21 weeks was THE week of maternity outfit photos – we had sunshine and autumn leaves, plus a little bit of time before the clocks changed, meaning I managed to grab multiple sets of photos. And what better place to take these photos in autumn with the falling leaves than Castle Howard’s Yorkshire Arboretum.
I can’t believe I’ve never posted about Castle Howard before in all my 8 years of blogging, save for an Alice in Wonderland promenade production there back in my first few months of blogging. Castle Howard is a local stately home that’s been home to the Howard family for more than 300 years, but is now open to the public to enjoy the sprawling grounds and amazing architecture. It’s not technically a true castle, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was – the building is so grand and awe-inspiring.
But this post isn’t about Castle Howard itself; it’s about the Yorkshire Arboretum on its grounds. This area was used as parkland for hundreds of years, which gave rise to its magnificent mature oaks and chestnuts, but has been transformed into the arboretum we know it as today between 1975 and 1992 – what you see today, aside from the ancient oaks, isn’t in fact all that old, meaning that it’s still undergoing a process of change and transformation. The arboretum spans over 128 acres with more than 6000 trees, some of which are rare or endangered, meaning that it’s regarded as a back up collection for Kew Gardens.
Despite being really quite local to me, and despite frequent visits to the house, garden centre and farm shops located at Castle Howard over the years, I’d never been to the arboretum before this weekend. But it was the perfect first opportunity to see the trees in full autumn bloom on a sunny but slightly crisp autumn day. We met my family there, of course with the dog in tow, and set out to explore the area.
Entry costs £7 per person which is fairly pricey for a family, so make sure that if you’re visiting that you spend a fair bit of time there to get your money’s worth, but take a look at the map and you’ll see just how expansive the site really is, meaning spending time there isn’t an issue! We started at the east side, following the paths around the lake, before heading back towards Bracken Hill and the Main Vista. We didn’t cover the whole area on our visit as we were ready for some cake and hot drinks at the cafe (…except my sister and I had “iced” chocolate even though we were sat outside – always the awkward ones!) and Lottie the dog was getting a bit tired – she’s been ill lately so isn’t up to as long walks as she used to be. Nevertheless, as you can see from the photos, we still managed to see a huge variety of interesting trees (I should probably admit here about the tree school project I took on voluntarily around age 7 – I like trees and leaves, okay?!) and a veritable glut of fallen leaves – I was seriously in my element!
And so to match, I needed an appropriate autumn outfit. I knew the minute we decided to go to the arboretum what I’d be wearing on top. If you’ve heard of Blair Lamb from her blog or YouTube, you might recognise this sweatshirt. We started watching her channel earlier this year when we discovered her Disney vlogs, but have very quickly watched our way back through probably every video she’s ever published now, some of them multiple times. While more specific Disney vloggers seem to be our go-to channels, we’ve also fallen in love with Blair’s lifestyle vlogs too. Anyway, the point is that she runs an Etsy store where she sells a variety of clothing (and recently a couple of other items) designed herself and screenprinted in their own studio. I’ve been obsessed with the designs for a while, but I was very hesitant to order thanks to shipping fees and taxes from the US to UK (anyone else hoping that Brexit might result in a better option than this for US shipping?!). Luckily, our honeymoon trip fell just at the right time to put in an order for this “Hello Fall” sweatshirt to arrive at our hotel so that I could wear it amongst the falling leaves in NY state and back home.
See more of my maternity outfits here:
Typically, the weather in Lake Placid wasn’t quite chilly enough to wear the sweatshirt, aside from like one day, but since coming home, it’s been on very regular rotation in my wardrobe. I ordered a size bigger than I usually would do (medium rather than small) as I knew I’d be getting bigger over this season and want something a bit baggier and more comfortable to slouch around in. The forest green is a slightly unusual choice for me as I’d normally pick out maroon or mustard in autumn, but I absolutely love the contrast between the gold ink and dark green. I think it’s funny that, at 21 weeks, you can’t really see the bump under this, however now, at just 23 weeks, it’s a lot more visible in the same outfit!
I’ve been getting a little bored of wearing the same old pair of maternity jeans (seen here) over and over – I absolutely love them and am planning to purchase another pair, but they don’t make for particularly creative or interesting outfits. Instead, I decided to wear another new item that’s become a staple of my capsule maternity wardrobe (I’m literally going between about 5 outfits on rotation right now!): a maternity denim skirt. This one sits below the bump which feels a little unusual as I’m so used to high rise waistbands in general, and all the rest of my maternity bottoms are over the bump. It does make a really nice change from jeans, but can be just as versatile – fortunately denim in whatever form tends to go with everything, so it makes a good staple skirt that should see me through Christmas and into the new year, maybe even after pregnancy as it’s simply got a couple of stretchy panels on the side to allow it to expand.
The skirt is from Seraphine which is a brand that was completely new to me. When I found out I was pregnant, I decided I’d buy some basics from high street maternity lines, but I also wanted to try to support some smaller maternity brands too. They do tend to veer a little more on the expensive side, but since I’m only buying these clothes in small quantities and wearing them over and over, I’m willing to pay a little more for better quality. This denim skirt was £39 which is definitely more than I would usually spend on something like this, however the quality is very good and I’m really pleased with it. I also bought a dress at the same time that I’m sure you’ll see in a future maternity outfit post!