All posts by editor

#GinFriday: Gin and Tonic with Lamb & Watt tonic waters

Normally, this feature is in praise of gin. But today we’re all shaken and stirred up about Lamb & Watt’s range of tonic water, made in the Lake District with Blue Agave syrup as their base.

Choose from the crisp, clean original or fresh cucumber – or be a bit more daring with sweet hibiscus or (our fave) the herbaceous basil one, which is fab with JJ Whitley Nettle Gin.

Playtime… Ciao Bimba Dolls

We were first introduced to these amazing, huggable mini-mes at Bubble London and we can’t stop talking about them in our office – especially the boy dolls, which are the best we’ve seen.

Choose from a whole spectrum of hair, skin and eye colour to find something that resonates with your child (my son adores the Chiku bambini pictured right as he says he looks like his friend Jayden at school…)

And how fab is the boy-baby basket to tuck him up in at bedtime?

Shop the collection online here.

SM reviews… Splash About Splash shoes

Editor writes: “Look, kids, here are some lovely new shoes!” I say to my eldest two offspring. “What kind of shoes are they?” enquires my three-year old middle child. “Seaside shoes!” I exclaim. “Oh…” comes the response “, are we going to the seaside then?”

I backtrack, realising that once more my middle child has once again foxed me into a corner. 

“Well, let’s go to the seaside!” hollers their father, in the parenting style of Daddy Pig (ie with no co-parenting-consultation and little regard for the reward chart taped to the fridge with pitifully few good behaviour stars.)

So then comes packing wetsuits and picnics, ensuring that buckets and spades are far enough out of reach so as not to become backseat weapons and finally to strap three kids into car-seats. 

Splash About’s splash shoes are made from soft neoprene and they pull on easily (ie unaided!) but the toggle fastening at the back of the shoe means that they stay put even if worn whilst swimming in the sea (or during a bout of backseat fidgeting on the motorway). They come in a variety of colours; I was grateful that we reviewed two different colourways as it made finding the matching pairs a lot easier. 

Once your kids have got them on their feet, pesky inconveniences like pebbles, shells and slippery seaweed become irrelevant and they are good to go rock pool hopping or paddle out over stony shores. And afterwards, you just take them off, give them a rinse and leave them to dry. It’s pretty much win/win.

Of course, I didn’t have to call these shoes ‘seaside shoes’. I could have easily called them ‘now you won’t slip over at the swimming pool when I asked you repeatedly not to run on the wet floor’ shoes. Or ‘now you won’t go flying across the wet decking when you’ve pushed your brother into the paddling pool’ shoes. Or ‘now you can still jump in puddles when it’s too hot to wear your wellies’ shoes. Or any other name that might represent their myriad of uses.

But in our house, they are – and will always be – known as ‘seaside shoes’. Because let’s face it; when you are three and five-and-a-quarter, life’s a beach…”

For more info or to buy go to SplashAbout’s website.

Nursery Designing for the future: trends we need to consider now

As if having children wasn’t enough of a gigantic leap into uncertainty, for many homeowners the thought of potentially ‘devaluing’ a room by converting it into a nursery can be as horrific a concept as pushing out a placenta.

But a beautiful nursery can be a style statement, and arguably the design trends here move just as quickly as those for kitchens and bathrooms. We take a moment to consider the developments current making waves and which we think will remain buoyant in the future.

Think big in a small space: aside from the proverbial ‘powder room’, it is fair to say that a nursery is normally the designation of the smallest space. But yet, there can be a lot of ‘boxy’ items to cram into that space (cot, changing table, chest of drawers etc). Whilst iconic nursery brands such as Silver Cross have recently introduced more compact versions of their furniture, we love the idea of making a big style statement and then custom building the essentials of the room around it. How wonderful would Cots of Distinctions’ Seven Seas rocking baby cot (above) look with some subtle nautical touches such as aden+anais ‘high seas’ dream blanket  or a minimalist paper boat shelf from JojoMamanBebe?

Grey is the new neutral: gone are the days when magnolia or yellow were the wall-hue staples of indecisive parents. Grey has become the perfectly pitched neutral and partners beautifully with pastels so that ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’ no longer needs to be represented by gaudy hues of Barbie of Chelsea FC. We adore Earthborn’s subtle pink ‘Maybe Maggie’ paint, or Frenchic’s ‘Moody Blue’ – both of which pair delightfully with grey.  Accessorise with a grey ball pit – like MadeByNori’s one or maybe Mokee’s ‘rainy day’ mobile?  (incidentally, if you are still sitting on the yellow fence, a touch of Daffodil brightness looks the bees-knees when paired with grey…)


Tech is your friend: Philips Avent recently launched their ‘UGrow’ Smart baby monitor, which creates a constant audio and visual connection with your baby. The monitor is unobtrusive and chic so why not integrate it with your nursery design? You might be currently baulking at the idea of a flat screen TV in the nursery, but roll on three years and having them watch Peppa Pig in their own space will be a godsend to the rest of the house. Install one early and play Baby Einstein or Mozart in HD quality.

Push Scandi further: Oh those Ikea-fiends and their clean lines. Simplicity and lack of corners in nursery design not only is the current height of vogue but has the added practical bonus that when bubba begins to toddle there are fewer sharp corners to impale themselves upon. Forget plywood curvature though; how about a real forest, complete with wild beasts? We love this hairy rocker from Scandiborn (above) or this chic wooden wall art from Etsy. 

Upcycle: why bring more unnecessary plastic tat into your home when other people’s junk can be the basis of beautiful eco-friendly furniture? Maggie and Rose’s new homeware collection includes a doll’s house made from reclaimed wood and shabby chic chairs – but why not try your hand at DIY as, let’s face it, if it goes wrong it was somebody’s trash anyhow…

Go organic: if the mention of bamboo has you thinking about Dick Van Dyke (and how he never has a bother with it) then check out brands like MORI and Piglet who are creating marvellously snuggly children’s bedding from bamboo and organic cotton.

image: The Sun

Letters play: we love the word art trend (as exemplified when Jools and Jamie Oliver announced their latest arrival, River) – but creating inspirational bon mots on a lightbox is a lovely way to bring subtle lighting into the space occupied by the new light of your life. A Little Lovely Company’s lightboxes can be customised with your own message and are available from MeandBuddy.

Who knows, your future nursery might become the stylish focal point of your home, regardless of the sleep-sapping squawker who resides in it.

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organised by CGTrader

The Best of Bubble London

Stuff we Loved. Thank you to Bubble London and Fuse Communications – always a great show.

The Snuzcot is now available in Mothercare

The SnüzKot collection features four core style options: SnüzKot Luxe has a beautiful and timeless style, SnüzKot Skandi has a modern and minimal Scandinavian design, SnüzKot Rococo is a stunning twist on a classic design and SnüzKot Mode is bold and playful. Each style option is available in different colours, creating a total of 15 cot beds to choose from and changing the entire look of the cot bed, allowing parents to match their cot bed to their individual décor ideas.

As your child grows, so does SnüzKot, converting into a toddler bed for up to 4 years,  and with an additional junior bed extension kit, it means children can keep their same bed for up to ten years of age. Even better, the team at Snüz have created a changing unit to match all 15 SnüzKots, so parents can turn the visions of their dream nursery into a reality.

RRP: from £349-£449 | Stockist: www.snuz.co.uk, Mothercare

SM reviews… Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Infantino’s baby carriers have been best sellers in the US for aeons and are now available in the UK. We tested the Cuddle Up Ergonomic Carrier.

SM tester writes: “I’m a big baby wearing fan, but once they get past 6 months you do need a robust carrier if you are to have a life past wafting from ‘mother and bubs yoga sessions’. I adored testing this carrier because a) it was light (in 30 degrees sunshine that helps!) b) it was super intuitive to fasten and insert baby in the ergonomic position and c) the carrying position is relatively high so it feels really comfortable and doesn’t ‘drag’ you into a hunched stance.

I also loved the fact that the outer pocket is perfect for popping your keys into – but also to put your hands in and cradle your baby, it’s bliss. The carrier itself has an inner – so unlike an Ergobaby there is fabric between you and your child – but in this weather, this is a blessing and also it saves your tops from little accidents!

But the best thing… the Infantino Cuddle Up costs just £37.55 (on Amazon)!”

Find out more here.

Got a LEGO obsessive in the family? You’ll want to know about BRICKLIVE

The UK’s largest LEGO® exhibition, BRICKLIVE, is returning to London. After the success of the 2015 show in the city, the popular event is coming back just in time to kick off the summer school holidays at the ExCel from 27th – 30th July.

An unmissable experience for LEGO® fans of all ages, visitors can expect to see enormous LEGO sculptures, dive into brick pits, plus play with a whopping three million LEGO® bricks that will fill the free-build zones for enthusiasts to create their dream creations.

Meet real live master builders from across the globe as some of the world’s finest builders display their latest creations, exclusively for BRICKLIVE.

With special guests and the latest exciting LEGO launches announced on the Live Stage, event goers can also look forward to interactive LEGO® themed zones, giant brick filled play areas and the latest LEGO® computer game releases from Warner Bros.

From Star Wars and Ninjago to Minecraft and Friends – fans can experience their favourite LEGO® themes all under one roof.

BRICKLIVE offers visitors a full day of entertainment for the entire family, attendees can visit our shopping strip, ‘Brick Lane’, from nostalgic sets, a lost piece in a collection or simply a memento from a great day out, BRICKLIVE has it covered.

Ticket prices are £21.75 for a standard admission or £16.75 for a family ticket. To purchase tickets or to receive the latest news and updates from BRICKLIVE, visit their website at http://bricklive.co.uk/

Visitors can make their way to the ExCel using the Emirates Air Line cable car for just a £2.50 single fare. To redeem this exclusive discount, all you need to do is show a confirmation email/ticket to the staff at the terminals.

 

In praise of… Pop Art

From acid brights to graphics that bring a smile to your face. We think these are top of the pops.

#Win a Cinema Night Out courtesy of Pop Up Screens

Almost Famous

Prepare yourself for a Summer of cinematic joy as the legendary Pop Up Screens is back, this year presented by Eurowings and bigger and better than ever – with an epic programme of classic films, guaranteed to give you the perfect summer movie night out.

Once again Pop Up Screens has put together a programme to inspire and delight, that includes comedies Deadpool and Four Weddings and a Funeral, vintage blockbusters The Big Lebowski and Back To The Future, fantasy adventures Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters and timeless faves Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman.  Plus a couple of more recently Oscar-approved entries, including La La Land and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Check the PopUpScreens website for screening times and up to date info.

To provide the perfect al fresco settings, this year’s London venues will include:

Bishops Park in Fulham

Central Park, Greenwich Peninsula

Coram’s Fields, Bloomsbury

Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith

Manor House Gardens, Hither Green

Southwark Park, Canada Water

Kennington Park, Kennington

Tickets are £12 for adults, £6 for under 10s and you can bag yourself a weekend ticket for £25.

You’re welcome to bring your own blankets, beanbags and cushions or you can hire a director’s chair for £2.

If you feel like styling up your cinema experience, this year Pop Up Screens are introducing VIP seats, for £20 each that will include a chair in a prime location plus a free drink!

There will be popcorn from Drum and Kernel, burgers and craft beer on offer and you can bring your own drinks and snacks too.

In a new addition for this year’s programme, Harley Dogs will be catering to every weekend event, a Harley Davidson complete with a BBQ – what’s not to love?

The Breakfast Club

We have TWO SETS OF TWO PAIRS OF TICKETS (for two lucky winners plus a guest each!) up for grabs to a screening of your choice – simply follow us on Twitter @SlickMummy and RT our competition message. (No cash alternative, the two winners will be notified and contacted directly to arrange ticket collection for the film/location of their choice, subject to availability.)

Tickets are on sale now and can be booked from WWW.POPUPSCREENS.CO.UK