Mabel is what some might call an adventurer. She throws caution to the wind when it comes to taking on a new challenge where the likely outcome is some sort of injury. On a good day she will just inevitably trash her clothes.

Risk-taker, rule-breaker, purveyor of permanently bruised knees. That’s my girl.

I won’t fib, as much as I’m happy she’s happy, and that I firmly believe this “can do/will do” attitude will be a huge positive for her future, the constant washing and ruined outfits are a pain in the arse. Not to mention expensive – what with all the requirements to replace pieces so frequently.

Since we potty trained Mabel I very rarely put her in tights (and thus a dress or skirt) as I don’t want her to struggle with preparing herself quickly enough to have a wee. And if she does don a frock for a special occasion I tend to hunt the sales for quality yet reasonably priced items that I won’t feel are a waste if she doesn’t wear them that often. I’ve found several affordable bits and bobs in the clearance section at Boden.

It goes without saying, that as Mabel spends a lot of her time at nursery, the bulk of her wardrobe is comfortable and practical. But even then, I’m surprised at just what state her stuff comes back in – often to the point of no return. And a two quid top is a two quid top, it’s still chucking money down the proverbial drain.

I’ve found half a solution in clothing that washes at hotter temperatures without shrinking/looking like a dishrag when it comes out of the machine. And corduroy. And generally anything in navy blue – it doesn’t show up the seemingly irremovable tomato stains.

Mabel is never going to be one of these kids who looks perfectly put together in one of these gorgeous boutique-esque outfits. Well she might for five minutes. Before she wipes snot and raspberry juice down her front. I simply live vicariously through my instagram feed (and some of the team’s children’s wardrobes).

Besides I like Next. I’d say out of all the multi packs of cotton tops Next’s have lasted the distance. I’m buying the 5 pack of yellow/green/grey as Mabel’s just about growing out of all her age 2 to 3. She also has this ACE pair of floral corduroy trousers I found in Sainsburys which although admittedly do have an MC Hammer vibe about them, seem to expel dirt and grime. They look brand new and I swear I’ve washed them over 25 times. I bought them ages ago so unfortunately can’t provide a link but I’ve found this purple pair that come in 0 to 24 months.

Shoes wise I am a sales bargain hunter, sometimes buying pairs several sizes bigger because it’s such a saving in the long term. For each “size” she goes up I usually buy one pair of more outdoor shoes (mainly boots) and something a bit prettier for “best”. Recently I scored a pair of brown boots reduced from £43 to £12.50, and some grey patent T-bars reduced from £36 to £11 – both from the Startrite outlet.

I would be really interested to know what your children actually wear (well, most of the time). Do you have clever ways of keeping them clean? (And I don’t mean a waterproof all-in-one, Mabel lives in hers if it’s raining/muddy).

If you’ve washed something and the marks and stains are still very apparent, do you have any magic tricks to remove them?. I’ve tried vanish and soaking stuff pre-wash but that doesn’t always work. I’m really surprised by the mud situation too, I have more issues with it than I do say paint or ketchup.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

(The header image is of Mabel at a shoot we collaborated on with Monsoon. I literally turned my back for 10 seconds and she’d face planted. Good job we had already captured those joggers.)

P.S Pop on over to Rock My Style if you fancy some nursery decor inspiration.