Sunday, 21 October 2018

New Lacura Dupes Reviewed | Pixi, GlamGlow, Sand & Sky


Being on maternity leave, dupes are more on my radar than ever at the moment and supermarket chain Aldi seem to be becoming the undisputed home of the champion copycat product.

Their *ahem* limited edition homages regularly cause stampedes in store, sell out online and crop up on eBay for triple the price immediately (thereby completely eradicating the point of them in the first place!).

People seem to have an enduring fascination because the reviews of Lacura products I've done befoeenon the blog consistently get traffic, even years after writing, and are among some of my most popular posts!

The dupes I've tried before of theirs have all been pretty amazing, so I can never resist giving them a try.
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Friday, 19 October 2018

Improving Your Smile In Four Easy Steps


In today’s society, we’re forced to look good all of the time.

Thanks to social media and celebrities dictating how they think people should look in this day and age, it’s no wonder that women are self conscious about the way they look.

In more recent years, having the perfect pearly white smile is all the rage. However, we all know that celebrities have plenty of dough to spend on their smile to ensure that it’s nothing but the best.

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Glossybox x Sunday Riley Special Edit


Cult US skincare brand Sunday Riley have been on my ‘want to try list’ for a long time now, so when I spotted that Glossybox were doing a limited edition collaboration with them, I couldn't sign up fast enough. 

Beloved by the A-list and all over our Instagram feeds, their packaging is sleek and their focus is on results-driven, cruelty-free skin products.

With cutting edge formulas and pure A-grade ingredients, I loved the sound of a few of their flagship products. These targeted treatments improve your skin both instantly and over time, which is an approach I can definitely get on board with.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Bring Those Unloved Rooms To Life

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We all have our favourite rooms in the home. For some, it’s the kitchen where they can create beautiful foods every day.

For others, it’s the living room where they can sink into the sofa, and hardly move until it’s time to go up to bed.

For some, it’s the solidarity of the bathroom, the one room where some escape from family life can be found, as long as the door is locked.

So you have to admit, that sometimes when you have your favourite rooms in the home, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the rooms that you don’t spend as much time in.

But, all it could take is a little bit of effort into such rooms, and they could be your new favourite place to hang out.

So, we’re going to touch on some of the best, yet neglected, rooms in a home, and we’re going to turn them into something fabulous!

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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Revolution Skincare | Better Than The Ordinary?


Revolution have long been known for their- well, the kindest term would be ‘tributes’- to luxury beauty products, producing high-performance dupes for cult items like Anastasia's Dipbrow Pomade and the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes.

Now, it seems they're coming for the crown of The Ordinary- the no-frills, wildly effective skincare brand that has become a favourite of so many people, including me.

This is a little different from going after the expensive brands and replicating them, as The Ordinary's whole ethos is about being low-cost but powerful.

And with The Ordinary's parent company, Deciem, on shaky ground at the moment as their founder seems to be in self-destruct mode, perhaps the time is right for a new challenger.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

#BFF Mama Style | A Tale Of Two Dresses


Being confident with style is a rare thing.

We all have Pinterest boards full of pictures of those individuals that seem to have it nailed, but the thing about style is that it's constantly evolving and presenting you with new challenges.

So even if you think you have it down to a fine art, there’s usually a curveball waiting in the wings.

Becoming a mother has definitely been that curveball for me.

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Monday, 8 October 2018

Life Lately | September & October 2018


Wow. I can't believe my last catching up post was back in June.

Where has the summer gone? It slipped by in a glare of shimmering hot days while I was looking the other way, and now here we are with the red-gold whirl of autumn leaves at our feet and the bite of the first frosts in the air. What a summer we had though, a long expanse of hot sunny days.

And to be fair, there have been some pretty seismic changes to my life as I had my baby daughter at the end of July. Here’s what’s been happening in my world since...

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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Top Organisational Tips For Every Mama-To-Be


Pregnancy is a magically exciting time in your life. However, there’s sure to be some panic amidst the positivity. This is primarily linked to feelings of being unprepared for the journey ahead. In truth, nobody is fully ready.

A combination of your maternal instincts and experience will kick in to serve you very well. As for the rest, organisation is everything.

Taking control long before the special day is the only solution. Here’s how to make it happen.

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Four Factors That Cause Ageing


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Throughout history, a lot of people have been asking themselves the same question.

With the answer holding the key to everlasting beauty, it’s easy to understand why people would want to know what exactly makes their body age, but it is only in recent times that science has been able to provide definitive answers.

There are several factors at play when it comes to this part of life, all of which contribute in their own way towards changing the way you look as time passes by.

Of course, though, you always have the choice as to whether or not you want to do something about them, and this post will be helping you to decide if the treatments are for you.

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Saturday, 22 September 2018

Autumn Style Haul | Zara Whistles Kurt Geiger & More

It’s been such a long time since I could wear non-maternity clothes that I may have gotten a little excited and ordered a few pieces I’ve had my eye on for a while to add to my wardrobe, even though it might be a few months before I lose the baby weight. Oops. 

Still, the thrill of clicking ‘add to basket’ is real! I figure I can use these new clothes as motivation for dropping some of these extra pounds and keeping me away from all the cake that seems to be a feature of every single mother-and-baby group I go to...


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Saturday, 15 September 2018

Look Fantastic Birthday Edition | Review


Anyone for a slice of cake? It's the birthday box edition from LookFantastic, and the goodies inside definitely put me in the mood to celebrate!

Out of all the beauty subscription boxes, LF seem to be the most consistent in their delivery of exciting, varied products that make you look forward to the postie arriving, yet they aren't as well known as some of their rivals. That really deserves to change!

Now celebrating their 4th birthday this month’s box featured six products as a treat to subscribers and definitely made me want to party…

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

#BFF Mama Style | Slogans & Stripes


There are many battles when it comes to breastfeeding - and style is one of them! 

Yep, far from being the natural, seamless experience that it's presented as in antenatal class, both times learning how to feed- and it is very much a learning curve - has been a struggle for me. 

Style may seem like a frivolous thing, but it’s actually about reclaiming a little piece of yourself when so much of you is wrapped up in caring for your little humans. 

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Sunday, 9 September 2018

Top Tips For Super Speedy Glam In Ten Minutes Or Less


Tick tock. Tick tock. As a busy mama, I'm always on the clock. 

You may have heard that newborns sleep a lot, and while that may be true, they tend to do it in short chunks while you're holding them, so actually getting things done can feel pretty impossible. 

My newborn doesn't tend to settle for a longer nap until mid-morning, and I need to be up and about long before then. My mornings disappear in a blur of feeding the baby, trying to get my toddler dressed, doing the nursery run and attempting to squeeze in a few household chores along the way. 

The time for a lengthy makeup routine is long gone - I'm winning at life if I get ten minutes, and that includes getting dressed! 

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Friday, 7 September 2018

Glossybox September 2018 | Review


So Glossybox is something I haven't done in a while, but when I heard that they were releasing a limited edition box with cult skincare brand Sunday Riley, and that box would be available first and at a discounted price, to subscribers, I signed back up immediately!

As a result, September’s box came winging its way over to me. I unsubscribed because it was getting repetitive and I hadn't been too impressed with the contents in a few boxes - would this one change my mind?

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Sunday, 26 August 2018

New In Primark Haul | Mama Fashion & Basics


Love it or loathe it, Primark has become an almost inescapable entity over the last few years.

It must be the great high-street success story in times when other shops are floundering - and we’re like moths to the flame with it's fashion-forward offering and ridiculous prices.

There are a lot of reasons to love Primark, and quite a few to loathe it, too.

Although it's ethical stance and sometimes it's quality can be hit and miss, I think that’s true of every high street shop. But if you are in need of inexpensive basics or that super on-trend item that you know you may not love forever, Primark is quite hard to beat.

I haven’t been in there for a very long time, but wanting some basics for my hospital bag, I made the trip - and of course, I found a few great pieces along the way!

Here’s a peek at what I picked up…

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Thursday, 16 August 2018

LookFantastic August 2018 | Review


Does being beautiful make you more confident?

Look Fantastic is still going strong for me, and August’s box is all about the intersection between beauty, confidence and mindfulness. Feeling good in your own skin is something that can be quite hard to achieve.

It’s definitely not dependant on what products line your bathroom shelves, but if you do find something that gives you a little boost, equally it can’t be a bad thing. I know I certainly have my much-loved favourites that help me to face the day a little easier.

Would the August box introduce me to anything new that had the same effect?

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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Skincare | Review


When it comes to skincare, there seems to be two distinct types of people. There’s the ‘completist’, who uses every product in a specific line.

Then there's the ‘mix and matcher’, who is always drawn to try new things, and takes the best products from a few ranges. I'm definitely the latter, although at the moment I favour three brands - Nuxe, The Ordinary, and Beauty Pie.

So it's quite rare that I would use every product from a line, but I also know that they are formulated to be complementary and enhance the functions and properties of the other products.

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Baby Girl Clothing Haul | 0-3 months


One of the happiest things about expecting a new baby is all the stuff you do in excited anticipation of their arrival - decorating the nursery, trawling through lists of baby names and wondering what they’ll look like - and of course, shopping for their new wardrobe!

I can’t deny that with this one being my second baby, and an active toddler running around, there has been far less time to focus on these parts of the journey - you just have to get on with it more.

That’s not to say that we aren’t hugely excited though, and when we found out we’d be having a little girl it was a bit of a game changer!

People say little girls are more fun to dress but I actually disagree - I’ve had just as much fun choosing clothes for my son. This baby will probably still wear a few of his things, especially as I’m not overly keen on lots of pink, although it will inevitably creep in there!

However, we have bought her a few of her own things as well of course - who could resist?

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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Why All Mums Should Have A Clothing Budget


Once you become a parent, you may find that you do not have enough time to dedicate to fashion.

For others, clothing becomes more important than ever before. It is a way for you to feel great about yourself.

If you fall into this category, it can be very easy to overspend on fashion or to even feel guilty for spending money on yourself when you have a child! There is no need to feel this way, and a fashion budget may be just the thing that you need.

With that being said, read on to discover the various reasons why all mums should have a clothing budget.


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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Truth About Breastfeeding | Nursing Essentials


There's nothing so uniquely divisive about motherhood as breastfeeding. It's a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on, it's very loaded emotionally for new mothers, and it's an area with a lot of misinformation.

World Breastfeeding Week concludes today, so in honour of it, I thought I would share our own journey so far and the essentials that have made it all a bit easier.

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Saturday, 4 August 2018

Romilly Hero | Birth Story



Welcome to the world, my beautiful Romilly. 

Like her brother, our little girl decided to be fashionably late, finally arriving 10 days overdue on the 29th July. Everything about it has been incredibly overwhelming, I think we’re still spinning- but that is definitely life with a newborn!

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Thursday, 26 July 2018

#Look Fantastic Beauty Box | July 2018 Edition




Look what landed! I have to do a little dance of joy whenever it comes time for my Look Fantastic beauty box - it genuinely is the best beauty box I’ve tried, and I’ve had most of them at some point!

All the products I’ve received so far have been really good, and a great mix of brands. The July box theme is all about embracing your inner goddess! Well, I certainly don’t feel very goddess like at 9 months pregnant, but I was willing to see if this box would help. So, what was inside?

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Friday, 20 July 2018

How To Do Your Own Eyelash Extensions For Under £15






























Hands up, I am a self-confessed lash addict. Nothing makes me feel better or more myself than a little bit of extra flutter power, and over the years I have tried everything to enhance what Mother Nature gave me.

From LVL treatments to lash extensions to daily strip lash application to the latest mascara - and I must have spent a small fortune in the process.

There are pros and cons to each of the approaches above, and I go back and forth between them. Mascara is the easiest of course, and the least hassle, but my lashes are pin straight and I have never found one that keeps a curl in place.

LVL sorts this out beautifully, but doesn’t provide enough volume for me. Daily strip lashes add time I don’t have onto my everyday makeup routine and are quite expensive. Lash extensions in a salon are beautiful but very costly and I struggle to find the time for maintenance appointments.

So, everything is good in its own way but nothing is ideal.

I decided to learn how to do my own lash extensions at home and I’ve been happy with this solution for a while. It’s not perfect, but it’s working for me at the moment - and the total cost is less than £15 to get started, then pennies each time!


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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

3 Easy Hacks For Better Skin, Fast


Person Pouring Plastic Tube Bottle
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Skincare is something that everyone wants to be able to master, but which is enormously hard to do so. Part of the reason for this is that there are not many hard and fast rules about what you should or shouldn’t do with your skin in order to keep it in the best possible condition.

You need to get to know your own skin, your skin type, and what it is that it needs, and that simply takes a lot of time and patience to be able to do. However, there are a few thing that tend to work for most people, and those are the things we are going to focus on today. Here are three easy hacks which you should consider using if you want your own skincare to be vastly improved very quickly.

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Monday, 16 July 2018

The Pregnant Pause | Full Term Pregnancy Q&A



So here we are at full term, waiting for my baby to make an appearance any day now. While I'm waiting, I was thinking about the questions people have asked me since I found out we were expecting a sibling for Theo, and I decided to pull them together into a full-term pregnancy question and answer post...

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Friday, 13 July 2018

OOTD Maternity | One Final Fuschia Fling



So, we’ve come pretty much to the end of the road when it comes to maternity fashion, because my little one is due any day now!

Despite knowing I was pregnant a lot earlier this time around, time still seems to have flown. I’ve been so busy with work and family life with our son Theodore, that I haven’t had much time to sit daydreaming about this new arrival - one of the many differences with a second baby to a first!

I’m definitely not so patient with this last little bit. I’m now on maternity leave from work, although I haven’t found it as much of a hard adjustment as last time around - having Theo automatically gives each day a natural rhythm and routine that I missed when stopping work before.

Since then, I’ve met up with friends I made at pregnancy pilates, finished off some chores around the nursery (baby grows seem to multiply when they all need washing and pressing…) and now I’m in this weird limbo wondering when our bundle will arrive!

Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve had much more fun with maternity fashion, and have enjoyed exploring the intersection between my personal style and the comfort you need to accommodate a growing bump.

I’ve also learnt that just because you become a mummy, you don’t need to entirely change your style - just make a few practical adjustments from time to time. It’s been lovely to share this on the blog.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag | The Ultimate Guide



What should you pack when you go into hospital to have your baby?

It’s a popular topic, and for many first-time mums, it’s the great unknown. There are so many things that you can’t plan about a birth, but making sure you have the right supplies with you to ensure you and your baby are comfortable is one thing you DO get a say in.

In all honesty, I think that both times I’ve been about to give birth, having a well-prepped hospital bag ready to go has been a huge part of my coping mechanism.

I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant with baby number two, so you may think I’d know what to expect this time, but the truth is that each birth is unique, and I’m aware this experience may be completely different to delivering my son Theo. What I do know, however, is what I took with me to the hospital before that proved genuinely useful.

Last time, I found the NHS Choices website a great resource for letting me know what the hospital was expecting me to take. But what I found even more helpful were blog posts and videos from real mums - so here is mine!



The Travel Bag
Getaway Tote Bag | Stella and Dot


See the source image

It wouldn’t really be any kind of ‘What’s in my bag?’ without showing the bag itself, would it? And my faithful companion of choice is the Getaway Tote from Stella and Dot, which I’ve used for every holiday and weekend break since I got it. There are so many reasons I adore this bag.

I love the design, with navy and cream stripes,  tan vegan leather handles, and a colourful wipe clean lining that is a godsend if you have toddlers or are just prone to random spillages like me. It's lightweight and extremely durable and well-made, plus you can cram so much in, thanks to the secret expanding centre panel that instantly creates extra room.

I found a holdall or weekend bag much more useful than a suitcase, as it's less faff to unzip and grab things from in a hurry. I used the Top Home Solutions packing cubes (order via Amazon) to keep the bag contents organised - both for my own peace of mind, and so other people could find stuff in the bag quickly.

Sanitary Items



Ok, brace yourselves, because here’s where it all gets a bit real. We’re going to be talking blood and poop. That is the unavoidable messy reality of childbirth, however much you’re aiming for a Zen crystals-and-chanting experience in the birthing pool. There are a few essentials you will need to take care of yourself straight after you’ve had your baby.

Pack of Maternity Towels


You’re going to be experiencing bleeding for a week or so after you have your baby as everything heals up, and so a must-pack item is maternity towels. These are the super-thick kind - you can get more slimline versions, but I found the more substantial ones to be best to begin with.. Don’t be tempted to just use regular sanitary towels -  a lot of these have a breathable mesh layer with lots of little holes, and if you end up having an episiotomy, these can catch on your stitches. Ouch!

Pack of Disposable Paper Briefs


These are so deeply glamorous, I know. But disposable paper pants are another really helpful thing to have with you, just to keep things hygienic and stop any mess. No one wants to find themselves handwashing their pants in the hospital, after all. This is the best solution all around. I layered them with a pad and my pants and then felt slightly as if I was wearing a nappy, but ultimately confident that there wouldn’t be any leakage.

Pack of Breast Pads


Whether you’re planning to breastfeed or not, milk leakage is another beautiful fact of having just had a baby. I didn’t have any major issues with it last time, but it's better to be safe than sorry. These paper covers slip into your bra and absorb any leaks. You can also get reusable cotton versions that you wash, which is more eco-friendly, but honestly? I don’t think anyone needs that level of hassle with a new baby to care for!

Newborn size nappies


You’ll need to take a few nappies along with you for the baby while you’re in the hospital. I would advise getting one of the smaller ‘carry packs’ to begin with, as babies sometimes need the next size up right away if they’re bigger. Newborns tend to go through quite a few nappies, so you’ll probably be using one or two every hour.

Huggies Newborn Wipes


Newborns have quite sensitive skin, so you can’t use regular baby wipes to keep them clean. In fact, in my antenatal classes, they said only to use lukewarm water and cotton wool for the first few weeks. But if you’ve ever tried to clean newborn poop (two words: Sticky. Explosive. This isn’t like regular poop!) with a bit of damp cotton wool, you’ll know it's almost entirely useless. It gets stuck to everything and it doesn’t do a good job.

Thankfully, there are now a few baby wipes on the market with no alcohol or perfumes, or anything like that to irritate newborn skin. A lot of people I know love Waterwipes (get them at Boots or Amazon), and I picked up these Huggies Newborns wipes. If you do choose to use wipes straight away, make sure they say on the pack that they’re safe for delicate newborn skin.

Clothes for Baby



This is really the exciting part as you get to pick a little ‘coming home’ outfit for your new baby. Theo went home in a Cookie Monster vest (Daddy insisted...) and I’ll always treasure it.

Extra Large 'Swaddleplus' Muslins | Aiden + Anais


An absolute essential for any new mum, muslins are your ultimate multi-tasker, and I prefer the oversized ones as they are even more useful. You can use them to swaddle the baby, act as a shade over the car seat or pram, wipe up any spillages or baby sick and act as a breastfeeding cover or a light blanket.

Newborn vests (x3 ) | Primark


Forget any ideas about fancy little outfits - for the first few months, it's far more realistic and practical to dress the baby in a vest and a babygrow, plus more comfortable for them. Again, sizing - some babies are in 0-3 months straight away, so you never really know. You also don’t know how long you’ll be staying in hospital when you’re packing, but I think three sets of everything is about right. It’s enough for a couple of days and a spare in case of poonamis. Any longer a stay than that and you will probably be having fresh supplies brought in by a loved one.  Vests easily get messed up at this stage, so I favour Primark for inexpensive basics.

Newborn baby grows | M&S


With Theo I found that the M&S stuff was always very much on the large side and has plenty of room to grow into, so even though these are the newborn size, I think we’ll probably get a bit more wear out of them. This cute little set has a cream with pink spots design, one with pink stripes and one with a bunny print.

Newborn cardigan | M&S


My daughter is due in July, and it's likely to be quite a warm one, but newborns get a lot colder than we do, so it's still a good idea to have a newborn cardigan that they can wear with you. The advice is generally for your baby to wear one more layer than you would, so if you feel the need for long sleeves, baby will need long sleeves plus a cardigan. This little grey textured one is so cute.

Reversible hat | Joules


Your baby is also likely to need a hat, so I’m packing this floral print one that has candy pink stripes on the reverse side to keep my daughter nice and snug.

Wool receiving blanket | John Lewis


You’ll also need a little blanket to take them home in - this is one that we used for my son when he was born, so I got it out of storage and gave it a wash. Call it a family heirloom!

During Labour Essentials





Small zipped organiser pouch | Orla Kiely


There are a few things you might need while you’re in labour and immediately afterwards, and I found it helpful to have them in a little grab pouch ready for Seb to get in a hurry without having to sift through my whole bag.

Entrolax tablets


How have we come back onto the topic of poop? I’m not sure how to put this delicately, but a lot of new mothers can get backed up because they struggle to go to the toilet after their delivery. You’ll be asked a lot of questions about if you’ve managed to go yet by your midwife or health visitor - these tablets can just help this get moving a bit easier!

Boots Rehydration sachets


It’s really important to keep up your hydration levels, especially if you’re breastfeeding, so I found that these powders are great after delivery to make you feel a little more normal.

Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm


Using Entonox (gas and air) can make your lips dry out, so it's good to have a stick of lip balm to hand that you can grab.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray


Labour can be long and sweaty, so a refreshing spray is a really nice thing to have to hand to mist off your face with and help you keep your cool.

Invisibobble


If you have long hair, you may want something to tie it up with, so I also include a hair tie in my labour essentials.

Boots Handy Wet Wipes


A quick way to freshen up and wipe down sticky hands and necks. After my last delivery, I went straight in the shower, but if that doesn’t happen this time, wipes are useful to have close by.

Cuticura Original Floral & Fruity Hand Sanitiser Gel


Hospitals are full of germs, and with a newborn with a fragile immune system to look after, you’re going to want to make sure that you and your visitors can quickly sanitise your hands. It might sound a bit paranoid, but post-partum infections can be a big deal, so why take any chances?

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream


This is an absolute essential! Breastfeeding can be quite unconfortable and difficult at first, and I found that this little purple tube is really the only thing that worked to soothe me. I went through literally so many tubes of this with Theo, and I wouldn’t be without it.

Medela Nipple Shields


When your milk supply first comes in, or you’re getting started with feeding, it can be hard to get newborns to latch on, and one of the things that helped enormously for me was using shields. In the end, I used them for quite a while as I got mastitis. I tried a couple of different brands, and these were the only ones that worked, so I’ve made sure to pack some this time to try and ensure that feeding gets off to a smooth start.

Snacks and Drinks



Graze Protein Boxes
Peckish Sea Salt and Vinegar Rice Crackers
Foodie Market Cacao & Cashew Quinoa Bar, Nakd Raw Fruit and Nut Bars

Pow Sports Nutrition Energy Gel
Lucozade Sport
Vita Coco Coconut Water


Eating in hospital is all kinds of weird. While I don’t recall ever feeling exactly hungry while I was in labour (which was the best part of THREE. FREAKING. DAYS, just to clarify) there was also time spent hanging around when not much was happening, missed meals because night and day are turned upside down, and a need to keep your energy up.

So small, snacky, protein-packed things were about right. I’m packing some little trays of the Graze protein snacks, rice crackers, and some of the Nakd bars (I took Alpen cereal bars last time and they were just too dry- like sawdust!).

Lucozade is something the hospital advise you to take, and although it's fairly disgusting, it's good for a quick energy hit while you’re in labour. If I really can't stand to eat anything at all, I've packed an energy gel to keep me going. Giving birth is like running a marathon, so prep like a marathon runner!

Coconut water I definitely wouldn’t contemplate going into hospital without - it saved my life last time. Birth and breastfeeding are intensely dehydrating, and coconut water contains electrolytes that rehydrate you faster. It was like the elixir of life, I couldn’t get enough of it!

Clothes For You




Clothes for you in the hospital are all about comfort and modesty. Forget fashion for the time being and just go for lots of natural textures and loose fits. Maternity ward chic has its own rules!

Again, you just don’t know how long you’re going to be there for. I’m hoping for a quick labour and a same-day discharge this time, but last time I was in hospital for four days in total (three days before my son arrived, and one afterwards). So you might need a couple of changes of pyjamas, plus an outfit for seeing visitors or going home in.

Black cotton nightgown | Primark


While you can deliver the baby in a hospital gown, they tend to be quite flimsy, so it's a good idea to pack your own. You want it to be loose and comfortable, plus something you can feed the baby in easily. I just went for this plain black cotton one - black hides any stains and this was inexpensive enough that it can just be binned if necessary. I’m also packing some pyjamas. The shower you have after the baby arrives is something glorious, so it's good to have a fresh outfit to change into.

Waffle cotton dressing gown | M&S


Hospital wards are generally roasting hot, so I don’t think I’ll need a heavy dressing gown for comfort, but it is nice to have one for modesty’s sake. Last time I found there was a breakfast room that everyone went to in the morning to get their food, so it's good to have something to pop on top of your pyjamas. I’ve just gone for this light cotton robe.

Elasticated Pyjama bottoms | Paul Smith


I’m also planning to take some pyjama bottoms with me, this is more so that if I stay in a couple of days or I get visitors, or I need to get up and walk around the hospital grounds, all of which I did when I was in with my son,  I feel sort of respectable!  It may not bother you, but I felt a little uncomfortable being in a public place in nightwear, so pyjama bottoms are a little more covered up. These ones have a comfy elasticated waistband and are a light cotton material.

Long-line ribbed vest tops (x2) | eBay


These vest tops are something I’ve lived in while pregnant - they’re a soft, stretch cotton and a long line cut that is absolutely ideal for covering a mummy tummy - there’s nothing worse than tops that ride up. I’ve packed a couple of changes, and one I will wear as nightwear while the other is what I’ll wear to go home in.

Black shaper leggings | Primark


The other part of my going home outfit is quite simple - just a pair of stretchy black leggings, a size up from my usual. They’re practical and easy to wear and lounge about in - you don’t need to be wrestling with jeans or dresses after giving birth.

Grey Waterfall cardigan | Ted Baker


A light knit cardigan is the ideal top layer. I love waterfall style ones because they're easy to breastfeed in and the drapes disguise your tummy as well. I can throw this on if I get chilly and to leave the hospital in.

Black high-waisted cotton briefs (x3) | Primark


Scrap what you think you know - go for the high-waisted granny pants! If you did need to have a C-section unexpectedly, the stitches fall right where the waistband of your briefs would usually be, so you need the full Bridget Jones option to avoid this. 100% cotton is the thing to go for - lace and other materials don’t bear thinking about - and again get some plain and inexpensive ones  in a dark colour that can be thrown away if they get messed up.

Maternity bra (x2) | John Lewis


The best maternity/breastfeeding bras I found last time around were these ones - simple, comfy, crop-top style bras that unhook at the shoulder straps for feeding. I like these ones because they have some gentle padding in to support and add shape. There were a few styles of bra I tried while pregnant and breastfeeding last time that I really didn’t like (unhooks in the middle? Hello accident waiting to happen…) so when I found this style I lived in them for a year.

Carriwell Organic Postpartum Girdle | JojoMamanBebe


Last time, I wished that I had given a post-partum binder a go. Everything is very loose after you’ve had the baby, and your core feels like jelly. A girdle provides extra support to your back and stomach while everything contracts again, and encourages everything to settle back where it should be! One of my friends on maternity leave last time was from South Africa, and she said that it's standard practice to wear this kind of support afterwards - she was surprised that it didn’t seem to  be a ‘thing’ in the UK. I want to try it this time and see if it helps me to recover quicker.

French Navy Flip-flops | Havianas


Flip-flops are a definite must. I found them a lot more useful than the slippers they tell you to bring - slip them on easily to walk around the ward, and you can also wear them in the shower - hospital bathrooms can be pretty germy places, after all.

Grey Cashmere socks | The White Company


Did you know that your feet can get really cold while you’re in labour? I suppose it makes sense, as all the blood is helping out your vital organs. It's not something I recall being a problem last time (well, I had an epidural so I couldn’t feel my feet either way in the end…) but they are a useful item to have with you, and these have to be the softest, most comfortable socks in the world.

Other Useful Items




I can’t think of a category for this, but these are the other items that I found really useful last time and wouldn’t be going to hospital without this time.

Cotton Laundry Bag


So that you can tip all of your and baby’s soiled things in, and then just empty straight into the washing machine when you get back from hospital, rather than having to dig through the bag.


Eye Mask


Hospital wards are horrible places to try and get to sleep. They’re always light and noisy, even during the night, plus you may be trying to snatch a moment of rest when you can. So I found taking an eye mask really useful last time. You need as much sleep as possible at this point!

Samsung Galaxy Tablet


As I’ve said, the duration of your stay is the great unknown. Last time, I was on the ward for a few days before having my son, so my tablet was an absolute life line! I have my Kindle app, packed with great novels, Readly for my magazine fix, and Netflix if I want to watch a show or a film. I prefer to take my Galaxy tab as it’s much smaller and lighter than my iPad. A great perk for me working at the university is that it’s on the same wi-fi network as the hospital. Hurrah!

Headphones


Essential to use with the tablet or just to block out the noise on the ward. Being able to listen to some music, or a relaxation track if you’re struggling to sleep, is a saviour.

Microfibre Towel


Make sure you bring a towel for the shower - microfibre ones are space saving.

Chargers


You don’t want to run out of juice when you’re stuck somewhere, so I’ve made sure to pack charger leads for my iPhone and my tablet. I’d recommend getting a spare just to keep in your hospital bag, because you don’t want to be rushing around trying to look for one if you need to go to hospital!

Letter to Daddy


This is a tradition I started when I had Theo, so it only seems right to continue it with baby number two. The first few weeks after your baby arrives can be, quite frankly, like a bomb has gone off in your nice, well-ordered life (anything that came before will seem well-ordered by comparison, even if it wasn’t!). Sometimes I felt that Sebastian and I were like ships that passed in the night - one of us was always busy with the baby. I actually missed him!

We’d been through this incredible event, but we weren’t getting to talk to each other. I’d anticipated this might be the case a little, so before I went in, I’d written him a letter, just saying things like how excited I was for us to be a family and what an amazing dad he was going to make, and I gave it to him after our son was born.

There can be a lot you mean and don’t say and a lot you say and don’t mean when a baby is born, and it was nice was to communicate what I wanted to and make a keepsake.


USB Rechargable Fan

I wasn't quite expecting to go into hospital during a heatwave! But when I realised that would be the case, I ordered this USB rechargeable fan from Amazon. You can prop it up on a desk, hold it or even clip it onto the pram, so it will be ideal for when the baby is here too. 

 Toiletries






‘Good Vibes’ striped pouch | Stella & Dot


You may be lucky enough to be in and out of hospital in a few hours, or you may be looking at a few days stay - and either way, you’ll probably want a shower after delivery, so you need the basics to freshen up to hand.

Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes


These are the best wipes I’ve tried to get every bit of makeup and grime off, so I stock up on these travel packs of them from Amazon whenever I’m going away.

Slimsonic Toothbrush


A great one to take away, because it's battery-powered, so you it's one less thing to charge (plus no charger lead to pack for it either) but still delivers a powerful clean. The cover also means it's perfect for travel.

Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste


To help me freshen up, I like this toothpaste, and the container is a handy size for popping into my wash bag.

Venus Travel Razor


Of course, no one is expecting you to have perfectly smooth limbs when you’ve just had a baby, so it's entirely personal preference, but I don’t feel properly clean if I’m fuzzy, so taking this travel razor is a must.

Optrex Dry Eye Drops


I tend to get really gritty, irritated eyes when I haven’t slept well so some soothing eye drops are a morning essential for me.

Elemis Superfood Face Wash


To gently cleanse and refresh your face, there nothing nicer than this wash which is packed full of goodies like kale. It even smells good for you - all green and soothingly herbal.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream


To smooth and rehydrate my parched post-baby face, this stuff is a great face cream that always makes me feel like a new woman.

Herbal Essences Clearly Naked Dry Shampoo


I don’t know if I’ll be bothered to actually wash my hair, so this is a good thing to have just to freshen up that sweaty mop afterwards! This one actually does give you that clean and tingly feeling, and it doesn’t leave white powder all over your roots either.

Dr Bronner Magic Soap


Always a good travel item because it has so many uses! You can use it as shampoo or as shower gel, and it's really mind and made from natural ingredients.

Nivea Invisible Travel Deodorant


A travel deodorant is a must-pack, and this is my favourite as I hate white deodorant marks getting on my clothes.

Yes To… Coconut Oil Stick


Is there anything that coconut oil can’t do? It’s the ultimate multi-talker and cuts down on taking a bunch of other things. As a cleanser, a body or face moisturiser, a hair serum - as it's organic and naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, you can even use it on your newborn. The one drawback is that it can be a little messy, which is why I’m in love with this stick version that cuts out the inconvenience. Best. Thing. Ever.

Make Up






‘In The Bag’ zipped pouch | Katie Loxton


There will be plenty of people reading this who couldn’t care less about taking into makeup into hospital with them, but I am not one of those people. For me, putting a little bit of concealer on was something that made me feel human again after what is quite an epic ordeal. Self-care necessarily takes a backseat through the days that follow having a new baby, so any small thing you can do, in my book, is important. Being a mum already, I’ve developed quite a quick and basic makeup routine that can be done in ten minutes or less with these essentials and just makes me feel a lot better…

Pixi Poreless and Flawless Primer


I got this in the Tili Mini Go Flawless Collection, and it's a little tube of smoothing, line-minimising magic. LOVE.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream


My ideal every day base, this is light so it doesn’t feel like you’re caked in heavy foundation, but still offers great coverage. This new illuminating version is even better for making you look a bit more well-rested! It doubles as skincare, as it contains anti-aging serum and SPF50 - so you also need take less skincare products. The slim plastic tube with a pump is also easy to travel with. I’d say this is my ‘busy mum’ essential!

YSL Touche Eclat Concealer


A winner for chasing away the shadows and faking a few hours sleep - plus the pen applicator makes it so easy to brush on.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder


A great powder to set with as it's illuminating too and doesn’t look heavy on the skin - it's whisper-light but sets everything in place well.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette


I got this for my birthday and honestly, it's the best thing when you’re on the go. It's got a selection of shades to bronze, highlight, and blush that can be quickly swiped on, and they’re all very natural, you-but-on-a-good-day colours. As with all the Charlotte Tilbury powders, they provide such a beautiful veil of colour that looks natural and beautiful. Plus, this compact has a good, clear mirror in the lid ideal to use to put the rest of your makeup on.

Anastasia Brow Definer Pencil


This has been packed because the angled tip and the spoolie make it super easy to brush and fill out brows in just a few seconds, which instantly makes you look better put together straight away. If my brows are good I can pretend to the world I have my act together!

Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl - Barbarella Brown


A pencil liner is so much easier to swipe on quickly - you don’t have to be precise like you do with a liquid liner, it's way more forgiving! The finish on this one is so powdery and smooth.

Pixi Shea Butter Tinted Lip Balm- Honey Nectar


For my lips, this neutral coloured, super moisturising balm is ideal. Soft, easy to wear, not too ‘done’ - it's just a gentle, sheer wash of colour and really softening.

Phew! Well done if you made it to the end of this post - I wanted it to be comprehensive. Good luck to all the mamas about to bring life into the world - remember to be kind to yourselves.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Paul Smith Warehouse Sale | Designer Haul



Of all the many joys of being pregnant, the fashion isn’t really one of them! This time around, I’ve definitely been bolder and bought more maternity pieces, but I still find myself gazing at my Insta feed and dreaming of being able to wear normal clothes again and not have to plan my outfits around bumps or breastfeeding!

Paul Smith designs have always been a favourite of mine - I love the smart tailoring and quirky prints - and I’ve had a couple of pieces from there, but it's definitely a special treat.

This month, I managed to secure some coveted tickets to the annual Warehouse Sale, which fell on my birthday. I went along expecting a few tables of things, only to find a huge unit (looking back, the clue was probably in the title!) full of beautiful items at jaw-dropping prices. I was like a kid in a candy shop.

So I may have gone a little over the top and treated myself, but you don’t get many opportunities like this. Here’s what I found:

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

#LFBeauty Box Review | June 2018



Like a breath of fresh air, the Look Fantastic beauty box has really revitalised my love of beauty subscription services. While Glossybox, Birchbox and Latest In beauty have all proved hit-and-miss for me, LF have so far been really consistent in delivering exciting new items that I’ve loved trying out. Every box so far has been exciting! So when the June offering landed, I practically skipped to the Post Office to collect it…


June’s box was all about helping us to embrace summer, and as we’re actually having a hot, sunny one for once, I am totally on board with that. The focus is on hydration, luminosity and rejuvenating products, and there were some brilliant brands and great treats on offer…

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How To Find The Perfect Gift For Your Partner

box, business, celebrate
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The pressure of finding the perfect gift for your boyfriend when it’s their birthday can be pretty hard to handle in many ways.

You really don’t want to get it wrong and disappoint them, but when you’ve been buying them gifts for years, it can sometimes be difficult to keep things fresh and relevant. But if you’re currently drawing a blank, don’t worry because you’ve come to the right place.

There are some tips that will help you find interesting gifts, so read on to find out more.
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Monday, 18 June 2018

OOTD Maternity | Green Goddess ft ASOS



*Cue stirring synthesiser beat* It’s the final countdowwwwwn…

Well, I can’t quite believe it myself, but here I am at 35 weeks pregnant. The hospital bag is packed, the baby grows are washed, I’m prepping my handover notes for maternity leave from work, and our little girl could be arriving at any point. Being pregnant the second time around is definitely a very different experience from when I had my son, but it’s still raced by.

I’ve enjoyed sharing some maternity fashion posts this time around, something I didn’t do with my first pregnancy, other than one wedding guest outfit. I think it's mainly to do with having a lot more maternity clothes this time and having to wear them earlier, but also with becoming more confident with the intersection between my personal style and the practicalities of motherhood.
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The Birthday Post | Turning 33



So I turned 33 on June 1st, and I was all ready to have a major sulk about it.

I’ve never been someone that likes getting older, and birthdays usually make me feel a little down. I’m not sure exactly why other than the sadness of the inevitable march of time, but I’ve always felt that way since I was a little girl.

If life is one long party, birthdays remind you that it’s getting closer to the time it all ends, and I don’t want to leave.

But when I woke up, the sun was streaming through the blinds, I had my lovely husband and son all snuggled up to me, and my baby daughter kicking away in my tummy, and I just thought - ‘What an earth have I got to be sad about?’.

I’ve got no reason not to celebrate - sure, I am now officially mid-30s but I’m in a really good place and blessed to have good health and my beautiful family, so feeling down because of an arbitrary number is ridiculous.

In the end, I had such a lovely day! First of all, it started with shopping, which is always a good way to begin.

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Friday, 8 June 2018

Revolution New Products | Haul & Review



It’s been a good long while since I did a haul from Revolution (they seem to have had a glow-up and dropped the ‘Makeup’ from their name, am I right?) but a few of their new launches were really catching my eye, so I placed a little order to sample some of their brightest and best new products.

Ever since they launched, the brand have always been one of my drugstore faves. Trend-led and always quick with the latest innovation, or product dupe, the prices are affordable while the formulas are great quality.

The only thing that’s been missing is the company’s persistently bad customer service (I even asked if they were losing the plot last time I ordered from the website). There’s nothing like poor service to leave a bad taste in your mouth, and I hadn’t placed an order with them since, but I was lured back by the deafening buzz around a couple of their new launches and to be fair, they seem to have realised that they really need to up their game, because this was a better experience.

So, what were the irresistible new products that caught my eye, and did they live up to the hype?


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Friday, 1 June 2018

Life Lately | May June 2018



You, a year ago. Where were you? What were you doing? How much has your life changed in just a year?

Well, thanks to this blog, I know that this time last year I was happily blogging OOTDs from Lake Garda in Italy. Today, I have the slightly less glamorous surroundings of home and just a few scanty weeks to go until my second baby arrives. I may not be able to recall what it's like having a normal waistline, but there are exciting times ahead...

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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Can Camping Ever Be Luxurious?

Woman Sits on Mountain Under Cloudy Sky at Sunset
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Adding a little luxury to your camping experience is more possible than you realise, and it’s something that you should most definitely be considering. If you love the idea of getting back to nature and exploring the natural environment but hate the idea of not getting a good night’s sleep and never really feeling comfortable, luxury camping is for you. So without further ado, here’s how to get it right.

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

New Beauty Discoveries I'm Loving | May 2018



There’s just so many amazing beauty products out there to discover, from glamorous luxury buys to the wonder items you stumble across in the supermarket while doing the weekly shop. What is a helpless beauty junkie supposed to do?

Something about being pregnant makes me even more interested in makeup and skincare. I think it’s because things are happening to your body that you don’t have a lot of say in, so making sure you have lashes on fleek and shiny hair is the one thing you still have control over!

So it’s little surprise I’ve been filling my basket with some new treats over the past few weeks. Here’s what I’ve been trying out…

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Seven Little Things No One Tells You Change With a Second Baby



As anyone who is onto to their second pregnancy will know, things tend to be a little different the second time around. I’m not just talking physically, although that has undoubtedly been a different scenario this time around. There are lots of other little things you do when you’re expecting your firstborn that aren’t quite so straightforward when it comes time to produce a sibling for them. 

Here’s what no-one tells you is different, second time around...
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Saturday, 12 May 2018

OOTD Maternity | The LBD



The way you feel about your body seems to change on a daily basis when you’re pregnant – some days you feel on top of the world and want to show off that bump in a form-fitting dress, other days you feel bloated, messy and hormonal and you just want to throw on one of your husband’s biggest jumpers and hide.

That’s why maternity style can be so hard to get right.  You’re dealing with very ambivalent feelings about yourself, and of course that affects the face you want to present to the world.
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