My Beauty Bible

Having been given a copy of Sali Hughes’ new book Pretty Iconic for Christmas, I’m desperate to start reading. However, I have a feeling I’ll need a baby-free weekend to do it justice. I read Sali’s first book, Pretty Honest cover to cover in about two days flat. For me – someone who never finishes about 80% of what I start, this is pretty rare. Since then, most of my conversations around beauty/make up/skincare start with the words ‘Sali says…’, to the point several of my friends think I have been paid to be some sort of official Sali ambassador.

I’ve always suffered with troublesome skin, and after a particularly bad blip in early pregnancy (cheers to you, hormones) I started following her recommended cleansing regime religiously. Over a year later, hormones settled, I still do. As a self confessed beauty junkie, this shows how highly I rate her methods.

Want to find out more? Sali is also the Guardian’s Beauty Editor, so you can read lots of her articles online as a little taster for what’s in the book. 

Home Invasion: Baby Style

I am quite particular about my surroundings. It’s not that I’m a germaphobe, I just like things to look nice. Quite simply – it makes me that little bit happier.

As a mum, I’ve struggled with the idea of entirely sacrificing my carefully curated home in favour of plastic toys and jungle themed paraphernalia. Of course I’m keen for Caspar to experience shapes/colours/textures etc, but I believe this can be done by and large through books, toys, sensory classes and simply getting out and about. That said, I’ve really struggled to find things that we have actually needed in the house (high chairs, bouncers, playmats etc) that are visually appealing – so much of what I find in British shops is covered in brightly coloured cartoon imagery. The US, Australia and Scandinavia seem to do a better job – brands such as The Land of NodThe Honest Company and Stokke do parent and baby friendly designs beautifully.

So here are a few items I’ve found that I personally feel strike the balance between being visually appealing, practical and (somewhat) affordable, a few of which I own and some of which I covet:

home-invasion-baby-style-collage

  1. Mamas and Papas Stargaze Play Mat & Gy
    Caspar has enjoyed using this play mat daily from just a few weeks old. It offers sounds, a colourful light display and a multitude of textures perfect for tummy time, all in a pleasing palette of yellow, grey and purple.
  2. Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair
    Available in a whole range of colours, the Tripp Trapp is Norwegian design at it’s best. We are just on the cusp of weaning, so although I can’t attest to it’s practicality just yet, our all-white version fits effortlessly into our modern kitchen.
  3. Sebra Interior Play Gym
    I would pair this wooden baby gym with a sheepskin rug underneath for a super soft and gorgeous looking play area.
  4. Snuzpod Bedside Crib
    Although Caspar has now sadly grown out of his, this lovely crib offered us safe co-sleeping and a compact design for our small bedroom for several months.
  5. Mamas and Papas Buzz Bouncer
    We actually have a version of this with more features, but I think the basic premise of an ergonomic chair with an activity arc is all baby needs from a bouncer, so why spend more?
  6. My Babiie Changing Mat
    We keep two changing mats in the house, one downstairs and one up, and as much as I would like them to be neatly tucked out of sight, in reality most of the time they can be found adorning our bed or sitting room floor, so it’s worth choosing one that looks as good as this.

Do you know of any (ideally affordable) brands available in the UK that offer practical yet aesthetically appealing baby kit? Please do share with us!

Baby goes to Hollywood

One of the great things about becoming a mum is that it has suddenly unlocked so many things I never knew existed, even in my well trodden home town. Yes, several doors have also now closed (pub after 7, anyone?), but I’m always eager to discover new opportunities that fit my new way of life. Therefore when I found out our local cinema, Everyman Winchester (or ‘The Screen’, as those of us who have lived in Winchester more than ten years still affectionately call it), host baby friendly film screenings every Tuesday, I jumped at the chance to go. And I don’t mean Peppa Pig or the latest kiddies flick – the films are genuine, bona fide new releases for us grown ups.

It’s a win-win situation – the cinema fills seats at 10am in the middle of the week, and us mums get 2 hours of something resembling normality. Granted, the lights and sounds are kept low, and you have to be prepared to miss portions depending on baby’s mood, but with a coffee and a cake thrown in to the ticket price (£9.50 for mum and baby) you can’t really go wrong.

Talking to friends a little further afield, it seems other local art house cinemas and some larger multiplexes offer similar screenings, so it’s absolutely worth checking out your local cinema listings if you’re not Winchester based and think this would be up your street. Personally, I’m going to make the most of it whilst I can.