difficult it can be to get the balance between your online life and your real life just right.  How are you managing to stay sane with a new business thrown in the mix?

We have Lily Wed to Sat, so when she is with us I like to spend all of my time with her and Conrad. That realistically gives me Monday and Tuesday night to write, create and edit content, not leaving much ‘me’ time. However, this is important to me and I am so passionate about it that I don’t view it as work; this has become my ‘me’ time.

Mummy Blogger New ZealandNix wears Box #2 – Navy & cream cotton slouch pants, white basic tee and black aviators $35

What’s ahead for Life and Lily?

I hope I can continue to share my experiences, creations and ideas in a positive way within the online community. I have learnt a lot over the last few years, through all the highs and lows, so I would love to be able to share my experience and support others who may be struggling in a similar situation. My mother’s advice was so valuable through the hard times, so I know how important it can be to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. Step parents often play the supportive role and may hold their own emotion or struggles in for the sake of the family. So in saying that, my biggest goal over the next few years is to help and support any other step parents who may need some advice or even just a pair of ears xxx

One lucky reader has the chance to win a Styled by Life and Lily box of their choice!  To win head over to Facebook and follow the entry conditions on this weeks Say hello! post.  Competition closes Sunday June 7th at 10pm.

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Some weeks. This week.

Some weeks are just weird. A veritable whirlwind of accidents, events, chaotic scheduling, driving, rushing.  This week, like so many recently, was the epitome of busy.  I look back and can’t think of the cuddly, sweet moments with Nixon that were surely there right (right?!!).  I can’t think of laughing and hanging out with Ethan, because, well, we didn’t (did we?!!).
I can rattle off all the things I ‘accomplished’, crossed off my never ending to-do list but I can’t remember if I stopped to do any living this week.Mummy Blogger New Zealand NZDave was away in Wellington which is always a bit crap and increases the chaos somewhat.  But surely there had to have been more than a couple of moments in the past five days where I connected, was present and accountable, where I was singularly focused and giving of my attention?  I can think of four occasions;
1.  I invited a new friend and her son over for a play.  I forgot to offer any refreshments.  None.
2.  I was commiserating with a beautiful young mum about her melanoma removals the day prior when I blurted out that my Dad died of melanoma, just to buoy her spirits you know!?.  WTF was I thinking, who says something like that? I felt connected and present because I was acutely aware of what a total accidental asshole I was.
3.  Mum made me go for a run. It was dusk in late autumn, it was crisp and cold and beautiful and I felt strong and revived.  Until I got home, then I was just annoyed because I had to take a shower.
4.  Mum made me run again.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand NZSee, I’m terrified I’m doing it all wrong at the moment.  By ‘it’ I mean life. 
I get the guilts when I try and work/blog/shoot photos when Nix is awake, yet I get mega anxiety if I fall behind on everything I need to do.  Which is ridiculous.  I’m a Mummy Blogger, I don’t have a boss, or deadlines {I mean I totally HAVE a boss, thing is he’s two & doesn’t always communicate his expectations that well, so I have some wriggle room ; P}.

I love THIS writing.  The hard stuff, the funny stuff.  The stuff where I can swear and be completely transparent.  But I’m finding it more and more difficult to just sit down and get it OUT, onto the screen/interwebs/blog.  Life’s a freaking balancing act isn’t it?  You’ve got to work through and work hard at the small stuff, the menial tasks so you eventually get to the BIG picture, the place where you’ve always wanted to be.  The hard part is remembering to stop and smell the roses once you get there.  To breathe and take it all in before it slips away, to sit and read to your baby whenever he asks, because he will stop asking.

This morning, we let it all go and headed out as early as we could manage, went to Western Springs and just walked.  We let the kids take their time.  We looked at every eel Ethan could find, meandered around in circles with Nixon until his little legs couldn’t walk anymore.  We slowed it down, did things a little differently and it felt good.  We have to stop going in different directions so much and come back to just being US.  Because that is all that matters.
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Nixon is wearing: Little Flock of Horrors Merino Patch Leggings, The Warehouse Gumboots, Huxbaby Longsleeve from And They Lived Green, Vest from Cotton On Kids

Winter Style | Kids Jackets & Gumboots from Squidkids

Congratulations to Bridget Agnew!  Please visit www.squidlondon.nz/shop and let me know which jacket you’d like by emailing me, melissa (at) thebestnest.co.nz 

Ok, so we all know there is an abundance of amaze, stylish, totally fabulous and gah-I’m-envious-of-that-kids-style clothes out there for our littles these days.  But……it does tend to get a tad repetitive and a wee bit unoriginal as every small startup churns out their monochrome capsule collection, dripping with cool but we’ve seen it all before right?

I love colour.  In my home.  In my wardrobe and on my kids.  Colour is fun and fearless.  Just like kids.

One company doing colour right is SquidKids.  Founded by two super-creative London College of Fashion graduates, Squid’s first gig was to design and produce a range of colour changing umbrellas for the Tate Modern Gallery and the duo (Emma-Jayne and Viviane) have since worked with MoMA New York, The British Museum, Nordstrom, Southbank Centre and Art Basel.  Culture on your clothes.  I love it.

As a result of these genius collabs, SquidKids was born and their range of colour changing kids jackets, umbrellas, boots and bags is now available in New Zealand! Yus!

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Nixie was sent the Colour Changing Dino Jacket and colour changing boots to take for a spin and we say….. HECK YES we love SquidKids!  The website description omits one tiny factor in the description of the jackets – they are thick and super warm.  This is no windbreaker, rather, a high quality, excellent weight jacket with a waterproof finish.  That just happens to change colour when it gets wet. No biggie.
Nix loves to watch the colour change on his jacket in the rain, it’s just the best when he can see the drops landing on the dinosaurs and he whispers “here ‘d comes, here ‘d comes!”  I die.  So cute!Squid Kids Colour Change Jacket Mummy Blogger NZ

So now you can run along and shop, shop, shop, but before you go, you will want to head over to Facebook and make sure you like The Best Nest and SquidKids because we have 2 of these gorgeous jackets to give away, one boys style and one girls style!  I will pick one winner here and one on FB.  To enter, just comment below with your choice of boys or girls.  Double your chances by entering on FB too!  Competition closes  June 3rd, 10pm.

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Squid Kids Colour Change Jacket Mummy Blogger NZSquid Kids Colour Change Jacket Mummy Blogger NZ

Family Fun | Autumn in the Auckland Domain

Nixon has been obsessing over fallen leaves this season, finding the tactile stimulation of crunching and kicking, throwing and scooping so much fun.  We were in Auckland City earlier this week so decided a visit to the Domain would let the kids blow off some steam after running a few errands.  Last week brought ALL the rain to New Zealand and this week it seems the temps have plummeted requiring us to get our puffa vests and layers on – aside from Ethan of course, shorts year round is the way my big guy rolls!

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We parked below the Museum and took our time playing and climbing amongst the beautiful root systems of the Magnolia trees and eventually meandered across to the duck ponds and Winter Gardens – a must visit exhibit that changes with the seasons.  The Auckland Domain is seriously stunning.  Visiting mid-week  meant it was virtually deserted and the boys were able to take their time {think  s l o w } and poke as many ‘pwetty fwowers’ as they liked.  

It’s easy to forget how much kids love space, taking them to a large (safe) park is eye opening.  Given the freedom to move about as they wish, they seem to grow and expand, exploring without the confines of Mum or Dad half a step behind.  It’s liberating and important for both parent and child but most of all super fun xx

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Cotton On Kids Winter Mummy Blogger NZThe Boys Style

Both of my lucky wee chaps are wearing new season styles from Cotton On.  The boys winter range is amazing, it would be so easy to build a toddler-capsule-wardrobe from their collection of separates, everything is on-trend, on-budget and totally easy to mix and match.

Nixon wears the Classic Trainer, D Marco Skinny Leg Jean, Ruben Puffer Vest, Striped henley and the most gorgeous felt cap I’ve ever seen!  IT HAS EARS!!! < Have a look in store for the henley and cap as they are no longer available online.

Ethan is unfortunately too big for the gorgeous Cotton On Teen range which suits sizes 10-14, so we shop small mens for him; he wears Harris Puffa Vest, Brunswick Slub Crew Fleece and have a look in stores for his beanie as it’s no longer available online.

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cotton-on-kids-mummy-blogger-nz-7 Cotton On Kids Winter Mummy Blogger NZ*  We were provided with store credit to style this post *

FASHION CHALLENGE AUTUMN 2015 | Trending for Boys

A little chill in the air at night is certainly hinting that Autumn is here, meaning it’s time to think about ditching the sandals, lowering the hemlines and starting to add a couple of layers to our summer wardrobes.  I’m super excited to be taking part in The Warehouse’s Fashion Challenge this season, meaning I will be heading in store as an official blogger to dress our family head to toe in the latest trends for $200 or less!

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Autumn Fashion Trends Boys The Warehouse Mummy Blogger NZ

1.  Urban Equip Volley Shorts $20

2.  DC Mens Tee $25 – on sale for $15

3.  Urban Equip Robbie Shoes $30

4.  Active Intent Men’s Zip Thru Sweatshirt $29

So first things first: E does not wear pants.  Ever.  So updating his wardrobe for seasonal temperature fluctuations is essentially an exercise in layering!  Second thing, my delicious 10 year old is a big guy, we shop in the men’s department so sometimes it can be a little tricky finding on-trend and age appropriate outfits that he loves.  But, dude picked this whole outfit himself including the shoes in approximately seven minutes, and he totally nailed it right?  The graphic print shorts are my absolute fave, they are the perfect ‘above-the-knee’ length which is hard to find when you are 10 years old and shopping in the mens department!  The DC t-shirt was on sale for $15!!  I initially thought this combined with the shorts was going to look a bit too blue, but I think the outfit just comes across as very smart and well-styled.  

The super-wide drawstring in the zip hoody is a nice, updated look for this common winter staple.  This sweat will get worn to death so I’m loving it’s neutral base which ties in perfectly with the grey Robbie Shoes that E chose!  What a hip little guy – I think I’ll keep him x

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Fashion Challenge Autumn 2015 | Toddler Trends

A little chill in the air at night is certainly hinting that Autumn is here, meaning it’s time to think about ditching the sandals, lowering the hemlines and starting to add a couple of layers to our summer wardrobes.  I’m super excited to be taking part in The Warehouse’s Fashion Challenge this season, meaning I will be heading in store as an official blogger to dress our family head to toe in the latest trends for $200 or less!

I like to keep things bright and fun when dressing Nixon, he’s a toddler and the whole monochrome trend is a bit lost on me when it comes to both his bedroom decor and his wardrobe.  I base his clothes on both form and function, Nix is one helluva boy, a full-on, dirt loving,  rock throwing, future All Black-type {fingers crossed : P} BOY.  His clothes need to be easy care, but also look great and wear well.  I found some key summer pieces at The Warehouse  – did anyone else pick up those super cute navy drill shorts with the anchor print?  Amaze – so knew I would have no problem dressing Nix for the challenge.

The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ 1.  Bonds Infant Anchor Leggings $18 Size 2

2.  Hippo + Friends Short Sleeve Striped Tee $8 Size 2 1/2

3.  Hippo + Friends Boys Strike Canvas Shoes $8 Size 6

Starting with quality basics is key to creating a versatile and lasting wardrobe that can be mixed and matched easily.  The Bonds Baby range is my favourite, these anchor print leggings are perfection and can easily be styled for both little boys and girls.  With quite a neutral bottom I was looking for a shirt with a bit more colour; classics stripes never go out of fashion and should be a wardrobe staple, plus there are plenty of colorways to choose from in this Hippo + Friends range.

Shoes are trouble for us.  Both of the boys have feet akin to little chubby sledgehammers.  No laces just works for us and so do these uber cute little canvas slip-ons, comfy for Nix and easy to put on for me – everyone’s happy!

So, total cost of this stylin’ little outfit?  $34.  Hello!?  It’s gorgeous, comfy and totally on trend.  Nix thinks he looks like a babe, what do ya reckon?

The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ

 

 

 

Acquisitions | Little Noggi Meraki Hat in Clover

 

Instagram is bad news brown for little love-to-shop Mamas like myself.  I can’t remember how I stumbled upon Little Noggi but I’m SO glad I did.  I purchased Nixie’s first, reversible Little Noggi hat in an Instagram sale and I won this beautiful lined style by naming it ‘Clover’.  how awesome is it????  Hats are extremely hard to photograph and my toddling model has been very uncooperative, so I hope you can in some teeny way appreciate how insanely beautiful these wee hats are.  They are quite simply, the most gorgeous pieces of clothing I have ever purchased.  No lie.  

I love to support hard-working Mumma businesses and with products this special it’s a no-brainer, did you see the packaging? Swoon.

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Acquisitions | MOX Moccasins

 

Moccasins are huge right now in the spendy land of baby fashion {which is going mental atm}, but their place is warranted in my opinion.  I just cannot squish my bubba’s fat little sledgehammers into hard, uncomfortable shoes.  Nix will be wearing Mox exclusively for another year at least.  These are beautifully, handcrafted wee shoes, sized to perfection.  Nix has chubba ankles so on delivery these were a little tight, but Kelly happily resized them for me at no extra charge.  So, brilliant service and a delightful, high quality, handmade product.  Order via the Mox FB page.

PS.  This is not a paid review, just wanted to share something I love x

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