With growth spurts offering the perfect excuse for a shopping spree, Claire Spreadbury hunts down the best in spring childrenswear.
Going shopping for the smaller people in your life is an absolute dream. They can get away with any trend they fancy, you don't need to consider flattering fits or muffin tops and everything is generally a whole lot cheaper, giving you free rein to splurge and emerge with freshly spruced wardrobe, without breaking the bank.
With the warmer weather finally here and last year's clothing likely to be a tad on the small side, put a spring in their step with these hot new buys...
Flowers are always in fashion once the sun comes out, and this year is no different.
"Florals are already a big trend this season, and one set to last the length of spring/summer 14," says Charlotte Baynton, childrenswear buyer at Fat Face. "We've predominantly seen them on woven and jersey materials, with soft detailed prints and delicate hand drawn flowers and butterflies. As a natural fit for the season, we've adopted a fresh take on a classic design, to really deliver that fun and playful approach to the trend."
Beautiful blooms work from top to toe, mixed and matched with contrasting floral prints, or just on their own - you can't really go wrong. It's not just for girls, either - boys can don a flowery shirt and say aloha to the sunshine.
Pick of the bunch:
:: Printed Jeans in Dusky Blue Floral, from £29.95, available in sizes 3 years to 11-12 years, Joules (www.joules.com)
:: Ecru Tulle Skirt with Roses Waist, £83, and Roses Chiffon Top with Cami, £49, both available in sizes 12-18 months to 12-13 years, Love Made Love (www.lovemadelove.com)
:: Contrast Mock Dress, £13 (reduced from £26), available in sizes 3-4 years to 4-5 years, Mamas & Papas (www.mamasandpapas.com)
:: Palm Print Shirt, from £12, available in sizes 5-14 years from end of March, Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)
Off duty denim
The hard-wearing nature of denim makes it perfect for kids all year round.
"Printed denim is a massive trend across high street brands, and that applies to kidswear too," Baynton continues. "As an everyday wardrobe staple, the soft ditsy prints help the product come to life with delicate but fun additions of pop coloured poppers and embellished trims."
Denim is big news this season and can be found across the entire range of childrenswear. So as well as jeans, keep a lookout for dresses, shorts, dungarees, playsuits, skirts, jackets and footwear - and double up the denim to your heart's content!
Pick of the bunch:
:: Star Denim Pinny Dress, £24, available in sizes 4-5 years to 12-13 years, Fat Face (www.fatface.com)
:: Untreated Jeans With Turn-ups, currently on offer at £14.25 (normally £19), available in sizes 2 years to 8 years, Vertbaudet (www.vertbaudet.co.uk; 0844 842 0000)
:: Ciak Denim Sneakers, £50, available in sizes 28-40, Geox (gb.geox.com)
:: Little Bird by Jools Lightwash Dungarees, from £15, available in sizes 6 months to 5 years, Mothercare (www.mothercare.com)
:: Indigo Collection Tencel Embroidered Dress, from £20, available in sizes 5-6 years to 13-14 years, Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)
Bright and beautiful
Colour and kidswear has always gone hand in hand, but this year, little ones can really stand out from the crowd wearing any rainbow shade they fancy.
"Citrus brights are a big trend for both boys and girls this season, and there's no better way to channel summer than with a bit of yellow," advises Elena Sirghi, director of Mayoral's UK franchise. "Yellow works well with florals, and one of my favourite looks is a pair of floral cotton trousers paired with a yellow t-shirt and an open denim shirt on top - adorable!
"After our long, grey winter, there's nothing more fun than seeing kids dressed up in bright and bold colours, even the boys! The addition of a bold piece, such as a mint green shirt or turquoise trousers will transform any outfit, however simple."
Pick of the bunch:
:: Samson Double Velcro Trainer in Green Leather, £59.50, available in sizes 20-28, Step2wo (www.step2wo.com)
:: Jersey Striped Polo in Carmine Stripe, from £17.95, available in sizes 3 years to 11-12 years, Joules (www.joules.com)
:: Bluezoo Make Some Noise! T-shirt, from £6, available in sizes 12-18 months to 5-6 years, Debenhams (www.debenhams.com)
:: Yellow Broderie Shorts, from £10, available in sizes 1-7 years from end of March, Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)
:: Blue blazer with Checkered Waistcoat, £99, T-shirt with Vespa Motorbikes, £37, and Blue Trousers with Plaid Cuffs, £59, all available in sizes from 12-18 months to 12-13 years, Love Made Love (www.lovemadelove.com)
Thoughts of the seaside always conjure up images of red, white and blue, and the nautical trend is a real timeless classic, whatever your age.
"Spring/summer 14 takes a classic nautical story and gives it a contemporary twist," says Laura Davis, head of childrenswear at Joules.
"Oversized indigo spots on crisp cream grounds, paired with cleaner dress silhouettes, work in contrast to classic nautical stripes and chambray hotchpotch sweats, to give a more relaxed, truly coastal aesthetic."
Whether it's spots or stripes, team nautical numbers with fresh cotton, relaxed denim or comfy footwear for the ultimate in classic cool.
Pick of the bunch:
:: Jacket in Indigo, £69.90, available in sizes 3 years to 14 years, Geox (gb.geox.com)
:: Mayoral Nautical & Nice range. Prices from £14.50 for polo tops, £20.99 for shorts and hoodies at £25.50. Canvas shoes are £22.50. All products are available in sizes 6-24 months, Eric & Amy (www.ericandamy.co.uk - full range available soon)
:: Limited Edition All-over Printed Bird Dress, currently on offer at £22 (normally £32), available in sizes 0-3 months to 3-4 years, Mamas & Papas (www.mamasandpapas.com)
:: J by Jasper Conran Designer Babies Navy Multi Striped Dress, from £20, available in sizes 0-3 months to 18-24 months, Debenhams (www.debenhams.com)
Get the look
You know it's spring when the white stilettos come out. Kate Hudson looked top-to-toe stunning at the recent Bvlgari Decades of Glamour Party. Her divine Christian Louboutin Python Pumps might break the bank at £895, but Moda in Pelle's Danaya Court Shoes are an almost identical steal at £79.95 (www.modainpelle.com)
Buy it now
Mums on the school run need a good pair of trainers to keep up with the kids. Graceland Mid Cut Canvas sneakers will add style and fun to those feet, and only cost £14.99. Available from the Deichmann e-store (www.deichmann.com)
:: It's official, women in the UK are fed up with their bodies. In a survey carried out by plus-size clothing brand Marisota, only 23% of 1,150 women aged between 45 and 65 years, and sizes 12 to 26+, said they were happy with their body shape. Come on, ladies - don't be down on yourselves. Treat yourself to a spring pick me up. You could even try a personal shopper - nothing is better for seeing your body in a better light and making the most of what you have.