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- My Five Favourite AW Makeup Must Haves…for a busy mum!
I love it when the new season comes in and not only do we get to reach for our chunky knits, but we can also turn to our AW makeup selects. Think warm copper tones to a berry lip, it’ll be Christmas party season before we know it!! I think we can all agree how time poor we are as parents, gone are the days of spending forty five minutes on our faces in the mornings. These five hero products will give you the dream glow, in as long as it takes your little ones to get themselves dressed! (They’ll do that one day themselves right?!). 1. Bobbi Brown - Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Skin Tint 50ml - £39 It takes seconds to pop this on after your moisturiser and will keep your skin looking dewy and fresh all day long. It’s got SPF in it and comes in loads of different shades. Perfect for those no makeup, makeup days! 2. Charlotte Tilbury – Beauty Light Wand - £30 You can put this on in the car whilst waiting to run in for the school drop off. You don’t need a brush as it’s blendable with your fingers and instantly brightens and contours your face. Meaning you’ll look like you’ve had your 8 hours sleep, even if you’ve had half that! Totally worth the investment, as it lasts and lasts. 3. Revolution pro - Brightening and Tightening Under Eye Concealer Wand - £7 Nothing says knackered mum more than those dark circles under your eyes! This bargain beauty must have gives incredible coverage, without going cakey. It’s quick and easy to use and is full of natural extracts that visibly tighten and brighten the skin. Love love love! 4. Beauty Pie – Wondergloss Luxe Sheer Lipstick - £16 to members I adore this ultra-glossy and super moisturising lipstick from one of our favourite brands, Beauty Pie! It comes in three gorgeous shades, looks matte but goes on as a gloss! I wore it to the NTA’s and so many compliments. 5. Maybelline – The Big Shot Mascara I never leave the house without mascara on and I’ve been banging on about this product for so long now! It’s the best budget mascara on the market (in my opinion), as it delivers on volume, length and it doesn’t leave those annoying black panda marks on your eyes. Oh and did I mention it’s under £10?! It’s a no brainer!
- Capsule school run look
There’s always lots of chat around ‘school run’ fashion. The reality is unless we’re going somewhere fancy or to a meeting after we’ve dropped the kids to school, 99.999% of the time we’re going to be in some form of activewear. Always with the intention of doing some exercise, whether that happens or not is a different thing. Over the years we’ve built a capsule ‘chuck on for the school run’ wardrobe that we know we can grab and put on. It’s a simple formula, but if you’re looking for a fool proof, easy to put together outfit then this works every time. 1. A good white t-shirt- You do have to replace a white t-shirt every year, no matter how much you spend on it. We’ve tried and tested so many and for this sort of look the Cos oversized tee wins every single time. 2. An oversized sweatshirt- There are SO many great ones around. You’ll sometimes find us in bright styles with logos, but for a chic, paired back look a black or grey is a great option. 3. Black leggings- Everyone should own a comfortable pair of black leggings. You can spend a fortune on them but if you’re not running/going the gym this M&S pair do a great job. 4. A chunky gold necklace- The red lipstick of the accessory’s world. Add a gold necklace to pretty much any look and it will instantly elevate the whole look. The perfect addition when you’re running out the door. 5. A puffer coat- We live in the UK and that means, it’s there’s a huge chance it will be raining at 9am and 3pm! There are so many around depending on how much you want to spend. We love options with a drawstring waist or a bit of detail. 6. A beanie hat- Not only for keeping your head warm in the colder months, but also for hiding greasy hair. WIN WIN!
- 5 ways to parent sustainably
Shop second-hand, our faves are www.vinted.co.uk, Facebook marketplace and local charity shops. Great for picking up toys, clothes (we’ve picked up the odd Stella Mc Cartney dresses for the girls for a total bargain), buggies, cots you name it! Try these places before buying brand new and you will be shocked at the quality of the items available and how much money you can save!!! Also resell, resell, resell - we've been so impressed by how easy it is to resell via Vinted and Facebook marketplace. Sharing is caring perhaps your friend /neighbour had a baby six months after you. What about offering them your newborn sling or your travel cot when you don't need it? They can always return it for you if you’re going to have another baby pr after their holiday. Buy sustainable products- Sprootbaby https://sprootbaby.com/ is an amazing brand of organic cotton baby basics where you send the clothing back when they get too small. Along with their own brand, their send back service includes any brand of white basics, they upcycle these and you get credit on your account to help you buy the next size up - so clever. 4. Nappies we’ve tried and tested biodegradable options, washable ones as well as the best known brands. It’s a really tricky one as it’s hard work keeping up with the washable options and the amount of water they use can counteract the benefit. We’d love to know if there’s any amazing brands you’ve come across. 5. Refillable toiletries- Moogoo, Johnson’s, Childs farm all do refillable toiletries- a great way to avoid plastic over consumption.
- My Melasma Journey – Zoë
Falling pregnant was the most exciting time of my life, however a few months after I found out I was expecting, I started noticing dark patches appearing on my face. Within another few weeks, brown blotches of pigmentation were everywhere; forehead, cheeks, nose, chin and nothing I did was helping to get rid of them. After a lot of googling and a trip to the dermatologist I realised I had developed melasma, a skin condition that commonly occurs during pregnancy due to hormones in the body. I had gone from someone who always had relatively good skin and felt confident in it, to someone who could barely look in the mirror and wouldn’t go out without makeup. Doz would tell me he couldn’t see it but it was all I saw and it was making me so sad, at a time in my life when I was supposed to be so happy! After Luna was born and before I fell pregnant with Kit, I did everything from chemical peels to IPL, used serums at home, you name it, I did it! Things that helped – Obagi Nu Derm Clear No 3 – My wonder product!! This is the product that finally gave my melasma the boot. This is hydroquinone-free cream that works to lighten dark spots and really get to the root of the problem. You end up with incredibly clear and smooth skin, and for me it left me without a hint of hyperpigmentation. IPL Laser Treatment - Laser skin pigmentation removal works by firing ultrashort (picosecond – one trillionth of a second) pulses into the pigmented area. These pulses actually shatter the melanin in these lesions into very minute particles, which the body then eliminates using its natural processes. Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum – I love this brand! Targeted, active ingredients that get to work fast and mean you see results quickly. The Secret Skincare – This is an Aussie brand that has recently launched here. It’s a premium brand so isn’t cheap but their results are amazing. All you do is fill out a form online and the doctor will recommend the right creams for you. Staying out of the sun – When I say this, I really mean it. Do not have your face exposed to the sun at all. Hat, big shades, factor 50 all day, every day, FOREVER. The sun makes it come again within hours. Five years on my melasma has completely gone and my skin looks better than ever! Stick with it and I’m here if you need any more advice or help. Zo x
- OiOi Sausage (pie)
Another recipe from my childhood. I remember announcing to my mum I was vegetarian aged seven and she managed to convince me that this dish didn’t have any meat in it!! When you see how much meat is in this, you’ll be able to guess how long my veggie days lasted. Ingredients: 6 sausages 5 rashers of bacon Tin of chopped tomatoes Worcester Sauce Baby leeks Mushrooms (optional) Punnet of fresh tomatoes chopped Potatoes for mash Step by Step Preheat the oven to around 180 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Chop the sausages and bacon into chunks and brown in a frying pan (preferably one that can go in the oven) Peel and chop the potatoes and boil in a saucepan Add the leeks and half fresh tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and a dash of Worcester sauce Drain the potatoes and mash with olive oil and butter and season. Add the sausage and bacon mix an oven proof dish/use the existing pan and top with the mashed potatoe Finish with grated cheese and cook in the oven for approx. 30 minutes until golden.
- Protein packed quesadillas
These take a little while to make, but I freeze them as they are great for lunchboxes too. One of those meals my whole family will eat and love!! Ingredients: 3-4 chicken breasts Black Beans Paprika Sweetcorn Peppers Tomato puree Grated cheese Tortilla Wraps Lime Optional Mayonnaise Harissa paste Step by Step Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan (with a lid) and sear the chicken breasts on each side (an pre heat your oven to 180) While they are cooking add a couple of tsps of paprika Then add a cup of boiling water, a good squeeze of tomato puree, chicken stock cube, black beans and sweetcorn/peppers. Cook with the lid on for 15 mins I usually make a dip for James and I while its booking, it’s just mayonnaise, a tsp of harissa and a squeeze of lime. Once the the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and shred it Mash the black beans rougly Add the chicken back to the pan and mix with grated cheese Load up half of each tortilla and fold it in half Pop them in the oven for 15 mins Serve :)
- Nanny Pats Tuna Pasta
The recipe from my childhood, my mum and nan would make this for me at least once a week and now something I make for my kids! Don’t look at the ingredients, it sounds gross but trust me it’s DELICIOUS (and a great way to get your kids eating fish). This is a great recipe that I prepare ahead (to step 5) and then pop in the oven for 15 minutes at dinner time. Ingredients: 3-4 mugs of pasta 1 red pepper chopped roughly 2 tins of tuna in olive oil 1 punnet of mushrooms chopped roughly. 1 tin of chopped tomatoes 1 tin of Campbells condensed mushroom soup 1 chicken stock cube Dry mint Worcester Sauce Grated cheese Step by Step Preheat the oven to around 180 Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, red pepper, condensed soup, stock cube dried mint and a splash or Worcester sauce to a baking tin and mix everything around. Season with salt and pepper and cover with foil. Pop the baking tin in the oven for around 30-40 mins Cook your pasta al dente (approx 2-3 mins less than the packet says) Once the mixture in the oven is done, add the pasta to the baking tin and stir again. Sprinkle cheese on top and put back in the oven for around 10/15 mins
- Let's talk bags
NO, not the latest Gucci crossover, it’s time for the hospital bag and nappy bag – the question is... what to put in them! The nappy bag We’re putting it out there. You don’t have to buy a specific nappy bag if you don’t want to, you can carry on using a normal handbag if you prefer as long as it’s got a bit of room and some compartments and pockets so you can separate things up. Here is a list of things you might want to include in your nappy bag The Red book – it can be a convenient place to leave it and means it is there for any doctors’ visits. – you’ll need to take their red book when/if they have vaccinations. The red book is given to you by the hospital after you’ve given birth. It will record Muslin – we love big one can be used for lots of different things from a cover if you are breastfeeding to a mat to lie them down on the floor. Spare change of clothes (add a couple of pairs of socks as they can always double as gloves if needed!) Bottles if needed Dummy (optional) - pop a sterilised one in a small Tupperware to keep it clean. Nappies – only bring as many as you think you’ll need perhaps one extra for emergencies! Nappy cream – travel size (Metanium, Sudocrem, Bepanthen) Wipes Teething granules (from 3 months) Breathable Blanket Comforter Changing mat – there are lots of handy travel-sized changing mats. Hand sanitiser Snack for you Lipgloss and mirror The hospital bag The bag you pack will very much depend on how long you expect to stay in the hospital if that is the path you have chosen. If you have decided on a home birth then it is a good idea to have a bag ready, just in case. This is a guide of what you might want to include. Baby Car seat, with iso-fix 4 to 6 baby grows – with optional feet and hand covers we suggest you take some 0-3-month baby-grows just in case they don’t fit and a couple of newborn ones too. 2 baby hats Four big muslins Pack of nappies – new-born or potentially 0-3 months (depending on how big you think the baby is going to be) Cotton wool Pre-made formula bottles (optional) Dummy (optional) Blanket Mum Pjs to change into post-birth Loungewear/comfies to be in Birthing nightie or T-shirt (sleeves, cotton, short) Makeup basics - include lip balm Eye mask, earplugs Basic toiletries - toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, face wipes, facewash Moisturiser Dry shampoo, hairbrush, hair ties/headband Reusable water bottle with strap Phone charger Slippers/flip flops Dressing gown Maternity pads (more than you think) + disposable knickers Flannel (for face) Water wipes Pillow Headphones Birthing playlist of all the tunes you love, the ones that make you feel good Essential oils so your birthday partner can rub on your feet/temples etc (optional) Your favourite snacks, you need stuff that will fuel you Partner Magazines/book Headphones IPad - Laptop Download something to watch, or podcasts can be a lifesaver Snacks Pillow Small bag of toiletries - deodorant, toothbrush, moisturizer Phone charger Reusable water bottle and coffee cup If you have a birthing plan, bring it. But remember this can go out of the window very quickly! If you're looking to buy a new nappy bag, these are the brands we love The Contents bag Ganni Tibi + Marl
- Villa holidays - PROS and CONS
There’s no doubt that holidays change drastically the moment you have kids. We both thoroughly enjoyed Villa holidays pre babies and last summer Zoe had a holiday in a villa in Ibiza with friends and Georgia’s spent Easter in Cyprus in a villa and brought her Mum along too. We wanted to share our thoughts on what we’ve learned from our recent holidays as well as some tips we’ve picked up along the way. The PROs are: You have a full working kitchen so it’s easy and much more reasonable to get them snacks and prepare food. If you have a child with allergies this also makes your life a little easier than constantly explaining in perhaps another language of your child’s needs. Naptime is easy- you can pop them down for their nap and enjoy time by the pool- just remember your monitor so you’re able to relax fully You have a washing machine so you minimize that amount you bring away with you as you can easily throw on a wash when their favourite spiderman tshirt gets covered in chocolate ice-cream. The kids can splash around in the pool and make as much noise as they like without you stressing about disturbing other holiday makers. No need to worry about your whole family being squeezed into one cramped hotel bedroom Now for the CONs: There’s no kids club, evening entertainment or new kids they can make friends with like you benefit from in an hotel. You don’t get a break from going to the supermarket, preparing and tidying up food. There’s no cocktail menu to hand. The joy of returning to your room after breakfast to a freshly made bed doesn’t happen- unless you can do a good job of training your partner… MBM tips: Do a villa holiday with another family- choose wisely – kids of a similar age will work well so they’ll entertain each other and be on a similar schedule re eating and sleeping. OR Bring grandparents along- more adults means more hands to divide the tasks such as supermarket trips, prepping food, bbqing, lifeguard for the kids. Rotate the jobs and everyone is guaranteed downtime.
- What to do in London with your kids
We both lived in London pre kids and now live in the home counties, we LOVE to make the most of days out in the capital. Here’s our recommendations- The best places to eat: The Rainforest Café, Elan Café, Sticks n sushi, Franco Manca Check out the parks: If they’re of scooting age bring their scooter along as they’ll love zooming about the place. Our favourite parks to visit are: Battersea Park, Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill There are also some incredible playgrounds: Kew Gardens Children's Playground - entrance is included in your ticket to Kew Gardens and there’s a gorgeous kid friendly café right beside it serving stone baked pizzas and an amazing ice-cream counter. Kensington Gardens- Diana Memorial Playground Holland Park- Adventure Playground Battersea Park playground Museums Obviously, there’s so many amazing museums and exhibitions going on in the city at any time however these are the ones that we love to visit time and time again: The Natural History Museum The National Army Museum- they have an immersive experience called the Play Base which you have to book separately- soft play, assault course and dress up. It’s all inside so perfect for a rainy day. The Science Museum- the Wonderlab you have to book separately definitely worth doing if you haven’t visited it yet! The London Transport Museum- right in the middle of Covent Garden and such a great interactive experience for toddlers and older kids too MBM tip: a lot of the Museums are free entrance however there are normally certain exhibitions /experiences that you need to pay for separately. Attractions: London Aquarium, London Zoo, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, Shrek’s Adventure MBM tip: You can often get a better price if you buy online beforehand or check out deals online where you can buy your train ticket in London and entrance to an Attraction as a package. Also Kellogs often do deals on entrance to parks. Must do/see: Thames Clipper boat journey- take some snacks, get a seat by the window and the kids will love seeing all the famous sights from this commuter boat. Battersea Power Station- there’s lots of open space for the kids to run around, great restaurants and a fab play park too. West End Shows- we’ve only recently started taking our little ones to the West End and eased them in with some classics such as Frozen or The Lion. Kids are able to go into the theatre from age 4. Our experience would say maybe leave until they’re 5 as it’s a long time to sit and be quiet!! Hotels: If you plan to stay overnight these hotels get the thumbs up as being great with young families- The Ampersand, The Hoxton in Southwark or Shoreditch What’s next on our TO-DO list: Greenwich Maritime Museum and the Kid’s play area which is called 'Ahoy' and The Tower of London
- The only dresses you need for a wedding this summer
It’s that time of year again - weddings, christenings, races- all the dress up occasions are coming up and with so many stunning dresses and prints to choose from we wanted to create an edit of the best prints and shapes that are less than £100! We absolutely adore independent British brand Never Fully Dressed – the quality is beautiful and the shapes are so wearable – the kind of dresses that you can glam up but easily wear with flat sandals or trainers too. We each found two dresses from their brand and did a cheeky photoshoot during our Made by Mammas overnight (celebrating Zo’s 40th!!) the sun came out and we had a glass of fizz in the process- PERFECT! Accessories wise we found some gorgeous bits on River Island- such as the feather bag and electric blue mules. Also Never Fully Dressed have a raffia range of accessories this season- the shoes with the diamante buckle on GORGEOUS – they’ll look great with a pair of jeans and a blazer too!