Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Best Mascaras... ever

Mascara is my number 1 beauty essential. I can face the day as long as my lashes are sorted. Silly I know, but even on a no-make-up day (which is rare for me, even if I’m seeing no-one) I will always wear mascara. So, as my beauty must-have, I have over the years searched for the ultimate. I’ve tried every recommendation and have nailed it down to my absolute top three. 

 I’ve LOVED Benefit’s They’re Real (£19.50 Boots) as soon as it launched and always have a wand in my collection. It lengthens, thickens and is genuinely a dream mascara, giving that false-lash-look I crave. The only slight negative is that does take a bit of work to take off at night. You need a serious cleaner, or specific eye makeup remover. This ain’t going to slide off with a baby wipe! 

I discovered US brand Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes mascara (£21.50 QVC) when they first came to the UK with QVC and absolutely love it. The quilted packaging is too cute and it gives amazing volume and length. Not quite as good as Benefits offering, but it comes off like a dream at bed-time. 

I have recently, and I mean last week, discovered Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (£19 Debenhams), after a recommendation from my bestie beauty blogger - Gemma from This London Life (check out her gorgeous blog if you haven’t already!) after seeing her at an event last week and her lashes looked incredible. She shared her secret thankfully and I headed off to Debenhams the next day. This gives as good length and volume as They’re Real and removes as well as Tarte. So why isn’t this post all about this mascara alone? Well, I’ve found it does transfers a little to just below my eyes, which the others do not, so you need to make sure you check your makeup a little while after application and dab away if needed. If you haven’t tried any of these mascara, I REALLY recommend putting one on your letter to Father Christmas!


Tuesday 24 November 2015

Newborn baby gift - Mothercare Stars and Dreams

One of my oldest friends (we have been buddies since we are about 7 - bonding over love of all things pony related!!) has just had a gorgeous baby girl and to me this meant two things. 1) lots of coffee and lunches to be organised 2) baby shopping!

star and cloud babygrow

 I decided to buy baby E something that I had loved when little Sophie was a newborn and I combined this with my love of baby clothes shopping. Mothercare have the most gorgeous unisex range called 'Stars and Dreams' which I just LOVED. White and cream baby grows with stars and clouds adorning are just adorable. The fabric is super soft with I build scratch mittens and little ones look so happy and contented in them.

star and cloud babygrow

star and cloud babygrow

star and cloud babygrow

star and cloud babygrow

star and cloud babygrow

star and cloud babygrow

My mum bought some for Sophie in their tiny baby size when she was super new as all the newborn clothes swapped her and I loved them so much that I had to go back and buy them again in bigger size, which she is just about still squeezing in now! Although the collection has been updated for this season, there are similar designs available in the star (£14 Mothercare) and big cloud (£10 Mothercare) and the little cloud (£14 Mothercare) is from the current range. I'm really sad the sizes are now only available in up to 3 months, as last season I think they went up to 12 months, so fingers crossed they expand the range for SS16.

Saturday 21 November 2015

OOTD: Making the most of Mat-leave friends

I've been lucky enough to have been on mat-leave at the same time as one of my besties but as her babe has just turned one, she will be heading back to work in a few weeks! I'm not taking this well, but to lessen the blow I'm maximising the time I'm spending with her and little J. Last week we met at Thames Ditton, which is a cute little village SW of London where we had some lunch with the babies and then walked and chatted our way up to Thames Ditton. This is where we took some snaps by the river, before nosing in the cute bric-a-brac shops and making the return journey.

The weather wasn't too chilly, so I decided to team my new think lightweight blush jumper from Karen Millen Outlet at GunWhalf Keys with my oversized coat from La Redoute - a collaboration with designer Coralie Marabelle. I've got size 8, and it is huge, so don't worry about fitting layers underneath. I clashed this up with my burgundy skinnies and black knee high boots. I'm not sure I quite managed to look as sophisticated at the French women in the 60s which Coralie used as inspiration for her collection for La Redoute, but I loved it.

Little Sophie was snug as a bug in her Bugaboo Limited Edition Diesel Buffalo pushchair, which was super handy going over some muddy footpaths.

Coat: Duel Fabric Straight Cut Coat Coralie Marabelle for La Redoute £235
Boots: Last season Office - similar £130 Office


Tuesday 17 November 2015

Winter and Christmas Candles

Mr BMB is always adamant that I can't start decorating the house and getting generally over excited about Christmas until 1st December - although this year he has relented and said we can get the tree up the weekend just before the 1st, hurrah!

Before this magical day, I do start sneaking in a few Christmas bits around the house, hoping he won't notice, or be fussed enough to take them down again. A few crackers are on a shelf and I've got my new garland from Waitrose (which was only £15 and is really nice - I have snuck 2 into my shopping basket so far...!) on the mantle place. The latter has been commented upon, but one Christmas vibe I can totally get away with is introducing Christmas fragrance into the house, which totally gets me in the festive mood.

Here is my pick of some of the best candles to start burning in the run up to the party season. 

I've started off tame, with more of a winter fragrance, than full on Christmas with Neroli & Sweet Orange from This Works (£25 Feel Unique 220g). The orange reminds me of Christingle and the neroli helps to de-stress. The white ceramic case is simple and elegant, with the This Works lettering showing through when lit. When I first inhaled the aroma I adored it, so was a little disappointed that the fragrance is quite subtle when burnt.

The Enlighten Candle from ESPA (£28 Harvey Nichols 200g) also uses Sweet Orange as a main fragrance which it combines with Bergamot and Jasmine giving a spicy aroma. Again, this is a wintery, rather than overlay Christmassy candle, good for late November! The rich purple glass and matching presentation box also make it a beautiful gift.

I LOVE the smell of christmas trees - and this is totally capitulated with the Windsor Forest candle by Crabtree & Evelyn (£29 Crabtree & Evelyn 290g). This magical fragrance is created by a combination of Fir Needle, Spruce and Pine blended with Holly and Juniper berries. If you don't have a real tree, everyone will think you do burning this beauty. I'm hoping for a real tree again this year, but our under floor heating wasn't kind to last years, so if not I will be having to sniff this candle to kid myself that we do!

Jo Malone has a range of Christmassy fragrances, Roasted Chestnut, Pine & Eucalyptus and Incense & Embers (£42 John Lewis 200g) being some good options so go in store and sniff. Incense & Embers is an smoky and luxurious scent, a contrast to some of the sickly sweet christmas fragrances. This is a perfect fragrance to burn whilst snuggled up on the sofa, imagining an open fire roaring in forth of you whilst you write your christmas lists! 

Getting totally festive, Neom Organics Christmas Wish (£34.95 Selfridges 150g) candle is brimming full of festive cheer. Combining Mandarin and Cinnamon you won't question which month you are in! The beautiful glass is sprinkled with 18t gold and a donation is made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation too, to give that extra feel-good-factor.

Space NK have brought back their Shimmering Spice Candle (£25 SpaceNK 175g) for Christmas and it doesn't disappoint. Less sweet than Neom's offering, it still uses similar ingredients of Cinnamon and orange, but combines them with a woody cedar base which gives a warmer finish. The candle glass is decorated with the shimmering square design which is also on the presentation box. I think this will be my Christmas week build up fragrance!

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know I love a White Company candle. I think they are really good value for a high quality candle. Their Winter fragrance (£20 The White Company 140g) is very festive, with cinnamon, clove and fresh orange. More intense and hearty than than Space NK's Shimmering Spice - this fragrance will truly get you in the mood for the big day. It is the fragrance of coming home from a day of Christmas Shopping and getting all cozy and warm at home doing your wrapping up and hanging your Christmas decorations.

So I hope I've helped you choose a fragrance to get you ready for the Christmas season... Which do you think you could be tempted into choosing?


Monday 16 November 2015

Rose Gold Acessorise

Rose gold doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast! I love it and really think that it is a flattering metallic shade on everyone. I'm currently wearing rose gold accessorise most days and here are some of my absolute faves.

I have been wearing my Caravelle New York Boyfriend Chronograph Watch in Rose Gold (£129 The Watch Shop) pretty much non-stop since I picked it up at LFW in September, the brown face loos so chic against the rose gold and the additional dials give it a luxe look.

As a little gift on having my gorgeous baby girl, Anna Lou of London sent me this stunning Monogram Necklace (£75.50 Anna Lou of London) personalised with baby Sophie initials on. The script makes it not so obvious and eliminates the cheese-factor that my husband brought up when I told him I was getting a necklace with our baby's initials on! It is really precious to me know, and such a lovely idea as a pressie to a new mummy. 

I do love a bangle and this MantraBand ties the pother pieces together. All the MantraBands ($35 MantraBands) have a message engraved on them, which again is difficult to be read by anyone else, but gives you a boost of optimism when you catch sight of it. Mine reads Love Yourself - which is sometime s good reminder to take care of myself too when looking after a little one!


Friday 13 November 2015

Winter Stroll Outfit

I think Surrey babies come with membership to RHS Wisley Gardens, well they should anyway. Every other person is pushing a pram, and the others have little ones chasing at their heals. We signed up during the summer (£55 per year and you can bring a family guest with you and a child) when Sophie was really little as it was a lovely place to head to on a sunny day for a picnic and perfect for when we were with fiends who had older children who needed space to run about. As the cooler weather set in, I have probably been even more frequently, with the changing season bringing beautiful changes to the gardens. I've togged up and embraced the cool air and occasional shower.

This week I enjoyed a day there with one of my besties, who only has a few weeks left of mat-leave (sob!). Donning out outdoors kit we had lunch, a wonder and some coffees to warm us up.

I wore my classic River Island Amelie Jeans (£35 River Island) Phase Eight burnt orange jumper which went with all the beautiful autumn leaves (Nora Scooped Hem Top £55 Phase Eight) my Primark boots (Tan Chelsea Ankle Boot £15 Primark) Fat Face rain coat (last season, but similar here) and TopShop bobble hat (similar is Hand Knit Chain Beanie £16 TopShop)

The Bugaboo Buffalo has been fabulous for the offroad terrain with its large wheels - this is the new limited edition Diesel model (£1,089 John Lewis) and was the perfect accessory for our trip and Sophie certainly enjoyed her carriage!


Monday 9 November 2015

Favourite Eye Palettes

I do love an eye palette. They really help me to work out which colours go together rather than looking an entire beauty counter and trying to pick. Im not particularly wild when it comes to colour, but after a certain age bright eye shadows don't seem quite right... So a blend of nudes, browns, pink and darks is always my choice. So the three palettes that I am using all of the time for the past few months are these beauties. 

I spoke about the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette in my post here (£38 John Lewis) which I still adore, the gorgeous packaging and perfect combination of shades and guide for application. There are matte and shimmering nudes that you can wear alone on an off duty day and browns and greys to add a bit of extra definition and full on black to give the going out-out smoky eye. As I mentioned in my original post, the brush that comes in the palette is really good too, and I find myself using it on the other palettes too.

Clarins tends to release a limited edition eye palette  (£35 Boots) at this time of year and this years is a cracker. Like the Urban Decay palette, it contains 10 shades in matte, satin and iridescent textures. It stays more on the pink to brown side of the spectrum, with 5 different browns and a shimmery gold (perfect for Christmas!) but still includes the grey and black for that all important smoky eye. Helpfully it also includes some guidance for which shades to use where, which I always find really helpful and try out all the shades rather than sticking to two or three colours. The texture id beautiful and the shadows glide on and have staying power. The pigmentation isn't as bold ad there Urban Decay, but allows you to build up and is less scary for us non-pros! The packaging is less decadent than the Urban Decay, in a thick card, however, this is to minimise environmental impact.

Finally, the more budget friendly option from No7 in their 80th Anniversary Nude Eye Shadow Palette (£13.50 Boots). No 7 eye shadows are really good value as they are still good quality and have a gorgeous texture. This 8 shade palette covered all the nudes and browns you would ever need and is prettily packaged in a rode-gold case. Unlike the other two I've mentioned, there isn't the greys, blacks and purples, but if that is more you, they do have a Smoky Eye version of the palette.


Friday 6 November 2015

Baby Girl Winter Fashion Edit

Who doesn't like buying baby clothes? The baby Sophie arrived I was overwhelmed with all the gifts we were sent, with the high proportion being clothing - much for fun to pick out a cute, tiny outfit than buying nappies. I am now one of those mothers who goes to the shops and all I do is go in the baby shops and try to stop myself adding to Sophie's expanding wardrobe. Only the fact I'm on satatory maternity leave pay stops me. I've got most of these in size 6 months plus, so they currently are a bit big, so I've had to take pictures on the hangers rather the modelled. But as they fit I'll be instrgramming away! So here are some of the purchases I've made, and kind gifts I've received (both from friends and companies).

I love Next clothing for baby girls and I was totally blown away by this camel coat, little S will look very smart going to events and parties this festive season. The pocket, sleeve and bow details make it really special (£27-29 Next). Also from next is this cute grey cord dress, pink gilet and leggings set. Again, the details make it for me, with the cute little buttons round the ankles and the pleating on the dress (£22 Next).

Baby Gap is my new favourite place to shop, as I am loving their Into The Woods collection, based on Little Red Riding Hood. The boys range is filled with woodland creatures and cute little wolves. My favourite pick is this top with integral vest with a Little Red Riding Hood print (£9.95 Gap) which is also available in a dress. I've teamed it with skinny jeans (£14.95 Gap), red bow Mary Jane's (£8.95 Gap) and a navy cardigan ( Gap £14.95)

I am obsessed with tights and leggings with pictures on the bum, when the peep out from under a top or dress during tummy time or when baby starts to crawl. They are the hero product from Blade and Rose, with the elephant being part of their new range (£10 Blade & Rose). JoJo Maman Bebe also do a cute range, with the owl being my favourite (£10 JoJo Maman Bebe).

I loved JoJo for their baby grows when Sophie was tiny and I'm now discovering their more grown up range and I absolutely adore these wine coloured cords (£16 JoJo Maman Bebe) and Floral blouse that matches the lining of the trousers (£15 JoJo Maman Bebe).

I've never been to convinced by personalised baby clothing, as often I think it looks a bit tacky. However, My 1st Years seems to manage to pull it off. This cute grey bow back cardi is just adorable (£25 My 1st Years) and I won't need to be sewing in name labels!

In my opionion, all babies NEED a bear suit. They just look so cozy and super cute. The grey is my favourite as it isn't as twee as the blue and pink alternatives. This is from The White Company £29 and is perfect for taking Sophie in to baby swimming all ready in her swimmers underneath!

I heart The Little White Company, their clothing is just to gorgeous and never over the top with their muted tones causing them to be my favourite shop for Sophie. I generally have half of their stock in my online basket! This little outfit is just lovely for the run up to Christmas. The hand smocked grey flannel dress (£32 The White Company) and star print cardigan (£32 The White Company) are super soft and comfortable and their clothing washes so well I know it will still be looking gorgeous on December 25th. Although I love baby shoes, there aren't always the most practical so these cinderella shoe tights (£10 The White Company) give the look without the hassle and finish the putt off perfectly.

So which is your fave of the looks?

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