Thursday 8 November 2018

My perfect A/W maternity look - intu Merry Hill shopping haul

I do love a good shopping spree. I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to using online a lot for the convenience, but whenever I plan a day out to pop to the shops, I always get excited and love planning what I need to get whilst wondering what gems I might find. Nothing quite beats walking into a store and not quite knowing what things you may come away with.

We live in Birmingham and it tends to be the main place we go to for a shopping trip, but there is somewhere which has all of my favourite shops under one (massive) roof... intu Merry Hill. They’ve got everything from clothes stores to toy shops, homeware to shoes, accessories and stationery. 

Now, I get lost every time I visit and this week was no different! intu Merry Hill had set me a challenge - to pick out my perfect autumn / winter maternity outfit. Autumn is my favourite season for many reasons, including the fashion as I love dressing in layers. Maternity fashion can be more limiting, as many retailers that offer a maternity line only do so online - which is frustrating as being pregnant is one of the key times where you want to try something on before buying, to make sure it’s comfortable - so I was keen to see what new pieces I could pick up at intu that would be versatile enough for a bumpy lady like me. 

I couldn’t wait to have a shopping spree, with time to myself to look around all my favourite shops and not be in a rush. I looked around Next, New Look and River Island, but then headed to Primark as I know they really stay close to the trends and true to form, I found plenty of styles that I had seen in other stores, but in a range of options and for a fraction of the price. 

The intu Merry Hill Primark store has to be one of the best I’ve been to. Honestly. It’s on one floor but very vast, with a good deal for all the family and the home too, so a great one stop shop. AND - it’s getting even bigger as we speak, in time for Christmas! I can’t believe that they’ll have even more to offer soon; I spent well over an hour enjoying myself, looking around at what was new, and was so impressed with the choice. Not only did I find a perfect autumn / winter look that would suit my bump, I actually found several outfit options, which I’m going to share with you below. 

The key thing I had in mind was to find some new wardrobe pieces that would accommodate my bump but be versatile enough to have a life in my wardrobe, long after this baby is born; after all, I am 35 weeks pregnant! 

Here’s my autumn / winter intu Merry Hill maternity style haul:

Look 1: the oversized jumper

Layers are your friend in autumn / winter, to help when you go through the cold of outside to the warmth of inside, especially when you are pregnant as I have found my internal temperature can really fluctuate with this bun in my oven! I love a big cosy jumper at this time of year and the slouchy style is very much in this season, which is good news if you are curvy or if you have a bump on board.

River Island has some fabulous chunky styles in right now, but for trend-led looks at a fraction of the price, you really can’t beat Primark. When you’re expecting, you don’t want to have to fork out for a whole new wardrobe just for a few months, so finding styles that work before and after bump can make a real difference.

I bagged three slouchy jumpers and one oversize cardigan, all £10 or £13 each, and could have walked away with more, such was the choice at the intu Merry Hill store, in terms of colour and design.

Leopard print is ‘in’ – although many of us might argue, when is it ever out of style?! – so I was really pleased to scoop this beautiful bold red print jumper, and this cream, purple and acid yellow number too – not for the faint hearted! I love the personality they offer and they work perfectly with some comfy maternity jeans, or maybe even leather-look leggings for an edge. They also go perfectly with the following look too, as a way to dress down or warm up an otherwise dressier look…

Look 2: the stretchy skirt

I’ve shied away from skirts through my pregnancy, simple because I thought that waistbands would be uncomfortable – I’ve been living in leggings most of the time! But there’s so many great midi skirts out there right now, and we are getting closer to the party season, so I thought I’d check this trend out.

I sized up a couple of times and selected skirt styles with a stretchy waistband, so that that could slip over my bump to sit higher on my waist, then once baby is here and my tummy (hopefully) flattens down, they can be wriggled down.

I fell in love with this rainbow striped glittery skirt – perhaps a Marmite choice, but I thought this would be great for Christmas and think teamed with a slouchy tee or jumper, it makes the look wearable from day to night.

I also spotted this rich green pleated number, with leopard print (can you really have too much?), which looks far more expensive than its £13 label would suggest.

I love how you can pair this with heels for a dressier look, but also with biker boots for an edge (my personal favourite and staple at this time of year) or pumps or even trainers, which could see you take this look through to spring.

I picked up a Cath Kidston X Fearne Cotton messenger bag and matching purse – a new launch, with a rainbow stripe strap – as a perfect accessory (when baby is here, I still want to have my own handbag within easy reach, not just rely on a changing bag), and some bold earrings. Earrings are fab right now, but some can be a bit too over the top, or heavy, in my opinion, so these are great for day time wear and adding a finishing touch to keep your look polished.

Look 3: the long-line shirt

A staple for work wardrobes and a great option to take you from bump to baby and beyond, a long-line shirt gives you room to wriggle and grow, but keeps a smart edge. This one I picked up in Primark, just £10, and I love the colours and paint style print; it also has roll up sleeves, so could work for every season. Great over leggings or jeans, it can be worn for a smart look or for every day, and add a cardi and scarf and you’ll be super warm.

So, what do you think? I am so pleased with what I picked up, how different items can be mixed and matched, and how comfortable all the outfits are, despite my current size!

My top tips for maternity wardrobe shopping are:

  • invest in pregnancy leggings, trousers and jeans, as waistbands can be really uncomfortable as your bump starts to emerge (and you can still get some wear out of them afterwards too whilst your body adjusts)
  • For everything else, size up. T-shirts, blouses, jumpers... just go for styles that are looser or longer, or opt for a size or two bigger than normal
  • Look for styles that will work when you no longer have such a big bump to contend with - a loose fit shirt now can be cinched in with a belt later when you are rocking your post-party style 
  • Stretchy waistband midi skirts are a brilliant choice as you can wear them high on your waist, and have material for them to be shorter in length as a result, and then after baby arrives, you can shimmy them down
  • Stay true to your own style- just because you are having a baby doesn’t mean you have to stop dressing a certain way. Pick things that make you happy and even if you do swap your heels for flat boots and pumps, for comfort, you can still add personality by choosing footwear in bright colours, patterns or with striking details

I picked up a great tribal / Aztec influenced wrap-cardigan in H&M, some beautiful accessories from the new Fearne Cotton collections at Cath Kidston and a few essential items I needed to get me ready for having this baby - including big pants (!) and nighties. I went to Boots for some new season make-up and to look at their Christmas gift offers, popped to the Disney store and even managed to do some food shopping as there’s an Asda on site, so it was a really productive day all round!

With tons of places to eat and all the shops you’d expect, including larger versions, I’d thoroughly recommend a day out at intu Merry Hill. As with anywhere, I’d recommend getting on early so you have more time to look around at your pace. There’s so much under one roof, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for, this season or next.

*I was invited to enjoy a shopping spree at intu Merry Hill, but all choices and content are my own


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