I know I'm not alone when I say that after having children I completely lost my sense of self - my style, shape and just plain practical requirements had changed, plus being on maternity leave I had very little funds to spare. I have always hated shopping for clothes as the things that I like never seemed to look right on me - like I've said before I'm not a girly girl that is good at this stuff, I would just buy what I think looked okay-ish and never really felt comfortable.

After meeting Alice when our daughters started school together we hit it off right away, even though I was completely intimated by this confident and stylish woman. She would give me tips and ideas during our random conversations, but after we both had our youngest children Alice suggest a charity shop rummage. I was up for it but a bit hesitant based on my previous shopping trips and as I've only ever bought houseware or kids clothes from charity shops - I tend to stick to eBay or Vinted for me.

After chatting about what I felt was missing from my wardrobe and what I do/don't like about my new mum of three body, Alice started pulling things from the rails explaining what elements would work for me, how it could be styled and what I thought about it. She boosted my confidence so much that day and I have completely changed my mindset when I'm shopping for clothes for me - I am not wasting money on clothes that sit in a wardrobe unworn and I'm buying more second hand than I have previously. I cannot recommend Alice highly enough and think everyone could benefit from her experience, time and laughter.

A bit about Alice at Buddy And Noo

I know very the well the feeling of looking in your wardrobe, feeling completely uninspired and having the sense that your lost identity is there but not necessarily having the money, know how or the energy to do anything about it! Thats why I am offering my friendly, approachable and affordable services to help you navigate any style blocks.

My family and friends are a constant wheel of inspiration to me but my drive and passion comes from working with people, exploring how their style can represent and inspire them day to day. I am also a preloved fanatic and charity shop fiend who is more than happy to share my secrets and tricks for finding great pieces. A bonus of my previous retail career is the wealth of knowledge I have of the high street shops and brands plus some insider styling hacks which I would be happy to discuss more over a coffee (or two!) All of my advice is aimed to help you discover your own style through some savvy wardrobe editing and shopping.

Top Tip

My top tip for anyone who is thinking about editing or having a good clear out of their wardrobe in the new year is make a plan! Don’t just go through ripping things out and throwing in a pile condemned to the charity shop or re-sell without first having at first a clear idea of what it is you are trying to achieve from this clear out, Such as ‘I have too many clothes but still nothing to wear’.

Ok, so what do you wear – take those items out, lay them on the bed or floor and understand why you wear them. Do they fit better? Certain style or shape that you are comfortable with? Are they all a certain colour? Once you understand that then you can look for other items in your wardrobe that serve a similar purpose or will work with those items you wear the most and may create a new outfit.

My Top 3 Items you should have in your wardrobe.

1) A good basic shirt A simple shirt can go with anything for any occasion! A fancy sequinned skirt and boots for dinner with the girls or your favourite jeans and trainers for a day out with the kids to name a few. Always stylish, never dates and if you get one that fits your shape super flattering!

2) A statement scarf Now my print of choice is leopard but for you it could be checked, floral, striped, paisley – I could go on! A print you love and are comfortable in and that can add some pop of interest to an otherwise relatively plain and subdued outfit.

3) A black blazer A good fitting, decent length and fabric quality are paramount to a Blazer that will last in your wardrobe and never look dated. You pretty much always find one on the high street or an absolute cracker in your local charity shop if you’re lucky and they will be suitable for pretty much any occasion you need.

If you are coming to the end of 2020 feeling like you need a quick boost or more of an in depth style and wardrobe review then one of my personal styling packages could be what you need. Or could be a gift for someone who simply cannot justify spending money on themselves even for something they would love to do.

Visit www.buddyandnoo.co.uk for more information or contact me through my facebook page.

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Being a supplier that provides wedding services prior to the day, I very rarely get to meet and work with any of the amazing small businesses that are out there. This is just one of the reasons I enjoy being part of creative styled shoots - and this is exactly how I met the lovely Dorset Flowers.

Our photoshoot was originally meant to take place in April, but obviously that was not meant to be. Fast forward to October and we managed to get everything lined up in between lockdowns for the shoot to take place. I'm not afraid to admit that I was nervous, as I had only worked with three of the suppliers before so there were a lot of new faces. I needn't have worried though as everyone was so welcoming, especially Ellie. The flowers that they had created were simply stunning and, when it came to styling shots for groups and individuals, nothing was too much trouble. Extra foliage, spare flowers, colour matching accessories and adding extra finishing touches to things such as the horses tail was all taken in her stride. If that is the warm and amazing level of service that you get working on a creative event, I can only imagine the levels to which they go to with a customer.

Dorset Flowers' Top Tip:

Our top tip for any couples booking a wedding florist is to make sure you establish a rough budget and any “must have” floral pieces early on. Ask your florist whether any of your floral arrangements can be used at your ceremony as well as your reception, reusing arrangements is the best way to get the maximum use out of your budget. Last but not least, enjoy every moment of the wedding planning process. It really is the most exciting and magical time, the beginning of the rest of your lives together.

Dorset Flowers' Top Three:

1) Styled Shoot A classic country wedding shoot at the beautiful Edmondsham House.

Photography : Jackaldridgephotography.com

As featured on The English Wedding Blog : English-wedding.com

2) Real Couple The gorgeous Aimee and Tom who overcame all the odds and got married despite every Covid postponement hurdle they had to jump. It truly was a pleasure to be a small part of their very special day and it just shows you love really does conquer all.

Photography : Amberbluestudio.com

3) Our latest products Check out our beautiful Nordic and Festive Fresh wreaths that are available to pre-order for just £35 (plus local delivery or collection from our Broadstone studio) until the 27th November 2020. Please email info@dorsetflowers.co.uk to place your order or for more information.

You can find out more by visiting our facebook page or website

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

A few months ago I was introduced to Leyla, by my sister, and she is quite possibly one of the nicest people on the planet. The three of us were chatting about our love of crafting and the dream of working for ourselves, and we just clicked. Once home, I checked out the Leyla Creates Facebook page and instantly fell in love with the bags (especially the bee print) and other items that Leyla and her mum Gigi have created.

Remembering that during our discussion I mentioned wanting a new macramé plant hanger, Leyla proposed a trade of the hanger for some of my Christmas cards. Fast forward a week and I have the most beautiful white hanger in my conservatory which I just love. I highly recommend that you check out the Leyla Creates pages - you will not be disappointed.

Leyla Creates is a small independent business based in Bournemouth, Dorset. The business was founded by Leyla (all things crafts and keepsakes) and Gigi (seamstress extraordinaire). Leyla has wanted to launch her own craft business for years and finally in 2020 Gigi gave her the push she needed.

We love creating bespoke handmade gifts and bags

Leyla & Gigi's Tips:

Tis the season of stressful shopping and last minute panic buying so we thought we would give you some tips on how to avoid the madness. One big mistake I always use to make is setting a budget for each family member and if their present was under then buying more to ‘top it up’, all the while feeling the pressure of present guilt. My advice would be set a budget, set the number of items you are going to purchase and break them into categories. For example this year for my close family members I am buying everyone 3 presents, something family focused or sentimental so a desk calendar or photobook of our last family holiday, something handmade by either myself of another small crafting business and then something silly. Last year I brought the adults in my family remote controlled cars and we raced them around the dining room for hours.

This year has been incredibly tough on independent retailers and small businesses and now more than ever they need our help. Whole industries have been put on hold while the creatives who work in that field are forced to diversify. This year I have set myself the challenge of sourcing the majority of my Christmas Presents from small independent businesses and asking friends on social media for recommendations. It has really made me stop and think about the buying power I have as a consumer and also knowing that I am spreading some joy. I have the biggest smile on my face when Leyla Creates receives orders or reviews, it makes all the hard work so worthwhile.

Leyla Creates Top 3:

1. This is a keepsake I made for a bride and groom from their wedding bouquet, this is definitely my favourite make of this year. Knowing that I have made something for them to treasure forever brings me so much joy.

2. Bumblebee Bag – This is one of the first designs Gigi and I put together and has been so popular with sales.

3. Girl Power collection of Enamel Pins – Say it with a pin... My favourite is Fight Like a Girl because anyone who thinks women aren’t tough has obviously never met one! £1 of every sale of these pins is donated to Women’s Aid a fantastic Charity who support women and children who are affected by Domestic Abuse.

Thank you so much Taryn for including us in your Friday Focus, to celebrate our first feature we are giving a 10% discount on any of our products with the code FridayFocus. To use the code you must like both Live Laugh Create's and also Leyla Creates facebook or Instagram pages