June 2014 | Modern Mummy

Monday, 30 June 2014

Daisy & Evie's Daily Outfits ♥ Bananas for Bananas


Indikidual Banana Vest, £12 (sale price) - KyNa Boutique
Indikidual "Jamaica" Banana Jumpsuit, £19.20 (sale price) - KyNa Boutique

Also available - Indikidual "No No" Banana Romper for the littlies - £15 (sale price)
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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mushroom Ragout on Toast with Chervil: A Lactofree Recipe

Last week the lovely people at Lactofree contacted me and asked me whether I'd like to try a lactose free brunch recipe created by Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens.

Since having my surgery four weeks ago, my consultant advised that I adopt an entirely dairy free diet. He said that after four to six weeks (four weeks just so happened to be this weekend) I should slowly start to reintroduce dairy, and see how my body copes with it.

I figured that starting slowly with lactose free dairy products would be a great idea and accepted the challenge to try and recreate this brunch recipe... and I'm so glad I did!

It was utterly delicious - albeit very rich! - and my body coped with the re-introduction of dairy just fine! There's something so decadent about a cooked breakfast; we do it every weekend as it's lovely having the time to prepare something special. This is definitely a recipe we'll be having again!




Mushroom Ragout on Sourdough Toast with Chervil

Serves 2
Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins




Ingredients.
2x large portabello mushrooms, cut into eighths
150ml Lactofree cream
100ml sweet Madeira wine
50g finely diced shallots
40g Lactofree spreadable
50ml vegetable oil
2x garlic cloves finely chopped
2x slices toasted sourdough bread
1x tsp picked thyme leaves
1x tbsp chopped chervil
Salt & pepper



What to do.

1. Put a medium frying pan on a medium heat, add the pile and then, when hot, add the spreadable until it melts.

2. Add the mushrooms and season with the salt and pepper. Cook for 5-8minutes without stirring so that the mushrooms start to slowly caramelise. Then add the shallots, garlic and thyme.

3. Continue to cook for 3-4minutes, then add the Madeira wine and reduce by two thirds before adding the cream. Reduce again by half and then add the chervil.



4. Toast the sourdough, spread with the spreadable and, once plated up, put the mushrooms on top.

Enjoy xoxo


DISCLAIMER: Lactofree sent me the ingredients to re-create Tom Aiken's recipe.
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Friday, 27 June 2014

Daily Outfit ♥ BritMums Live Special

This time last week I was getting read for BritMums Live... it's crazy to think it's all over now!

This year I was lucky enough to be dressed and accessorised by three of my all time favourite fashion brands over the course of the two day event. These were the outfits I put together xoxo



Ruched Thea Tank Dress, £79 - Baukjen
Nude Gold Mac Sprinkle Glitter Scarf, currently on sale £17 - Daniel (sold out but still available in pink here)
Mustio Nude Patent Court Shoes, £149 - Daniel


Provence Long Tea Dress, £79.99 - Fever London
Moheda Betty Clogs, £57.50 - Lotta from Stockholm
Maya Turquoise Pendantcurrently on sale £22.50 - Stella & Dot
Muru Oak Leaf Talisman, £54 - Lulu Winter

DISCLAIMER: I was gifted the items from Fever London, Baukjen and Daniel Footwear for this event. All other pieces are my own.

Linking up to Mummy's Got Style's Fashion Friday and Style me Sunday's Street Style Sunday

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com
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Daily Outfit ♥ London Calling



Maya Turquoise Pendant, currently on sale £22.50 - Stella & Dot
T-Shirt, currently on sale £12.95 - Joules
Skirt, £85 - Poppy England
Clogs, £57.50 - Moheda


Linking up to Mummy's Got Style's Fashion Friday and Style me Sunday's Street Style Sunday

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com
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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Magnificent Clothes from Magnificent Stanley


Summer is here, SUMMER IS HERE! I'm so happy when we wake up to blue, cloudless skies and glorious, warm sunshine, and being able to leave the house without a cardigan or a jacket in the morning really makes me smile. (It's always the simple things!)

As much as I love putting the girls in cute summer dresses, there's a time and a place for shorts and t-shirts. Despite their love of all things pretty and pink, both Daisy and Evie are really rather tomboyish; they're fearless tree climbers and enthusiastic hill rollers and love to pick up bugs and make mud pies and get mucky. Girlie dresses can get in the way when you're monkeying about at the top of a climbing frame!




Last weekend Becky from Magnificent Stanley sent the girls their own personalised initial t-shirts and I completely adore them. The t-shirts are very soft, thick cotton and the beautiful Liberty prints that she uses for her letters and slogans are just divine. 


I am rather partial to hand made things, and I'm an avid believer in buying British goods too. Not only are Magnificent Stanley's products both of these, they're also incredibly well made, very reasonably priced (they start at just £12 each) AND they also come beautifully packaged to boot! I do love a pretty parcel - and it's the little personal touches like this that make me return to a company over and over again.

Practical clothes SO don't need to be boring! Just looking at these clothes is proof of that. Why not pay the Magnificent Stanley shop a visit and see for yourself! xoxo

DISCLAIMER: We were sent t-shirts in exchange for this post. All views are honest and my own.


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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Party time!


Daisy turns five this November.

So far we haven't had a big party for her, opting instead for small family gatherings. But since her last birthday (she was one of the first in her class at nursery to turn four) lots of her friends have gone on to have parties, which has led to her asking me over and over again 'I had a birthday, Mummy, so why didn't I have a party?'

Talk about mummy guilt! 

The thing is I have deliberately avoided these types of parties because I know how much effort they require and how much money they cost. I figured if I could hold out until she starts school then I'd save myself a whole lot of stress!

Because we've been thinking and talking about parties a lot of late, I recently posted about party planning. I won't go into too much detail about invites and games and party bags again now, however I will say that, as Daisy starts school later this year, we have finally succumbed and I've promised her a wonderful party - in our church hall so there's plenty of space - to which she can invite all of her new school friends. When I asked her what type of party she'd like she said 'a Frozen party' (of course) and that she must get to wear a beautiful party dress. Having started a Frozen party board on Pinterest a couple of months ago (see below!) I think I can just about manage it (......if I start now perhaps.....!) and pretty party dresses are no problem!


Follow Katy from Modern Mummy's board Frozen Party on Pinterest.



I love little old fashioned dresses on my girls and thankfully they seem to like them too. Swirly ones that are great for dancing in, with big bold sashes and lovely patterns. (I'm also one of those mothers that likes to dress my daughters the same.) 


We recently had a family party to go to and the girls wore (almost) matching, gorgeous Joules dresses from House of Fraser. They both had a wonderful cream tea pattern on them, but Daisy's had the essential swishy skirt and sash and Evie's was more suitable for a younger girl with an elasticated body for comfort and super cute bloomers to hide her nappy!

I love these dresses because, although they make perfect party dresses, as they are made from simple, cool cotton they are also ideal Summer day dresses. I can see them getting lots of wear over the coming months which is very important to me when shopping for children's clothes. 

Have you held a big party for your children? How old were they when they had their first one? xoxo


DISCLAIMER: House of Fraser very kindly gifted Daisy and Evie the dresses mentioned in this post as part of their Perfect Children's Party campaign.
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Monday, 23 June 2014

Retro Glamour: The Best Retro Swimwear Styles This Summer

While bikinis have been getting tinier and tinier over the years and swimsuits have started to feature cutouts sure to give you very strange tan lines, retro swimwear is having something of a revival this summer. Just about every female celebrity has been seen in a high-waisted bikini in their holiday snaps.
Kyle Jenner posed by the side of the pool for a moody, monochrome shot wearing a black high-waisted number with sheer panels, while Kate Hudson looks incredible on the cover of In Style in a floral bikini accessorised with a long strand of gold beads. Beyoncé has been seen honing her golf swing in pink-striped bikini bottoms and Pixie Lott opted for a taupe retro bikini with ruched details for a music video in the South of France. 
Meanwhile, other A-listers have been spotted rocking a retro vibe in bandeau bikini tops, which not only nod to past eras, but which prevent any unsightly strap lines. Katy Perry looked beautiful by the pool in a yellow bandeau top, which she teamed with high-waisted shorts during a tour break while Anna Kendrick’s curves were showcased to perfection in a red ruched bandeau style for an Elle magazine shoot. 

Retro styles flatter all shapes and sizes and, somehow, manage to be so much more alluring than flashing lots of flesh. Here are just some of the best pieces available from the high street to the high end this summer: 

Cute cherries
Cherry print harks back to the days of rockabilly when it featured on beautiful fit-and-flare dresses. For Luna have used it on their high-waisted bikini which comes in a halter top style and with bottoms designed to look like a little swim skirt. It’s a fun style that you can imagine the likes of Katy Perry wearing. And, because it’s lined, its white backgroun won’t turn transparent when you take a dip. 
Gorgeous gingham
Brigitte Bardot famously wore a pink gingham dress for her wedding to French actor Jacques Charrier in 1959, sparking a resurgence in popularity for the fabric which led to a shortage immediately afterwards. Thankfully though, La Redoute have managed to get their hands on enough to make a delightful bow-detail bandeau bikini. It has detachable straps for when you’re sunbathing and you could team with a big, floppy sunhat for extra retro kudos. 
Vampy vintage
While there’s nothing better on a Saturday afternoon than to have a good rummage through vintage and charity stores for unique finds no one else will be wearing, you probably won’t discover, or even want to find, a second-hand bikini that’s already been worn in days gone by. But, Unique Vintage is a good place for clothes which have been inspired by previous decades. This anchor-print two-piece manages to be both sweet and sexy at the same time and, for those who need to add a bit of oomph to the bust area, there’s a large bow to give more volume. 
Mismatched to perfection
Victoria’s Secret certainly knows a thing or two about sexy underwear and swimsuits, if its catwalk shows are anything to go by. And this combination of spotted high-waisted bikini bottoms with a plain black bandeau top is the perfect way to get the slightly mismatched look loved by celebs including Rihanna and Rachel Bilson. 
Fabulous florals
Frilled, floral and fabulous, Boux Avenue’s bandeau bikini ticks a host of trend boxes for this season. Not only is it criss-crossed with delicate flowers, it comes in a key pastel shade and cute ruffles provide the finishing touches. It’s ideal for more athletic figures because its ruffles add femininity and curves. 
They’re all beautiful pieces which should stand out on the beach among a crowd of triangle-bikinis and cut-out swimsuits.  Which one is your favourite? xoxo
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Sunday, 22 June 2014

My #BritMumsLive 2014 Round Up



So. I'm back from my second BritMums Live conference.... and what a weekend it was! There's so much to see, so much to learn, so many people you want to meet up with and so much gin to drink (ahem) that I hardly know where to start with my round up post!

I knew from the agenda that there weren't too many sessions I wanted to go to this year. Not that they weren't all brilliant, of course. I learnt so much at BritMums Live 2013 and came away so completely and utterly inspired, I just knew I couldn't beat that! This year was more about the social side for me; meeting up with fellow bloggers, talking through ideas, making plans.




I was lucky enough to be dressed by some amazing fashion brands this year, and I'll be writing about them separately next  week. On the Friday I wore a khaki ruched tank dress from Baukjen, teamed with patent nude courts from Daniel Footwear (left). Saturday saw me in a royal blue Fever London tea dress with my beloved Moheda clogs (the cognac Bettys) and jewellery from Muru and Etsy (right). It was so nice to get properly dressed up not once, but twice!

Aside from the lovely frocks, the highlights of the conference, for me, were:



Meeting Nat from Style me Sunday and Vickie aka 29 Year Old Mama for the first time - at long, long, long, long last!

Catching up with the usual suspects; Jenny of KyNa Boutique fame, Ruth from Rock n Roller Baby, Alice aka An Essex Wife, Carolynne from Mummy Endeavours, Carissa from Little Likely Lads and Bonnie from Mama's VIB.

The Pinterest session with Lizzie (from Pinterest UK) and the Instagram session with photographer Marte Marie Forsberg (see my notes at the end of this post).

Having a few drinks in the Jugged Hare and All Bar One, before and after Friday's sessions.

A full night's sleep in a bed on my own! (Although it was amazing to sleep in a star shape without being elbowed by little knees and elbows I must admit I pined for the ratbags a teeny tiny bit!)

I honestly had such a blast, and I'm totally suffering from proper post-BML blues now!

Thanks once again to my fantastic, amazing, brilliant sponsors, Silver Cross, for enabling me to go to BritMums Live 2014. If you are interested in working with them in the future, please do drop me an email. xoxo

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A bit about Pinterest 

Pinterest is one of my favourite social networks and has been since I joined at the beginning of 2011. As one of the first (possibly slightly obsessive) pinners, I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in the Pin It Forward campaign when Pinterest officially launched in the UK back in May last year too, which was such a fantastic opportunity and introduced me to lots of new blogs and fellow Pinterest fans.

Pinterest drives a hell of a lot of traffic to my blog and I can't rate it highly enough to people who don't use it yet, or to those that aren't using it to its full potential. 

For those of you that don't know what it is; it's a bookmarking tool. Once you've downloaded the 'Pin It' button to your toolbar you are able to save any image from anywhere on the internet to what I would describe as 'virtual moodboards', and in doing so you are also bookmarking a link to the website that image came from.

In order to promote your own blog posts, awesome imagery is equally as important as awesome content (in my opinion) - as once you're on Pinterest its the picture that grabs you and makes you want to re-pin. Although I do use it for Modern Mummy images, the majority of my pinning is for fun and entirely un-blog related. But, as Lizzie told us at the BritMums Pinterest session, people that read your blog are interested in what you've got to say and will be interested in what you pin too!

To prove just how popular Pinterest is, here are some figures. It is currently made up of 30 billion pins over 750 million different boards; including 50 million fashion related pins, 40 million home related pins and 65 million food related pins. 

Lizzie's tips for being successul on Pinterest

There's no such thing as too many pins - go nuts, pin up a frenzy!
Don’t stop pinning to one board and start up a new one (e.g. Home 1, Home 2 etc). People may only be following certain boards of yours and won't know that you've set up a new one and as a result you'll slip out of their feed. There's no limit to how many pins you can have on a board.
Share pins across boards - then they will appear to a much wider audience e.g. if you are pinning a picture of a birthday cake and you have a 'birthdays' board and a 'foodie' board, add it to both.
Be aware that hashtags don’t work on Pinterest - it uses organic text in search results instead. Descriptive captions help; use as many words as you can so that your pin appears in lots of different searches.

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A bit about Instagram

I loved the session with Marte as I'm a huge fan of her Instagram feed. Instagram is my other favourite social network but until recently I've only used it for myself. I only added my blog URL to my profile a couple of months ago, and although it's certainly sending people to Modern Mummy, it's not a massive traffic driver....... yet!

Marte had some brilliant tips for making Instagram work for you.....

Take gorgeous images

The best, most fun images are ones that break the rules. Think about natural light, composition, edit, sharpen and filter. Take away things that are annoying within the image. Look for the essence of the room. What one little bit sums up the whole ambience?

Build followers

The best way to build (legitimate!) followers is interaction. There's no point having 100,000 spammy followers when your best photos are only getting 20 or 30 likes. You want your followers to be genuine, and to follow you because they like your photos. Follow others, comment, be active and engaged. Reply to comments. Answer questions. Build relationships.

Have a strategic use of hashtags. Keep them short, to the point, limit them to 3 or 4 per photo and keep them relevant.

Build relationships with assistants etc with fewer followers to get noticed.

Follow 1/3 friends // 1/3 inspiration // 1/3 strategic 

Comment - be active and engaged. Reply. Answer questions. build a relationship.

Be part of the community

Hashtags help you find people with similar interests to you. Use them. Find people that photograph things you like and use them so that they can find you! 

Brand building

Your profile picture is really important - it should grab people. Its the only thing people will see when you comment on their photo. If it's not a good'un, there's a chance they won't bother clicking on your profile to see what else you've got to offer!

Use your one profile link wisely! Change it whenever you want to e.g. if you are holding a giveaway swap your homepage URL to the giveaway one.

Only put relevant info in your profile. This is so important if you're using Instagram to promote your blog or a business. You can tell people your life history in your About Me section on your website!

Be consistent. Post regularly. Post high quality images. Keep a similar style throughout.
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July #NYNYStyleProject

It's back! IT'S BACK! The #NYNYStyleProject is finally back!

We've had two months off (which was pretty good timing actually - I don't know about you but I spent most of May in my wellies and/or DIY clothes and so far this month I've been recuperating from an op!) but now it's time to delve back into the depths of your wardrobe and pull out all the super stylish stuff that you forgot you had.

It turns out quite a lot of you missed taking part in the Project last month so Alice and I are very excited to be launching the fifth set of #NYNYStyleProject prompts today and we really, really, really hope lots of you will join in!

If you're a new reader and have no idea what on earth I'm taking about, check out what the #NYNYStyleProject is all about here.

The main idea is to bring about a whole lot of positivity and to encourage people to feel better about themselves. It's that simple! Today's fast paced world makes it all too easy to forget about looking after yourself and taking time for you. The Project is all about glamming up your day to day style, gaining inspiration from each other and introducing you to trends, designers and products you might not have heard of before.

So, are you fed up of wearing the same things day in, day out? Do you need a bit of inspiration and motivation when it comes to fashion? Have you lost your style mojo and do you want it back? Then why not give The Project a whirl!

But before we announce July's prompts, I'd really like to stress two things.

One. You DON'T need to buy new, expensive things in order to take part! Rediscover a love of your current wardrobe / old items of clothing by altering them or trying out new combinations. Have a clothes swap party with your friends. Window shop and try things on you wouldn't usually consider. Photograph things you see and like. Share your Pinterest board with us instead of taking a snap. Don't think that because you can't buy new stuff you can't take part!

Two. You DON'T need to join in every single day. Gosh that would be hard work! Some prompts just aren't do-able - so don't do them! But if you do have a break, for whatever reason, please don't forget about us! Just because you've missed a few days, it doesn't mean you've failed. Come back when you're good and ready, whether it's a day later, a week later or a month later. And keep your eye on that all important hashtag to see what your #NYNYStyleProject friends have been up to.

So now.... without further ado.... the time has come for me to launch July's prompt list! 

{drumroll please}

TA DAH! 




Want to join in? Here's how to play. 

♥ Find the day's prompt on the current month's list. 
♥ Interpret the prompt as you will, and incorporate your interpretation into your daily style. It can be an item of clothing, a piece of make up or a beauty project that you own or something you've seen and are lusting after.  
♥ Take a photo!  
♥ Share it on Instagram or Twitter. Don't forget to use the hashtag #NYNYStyleProject so that other people can find your pictures.
♥ Search the hashtag yourself and check out other people's photos. Like what you see? Tell the photographer! It's a nice way to get to know eachother and a lovely confidence boost too.  
♥ You don't have to join in every single day! Sometimes it's just not possible - and that's okay! Dip in and out whenever you like, and if you're not able to take your own photos, look at other people's for inspiration.

Most importantly - have fun! - and don't forget to search the #NYNYStyleProject hashtag on Instagram and Twitter! xoxo
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Friday, 20 June 2014

Sorting out your holiday plans - with kids

This is a guest post from Kimberley Watson. Kim is a proud mummy and wife herself, but when she gets chance, she’s also a keen writer, having graduated with an English degree. As a bit of a free spirit, she believes travel is the key to a happy life, and she’s going to make sure her kids see the world, too. On the off chance she’s not writing, with the family or off exploring, you can find her curled up with a good book or enjoying some delicious treats. Her 20-year-old-self would be kicking her for not saying ‘partying’, but sadly that’s just not true anymore! You can find her on twitter here


Going away with the children might seem a bit daunting – but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be! Providing you keep cool, your holiday can be every bit as relaxing as you should expect. Although you want your kids to have the absolute best experience ever, there’s no reason to say that should mean your trip is any less important. So, with the summer holidays approaching, now’s the perfect time to get planning and make life easier for yourself…
Travel
Before you think about where exactly you would like to go, you should think about how you’re going to get there. If you’ve not booked a trip yet, you’ve got plenty of options. Some kids hate flying (as do some adults), so remember, you’re not limited to just taking a flight abroad. Obviously, you shouldn’t encourage fears, or allow your children to know how scared you are, if you’re the one who’s apprehensive. Kids learn by example, and what you should be instead reassuring them is that there’s literally more chance of being hit by a car than being in an aviation accident. But, saying that, if you do want to spare yourself the hassle, then the option is also there to take trains, ferries or your car. If you do choose to fly, go with a reputable carrier, collect your air miles (they’ll come in so handy in future) and of course, arrange airport transfers way in advance – International Coachlines London are perfect for this!
Destination
When choosing a destination you have to keep a variety of factors in mind. What type of holiday do you want to take? What’s your budget? What style of accommodation suits your needs? Once you’ve had a think, it’s time to hit the Internet. Although travel agents are great in helping you plan specifics, you can save tons of money with price comparison sites like Kayak. Just type your destination and dates and you can see all of the options available to you. 
When you have got kids, it’s a good idea to have a think about what they’ll get out of the adventure. Kids’ Clubs are often a great addition to any hotel, and it’s always an idea to go somewhere with a pool or fun local activities like a water park, beach or cultural places suitable for kids. You can browse Trip Advisor for ideas and reviews from real life travellers in families like yours.
Money
If you’re leaving the country, your good old English Pounds are going to be of little to no use to you. It’s better to arrange to have your currency changed in advance, especially when you’re venturing further afield. Luckily, Euros and Dollars can be exchanged on the high street here in the UK, so just shop around to get a good deal. Once you arrive in your destination, sometimes it can be hard to find anywhere to get the right money, and the prices when you do can be ridiculously marked up - so don’t leave yourself short! Let your bank know before you go that you’re travelling (or they might block your card, which is a pain), and also be wary of any charges that they charge while you’re abroad. Sometimes it’s best to leave your normal cards for emergencies, and take a pre-paid currency card instead for the duration of your time away.

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Modern Mummy Loves.... #5

June has been a crazy busy month for me so far, what with my gallbladder surgery, heaps of family time, heaps of work, my birthday (27 again, obvs) and dyeing my hair for the second time in five weeks, eeeeeep.

This month I have loved:

Sushi, sushi and more sushi ♥ Cath Kidston. Seriously, I can't get enough of her floral and iconic London prints ♥ being dairy free! It totally agrees with me and I've discovered so many delicious new treats to replace my old ones. A friend even managed to find me a dairy free chocolate birthday cake.... what a legend! ♥ Making my girls laugh with my banana art..... a minion from Despicable Me was particularly popular at nursery last week ♥ My girls making me laugh with their silly faces These superhero t-shirts from H&M!  Country Homes & Interiors - definitely my fave interiors mag right now. With our renovations back in full swing, I'm loving all the inspiration ♥ HAPPY MAIL! Especially beautiful t-shirts from Magnificent Stanley (which will be unveiled next week!)











If you're going to BritMums Live this weekend, please come and say hi if you see me. Despite appearances I'm really rather shy! I'm now a brunette and look a little bit like this.....


HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYBODY! xoxo
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Summer Festivals: Five of the Best


Festival season is upon us and, for the next couple of months, thousands of people across the UK will be counting down the days before they have the opportunity to experience their chosen 2014 festival (Camp Bestival in our case..... forty three sleeps to go!). 
For many, festivals mean slumming it in the middle of a cramped field in a soggy tent. If you don’t like the idea of this but would love to appreciate the live music, a Travelodge hotel could be the answer. A warm, clean bed and a shower in the morning can make all the difference, after all! Check out some of the best festivals planned and grab some last minute tickets to be part of the 2014 festival circuit. 
Glastonbury – Worthy Farm, 25th to 29th June
June marks the beginning of the festival season, with Glastonbury being one of the first highlights. Found in Pilton, Glastonbury has something for everyone, and is perfect for all ages. From kids (under 13’s are free!) to golden oldies, Glastonbury represents a whole new world of experiences, and with headlining acts Metallica, Arcade Fire and Kasabian at the helm, you can be guaranteed of a musical adventure, too. 
Download – Donington Park, 13th to 15th June 
Headliners this year are Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin’ Park and Aerosmith – perfect for rockers looking for an excuse to mosh this summer. Situated near Derbyshire, in the heart of England, it’s in an ideal location no matter where you’re travelling from, and while the sunshine can’t be guaranteed, rain won’t dampen this riff-tastic weekend. Book a Travelodge in nearby Nottingham and use the Get Up and Go Guide to see what else there is to see and do during your stay.
Wireless – London & Birmingham, 4th to 6th July 
Running consecutively in both London (Finsbury Park) and Birmingham (Perry Park), Wireless is all about showcasing the best of R&B, hip hop and rap. This year, headliners are Kanye West, Drake and Bruno Mars, and while some of the London days are sold out, there are still plenty of tickets left for the Birmingham leg. You’ll also find acts including Outkast, Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Tinie Tempah taking to the stage for what promises to be a stellar weekend. 
Bestival – Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight – 4th to 7th September 
Bestival is always one of the highlights of the annual music festival circuit and this year is no different. Friday headliners, Outkast, promise to provide a spectacular show, while The Foals have been confirmed to headline Saturday and Beck is there on Thursday. Plus, they have Chic Ft. Miles Rogers closing the show on Sunday night, while also presenting the Desert Island Disco Finale, which is the 2014 theme. 
Reading/Leeds – Little Johns Farm/ Bramham Park – 22nd to 24th August 
With confirmed acts including Blink 182, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age making their way onto the bill, you can be sure that Reading and Leeds will be festivals to remember this year (albeit hazily, in some cases). 

Do any of these tickle your fancy? Don’t worry if not – there are plenty of festivals to suit all music lovers, no matter what genre of music is your favourite. Don’t worry about getting mucky either – glamp it up in a local Travelodge if camping isn’t your bag! 

This is a collaborative post.
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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Introducing.... George Isaac Satchels


I've wanted a satchel for forever.

There's something so beautiful and timeless about them - plus they're practical, and comfortable to carry around too, which is pretty important to me both as a mother, and as a writer.

I had a dark brown leather one at primary school. In those days, you could only get them in black or varying shades of brown, and because they were part of our school uniform nobody actually liked them. Except me! I loved mine. I loved how I could wear it across my body and how I could fit my books so neatly inside (I still have a thing for having a super organised handbag/changing bag, thirty years later.)

It was my birthday yesterday and I was planning on treating myself to a little something-something from The Cambridge Satchel Company. I'd lusted after their huge adventurous bright coloured satchels, and their pretty little pastel ones too, for a long time. But then a friend on Twitter introduced me to another satchel company, George Isaac Satchels and I knew where I would rather spend my money!


George Issac Satchels was set up by Joanna Francis to raise money for the Wessex Cancer Trust; a charity that offers infinite amounts of support to cancer sufferers and their families. Joanna has lymphoma herself, and wanted to channel her energy into something positive and give something back in the process, so George Isaac Satchels was born - and a percentage of every sale is donated to the Wessex Cancer Trust.

These satchels are handmade in London by master craftsmen out of the highest quality leather and they are are available in a whole range of colours and sizes.


They are utterly beautiful; the metalwork, the stitching, the leather - everything is perfect. The best bit? They're only a third of the price of their competitors. And by buying one, you're giving to a really, really worthy cause.

Check out the George Isaac Facebook page here and more importantly, make sure you visit their online store herePlease do consider buying from them if you're looking for a satchel. You won't be disappointed xoxo


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Make your own Fairy Garden with Interplay


Last week Daisy received a little surprise in the post. It was a Fairy Garden craft kit from a company called Interplay.

I've never seen her so excited before; she absolutely LOVES anything to do with fairies. She spends so much time at the bottom of our garden with our neighbours' children making fairy houses and at Camp Bestival last year her favourite place was the Dingly Dell (which is full of fairy magic, for those of you that haven't been before!).


This craft box is for children aged 4 and over and contains a fairy garden bowl, fairy figurine, the things needed to make a house, path, washing line and water feature, lots of other decorative pieces, grass seeds and, of course, a sprinkling of magic fairy dust!

We spent a lovely afternoon together making a special home - and garden - for our new fairy friend. We did need to buy a bag of soil from the garden centre, but aside from that everything we needed was included in the kit. D did it all by herself - and her favourite bit was sprinkling the magic fairy dust and stars at the end!


We were both very pleased with the final result and Daisy can't wait for the grass seeds to grow (two days later, little bits of green are just starting to appear!). 


This kit retails for £12.99 which I think makes it the perfect birthday present for a school or nursery friend! 

DISCLAIMER: We were sent a Fairy Garden kit in exchange for this review. All thoughts are truthful and my own.
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Monday, 16 June 2014

Introducing.... The Cosatto Ooba Kimono

Just before the weekend, one of my favourite baby brands launched a brand new stroller design - and the world went crazy!

Cosatto, famous for its innovative designs and beautiful bold prints, unveiled their new Ooba Kimono and I am totally and utterly in love.....


We all know that I'm pram-obsessed (no-one more so than my long suffering husband who has contemplated building me a special buggy house to accommodate my growing collection on more than one occasion - HA!). I LOVE seeing the latest products to hit the market and knowing all about the latest technology, preferably before everyone else ;)

The Cosatto Ooba is currently right at the top of my buggy wish list - for a million and one different reasons. 

The main reason is that it is a really, really, really clever pram - and the only one on the market that allows for parent and forward facing seating adjustments with your child in situ! Yes, with the press of a button and a flip of the handle, this stroller turns from parent facing to forward facing in seconds - without you having to unstrap your child, take him or her out and try and stop him or her from running off whilst lifting and turning the seat unit - how good is that? Our current stroller is an outward facing umbrella fold and I must confess I really miss being able to have conversations with Evie when we're out and about. I had Daisy in parent facing mode pretty much until she stopped using the buggy altogether and I loved it.

LOOK AT THAT COLOUR! LOOK AT THAT PRINT! Swooooooon.

Until now, the only two colour options available were Duck Egg and Marzipan, both of which are gorgeous (and also pretty unisex), but the new Kimono colour way brings a little girlieness into the equation with a pink hood and foot muff and sixties inspired floral internal pattern.

The Ooba is actually a 3 in 1 travel system that comes with a carry cot and is compatible with a Cosatto car seat (available separately). It has a lightweight aluminium chassis and a compact fold (which I am told will fit into my Mercedes A-class boot.... the measurements are a tiny L:71 x W:61 x H:73cm so fingers crossed).

Aside from the duo-directionality of the seat, the other things I love most about the Ooba (in all three colour ways!) are the leatherette handles and cosy toes, the removable bumper bar and the white wheels (they look SO retro!). I also adore the changing bag and love that it's part of the package, which is made up of the chassis, carrycot and seat unit, cosy toes with reversible zip off liner, co-ordinating changing bag with changing mat and messy bag, patterned rain covers for both the pushchair seat and the carrycot, a spacious storage basket and hold car seat adaptors (the car seat is sold separately). The full spec includes:


Chassis
  • Lightweight aluminium chassis
  • All round suspension
  • Leatherette handle with adjustable height (99 – 108cm)
  • Flip-over handlebar means no need to remove the seat unit to change direction
  • Compact, easy to fold and carry
  • Quick-release handle mounted brake
  • Quick-release removable wheels
  • Lockable front swivel wheels
Carrycot
  • Suitable from birth
  • Comfy lie flat bed – perfect for newborn
  • Removable apron
  • Carry handle build into hood
  • Removable and washable liner for easy cleaning
  • Carrycot suitable for occasional overnight sleeping
  • UPF 50+ sunshade protection hood
  • Toy loops in hood
Seat Unit
  • Suitable from 6 months to approximately 15kg (3 years old)
  • Cosy Toes with zip off reversible liner
  • Duo Directional™ mode (in or out facing seat)
  • Multi-position recline
  • Multi-position adjustable calf support
  • Removable bumper bar and cover
  • 5 point safety harness
  • UPF 50+ sunshade protection hood
  • Toy loops in hood

The Ooba Kimono is an utterly GORGEOUS addition to the Cosatto family and will be available to buy from all good retailers very soon with an RRP of £800.xo


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