September 2014 | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

October #NYNYStyleProject

October already?!! How did that happen! Not that I'm complaining, of course, as we are now well and truly into my most favourite season of the year!

We had a hugely successful September Style Project and I'm super excited to release this new brilliant set of prompts for October, designed by the uber clever Carissa.

This month we have decided to have a weekly Manicure Monday prompt; to encourage all you busy women to have five minutes of me time and start each week with freshly painted digits!

New to the #NYNYStyleProject? Read all about it here.

Want to join in? Here's how to play.

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

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

Monday, 29 September 2014

Hallowe'en Costume Ideas that will become Wardrobe Staples

Are you like me and do you spend a fortune on a Halloween costume every year that ends up getting donated to charity or stuffed in the back of the wardrobe? I like to go all out at Hallowe'en but point blank refuse to wear the same costume twice so this year I've been thinking of costume ideas that are both clever and stylish, and which won't end up being recycled after their first wear. 
Whether you're preparing for Hallowe'en with the kids or have another fancy dress party to attend, why not try on one of these for size. They may just become a future wardrobe staple! 
Image Source

If your favourite part of dressing up is the makeup, you'll love dressing as Cleopatra for your next fancy dress do. Cat eyes, a black wig, and glittering eye shadow will help make this costume come to life. Think Elizabeth Taylor at her most glamorous, and go for gold with a statement necklace that you'll want to wear again and again. Flowing strapless maxi dresses have been in style for the past few seasons, so you may already have one sitting in your closet. If not, this is your chance to snap one up at a bargain! 
Marilyn Monroe 
Stars of film's golden era make for excellent costume inspiration, and it's hard to beat the glamour and style of Marilyn Monroe in her heyday. A short blonde wig (or curls if you're naturally blonde) and a sultry, billowy frock will make you look like you just stepped out of The Seven Year Itch. Accessorize with strappy sandals and a giant cocktail ring. 
Roaring 20's Flapper 
Are you a big fan of The Great Gatsby or Boardwalk Empire? Dress as a Jazz Age party girl with a beaded or fringed dress, long pearls, and a jewelled headband. You can visit Funidelia for some costume inspiration in this department. These are all pieces that come back into style every now and again, so you'll be able to wear them time and time again. 
Katniss Everdeen 
Whether or not your kids are old enough to appreciate The Hunger Games just yet, you can appreciate Katniss Everdeen's tough girl style and utilitarian wardrobe. Skinny cargo pants, motorcycle boots, and a plastic bow and arrow will bring your costume to life. If you've been dying for a reason to buy a pair of this season's chic biker boots, here you go! 
1950s Housewife 
Channel Betty Draper from Mad Men by dressing as a prim housewife straight from the 1950s. Think floral day dresses, elegantly set curls, and short gloves. Gloves are a top accessory this fall, so you'll have no shortage to choose from, and knee-length circle dresses will serve you well when the weather warms up! 
For an edgier look, bring out your inner vixen as Catwoman. Although you may not get a second use out of your cat ears and mask, you can certainly wear a pair of thigh-high boots well into the winter, along with a comfy pair of black leggings and sleek black top. 
These are just a few ideas to get you brainstorming. Fancy dress parties don't have to lead to you draining your bank account on outlandish pieces that you will never wear again; use them as an excuse to buy some key new pieces for your wardrobe! 

This is a collaborative post.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Doc McStuffins Carry Along Clinic Playset Review

Last week, my very lucky Disney loving daughters were sent the Doc McStuffins Carry Along Clinic Playset to review.

Playing doctors and nurses, or vets, is one of their favourite games at the moment - plus they are both big Doc McStuffins fans - so I knew this would go down well from the moment the postman delivered it.

First Impressions.
In true girlie style, they were AMAZED by the pinkie purpley sparkliness of it all. It's also very large which seemed to impress them a lot too. 

What's Included.
Inside the case is an interactive panel with four slides, a set of doctor's tools (including a stethoscope which has been fought over regularly during the past week!), and a Lambie figure. When opened up, the case also has a desk, a sink unit and a little drawer to keep things in (the slides fit in there but the stethoscope doesn't which annoys me a little). The laptop shown in the promotional picture (above) isn't included.

What We Think.
The interactive panel is pretty good; it plays the theme tune to the show and, when you insert one of the slides, tells you what is wrong with each patient and which tool you need to use to make them better. One thing the girls did notice was that, aside from Lambie, the other characters that feature on the slides aren't included. I thought this was a bit of a shame, and almost as if the set was incomplete, as they could only 'cure' Lambie. The other characters aren't even available to buy as optional extras, although at £60 for the set, I'm not sure I would be prepared to pay out any more to complete it anyway. I can't help but feel that if they had been included then the toy may have been worthy of its price tag.

There's no denying that the girls absolutely love this set but I'm afraid not as keen as they are. From a parents' point of view, if I saw it in the shops I would definitely think that £60 was a bit hefty - and probably glance over it as a result. I was also pretty disappointed because it's not a sturdy toy at all; the lid won't stay open with the interactive panel in place, and even if you remove it, once you open up the sides the case falls over. 

Mum moan aside, as I've said, the girls LOVE this, and if you have a Doc McStuffin fan of your own I'm confident it would make a great Christmas or birthday present. I'd just feel inclined to search the internet for a better deal for it than paying out the full RRP.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this toy to review; all words and thoughts are honest and my own.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Daisy's Daily Outfit ♥ Colourful Tulips

Red, long sleeved t-shirt (hand me down
Green cord skirt with braces, Little Bird by Jools at Mothercare
T-bar butterfly shoes c/o Clarks - still available in black here

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Autumn Weddings

Summer is now over, and autumn - my most favourite season ever - has begun. This weekend is also our first wedding anniversary!
The most popular months to get married are June, September and October as the weather is seemingly perfect at the start of the summer or autumn. And the weather is just one of million and one things that need to be thought about when deciding on when to get married; it's most likely that it will heavily influence the style of the wedding, so you need to bear this is mind when deciding what you want your wedding to look like. 
With the summer and autumn months commanding the best weather, it can be hard to choose which time of year to get married in. However, I personally think autumn works best and these are the reasons why:
The scenery
The autumn season boasts some of the most impressive scenery we will see at any time during the year and by having your wedding then, you can take full advantage of it! The blooming trees with yellow and orange leaves create the perfect backdrop for any photo or ceremony, with the annoying sun glare of the summer nowhere to be found. It is hard to deny that nature makes autumn an even more romantic place, the perfect time to declare your love for one another.
Choose a venue where you can have an outdoor ceremony or a nice area to take photos and have drinks to fully take advantage of the majesty of autumn. Finding the perfect venue can be quite hard, use the Wedding site directory to make it easy and then write down all the things you need to do on your to-do-list. You can even track your budget with the other helpful tools available.
The weather
Autumn also brings about a period of unprecedented good weather that is just as good as the summer, without all of its inconvenience. The crisper weather is still more than warm enough to be able to have an outdoor ceremony, but ensures the groom and groomsmen aren’t sweating buckets beneath their suits. The heat is welcoming instead of overbearing, and giving guests’ blankets to snuggle up in during the later months of autumn will add to the cosiness this season already offers. This allows brides to go for the strapless dress they've always dreamed of wearing, accompanying it with a stylish cashmere wrap or cardigan in the evening when it’s a bit colder.
The food
A great deal of mouth-watering dishes are associated with autumn wedding menus, with enough space to be creative and ensure your menu stays unique and interesting. 
The long-time favourites of roasted chicken, hog-roast and fillet will do well here, as well as more seasonal options such as pumpkins and apples. The more seasonal foods can even be included in the design of the wedding to create a more rustic feeling. Apple name cards on tables give a unique way to let people know where they are sitting and pumpkins can be incorporated into a great deal of autumn wedding designs. You could start off with some soup, their warmness and heartiness make them a suitable option for any autumn wedding; add some crusty bread and butter to become a favourite amongst your guests. 
After the meal you can even have a bonfire to mark the end of your perfect day which your guests can huddle around to keep warm and toast some marshmallows. In between courses offer your guests hot drinks like spiced apple cider or mulled wine to truly embrace the autumn. 
The natural touch
Autumn brings with it great food, weather and scenery and these all combine to create the perfect wedding style pallet for any bride and groom.
The orange and yellow leaf-strewn pathways, scrumptious looking apples and pumpkins and crisp, sunny mornings combine to create a rustic, cosy feel that everyone will love; bride, groom and guests alike. The style pallet available for summer weddings is popular indeed, but no season has a style as popular as that of autumn. The natural look is a great path to go down, with shades of earth tones gracing the colour scheme. 
The list of in-season flowers is the longest of any month, with the natural textures and colours of the seasons combining to make some fantastic bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids.
The price
Although still one of the premier and most popular times to get married, autumn months (October and November particularly) tend to be a less expensive time to have a wedding in comparison to the summer. The summer months of June, July and August are some of the most popular months to get married in and so hold the biggest price tags with the average wedding costing over £24,000. It is therefore a good idea to save money anywhere you can; another reason to get married in the slightly cheaper and far superior autumn.

Looking for Autumn wedding inspiration? Why not take a look at my Pinterest board! xoxo

This is a collaborative post.

These boots were made for walking....

I wrote a Five Favourites post about black boots not so long ago. For the last few winters I've only worn brown boots and my search for a pair of black knee highs has been getting more and more frantic!

I'm not one to shy away from mixing brown boots with black tights; I know 'they' say you shouldn't, but I think it looks pretty good so long as the dress/skirt-top combo you're wearing contains a brown, green or other natural colour already. I'm also of the opinion that black knee highs should never be worn with bare legs - it's black tights all the way.

But anyway! Back to my quest for the perfect black boots - and the reasons why I've not bought any for ages. I just think they're so hard to get right! I can't bear shine, don't want a heel and don't want overtly gold or silver buckles or zips. I've also got pretty skinny calves and think black boots should fit quite snugly so I struggle there.

Turns out I'd picked my dream pair in amongst my five faves. I bit the bullet and ordered the Idil knee highs from Daniel Footwear - I liked their riding boot style, the shape of the toe (that's something I'm ridiculously fussy about!) and the fact the zips were covered and the buckle pretty discreet. When they arrived I was also dead chuffed to find they were a perfect fit on the calf - I often have to pad knee highs out with thick socks so that they don't look loose and baggy.

I've worn them pretty much every day since they arrived, despite the mild weather; with cute floral frocks and t-shirt dresses, aztec leggings and skinny jeans. They're a perfect all-rounder - comfortable enough to wear all day - and with a decent grip on the sole too, so should be good for the school run come winter. I love the whole black boots, black tights and  oversized chunky knit jumper dress look - the arrival of a new pair of boots definitely sounds like a good excuse to go clothes shopping if you ask me!

Clockwise from top left: 
Blue shirt dress, Hobbs // Paisley Ossie Clark dress, Debenhams // Floral dress, 
Cath Kidston // Aztec leggings, River Island and denim shirt (just seen), Joules
Idil Boots, £169 c/o Daniel Footwear


Monday, 22 September 2014

The Cosatto Ooba Kimono: A Review

I'm very lucky to have been asked to review quite a few buggies over the last couple of years (you can find all my reviews here if you fancy a read) so I like to think I'm fairly knowledgeable about them - although I realise that what you want out of your pram is totally dependent on your lifestyle.

Evie's newest set of wheels is the brand spanking new Cosatto Ooba Kimono; a high spec and (there's no denying) very PINK travel system. In the past I always avoided overtly girlie baby paraphernalia, I guess because I was always conscious about the possibility of having a boy in the future. But the truth is I love colour, I love pattern and I saw this design and fell in love instantly. (Yes of course all the practical elements are important when choosing a buggy but come on! The aesthetics are important too!)

I've never really had a favourite pram before, but now I've reviewed a few I'm definitely aware of the best (and worst) features and functions that different ones have. I can absolutely, categorically, most definitely say that out of all the prams I've had or tested in the past, the Cosatto Ooba Kimono is the best. I love everything about it. From the adjustable leatherette handlebar, bumper bar, hood and footmuff - and the matching changing bag! - to the huge and easily accessible shopping basket and handlebar mounted break, I can't fault anything.

Available in three colour schemes - marzipan yellow, duck egg blue and kimono pink - which comes complete with gorgeous seventies / Orla Kiely-esque floral lining - the Ooba is certainly eye catching, although I appreciate it might not be to everyone's taste. I have to say, the thing that I love the most about the design is the pink and white chassis and white wheels; it beats a boring black and/or chrome chassis with black plastic wheels hands down. I just LOVE it!

I blogged about the Ooba in a lot of detail on it's release back in June (take a look at that post - here - for the full spec). Now that I've had a month to put it through it's paces, I thought I'd add a few comments on my favourite features.

The Ooba is a very sturdy buggy, and is much more compact than I was expecting too. A cheap, flimsy stroller is one of my pet hates and I would rather have a two part design than an umbrella fold. However I drive a (very old) Mercedes A-Class, a model of car that is renowned for it's teeny tiny boot, and with my last couple of buggies I've opted to go down the umbrella fold route to ensure they'll fit in. I expected to struggle getting the two part Ooba in without having to remove the parcel shelf but no; it fits perfectly - and there is plenty of additional space for shopping etc to the side and on top too.

The pushchair seat can be parent or forward facing which is very important to me and, my absolute favourite feature of all is that the handlebar can be flipped over to change the direction of the seat with the passenger in situ! I've never come across this on a buggy before and it is such a huge help when out and about. I love having Evie parent facing, and being able to move it enables her to get out easily, see things of interest - and is also brilliant when we're out for coffee and I want to sit her alongside me at a table. 

The footmuff is brilliant - it zips on, so can't be kicked off - and is fleecy on the inside for warmth whilst being made of splash proof leatherette on the outside (I suspect it's actually entirely waterproof but of course there is a rain cover to make sure the passenger doesn't get wet in a downpour).

The only downside? As with lots of the best and nicest prams, the Ooba is only available to buy as a 3-in-1 i.e. the chassis comes with both the pushchair seat and carrycot (and a compatible car seat is available separately). I think it would be brilliant to be able to buy the pushchair on it's own. Evie is fast approaching her second birthday so we haven't been able to try out the carry cot and I'm sure there are lots of other parents with children of a similar age that would be reluctant to pay out for the full shebang when half of it won't get used. 

Of course, there are plenty of other brilliant Cosatto buggies in similar bright and bold designs to suit all budgets - I just particularly liked this one and am very grateful to Cosatto for asking me to try it out!

Here's a little video we made on a morning out with our Ooba. Hope you enjoy it xoxo

The Cosatto Ooba Kimono 3-in-1 is priced at £800 and available from all good retailers, including my personal favourite, John Lewis.

DISCLAIMER: We were given a Cosatto Ooba Kimono in exchange for this honest review.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Autumnal Accessories

But just because us mums constantly run around like headless chickens doesn’t mean we shouldn’t spend a little time making ourselves look and feel great right? 
With autumn and winter just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about wrapping up. You all know that Autumn is my favourite time of the year; it's always so much fun, what with bonfire night, Halloween and the thoughts of Christmas brewing steadily. So what little extras can you include in your new look?

Classic Timepiece
Keep track of those shorter days and make the most out of your family time with an amazing new watch. A watch should be a staple in everyone’s wardrobe and I'm currently without one! The gorgeous Jaeger-LeCoultre collection at Watches of Switzerland has that timeless (pun intended) look whilst looking bang-on trend for autumn too. The classic strap will suit all your winter jumpers and it instantly dresses up any outfit. Want!

Bubbly bangles
Your woolly knits and cord trousers would love some matching accessories, wouldn’t they? Always! I’m an absolute sucker for accessories - and bangles and bracelets in particular. They can really make or break an outfit and when you’re on a limited budget, or the last t-shirt you have without grubby hand prints on it happens to be one from 1995, then they can really bring everything together. Very useful if you’re having a challenging day! 
Big chunky bangles will always give the illusion of a well put together outfit. For the rustic autumnal look, try chunky wooden bangles teamed with smaller bronzed and gold chain and cuffs. 

Feeling blue
No, I’m not suggesting the weather is getting you down. Blue was seen all over the catwalk last month and it happens to be super flattering too; perfect for hiding those lumps and bumps! 
Bright cobalt will do well to make an impact (a simple belt, bag and heeled boot combo will update your evening look) but softer blues in different textures are pretty awesome too.
For the X Factor, look towards the jewels and gemstones; turquoise, topaz and apatite look beautiful with not only neutral colours such as black and white but bold hues like red and purple too. 

Flirty Florals
Florals always seem to be included in every trend every season which is just as well because I LOVE THEM! My wardrobe is full to bursting with floral printed dresses, tops and skirts but my love affair totally extends to accessories too.

Similar to the flower crowns so popular at festivals, think casual fabric necklaces and rope bangles updated in winter hues. Burnt orange necklaces and fiery red pendants remind me of the gorgeous autumnal leaves and look really striking against a classic black outfit. 
Obviously floral always comes in many shapes and forms. Embellished chunky jewels in rainbow colours are super fun whilst small vintage chains with floral pendants ooze delicacy if you’re after something a bit more subtle.

What Autumnal accessories are on your wish list right now? xoxo

This is a collaborative post.

The Day I held a Tarantula (yes REALLY)

Yes. You heard that right.

Me. Katy Dial. The world's biggest arachophobe - who can't even look at, let alone touch, a teeny tiny house spider - held a HUGE, REAL LIFE tarantula.

This completely unexpected and out-of-the-blue experience took place a couple of weeks ago, when Daisy and I spent the day as VIPs at Paradise Wildlife Park, in Broxborne, north of London, just off the M25. 

We had a brilliant day out; the park is really easily accessible by both car and public transport, and it's packed full of family-friendly amenities. We had a lovely day seeing all the animals, running around in the wonderful play areas and watching the Karizma Kidz entertainment show. As guests of the park we were also treated to a lovely slap up lunch!

It was after said lunch that my darling daughter asked our friendly guide whether she could hold one of their tarantulas. This was NOT part of the itinerary but of course the lovely staff were happy to oblige. Daisy may be a pink princess, but she's a bare footed, mud splattered, tree climbing pink princess, and one of her all time favourite things to do is to go bug hunting. Worms, beetles, woodlice, snails - you name it, we've had one as a pet at some point.

Paradise have lots of different experiences on offer, one of which is their very popular Face Your Phobia Experience. Under the supervision of a highly experienced keeper and in a very safe environment, its the perfect chance to learn about, and handle, whichever creepy crawly it is that you're afraid of.

As our guide walked us over to the reptile house, my knees were properly buckling... And I wasn't even going to be holding one!

I'm still shocked at how brave my biggest daughter was; when they got the tarantula out she didn't flinch - she held it super carefully and smiled the whole time. I, on the other hand, thought I was going to vomit!

When she said 'your turn, Mummy' I was about to make my excuses and leave, but how could show myself up in front of my four year old?

I honestly don't know what possessed me, or what I said to the keeper, but the next thing I knew, I had a bloody great tarantula on my hand. I think my facial expression says it all!

DISCLAIMER: We were invited to Paradise Wildlife Park by; a brilliant website dedicated to promoting attractions throughout the UK and providing entrance to them at discounted rates. If you're planning a day out, definitely check their website before you go anywhere!

Introducing.... Caroline Creba

I'm a little bit in love with necklaces at the moment. I remember when I was a teenager I did a quiz in Mizz magazine to find out which part of my body was the best (!). Somehow (not entirely sure how!) the results told me my wrists and my neck - and ever since I seem to have obsessed over pendants, bangles and rings.

My latest discovery is jeweller, Caroline Creba. She is totally on my wavelength with her timeless, yet striking, designs and she loves colour and gemstones (sound like anyone you know?)

Within her three current collections there is something for every mood. I don't know about you but although my general style is pretty hippy and whimsical, sometimes I want to make a statement and wear something bold. I also chop and change (and often mix!) gold and silver! Caroline Creba has all angles covered. My absolute favourite is the Nadira collection - super delicate and feminine pieces that are equally beautiful on their own as they are layered with others (something I'm particularly fond of doing at the moment!).

I'm completely head over heels with this 18ct gold plated mother of pearl pendant. Aside of the fact it's so very beautiful, I chose it firstly because pearl is my birthstone, but secondly because it reminded me of an amazing, one of a kind, sea glass pendant I had (and lost) a few years ago. I was devastated when it went missing and so thrilled to find this! It's so pretty and delicate on it's own, but looks gorgeous worn with other pendants too xoxo

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bigjigs Play Patrol Review

Last week Daisy and Evie were sent their third mission as part of their role as Bigjigs Play Patrol agents.

We are absolutely loving being part of this ambassadors programme, and this was most definitely our favourite Bigjigs parcel yet! Enclosed was a Mini Hospital Playset (priced at £23.99 and for ages 3+) and a girls dress up puzzle (£10.99, for 12m+) for the girls to fight over share nicely. They are both absolutely gorgeous.

I adore traditional wooden toys, and these two are just that; simple, sweet, well made, old fashioned toys. They are also extremely reasonably priced and have been played with constantly since the postman delivered them so they get big thumbs up from us!

The mini hospital is a brightly coloured, easily transportable and storable playset. It has beautiful pictures both inside and out and comes with a bear with a bumped head, a doctor and his doctor's bag, a nurse, a hospital bed with a blanket, a rug, a table, a drip and a heart monitor. All these pieces fit nicely inside when not being played with, and a secure clasp ensures they are safe, whilst a string handle allows the set to travel with your little one! Although it's aimed at children over three, I really have no problem with Evie (22 months) playing with it as there's nothing particularly tiny in there to worry about. In actual fact I think this is her favourite toy right now.... she is VERY worried about the poor bear patient and we are all made to kiss him better about twenty times a day!

The wooden puzzle is made up of ten chunky pieces that are easy for little hands to grab and hold and because there are a few pieces in each shape they can be mixed up to create different colour co-ordinated outfits. I've got a real soft spot for this toy; I think it's because it reminds me of the old, paper dress up dolls that I used to cut out of comics as a child. I love watching the concentration on Evie's face as she plays with it and really think this would make a lovely gift (in fact I have two on order as Christmas presents for friends!).

DISCLAIMER: We were sent these toys in exchange for this honest review.

How to Choose Swimwear for a Curvy Figure

Is it just me, or is choosing swimwear majorly stressful?

I always find myself completely torn.... Should I brave it and go for a bikini so that I can get the best tan?  Or would a one piece be better, so that it hides my mummy tummy and a large proportion of my deriere and I can relax a bit? How about opting for a tankini as a happy medium? What even IS a tankini?! 

There's so much choice out there, and so many (photoshopped) images in the media to make us feel self conscious about our own, real, bodies, that swimwear shopping can be a pretty overwhelming experience.

Marisota have created this brilliant guide, which gives tips on how to choose the best swimwear to flatter your body shape (and hide the areas you're not so keen on) leaving you feeling super fantastic and confident. You can also shop their full swimwear collection here. xoxo

Browse the latest Marisota plus-size swimwear

Win a Nutribullet and other goodies with Aptaclub

I'm majorly excited (and RIDICULOUSLY jealous!) to be launching this competition with Aptaclub today.

Images via here

We all know how important a healthy and varied diet is - especially during pregnancy and for  growing children. Eating well is something that I'm hugely passionate about, particularly ensuring my family and I get more than our five a day quota. To help with this, I juice daily and love knowing that we're all flooding our bodies with vitamins and minerals and nutrients and anti-oxidants. You can read my Juicing FAQ page here - I currently use a Dualit juicer and also have a Magimix for blended smoothies but am absolutely desperate to get my mitts on a Nutribullet, which extracts juice rather than removing all the fibre, like a juicer does, and leaving chunks of fruit and veg in smoothies like a blender does.

For those of you unfamiliar with Aptaclub, they an online resource for mums and mums-to-be packed with heaps of invaluable early life nutritional information. They have recently launched their new website which has lots of brilliant features like tailored early life nutrition, baby development emails and live chat/helpline expert advice that's available 24/7. 

In order to promote this, they thought they’d put us mums to the test and see how much we really know about nutrition in pregnancy!

One of my lucky readers will win a Nutribullet kit and a Babybullet kit - so both mum and baby can get the full nutritional benefit of their food. The value of both combined comes to more than £200, so it really is an absolutely fantastic prize!

In order to enter, all you have to do is complete this survey on SurveyMonkey. The competition will run for 2 weeks and the winner will be chosen at random by Aptaclub (not based on the number of correct answers in the survey). I will publish the correct answers and announce the lucky winner on here on 1st October 2014 and Aptaclub will then send the prize out to them directly.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Good luck! xoxo
Win competitions at

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Newlands Corner, Surrey: A Photo Post

We're so lucky to live where we do; there are so many areas of outstanding natural beauty and places of historical interest right on our doorstep. My good friend Emma (Daisy's chocoholic godmother) and I have decided that every week we're going to go on a Sunday walk and explore all these amazing places with the kids (we have four girls between us).

Today we headed to Newlands Corner which is a viewpoint a little to the east of Guildford town centre and has THE most amazing views over the Surrey Hills. We had a little stroll while the girls ran ahead of us collecting flowers and picking blackberries. Afterwards we stopped off at the cafe for a coffee, the girls had a play on the climbing frame and we all admired the vintage cars that were parked in the car park. 

Of course it goes without saying that we both took lots of photos, and here are just a few of them xoxo

Trying to get a family portrait... unsuccessfully! Emma took about 60 shots and in all of them
Daisy is pouting like a moody teenager and Evie is trying to run away from me!

Some beautiful flowers that Daisy picked for me

Daisy tree climbing with her God-sister Nathalie



Saturday, 13 September 2014

Labelling School Uniform

One of the biggest things - for me - about Daisy starting school had to be naming all her school uniform. I don't know why but doing it made me feel like a proper bonafide mum!

Of course, I totally understand why it has to be done, but BOY it's mega time consuming isn't it?

Every blouse, pinafore, sock and shoe - plus bags and reading folders and sports kits and water bottles - ALL have to be labelled. I was pretty unprepared for it all if I'm honest.

Having worked with a company called Stuck on You on a review piece before, I always knew I would go back to them for name labels when the time came. Their products are of such high quality, I knew their labels wouldn't disappoint.

I went for the classic large name labels, so that it would be easy for Daisy to read and recognise her name. They have hundreds of options to choose from, from different coloured backgrounds and writing to different fonts and optional illustrations.

Being rather old fashioned, and wanting to keep things simple, I opted for the smart and easy to read 'milky' font in black on a white background, with no illustration (mean mama!).

At £9.99 for fifty labels, I thought the price was super reasonable and I was very impressed (and relieved!!!!) when they arrived just three days after I placed my order (the day before Daisy started school! Told you I'm last minute!). 

Being a neurotic first-time-school-gate-mum I spent the beginning of my evening sewing each individual label on (they are actually iron on but I wanted to make sure they stayed put!). A few labels later and I got the iron out.... 

They are SO EASY to iron on. There was a funny smell but I even managed to get them onto her trainers!! After taking to Twitter for people's genuine thoughts on 'iron on' v 'sew on' the verdict was MASSIVELY in favour of iron on, with Mums describing them as 'god sends' and 'life savers' and claiming ironing them on saves about three hours of your life (I can totally believe it!). I was a bit concerned that they might come off in the washing machine but with some of D's uniform having already been through the wash I am happy to report that they all stayed put. Phew!

DISCLAIMER: We were sent these labels free of charge by Stuck on You in exchange for this honest review.


First Day at School

It's happened!

My biggest bear has finally started school!

After a super long and lovely nine week summer holiday, Daisy had her very first day at school yesterday.... and she loved it.

Starting school is a huge thing for any child (and parent) and I wanted to make the day a really special one for her.

After spending the night before furiously labelling her brand new school uniform (HA! I do like to leave things til the last minute, don't I!) I got up extra early to make madam a special first-day-at-school breakfast (inspired by the Super Mum that is Ruth from RocknRoller Baby... you can see her super shiny new blog AND her post about her daughter Florence's first day at school here).

I let Daisy choose anything she fancied, as I wanted to send her off on her first day at school with a nice, full tummy!

She opted for a pain au chocolat, some golden syrup weetabix, a bowl of strawberries and an Innocent Smoothie - what a great choice!

Before setting off for school we had an obligatory photo taking session, and then did the same outside the school gates.

I took her up the path to her classroom and helped her find her peg - then left her in the capable hands of her new teacher. Eeeeekk! Daisy took it all in her stride; I, on the other hand, cried all the way home! 

When I picked her up six hours later she was doing 'good sitting' on the carpet (that's one of the things she learnt on her first day - legs crossed and arms in lap) and her teacher said she had been lovely and helpful.... and had talked a lot, which made me laugh. When I asked her what her favourite part of the day was, she said eating hotdogs and playing on the field at lunchtime..... She was very upset when I told her there was no school on Saturdays!

I'd bought her a little goodie bag full of treats to say well done on her first day, and we all went out for dinner at Pizza Express to celebrate.

I still can't believe I have a daughter at school! The last five years have just flown by! xoxo


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Our Dairy Free Blackberry Sponge Recipe

It happened! We created a masterpiece!

Yesterday Daisy and I set about making something delicious out of our blackberry haul. We had a few obstacles to overcome (namely that we had to make the recipe dairy free.... plus we aren't the best of bakers) but we did it.

We used this Delia Smith recipe (which I've always used) for our sponge, substituting the butter for dairy free spread and adding swirls of juice extracted from the berries using the good old fork-and-sieve method - then made buttercream filling and frosting using this dairy free recipe from Muddling Along Mummy.

On Daisy's suggestion, we decorated with gold sugar balls and dust in a star shape, with a few strategically placed leftover blackberries to show everyone exactly what they would be eating.

This was my first attempt at a dairy free cake and I have to say it was super delicious! We're heading back to Cowdray to pick the remaining blackberry crop at the weekend and may well have to make the same recipe again! XOXO

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Beautiful Bedrooms

Our ideal home is something that many of us spend a lot of time thinking about (me in particular - have you seen my 'My Dream Home' Pinterest board?!! I'm bordering on obsessed!). 

Although the kitchen is the heart of the home - in my opinion anyway - I'm beginning to realise that the bedroom is pretty darn important too. As a parent, my house is full of stuff. Buggies, toys, clothes, blankets, photos etc. I love clutter, but it has to be organised clutter, and as the girls things slowly take over my house I've found myself longing for a place of my own - a sanctuary - somewhere calming and tranquil, where I can retreat to relax.

Image via here

Whether it is choice of colour, décor and furniture, when it comes to your bedroom, pretty careful planning needs to be considered. 

I live in a late 19th century workers cottage and my bedroom is pretty large - presumably because in those days there would have been more than two people sharing it! We've painted it blue - a colour I find particularly soothing - and have gone for an old fashioned, vintage vibe (I'm planning a house tour soon so keep your eyes peeled for lots of piccies!)

Here are a few tips for creating the perfect bedroom

Colour is important. I know from experience that soft colours help me to relax and, despite opting for blue in my own room, am a big fan of neutral colours; try feature walls to keep the room warm, but complement it with creamy shades that are calming to the mind.

Image via here

Keep your bedroom clutter-free to ensure your eyes do not wander and keep your mind active and your body awake. I love having all my treasured possessions around me but mess is a completely different matter and clothes (in my case) and toys (in the girls' case) all have to be put away before bedtime. It really does make a difference.

Choice of duvet is important when you want a good nights sleep. Synthetic materials may keep you warm in the winter, but may make you sweat in the summer. If money is no object a silk duvet is supposed to be suitable for all seasons, alternatively for us mere mortals, a low tog synthetic duvet is a good choice for the summer and a double down feather duvet is great in the winter (I can vouch for both of these). 

Image via here

Choice of bed linen is also important for a good nights sleep and we all know that freshly laundered sheets are the best thing EVER! Good quality linen really does make a difference and you can always pick up some bargains in the sales.

Black out curtains are great if light keeps you awake. We bought our first black out blind for Daisy's room when she was a baby and quickly had curtains made for every bedroom in the house. I can't bear sun streaming in through the window in the morning and am a little obsessive about making sure there are no gaps in the closed curtains at night! 

It goes without saying that choosing the right bed is absolutely vital! At the likes of Bedstar there is a diverse range to make sure that you get the best possible bed for the best nights sleep. They have a wide range of colour schemes and styles to match your room and lots of different materials are available for the base, including leather, synthetic and natural materials such as wood - with storage options on offer too.

What is it that you love most about your bedroom, or what would you change about it if you could? xoxo

This is a collaborative post.
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