October 2016 | Modern Mummy

Monday, 31 October 2016

Five Favourites ♥ The Mamas & Papas Nursery Edition

I feel like I'm always doing DIY at the moment! Right now I'm redecorating and refurnishing Evie's bedroom. She has the box room at the back of the house which, while she was sleeping in a toddler bed, provided more than ample space for her. But Evie is a big three year old and the time had definitely come for her to have a proper big girls bed. With that in mind, I decided it would be a good opportunity to repaint the walls and the woodwork and voila, all of a sudden a full blown redesign was in progress!

I decided to paint the room a simple white (it had previously been pink). I'm a big fan of bold, statement accessories - but I still like rooms to look clean and bright - plus white is really easy to touch up when you have kids that might doodle or leave sticky handprints on the walls.

When it comes to bedding, I love clashing floral and stripy prints, and lots of quirky cushions. I also love striking wall art so have bought Evie some new prints and frames and some wall stickers too.

A regular bed would have taken up about 75% of the floorspace, which would not have been ideal, however her room also has sloping roof so a high bed wouldn't have fit at all. To compromise I bought a mid sleeper, and have put all of her toys underneath it. Her old chest of drawers fits next to the bed and also doubles up as a bedside table. I still have shelves and curtains to buy and put up, but things are coming together very nicely already.

I'm going to do a full room tour once I've finished, but thought I would share a few of the things I've ordered from Mamas & Papas with you. Don't be fooled - you might think they only sell things for babies but there is plenty on there that I'd have in MY room and I'm 36 ;)

1. Metallic Stars Wall Stickers, £9 (sale) - I'm going to stick these around the shelves once they're up // 2. Yellow Cloud Cushion, £24 - how ADORABLE is this? It's large too, 54x29cm // 3. Sweet Dreams Lampshade, £22 - I liked the neutral colour of this and the dreamy clouds too // 4. Timbuktales Knitted Blanket, £29 - small but perfectly formed, this is to act as a runner at the foot of Evie's bed, over her Liberty duvet covers // 5. Mustard Martos Rug, £39 - this is to go under the bed as a cosy spot to play on

DISCLOSURE: Mamas & Papas very kindly gave a me a voucher to use online, which I topped up with my own hard earned pennies to buy the above. I'm very happy with my purchases and all views are entirely honest and my own.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Did someone say FREE KATSU?! #YoSushi

The girls and I are quite possibly the world's biggest sushi lovers. Maki rolls, sashimi, nigiri; we.love.it.all. If we're eating out and I let the girls pick the cuisine, they will ALWAYS choose Japanese (and more specifically YO! Sushi). And whenever I tell people that they love sushi they are always shocked.

"Your kids eat raw fish?" is the most common question I get asked, accompanied by looks of sheer horror.

Yes they do eat raw fish, but that's not the extent of sushi, or Japanese food as a whole. Far from it! There's also meat, vegetable, rice and noodle dishes; some are hot, some are cold. Some are sweet, some are sour, some are spicy. It's varied and colourful and, most importantly, super healthy - which is why YO! Sushi is also one of my favourite places to eat.

Famous for its bright crockery and conveyor belt food delivery system, YO! Sushi is absolutely brilliant for kids. The whole concept of choosing your food from a conveyor belt and eating at a bar is heaven for children and I find that it encourages them to be more adventurous with their food too. There are dozens of dishes to try and the menu is constantly evolving so whenever we visit we always make sure we try something new. The decor is urban, and industrial, and cool; I love the open plan kitchen where you can watch the maki being rolled, and the relaxed and fun vibe. I honestly think it's the perfect place to go for a family meal.

This week we took Ruth from RocknRollerBaby and her kids to our local YO! in Guildford to try sushi for the first time ever. The girls were so excited to introduce their friends to some of their favourite dishes. As sushi novices, we thought we'd ease them in gently with some cucumber and avocado maki rolls but we ended up sharing twenty one plates between us, including spicy tuna blossom rolls, crispy salmon skin, chilli beef, salt + pepper squid, California rolls and everyone's favourite, chicken katsu.

Blossom rolls...... my favourite dish at YO! Sushi

Spicy chicken salad: the new dish we tried today

Chicken katsu - it comes with a sweet curry sauce but you can have that on the side, or keep it plain if you'd prefer

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch over the course of almost two hours (it flew by) and left stuffed and happy.... and the best bit? The chicken katsu was FREE!

Yes, from Tuesday to Friday next week, if you head to YO! Sushi as a family, you'll receive a free chicken or tofu katsu to try between you! If that's not an excuse to get yourself down to your local YO! Sushi then I don't know what is ;)

Free Chicken Katsu Curry or Tofu Katsu Curry T&Cs:
This offer is for one free Chicken Katsu Curry or Tofu Katsu Curry per family with a paying adult. Participating YO! Sushi restaurants only. Minimum spend of £10 applies. Offer is limited to one free plate per family. Offer is valid from 27th October - 4th November 2016, and is only available Tuesday - Friday. Offer is only valid at the following YO! Sushi restaurants: Aberdeen Bon Accord, Aberdeen Union Square, Bath, Baker Street, Belfast, Birmingham Grand Central, Birmingham Selfridges, Bluewater, Bond Street, Bournemouth, Brent Cross, Brighton, Bristol Cabot Circus, Bristol Cribbs Causeway, Cambridge, Cardiff St. Davids, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Cheshire Oaks, Chester, Croydon House Of Fraser, Derby, Eden High Wycombe, Edinburgh Princes Street, Exeter, Fulham Broadway, Glasgow Braehead, Guildford, Harrogate, High Street Kensington, Kingston, Leamington Spa, Leeds Trinity, Leicester, Liverpool ONE, Manchester Arndale, Manchester Selfridges Trafford, Milton Keynes, Newcastle Grainger Street, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading House Of Fraser, Richmond, Russell Square, St Paul's, Victoria Station, Waterloo Station, Westfield Stratford, Windsor, Whiteley Shopping and York. There is no cash alternative. The YO! Sushi manager's decision is final.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Daily Outfit ♥ My Little Birds

I say this every season but the AW16 Little Bird collection really is the best yet. Matryoshka dolls! Velvet! Victorian collars! I would wear all of it myself if they went up to age 36 ;)

My absolute favourite pieces from this collection are their new yellow woolly bobble hats (you KNOW how I feel about bobble hats..... the girls and I wear them pretty much every day from October to April), the green blazer (which is made from 100% cotton but looks and feels like beautiful, soft velvet and has elasticated rainbow cuffs which keep the draughts out as well as being mighty stylish) and the Russian dolls skirt which is perfection, from the fine cord material to the contrasting floral lining, to the pretty little dolls themselves!).

The girls' wardrobes are about 70% Little Bird; it's the combination of the colours, the quality of materials and workmanship, and the price tags that make me love this brand so much! Little Bird clothes just seem to last forever; the skirts and trousers all have elasticated waistbands / adjustors so they grow with your child, and the dresses can be worn over and over (and turned into tunics if they get a little short). The colours don't fade and the materials don't seem to wear. Evie has worn all Daisy's hand-me-downs and these are now being worn by my friend's little girl.

I'm a big fan of layering when the weather turns chilly (especially at this time of year when the days can start freezing cold but end up super mild!) so I invest in summer items that can be worn into the winter months and then buy what I need in winter; long sleeved t-shirts to wear underneath summer blouses, and cardigans to go on top when they're needed. I don't really believe in 'seasons' when it comes to clothes - apart from it being a good excuse to go shopping!

Which brings me nicely back on to the subject of our latest Little Bird haul!

Daisy's blouse and skirt outfit will be perfect right through til spring; as will Evie's lightweight dress - I'll just add the chunky knits and tights over the next few months and swap them for thinner layers and socks/bare legs for SS17. Both girls had the white Fairisle cardigan last winter and loved it so I chose to get the blue version for Daisy this year (Evie has her hand-me-down) and I just couldn't resist that jacket, those hats or those shoes!

Evie wears: Floral collar dress, £11-£13 // Green blazer, £20-£22*
Daisy wears: Ditsy floral blouse, £10-£12 //Russian doll skirt, £14-£16 // Fairisle cardigan, £13-£15
Both wear:  Woolly hats, £10-£12* // Leather T-bar shoes, £28
All c/o Little Bird by Jools at Mothercare

*There's 25% off all outer wear online at the moment, so you can grab these for a bargain 
if you're quick!

And THOSE SHOES! They are totally worthy of a photo of their very own. Just look at them! I'm so pleased that Mothercare decided to re-release their original T-bar design in genuine leather. They are just beautiful, and so well made - and at £28 a pair I think they're a real steal!


Playing Farms with Schleich

I don't need to tell you all how much we love the toy company Schleich in our house. I used to play with their model animals when I was a child and the girls inherited some of my collection when they were little. Over the years we have added to it on a regular basis, and that's one of the things I like most about Schleich - there is something for everyone and every pocket, from a £2.99 pocket money figurine to a £100 farm, perfect for a special birthday or Christmas present.

And that's exactly what I'm going to be talking about today; the large Schleich farm, which we were very kindly sent to review last month.

We already have a large collection of farm animals, which the girls have always been more than happy to play with on their own, but I am a fan of tidiness and order and my first thoughts once the farm arrived were 'oooh this will be great to keep all the animals in' ;) Of course, this would also make the perfect starter kit too, as you can add to it over time (it comes with a farmer, a couple of animals and accessories already).

The first thing I'd say is that the farm requires a fair bit of assembly before it can be played with. I usually avoid buying the girls large toys that I have put together myself, after the almost disaster that was Daisy's second birthday, when I bought her a wooden play kitchen and had to call my Dad to come round and help me build it at 10pm the night before! I panicked a bit when I opened the Schleich box, but I needn't have; the instructions were really easy to follow, and it only took me around 45 minutes to put together (and that was with the distraction of Gilmore Girls on in the background so it probably would have taken about half an hour had I given it my full attention).

In actual fact it was pretty easy to put together considering the amount of pieces (some very tiny!) included in the box - but they are all thick plastic and very well made, as you would expect from Schleich, and the finished product is well worth it!

The farm is huge! It has sliding doors, opening windows and a fully functioning rope winch, and the detail is really incredible. The girls love the window boxes full of flowers and the external fencing which they have also detached to play with separately. The roof is removable too which makes play much easier, and can then be used as a separate building (which is very handy when you have to share with your sister!).

This really is a lovely and very well made toy farm - well worth its £99.99 price tag. It;s available from all good toy shops; you can view the full spec on the Schleich website here.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Vintage Shopping, Eating Way Too Much + a Special Preview of #DreamWorksTrolls!

Last weekend, the girls and I found ourselves on the early train (hence Evie's mildly grumpy face above, HA!) up to London town for an advanced screening of the awesome new DreamWorks film, Trolls.

We were DESPERATE to see it - the girls first got wind of it's UK release in the summer holidays - so we were more than happy to sacrifice a lazy Sunday morning to get a sneak preview before it opens in cinemas on 21st October; well, Daisy and I were at least ;)

Trolls is an absolutely brilliant animated musical comedy, filled with adventure (and THE BEST soundtrack I've heard in a long time) where two trolls, Poppy and Branch, go on an epic quest to save Troll Town from the evil Bergens.

It has an incredible cast of both British and American actors, including Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Cordon, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani and, my girl crush, the legendary Zooey Deschanel and is perfect for the whole family (thanks to that soundtrack, and the fact it's one of those brilliant films with jokes suitable for all different ages and sense of humours).

I'm not going to give away anymore of the storyline but I will tell you that I laughed out loud, I cried, and I found myself tapping my feet to most of the songs - and so did the kids. If you go and see one film this half term, please make sure this is it.

It. Is. Brilliant.

We left the screening armed with balloons and stickers and activity sheets, which have well and truly started off the girls' obsession with all things Trolls (there are wigs and hug watches and all sorts on their Christmas lists already). There were tears when this balloon made its way up into the atmosphere while we were walking around Covent Garden, I can tell you!

I'll leave you with a few photos of our adventures in the West End later that day. We vintage shopped, we ate (lunch and dinner in two different restaurants - Wagamamas and then The Diner on the Strand - because that's how we roll), as visited our beloved Transport Museum. London really is an amazing place and now we've moved out to the sticks I definitely make the most of, and appreciate, the time we spend there so much more!

The girls' personalities summed up in one photo!
Instagram Kids
Some of the most amazing vintage frocks I have ever seen.....
.... and knitwear....
....and blouses....
ps I have to say how lovely it was to bump into one of my blogging faves, Carolynne from Mummy Endeavours, and her twins at the screening! I need to hang out with this lady more!

Trolls genuinely is THE BEST animated movie I've seen - and it's out in cinemas across the UK on 21st October. The girls and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. In case you haven't seen it yet -  or if you fancy watching it again - here's the official trailer!


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Fun with Schleich: Horse Club Pick-Up + Horse Box Review

I don't do toy reviews on this blog very often - mostly because I think that when it comes to toys, as parents, we like completely different things to our kids.

When the girls were little I spent all my money on beautiful wooden toys for them - which they loved until they started nursery and school and started lusting after the latest sparkly, pink, plastic tat that all their friends were talking about (which I of course buy them, albeit reluctantly!).

But one toy brand we all agree is absolutely wonderful is Schleich. Purveyors of well made and realistic animals and figurines; the girls love their toys, and so do I - so when we were asked whether we'd like to review the Horse Club Pick-Up with Horsebox last month we agreed without hesitation.

We already have a pretty impressive collection of Schleich animals at home; both girls went through a phase where they would spend their pocket money on a new one every week (the single figurines start at just a few pounds each so make perfect pocket money toys) plus they sell them in our local garden centre so have been used as a bribery tool in the past (I have ALL the parenting skillz).

Their favourite animals are horses, so their Schleich horses are regularly fought over played with - and the pick up and horsebox was a perfect addiction to their games. Aside from the pick-up and box, the set also comes with a driver, a horse and a groom, as well as lots of teeny tiny little accessories and, together with the toys they already had, this meant there was lots to share between them! (You can read my review of some other Horse Club accessories here).

As is the same with all Schleich products, the pick-up and box are incredibly well made. They have certainly been put through their paces over the past few weeks! The vehicles did require assembly before the girls could start to play with but this was no problem and only took minutes. Then they were ready to go!

If you're looking for a great toy for a horse mad child then look no further. The Horse Club Pick-Up with Horsebox costs £39.99 and is available from the Schleich website here.

We were sent ours for the purpose of this review. All words are true and my own.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Make The Journey with Joe Browns #LoveJoeBrowns

I had quite a few compliments on this dress, after I posted a picture of it on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. I was sent it by Joe Browns as part of their AW16 #MakeTheJourney #LoveJoeBrowns campaign.

My mission was to style an item from their new collection and to photograph it with a transport related back drop.

I chose this quirky Charismatic Cord Dress; a particularly autumnal pinafore, made in a printed needle cord. I love wearing dresses and casual day ones are my favourites. I live in the country and walk a hell of a lot so key requisites when I'm shopping for clothes are that they need to be comfy and they need to be machine washable - particularly at this time of year when there is lots of mud about! This dress fits the bill perfectly; I first wore it to the farm for its annual apple pressing day so I got to put it through it's paces - plus it's pretty darn cute to boot!

But anyhoo, my challenge was to take some pictures with a transport themed backdrop. I figured there would be plenty of station platforms, bicycle and cab shots so decided to take my photo at the farm next to a common mode of transport around these here parts! And so, striking my daftest best farmer poses, I present to you the images that make up my #MakeTheJourney photoshoot.

Teamed with black tights and a pair of Hunters (and a Cath Kidston cardie when it got chilly), this dress was so easy to wear, and I really can't wait to carry on styling it into the winter months. I'm thinking a sixties style cream roll neck and black patent Mary Janes combo would look pretty good too.

The Charismatic Cord Dress retails at £44.99 and is available from the Joe Brown website here.

NEWSFLASH: Pampers + UNICEF halfway to reaching global elimination of Maternal + Newborn Tetanus!

Babies are amazing. No one can resist them; they're little squishy bundles of cuteness with magical powers that make everyone they meet fall in love with them. But did you know they can also help save lives..... by doing nothing more than wearing Pampers!

Over the past eleven years, Pampers and UNICEF have been on a mission to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus across the world. So far, and together with all our gorgeous, Pampers wearing babies, they have managed to eliminate it in 19 countries, which means they're halfway towards their goal, with just 19 more countries to go. Thanks to all you parents that have bought Pampers essentials with the Pampers-UNICEF "1 pack=1 vaccine" logo, a vaccine has reached a mother and her baby every single second. That's an estimated half a million* newborn babies saved.

This year, celebrity mum and former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh is supporting the campaign and this is what she had to say about it;

"I feel hugely honoured to be supporting the Pampers-UNICEF campaign in its 11th year. As a mum to Bobby, and expecting my second child later this year, I feel great empathy with other mothers around the world who, just as I do, want nothing more than to deliver a happy, healthy baby. The reason I’m so passionate about this campaign is that mums and dads here in the UK can make a very real difference by doing nothing more than buying the Pampers that they need for their little ones. It’s phenomenal and makes me feel very proud of what we can achieve together."

There are lots of ways we can also support this brilliant campaign. As with previous years, for every pack of Pampers nappies or wipes with the UNICEF logo sold, Pampers will donate one vaccine against maternal and newborn tetanus. This year you can also share a photo of your amazing baby on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the #1photo1vaccine or #PampersUNICEF hashtags - and Pampers will donate the cost of one vaccine. And of course, you can also donate directly to UNICEF to improve the lives of vulnerable children.

Join us and together we can help protect the world's amazing babies against newborn tetanus. To find out more, visit the Pampers website here.

** Based on Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) of WHO and UNICEF (Lancet, October 2014)

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