If you are new to Little Spree, firstly ‘hi’! And welcome! I know I have a lot of new readers/subscribers, so I just wanted to say ‘thank you’. And I thought I’d write a little (although now reading it back, not so little…) post about me and my background. You may (or may not?) have read the About page on the site, so you may (or may not??) know a bit about me already? Or perhaps you’ve followed Little Spree on Instagram first?
I first started Little Spree way back in 2011 (I know right?). Ironically, because I felt the market was already saturated with ‘fashion bloggers’, and the last thing people needed or wanted was another Fashion Editor/Stylist with a fashion blog. Now there are SO many more, most of whom have no background in fashion at all. And this is not a dig at all – I have always rather liked the fact that blogging was/is rather democratic in that way – a way of just ‘putting something out there (whatever that ‘something’ may be). Equally, over the last eight years (eeek), I have seen fashion bloggers go from ‘standing room only’ to front row at the fashion shows, as more and more magazines (including Glamour, where I was Senior Fashion Editor until March 2011) have sadly closed, and bloggers (or influencers as they/we’re now known) started competing in the fashion hierarchy; many of whom have now eclipsed many of the glossy fashion editors completely in terms of influence and reach. But that’s another story.
So my background, as you’ve probably gathered, is in glossy magazines. I started as a Fashion Assistant at Marie Claire (my DREAM job) in my early twenties, where I stayed for seven and a half years, working my way up to Fashion Editor . I then moved to Glamour , where I later become Senior Fashion Editor. I fell pregnant with the twins in 2009, had them in January 2010 (two months early, but that really is another story…), took a year off work, went back in January 2011 (a day after their first birthday – I wouldn’t recommend it), then left to go freelance in the March. Yes, I lasted all of three months. I went back to what had been my ‘dream job’, but when I returned as a mother of two (just!) one year olds, who weren’t even crawling, it turned out my dream job wasn’t so dreamy after all. All the things that were so fun and glamorous before (back and forth to New York and L.A every month, as well as various other amazing places (India, Mexico, Barbados to name a few…), styling fashion shoots and celebrity covers; attending the biannual fashion shows (in London, New York, Paris, Milan), countless (amazing) parties, dinners, breakfasts, lunches (all in places I could rarely, if ever, ordinarliy afford to go), press discounts, freebies (as ‘gifts’ were then known as), office banter (the one thing I miss the most)… Suddenly equaled guilt, loneliness, insecurity, and sadness. I just felt so detached from it all somehow. I didn’t even know who I was anymore, or where I ‘fitted’. In the first two months of returning to work, my boyfriend, Tom informed me that I had worked five consecutive weekends. FIVE. I was exhausted, miserable, and desperately unhappy (both at work and at home). I missed the babies. I felt lost. So I quit. Just like that. Pretty much. I quit the (so called) ‘dream job’.
I then went on to work for Red magazine, in a freelance capacity, as their Contributing Senior Fashion Editor. It was great, as I could come and go as I pleased (office banter: tick – loved the girls there, and loved the fact that I could jump on a bus, home to my babies before the rush hour), as long as I delivered my shoots for the magazine. I was still traveling (mainly just to L.A then), but not all the time. I was much more in control, and gradually felt my old self returning. In between prepping and shooting my stories for Red, I was also building up my clients for the other part of my career, the freelance styling and art directing. Working for various big (mostly) British brands. I was crazy-busy (I literally never sat down, I used to run everywhere, and was half the size I am now. I took the term ‘juggling’ (a term I loathe incidentally) to a whole new level, and was still travelling a lot, but I was also able to spend quality time with Tabitha and Marlow (then still with a part-time nanny, then later nursery). There was a shift – I was in control of my career (if my agent called me to say that a client wanted me to do an eight day trip, I could decide whether to do it or not. The difference being that I no longer had to. Choices equal empowerment, and I felt empowered, and in control of my career, and the balance between my career and motherhood. Of course, it was never perfect, but it worked for me.
Sorry – I have swerved off onto a huge tangent here… I will get to the Little Spree stuff in a moment (are you still even there?), I promise.
So after Red, I went on to work for the newly re-launched Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine, as their Fashion Editor at Large. Similar gig to the Red one, but more shoots as it’s obviously a weekly as opposed to the monthlies I was used to. Stella was the tipping point for me, work wise. Juggling eight shoots a season (so sixteen a year) for them, plus my work for all my commercial brands/clients, plus Little Spree proved to be a step too far. I was working pretty much full-time at this point, plus weekends on shoots, then on Little Spree in the evenings, usually until around midnight. So after a year, I quit Stella. I had always wanted to experience working for a newspaper, and I had. Been there, done that. But enough was enough.
So after that I made the decision to focus more on developing Little Spree, whilst maintaining my commercial clients (for the money yes, but I also still loved this side of my career, and still do). So that’s pretty much where I’m at now. And gradually, little by little, shifting the balance towards Little Spree. The more I put in, the more I got out, and the more successful it became. It was always a slow burner, more of a sideline I suppose. But always one that I cared greatly about, particularly it’s authenticity. It had to be real, and true to me. I was given so much advice in the early days, about how I should run the blog/site; how to maximise the monetising element etc. I chose to ignore pretty much all of it. Initially I just used to post one thing every day, and back then it was only babies and kids’ things (initially just clothing and accessories) that I featured on the site. Just one fab thing that I had found, genuinely loved, and 100% thought worth buying (and I mostly already had). It’s almost impossible to imagine now (there are SO many gorgeous pieces to be found on the high street, plus plenty of beautiful, competitively priced independent brands catering for stylish mamas wanting to dress three kids in a cool, but beautiful way), but back then there were so few options for beautiful clothes for babies and young children that didn’t cost the earth (I was always, always about the ‘affordable’, as that’s how I shopped, both for my kids and myself) – mostly high street, with the occasional ‘splurge’. This was always my favourite way to style as a fashion editor at the mags too – a mix of ‘high low’ – so much more fun and creative. Any fool could request a head-to-toe runway look from a designer, put it on a great model, and it would look great. But it was the thrill and excitement of the unexpected ‘gem’ in Next or H&M that always made me tick. The mixing of a classic Chanel jacket with a Gap white tee and Topshop jeans… And it still does. The biggest thrill for me is always, always when someone asks me where something is from that I am wearing, and I can answer somewhere unexpected (and preferably high street), as opposed to Isabel Marant (I love pretty much everything she does, but there’s nothing clever or creative about walking into her (BEAUTIFUL) Bruton Street store in London and buying a to-die-for outfit that won’t give you change from £500.00. Although, I must add here that every single thing I have bought from Isabel over the years (from blouses, to boots, to coats to bracelets) has been treasured, worn and worn, and loved and loved. But equally (and to bring me right back to the present day), I also have high street purchases that I have had for just as long, that I love just as much. If I love it, I love it. I think it’s a complete myth that only expensive/designer pieces can be treasured long-term. Bollocks. On Little Spree I do tend to focus more on the more affordable, high street pieces (for us, for kids and for our homes), but I do also include some more designer-y pieces too. This is for two reasons, one: I like the occasional ‘splurge’ myself, and two: I know that many of you like more than the occasional splurge. So although, I might not be in a position to spurge that often, I try to include a mix to cater for those who can, and do. But always with emphasis more on the affordable end of the market. Just in case you were wondering?
So, Little Spree. It started at as go-to resource for stylish mamas wanting stylish, but affordable clothes for their little ones. A few years later (due to huge demand (at the risk of sounding boastful, my lovely readers just kept asking!!), and I said no for so, so long, for the same reasons I mentioned earlier – I felt (even more ironically than before!) there were already so many other fashion blogs, and by this time (with the recent addition of Instagram), focusing on affordable style. The world doesn’t need another one, surely? But then I thought, why not? I’ll still focus mostly on the kids’ stuff, as that was always my USP. But what did I have to lose from adding the odd ‘Mama Spree’ (as I then called them) post now and again (just once a week initially)? After all, I already had the audience, and I knew the demand was there – just for them this time, as opposed to their (already beautifully dressed) children. Then it just grew and grew from there. And eventually, the fashion element of Little Spree actually overtook the kids’. I couldn’t ignore it any longer – the demand for the fashion was greater. People were still loving and buying all my baby and kids’ edits, but they were buying more (a LOT more) from my fashion ones. So the fashion took the lead, and the kids’ took more of a back seat. I guess you could say I’d come full circle, and gone back to my fashion roots. Still very much part of Little Spree (I did consider ditching the kids’ element altogether, but my gut (and everyone I polled!) urged me not to, as this was my point of difference – that I could provide a site that incorporated fashion and kids, and by that time, interiors (one of my favourite things, next to fashion), books, mens, and a bit of beauty too… So that kind of brings us to where we are now – a (very) carefully curated edit of my absolute favourite pieces for you, your kids (if you have kids – I know many of you don’t, and I’m so happy that you still choose to read my posts and shop my edits when there are SO many other sites out there to choose from…), your home, even the men in your life (if they need a little help in the sartorial department). Little Spree is mostly an extension of me and my taste. Of course, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I do like to ‘keep things tight’ when it comes to my vision. I am VERY picky (as anyone who has ever worked with me will testify). ‘Fine’ is just not in my vocabulary – it literally makes me shudder. And that will never change. If I love it, I will share it. If I don’t, I won’t. It’s pretty simple. It can all be a bit random in terms of when and how much I post (you’ll know if I’m away on a shoot/work trip, as things tend to go a bit quiet around here, although I do still try and post the odd thing on Instagram and Stories). So sometimes I might not post for a week, then at other times I might post every day. It also depends on my mood and how inspired I’m feeling. And of course, how much I’m out and about in the shops, or online, looking at things. I tend to have ‘bursts’ of inspiration, when I see loads of great things on the same day/week. Then sometimes nothing. You’ll see this on Instagram Stories in particular. Now I know this flaunts all the so-called ‘rules’ of blogging (aka blagging), about regularity of posting etc., but I’m not one for rules when it comes to my website. I prefer to work more organically (sorry – hate that word, but until someone comes up with a suitable alternative, it will just have to do), as and when I see things. A PR at a press day just the other day actually, asked me: “so, what have you got planned for Little Spree? What have you got coming up?”. I just looked at her blankly, thinking, I have absolutely no idea!! But by that evening, I had a list of ideas. That’s just the way I roll I suppose. Love it or loathe it, it’s 100% genuine. In terms of when and what I post. After all, why would I expect you to part with your hard-earned cash to buy something I wouldn’t be seen dead in/with in my home/with my kids/boyfriend wearing??
So Little Spree has naturally evolved into a lifestyle website I would say. A ‘one stop shop’ for fashion, kids, interiors, gifts, mens… My aim is to make things easy for you – you can simply shop my edits. These edits (and I now have the deteriorating eye sights and glasses to prove it!!) mean you don’t have/need to trawl through a million websites, searching for that one ‘gem’. Trust me, if it’s there, I’ll find it. And I’ll be sure to share it. Mostly here, but sometimes on Instagram/Instagram Stories if I’m on the hoof, and want to share quickly. And believe me, I am not saying you HAVE/NEED to buy anything! That part is up to you. I’m not buying everything I share (can you imagine!!!) – far from it. But I want to give you the best edits to choose from. And that’s the part I love.
Anyway, I think that’s it. Sorry if it all got a bit waffly (see – I told you – I miss the office banter!). I just wanted to give you a bit more of an insight into Little Spree and what it’s all about, and how I like to approach things. I hope you continue to read/follow and enjoy. If you haven’t already, you may want to subscribe – that way you wont miss a single post (which, due to my rather ad hoc posting, is quite likely!). Every time I post something new, it will come straight to your inbox. But equally, if you’re more of a ‘hop online and see what’s going on’ type of gal, then that’s cool too. Whatever works for you. I’m going to sign off now (Baptiste is calling!). Oh, and I love feedback (good and bad), so feel free to email me if you have something you want to share.
Thanks for reading (if you are still reading??).
ps: yes, this picture (actually you can probably see two of me if you’re reading this on a laptop/desktop!!) is ‘a couple’ of years old (pre-chop!). But I like it. Although, funnily enough, after it was taken, I hated it. But now I quite like it (now that I am a couple of years older!! And look ‘a couple’ of years older!!). Isn’t it aways the way?
pps: I’ve recently started adding all my outfits from Instagram straight onto a Shop My Instagram page. Again, to make things easier. Before I would always forget, and I ended up answering the same comments/DMs again and again about what I was wearing, and if/where it was still available. Not that I am comnplaining about answering questions – ask away! I actually genuinely really like it. But the thing is, if for example, I am on a shoot, I’m not checking my phone, so it will ultimately be frustrating for you guys, as I won’t be able to respond immediately.
Also, because what I wear is a real mix of old and new (mostly old to be honest!!), I won’t always be able to link the exact pieces I am wearing (unless they are still available, then of course I will). But I will always find approximately four alternatives that are as similar as I can find (for all budgets). Let me know if you’re finding it useful?
ppps: catch me on the Sheerluxe’s ‘Behind the Scenes’. I have to say, I’m starting to get a little addicted to this show!