Princess Madeleine of Sweden’s stunning wedding dress

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Yesterday was a big day in Sweden as Princess Madeleine, the younger sister of Crown Princess Victoria, married US financier Christopher O’Neill. Her stunning dress was designed by Valentino who came out of retirement to create the gown. Made from silk organdies with applications of ivory Chantilly lace,  the dress featured a full skirt trailed by a statement-making 4-meter long train.

Over 400 guests attended the wedding in Stockholm with Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, representing the UK’s Royal family. The 30-year-old princess has been based in New York since 2010 and the newlyweds were expected to return to the US this week.

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Things that made me smile this week

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Having breakfast out on the terrace in the sun.

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Seeing my two-year-old daughter’s first ever pair of Converse (pink of course!) next to mine

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Checking the weather forecast on my phone in the morning and being greeted by this! Not exactly a heatwave but a vast improvement on last month.

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Finally fitting into my favourite pre-pregnancy jeans, one month before my last baby turns three!

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My little princess in the gold crown she made at playgroup this week

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Having tickets to go and see The Great Gatsby at the cinema tonight with a friend. Spending a couple of hours being transported to the glamorous 1920s in the company of Leonardo Di Caprio will be a fine end to a busy week.

Save or Splurge?

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram have already seen my latest style crush – a pair of canary yellow stilettos from Whistles. The only reason they’re not mine yet is that I hesitate to spend £125 on a pair of shoes in a colour that is such a departure from my normal choice of palette. It took a lot of willpower to walk away when I spotted them in a store earlier this week though!

Then I came across this pair from Topshop (on the left in the picture above) for a more purse friendly £58. The colour is slightly darker and quality wise I would hazard a guess that the Whistles pair would come out on top. But I also have a feeling that these shoes are more of a one-season wonder than a future wardrobe staple so going for the budget alternative is probably the sensible option.

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Patience is a Virtue (that I do not possess..)

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They say that practice makes perfect and, while I’m certainly not an accomplished gardener or photographer, I love learning (probably the reason why I have two degrees and a postgraduate diploma – staying in full-time education was much more appealing than getting an actual job!). My downfall, however, is my lack of patience – I want to do everything now and fast. But sometimes, especially when you’re doing something new, it’s better to take your time, think about it and have it all mapped out in your head before you actually do it.

Take these flowers I planted today which go by the rather impossible name of Osteospermum. I saw them in the garden centre and was drawn to them because they look like daisies which are my favourite flowers. Knowing I had an empty pot at home, I bought four and rushed home to plant them only to realise that I didn’t have enough compost so back to the garden centre I went to buy some more. Then, instead of waiting until this evening when I would have more time, I just had to plant them straight away even though I only had half an hour until school pick up time. I think they turned out OK but I can’t help thinking that if I had spent more time on the preparation and planting, the end result would have been prettier.

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Both photography and gardening are skills that require patience and a steady approach, stopping to think about the composition of a photograph before you press the button or making sure the flowers are positioned correctly before adding the layer of top soil. I think if I could just slow down I would enjoy it more and as a result improve my skills faster. I’m impatient by nature and it’s an aspect of my personality that has been honed by years of working in a fast-paced newsroom where the next deadline was always looming. Perhaps if I could teach myself to slow down that would the greatest lesson of them all.

I had lunch at the garden centre with the loveliest companion.

I had lunch at the garden centre with the loveliest companion.

The Fashion Clinic #2: Festival Style

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Festival season is upon us again and these days there is a festival to suit every taste, whether you’re a music lover, foodie, book buff, or budding thespian. Choosing what to wear to a festival can be tricky , especially if you’re camping for a night or two and need outfits that will see you through from day to night. It might be a bit of a cliche but personally I don’t think you can go wrong with a touch of boho. A pristine white shirt, high heeled shoes or anything skin tight will not only look wrong but is also not practical for a weekend of outdoor living. Here is my low-down on the essential festival pieces this season:

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1.Hopefully the sun will be out but even if it’s not you’ll more than likely need a pair of shades to hide the dark circles under your eyes – festivals are not a time to catch up on the beauty sleep. Sunglasses from Stella McCartney at Shopbop.

2. Ditto a hat will not only protect against the rays but also save you from a bad hair day. Hat from Nelly

3 and 6 – Pretty patterned dresses add a hippie chick vibe and can be layered over leggings and a long-sleeved T-shirt when the temperature drops. Both of these dresses are from Asos – find them here and here.

4. This pretty top from Anthropologie is perfect teamed with a pair of boyfriend jeans or

5. these lace trimmed shorts from New Look.

7.Even if the weather is on your side, stilettos are not ideal for negotiating acres of fields or indeed making your way back to the tent after dark. These flat sandals from KG by Kurt Geiger, available from Asos, are a much better bet.

8. Keep the chill and rain out with this dip hem parka from Oasis.

9. Accessorise with a pretty friendship bracelet from Links of London.

10. Whether it’s raining or not, Hunter wellies are a festival classic. There is a huge selection of colours but this pair in Graphite will go with everything.

The perfect summer dress – only £7 from H&M

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Being Swedish I have always had a soft spot for H&M – after all, along with ABBA and Ikea, it is arguably the country’s most famous export. While I do shop there in the colder months, it is in the summer that the store really comes into its own for me. When the sun is out I want clothes that are comfortable to wear and can be thrown into the washing machine on a 40 degree wash after a trip to the beach or picnic in the park. I don’t want to spend a fortune on pieces that will only be worn for three months of the year (if that, given the last couple of dismal summers we’ve had!).

It’s in the autumn/winter that I tend to buy my investment or ‘forever’ pieces – the perfect jumper in the softest cashmere or the pure wool coat that nips in at the waist just so – that come with a ‘daren’t quite look’ price tag and a dry clean only label. That’s not to say that I throw my H&M or other budget finds into the charity bag at the end of each season. Many of them become firm favourites which are brought out from the under the bed storage box where I keep all my summer clothes every year when the temperature soars. I have one white H&M skirt, bought in the summer of 2005 when Sienna Miller’s boho look was all the rage, that is still one of my favourite summer pieces.

This morning I visited my local branch and exited with four pretty and flattering dresses, with change left over from £30. The dress with crochet detailing was  on special offer (£7, down from £12.99 which is not exactly expensive either) so I bought it in three colour ways as well as a grey T-shirt dress for £7.99. If that’s not good value I don’t know what is!