July 2018 | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Style: Choosing the Perfect Skirt

I love how fashion constantly evolves; when it comes to my clothes, the older I get, the braver I seem to get - and I'm really enjoying being able to try new styles at the moment.

This year has been a particularly interesting one in the style stakes. The heatwave we've been experiencing in the UK has certainly had an impact on what we're wearing. The jeans and trousers have been packed away and the warm weather seems to have encouraged more of us to wear skirts and dresses. Let's face it - they're super comfortable and a great way to stay cool (and get a bit of colour on our pins at the same time).

Firms like fashionworld.co.uk are stocking a huge range of different skirts right now. All you have to do is to choose the right cut for you.

Here are a few tips to help you to do exactly that.

Skirts for triangle/pear-shaped women 
A-line skirts are the perfect option for someone with a pear-shaped figure. They look great teamed with a tailored jacket or top that fits closely. A skirt made from lightweight fabric that hugs the waist but fits loosely the rest of the way down is brilliantly breezy in this weather too.

The right skirt for an apple-shaped woman 
If, like me, you carry most of your weight around your middle and have skinny hips and legs, the chances are you are apple-shaped. For you, a high waistline can work really well especially if you choose a flouncy style skirt. I feel much more comfortable wearing my waistband high.

Skirts for the petite woman​ 
If you are petite go for shorter hemlines. This style of skirt will elongate your legs. The closer fitted ones can look quite chic when paired with a smart blouse and they will enhance your curves too.

A great plus-size skirt 
Wearing a pencil skirt is a perfect way to enhance your curves. Look for one that is made from high-quality closely woven fabrics that will have a smoothing and controlling effect.

A great alternative to skirts 
If you're not a skirt fan, you might want to try out a jumpsuit instead. You can stay lovely and cool if you choose a wide-leg version, or one with three-quarter length legs. Last year, I kind of fell in love with jumpsuits, so much so, that I wrote about my favourite ones. You can read all about them by clicking here.


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

GIRL POWER with Desenio

As is always the case, we currently have a bit of a DIY project going on at home. I say "going on at home" but what I really mean is "going on inside my head". Basically I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest daydreaming about turning our garden cabin into a bit of an art studio / office for myself.

I really do plan to do this, but it's going to have to wait until August, when the girls are on holiday with their Dad and I can get stuck in (and I also have a decent amount of time to persuade my Dad and cousin to spend a day in the sticks building things and running electricity down to the end of my garden).

But that hasn't stopped the research, nor has it stopped the spending! I've planned EVERYTHING and have got the cabin pretty much kitted out now, with shelving units, a desk and a new easel ready to be put together. It all just has to stay in boxes and get in my way in the main house until all the work has been done. Most importantly (we all know shopping for the finishing touches is THE BEST part about redecorating any space) I've also got some incredibly important wall art ready to be put up!

I'm collaborating with one of my favourite Scandinavian brands for this post; Desenio are purveyors of the finest, affordable art work (and frames) and their prints adorn pretty much every single wall in my house. They asked if I'd like them to send me some prints for my new office and I took them up on their kind offer, going with a bit of a pink / Girl Power theme.

I plan to paint the whole of the interior of the cabin white, even the floor and the ceiling, so I liked the idea of there being a few pops of colour in there. I also plan to fill it with plants, so green, pink and white are combination I'll be following.

The prints I chose from Desenio (which are currently on display in my living room!) are:

Support Your Local Girl Gang print, 21 x 30cm - £5.95
Gold frame - £8.95

Yes Oui print, 50 x 70cm - £21.95
White frame - £21.95

Good Vibes Only print, 30 x 40cm - £11.95
White frame - £11.95

You can see the other Desenio prints and frames I've got in my house here and here.

If you're keen to buy some prints for your own home, the code “katyearley” gives 25% off posters* between July 17th and 19th. 

*Does not include frames or handpicked-/collaboration posters


Friday, 13 July 2018

Are you having a ‘which mattress’ argument with your partner?

Choosing the right mattress is essential to getting a proper night’s sleep but what do you do when your partner is a noticeably different weight or has wildly divergent ideas of what constitutes comfort and support?

The easiest way to solve this dilemma is to visit a bed showroom together and test out a range of mattresses. Kick off your shoes and lie down. Have a chat with your partner about your normal sleeping position. Do you sleep on your back, stomach, side or a combination of all three?

• Side sleepers generally need a soft, thicker comfort layer than back sleepers because they are in a curvier position, so the mattress needs to cradle and support them. Stomach sleepers need firm, thin comfort layers as there are few indented areas to support.
• Combination sleepers, as most people are, should look for high quality foams, like latex, which are soft near the top but sink a little to relieve pressure while still offering quite firm support. Pocket sprung mattresses can also work well.
• Allergies, back pain and medical conditions like sleep apnoea, where breathing is interrupted during sleep, will also affect the mattress you choose.

There are a huge variety of mattresses out there, ranging from super soft to extremely firm and everything in between. They can be made of natural fibres, like wool or cotton or other materials, like foam. Take a look at this useful guide to ensure you buy the perfect one.

Don’t just focus on the outside of your mattress. The engine of a progressively supportive, long-lasting mattress is what is inside it, whether it is springs, memory foam or latex. Both the upholstery and the springs will dictate how a mattress feels. Briefly, there are four types of mattress:

• Pocket sprung, where the springs are sewn into individual fabric pockets

These mattresses don’t change to fit your body shape, like memory foam does, but they may be just as supportive. Also, they are not quite as warm, a bonus for sleepers who overheat easily. 

• Coiled or continuous coil, made from a single looped wire; or open coil where single springs are fixed together by one wire

While coil mattresses are generally cheaper, they were poorly reviewed by Which? and considered less comfortable and more prone to wear. These mattresses aren’t ideal for co-sleeping because the springs move as one unit so you’re more likely to be disturbed by a restless partner.
• Memory foam

Memory foam mattresses are becoming really popular, although they can be expensive. They will mould to your body but this could irritate some sleepers as the mattress tends to feel warmer.
• Latex

The core of a latex mattress is made up of spring latex. These mattresses are usually more expensive but manufacturers claim they are more resilient and maintain their shape well.

A single tension mattress is generally more economical and you can vary how soft or firm it feels using other means, such as a mattress topper that adds an extra layer of comfort to the core mattress and increases its longevity.

If you and your partner still can’t agree on a single tension mattress after visiting a bed showroom there are other ways to tackle the problem.

A more expensive option, usually only available with medium to high-end mattresses, is to buy a dual spring tension mattress, where one half is firm, the other medium or where one half is soft, the other medium. It is not usually possible to mix soft and firm springs. Also, shock horror, when you rotate the mattress you won’t be able to keep your side of the bed!

Another solution is to buy a zip and link mattress. This is where two mattresses are joined by a zip to create one larger mattress, usually a king or super king. It means you can join two mattresses of different firmness and support while minimising the likelihood of two sleepers rolling together, as two separate mattresses reduce centralised spring compression.

A further benefit is that it is easier to manoeuvre two single mattresses around the house, rather than one large singles. Of course, both mattresses can be used individually as single mattresses too, should you decide on separate beds (!).

Finally, you could also connect two single mattresses and twin beds together into a king size, by using an instant bed connector with safety strap or a simple, inexpensive bed bridge made of foam. 

Key questions to ask when choosing a mattress: 
What is the mattress made of, e.g. memory foam, hybrid, latex?
How thick is it?
What are the mattress measurements and will it fit my bed frame?
What are the options for couples who want different mattresses?
What is the warranty? (usually from 10 years to a lifetime)
Is there a specific trial period, e.g. 100 days?
When will it be delivered?
How much is delivery and assembly or is it free?
If I’m not happy with my mattress is it free to return?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Kicks for the Skatepark + for the Seaside

Until fairly recently I only ever owned one pair of trainers at a time - and those were functional ones I wore to the gym.

I'm not quite sure what happened - perhaps it's the fact that I'm constantly on my feet, or perhaps the fact that there is such a huge choice of trainers out there these days - but all of a sudden they're one of my favourite types of footwear and I seem to have formed quite a collection!

I often shop in the mens department for my trainers as they seem to be a slightly wider fit and the designs are more to my taste (I like quite my trainers unisex - I'm not a fan of anything overtly girlie). Recently I've been working with Jacamo, and was pretty chuffed when they very kindly let me pick out a couple of pairs.

Jacamo are an online menswear store that sell everything from casual and formal clothes, to sportswear, to accessories and, of course, shoes! I had a good look around their website and it's jam packed full of everyone's favourite brands, all at really good prices. They also offer unlimited next day delivery for £9.95 which is something that makes me shop at stores over and over again! When it comes to footwear, and trainers in particular, the choice really is insane. It took me aaaaaages to choose the grey and orange (what a combo!) Adidas 8Ks that were gifted to me, along with a pair of must have black canvas vans (those ankles aren't mine by the way) - perfect for this weather.

Thanks to Jacamo for adding to my collection and for introducing me to yours! The Adidas 8Ks are my current absolute faves!

DISCLOSURE: I received these trainers for the purpose of this blog post. All views are entirely honest and my own and the images are copyright.

2018 Style Trends That Look Set to Last

When it comes to fashion, this year has been pretty interesting so far. We've seen some quite radical new styles suddenly appear in the shops, most of which will disappear almost overnight of course, but there are a few style changes that are likely to roll over into the autumn (so the summer sales are a perfect time to pick up a bargain or two). Here are a few examples of the styles you'll see me wearing into AW 2018.

White footwear 
As you can see here white shoes are very popular this year. You can buy everything from casual white crocs to formal white court shoes. The last time white shoes were this popular was in the 80s when the trend lasted pretty much the whole decade and everyone was wearing white ankle boots during the autumn months. I picked up a pair last spring and bloody love them... I'll definitely be taking them into September and beyond and wearing them with little sixties shift dresses while it's still warm enough to have bare legs!

Baggier jeans and trousers 
After what feels like an ETERNITY, skinny jeans finally seem to be on their way out and it feels kind of weird to be wearing looser cuts, again. But, HELLO COMFORT! I'm mad about my mom jeans and am so happy that the trend of wearing looser fitting jeans and trousers is set to continue into the colder months. Right now, the tapered look is in, but you more and more retailers are also offering more straight cut jeans. Who knows, by this time next year we may even be back to wearing flares ;) (and that really WOULD make me happy!)

ALL HAIL THE JUMPSUIT! It's taken a while, but jumpsuits do seem to have finally broken through and there are hundreds available in the shops (and in the sales!). People may disagree with me but I think jumpsuits are super practical. You may have to get half naked in order to go to the loo but you can just throw them on without having to think about matching tops and bottoms plus, when made from the right material, your spring / summer ones will last into the new season. This article explains how to choose a cut that is most likely to suit your body type. I've amassed quite a collection over the course of the last year and have tailored ones, MC Hammer style ones and even cut out ones (great if you love the two piece trend but want to hide your mum tum like me!)

Skirts instead of trousers 
This year, most designers have included more skirts in their collections. The warmer weather means that they have been well received and widely worn. So, the skirt is well and truly back on most women’s must-have list. It will be interesting to see what happens when the weather starts to get cooler. Provided it does not get too cold the chances are we will still want to wear our skirts. Denim and chino style skirts are warm enough to wear during the autumn months.

Glittery shoes 
I'm loving the sparkly sandals available everywhere right now. As you can see here, I was lucky enough to pick up a beautiful pair and this style of glamorous footwear is perfect for a festive party later in the year too. I'm hoping stores will be selling more glittery boots and other styles come autumn too!


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Kids and screen time – How long is too long?

Photo credit: Olga Vladimirova / Shutterstock 

I don't know about you but this is a question that plays on my mind constantly!

School holidays are just around the corner and most kids are looking forward to having more time to play with their friends, pets, toys and various electronic gadgets. With the majority of parents allowing their kids at least a limited use of devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, the pressure is simply too high to be able to say no.

But screens aren’t all bad. They also offer a lot of benefits, besides keeping them entertained. However, virtually all paediatrics and professional paediatric organisations agree that it’s crucial for the parents to limit the time their kids spend using smartphones, tablets and the like. But this raises a very important question; What is a healthy screen time? The answer to that question depends greatly on the child’s age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents to limit the use of screen media according to the following age groups:

0 to 18 months 
Children younger than 18 months shouldn’t be exposed to screen media at all, but the AAP says video-chatting does no harm. Nevertheless, it’s not a good idea to let a baby hold your smartphone (unless you want search for “how to sell my broken phone”!) The AAP also advises parents to ensure that the media content is high-quality and suitable for their child’s age group when starting to introduce them to screen media.

2 to 5 years 
Again, media content should be carefully selected in order to make sure that it’s suitable for the child’s age group and offering high value. The AAP also recommends parents to supervise their youngsters when using digital media and, ideally, have a chat about what they saw and how – and if – it is applicable in real life situations. How long? According to the AAP, the ideal screen time for this age group shouldn’t exceed one hour a day.

6 years and older 
The AAP doesn’t specifically state what is a healthy screen time for this age group but it does recommend parents to set limits on the time spent using screen media and, just as important, to be consistent. Parents are also advised to create a balance between the time spent using screen media and other activities, most notably physical activity, face-to-face social interaction and hands-on activities.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Top Tips for Holidaying in Europe

It's that time of year when everyone's more than ready to take a break from their hectic schedule and a holiday somewhere in Europe sounds pretty idilic to me! But before setting off for some much needed r&r, you should make sure that you have all the holiday essentials packed, and I'm not just talking about bikinis and suncream...

You might have packed your bag with all those essentials, like clothes, accessories, passports etc but what are the other things you should take in order to have a happy and healthy holiday in Europe?

Prescription Medicine
Check your prescriptions before heading to your favourite place. Have you got enough to last you the trip? It's a good idea to take extra with you so that you don't need to worry in case your flights get delayed on the way home. Apart from that, you should keep medicines in their original labelled containers so that you don't face any issues at customs and carry a signed letter from your doctor with you, detailing your medical condition.

A Mini First Aid Kit 
I always take a mini first aid kit with me, and include hay fever tablets, antiseptic cream, bite cream, plasters, paracetamol or ibuprofen, and rehydration sachets. Its easier to take a few little essentials than having to work out what these items are in a language you're not familiar with!

EU Health Card
If you are heading to a destination in Europe you need to make sure that you are carrying an up-to-date EU health card. This used to be called the E111 but is now known as an EHIC card. It's free but you do need to apply for it. Carrying it means you are entitled to either free or reduced medical care by state registered healthcare providers whilst visiting countries in Europe (you also need to have separate travel insurance).

A travelling bag packed with the above will enable you to have a healthy and safe trip - but more importantly, you will have peace of mind too.


Inexpensive ways to keep your kids entertained this summer

Photo credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock 

Entertaining your kids is no mean feat at the best of times, and it’s even more difficult during the school holidays. The key is to keep your children entertained and happy, without having to break the bank!

According to research from Groupon, parents typically estimate they spend £251 on activities keeping their children entertained during the six-week summer break. The survey found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of parents try to plan activities for their children before the summer holidays start, but 45% admit they are struggling for new ideas by the end of August – nearly one in 10 as far as six months in advance.

Despite this, the average parent estimates they make 13 suggestions to their child every week during the summer break to help keep them entertained, yet most children still begin to get bored just after 1.30pm.

Here are some suggestions of ways to keep your children busy this summer:

Get out and about whenever you can 
Let’s be honest, the British summer is awfully unpredictable so getting outside can be tough when it’s raining, but with a number of activities and events on offer throughout the school holidays for families to enjoy – many of which tend to be low cost or even free – it’s worth taking the plunge.

Earlier this year, the Telegraph recently revealed a list of 23 best family days out in London priced under £5 – exactly what us parents want to hear! Consider reading your local council’s website, to find out what is on offer near you. This is a great way to find out if there are any deals on your local leisure centre and swimming pool, or even whether there are any pop-up outdoor cinemas showing children’s films – this is becoming a popular choice for many councils and is mostly free.

Museums and art galleries around the country often open new exhibitions and events during the summer months that are suitable for children, such as the Natural History Museum or the Science Museum in London. Most local libraries also hold events (such as arts and crafts days and reading challenges) which helps to encourage learning, whilst also being fun.

If the weather is good, make the most of it by taking some outdoor sports equipment and a picnic to your local park to ensure they’re getting their much-needed 60 minutes of physical activity each day. The kids never get bored of kicking a ball around with family and friends or playing crazy golf, especially if an ice-cream treat is on the cards afterwards to help cool off.

Be creative at home 
Even if the weather is nice, it’s sometimes good to spend a day or two at home, after all, there’s plenty of activities to get stuck into through the six-week break. But this doesn’t mean it has to be boring, and the key is to be creative and think outside-of-the-box.

A fool proof idea that children of all ages love to participate in, is building a den. If the weather is set to be dry, you could even risk doing this outside! All you need is some boxes or sofa cushions, a few blankets, and a bit of imagination. Turn it into a story, and play dress up with kids and adult costumes for fancy dress– think about recreating Princess Rapunzel’s tower or a pirate ship.

Alternatively, you could even get the kids involved in creating a project together, such as creating a little vegetable patch they can tend to over the summer, or something creative for their bedroom, such as a piece of art or a Lego model.
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