Pete Bellis

I’ve been talking a lot recently about my connection to Italy; an account of our day trip to Venice with the kids which was utterly amazing and memories of my time when I used to live in the country. Like running the clubhouse for the local golf club. I still think of that period of my life as my best years and the time when I ‘grew up’.

Having arrived in the country as a 19 going on 20-year-old and with just one year of work under my belt, I really was ‘wet behind the ears’ and trying so hard to be a grown-up. It was a difficult time having no family to turn to for guidance and all my choices and actions were completely down to me. It was like walking through life blindfolded.

However, as I understood more and more of the language and was able to make friends and converse with them, a whole new chapter opened for me and I entered into the fascinating world of fashion.

You cannot visit Italy and not notice the clothes. Everyone you come across will be dressed beautifully; it was one of the first things I learnt. My English student background had given me a baseline of charity shop clothes, make do and mend and the odd piece that had been a gift or I had saved up for. The suitcase that I arrived with was stuffed to the brim with trash. Although I’d never have admitted it back then.

I guess I started to understand my look wasn’t quite the ticket when my friends mentioned how ‘quirky’ I was. Or how I was ‘proprio inglese!’ Was that a compliment or not?

I started to take more notice of how the people around me dressed. I watched with intense curiosity as the shops displayed their new seasons and I started to pay more attention to how I put items together. That was the moment I fell in love with clothes and shoes and … boots.

Living in the mountains, boots become a necessity. With months and months of snow from October through to March, you must make sure you look after your feet. In fact, the montanari will remind you many times, ‘Keep your feet warm and you’ll be fine.’

Most of us had more than one or two pairs of boots. We had flat ankle boots, Moon Boots, snow boots, riding boots and for the more special occasions I’d recommend these Uppersole over the knee boots with lace up back  for those evenings spent dancing.

Coats were another important item and I remember, when I first returned to the UK, how I found it so odd that people here would go out with no coat or jacket on! I clearly remember a school group visiting the resort during a bitterly cold February half term and walking down the snowy high street in heels and skimpy dresses for their night out. I admit to cringing as I listened to the Italians murmur how foolish they were, ‘Why not take a coat and put it in the cloakroom?’ they asked me baffled at why the English would put their health at risk when it wasn’t necessary.

Different countries, different customs I would reply with a smile, shrugging my shoulders and hoping they weren’t including me in that bracket of fools.

I had a quick peek at my current boot collection and counted 4 pairs. How many pairs do you currently own?

Hotter whisper boots

I love this time of year, falling leaves, lots of bright colours, some glorious days and long walks in the woods or the countryside, even on the beach.

We’ve been quite busy this autumn, we have been to Dreamland in Margate – it’s the perfect time of year to visit as there are no long queues! We’ve walked over to The Leather Bottle pub in nearby Cobham and I have taken the girls shopping to spend some of their vouchers.

On each of these occasions, I have enjoyed the comfort of my Whisper boots made by Hotter.

Hotter and Mari’s World got together to show how three generations of women could wear the Whisper boots and style them in their own unique way. I am the middle generation, mum is the top and Oana, who was delighted to join in, showed how the younger generation could wear and style these boots just as well as any other woman in town.

The top generation

Hotter Whisper boots

Mum was delighted to join in and at first couldn’t decide which colour to go for. It’s so easy to choose a sensible black or brown boot but no, mum pushed her boundaries this time and selected the bright red boots. Quite a statement and, although I knew she’d come up trumps as she’s always been a woman who has taken great care in her appearance, I was curious as to how she would fit these bright beauties into her wardrobe.

Mum and granddad passed by for a night a couple of weeks ago on their way to Sardegna and she picked up her boots with glee saying she couldn’t wait to try them on. I asked her about her boots on a recent telephone call and she loves them, she’s been walking the well heeled streets of Sardegna looking fabulously smart. She said,

In the words of a song by Nancy Sinatra – “These boots were made for walking and that’s what they will do …”  They are very comfortable, fashionable and I love the colour.  Thankyou

I’m sure I’ll be seeing mum enjoying her boots a lot more this autumn and winter.

The younger generation

Hotter Whisper boots

Oana is my grandchildren’s mother. She is 28 in November and like most women, takes enormous pride in how she looks. Even when money is scarce she manages to come up trumps and look a million dollars. However, could she be tempted to review a pair of boots that women of all ages would happily be seen in? Would she think they made her look ‘old and frumpy’?

I proposed the challenge to her via Whats App and sent through the Whisper boot link so she could see for herself. She loved them and came back almost straight away with her colour choice and size.

Oana has been working a lot as a care assistant the past few months and has to feel comfortable when she is working but she says they are also perfect for slipping on to take the children to the park, for the school run and she said, they look perfect with jeans.

The middle generation

Whisper boots Hotter

Ok, you can decide which generation you prefer to be classified in but the point of this review is to show that one pair of boots can stretch a multitude of ages and styles.

I went for a plum-coloured, suede pair rather than opt for a traditional black or tan boot. I’m really pleased with my choice and have been able to wear them on casual occasions and for ‘going out’. I’ve worn them to work and for long walks. I have been asking the girls to take my photo and they only just got the boots in but you can see plenty more on the Hotter website.

Whisper boots Hotter

They are incredibly comfortable, they are like putting on your favourite pair of slippers. In fact, I’ve often got home and started on house chores only to realise I haven’t changed into my slippers!

I was fascinated to learn from the Hotter Instagram that there are over 40 pieces that go into making a pair of whisper boots. This really goes to underline the care and craft that goes into making a pair of Hotter boots.

Hotter Whisper boots

I can happily say that all three of us thoroughly recommend the Whisper boots by Hotter as a fashion statement and the most comfortable boot you’ll put on this winter.

Disclosure: We were sent a pair of boots each to review for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own.

UGG slippers cosy chestnutI am a slipper girl, I have worn slippers for as  long as I can remember and they represent more to me than just keeping my feet warm, they have taken on the significance of home.

They are the first thing I search for in the morning and the last thing I take off at night. I wear them all day every day and even when I go on holiday I take them with me!

When I see people walking slipper-less in their homes it makes me feel cold and want to try and advise them to change their ways. ‘How can you walk around with nothing on your feet?’

Maybe in the summer time I could rebel a bit but it would have to be hot and before you know it I will have slipped into some light slippers because that’s what I do at home.

Which brings me nicely onto my next point.

Slippers have seasons too and now in the dead of winter it’s time to be cosy and wrap up warm. It’s time to slip your feet into snug fur lined treats that keep your toes toasty all day long.

Then I get onto the BEST bit about this whole post. I have been sent a pair of UGG slippers – all the way from Australia! Well kind of, they originated there and may have been sent over by container load but made in the land of eternal sunshine they are the warmest, snuggest, most trendy slipper I have ever possessed. EVER.

UGG slippers

Even the box they come in is special, I can’t bring myself to throw it away. Carefully wrapped and beautifully presented they would make the most beautiful gift.

UGG pumps

They have quite a range to choose from too because UGG isn’t only about boots, they have shoes, and pumps like those above, you really ought to have a look as they’re not just the traditional boot we have come to know and love, take a look at these babies – aren’t they gorgeous too?

Which pair have you got your eye on? I can’t make my mind up

UGG shoes and boots

Mini mode AW 2012The life of a princess is a busy one, there are many chores to do each day and one must always try one’s best to look 100% princess.

Take yesterday for example, whilst we spend another week at home waiting for our ‘Home Visit’ we decided to check out the veggie plot. It needed some water as it hasn’t rained here for a couple of days and that’s when we spotted the caterpillers, lots of them and that makes mummy grumble as they’re eating lots of holes in her brussel sprout leaves. She’s a bit concerned that there won’t be many home grown sprouts on the Christmas table this year.

Bessie had a caterpiller on her foot the other day and it made her laugh as it was really tickly.

Once the watering was finished we decided to collect all the red tomatoes from the patch, this is the third harvest this summer and it was a very good one too, we filled the entire frisbee and started a second layer too, I was very happy as I love tomatoes whereas Bessie doesn’t.

It’s a shame mummy doesn’t know much about vegetable plots as she planted everything in the wrong place this year, the brussels grew so big they took over the whole front side hiding the leeks, spring onions and carrots. We did get a few carrots but they were stumped and curly, Grandad says the brassicas stole all the goodness from the soil.

She’ll learn…

watering the vegetable plot

Once our gardening was done we decided to play with our sandpit, we made tracks in the sand with a spade and then flicked balls around in a race, it was great fun but when we went inside afterwards for a biscuit mummy noticed the sofa was covered in sand, she made us stand up quickly and go to the back door where she brushed our dresses down and then the sofa cushions.

Such a fuss pot!

Mini Mode - Boots clothes

Talking of dresses, do you like them? A kind lady sent them from London. I’m wearing the pink one because it’s my favourite colour and mummy knows I would have kicked a huge fuss if I didn’t get it. Bessie got the green one and even if it’s not my colour I must admit she wears it very well.


Mummy gave Bess the pink hat to keep her happy, I tried three times to swap mine with her because, like I said, pink is MY favourite colour but mummy caught me every time and stopped me *sigh*

mini mode clothes

Not Alice’s best camera smile :)

At least our cardigans were the same so no arguments there, it’s really pretty with pink bows on it and a lovely velvet strip down the front by the buttons. Oh, buttons there are lots of them and I got quite in a muddle with them.

As for shoes for this outfit, mummy started us off with our brand new school shoes but later we changed into our wellies which I’m sure you’ll agree look much better and so practical.

mini mode AW 2012

So there, if you like these beautiful clothes you must go to Boots and look for their Mini Club range, I’m certain Bessie and I will be dragging mummy there in the near future ;)

Love Alice x

Playing in the sandpit

Disclosure: We were set two outfits from the Mini Club range available exclusively at Boots and they are gorgeous, thank you very much! They are machine washable, easy care and stunning colours.

As a kid we used to spend our summer holidays in Mallorca and they were August holidays as we were at school. My grandparents had an apartment with a shared swimming pool and we were just a short walk down 100’s of steps to the beach. Needless to say we spent the majority of our holiday in swimming costumes.

I can remember getting a creaming up in the morning at around 11am and maybe, maybe again in the afternoon. It was always a pain but had to be done.

Don’t think badly of my mother, it wasn’t that she didn’t care, it was just different back then. Kids played all day half naked in the sun and the sea,  and many German families left their kids totally naked too, something we wouldn’t allow today.

As for the creams, I’m all stocked up from our local Boots with factors, 15, 30 and 50. I have sprays, lotions and creams for when the going gets tough. I also have wet suits for the girls so they can play all day on the beach without getting sunburnt as the material has a UVH Factor 50!

I didn’t have wet suits for my two older children when they were babies. I’d cream them up a few times throughout the day and it was a joy to see them run around in their cossies and get a lovely tan.

But now, the girls will have a thorough creaming up before we leave the mobile home to avoid sandy mixtures and then regular applications after swimming or as the sun gets hotter.

Only a few years ago I wouldn’t have been seen dead with any factor above an 8 and tended to use a 2 most of the time, yet now, I never go below a 15.

So has the sun got stronger over the years or are we just more aware of the damage caused by long exposure with little protection?