Last week it was the toddler who graced these pages in the latest collection from River Island and now it’s the turn of Yours Truly. While my penchant for a funky little dude of a son edges me towards fun, fashionable and on trend, I’ve gone for something a little different for myself with a classy navy number which leaves just a little to the imagination but still follows the boob or legs rule of keeping on the right side of the fashion rules and some dream beige patent boots for my top picks from the current collection.


My top picks from the current collection at River Island this season is a classy navy wrap dress

I’ve got  growing collection of dresses for all occasions but nothing which is anything like the style of this little ditty.  The cross from neck line of this wrap dress isn’t too revealing and very flattering. But what really caught my eye when browsing was the thigh high split with an attached mid skirt. Plus the mid length sleeves makes it a little warmer than a strappy number. I’m a total wuss and feel the cold.

My top picks from the current collection at River Island this season is this classy navy wrap dress

Next on my wants and needs list were some day-to-night boots which wouldn’t leave me unsteady on my feet. I have a good supply of knee-high boots but nothing which would look good with skinny jeans or faux leather leggings on both a shopping trip into town or evening down the pub.

These nude patent, mirror heeled Chelsea boots tick all the boxes and liven up my go-to all black combination outfits. The pièce de résistance however is  I can stumble home at midnight without so much as a twisted ankle, Happy days!

My top picks from the current collection at River Island this season are these nude Chelsea boots & classy navy wrap dress

They’re surprisingly super comfy too, and as a busy mum of a toddler , I can still maintain a little dip in the style stakes while chasing the lively one around!

My top picks from the current collection at River Island this season are these nude Chelsea boots & classy navy wrap dress

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post with River Island. All words and photos are my own unless otherwise stated. 

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I’d never class myself as an opinated person, but there are occasions when I have to express a preference and one of these occasions is clothing for toddlers. Given the choice, my boy would be dressed head to toe in Paw Patrol & Fireman Sam apparel, I on the other hand am not a huge fan of character clothing. Sorry boy!
I much prefer to see a funky kitted out little chap, rocking the latest fashion and while mamas holding the purse strings, I’ve still got a little control. History has taught me it won’t be long until any opinion I have about fashion will be met with complete and utter ghast and grunts of “seriously, who lets their mum choose their clothes or on a good day, “it’s ok mum, I’ll go and choose them myself.” Hormone pending.

Kitting out the toddler in River Island, thus last collection of kids fashion is super trendy
Just take this outfit from River Island kids range for example. Seriously, how ruddy cute is it! If on trend comfy gear floats your boat then head over to their site sometime, you really won’t be disappointed. With my younger 2 boys being within their age range ( 0 -12 years ) I could be really mean and dress them in matching but the tween would probably disown me. In all honesty though,  I’ve been spoilt for choice trying to choose some toddler gear and the price works for me too, these boys do growth spurts with gumption!
Things I’m loving the most in the toddler range are little helpful extras like elastic waist adjusters to accommodate slim jim’s and the material being super soft. The sizes are pretty true to size and can withstand rough and tumble play.

While the boots have side zips so no fiddling round with laces and wriggly toddlers. Happy days! (Although my boy does insist on trying to undo them every time.)

I’ve now got one dapper looking dude to chaperone me on my daily errands!

Kitting out the toddler in River Island, this last collection of kids fashion is super trendy

Disclaimer 
I have been sent the products for the purpose of this review. All photos and words are entirely my own. 

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If I’m honest, this whole single parent title still doesn’t feel real. I know  that I am one, but I try hard to not to let it define me or what I do. I just get on with being me, mum to three amazing boys. It is tough at times; you can’t make plans at the drop of a hat knowing you’ve got a partner or husband around to hold the fort. Far from it tbh, any occasion which requires childcare takes careful consideration and planning.

On the plus side, you know you do have certain times where you do have a day or night sans kiddos and this is where you really get a taste of a valuable life skill;

I time manage like a pro

I know that for the next month at least, I have definite days where I’m child free and I use those days wisely. These are the snippets of my week where I schedule the pants out of every hour to get as much as I can done. On the flip side, my weekend day with my boys are precious. Week days are spent running errands, working my butt off to keep the wolf from the door, keeping on top the housework, making sure the kids are doing homework and carring out their chores while I get the sole pleasure of any house maintenance which doesn’t require a professional.

In a nutshell, my week is chuffing, great, supersized busy with sparkles on . My planner in my co pilot and  off days just aint happening.

There are some valuable life skills I've learnt since becoming a single parent, here's 5 of them;

I roll with the punches

From the outside, I probably look like I’m occasionally lacking in emotions. (aka Cold-Hearted-Bitch) taking situations at face value, assessing the damage & rocking on. My close friends and family will tell you otherwise. But what I do have to do is be very careful not to let stress define my parenting. I compartmentalise those tricky situations and deal with them in my own time, putting them aside while I do mum stuff. If a drama doesn’t seem worth the effort I don’t give it the time of day. I’ve been through immense emotional stress, hit rock bottom and that’s my gauge. I know I can roll with the little punches as I’ve hardened up to the little stresses and as sole carer I can’t afford to give in and crumble.

I don’t feel guilty taking my mum hat off

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always a mum and even on my child free days I’m thinking about my kids. But I’ve learnt not to feel guilty when I’m not with them. That one took a lot of soul searching and long phone calls from my go-to family and friends, but I got there. Tough love (from them) wise words, hugs, tea and sympathy got me to a position where I know I need a me-time recharge for the week ahead and fun times to ease the responsibility.  I make use of every minute I’m away from them and when it’s pick up time, I;m straight back into my mum role. It’s also given me the confidence to let go little, my kids are safe and happy with their dad, and I that’s all that matters.

I’m a budget queen

Being good with your money is a must whatever your relationship status, but when you’re on your own and you have mouths to feed, children to clothe and entertain as well as a house to run, every penny counts.
Not having 2 wages coming in is completely pants but in some ways it’s actually easier managing your finances as a single parent. I have complete control of the finances. I know exactly what’s going in and out. Every silver lining and all that jazz.
I’ve learnt to rein in the impulsive spending sessions, and when I do splurge. I budget the rest of the month. And I’ve had to learn to say no. It kills me when the kids ask for things I know I can’t afford, I’ve had to drag out that tough love again and again and bargain with alternatives.
When I first took on this whole new adventure I sat down and went through all my outgoings with a fine tooth comb. I changed electricity suppliers, got rid of insurances I didn’t need. Switched to a water meter and set up a buffer account to handle emergencies. I also listened to the advice of other single parents.

There are some valuable life skills I've learnt since becoming a single parent, here's 5 of them;

I am stronger, braver, smarter than I think

Wise words from Mr Pooh. Sometimes that chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff knows his stuff when he utters those little words of wisdom. Being a single parent has taught me that I’m stronger than I thought I was. The thought of running the helm single handed once terrified me.

How will I cope at the end of the day, when my energy is at its lowest, my patience is waning and I have no one coming through the door to share the load?

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s tough. There are days when the sofa has a magnetic pull so strong I have to fight every urge to curl up and hide from my duties. But that’s simply not an option. When those times hit, I dust myself down, push through the wall of ‘I can’t do this’ and get on with it.

I’m stronger than I think.

On the really tough days I pop a pizza in the oven, justify the lack of fresh, nutrition with a few slices of cucumber & chopped pepper on the side and we eat.

I ask for help, something which I was never very good at before. But I got brave to admitting I need help for the simple reason that I can’t let things slip, especially my health.  Sick days are not an option, I’ve just got to get on with it and look after my body and mind in the best possible way; I eat healthy, I keep fit and I practice mindfulness.

I’ve braver than I think!

And I stop beating myself up that I’m failing at this single parenting lark.

My house is clean, the bailiffs aren’t knocking on the door, my boys are happy, healthy and I haven’t hit the social services radar. I’m not doing too bad in the grand scheme of things, time to have few words with my self and see the glass as half full.

Seriously lady, you’re wiser than you think!

There are some valuable life skills I've learnt since becoming a single parent, here's 5 of them;

 

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Bit dramatic, but it caught your attention didn’t it!

Just a little post to let you know I’ll be offline for a few days over Christmas while I switch my attention from my online life and firmly onto my family. I’m taking a digital detox break to eat, drink and be merry in the warm comforting glow of my amazing family.

I whole heartedly urge you to join me and switch off from social media and the internet for a few days, to let your present be your presence  if only for a few days.

Either way, what ever you’re doing, have a great one and  I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Ali

x

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