just add a splash of ochre…

Girls Wellies

1. Next Stripe Linen Dungarees, £18.00-£24.00
2. Louis Louise Blouse, £52.00
3. Aigle Wellinton Boots, £29.00
4. Emile Et Ida Lapin Wallet, £18.00

Boys Rain Coat

1. Carrement Beau Melange T-Shirt, £22.00
2. Next Rain Mac, £22.00-£24.00
3. Gap Cut-Off Denim Shorts, £6.99
4. Aigle Wellington Boots, £29.00

There’s no getting away from it, it looks like Summer has come to an abrupt end. In August. I daren’t leave the house without the the kids’ rainmacs and an umbrella for fear of  literally being washed away… But, it’s not cold, so jumpers and coats are still off the agenda. This is always a tricky one to get right clothes-wise. Tabitha and Marlow have literally been living in their wellies (these exact ones) pretty much since we got back from our holiday (so long sandals…).  So we might as well work them into cute outfits right? A splash of ochre feels Autumn-ready in an Indian Summer of way…

Sarah xx

mama spree: your chance to have kate’s hair!

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One of Nicola’s most loyal clients, Kate and ‘mini me’ daughter, Lila

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Nicola and Kate Winslet

I first met Nicola when I was a Fashion Assistant at Marie Claire in my early twenties when she had just started out on her own after assisting the legendary, Sam McKnight. We found ourselves on a trip in Wales having to share, not only a room, but a bed (it’s a long story…)! And we had never even met before!! Luckily we laughed about it (we didn’t actually have a choice), bonded and have been friends ever since. She has also pretty much been the only person to colour my hair since (and this was over fifteen years ago!!). I feel incredibly lucky that my hair is in such safe hands, and I always love her down-to-earth, honest, no bulls**t approach (I have often gone into the salon excitedly clutching a picture of someone’s hair that I’m currently obsessed with, only for Nicola to say: “I’m not doing that! You’ll hate it!!” or “are you sure you’re looking at her hair and not her body!”. And needless, to say, she is always right. What makes Nicola so special and unique (and in demand!!) is that she will give you the right colour for you and your hair. Not necessarily the colour that you think you want.
Anyway, enough about me and how great I think she is, here’s the factual bit about Nicola and her amazing career…

Nicola  is one of the world’s most sought-after and influential hair colourists. As Creative Colour Director for John Frieda Salons, she is known for her ability to bring out subtle nuances of hair colour while still allowing for easy maintenece. It’s her ‘painterly’ approach that marks Nicola out in her field. She uses a combination of transformative techniques – foil, balayage and highlights to create super natural, flattering, wearable hair with just a few strategically placed highlights. With an unparalleled talent for creating expensive looking, impeccably conditioned colour, it comes as no surprise that Nicola is the name behind some of the world’s most beautiful faces, including Kate Winslet, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Scarlett Johansson. She’s in demand for good reason!
Nicola is also responsible for creating  some of the inspired and iconic looks in today’s biggest box office hits, taking Kate Winslet to a mousy brown in The Reader through to a Hitchcock blonde in Revolutionionary Road. While colour is definitely Nicola’s calling card, she also styles, and works regularly with Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett to get red carpet  ready, most recently with Cate for the Cannes Film Festival.

Nicola may be as jet-set as her famous clients, but she still remains completely unchanged from when we first met in Wales all those years ago. She is one of the most down-to-earth, lovely, funny people you could meet. I don’t just go to her to sort my hair out, I go for the chat and the laughs! I always look forward to my appointment with her, as it’s the only time we get to properly catch up.
I asked her a few mama-related questions…

What advice would you give to people wanting a change of hair colour
Firstly, think about what big events you have coming up in the near future – you don’t want to be going from blonde to brunette and back to blonde if you have a big wedding. It will take months to go backwards and forwards on such a big job. Not to mention the damage it would cause to your hair!

So many people (including me!) want that gorgeous, natural looking, sun-streaked looking blonde (like Kate Moss’s). Are there any key words we should be using when we go to the hairdressers to communicate this?
I think it’s always best to have an image when it comes to communicating with a hairdresser. Understanding colours like ‘ash’ and ‘gold’ can sometimes be misunderstood on both sides, so it’s much easier to have a picture.

Any tips on covering greys?? To pluck or not to pluck?
If it’s just one or two greys, then I’d let you off the hook, but generally I’d say no to plucking, as they grow back and stick out. It’s always better to leave them so that they are not ‘poking out’.

Hair can change so much during and after pregnancy. Any tips?
I think the best thing is to take vitamins for hair and skin, and not freak out! Just be aware that when your baby is around four months old, you may lose a small amount of hair around your hairline. Don’t worry, it will grow back.

What are your favourite quick-fix/time saving hair products for time-poor mamas?
Dry shampoo. If you have a fringe, don’t wash all your hair – just wash the fringe to give the illusion that the whole head of hair is clean. Saves time with long blow-drys.

Do you have a favourite go-to product that you always have in your kit?
My favourite product would be my John Frieda Volumising Blowdry Spray, my Mason Pearson brush, Khiels Silk Groom and Oribe Texturising Spray.

What is the one request that you hear the most from clients? And how can we achieve this?
Most of the requests I get from clients are to be blonder, but to keep the quality of their hair. I’m able to achieve this now because we have a great product from the US called Opalex.

Are there any particular products that your celebrity clients love?
Opalex is the product of the moment (although it’s a treatment rather than a product). And I love the Oribe range of products.

What one thing can we buy today to get cool looking, gorgeous hair?
Babyliss tongs and a spritz of dry shampoo. Or if you feel like splurging, the Oribe Texturing Spray.

Now for the bit that we have been so excited to share with you – our ‘back to school’ mama treat! One lucky mama reading this could win an appointment with Nicola, where she will work her magic on your hair! John Frieda are offering a complimentary half/full head of highlights (or equivalent colour) with Nicola, plus a gorgoeus blowdry afterwards at their salon on Alford Street, Mayfair, London. Yes, one of you can get the Kate treatment!! All you need to do is email us with why you would love the chance to have a one-on-one with Nicola? Oh and you have to be called Kate to enter. Just kidding. Good luck!

Sarah xx

back to school part llll: bags

bags for school

1. Mango Printed Backpack, £24.99
2. Mango Printed Backpack, £24.99

It’s our final instalment of our ‘back to school’ week, and for our last post we’re talking school bags. Again, like school coats, many schools have their own regulation school bags, but lots don’t (or, like Tabitha and Marlow’s school, it’s optional – I towed the line last year, this year I’m thinking of ‘breaking out’). We like these simple, but cute star print ones from Mango – not too big (so many backpacks are just HUGE!) and not too small (there are a lot of teeny-tiny ones out there too that are barely bigger than a lunchbox), and they are a great price (oh my GOD – have you seen the price of some??). And the print is understated and stylish, but still recognisable in a crowd… I’ll take one of each please!

Sarah & Nicky xx

back to school part lll: coats

boys  school coats

1. Petit Bateau Navy Raincoat, £58.00
2. RJR John Rocha Boys Neoprene Parker, £30.40
3. Navy Mac, £30.00-£36.00
4. John Lewis Hooded 3-in-1 Jacket, £38.00-£43.00

girls school coats

1. John Lewis School Shetland Coat, £80.00-£90.00
2. John Lewis Unisex School Duffle Coat, £75.00-£95.00
3. Debenhams Navy School Mac, £8.00-£15.20
4. Next Wool Coat, £30.00-£36.00

You think it would be simple to find a plain black or navy school coat wouldn’t you? Not so. Well, not a half decent one anyway. We know a lot of schools have their own coat as part of their uniform (like Bailey’s), but a lot don’t (Tabitha and Marlow’s – well they do, but they have the choice as to whether they wear it, and the school one is really not that warm). These are the best ones we found. We have split them into boys and girls, but to be honest, most are unisex.  And this John Lewis duffle is a snip at just £27.00

Sarah & Nicky xx

back to school part ll: girls shoes


Primigi Leather Mary Janes, £30.00

Gilrs School Shoes

1. Start Rite Delphine Navy Leather Mary Janes, £49.00
2. Geox Black Leather Mary Janes, £42.00
3. Naturino Black Ballet Pumps, £33.00
4. Next Black Patent Mary Janes, £15.00-£19.00

Today is the girls’ turn. They also have a pretty un-exciting selection to choose from I’m afraid. But these are our favourites out there (and actually they’re not that bad…). So coming top this year is this Primigi Mary Jane (the classic Mary Jane is our style of choice – simple, classic, timeless). Tabitha has had this style a few times (I discovered it at the fabulous Shoe Station in Kew), and they’re great – really simple, a classic design, and really comfortable thanks to the softest Italian leather). Tabitha loved them from the minute she tried a pair on, and I’m hoping that after a Summer of sandals every day, she will happily slip into a new pair come 7th September. I also really like these Naturino ballet pumps with the elasticated criss-cross straps – they remind me of a pair of F-Troupe ballet flats I once owned, and loved (and wore into the ground), and the elastic should get around the non-buckle rule). Other contenders include these from Start Rite; Dr Martens; Lelli Kelly (yes really!); and Start Rite (when they are old enough for buckles).
See you tomorrow!

Sarah & Nicky xx

back to school part l: boys shoes

Geox William School Shoes, £42.00

Boys school shoe

1. Start Rite Will Shoes, £40.00
2. M&S Scuff Resistant Toe Bumper Trainers, £18.00-£22.00
3. Next Black Leather Lace-Ups, £20.00-£26.00
4. Start Rite Rotate Shoes, £40.00-£42.00

Sorry ladies, admittedly not the most inspiring comeback post… But we couldn’t leave you high and dry, and alone in the wilderness that is ‘the back to school shoe nightmare’. Urgh. We have heard your pleas – which ugly black shoe should I go for this time? And we hear your pain (Marlow and Bailey will both be starting Year One in a couple of weeks, and if they have to wear ugly black shoes, we’re making damn sure they will be the best of the (bad) bunch. So we’re kicking off our return with our favourite (we use the word ‘favourite’ loosely here) boys’ school shoes. The Geox William is coming out on top for the second year running. We feel that have a better handle on things a year on – we know exactly what we want/need from our kids’ school shoes, and looks aren’t everything. The William is the best looking, comfortable, hard wearing, a good price, and has been worn almost exclusively by Marlow and Bailey for the entire Reception year. And the other four are the runners up (we actually really like this Next pair (above), but also know that most schools don’t allow laces for younger boys). These Vans and these Dr Martens might not have made our top five, but have both made it into our post by the skin their teeth, and are definitely worth a look.
See you tomorrow for the girls’ turn…

Sarah & Nicky xx

ps: we promise, once this week’s out the way, we’ll get down to the serious business of inspiring yours and your little ones’ Winter wardrobes (might as well get started now – have you seen the weather??).

it’s almost time…


The wait is almost over! Have you missed us? The good news is we are back in business from Monday, and we’re kicking off with our not-to-be-missed ‘back to school’ edit. We have rounded up our favourite school shoes, coats and bags for boys and girls. Don’t go shopping without us!

Sarah & Nicky xx

ps: we have THE best Mama Spree give-away ever for you next Friday. It’s kind of like our ‘back to school’ treat for mamas. Trust us, this is definitely not one you do not want to miss…

Little Spree is taking a little holiday…


We are both having a much-needed break from Little Spree to spend some quality holiday time with our families over the Summer (and to give our eyes a rest from looking at all that Isabel Marant and Mango (we’re not sure we can even tell the difference anymore…), and our fingers a rest from all the late-night bargain hunting!!). In the meantime if you’re missing us, you can see what we’re up to (and sometimes what we’re wearing – although we can guarantee there will definitely be no bikini selfies!) on Instagram (@littlespree); and don’t forget the Little Spree shop (for you and your little ones). It’s open 24-7!

Sarah & Nicky xx

who says boys can’t wear pink?

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Smalls 100% Superfine Merino Wool Top, £39.95

Smalls Merino Top Boy

1. Smalls Long Sleeved Top, £39.95
2. Dandy Star Cotton Rucksack, £21.55
3. Greenery Kids Harem Pants (sold as part of set with moustache tee), £17.00
4. Next Sandals, £13.00-£15.00

We love pink for our boys (always the right shade of pink though of course), and we love this outfit (Bailey already has it!). And if you’re not already familiar with the label Smalls, you need to be. They are just brilliant – we are big fans at Little Spree, and our kids wear them all the time. We find them particularly useful for those tricky ‘in-between’ weather days – is it cold or is it warm?? Much like today in fact! When the kids wear theirs, they never complain about being “too hot” or “uncomfy” – in fact, they never make any comments at all – they are just comfortable, happy and busy playing (and anyone who knows Marlow knows how picky he can be about the way things look and feel: “but it’s not cashmere Mummy!”… I know, I know!!). And here’s why (read it – it’s actually really interesting)…

– Merino’s breathable fibre core has a waxy-coated exterior so there is no surface for germs to grow on. This makes merino naturally antibacterial so it can be worn for days without stinking. (Phew).
– Merino wool stores warmth in millions of little air pockets that trap your own body heat. This means you stay warmer without having to wear lots of layers. Stay outside playing for longer – always good news for kids!
– Your Smalls don’t need special treatment like most of your woollies (thank God – high maintenance kids clothes? No thanks). Wear them lots, wash them whenever, – and never worry about them fading or shrinking like other fabrics. No washing machine dramas.
– Smalls merino is naturally resistant to staining, odors, and pilling. A little airing is enough to revive your Smalls. (Though you might want to wash them at some point!).
– Merino wool also dries fast, perfect for busy families and it’s anti-static so won’t cling.
– Smalls merino is also naturally elastic (unlike us sadly). It springs back to its original shape every time.
– Also, super smooth fibres mean bad news for dust mites. It’s anti static so it naturally repels dust, which can cause allergies and asthma in sufferers. Because of its breathability, it keeps skin dry and less prone to eczema.
– It is also an excellent barrier for harmful UV rays, so you can wear it on the beach Or even onthe ski slopes!
– In the summer, it keeps you cool, dry and just.….happy.

And our friends at Smalls are giving one of their super-stylish long sleeved tops (‘longs’) away (they will even personalise it with your child’s name – how sweet), so you can see how great they are first hand. All you need to do is:

1. Sign up to the the Smalls newsletter on their gorgeous website.
2. Email us at Little Spree (info@littlespree.com) with the colour and size (2-12 years) of top you would like to win. If you’re not sure, take a look at Tabitha, Marlow and Bailey wearing theirs on Instagram today for some style inspiration…
3. Keep your fingers crossed!

You have until midnight on Monday 27th to enter, and we will announce the winner on Tuesday 28th. Good luck!

Sarah & Nicky xx

mama spree: the last minute holiday dress


ASOS Printed Maxi Dress, £39.00

We always like to buy one last-minute holiday purchase. Something fun and a bit frivelous that you can just chuck in the suitcase (on top of all your sale bargains…). This is the dress we’re buying (or in Nicky’s case, has bought). We love the Holly Hobbie patchwork print. The perfect low-key, easy to wear, relaxed dress that requires zero thought. And perfect with these Gap sandals (now just £24.99 in the sale). Done.

Sarah & Nicky xx

ps: size-up as it comes up on the small size.

pps: we’ll be wearing ours with a navy cashmere sweater come Autumn…

the prettiest (sale) pieces

Photo: Bonpoint

These are our prettiest sale picks for the (little and tiny) girls…
This Louis Louise dress; this Louis Louise top; this Kidscase blouse; this Louis Louise skirt; this Emile et Ida dress; this Louis Louise dress; this Caramel dress; this Emile et Ida skirt; this Poppy Rose dress; these Mango skirts; this ilovegorgeous baby dress; this Louis Louise baby romper; this Mango baby dress;  ilovegorgeous baby dress; these Louis Louise baby bloomers and this Louis Louise baby dress.

Sarah & Nicky xx

ps: we couldn’t resist this super-cute cat bag from Emile et Ida.

mama spree: going, going…


Mango Linen Coat, £44.99 (was £89.99)

This is our very last sales round-up for mamas. Amazingly, there are still some fab things out there (including this Mango linen coat, which we are a little bit obsessed with!!). But they won’t be around for much longer…
We love this BDG army surplus jacket; these metallic Vans for J.Crew; these Vanessa Bruno Athé striped trousers; this Whistles leather biker (a great investment – every wardrobe should have at least one); these Mango dungarees; these Isabel Marant Étoile cords (pink is the colour for next season so get a jump-start on a trend); this Whistles jumpsuit; these J.Crew tees (Nicky’s favourites); this Whistles apron dress; and this Isabel Marant embroidered top (so pretty!).

Sarah & Nicky xx

the tail end of the sales…

Photo: Caramel Baby & Child

It’s not too late to scoop up a few last-minute sale bargains (and there are definitely some great things still out there if you’re quick!). There is a common myth that if you shop the tail end of the sales, it’s only the dregs left that no one else wants. Not necessarily. You just need to be a bit more sale savvy that at the beginning of the sales. We’ve done the savvy bit for you…
Take a look at this Kickle rain mac, this Mango sweatshirt; these Mango shorts; this Miller sweatshirt; this Mango belt; these The Little White Company short pyjamas; this Miller sweatshirt; Marlow’s favourite boots from Boden (tempted to buy him another pair for the Autumn…); Marlow’s Boden jumper (as featured on the Boden blog); these Boden baby dungarees; this Mango baby long sleeved tee; these Louis Louise baby trousers; these Caramel baby trousers; this Mango baby sweater; Bonton baby cardigan; and this Mango baby sweater (a great ‘buy now stash for later’). Phew!

Sarah & Nicky xx

Mifold portable car seat

Every now and then someone invents something obvious and brilliant. That’s how we feel about ‘mifold’. It’s a compact, portable booster that’s 10 times smaller than a regular booster seat (it’s even smaller than an iPad!) and is just as safe. Throughout their crowdfunding period you can pre-order one at a discounted price (from £35.00 to £20.00), plus you’ll have the opportunity to personalise your seat. Pre-order here, we will be!



beach chic

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1. ilovegorgeous Beach Cover-Up, (was £45.00) £31.50
2. Mitty James Towling Beach Robe, £23.99

We are slowly winding down for our Summer break on Little Spree (your credit cards can take a break too!). So this week we are bringing you a mix of last-minute holiday buys, and tail-end-of-the-sales bargains (yes, there are still some great things out there…). Then we will bid you farewell for a few weeks while we take a much-needed ‘Little Spree holiday’. So today we’re bringing you our favourite beach cover-ups for girls and boys. Some cute, some cosy, and all super-stylish…
We also like these ones from: Jo Jo Maman Bebe (navy); John Lewis; Accesorize; ilovegorgeousAccessorize; ilovegorgeous; and we love this breton bath cape (perfect for the beach) from Petit Bateau.

See you tomorrow!

Sarah & Nicky xx

mama spree part ll: the outtake outfit

MS Travel Outfit

1. Topshop Moto Jumpsuit, £65.00
2. 2. Isabel Marant Étoile Curt Scarf (was £150.00) £75.00
3. Mango Double Compartment Bag, (was £17.99) £8.99
4. Isabel Marant Étoile Leather Sandals, (were £270.00) £108.00

This was the outfit we were going to post yesterday as our travel outfit (the one that almost got away). We loved it – cool, chic, no awful muffin tops on show when you’re bending over to put those cases on the weighing machine at check-in, or when you’re reaching up to stuff your carry on bags in the (already stuffed) overhead lockers (is that what they’re called?)…That’s the last thing you want to be worrying about! We were all set. Then I woke up in the middle of the night (I’m not even kidding), thinking: cream jumpsuit for travelling with kids?? I don’t think so!! What we we thinking?? Unless you happen to be travelling with a newborn, then go for it – no one will ever notice if you’ve got baby sick on your shoulder…
For the rest of us, let’s stick to the navy one (in yesterday’s post) for the flight, then pack this one for the holiday. So perfect. We just love this look, so felt we still wanted to share it. See – you can ever use the same scarf and bag from your journey! And these Issy sandals at just over a £100.00 (reduced from a whopping £270.00!!) are proving hard to resist…

Sarah & Nicky xx

ps: this jumpsuit is much more ‘cream’ (ecru even?) than it looks in this picture. It’s most definitely not white. Just saying.

mama spree: travel chic



1. Topshop Utility Jumpsuit, £55.00
2. Isabel Marant Étoile Curt Scarf (was £150.00) £75.00
3. Mango Double Compartment Bag, (was £17.99) £8.99
4. Mango Lace-Up Sneakers, £44.99

The swimsuits, flip-flops, shorts and hats are packed; your travel tote’s stocked with games and snacks; the kids are dressed; then five minutes before you’re due to leave you realise you have to put together your travel outfit. The taxi is waiting outside and you’re desperately trying to cobble together an outfit that’s comfortable, warm (but not too warm) and makes you feel effortlessly stylish. Sound familiar?
Not this time. Just get these four things ready the night before and off you go… Comfortable, warm and effortlessly stylish.
Happy holidays!

Nicky & Sarah xx

ps: these Mango sneakers reminded me of a really cool pair of Saint Laurent ones that Sarah shot (and Instagram-ed) for Red a couple of weeks ago…

pps: see the outfit we almost posted today (and why we changed our minds at the last minute), on Saturday.

travelling with girls…


Cyrillus Smocked Tunic, £12.30

Girl Travel Outfit

1. Cyrillus Smocked Tunic, £12.30
2. Eva & Oli Rucksack, £31.59
3. Emile Et Ida Pencil Case, £18.63
4. Jigsaw Junior Printed Leggings, £15.00-£20.00
5. Saltwater Surfer Sandals, from £40.00

Just the word ‘leggings’ is enough to make me feel a little queasy (in fact the only word guaranteed to make me feel worse is ‘jeggings’). They just sound slightly unpleasant somehow don’t they? Plus I have the added association with my Winter pregnancy ‘uniform’ of oversized mens cashmere sweater, leggings and biker boots (actually much cooler than it sounds). And we all know that all you want to do with your pregnancy uniform as soon as you’re thin enough to ditch it altogether, is to incinerate it! Needless to say I have not worn a pair of leggings since. Anyway. Fast forward to being a mama of a five year old girl. Now although they may not be my favourite item in her wardrobe, they do have their uses. Easy, comfy and cute if you get the right pair (not too tight, not too baggy and not too cropped) and style them with a pretty (long-ish) blouse/tunic top (like this one from Cyrillus). I like them with sandals in the Summer or boots in the Winter. Oh, and Tabitha loves wearing them! So I must confess, when it comes to a travel outfit for little girls, I started with the humble legging. But we think these ones look very sweet indeed.

Sarah & Nicky xx

mama spree: a few mama travel essentials


L.L Bean Tote Bag, £17.64-£28.25

MS Travel Bag

1. Naomilingerie  Cotton Eye Mask, £12.37
2. OMY Set of 4 Pocket Games and Colouring Sets, £18.63
3. John Lewis Cashmere Reversibe Blanket, (was £110.00),  £77.00
4. ‘My Very Healthy Snacks’ Box, £5.95
5. Blossom Paris Striped Wash Bag, £34.83
6. Maclaren Volo Black Buggy, £90.00

These are a just a few of our tried-and-tested in-flight travel essentials for mamas. Travelling with little ones in tow is a very different experience from travelling alone (no shit!), but with a few carefully chosen items, you never know, it might not even be that bad… You might even enjoy it!

1. Nicky swears by an the eye mask for Bailey on night flights. As you know, we love anything that’s practical and cute…

2. Mini games to keep the kids amused. Nicky has bought these pocket sized ones in the past and loves them. Small and easy to stash. Perfect!

3. Travel + cashmere (of any size/description) = an overall more pleasant, comfortable journey. Without question. Perfect for kids to snuggle up in when the airline suddenly decide to crank up the AC in the cabin (why do they always do that??). This one is a great price, and size.

4. The mama who travels without a selection of snacks (in various grades of healthiness) is a foolish one. Snacks are ammunition. This cute snack box is easy to find in your tote, looks good, and you can pretend that all your snacks are healthy ones (yeah right).

5. I love a pretty zip-up wash bag that does’t look like a wash bag (anyone who knows me and has travelled with me, knows I like a bag in a bag in a bag…) to keep all those things like wipes, Calpol, plasters etc etc in. We love this striped one.

6. Forget your usual go-to ‘super buggy’ (in my case we threw the money at the iCandy Peach Blossom, in Nicky’s case the Concord Neo Mobility Set), when it comes to travelling, you need a super-lightweight buggy that you can actually lift, collapses in seconds, and you don’t need to re-mortgage to replace (and that you don’t actually care that much about). Leave the ‘Bentley’ in the garage at home. I had two of these Maclaren Volos for the twins and they were just brilliant. Can’t recommend them enough (whether you’re a twins mama or not).

The ultimate ‘chuck it all in’ roomy tote from L.L Bean (top). Don’t worry about the all important things – wallet, passports etc – they are all safe in your (equally chic) cross-body bag (coming on Friday’s Mama Spree post). Today is all about the tote. I have long been a fan of the traditional L.L Bean ‘boat and tote’ canvas bags (they are a bit of a fashion industry off-duty must-have, and much loved by celebs such as Gwyneth, Julia Roberts and Chloe Sevingy…). My favourite is the classic (large) open-top ‘Boat and Tote’ with navy trim and the short handles. And I always like to get mine monogramed (so chic, and cute to get your kids’ names/initials – you need to order from the US website if you want to add monogramming: ). The surprising thing is the price. One of the most affordable stylish totes around. And on holiday they double up as the perfect beach bag too. I use mine ALL the time. Great for chucking in the car too. In fact, great for pretty much anything.

Here are a few more things we’ll be stashing in our totes… cashmere socks (for us obviously); our favourite Tegu magnetic bricks are just brilliant for little ones who like to build (and this set is small and totally portable – Marlow has it); these sweet little drawstring bags to put ‘stuff’ in (I like to separate things out so I can lay my hands on them quickly and easily); these little colouring pencils in a tube; and I have ordered these activity sticker books for Tabs and Marlow for the flight to Italy (admittedly a short and pretty manageable flight, even with no Tom as my wingman) in a couple of weeks (what is it about sticker books anyway??). The rest is up to you. Valium?

Sarah and Nicky xx