I love fancy dress. Oh yes. Any excuse to get dressed up and I am a happy bunny. I've pulled off some crackers in my time..... Beetlejuice, Amy Winehouse, an American Trucker, a chav. I love making a real effort and have never dressed up as the same thing twice.
The best bit is that my love of fancy dress has most definitely rubbed off on my mini-me. At two and a half years old, she has the most fantastic dressing-up box; one I wish I'd had when I was little. I adore the fact she is really getting into imaginative play and loves dressing up and pretending to be a character. It's something I am more than happy to encourage.
Daisy is completely and utterly Disney Princess obsessed at the moment, so when Jokers' Masquerade offered her a Disney Princess costume of her choice, she was very, very excited.
Jokers' Masquerade are a long established online company that specialise in both adult and children's fancy dress. Their website is packed full of ideas and inspiration for costumes and is really easy to navigate around when you know what you're looking for!
After much deliberation (this is not an exaggeration; she genuinely did spend about an hour pouring over the website, deciding which costume was her favourite) Daisy opted for a Snow White costume and we were very impressed when it arrived only two days later.
We ordered the costume in a size small, which the website claims is for 3-4 year olds but fit Daisy just fine (she is a tall and skinny two year old). There is plenty of room for her to grow (I don't doubt it will last her until she is four) - and growing room is an important factor to me when buying things that I want to last. At the same it doesn't hang off her, so she can wear it straight away.
The material isn't luxurious (it's 100% polyester) but it is hard wearing and, as we found out after an incident with a raspberry ice pole, it is wipe clean too - and on top of that the costume is very well made, which you would of course expect from Disney. All of these are definitely selling points for me.
I think she looks absolutely
gorgeous in it, and she loves it too. It's a fantastic addition to her
dressing up box - some more Disney Princess costumes will definitely be
joining this one - and I will definitely be using Jokers' Masquerade
If you're a fan of fancy dress like us then definitely pop over to their website here. They are also on Facebook (here) and Twitter (here).
If you're not so keen (boooooo!) then dressing up costumes also make great gifts for children so why not consider buying one as a birthday or Christmas present? Jokers' Masquerade's prices really are so reasonable (trust me, I'm a fancy dress shop pro!) and they have lots of delivery options, including next day and Saturday slots if you're having a last minute panic.
I need a party to go to now, so that I can dress up as this! I love it!
A lovely parcel of maternity goodies sent to me from
my good friend x
There are two parts to my blog post today:
(1) Buying and wearing second hand clothes and (2) Splashing out on, and re-selling, your own clothes
First of all, buying second hand clothes. DO IT! Don't be stuck up about it. Think of it as buying 'vintage' if you'd rather.... Us mamas are only pregnant for nine months at a time (and only in maternity gear for about four or five of those months!). If any of your friends offer you their old maternity clothes, accept them, or if you see something you like the look of on eBay, buy it. Chances are they will only have been worn a handful of times and will be in excellent condition.
Which brings us onto spending money on expensive maternity wear! If you have a wedding or party to go to and can't see the point in splashing out on a beautiful dress that will make you feel a million dollars, think again. First of all, there is NOTHING worse than feeling hideous, fat and frumpy at a do where all your friends and family are glammed to the max. I've been there and never again! But more importantly, you will be shocked at the re-sale value of maternity clothes - especially those from popular designers such as Seraphine and Isabella Oliver. You can very often make almost all of your money back on them should you decide to re-sell them in the future. I bought myself a beautiful IO wrap dress (similar to this one) when I was pregnant with Daisy, wore it twice and then sold it for 75% of its original value on eBay a year later, so I will never feel bad about treating myself to something beautiful ever again.
So go ahead and spend your cash on a hot mama outfit from your favourite store, safe in the knowledge that you can re-sell it one day if you want to, and make yourself feel better for being frivolous by grabbing yourself a bargain from a second hand clothes shop or eBay.
Ohhhh yes, those lovely first trimester days of sleeping for twelve hours a night are but a distant memory.
It was during those weeks of early pregnancy exhaustion that I built a rod for my own back and started doing what I said I never would - laying down with Daisy at bedtime. She had just learnt to scale the safety gate on her bedroom door so it seemed like a good idea; I got to have an early night while stopping her from potentially hurting herself whilst attempting to escape from her bedroom.
But then my energy levels reverted to normal, and I wanted my evenings back to watch Eastenders do my housework and my writing and, most importantly, it dawned on me that in a few months time there will be a new addition to the family, and it will be highly unlikely that she'll give me an hour's peace at 7pm every evening to lie down with her big sister.
So a couple of weeks ago I decided to try and get our old bedtime routine back.
Bedtime has always been a fairly standard one in the Modern Mummy household. It involves a bath, PJs, teeth brushing, story reading, milk and sleeeeeeep. Only now it apparently also includes around two hours of a certain small person repeatedly getting out of bed, climbing over her gate and joining her parents in the living room, making a whole lot of noise at the same time, before being frog marched back to bed again.
Then pregnancy insomnia hit me hard and I started to find myself wide awake for hours in the middle of the night and up at silly o'clock in the morning. I suffered terribly from insomnia whilst pregnant with Daisy but got round it with early nights and afternoon naps. But this time, the stressful Daisy bedtimes together with my broken sleep really started to take its toll. Intravenous coffee drip anyone? Oh, no... hang on! No caffeine allowed..... sob!
Tonight I tried closing madam's room door after I'd put her to bed. Something I probably should have tried earlier but it is something I never wanted to do either, as I hated having my bedroom door closed as a child. I liked to see the hall light on and to be able to hear my parents chatting downstairs.
It wasn't easy and there were a lot of tears but after only an hour of repeatedly putting her back into bed as opposed to two, it ended up having the desired affect.
Now I just have to stick to my guns and persevere with this new, improved (?) bedtime routine. Please cross your fingers that it works. And on that note I am off to Bedfordshire to try and catch some ZZZZZZZZs before I find myself lying awake in bed at 2.30am thinking about changing bags and buggy boards.
It's not every day that you receive a surprise delivery of a cool bag full of chilled desserts and ice cold white wine.... but earlier this week I did!
The lovely folk at Morrisons (who obviously know me far too well!) sent a courier to the Modern Mummy house with a selection of their new M Kitchen desserts, including a Great British Cheesecake, a Millionaire's Cheesecake, a Victoria Sandwich Sundae and two Bistro Lemon & Raspberry Possets. Not forgetting the bottle of Reisling to wash it all down with!
Oh. Em. Gee.
As well as the edible/drinkable goodies, we were sent a patch of faux grass and some bunting so that the lack of sunshine couldn't stop us from enjoying a traditional British picnic! So that's exactly what we did with some family friends, and all of the desserts went down a treat.
We started with the Millionaire's Cheesecake. This was an individual portion and I wondered if there was any way I could sneak it into the living room and demolish it by myself without having to let the others sample it.....
It was delicious. With a buttery biscuit crumb base and layers of indulgent toffee and belgian chocolate sauces and creamy cheesecake, this dessert is any chocoholic's dream!
The Victoria Sponge Sundae and Lemon & Raspberry Posset were both equally delicious but it was the Great British Cheesecake that was the ultimate favourite for us all. It was just divine. You can't go wrong with a traditional cheesecake with pockets of raspberry jam and custard that is topped with meringue pieces, raspberries, pieces of vanilla sponge and sugar dusting.
All of these new desserts are available at Morrisons now and the Great British Cheesecake is on special offer until 14 July....... defo a reason to give one a go if you ask me! xoxox
If you can face shopping in the sales, I whole heartedly recommend it for bagging yourself some bargain maternity basics. (Top tip for clothes shopping - sales or no sales - book a day off work/get a babysitter, go during the week and head out as early in the morning as possible to avoid traffic on the roads and lots of obnoxious shoppers on the high street).
This morning I went out to spend my birthday money with no idea that the summer sales had started in most of the shops I planned to visit. The result? I managed to bag all of this (plus two pairs of plain black leggings - not photographed) for the princely sum of £50!
Navy & white stripey maxi dress (non-maternity), £10, Primark♥ Red checked shirt, £10, Mama by H&M ♥ Black
cardigan, £7, Mama by H&M ♥ White strappy vest top, £3, Mama by H&M ♥ Red & white stripey vest top, £3, Mama
by H&M ♥ Little black t-shirt dress, £9.99, Mama by H&M
The non maternity maxi dress was a great buy in Primark. There was no need for me to buy a larger size as it is made of stretchy jersey material that is gathered under the bust and along the side seams - making it perfect to accommodate a growing bump. (I'll upload a picture of the dress being worn to show this over the upcoming weeks).
The little black dress was another fab buy, and ONLY TEN POUNDS (non-sale, I hasten to add)! This would look perfect styled with a waist-cincher belt (under the bust) - and heels for a night out, or gladiator sandals to dress the look down for during the day.
Another fantastic bargain I got today that I wanted to share with you all was on M&S maternity bras. I won't horrify you all by posting a photo of my ginormous mama-booblies in their brand spanking new undercrackers, but I will tell you that if you get measured in-store this summer (and please note you need to pre-book an appointment in most branches) then you get a £5 off voucher when you spend £30 or more on lingerie. And let's face it - that's easily done.
I treated myself to four new t-shirt bras, which are on special offer at the moment (20% off) and with the £5 voucher it meant that each one only cost me £5.15! T-shirt bras are ideal to wear during pregnancy as there is no underwire to make you feel uncomfortable but there is still some padding to give you extra support which, if you've got big knockers like me, is essential when they're even bigger than normal and bloody ache too! (I'm not going anywhere near the revolting saggy maternity bras I managed to buy when I was pregnant with Daisy!!). I'm still on the look out for some hot mama lingerie, so if anyone can recommend any shops/companies, please get in touch.
This may look like a brain but in actual fact it is HOME MADE PLAY DOUGH! (Note to self.... use more pink food colouring next time).
Following my mama's recipe, Daisy and I made some of this brilliant, non-toxic (edible even, if you like that sort of thing... bleeuuurrrggghhh) stuff and the whole procedure of mixing, cooking and playing actually kept madam occupied for most of the day. It may have been sunny today but this would make a perfect rainy day activity. The ingredients are mostly all store cupboard basics too which is handy (except, perhaps, for cream of tartar - put it on your shopping list now and get some next time you're in the supermarket!). This recipe makes a relatively large amount of play dough!
What you need: A saucepan and wooden spoon
Ingredients: 2x cups of flour 2x cups of water 1x cup of salt 2x tbsp vegetable oil 1x tbsp cream of tartar Food colouring as required
What to do: Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Once combined, stir over a low heat for about 5 minutes (until it forms a dough) Leave to cool and play, play, play!
If kept in a tupperware pot/tied up in a plastic bag, this stuff lasts aaaages. It really is fab - as well as being cheap and easy to make!
I had an unexpected child free morning today which was a bit exciting!
When Daisy was small, I would always spend my baby free time going to places with loads of stairs and really skinny doorways so that I could make the most of not having a buggy with me. Daisy was perfectly well behaved in those days. She would sit in the pushchair and read a book or drink some juice or play with a toy. The shops wares didn't interest her.
These days (we are buggy free now) I like to treat myself by doing things like drinking an entire cup of tea without having to take a small person to the toilet, or visiting shops that sell expensive, breakable stuff. Daisy is like a magpie and is drawn to pretty, shiny things (a bit like moi). As much as I adore my little shopping companion (she has an opinion on everything, which I LOVE), its just such a treat to spend an hour or two doing something for me, and not having to worry about her running off, or touching things she shouldn't.
So this morning I went to Sunbury Antiques Market. The ULTIMATE child un-friendly shopping/browsing destination! Those of you that live nearby HAVE to go one day. Without your kids of course. It's held twice a month at Kempton Racecourse and consists of 700+ stalls selling everything from antique jewellery and chandeliers worth thousands of pounds to gorgeous shabby chic stuff (which I can never quite justify buying but which always inspires me to recreate things back at home) to absolute bargains like the beautiful old coloured glass that is sold on my favourite stall, which the stall holder finds at landfill sites across the country.
After sitting out in the fresh air and enjoying a bacon sarnie and a whole cup of tea I wandered round the market in its entirety and picked up a couple of bits for the kitchen. A vintage 1940s enamel bread bin and an old ginger beer bottle to add to my collection of glass & pottery bottles!
Now I'm back home and business has resumed as normal. The living room looks like a bomb has hit it, despite being immaculate when I left a few hours ago, and we are about to start making chocolate flapjacks (so the kitchen will look like a bomb site in an hour or so too).
As much as I love a teeny tiny bit of free time, it's nice to be back home with my little whirlwind.
How do you like to spend your baby free time? xoxox
After a blissful 5 days of summer (!) the miserable rain is back with a vengeance - and it's set to stay with us for the foreseeable future too. Now I'm not normally one to complain about the weather; I'm happy to make the most out of whatever we're given. When it's wet outside I will just put on my Hunters and a rain mac and get out there and embrace it. But tantalising us with a teeny tiny bit of summer sun, and then snatching it away again, is just plain cruel!
It's horribly grey in London today, so we are going to spend the afternoon snuggled on the sofa watching a film, drinking tea and eating chocolate biscuits. It may be horrible outside but it's the perfect day to wrap ourselves up in our beautiful new hand crocheted blanket from Emma Bear Forever and stay indoors in the cosy and warm.
Justine from Emma Bear Forever is a fellow blogger as well as being a super talented crafty clever cloggs. She crochets the most wonderful blankets, as well as sewing bunting, knitting flower garlands and making all sorts of other gorgeous stuff. We commissioned a huuuuge rainbow blanket just for days like these and it is definitely my favourite hand-made purchase to date!
Not only is the blanket of the most exceptional quality, it was packaged beautifully..... I almost didn't want to undo the ribbon it was tied up in!
The Emma Bear Forever blog can be found here. Make sure you pop over, Justine is just the loveliest and most inspirational lady. If you are interested in making a purchase from the shop, it can be found on Facebook here xoxox
Wow. What a weekend. I don't even know where to start, we have been up to so much! Crafting, fun-fairing, picnic-ing, facepainting, flag waving, pony riding, eating lots of lovely food, visiting friends and family. We haven't stopped, apart from to watch the Flotilla and the Jubilee Concert on the telly, but even then the flag waving and part-AYing didn't stop then. We are all feeling super patriotic and so proud of Great Britain for putting on so many brilliant events over the weekend to celebrate our Queen's 60 years on the throne. Britain really do pomp and ceremony the best in the whole wide world!
The highlights of my weekend have to be the arrival of our brand spanking new and AMAZING Canon Pixma MG4150 printer. I just know this is going to revolutionise both our indoor crafty sessions AND how we store our photographs (more on this later!) as well the wonderful events our town hosted, including street parties, fun fairs, live music and fetes..... we were complete and utter party animals, out celebrating every day of the long weekend!
So our new printer. Oh em gee. As you all know I am a very keen crafter, so when the brilliant peops at Canon offered us one of these bad boys, which comes with access to a programme called Creative Park Premium, we jumped at the chance. Beats our useless £20 black & white laserjet any day! Now I'm not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to technology, but this beast prints in colour (including PHOTOS, which are of the BEST quality, exactly the same as from professional printers), it is wireless and you can photocopy and scan too. Plus it is compact and looks super stylish which is always an added bonus.
We used Creative Park to make special Jubilee crowns to wear the the various parties we had lined up. With hundreds of printable templates to make all sorts of different things (we are going to be busy this Summer!), we thought the crowns would be most fitting, and it was definitely the right choice as said crown hasn't left Daisy's side all weekend. (I don't blame her; she worked very hard on it!)
The fun in our neighbourhood was constant. The streets were adorned with bunting and flags; I honestly felt so proud of the Richmond borough. The did such a fab job of putting on great entertainment for both children and grown ups.
Here are a few photos of the last few days. I hope you all had weekends as wonderful as ours xoxox
This time round it appeared a lot quicker than when I was pregnant with Daisy. At 8 weeks I was already struggling to do up my favourite jeans. By 12 weeks, I couldn't fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes at all.
This could only mean one thing. It was time to go shopping. For maternity clothes.
Now a couple of weeks ago this was something entirely new for me. Despite being knocked up with baby number two, I have never bought, or worn, maternity clothes before. When preggers with Daisy I lived in leggings and smock tops and make shift hair band jean do-er uppers (you know what I'm talking about). When heavily pregnant I invested in the same clothes in bigger sizes.
I have to confess that during my pregnancy I felt pretty hideous. Huge and frumpy. There is nothing flattering about wearing clothes that are too big for you in some places and tight in others. But my inner bargain hunter couldn't see the point in buying clothes that would only last six months, and by the time I realised that maternity wear really was the way forward, I was 35 weeks pregnant and it was pretty much too late.
This time round I decided to put together a full maternity wardrobe even before I got my positive pregnancy test. I don't want to feel like a lump again. I'm not going to buy size 16 clothes when I am only a size 12. I want to show off my bump with well fitting, stylish clothes and make myself feel glamorous and womanly. And I want to share my purchases, recommendations and style tips with you lot.
So I went on my shopping spree. And I didn't spend a small fortune. But even if I had I wouldn't have cared because a even a few hundred pounds is a small price to pay for nine months plus of happiness and confidence.
Here are the first instalments to my brand spanking new maternity wardrobe.
Dark blue skinny maternity jeans, £29.99, Mama by H&M ♥ Navy blue blouse with peter pan collar, £6, Primark ♥ Dark grey casual t-shirt, £7.99, Mama by H&M ♥ Grey and white striped t-shirt, £17.99, New Look Maternity ♥ Cornflower maternity top, £26, JoJo Maman Bebe ♥ Retro floral maternity dress, £39, JoJo Maman Bebe
♥ Invest in a decent pair of maternity jeans/trousers. Do not be put off by the elasticated waistbands! Most maternity trousers are available with either elasticated insert panels (just sections, usually above the pockets), with narrow jersey waistbands or with full over the bump waistbands. Don't be afraid to spend a bit of money on these as it is likely that you will still wear them once you've given birth! Plus they are handy for when you want to visit the eat-all-you-can Chinese buffet. ♥ Empire lines and v-necks are extra flattering fabulous for showing off your growing boobs and bump on a night out. ♥ You can still buy non-maternity tops if you want, but try and look for styles that are longer at the front. As your bump grows, non-maternity tops are going to ride up and potentially flash an inch or two of bump. This can be combatted by wearing a long vest underneath the tops but in the summer it's preferable not to be wearing an extra layer! The tops from Primark were both three inches longer at the front (and both pretty long anyway) so should last a good few months, if not the whole of your pregnancy.