If you’ve seen our beautiful Fashion Story in the Autumn issue you might like to read about how it was created.
Photographer Clare Bowes writes:Not that I want to complain about beautiful, blue skied days as they can be few and far between up here in the North East, where we shot Slick Mummy’s latest fashion spread… but I was definitely hoping for at least some cloud coverage last week! As a natural light photographer bright, sunny days can be a bit of a nightmare to work with: For a start off, strong sun creates harsh, unflattering shadows; secondly – no one wants to see pictures of uncomfortable people squinting into the blinding sun; but worst of all when shooting an autumn “back to school” fashion shoot – it’s got to look a bit… well… autumn-y… (plus I didn’t want my little models sweltering under cosy duffel coats!)
I needn’t have worried, the gorgeous models were consummate professionals, even in the searing (almost) heat. Apart from the weather our morning’s shoot went swimmingly. We shot at a dream location – an old disused beach lido with loads of interesting backdrops to photograph against. The clothes and amazing accessories we’d been sent fit the brief perfectly and super-stylist Laurel made sure everything ran smoothly… I even managed to find some shady spots to photograph in.
We all (the models; their parents; their grandparents; a baby sibling; Laurel and myself) had a fab morning (how could we not with this view?!). When we wrapped the shoot and packed up our gear Laurel and I congratulated ourselves as we headed off to the car just as the cloud I’d been longing all morning for finally rolled in!
Shot on location at Tynemouth Lido, Longsands Beach, Tyne & Wear
Want to pamper yourself with some goodies from aromatherapy brand Tisserand? You could win their new bath and body collection, which includes fab picks such as the Neroli and Sandalwood handcream (which leaves hands super moisturised and smelling divine – keep some by the sink at all times!) and the Rose and Geranium Leaf body wash (perfect for those mornings when you crave a moment of indulgence but only have 15 seconds in the shower…)
Just RT our tweet @slickmummy and follow@Tisseranduk to enter.
Winner will be chosen by Tisserand, no cash alternative to the prize.
Ooh la-la… The romance, the art, the culture, the wine… You could be skipping hand in hand with your loved one down the Champs-Elysees in just a few clicks time if you enter Vente-Privee’s fab competition.
Hands up if this is you: you realise that there are a few relatives you won’t see over the Xmas period, so you choose and wrap a few thoughtful gifts – and even remember some bubble wrap so that they don’t break in the post. You head to the post office, your toddler wets his pants in the queue and starts crying. You bribe him with chocolate, then he gets the *red mist* and tips over a rack of DVLA forms. You leave without posting anything.
Then you completely miss the last posting date and are still carrying said items around in your bag mid-January.
But Letterbox gifts, it seems, are the salvation to the above Xmas #fail (plus also birthday, new baby, Father’s Day – and many more situations where the queue in the post office defeats you…)
Not only does the box fit snugly though letterboxes (so no ‘missed delivery’ notes for your loved one to negotiate) but the gifts inside are really lovely; super stylish and well presented, with a mixture of edible, practical and pampering bits and bobs inside.
Their Xmas box comes with gorgeous scented candles (we lit one now and the whole room smells of Xmas eve already!) plus tea, handmade chocolates, a tree decoration and mulled wine spices – all made in Britain and super luxe.
Sounds like a great idea, huh? Well – even better – our readers can get a 10% shopping discount by using code SLICKMUMMY10 at the checkout.
The first-ever National Baby Swimming Week runs from Monday 31 October, urging mums and dads across the UK to take their little ones to their nearest swimming class for some fun family time, as well as gaining a host of health benefits along the way.
Research by Waterbabies has shown why many families are heading to the pool, with some babies as young as one-day old attending classes. They teach babies and toddlers a potentially life-saving skill, help with bonding, build physical strength, as well as their mental and social development. Plus, it’s great fun judging by the magical smiles on their faces…
Know a little one who loves Shopkins? If you’d like to win one of their adorable Kinstructions playsets simply follow our Twitter feed for details.
The sets we have to give away are the Bakery or Cupcake Cafe and the winner will get one of them (picked at random, but they are both fab, right?) Both retail at £19.99 from good toy stores or ShopkinsWorld.
Winner will be notified directly by us and there is no cash alternative prize.
Matt writes:For the last couple of years number one son has been a very happy subscriber to the Beano. Saturday mornings are punctuated with excited runs to the door any minute he thinks the postman might be delivering his favourite comic.
And over the last six months the younger one has also got into one of my childhood’s favourite pastimes. So it was with great pleasure we received an invitation to the launch of Beano’s re-entry into the digital world for the launch of beano.com.
One recent Sunday we made the trip over to London for a mischievous launch party that included gunge tanks, catapults and all sorts of other mayhem.
A fun-filled afternoon was had by all. An experience not to forget as we entered through a window into Dennis’s disgustingly filthy room, and made our way into a factory made for menaces and minxes.
The kids had an amazing time as the parents did their best to keep themselves out of trouble and clean. A tricky task as sponge cake flew from catapults and gunge was filtered through various drains towards the next victims.
Number one had actually been visiting beano.com in the weeks previous to the launch, confirming what he thought to be ‘so beano’ and ‘not beano’, giving his approval on content for the new site.
Building on its much-loved comic roots, Beano’s new digital “Ultimate Feed of Awesome” is jam-packed with original videos, along with the best bits of YouTube, games, pics, quizzes and interactive fun to help imaginations run riot and keep kids giggling for hours.
The new site launches with lots of videos, including brand new cartoons like The Invention of Football (by dinosaurs…), brand new “how to” vids for making cool stuff, and silly jokes delivered by the “Little Squelchies”, all sitting along with great entertainment from Dennis, Gnasher, Minnie and the whole gang.
And the great news for parents is that beano.com is designed to protect kids – there’s no messaging functionality, no collection of personal information without parental say so, and no sharing of marketing data with 3rd parties.
Oh. And it’s free, so maybe I’ll do away with that subscription. Actually no. It gives us a good 45 minutes of peace and quiet on a Saturday morning. Perhaps the new website will extend that a little longer.
At SM we don’t judge how you feed your baby. As we know, with lots of children and demands, life can be hard enough without pressure to breastfeed. ‘The Secret Mums’ Club’ was written to help and support, without being in-your-face ‘lactivist’ – and we were delighted that it’s author Donna Read took the time to tell us all about it.
Donna Read:The Secret Mums’ Club is the title for my first book which was released in September 2016. Why choose this name? Introducing a bottle of formula or expressed breast milk alongside breast feeding is not anything new but like me so many keep it a secret from friends, family and often their midwives! In my case I was so lucky that I was able to have open discussions with my midwives and they were fully supportive of my decision knowing we had talked through the pros and cons and I was fully informed but I often wondered how many other mums were keeping this secret and how many mums didn’t know about it and gave up breast feeding without knowing about it.
SM: What was your own breastfeeding experience?
Donna Read:Looking back as I explain in the book I really was wearing “rose” coloured spectacles. When I attended a breast feeding workshop the mums who sat before me happily feeding their babies were at the 8 to 10 week stages and I watched them thinking how easy they made it look, how well they looked and how happy their babies looked. It never occurred to me that breast feeding would be difficult. On day 1 after birth I had two midwives assist me to extract my colostrum by hand onto a spoon, it was then collected by syringe and given orally to my daughter Katie. The midwives were so supportive and were so keen to help me establish breast feeding but it wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. By day three I was home but was so exhausted I could barely function. I suffer from asthma and eczema and I knew breast feeding could help protect my babies from this along with other things. I knew all the facts, I was well informed, I was determined but breast feeding wasn’t coming to me with ease. My husband and I talked things through and we decided I needed to put myself first and get some sleep. We agreed he would give Katie some formula and I would get a few hours’ sleep. Just a few hours’ sleep allowed me some inner strength and from that day we never looked back.
SM: In our mothers/grandmothers’ era, mums stayed in hospital for up to a fortnight learning ‘parenting skills’. Might there be a benefit in bringing back a system such as this?
Donna Read: I think elements of this should absolutely be considered. The book also contains a 6 week baby boot camp to give a loose routine for mums / partners to follow. Although things may seem obvious, when you have a new baby and are suffering from sleep deprivation your ability to think clearly changes. My routine involves things like, no cooking or heavy housework in the first 2 weeks following birth. No trying to put baby into a routine in the first 2 months and in the first week I recommend at least 2 days to stay in your pj’s or onesie and just spend time breastfeeding and bonding with your baby. Bringing a baby into the world is demanding and mums have to accept things will be different and to have an open mind to welcoming these changes in whatever format they present themselves. Breast feeding isnt just about the physical action it’s about laying the foundations to enable it to happen. You cannot motivate a mum to breast feed you can only create an atmosphere where they feel motivated to breast feed.
SM: Do you think celebrity #brelfies create a positive image of breastfeeding, or just put more pressure on new mothers?
Donna Read:If a celeb breast feeding inspires any mum to give it a try then yes its great but bear in mind you rarely see a celeb breast feeding until they have it established and the reality part is what mums need to keep focussed on.
SM: Our writers and a lot of our readers have more than one child and the experience for many is that there simply isn’t the luxury of time to breastfeed on demand when you have other toddlers to juggle. Do you have any tips to share?
Donna Read: Involve siblings right from the start they are smarter than you think. Take time to plan short activities / snacks to keep an older sibling occupied whilst you are feeding, and yes sometimes it may involve putting a TV programme on and not feel guilty about it. Older siblings may like to roleplay so giving them a doll to pretend they are feeding or changing a nappy is highly entertaining for them.
SM: There has been a lot of controversy in the press recently about mum’s milk not having enough Vitamin D and suggesting lactating mothers take supplements (or Health Visitors prescribe vitamin drops) If this is the case then might it strengthen the argument for combination feeding (as formula has added vitamins anyway)?
Donna Read:I wouldn’t say it strengthens the case for combination feeding. I still believe 100% exclusive breastfeeding is the very best way to feed your baby and I explain in the book looking back there are things I could have done differently and may have only used formula a few times. If research shows that babies may benefit from a vitamin drop I’m sure it will be introduced. A new mum should not start out combination feeding but more I want my book to let mums make that fully informed decision on how they want to feed, especially if they feel at any point they may want to give up breast feeding and turn to 100 % formula feeding. I think in the book I’ve captured a great analogy which gives mums something real to consider. If I was to say from tomorrow, you are only allowed powdered milk in you tea, cereal, cooking for the next 12 months of more and not allowed fresh cow’s milk , what would you choose? Hold that thought…Both are still milk of course they are but it’s a scenario which we can relate too.
SM: And finally, whereabouts in Troon is the friendliest towards breastfeeding in public?
Donna Read:We are so lucky in Ayrshire there are many great schemes and support, one in particular is breast feed happily here where local shops and businesses sign up and breast feeding mums are never far away from a place to be welcomed in to feed their babies in this most natural way.
In the UK I would love every mum to make it their mission to start off aiming for 100% exclusive breastfeeding and not be afraid to ask for help and support in achieving this. In reality only about 40 in every 2000 mums will be unable to breast feed so potentially we all can. Wouldn’t it be wonderful that those who could did and those who couldn’t were able to get donor breast milk meaning every baby in the UK could have breast milk? Maybe one day this could be reality, I can only dream it happens in my lifetime. It’s not a secret any more let me introduce you to The Secret Mums’ Club…
Donna’s book ‘The Secret Mums’ Club’ is available on Amazon, but we have a copy to give away on Twitter – follow our feed @slickmummy and @secretmumsclub
Me & Buddy is a boutique full of such gorgeously chic childrenswear and parenting products it’s like having a stylist pull together your nursery. We caught up with founder Madeline Walsh and found out how William Morris inspired her and why she loves Ewan the Dream Sheep.
SM: How did Me & Buddy come about?
Madeline Walsh:My daughter Darcy is five and my son Cillian is 20 months. Over the years I have been constantly searching for useful yet beautiful baby and toddler products which fit into my lifestyle and the modern aesthetic of my home. I knew other parents were doing the same and that they would love to be able to find these wonderful products all under one roof. So I left my career in finance and set up meandbuddy.com to bring the best in baby and toddler gear together in one place. SM: How did you go about deciding what to stock?
Madeline Walsh:Everything in the store has been hand-picked and our offering is highly curated, so when someone is shopping at Me & Buddy they are delighted with what they have found. When choosing which items to stock I started with the products I had found for my own children and which I knew other experienced parents also swore by, e.g. aden + anais swaddles, Storksak changing bags, BabyBjorn baby carriers and bouncers. From there I just did a lot of research into new, innovative yet beautiful products and sought out small brands who were producing wonderful things that most customers were unlikely to have seen before. SM: Why is it important to have great looking baby/toddler products?
Madeline Walsh: I’ve always loved the quote from English textile designer William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” as I think it’s a great approach to buying for your home. But once you have kids it becomes increasingly difficult to live like this and you can easily find yourself swamped by baby gear which is not particularly useful and far from beautiful. From personal experience, great looking baby gear makes me feel more content in my surroundings and I’m sure it has a calming effect on the children too. SM: Which items do your own kids like the best?
Madeline Walsh:They’re very fond of lots of the products but, if I had to pick a few, it would be the musical cloud nightlights from Mellipou, Ewan the Dream Sheep, the Noodoll soft toys, the natural wooden toys from Pinch Toys and the Swedish moccasins from Moccis. They also love the board books. SM: What advice would you give to new parents on nursery design?
Madeline Walsh:I’d recommend starting off with a neutral palette of whites and greys because it creates a calm environment for the baby. After that, adding unique items that both you and the baby will love to look at and play with. A theme of clouds or stars always looks lovely and I’d advise not to go overboard on one accent colour as it’s great to leave plenty of scope for adding other unique items as time goes by.
Also to bear in mind that you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the nursery in those early months – feeding, changing your baby, hushing them to sleep – so make sure it’s comfortable for you too and is a space you’re very fond of. SM: Who designed Buddy the Bunny?
Madeline Walsh: Buddy the Bunny was designed by a friend of a friend, Evgenia Golubeva, who is an award-winning illustrator of short films and books for children. We worked together on the design, and I had very specific directions on how he should look, even down to the pockets on his rucksack and the height of his shoes! SM: And finally, we love your new baby checklist. What baby items do you think are totally over-rated?
Madeline Walsh:That’s great, I’m so pleased you love the new baby checklist. I feel that new parents get so much conflicting advice on what they need for a baby and, from personal experience, it’s easy to end up surrounded by a lot of clutter that serves little purpose. Top of my overrated list has got to be the top-and-tail bowl. I used mine once then switched to Water Wipes and never looked back! I also think wipes warmers are hilarious, if only for the impracticality of training your baby to only be happy with warm wipes – what happens when you’re out and about?
On the other hand, sleep aids like Ewan the Dream Sheep are totally underrated – I’d advise new parents to buy at least one before their baby is born. The Walsh Family is never without Ewan!