May 2018 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 25 May 2018

Introducing.... Wild Child Festival (+ win a family ticket!)

We've just added a brand new festival to our summer plans and we're SUPER EXCITED about it! We love nothing more than spending the summer holidays outside, and festivalling as a family is our absolute favourite thing to do.

Wild Child is a new family festival on the leafy green Dulwich Estate in South London and it's set to be jam packed full of activities and entertainment for children aged 0-11. It focusses on the arts, creative play, STEM and wellbeing, and families are encouraged to visit the different zones and try something new - together. With magic, comedy, wellness, story telling, circus skills, dance, music, coding and arts and crafts, there's going to be something for everyone. If you're us, then you're going to have to buy tickets for all three days so that you have a chance to see and do EVERYTHING!

I've been taking the girls to festivals ever since they were born. They're such amazing sensory experiences for children; so much colour, so much activity, brilliant music, lots of food to try and new friends to make. They love the chance to get dressed up and run wild, and they are willing to embrace any weather. I love that they get so excited about going and always come home happy (albeit tired!) and inspired.

With my sensible parent hat on, the things that make this festival stand out to me are the fact that it's in London (so super easy for everyone to get to) plus it's guaranteed to be intimate, with just 500 families in attendance each day. I also love that the ticket price includes ALL activities so there won't be any hidden extras. It's also a daytime event (running from 10am to 5pm) which means it will be perfect for little ones (and if you're not a fan of camping!).

We can't wait to be there for the very first Wild Child Festival! Fancy going too? This weekend I'll have a family ticket (for the day of your choice) up for grabs over on my Instagram. Make sure you follow Wild Child Festival on Facebook // Instagram // Twitter to keep up to date about everything going on there this August too!

Dates: Friday 17th - Sunday 19th August, from 10am to 5pm each day
Venue: Trevor Bailey Sports Ground, London, SE21 7LE
Tickets: Super early bird tickets start at £21 per person per day. Babes in arms are free (but need to be registered). Toddler tickets (for children under the age of 3) are just £5.

I'm working in partnership with Wild Child Festival and Mothers & Shakers.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

I'm a Joanie Gal ♥

Oh goodness, I love a vintage dress. They're so easy to wear (what's easier than just throwing on a dress in the morning and not having to pair tops with bottoms!) and they always make you look like you've made an effort, even if you've only had ten minutes to get ready before embarking on the school run.

Every season I like to buy a couple of new dresses to add to my wardrobe. I know what suits me (full, knee length, A-line skirts with demure necklines) and always like to buy good quality, classic styles that can handle being worn on repeat and not go out of fashion the following year.

When the opportunity to collaborate with one of my all time favourite brands came up I jumped at the chance. I absolutely love Joanie clothes and have a number of their pieces in my wardrobe already. Slogan t-shirts, skirts with pockets, pretty dresses - I'm a massive fan of their retro vibe. Their clothes are all beautifully cut and flattering - like real vintage pieces - with the added bonus of being so well made they can withstand regular visits to the modern day washing machine!

Do you remember my obsession with the Boden Nancy dress a couple of years ago? Or with the Joules Emmeline? I'm terrible for falling head over heels in love with a dress and then buying it in every colour/pattern and it seems to happen every season! This summer is no different.

The Harriet dress, £40 - c/o Joanie Clothing
Sandals, £59.50 - Saltwater

Introducing the Joanie Harriet in a beautiful faded denim blue; the most perfect off-the-shoulder cotton sundress!  I'm a sucker for a bardot neckline when the sun is out (they're great for letting you catch those rays), plus this dress has pretty wooden buttons and an elasticated waist band (with internal button to ensure no gaping). The best bit? It's only £40 and it also comes in muted clay pink and a pale beige stripe! Which should I buy next?

Thanks so much to Joanie for gifting me this dress and to Suzannah Ginders Photography for the impromptu snaps!
I'm 5ft 7 and am wearing a size 12.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Royal Wedding Party Ready with Roco Clothing

Evie wears:
Phillipa dress in pink, £34.99
Peony shoes, £19.99

Daisy wears:
Thea dress in ivory, £34.99 (sale)
Clara cape, £14.99 (sale)
Alexa shoes, £14.99

all c/o Roco Clothing

What a wonderful weekend! The girls and I had a very special, royal wedding themed birthday party to go to on Saturday; we drank pink champagne and lemonade in the sunshine, ate birthday cake and watched the big screen with baited breath as Meghan got out of her car in a beautiful Givenchy dress and walked down the aisle to meet her husband-to-be.

But it wasn't just a chance for Meghan to wow the crowds with her gorgeous gown.... oh no! A party means new party dresses for everyone - and the girls were lucky enough to be gifted some truly stunning ones for this occasion!

Ever since discovering them back in 2015, Roco Clothing have always been my first port of call for occasion wear for the girls. Their dresses are beautifully made and very reasonably priced and - most importantly - they are so very pretty!

When they approached us to work with them, we knew straight away that they would make the most perfect royal wedding party dresses. The girls wouldn't have looked out of place as guests at the actual wedding! We spent a whole evening pouring over the Roco website together and I let them put together their own outfits.

Evie went for the Phillipa dress in pink. What a lovely, grown up maxi dress! The floral lace on the bodice and long flowing skirt are complete perfection and they look gorgeous paired with the very pale pink ballerina style Peony shoes.

Daisy chose the vintage inspired Thea dress in ivory, which is embellished with beads and feathers, has beautiful scalloped detailing on the bodice and a full tulle skirt. The Clara cape matches the Thea dress perfectly and the satin Alexa shoes, with their small heels and side corsage, compliments the whole outfit.

Thanks so much to Roco Clothing for gifting the girls their outfits!

The girls were sent their dresses and shoes in exchange for this post. (They were also sent flower crowns which are going to feature separately!) All words are entirely honest and my own, and all images are copyright. Please do not use them without my consent.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Getting a Good Night's Sleep with Breathe Right

Did you know that 23rd - 27th April was National Stop Snoring Week? I didn't either, until the team at Breathe Right approached me and asked me to help spread the word about it. I was sent a ‘Snory hamper’ full of items to help me relax in the evenings and also some of their nasal strips to try.

I'm not a good sleeper; I have two insomniac kids that like to wake up before 6am most mornings and a cat that weighs about two stone who insists on sleeping on my chest every night. I don't think I fall into a deep sleep very often; I wake up at the littlest noise and am up for the day as soon as the morning light starts to stream through my bedroom curtains (if the kids haven't woken me already). I think I average about six broken hours a night.

So we've established that I'm not your average sleeper, but I'm not your average snorer either. Most of the time I don't snore at all but, in the past when I've had a cold I've been known to snore so loudly that I've woken the kids up on the other side of the house. I'm also guilty of waking myself up with my snoring on packed trains, much to the amusement of my fellow commuters. Snoring aside, I'm very conscious of feeling stuffy and blocked up during the night, especially when I've got a bit of a cold or when it's super warm in high summer. The past couple of weeks I've had a miserable summer sniffle so I thought it would be the perfect time to find out whether Breathe Right strips actually make a difference.

Breathe Right nasal strips work by opening up the nasal passages to allow better airflow, instantly relieving any form of nasal congestion. I can imagine they'd be super helpful for people with allergies as well as those pesky snorers and those full of cold.

They're discreet, easy to apply and are sticky enough to stay put all night, but at the same time they're super easy to remove the next morning.

I used them for three nights in a row and they definitely helped me sleep better - my breathing was noticeably much easier as I drifted off to sleep and I woke up feeling much more rested than I had done the previous few mornings. I was quite surprised actually, and definitely noticed a difference when I stopped using them. The only problem? The clear strips are almost invisible, and on the morning after my first night wearing one I started the school run with it still on the bridge of my nose!*

*note to self: pay more attention when looking in the mirror in the morning.

Breathe Right nasal strips are also available in a more noticeable original - and are available to buy from all good chemists and supermarkets - for more information visit: I'm genuinely going to carry on buying these so that there's always a box in our medicine cabinet.


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Happy Hiking! 10 Etiquette Tips for Countryside Walks this Summer

Regular ramblers will already know that, when it comes to a leisurely stroll in the countryside, there are a set of golden rules that must be followed at all times.

If you’re new to rural life or have simply never been curious enough to walk the un-tarmacked path before now, brush up on the essential guidelines to keep the gardens of England clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.

1. Leave no trace. 
You might remember being taught the phrase “take only photographs; leave only footprints”, and it’s still the number one rule for any outdoors environment. Leaving litter is harmful in so many ways; it’s unsightly for others that wish to enjoy unspoilt views of the countryside, it can endanger the life of local wildlife and it costs the government around £1billion each year to tidy up! If you’ve got rubbish leftover from a picnic or activity, always look for a bin to leave it in. Can’t see one? Take it with you and dispose of it at home.

2. Don’t be scared to say hello! 
Lots of people go walking to escape the habits of modern life, such as staring at a screen all day and not talking to anybody! It might be strange to greet fellow passengers on the tube, or wave at the driver next to you, but a hearty “hello” to a fellow walker is both normal and welcomed. You don’t have to stop and chat, it just makes the trail a bit nicer for everyone.

3. Leave gates the way you find them. 
You might expect to find gates closed to keep grazing farm animals inside a field and think you’re doing the farmer a favour by securing any that you find open. However, sometimes gates will be left open to give the animals access to food or water in a different area. As you’re walking, make sure to leave each area as secure as you find it. Familiarise yourself with the various gate locks and closing mechanisms frequently found on countryside trails and, if you’re walking in a group, make sure the last person through the gate knows whether to close it or not.

4. Give way. 
You might think that by taking a walk you get to avoid traffic altogether – instead, you just encounter a different sort! When taking a bridleway, it’s the law that cyclists must give way to walkers and horse-riders, giving them plenty of room and slowing down, or stopping altogether. All traffic should be respectful of each other, so if you see a farmer and their herd, follow their directions and try to keep out of the way.

5. Manage your dog. 
Walking through open fields or forest paths with your dog is a lovely way to spend your day, but don’t forget that other people may not feel the same. You must obey any specific dog rules that apply in the areas you’re walking in and make sure that your pet does not disturb the other walkers, wildlife or farm animals that you meet. Keep your dog in sight at all times, away from areas where you do not have a right of access and, if you are not confident that it will return to you upon a command, keep it on a leash. Pay attention to where your dog goes to the toilet. It might be ‘natural’ but dog feces harbours harmful bacteria and poses a threat to other walkers. Always pick up after your dog and dispose of its waste in a designated bin or take it home with you.

6. Stick to the road. 
If there’s a designated path then you should stick to it, using stiles or gates rather than climbing over fences or through hedges, which can damage them and risk animals getting loose. If you are on open country land or registered common land then you do not need to stick to the path.

7. Bring a map. 
Other than the obvious purpose of showing the way, maps have a multitude of uses. Helping lost walkers that you come across on your route, temporary shelter when you feel the first spots of drizzle and a make-shift fan when the sun comes back out… for example.

8. Be prepared. 
One of the joys of the countryside is that there’s no technology, so you can sometimes go for hours without seeing another soul. However, this can actually become quite dangerous if you get injured, lost or stranded due to bad weather. Take reasonable precautions before you leave, such as packing a bottle of water and a snack, wearing appropriate clothing and warning someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back.

9. Learn the code. 
Different pathways, such as footpaths, bridleways and byways will use different symbols to distinguish themselves. This will dictate the rules and rights of access that apply, which you will be expected to follow if you are using the route. Learn the different symbols before you leave home.

10. Enjoy yourself! 
Going for a walk is such a good way to spend time this summer. Not only is it good for your health, it’s completely free – which is win as far as we’re concerned! Take the time to soak up your surroundings, relax with your friends and family and get as many steps in as you can while the sun is shining!


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Taking the Plunge: Swimming as an Adult

According to research conducted by the department for culture, media and sport, swimming is the most popular form of fitness in the UK. Cited as the preferred activity for men, women and households with children, a trip to the pool even pips gym sessions for the top spot.

Despite this, a suggestion of heading to the pool still seems to be met with a marmite-esque reaction by everyone. While plenty of people either make a daily pilgrimage to their local leisure centre or at least wish they could go for a dip more often, there is still a staunch percentage who would rather sit on the side-lines. I am one of these people!

For some, this is due to a self-consciousness about their swimming abilities; for others, it’s down to feeling too exposed in swimwear. For me, its both. At the ripe old age of 37 I'm still a non-swimmer (I never learnt growing up, although this is something I'm looking into now) and, despite the body positivity movement sweeping social media at the moment, I'm still pretty nervous about being seen in a swimsuit!

The lead up to summer is the perfect time to shelve your worries. Swimming is a total body workout, ideal for improving both muscular and cardiovascular strength. Water-based fitness is also ideal if you’re overweight, as the water resistance reduces the strain on your knees that can occur when running. It only takes six steps to get started… Are you ready to dive in?

Step 1: Find somewhere to swim. 
Obviously, you can’t get back into the water until you’ve found a pool you like the look of. Your local indoor pool or lido is an inexpensive place to start, but if you don’t fancy showing your skills off to the whole world then you might prefer something more exclusive. The poolfinder tool is incredibly useful for locating all the pools near your home or workplace, including local colleges with public sessions and private health clubs.

Once you get back into the habit of swimming, if you're feeling flush, you could even get a private pool installed. This isn’t a viable option for every home, but you might be surprised at how affordable (and compact) modern pool designs can be. According to my local (Sussex-based) swimming pool specialist, Compass Pools, above-ground exercise pools are just as popular in the UK as full-sized installations. Their reduced footprint keeps maintenance costs down and allows them to be built in compact gardens, while the artificial current allows owners to swim endless lengths. Perfect for a dedicated swimmer.

Step 2: Slip into new swimwear. 
If you like your swimsuit or swimming shorts then you’re more likely to feel good about going for a dip. Treat yourself to some new gear, looking for colours and patterns you will feel comfortable in (admittedly it can be difficult not to feel self-conscious in spandex), and thinking about how the style will help you in the pool. For example, bikinis and loose shorts might look great on the beach, but aren’t going to help you become more streamlined in the water. If you’re still not sure about stripping down so much in public, remember that everyone is in the same position and nobody really cares. It’s a pool, not a bar!

Step 3: Be mindful about meals. 
It’s really important to think about what you eat before you swim. You not only need enough fuel for a meaningful workout, but will want something that your body can easily process so that you don’t get indigestion or need to run to the bathroom mid-swim.

Some people prefer to have a larger dinner and skip breakfast pre-swim, but there are a few options available if you’re worried about a rumbling stomach distracting you from your performance. Avoid grains and carbs (like bread and cereal) and stick to lean protein or low-fat dairy products. Smoothies or protein shakes are ideal, or even just a simple banana just to give you an energy boost. There’s a commonly-held myth that you have to wait a set time between eating and swimming but it’s more important that you feel comfortable, rather than hungry or bloated.

Step 4: Brush off the dust. 
Maybe you’ve previously battled a fear of water or simply never had the opportunity to practice. Either way, if it’s been a while since your last proper swim, or you've never learnt like me, then you might want to brush up on your technique.

Adult swimming lessons – both beginners classes and refresher sessions – are widely available around the UK, and provide a safe space for you to become more confident in your ability. Classes are usually much more popular than you might think, with swimmers of all ages and abilities seeking to improve.

Step 5: Get a motivation system. 
Finding a swimming buddy is a great way of sticking to your pool appointments. Choose someone who is at the same ability level as you for mutual support, or ask someone who is already an avid swimmer to be on hand to give you tips. Having a training partner in any sport is always a great idea and swimming is no exception.

Step 6: Plan your fitness routine. 
Once you’ve got everything else in place, it’s time to start swimming. The best way to build up your fitness is to spend time in the water every single day, with several 20 to 30-minute sessions each week being more effective than one or two longer swims. Don’t focus on speed, either. Just spend some time getting used to the water and building up your endurance. Speedo actually offer a great workout plan if you need some structure, which works in a similar way to the NHS “Couch to 5k” running plan. 

Remember, just like all exercise, the key to a swimming-based fitness programme is setting manageable goals and making a consistent effort.

You’re not going to see instant results, but keep up a regular routine and you’ll be feeling stronger, fitter and trimmer in a matter of weeks, ready to make some serious waves come summer!

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