I can sing a rainbow!

Rainbow Brite was so ahead of the curve when she was popular in 1985. Now there are loads of gorgeous rainbow designs on babygrows, kids’ dresses and nursery decor. (Not to mention the Rainbow Cake trend that’s all over the food blogging world and Pinterest. Mmmm Rainbow Cake.)

Rainbow Cake recipe, rainbow trend, rainbow clothing, rainbow decor

Someone clearly gave Jools Oliver the memo, as she’s included the cutest pyjama set in her new Little Bird at Mothercare range…

Little Bird at Mothercare rainbow pyjamas, Jools Oliver, Jules Oliver, PJs for kids, baby pyjamas

But wait a second, it doesn’t stop there. I found these beautiful wooden bookends on Not On The High Street – gotta keep those Peppa Pig books in order somehow. Also on Not On The High Street is this handmade appliqué dress – I pinned it on Pinterest months back and they’re still available. Pricey at £42, but a cracking gift for someone.  Jo Jo Maman Bebe’s rainbow muslins are just the thing to brighten up those early new mum days where the lack of sleep threatens to overshadow everything. Who cares if you have a pukey newborn? You can mop it up with a bright turquoise muslin cloth. And over on Etsy, one seller makes these fab baby vest and leggings set that you can customise. It’s time to rock out in rainbow.

Rainbow clothes for kids, Not on the high street, Etsy, Jo Jo Maman Bebe

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A year ago today, I returned to work after maternity leave…

A year ago today, I returned to work after maternity leave.

My main feeling, going back to work was relief. Maternity leave didn’t suit me – I’m just not very good at filling five empty days a week and I’m not brilliant in my own company (being with your under 1 baby doesn’t count as company!) All of my mum friends seemed to be very busy all of the time and it felt like I was the only one who needed to make plans to survive the day.

I’d panic if we were snowed in, panic if the Baby Sensory or Monkey Music class was cancelled, panic if friends called off sick. I hated the feeling of relying on other people to just get through the day but the alternative was walking a pram around our local town centre for hours on end and mind-numbing daytime TV.

And as uncool as it is to admit, my job made up such a huge part of my identity. I missed feeling knowledgable and valued (by people who weren’t my family) and I missed using my brain every day until the point of exhaustion. I was practically crossing the days off before I could be “normal” again.

5 things I LOVED about going back to work

  1. Having the freedom to go to the loo/make a cuppa/check my emails/have a conversation.
  2. Being able to go for a wander at lunchtime – my then 11-month-old was very impatient if I ever tried to go into a shop with her.
  3. Having sushi for lunch. It felt like such a COSMOPOLITAN thing to do. Like I was actual Carrie Bradshaw.
  4. My colleagues seeming genuinely happy to see me.
  5. Being in the loop on all the juicy celebrity gossip that we heard on a daily basis. Oh and seeing photos of celebrities’ kids that the papers don’t print. (Is it weird that this is still one of the most fascinating things about my job? Lila Grace Moss for example. Never pictured in the papers yet we see photos of her with Mum Kate on a semi regular basis.)
Back to work outfit, working mum chic, working mum fashion, Dorothy Perkins jeans

My outfit on my first day back – it felt so grown up!

More magazine, fashion cupboard, shoes, working mum

But all of this relief was mixed with good old fashioned Mum Guilt. Even the thought of my 11 month old spending three days at nursery without me made me feel physically sick. On the day of her first settling in session, it was all I could do to not vomit across the table in Starbucks while I counted down the hours to go back and collect her. Back then, I wrote a small case study piece for Grazia, who were running a feature on how more and more women were choosing careers and money over starting a family. What I had to say caused a bit of an uproar amongst some Grazia readers (there was even a letter in the following week’s magazine from one – my cheeky quip about Pret salads hadn’t gone down too well) but I still stand by what I said – as a new working mum, I felt that a childless woman couldn’t possibly understand my life.

Now, one year on, life feels so much easier. The guilt is still there (in the last few weeks, our 23-month-old has been screaming snotty tears as I drop her off at nursery most mornings) and it’s still tricky to balance things but we’re winning. YAY. Now remind me again why couples who are at this stage often decide to have child number two?!

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Posted in Family life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Is this the world’s weirdest comforter?

Our little one has never had a comforter or a favourite teddy that she cuddles when she’s feeling tired or unwell. Maybe it’s because we’ve never actively encouraged it or maybe it’s because she doesn’t have any teddies or dolls in her bed (“Beds are for sleeping in, not for playing in” I keep reminding myself, in a matronly manner. Lady Grantham eat your heart out.)

But all this has changed in the last few weeks and she has grown attached to something that she insists on clutching all night. It could be because she’s feeling the need for security after just making the transition from cot to bed (after hurling herself like an Olympic high jump athlete over the cot bars and on to the hard floor below, no less.)

The amusing thing though is that it’s not a blanket or a soft toy that she demands to cuddle close to her each night…. It’s a book. Roald Dahl’s Matilda to be precise (thankfully the paperback version – a little less ouchy when she squeezes it tight.)

Needless to say we’re relieved she chose such a fantastic book (imagine the embarrassment if she picked out my Nanny Pat autobiography as her comforter – I’d never live it down) but is this the strangest toddler comforter ever? Has your child attached themselves to something equally odd?

Matilda, Roald Dahl, Weird comforter, Teddy replacement, toddler

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Twit-twoo! Owl prints invade the fashion world (along with cartoon prints and polka dots)

Hot on the heels of the Crayola nail polish I blogged about recently (not forgetting the amazing Ryan Gosling colouring in book) comes grown-up fashion that’s been inspired by childhood.

First up, we have the invasion of the owls. Didn’t you get the memo? Butterflies and swallows are so last season (*whispers* I’ll still be rocking my butterfly and swallow prints despite what those in-the-know say). Our nocturnal feathered friends were big in the 70s (my mum used to make fab macramé wall hangings) and they’ve been popping up all over kids’ clothes and décor for a while now. But now they’ve flown onto our clothes too. What a hoot! (Sorry)

Owl jumper, George at ASDA, owl print top, owl trend

Owl jumper, £10, George At Asda

Owl t-shirt, Marks and Spencer, owl print fashion

Limited Edition Owl print tee, £25, Marks and Spencer

Owl print ASOS dress, skater dress, owl print fashion

Owl print skater dress, £40, ASOS

Next we have cartoon print. Cheryl Cole stepped out wearing this ASOS Batman print dress last week and there are loads of t-shirts inspired by comic books. I’m hanging out for a Beano dress – Minnie The Minx anyone?

Cheryl Cole Wears ASOS Batman Dress, ASOS, cartoon print fashion

Lazy Oaf Batman dress, £60, ASOS

New Look Minnie Mouse t-shirt, cartoon fashion, Cheryl Cole

Ombré Minnie tank top, £7, New Look

Phillip Lim, Cheryl Cole, cartoon print fashion

3.1 Phillip Lim Ka-Pow t-shirt, £160, My Wardrobe

Lastly, the fashion world is going dotty for polka dots, which for a long time have been limited to kids’ clothes (and of course Mr Tumble’s spotty bag) but even had a whole spread dedicated to them in this week’s Grazia magazine. So they must be super on-trend.

River Island polka dot blazer, spotty clothes, polka dot fashion

Blue Polka Dot Blazer, £40, River Island

Louise Gray at Topshop jacket, polka dot jacket, sequin jacketLouise Gray at Topshop Polka Dot Sequin Jacket, £165, Topshop

Dorothy Perkins bag, polka dot bag, spotty fashion

Cream Spotty Bag, £19.50, Dorothy Perkins

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Introducing… the Ryan Gosling colouring book

Hey, why should colouring in be just the domain of kids? Grown ups, I say we reclaim it for ourselves and what better way than this amazeballs Ryan Gosling colouring book. Seriously, this is a real thing. British designer Mel Simone Elliott (aka I Love Mel) has created it and you can buy it for just £7.50.

Mel says: “My work has always been influenced by pop culture, celebrity, fame, glossy magazines and the aesthetic perfection that goes hand in hand with all that stuff. The colouring books and paper dolls were developed when I realised that the things we enjoyed doing as young children, such as cutting out and colouring in, would still be enjoyed by adults, if only the activity books had ‘grown up’ with us.”   

Good point, Mel. Plus Ryan Gosling is a total hottie and this is just another excuse to perv on him whilst trying to colour within the lines. WIN.

Ryan Gosling colouring book, Ryan Gosling, grown up colouring books, I Love Mel

Ryan Gosling, I Love Mel

Ryan Gosling, I Love Mel

Ryan Gosling, I Love Mel

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It’s here! Little Bird by Jools Oliver has dropped at Mothercare

There are people whose lives you secretly envy. You know the ones – they have a beautiful house that they’ve decorated and accessorised in a beautiful way. They have über beautiful kids and spend their weekends doing beautiful things. That’s how I see Jamie & Jools Oliver – the Instagram pics they post combined with the snapshots of their life you get from Jamie’s cooking shows gives the impression that they have a life I want.

Jools Oliver, Jamie Oliver, Little Bird, Mothercare

Jools Oliver, Jamie Oliver, Little Bird, Mothercare

Jools Oliver, Jamie Oliver, Little Bird, Mothercare

Call me a fool, but I see Jools Oliver’s brand new Little Bird range for Mothercare as a chance to buy into that lifestyle. (I know, I know, I’m such a sucker for a good marketing campaign.)

Launching today (today, people!) Little Bird has a lovely retro 70s feel to it. Apparently the inspiration came from a 1970s Mothercare winceyette gown with a tiny fawn motif that Jools wore as a baby and that she passed down to her children too. Cute! Here’s Jools talking through her picks of the range and then scroll down for my favourites.

Mothercare Little Bird, Jools Oliver, Jamie Oliver, celebrity kids range


Posted in Celebrity, Fashion | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On-trend girls’ clothes? Check out Next

Working on a fashion magazine means I’m constantly hearing about the latest trends (brocade is going to be BIG this Autumn/Winter), seeing which high street stores are doing designer-worthy items (these Zara shoes for example), and reading tips on how to style outfits. Phrases I hear every day include “trans-seasonal”, “go-to look” and “makes your wardrobe work double time”.

While I’m not deluded enough to try all the trends myself (double leather? Not for me) I love that some of the gentler trends can be translated to kids’ clothes. Personally, I’m not a fan of small children being dressed up to look like mini adults, but there’s something lovely about those looks that both kids and grown-ups can rock together. Bright hoodies, Breton tops, hi-tops, denim shorts.

The current range of kids’ clothes in Next is fantastic – have you seen it?  It takes its lead from lots of the trends going on in the grown-up fashion world.

Next girlswear, kidswear, floral blazer for kids, floral jacket, floral trousers for kids

Next kidswear, trendy clothes for kids, pastel hi-tops, floral jeans, satchel bag, sequin sweatshirt

If you’re that way inclined (Katie Holmes and Suri, I’m looking at you) you could even match your look to your child’s easy peasy…

Kids floral jeans, ASOS River Island Floral jeans, mummy daughter matching

Sorbet print jeans, Next, £14-£16

Skinny floral jeans, ASOS, £19

Pastel hi-tops, trainers for kids, Nike hi-tops, Next trainers for kids

Multi-pastel hi-tops, Next, £18-24

Nike Dunk 08 hi-tops, ASOS, £65

Kids' Pastel bag Next, New Look pastel satchel, Mui Mui pastel bag

Pastel bag, Next, £7.50

Snake print cross body bag, New Look, £12.99

Next sequin sweatshirt, La Redoute sequin sweatshirt, cool kidswear, mummy and daughter fashion

Sequin sweatshirt, £17-£22

Sequin sweatshirt, £14.70, La Redoute

Posted in Fashion, Must-buys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Got Olympic Fever? This Happyland Race Track is right up your street

Jessica Ennis's abs, abspiration, London 2012, Olympic Games

Jessica Ennis’s abs. Usain Bolt’s speedy legs. Chris Hoy’s thighs. Victoria Pendelton’s pretty face. Chad Le Clos’s hilarious dad, Bert. All things that we’ve been obsessing over, in the past two weeks.

Twitter, usually the home of idle banter about Mary Berry’s perfect baps on The Great British Bake Off (not those kind of baps, mind out of the gutter please) has been dominated by one topic of conversation.

People who usually have something called a “social life” (you remember it – back in the day, before you had kids, when you used to go to a place called “the pub” and drink “wine”? No?)  have been cancelling plans in favour of watching the Heptathalon or the Men’s 100m final on the telly box.

The entire country has experienced something known as national pride. We’ve wooped, we’ve cheered, we’ve patted ourselves on the back and said “We’re bloody good at dressage/rowing/gymnastics, aren’t we?”

What has caused this nationwide shift in attitude and behaviour? The London 2012 Olympic Games, of course. And why should us grown-ups be the only ones to enjoy a slice of the sporting action? I’ve fallen head-over-running-shoes for this HappyLand Race Track from Early Learning Centre. Currently half price at £10, it contains the race track, hurdles, a high jump, 3 HappyLand runners, 3 paralympians, a photographer, a podium and even a whistle to start the races with.

Imagine the hours of fun (“No, it’s my turn to be Jess Ennis! You can be Katarina Johnson-Thompson this time”) and the chance to get your little ones excited about sports before they’re even old enough to play them.

I’ll race you to Early Learning Centre. On your marks, get set, go!

HappyLand Race Track Sports Day toy, toy race track, Early Learning Centre, ELC, Olympics toys, London 2012 toys

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Crayola colours… for your nails!

There are so many things that give you a wave of nostalgia when you become a parent. For me, it was the first time I read Each Peach Pear Plum to my child, singing along to the Postman Pat theme tune on CBeebies and colouring in with Crayola pens and crayons.

Now, Crayola are taking advantage of the colour pop nail trend that’s been so big in 2012, and have launched their own range of nail colours. Only available in the US at the moment, the pack of 8 mini polishes is $12 plus shipping to the UK.

Matching your outfit to your child’s? So last season. Now, it’s all about matching your nails to their latest art masterpiece.

Crayola Nail Polish, colour pop nails, Crayola nail varnish, nostalgia, CBeebies, Postman Pat

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A beauty editor’s secrets revealed!

Rachel Gilbert, 32, is a freelance beauty editor and blogger at Mummyliciousbeauty. Rachel is mum to gorgeous Anya, 14 months, who loves rummaging through her mummy’s make-up bag, eating pasta (“She can eat it quite well on her own without splashing too much on the walls, ceiling or floor!” says Rachel) and is never far away from her Mamas & Papas comforter, Mr Snuggles. Here, Rachel reveals some of her top beauty tips for mums…

Rachel Gilbert, Mummylicious Beauty, beauty editor, Mamas and Papas comforter

Rachel, what’s your skincare regime and has it changed since you became a mum?

My skincare regime is less fussy than it used to be – I don’t have the time! But I still cleanse, tone and moisturise every day. I’m much more religious with my eye cream too because I’m conscious about looking tired. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Balm is dabbed on religiously before I fall into bed. I’ve also started using the Rodial Glamtox cleanser which has really brightened up my skin, although it’s pricey so I doubt it will be a regular purchase. But, normally Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is my skincare faithful and much healthier for my bank balance.

Was there one product that got you through those early days as a new mum?

I love the Shiseido Accentuating Color Stick in Peachy Flush because of the way it brightens my face. I must have had my current one for about two years and I’ve used it every day. It’s the perfect coral shade and the creamy texture is a dream to apply. I’ve nearly run out so this interview has reminded me to go online and buy another one right now!

If a mum only has 5 minutes flat to slap on a face, what are the must-use products you’d recommend?

Clarins tinted moisturiser (it’s always been a favourite of mine), Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara because it makes lashes look soft and long, and Rosebud Salve lip balm because I can use it to hydrate my lips and keep brows in place. All three products are really easy to use, so perfect when you’re in a rush. But if you only have time for one thing, just a few sweeps of mascara on your top lashes will always give your eyes the lift they need and hide a 4am wake-up-call.

What are the things that a mum should do, to create that ‘groomed-and-in-control’ image that we all crave?

Since I had Anya I’m definitely less conscious of how ‘groomed’ I look. Don’t get me wrong I still make an effort, but I now realise there are more important things to worry about. But, I think a good haircut and colour are really important to helping you feel in control. On a weekly basis, keep on top of your eyebrow shape by plucking any regrowth every three to four days and once a week, make time to do a face mask if you’ve got dry skin, or if you’ve got combination skin treat yourself to a 15 minute face scrub to keep skin looking fresh, bright and to blitz any blemishes.

What’s your go-to hairstyle for when you’re in a hurry, Anya is shouting for you and you need to look good?

It’s all about dry hair shampoo for me – quickly followed by some ghd action. But, if you’ve got longer length hair, one of the first blog posts I ever did was how to use a hair donut and I still think that’s one of the quickest ways to wear your hair up stylishly without any faff! All you need is a few Kirby grips, a hair donut, some hairspray and you’ve got a sleek up-do in minutes. I promise!

(Psst! You can vote for Rachel’s blog to win a Cosmo Blog Award, if you like her advice)

Rachel Gilbert, Mummyliciousbeauty, beauty blogger, beauty editor, Must-have mum beauty, new mum make up tricks

1. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Balm 2. Rodial Glamtox cleanser 3. Shiseido Accentuating Color Stick in Peachy Flush 4. Rosebud Salve lip balm

*Free image of pasta courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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