A little green dress

It's 21:38 on Wednesday 22nd November and I'm sat on the train home following one of the most wonderful days, wondering how to put it all into words.

It started three weeks ago when Lauren (@huntersandheels) announced in a post on Instagram that she would be hosting an afternoon for forty Instagram friends in her home town of Ledbury. I have followed Lauren for a couple of years now, ever since the birth of her first child Ollie (around a similar time to when my own Little M was born). A girl after my own heart when it comes to interests and home-life ideals I've enjoyed following her posts, watching her stories and seeing her beautiful boys grow.

At 8pm on the evening tickets went on sale, the Hunters & Heels Instameet literally broke Lauren's blog, so it feels like a bit of an understatement to describe myself and my dear friend Laura lucky to have tickets. We were two of the forty few excited ladies to be going to Hereford for the Insta-event of the year!

It's been an awfully long time since I had an excuse to dress up a little more than usual and wear something other than my "comfies", so Mum and I took a trip to the Trafford Centre for some lunch and a spot of retail therapy. I tried a few things on but nothing felt quite "me". Although I did like a green chiffon dress in H&M, I loved the colour and it fit nicely on my top half, but was then clingy in all the wrong places!

If you'd have asked me what I was planning to wear to something like this before I had Little M, I'd have almost certainly said my favourite green dress. I found it for just 10 pounds back in November 2006 and for over 10 years I wore it... and wore it... and wore it. It was one of those dresses that some Winters went to the back of the wardrobe, but then the following year was back out! "Oooh I almost forgot about that one!"

I wore it to my work's Christmas do (2007) and most memorably on my first date with John (mid-week drinks in Manchester's Odd Bar, December 2009). I also wore it when I was 15 weeks pregnant to work, in an attempt so somehow accentuate my "not quite noticeable" bump (October 2014). I would even go as far as to say that this dress had become a part of me, however now a little pulled in parts and okay let's face it, (at a small size 6) too tiny to even try and squeeze* into, I had resigned myself to the idea that it was part of the old me.

Then Mum had an idea.

Being oh-so-handy with a sewing machine and with the keenest of eyes for dressmaking, she suggested cutting up my "old faithful" and using the fabric to add contrasting panels to said H&M number, transforming it from a fitted shift dress into a swishy swing dress. I was so excited by this thought and, although a little reluctant, she said... "as long as you're sure?!"

Within a day, I had a new dress and my lovely Mum had made the perfect job of it. I hear so many saying that they want to feel like the "old" version of themselves, the person they were pre-children. For me, I feel that too much has happened in my life to ever be that person again, and the wonderful magic of becoming a Mummy makes me only want to be the best version of myself in this exact moment in time. Call me a sentimental fool, but I absolutely love that my favourite dress with oh-so-many memories has been given a new lease of life and now perfectly fits the "now me".


So today came and my alarm went off at 6am. Make up done in the dark and on the train by 7.30, I was hoping that by the time the sun came up and I looked in the mirror I wouldn't have Aunt Sally staring back at me.

I met Laura at Shrewsbury station and she drove us the rest of the way to Hereford. A truly lovely journey along winding roads and through the beautiful English countryside, we chatted and giggled the whole way there - for me, one of the most special things about today is that we got to share it with each other.

(Above image by Lydia Harper Photography)

(Above image by Lydia Harper Photography)

We arrived at the very handsome Verzon House at midday to a bustling room and a glass of fizz. Lauren greeted us with hugs and that beautiful warm smile of hers. She really is every bit as lovely in real life as she is in her posts, as were her closest friends who made Laura and I feel instantly at ease. What an absolute treat it was to meet all these girls after all this time. There was no sense of "strangers" about this day... the atmosphere was welcoming, bubbly and of course exquisitely fragranced (thanks to Jo Malone).

I didn't think it possible to have a whole room full to the brim of like-minded, positive, creative individuals. The theme of the day was most certainly "you can do this", whether chatting about parenting, blogging, photography and even wreath making.

“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

― Edmund Lee

I can't remember the last time I made something, for making-sake (other than kiddie crafts with Little M, that is). Something technically challenging and requiring a bit of thought, a little creativity. Something that doesn't really matter if it looks right or wrong, but that is fun and therapeutic to make. Something that is a little piece of me from this very moment in time. The Great British Florist were simply fantastic in their guidance and encouragement. And the scent of the room as everyone began trimming eucalyptus... OH MY!

(Above image by Lydia Harper Photography)

Conversation was flowing, as were the drinks. The Chase Distillery cocktail master class was oh-so-entertaining and equally delicious, and everyone was sparkling thanks to Bobbi Brown! I met some truly genuine, positive, encouraging, inspirational ladies today (too many to mention) who I only wish I could have continued chatting to for another 5+ hours!

Now an equal mix of tiredness from the journey and buzz from the day, I really have no other words to say other than "thank you". Thank you to Lydia Harper Photography, Jo Malone, The White Company, Bobbi Brown, Joules, Ruby Lou's Treat Co, Diggle Chocolates, Kitty Robinson, The Great British Florist, Verzon House, Ollie & Rory for allowing us all to borrow the company of your Mummy for a whole day and most of all to Lauren herself, Hunters & Heels for hosting the most magical of events... what an absolute pleasure it was to have been a part of it.

Also, thank you to my ever gorgeous Mum for cleverly creating my "new favourite"!

I'm now almost home and itching to give that gorgeous little poppet of mine a cuddle in the morning. Gosh I have missed her today. There’s something about going away to come back home that makes you cherish home-life even more than you think possible, isn’t there? And something about a bit of “me time” that makes you feel a more confident, capable Mummy. I may as well have had a mini break with how refreshed my mind feels! What a wonderful idea the #huntersandheelsinstameet is!


Night all!

Love, Mika (and The Little Green Dress, which now has even more wonderful memories attached to it!)



* Little did I realise that with a new baby comes a new bra size! If only my teenage self could have known that, there'd have been a lot less Judy Blume inspired exercises that's for sure. "I must... I must..!" (hehe!)

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