Not just for Kate Middleton : Seraphine – Leeds, Review

is it your first?

I was lucky enough to be invited to a new maternity store opening in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds. But to be entirely honest with you I had never heard of the name ‘Seraphine‘.

Now in Leeds!

None the less, I accepted the invite, stroked my huge 33 week pregnant stomach and decided we should go – if only to get out of the house for the first time in weeks. I had a look at their website and it became glaringly obvious that there was a reason I had not heard of this brand – it was a brand worn by goddesses such as Kate Winslet, Gwen Stefani, Benedict Cumberbatch’s lucky wife and The Duchess of Cambridge herself. They had clearly made a mistake inviting me.

My main concern was that this was not a brand for the ‘normal woman‘ (yes, I’m talking about me there). If these amazingly perfect pregnant celebrities and royalty wore these clothes –

1. Would they be able to dress me? A curvy woman.

2. Will they have even seen a bump this big before? I am quite unlike these celebrities who look like they’ve had a bit of bread when they’re pregnant; my bump is in a different league.

3. Will it be affordable? I’m not rich or famous – I’m just a normal mum.

4. Will this place be pretentious? The store is located in the Victoria Quarter, near Harvey Nichols – a shop I need to spend a week dressing up to visit. We all know that horrible feeling of wondering into a small boutique and being stared at with one look and one look only “You can’t afford anything in here, and you’re the wrong size, you don’t belong here…” The Pretty Woman effect, if you will (though I rarely wear my thigh high boots anymore).

I SO want that dress in the middle! (especially as my back is now my best asset).

A few days later I waddled off to the Victoria Quarter in my high street maternity dress, slightly nervous to see Seraphine for myself.

The shop is not at all as I expected. It is larger than most in that arcade and spacious – you are not nose to nose with any retail assistants. Upon walking in I felt immediately at ease – there was not the pretentious air or snootiness I was concerned about. The retails assistants were polite and friendly – more personable than most and chatty – without being invasive.

support tights

I was lucky enough to meet and chat to the founder of Seraphine: Cecile Reinaud – which you would think would be quite daunting, considering her success – but she was exceedingly warm and engaging and a joy to talk to.

I quickly asked about their sizes and prices (on behalf of the ‘normal woman‘). Their sizes range from a 6 to an 18 which I was impressed with and their prices are from as low as in their twenties to a higher end  –The Luxe range’ that boasts wedding dresses and occasion dresses in their collection.

tops designed for ease when nursing

Something I was really impressed with was that the vast majority of their clothes are designed for ease during nursing they had discreet poppers at the side, or straps with stretch. They had beautiful summer tops, a vast collection of jeans, support tights and an essential maternity set – The Bump Kit – that would keep you satisfied throughout your nine months if you adapted it with different accessories.

All of their staff are trained in bra fittings and they stock a range of underwear. They also have beautiful changing bags by StorkSak , specially designed shoes for pregnancy by shoe therapy and skincare by mama mio and Bloom and Blossom.  The changing rooms are very spacious too and not as daunting as changing rooms can be.

their range of jeans

Something I have found with many maternity clothes is that they seem to just over inflate their normal clothes (just today I am sending back several size 14 items from a shop that are absolutely enormous – marquee like pieces). 

designed with buttons for nursing – this top comes in an array of colours and designs and was my personal fave!

When I chose a top at Seraphine I had been eyeing up on their website they had my size (14) and I was thrilled that it fitted me just right. It wasn’t too big and I can honestly say I would wear it (and a lot of their clothes) after my pregnancy. It makes me feel very feminine and very pretty – and this is coming from a pregnant woman who has wallowed in her house for a few months weeping over how whale like she appears.

I was incredibly impressed with the store – and with the clothes – and it was a relief to see that Seraphine is not just for the likes of Kate Middleton – it is for the everyday pregnant woman too.

My only complaint is that I didn’t know about this brand sooner and my pregnancy is nearing its end (I will be going this weekend again as it just so happens to be my birthday!).

Seraphine is now open in Leeds Victoria Quarter* – go and have a look for yourself.

And afterwards I recommend going just around the corner to the Harvey Nichols cafe and having one of their non-alcoholic fruit cocktails. Or indulging in their afternoon tea – make a day of it. You deserve it; It’s what The Duchess would do!

*Victoria Foundry, Marshall Street, Leeds, LS11 9EH

Update 

After visiting the store again I purchased this dress. Absolutely love it.

  

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Tiny New Toes: Antenatal Depression

Mummy's Writing Darling

Tiny New Toes, opening up about antenatal depression and the Seraphine Mum’s Voice Awards for Tommy’s.

 

The Seraphine  Mum’s Voice Awards for Tommy’s

Writing about the hilarity of pregnancy and parenting comes very easily to me and 90% of what I write is intended to make people laugh. However, during my second pregnancy earlier this year it became increasingly difficult to find the funny side.

No one was more surprised than me to find out I was suffering with antenatal depression.

Though I had heard lots about post natal depression – antenatal depression was not something I had heard about or foreseen. And it suddenly seemed impossible not to write about it.

I wrote a post called How to cope with antenatal depression and another about my birth trauma – which, through talking to a specialist midwife support officer, I realised was linked to my depression.

I wrote a post for Mothercare on the subject called “you’re supposed to” about the expectation that being pregnant will be the happiest time of your life.  But the best response I got was after I wrote a poem about my feelings : Tiny New Toes”.

Through these posts I connected with Tommy’s – the baby charity and also took part in their Talk to someone campaign.

Writing about my feelings so honestly was terrifying – especially without my usual jokes and punchlines – but I’m very glad I did.

I was overwhelmed to find out this week that I have been longlisted for the Tommy’s Mum’s Voice award sponsored by Seraphine.

If you have enjoyed my writing or anything I have written has helped you, you can help me get shortlisted for the Seraphine Mum’s voice award at the Tommy’s awards :

please email mumsvoice@tommys.org with Mummy’s Writing Darling in the subject title and a few words about why I should be shortlisted.

Thank you – and remember to keep on talking.

 

Tiny New Toes

Depression came a’drummin on my door.
She’s no stranger. I’ve seen her before.
I asked her in for a spot of tea,
she bounced my toddler on her knee.

you can stay for one,” I politely pressed
but I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong address,
there’s far more than cake on my expanding plate,
and I’m pretty certain you’ve got the wrong date

My two year old keeps me on my toes
and I’ve exciting news, everyone knows
makes you bundle with joy, bloom, glow, shine
we’re having a baby! In four months’ time.

we tried for this, the best part of a year
so I’m pretty certain this is a time for cheer!
our second miracle is on its way
so as I said, you truly can’t stay.”

She put down her cup and shook her head
“If that’s what you think, you’ve been misled,
I’ve a blatant disregard for all of the facts
frankly my love, I don’t give a rats

Baby or no baby, I’m here to stay
Spread the word mamma, I’m wired that way.”

Now as I sit in the dark, the dark sits in me
and I weep, as I rock my toddler on my knee

when the house is still, I wonder at it all
as tiny new toes come tapping on my inside wall.