August 2012 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 31 August 2012

On The Move!

I've been tweeting a lot about my imminent house move so thought it was time for a blog post on the subject. I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to be a bit quiet over the next few weeks - and our house move is the reason why.

Yes I am officially crackers (must be the hormones!). Himself and I have bought a derelict cottage in the Surrey Hills which is currently undergoing a LOT of work. So long as the builders finish on schedule we are due to move in when I'm 36 weeks pregnant.... I do like to put myself under a bit of pressure.

Relocating 40 miles away from Twickenham, where I have lived my entire life, is also a big step for me. It will certainly be a shock not having my friends, family and in-laws just around the corner anymore - but moving out to the country is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I am very excited about finally doing it.

So at the moment I am caught up in preparing for our new arrival as best I can, whilst picking out kitchens/bathrooms/fixtures and fittings for the new house, packing up the old house, trying to keep on top of my day-to-day chores and keeping Miss Moo entertained (which is a full time job in itself!). It's not easy, I tell you, especially when I'm looking like a barrel at nearly 31 weeks pregnant and struggling with SPD and general third trimester exhaustion!

But I know it will all be worth it in the end - our new house (and garden!) is just gorgeous and I get super excited when I think of all the nesting I can do when the time comes to unpack all our bits and pieces in it.

Here is a sneak preview.....

I'm hoping to share lots of before/after photos and interior design posts and tutorials in the next couple of months, as walls get knocked down, things get fitted, antique markets are visited and I get my craft on ---- and we turn this empty shell into a lovely home.

So please bear with me if I'm a bit on the quiet side. I'll be back soon enough! xoxox 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Magpie Monday: Vintage Minnie

Despite having never watched a Disney cartoon, my daughter is Minnie Mouse obsessed. Neither me nor Himself can work out where the infatuation came from, but a cuddly Minnie toy she was given recently has become The Toy That Will One Day Have To Be Surgically Removed In Order To Go In The Washing Machine and I'm dreading the day already.

This week her lovely Godmother gave her a gooorrrgeous vintage (1985!) Minnie Mouse swimming costume to add to the collection of paraphernalia she is steadily accumulating. How bloody cool is it?!

Vintage Tesco, no less, and Made in the UK. We both love it! Thank you, Laura

We are off to the Antiques Fair at Kempton Race Course in Sunbury tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have lots of brilliant things to show you next week.... so long as I can smuggle them into the house without Himself seeing....

Linking up to Magpie Monday over at Me and My Shadow xoxox

Me and My Shadow

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Isabella Oliver Clearance Sale has started!

The Isabella Oliver clearance sale has started! Head on over to their website now to stock up on some super stylish maternity essentials at bargain prices.

Here are some of my favourite sale pieces.

This gorgeous ruched vest top, available in either blue or red stripes - perfect for a casual look with jeans and converse, or dressed up with a smart blazer and ballet pumps. £22.50.
Every maternity wardrobe needs a crisp white shirt. This classic Isabella Oliver piece would be equally perfect worn with a pencil skirt (also in the sale here!) at the office or teamed with skinny jeans for a weekend look. £89.50.

If you have a black tie event coming up then now is the time to treat yourself to a glamorous dress. This beautiful and elegant black wrap column dress is made of luxurious silky jersey and can be worn in lots of different ways - try wearing it asymmetric, halterneck, bandeau or with capped sleeves! (halterneck and bandeau options shown above). £113.40.

Happy shopping! xoxox

Reminiscing about Reading 1996

As the youth of today are all opening their GCSE results, it suddenly dawned on me that it has been SIXTEEN YEARS since I got mine. That's half my lifetime ago!

Yes, on this very day in 1996, I went to school, discovered that I'd (somehow) managed to pass all ten of my exams (after spending all of my study leave sunbathing at Hampton Open Air Pool and not revising) and then set off for Reading Festival with all my mates to celebrate.

Ahhhhh, Reading '96. When weekend tickets cost an affordable £60 and a really rubbish, homemade, fake ID could get you beer. The year famous for The Stone Roses' APPALLING performance; their first gig without John Squire, when Ian Brown forgot all the words to all their songs and didn't manage to sing a single note in tune. A year when I genuinely wanted to see EVERY SINGLE BAND PLAYING and spent much of the weekend dashing between stages to catch glimpses of everyone.

We were that perfect age; not children anymore but not yet adults either. No responsibilities. Testing boundaries. Discovering who we really were. Thinking back to this very weekend all those years ago has brought a massive smile to my face.

Good luck to everyone getting their results today xoxox 


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Gallery: Sky

The theme for The Gallery this week is Sky.

I know its a bit of a cliche but I just adore taking photos of the sky. If I'm honest, I'm fascinated by it; by the different colours it can be at different times of the day or year, by the moods it can evoke. I find the fact it is neverending so very amazing and hard to comprehend at the same time.

Whether its an angry, dramatic winter's sky above a sea of crashing waves or a beautiful blue sky, dotted with clouds, you are always guaranteed a good shot. I also love how the rest of the landscape can have a huge effect on the mood of the photo too.

Here are a few of my favourite sky photos that I've taken to date.

Linking up with The Gallery - see you there xoxox

Monday, 20 August 2012

Magpie Monday: Beryl Ware

You may or may not know that I am a lover of pottery. (My first Magpie Monday post may have given the game away if you're not a regular reader of this blog!). 

My addiction started with (non-vintage) hand sponged Emma Bridgewater pieces about six years ago and more recently I have started collecting vintage one offs. I love and collect any pottery that catches my eye - plates, platters, bowls, teapots, cups & saucers. I particularly like bold colours and patterns, like the stripes of vintage Cornish Blue from the 1930s and 40s, and I tend to go for chunky pottery rather than the delicate stuff, like then Stonehenge ware of the 1970s. Himself thinks I am completely and utterly mad as I'm forever coming home with odd bits and pieces and none of our crockery matches. To be fair he's probably right. But an addiction to pottery is better than an addiction to crack or plastic surgery right?!

My bargain of the week (which didn't turn out so bargainous in the end) was when I won two Woods Beryl ware cups & saucers on eBay for the princely sum of £3.99. 

I'd been looking for a set for ages - I love the pale greeny turquoise colour of Beryl ware so much. And when the two came up together I knew it was meant to be as I would be able to give the second set to my Mum, who is also a fan.

Sadly, though, the eBay seller didn't package the cups at all well and one arrived in pieces. I was totally gutted! Being the wonderful daughter that I am *smiles sweetly and polishes halo* I gave the intact one to my lovely Mama..... and my search for another bargain for myself continues! 

What vintage loveliness have you found in the past week? I'm linking up with Lizzie at Me & My Shadow, see you there xoxox
Me and My Shadow


Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Best Maternity Jeans Ever

This is a post I have been 'researching' for the last few months. Jeans are a staple in EVERYONE's wardrobe. Just because you're pregnant, there is no reason for you to wave goodbye to your denim BFFs and spend nine months in leggings and baggy t-shirts. If anything, its the time to treat yourself to a super hot new pair of jeans that will make you feel happy, confident and comfortable while your waistband is expanding.

I've tried and tested so many different high street brands in order to put this post together. (aren't I good to you!!!) H&M, New Look, Gap, Dotty P's, Next, JojoMamanBebe, ASOS, TopShop. Lots of them had their good points - the price of the H&M ones were fantastic, for instance, plus they - and the TopShop ones - came in lots of different, fashionable, styles and colours. But they weren't particularly well made and I definitely wouldn't recommend either for all-day-every-day wear. Others, like the Gap ones, were particularly hardwearing and some, such as those from Next, came in different leg-measurements which was great.

There are lots of things to look out for when choosing your perfect pair of maternity jeans. Colour and style are obviously two things you will take into account. But the most important thing is COMFORT. Think how often you wear your non-maternity jeans. Think about the different styles you like to wear and the different occasions you like to wear them. There are also different maternity styles to take into account. Some terms you might come across when shopping are:

- Over the bump. This means a fully elasticated waistband that fits over your bump and is my particular favourite as I find they give you a nice smooth silhouette.
- Under the bump. These types of jeans have a smaller elasticated waistband that fits under your bump and offers an element of support.
- Usual fly/button front. In maternity wear this usually relates to regular fly/button jeans that contain adjustable straps hidden inside the waistband.
- Side panels. Instead of a full elasticated waistband, some jeans contain side panels only, usually hidden in the pockets.

One brand that I reviewed stood out above all of the others - for all of the reasons I mentioned above. And that brand is Boden.

Boden maternity jeans offer you everything. They are reasonably priced, extremely durable, available in different colours, styles, leg lengths and come with a multitude of different maternity waistbands. 

My particular favourites are the maternity skinny jeans in vintage blue.

Photo Credit -

With an over the bump panel that can be doubled over to rest under the bump too, these jeans really will see you through the whole of your pregnancy. They look equally gorgeous with a pair of converse and a stripey tee as with sky scraper heels and a ruched boob tube. And £59 is, in my opinion, a totally reasonable price to pay for jeans that are this well made, fit this well and will last you such a long time. (Over the bump jeans are also great for the first few weeks after pregnancy while your uterus contracts, and are especially comfortable if you have had a c-section).

Other styles available by Boden include straight leg (I have a pair in black which I wear for 'smart') and cropped leg and they also sell cords (which I don't have but LUUUUURRRRVE). 

I would definitely recommend trying Boden when on a hunt for YOUR perfect maternity jeans.


My Favourite Maternity Purchase

They have appeared in so many of my Daily Outfit posts to date, I thought it was about time my Seraphine denim mini shorts got a blog post all of their very own.

These have honestly been my favourite maternity purchase to date..... I wore them while it was still chilly, during the rainy period and am certainly getting a lot of wear out of them now that the sun has come out! 

I first spotted these shorts on Jodie Kidd and I fell in love with them straight away.

Photo Credit - Hello! Magazine

WHAT A TOTALLY HOT MAMA-TO-BE!! I like short-shorts, and I hadn't seen any maternity varieties for sale.... they all seemed to be mid thigh length or even longer *boke* So I made sure I hunted them down on the Seraphine website.

Photo Credit -
(Lovely skinny mama model, with perfect pins and bump)

These are just perfect, and are super comfortable with their elasticated under-the-bump band. They don't look maternity at all and can be teamed with all sorts of other clothes and accessories to create completely different looks. Here are a few photos of me in them. Seraphine model I am not but hey, sometimes it's nice to see a real woman with stretch marks and sticky out belly button and all in the clothes you are looking to buy...!

The reasons I love these so much?

- They are so versatile. As I've already said, I have been able to wear them through all the seasons and have come up with lots of different smart-casual and boho looks.
- They are so comfy. I normally go for over the bump waistbands but these are heavenly and also feel as if they are offering some support, which I really need (and LOVE!) as an SPD sufferer.
- I love the fit. My honest thoughts? I LOVE that they are a teeny tiny bit baggy - doesn't make me feel like I'm dressing slutty and makes my legs look skinny at the same time! Perfect.
- They are completely and utterly affordable. £36 is a bargain for something you can get so much wear out of.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Daily Outfit ♥ Summer Days

If you find a style of top that you love and feel uber comfortable in, stock up! That's how I feel about these tops from JojoMamanBebe.... so I have one in every colour that was sold this season (retro flowers, blue flowers and pink flowers!).  It's the last few days of the Summer Sale now, so make sure you take a look at their final reductions for some complete bargains!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Indignities of Pregnancy

Whilst gossiping with some mummy friends recently, we got onto the subject of The Indignities of Pregnancy.

Oh yes. That's right. The INDIGNITIES.

The midwife that delivered Daisy told me 'you leave your dignity at the door the moment you walk into the labour ward.' My friends and I are all in agreement that it happens much sooner than that. 'You leave your dignity at the door the moment you leave the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test' is a bit more like it.

Pregnancy is truly a wonderful thing - your body is GROWING A BABY! How amazing is that?!? But its not all about glossy hair and pre-natal yoga. There are some things that the text books don't tell you. 

It's ok though, I'm going to. (And for the record, not ALL of these have happened to me. Some have. But not all.)

First up there's the morning sickness. Of course the pregnancy books and website tell you about that - it's caused by pregnancy hormones surging through your body and disrupting everything. But I've yet to come across one that recommends keeping an empty McDonalds cup in your car 'in case of emergencies' as one of my friends did. You can be caught TOTALLY UNAWARE.  I literally spent the first 16 weeks of this pregnancy with my head down the toilet. I couldn't leave the house. I was in the bathroom wretching so regularly that my two year old daughter started copying me and imitating my vomming noises from outside. Not good.

Then of course there is coming to terms with your completely uncontrollable bladder. This starts very early on. Constant trips to the loo are required, including numerous night time visits, which later on in pregnancy can get very tiresome indeed and require some very undignified rolling-out-of-bed-onto-all-fours manoeuvres. You might even need a bit of a push from your other half. Sometimes your body only gives you a three second warning before you HAVE TO BE ON THE TOILET OR ELSE. It really is delightful.  Make sure you do your pelvic floors....... if you don't then brace yourself for sneezing to become extra fun. Its like Russian Roulette..... will you or won't you wet yourself. Eeeeeeeekk.

Needing to wee ALL THE TIME does help with the next one. The fact you have to master the art of weeing in teeny tiny pots every few weeks. Yep. You have to give a urine sample at every single midwife/GP appointment. No one I spoke to has ever had to 'muster one up' though which is good. I can pretty much wee on demand. I'm not sure whether or not I should be proud of that.

Baby brain. One friend was trying things on in a shop fitting room and wandered out to pay for something without having put her trousers back on.  Knickers and arse cheeks on display for all and sundry to see. This is a great example of baby brain where, quite simply, you forget stuff. Other examples include putting dinner in the oven without turning it on, forgetting where you parked the car and the general inability to think of words you want to use in conversation..... you get where I'm going here.

Insomnia has affected everyone I've spoken to at some point in their pregnancies. Its bloody awful. Especially as you can't pump yourself up on caffeine to get you through the following day. Unfortunately it's one of those things. I am actually writing this at 4.45am, having been awake since 1.45 and up since 4.15. This is not a joke!! You've got stuff to think about..... you've got restless legs..... you're fat and you just can't get comfortable..... you're getting beaten up from the inside by your unborn child. My advice is to invest in crappy cable TV so that there is always some rubbish to watch, even in the middle of the night. Or start a blog.

Pregnancy is just one GREAT BIG emotional rollercoaster. When not pregnant I like to think of myself as a fairly normal and sensible woman. I don't moan or nag. I let Himself do what he wants (i.e. go to the pub) pretty much whenever he likes (I enjoy the peace & quiet if I'm honest, although don't tell him that). I don't cry at soppy films. Much. But those pesky hormones cause chaos with your emotions. Honestly, they have a lot to answer for. Plus tiredness plays a big part too. Brace yourself; soon you will be bawling over Eastenders and Super Tiny Animals and shouting at your partner for attempting to do help you by doing the washing up BUT DOING IT WRONG.

What about leaky - and HUGE - nipples. Has anyone ever mentioned those to you? Yep they swell up and are constantly *ahem* pert.... and you look as if you are smuggling walnuts, not just peanuts. Giant mama booblies + erect nipples = a distinct lack of eye contact when conversing with 'some people'. You will get used to it. Then of course there is the leaking issue. Which is nice. This has never actually happened to me but friends have commented on the embarrassment of looking down to see two great wet rings on their tops. That means it's breast pad o'clock. But the embarrassment doesn't end there. For God's sake make sure they are tucked securely into your bra....... one friend told me about how one escaped whilst she was shopping and was picked up and handed back to her by a thoughtful (male) passer by. "Excuse me, I think you just dropped".

Growing extra hair. This really happens. There is an old wives tale that says growing extra hair is a sign of a boy and slower hair growth means you're having a girl. From big girlie chats we have established that this is a load of bollocks. But monster hair growth is a very definite possibility. Great when it comes to the hair on your head, but not so great when we're talking about bellies, big toes or even legs and bikini lines once you get to the third trimester and are too big to reach and shave them. (More on that later).

There is also the whole belly button popping out thing. Which I am currently struggling to come to terms with. It didn't happen with Daisy. In actual fact I just lost my belly button altogether - it went completely flat, which was equally gross. This time round the little bugger has popped out. Its pretty revolting. And when you wear tight tops it pokes out. Hmmmmm.

Wind. From both ends. Oh. My. God. There's no avoiding this. You will trump like an old man that's just eaten 20lbs of cabbage for dinner at some point during your pregnancy. And you might not be able to control it either. If you do manage to, and you hold it in, brace yourself for the most AGONISING PAIN that comes with trapped wind. It is actually on a par with labour itself and it can be quite scary when you don't know what it is. Indigestion and burping is also a given when you're preggers. Rennies and Gaviscon will become your best friends. Be kind to your partners because sometimes a good back rub is also required in order to expel some trapped gas. INDIGNITIES! See, I told you.

Varicose veins. As if getting them in your legs wasn't horrible enough, you can also get them in your bum and/or your lady parts. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'll say no more on the subject....

Some poor buggers (myself included) develop a condition called SPD - which is basically excessive movement of the symphysis pubis (in your pelvis) and which causes a lot of pain. Having to crawl up the stairs and roll out of bed becomes part of every day life. As does your other half having to hoist you up out of the bath and help you put your knickers and socks on. You also have to bend your knees like a comedy policeman when picking things up. Which is nice.

I talked about extra hair growth already. Obviously the inability to see below your bump affects us all at some stage. Which means you are unable to cut or paint your toe nails, shave your calves or even maintain your lady garden. Oh yes. I whole heartedly recommend finding a good waxer and/or pedicurist. (Twickermums - go to Blush Beauty by Richmond Bridge.... Adele is amazing! Tell her I sent you.) Other friends have persuaded their other halves to do the honours for them but there is no way on God's great earth I would EVER let Himself loose on my lady bits with a bottle of veet/razor blade/wax strips. NO WAY.

Lastly, the indignity that was talked about the most. Pooing in labour. Shit happens. Literally. And to most of us if you want the cold, hard, truth. When you get to the pushing stage your midwife will tell you to 'push into your bottom.... like you're doing a poo'. If there is anything in your colon IT WILL COME OUT. It happens to the best of us and the midwives will have seen it all before. So try not to fret about it. (Easier said than done when you're off your face on gas and air). But it really, really, truly is nothing to worry about.

So there you have it. A few of the indignities of pregnancy that rarely get mentioned in the pregnancy books. None of which are particularly pleasant but totally and utterly worth it when your gorgeous newborn baby is placed on your chest for the very first time.

Sometimes it helps to moan about the things we are going through that cause us stress or discomfort, and its always nice to know that you're not alone. This post is for The Sistership! Comments welcome xoxox


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pregnancy - A Time To Go Shoe Shopping!

Never underestimate the power of flat shoes!

I'm all for suffering for vanity and wearing high heels on special occasions but flats will become your best friend when you're carrying a stone and a half (er.... or twice that, if you're me) on your front!

Your feet swell during pregnancy - there's no getting round that - and you might even find that you need shoes half a size bigger than normal. This is due to water retention and also down to the simple fact that your increased weight puts added pressure on them and makes them flatter and wider!

So what are your options? There are heaps of gorgeous shoes out there at the moment.

Your absolute essential is a pair of flip flops. Perfect for the summer, and easy to slip your feet in and out of! You can go for a simple, sporty pair like these Havaianas (slim elegance in black, £35, from the Havaianas website)

or a dressy pair like these Khloe flip flops from Kurt Geiger (£29 in the sale!)

Gladiator sandals are for sale everywhere again this year and add a stylish twist to a casual outfit. I adore these ones from ASOS (£30)

(NB these are only really for the early months of pregnancy, as once your bump gets to a certain size you will need your other half to do up the buckles for you!)

Ballet pumps are my current fave style. I have a gorgeous multicoloured pair of peep toes from Topshop (bought last Summer) but have a wish list as long as my arm of potential upcoming purchases. How about these beauties, also from Topshop (Honolulu cutout peep toes, £32)

or these Poppy Shoes from LK Bennett (£50 - sale - and available in heaps of colours)

When Summer turns to Autumn a pair of boots are essential and I have my eye on these bad boys! (suede panel boots, £179, Boden

Uggs are also a great choice - they are super comfy and casual and go with anything!

Just remember - shoes and boots that slip on easily are the way forward! Ones with fiddly zips, laces and buckles in awkward places will be a pain in the bum once your bump is huuuuuge and in the way! 

A good excuse to go shopping, methinks xoxox

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Daily Outfit ♥ Wedding Chic

Daisy wears: Chiffon dress, £40, Monsoon kids

Although there are plenty of high street options out there, don't worry about spending a bit of money on a dress for a wedding or posh do - smart maternity wear has an uber high resale value (see my post here for more info). The most important thing is to make sure that you feel happy and confident in your chosen outfit - and that it is comfortable. 

If you wear high heels, take a pair of ballet pumps/flip flops with you to change into 
if you need to.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Chocolate by Genevie Giveaway: The Winner!

Thanks to everyone that entered the Chocolate by Genevie giveaway - and thanks to Genevie for asking me to host it!

I have let work its magic and am pleased to announce that the winner is....... *drumroll please*



Please contact me with your address so that I can arrange for Genevie to send you your box of chocolates. Enjoy xoxox

Friday, 10 August 2012

Being a Domestic Goddess: The One Minute Rule

Pregnancy and nesting go hand in hand right?, not necessarily!

If you're anything like me, your first trimester will be spent sleeping - and housework will be the last thing on your mind. Yes, even me, me with the nickname 'Katy Scrubber' due to my OCD tendencies when it comes to cleanliness. Being pregnant with Daisy brought about a complete change in my personality and I became *ahem* a bit lazy - up until the last few weeks when I suddenly started panic nesting. This pregnancy seems to be going the same way. 

Dusting the picture rails and on top of the wardrobes is at the bottom of my list of priorities right now. My SPD and general tiredness means that if I get ten minutes to myself, I would rather spend them with a cup of tea and my feet up. Can you blame me?

Well here is a domestic goddess tip that DOES seem to be working for me. THE ONE MINUTE RULE. And it doesn't just apply to those of us that are In The Club either.

You've had a busy day/afternoon/morning/week, you're exhausted, you've got dozens of things to do around the house but you just can't be bothered. Well if something needs doing that will take less than sixty seconds then DO IT. Stuff like putting shoes away, making a phonecall, wiping round the bathroom sink, putting the clean dishes that are on the draining board away. Anything you that needs doing that you can do in less than a minute, DO. It is amazing how much actually gets done! This has actually revolutionised my life this past week.

No more 'oh I'll do that later'. Do it now. Even if you just do one thing an hour, thats about sixteen little jobs you can get done in a day. You'll feel heaps better, you domestic goddess you! xoxox

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Chocolate by Genevie: A Review & Giveaway!

There's no doubt about it. I'm a chocoholic.

So when a beautiful box of Chocolate by Genevie arrived on my doorstep for review I was just a teeny tiny bit excited!

What girl's eyes wouldn't light up when greeted by eight delicious chocolates (including a white chocolate hazelnut praline, a dark chocolate vanilla cream and a milk chocolate almond praline - my personal favourites) in a silver box with silk trim?

Chocolate by Genevie is a small, family run business (the best kind!) based in Edinburgh and headed up by Genevie Garcia - a wonderful chocolatier who makes each delicious chocolate by hand. Genevie's partner, Mum and one year old son all play a part in the business, from running the website (the chocolates are currently only sold online), making and decorating the beautifully crafted boxes and - of course - sampling the produce to make sure the recipes are just perfect!

There is no denying that chocolates make a perfect gift, and a box of them that are truly created with love, by a chocolatier so passionate about her work, most definitely make the best kind.

Not only are these chocolates COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DIVINE (yes, I ate all eight), they are super reasonably priced and with free delivery too. I would most definitely recommend paying the Chocolate by Genevie website a visit (here) and making a purchase - if not as a present, then why not just treat yourself - and support a lovely, independent chocolatier in the process!

You can win a beautiful box of eighteen delicious chocolates (worth £17.99) by entering this giveaway! All you need to do is like the Chocolate by Genevie Facebook page (here) and leave a comment below telling me your favourite chocolate centre! 

Now for the boring bit. The competition will close at 23.59 GMT on Sunday, 12 August 2012 and I will randomly select a winner the following day using's random number generator. The winner will be announced on this blog, on the Modern Mummy facebook page and on Twitter the following morning. This competition is open to UK residents only. The prize winner's details will be forwarded on to Genevie who will send on the prize direct.

Good luck! xoxox

Monday, 6 August 2012

Magpie Monday: Greens & Blues

I've been meaning to get involved with Lizzie from Me & My Shadow's Magpie Monday linky for ages. I'm a biiiiig lover of vintage and am always visiting car boot sales, antiques fairs and charity shops and trying to bag a bargain. The only thing I enjoy as much as getting a bargain myself, is reading about things that others have found. I also find it fascinating to hear what appeals to other people and love to read up on others' upcycling and restyling projects!

Today's BRILLIANT charity shop haul finally gave me the boot up the backside to write and link up a blog post, before sitting down with a cup of tea and a packet of Fox's Velvety Caramel & Honeycombe Creams (my biscuits du jour) and reading about the treasures that have been discovered by other bloggers.

Over the weekend, I spotted an intricately decorated plate in the window of a charity shop on my local high street. It was painted in different shades of green (my favourite colour). And only THREE POUNDS! Typically it was very late on Saturday afternoon and the shop was shut, and not due to reopen until today, so I had to keep my fingers crossed that it was still there by the time I managed to get back to buy it.

Luckily for me it was still there this morning, so it was purchased for display on my beloved dresser (which now contains an eclectic mix of vintage - and new - pottery). Turns out it is Greek and handmade and painted, two essential qualities for me when buying pottery (I'll have none of that machine made, mass produced rubbish thank YOU!) 

Whilst in there I also found a gorgeous TG Green mixing bowl (for £4.50!!!! I've been watching them disappear on eBay for about six times that price!) and a piece of turqoise glass to add to my ever growing coloured glass collection.

The kettle has boiled and the Foxes are calling me.... I'm off to link up at Me & My Shadow. Fingers crossed I find some more vintage loveliness during the course of this week and can join in again next Monday xoxox

Me and My Shadow

The Santuary Spa, Richmond: A Review

For my birthday this year, Daisy's Godparents very kindly bought me a gift voucher for The Sanctuary in Richmond.

I'd visited the famous Sanctuary spa in Covent Garden before but had no idea whatsoever that a branch had opened so close to my house. (Himself will tell you that this is a Very Good Thing as now that I am aware of its existence I am already planning my next visit and trying to convince him that regular beauty treatments are ESSENTIAL).

I visited the spa, which is located at the bottom of Richmond Hill, for a pregnancy pampering session last week and can honestly say I had the most wonderful experience ever.

The staff were just lovely. I was greeted at the front desk and, after filling in the usual consultation forms, was shown around the facilities before being taken to my changing room.  Because I'd booked in for a treatment that lasted longer than 50 minutes (I had opted for the Mum To Be massage which lasts 55 minutes, plus I also decided to treat myself in for a 55 minute luxury pedicure after the shock of discovering I could no longer reach my toes earlier that week), a towelling robe and slippers were given to me for the duration of my visit, and I was also given complimentary access to the Relaxation Lounge.

 The Relaxation Room, photo courtesy of The Sanctuary

I spent fifteen minutes enjoying the peace and quiet (and the magazines and fruit and juices!) of the Relaxation Lounge before being collected by my therapist and taken off for my first treatment. 

The Mum To Be massage is a pampering full body massage, specifically for expectant mamas that are inbetween 13 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, and which uses the Sanctuary's sumptuous mum-to-be products.

My therapist talked me through the treatment, which was very reassuring as I had no idea what to expect, and explained that I would lie on each side for approximately twenty minutes before being propped up for a head, neck, shoulder and (if I wanted it) bump massage. 

I was given lots of squishy pillows to make myself comfortable.... and so beginneth just under an hour of complete and utter bliss! I didn't realise just how tense I was until my back massage started - my shoulders must have dropped about six inches afterwards! - and the calf massage was unbelievable. Running around after a two year old all day has obviously taken its toll on my muscles!

Once the massage was over, my therapist left me alone for a few mins before taking me up to the pedicure room for another hour of pampering. 

The Perfectly Polished Pedicure involves a thorough exfoliation and filing before nails and cuticles are groomed and then polished with a Jessica nail colour of your choice. You even get to take the nail polish home. (I know, I'm easily pleased). You can choose whether your therapist concentrates on deep relaxation (which I did-----and which was amazeballs) or intense skin removal. The relaxing option involves a soothing leg and foot massage and a hydrating foot mask (and heated booties!) and was just divine.

Treatments over, my completely relaxed and rejuvenated body and immaculately groomed and painted pinkies were returned to the Relaxation Room, where I could have stayed all afternoon had I wanted. I allowed myself an hour in there with an ice cold glass of water and the latest edition of Vogue and it rounded off my visit perfectly. Then it was back to my changing room for a steaming hot power shower (using every Sanctuary product on offer) before settling up and heading off into the afternoon.

I had been researching spas and spa breaks for weeks before planning this day trip. Although utterly wonderful, pregnancy really does take its toll on our bodies and sometimes a little time out and a whole lot of pampering is just what the doctor ordered. I had an absolutely brilliant day at The Sanctuary, and the fact it was on my doorstep made it even better (no train or tube stresses to ruin the previous four hours worth of relaxation!). 

If you're a local expectant mama looking for a treat, The Sanctuary in Richmond most definitely gets the Modern Mummy seal of approval. Those of you that are further afield, telephone around your local spas and beauticians and see what pregnancy treatments they have on offer and book yourselves in for one (or two!). You know you deserve it! xoxox 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lunch with Peppa Pig

A very quick post from me today (it IS the day of rest after all!). I just wanted to take five minutes to publicise a brilliant local event that is taking place every week over the summer holidays. 

Greenacres Play Cafe (High Street, Hampton Hill) are holding lunch and afternoon tea twice a week with none other than Peppa Pig!

For the bargain price of £7.00 your child can visit the play cafe for a 30 minute craft session, have a lunch box lunch (made up of a cheese or ham sandwich, crisps, raisins, yoghurt, fresh juice and biscuit), then have another 45 minutes in the play area before heading into the 'VIP Lounge' (heheh) and being given a Peppa Pig fairy cake by their idol herself.

By the time you take into account the usual cost of a lunch box and an hour and a half's entertainment, booking in for a lunch (or tea) actually saves you about 50p ---- and £7.00 for almost two hours of peace and quiet is an ABSOLUTE BARGAIN!

I've blogged about the play cafe before (see my post here for more information on the fab menu and extensive activities on offer) - it really is a great place to take the kids, especially when the weather is bad and you're gagging to get out of house.

The Peppa Pig lunches and teas are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1pm and 3pm, and will be running for the rest of the month.

You must book in advance; telephone Greenacres on 020 8977 8335 to do so.

NB This is not a sponsored post. I paid for Daisy's lunch myself and did not receive any payment, monetary or otherwise, for writing this review. 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Daily Outfit ♥ Smock Top

Smock tops are no longer the dated, frumpy maternity clothing items they used to 
be; there are some gorgeous ones for sale out there. Loose fitting and made of
cool cotton, they are perfect for the warm weather.


Sale Maternity Clothes and DIY Adjustments

Sometimes, when you're out shopping, you find a bargain that is just tooo hard to resist.

This happened to me yesterday. 

Whilst browsing through the heaps of baby/toddler paraphernalia on offer in JoJoMamanBebe I stumbled across the very final remnants of the maternity clothes sale. And this cute little top caught my eye....

A little creased I know, but £29 reduced to £6! SIX ENGLISH POUNDS! For a gorgeous embroidered cheesecloth smock top that is just perfect for the crazy weather we are experiencing at the moment. Cool and loose 100% cotton for when the sun decides to make an appearance, but it also covers you up so is a-ok when its a bit chilly too.

Of COURSE the bloody thing was a size small (I am a very pregnant size 12 so most definitely a medium, if not a large) so I very nearly just put it back and walked away with a tear in my eye.

But I didn't. I took it to the changing room and I tried it on. And aren't I glad I did because it wasn't AS small as I thought it might be.... Aside from the fact that the tie-y bit that is supposed to go under your bosoms was actually resting across my nipples, it fit like a dream. Perfect length so bump adequately covered, not too tight under the arms or across the chest. So I looked at it, and decided that I really didn't need the tie-y-under-the-bosoms bits at all, and because of the stitching it wouldn't damage the top in any way, shape or form if I was just to snip the two ties off.

So I bought said top. And I took it home and snipped said ties off. And if I do say so myself, I think it looks pretty darn lovely! 

The point of this post? As I've said before, the sales are the PERFECT time to buy maternity wear and if you see something you adore that is scandalously priced in the final reductions but a little small or a little big, BE CREATIVE and if something simple can be done to make it fit you, that won't cost the earth (or ideally won't cost ANYTHING) then MAKE THAT PURCHASE.

Guilt free, bargain shopping is the best kind! xoxox


Beauty in Pregnancy: A Guest Post

So I've blogged about fashion, I've blogged about hair.... and now it's time for some blogging on beauty in pregnancy. But rather than talking to you about it myself I'm handing over to a professional, Nicola Skinner, from fab up-and-coming blog, Worn Out & Wonderful. Nicola has a 17 month old daughter who is very interested in trying to eat cat-food. Despite this she loves parenthood and all the challenges it brings, not least in reducing your beauty regime to approximately 30 seconds in the morning. She swears by mascara, charity shops, subtle tailoring, and a little bit of chutzpah.


I would much rather be pregnant now than fifty years ago. Why? Things are a lot easier for pregnant women now – well, in Britain anyway.  The internet has brought convenience our mothers didn’t have, and feminism, education, and changes to the way we live has enlightened us about our right to spend our hard-earned money on ourselves.

The average age a woman gets pregnant with her first child is 29 nowadays. (Source: BBC) Back in 1952 it was 22. That means we’ve had seven whole years more than our predecessors to experiment with make-up, treatments, and ‘our look’. If knowledge is power, you are more powerful than any other British generation of pregnant women. That’s a pretty special place to be, no?

I’ve come over all inspired - I’m nearly ready to be pregnant again! Here are some things I’ll be thinking about when that second bun is in the oven. Feel free to pick and choose from the ones that inspire you.

I’m going to accentuate the positives of pregnancy
By emphasising the good stuff. Most pregnant women have the thickest, glossiest hair of their lives thanks to some pretty lively pregnancy hormones. I’m going to showcase my hair through regular blow-drys and haircuts. For day-to-day glossiness I love the pricey but sublime Kérastase range. Pantene is also a winner for good-value conditioning treatments you can do from home. I will try my hardest not to neglect my crowning glory and will try to dedicate a few minutes each morning to brushing it. This is harder than it sounds (for me.)

I’m going to make the most of my ‘glow’
If I have one, that is. I was lucky last time but this time round with a toddler I may look a little more frazzled. However, I won’t let this stop me. I will use a great primer like Mac’s Prep and Prime with SPF 35 (£22) under my foundation to even my skin-tone. My friend Louise, a freelance copy-writer and due any day now, rates Boots no. 7 Instant Radiance Beauty Balm (£16.)

I’ll cheat a ‘glow’ if I don’t have one naturally
My eight-months-pregnant friend Susie, who has a high-powered job in the public sector, has this advice: ‘During my pregnancy I’ve suffered from spots, random red marks on my face, and hyper pigmentation (dark patches on the face, very common in pregnancy.) I’ve found Dermalogica Ultra Calming range really good as it’s gentle and doesn’t aggravate anything. (Prices start at £8 from the Beauty Flash website.)
I also rate Chantecaille Future Skin foundation; it’s pricey but has given me the confidence I need. (Starts at £58 from the SpaceNK website)
My saving grace for dark circles under my eyes has been Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer – it’s creamy so doesn’t show up any dryness around the eyes, and when applied with a brush doesn’t move into the creases during the day. (£18.5o on the SpaceNK website)
I don’t have the energy I had before I was pregnant so this no-make-up make-up face has really worked. I’m sure I’ll be using it in motherhood too!’

I’m going to have a quick, effective beauty regime in the morning
I love to place emphasis on my eyes and eyebrows for easy definition. I run a brown eye-pencil through my eyebrows before running an old toothbrush sprayed with hairspray through them. This tip, from the Bristolian make-up artist Isabel While, ensures my eyebrows stay groomed and neat all day. A slick of foundation and some Vaseline Rosy Lips balm (£1.99 on the Boots website) and I’m ready to face the world. Strong eyes + neutral lips are such an easy day look and perfect for motherhood too.

I’m going to visit my local Mac and Benefit counter in town
And learn some beauty tricks from the pros, which I’ll be able to use through pregnancy and beyond. There’s nothing like changing your beauty regime once in a while and if you go in the morning on a weekday (so when you start your maternity leave if you are working) you will have the place to yourself. Last time I went to Mac I learnt their liquid bronze eyeliner was perfect for my green eyes, and how to apply it. What will you learn?

I will ask for help from my friends, husband, and relatives
So they can spend time with my daughter while I relax, recharge, or visit Mac’s make-up counter once in a while. I will buy them a posh box of chocolates to say ‘thank you’.

I’m going to use products that work in several ways
Like Palmer’s Therapy Oil which I can use on my face and my body for quick effective moisture. This will help prevent stretch marks, uneven skin tone, and signs of ageing. (£9.49 on the Boots website.)

I’ll keep informed about trends and make-up by treating myself to a subscription to my favourite magazine
There’s nothing like half-an-hour with a fashion magazine once in a while. I always learn something new and they inspire me to try out new cuts, colours and trends. They’re always so keen to win new readers that you can normally get 40 – 50% off a subscription deal. On this website, for example, I found 6 issues of Glamour for £9, 6 months of Vogue for £19.50, and 12 months of Instyle for £15.99. This will be my monthly treat and a refreshing antidote to What to expect when you’re expecting. As a feminist I will obviously skip past any article starting: ‘How to keep your man…’ but will focus instead on the beauty and fashion articles which are always amazing.

I will find an on-line beauty guru and turn to her for inspiration
I love Sali Hughes, the Guardian beauty and make-up columnist; intelligent, creative, and always in the know.  Her Saturday column inspires me to try new looks and reinforces my belief that an interest in make-up empowers not enslaves. I also love the blogosphere as it’s chocka with brilliant, funny, original women who aren’t ashamed of their interest in fashion and beauty, and I can learn new things without leaving the house.

And when my baby comes, I’ll ask for some beauty products as gifts, rather than newborn clothes.
You can have too many clothes for a new-born. When my daughter was born, I loved getting clothes for her, but really she only lived in a few baby grows.
I think it’s ok to ask for a present for yourself. You’re the one doing the 2, 4, and 6 am feeds, so a little luxury to look forward to in the morning will make you feel more human. Your close friends and family will willingly accommodate your request, if you cue it right.
I’d love a tinted Mac lip balm with SPF 15 (£11), Liz Earle’s light-reflecting concealer - perfect for tired mums - (£15) or just a super glamorous Chanel nail-polish. You can buy them on the Boots website for around £18 and they’ll be a welcome relief to stiff sparkly party dresses that the baby will never wear. Just saying. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first; it does wonders for your self-esteem as a new mum, and a happy mum is a good mum.

Make sure you pop over to Worn Out & Wonderful for more excellent mama beauty & style advice. You can also follow Nicola on Twitter here.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Power of Blonde

I've just had my roots done! FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHTEEN WEEKS!

What do you mean 'thats not even worthy of a tweet, let alone an entire blog post'!! If you had any idea how happy I am now that I've spent the afternoon reading magazines and drinking diet coke with my head covered in foil you would be surprised I'm not writing a book about it. I'VE EVEN POSTED A PHOTO OF MY FACE [yes, that's me up there]. That NEVER happens on Modern Mummy (as Mama Cymraeg will tell you!)

For reasons unknown (possibly house moving stress, general pregnancy tiredness or a severe lack of social engagements) getting my hair done has been at the bottom of my list of priorities over the last few months, but after seeing photos of myself taken a few weeks ago where my roots were so bad I looked like I was wearing a SWIMMING HAT I decided it was time to take action.

I've been talking lots about maternity style recently, and commenting on how important it is to feel good during pregnancy - and of course that not only relates to fashion but extends to hair and beauty too.

So I booked up with my awesome friend - and mobile hairdresser - Nicola (she tweets here - follow her!) and let her work her magic.

The change in my mood since having my hair done just a couple of hours ago says it all really. I've been feeling really shitty these past few weeks, mainly down to an early onset of SPD (gah!) but also about the way I look (this pregnancy has not been kind to me, stretch mark wise, complexion wise or weight gain wise!). And getting my hair done has brightened me up no end. I don't care how materialistic it sounds; you can have a wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes and a make up bag exploding with amazing beauty products but if you've got two tone hair (of the non-deliberate, fashionable variety) you are bound to feel like crap.

So give yourself some me-time. Treat yourself to a trip to the hair dressers. I insist that you all do.

Now for The Facts about colouring your hair during pregnancy.

Firstly, don't forget that pregnancy can effect the condition of your hair so when it comes to dyeing or highlighting it, even using your usual hairdresser or home dye kits, it's a good idea to do a strand test first. Pregnancy can make your hair greasier or drier - and therefore more or less absorbent - which can affect the reaction when colour is put onto it.

There has been limited research into the effects colouring your hair has on your unborn baby. The NHS website says that 'some studies have found that very high doses of the chemicals in hair dyes may cause harm. However, these doses are massive compared to the very low amount of chemicals that a woman colouring her hair is exposed to.'

As a general consensus, most people seem to agree that the best thing to do is:

- wait until after you're 12 weeks pregnant before you colour your hair/get your roots done
- opt for highlights rather than block dyeing with bleach, as this way the bleach doesn't actually touch your scalp and get absorbed into the bloodstream
- use semi permanent vegetable dyes (like henna) as a completely safe alternative
- make sure dye is applied in a well ventilated room.

Happy hair dyeing, gorgeous ones xoxox
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