Category Archives: 2016 Mummy Must Have Awards

10% discount with The Organic Balm Co to celebrate Organic Beauty Week

Bag yourself 10% off at #MMHA16 Winners The Organic Balm Company’s online store to celebrate Organic Beauty Week as part of Organic September.

Standout products include our top rated Mother and Baby Nourish Balm and their RAH Facial Serum – or treat yourself to their Cocoa Rose Bath Melts.

Prices are all adjusted on the website, so no need for codes… Happy Shopping!

HELP! My baby hates swimming… A guest post by Bernadette Spofforth, CEO of Splash About #MMHASPLASHABOUT

Bernie 1All the advice says swimming is a life skill; start it earlier rather than later, but what happens if your baby develops water wobbles after enjoying lessons for months?  Reluctant swimmers can present themselves when you least expect it; here are a couple of tried and tested tips from Bernadette Spofforth, CEO of Splash About to entice them back into the water…

My baby cries when I take her swimming, what am I doing wrong?

First swimming experiences can be a shock and many babies and toddlers will cry and fuss for the first few lessons, this is a case of persevering and talking to your swim teacher.

Splash ABout - Happy Nappy Wetsuit Vintage MobyHowever nine out of 10 babies cry because they are cold, even in warm water as young babies aren’t as active. A warm baby is a happy baby; it’s time to invest in a baby wetsuit.

There is a range on the market but the Happy Nappy Wetsuit is the only one that complies with British Standard guidelines for baby swimming. This is because uniquely it integrates a swim-school approved neoprene nappy into the body of the wetsuit.

Made from supple neoprene, this wetsuit means no more leaving swim lessons early due to shivering babies and no need for disposable nappies too, making it cost effective and eco-friendly.

Is it worth investing in swim toys?

Sometimes distraction techniques can be helpful for reluctant swimmers.  The baby swim mirror is a concept that has rapidly gained momentum since its introduction into a number of international swim schools. A wet smiling reflection provides a welcome distraction for babies who are not yet relaxed in the water and it’s a fun way to stop worried tears.

Babies learn through play so investing in a few great CE marked toys is also a must, but be careful about non CE marked toys because the paint tends to flake off after exposure to chlorine and this can be dangerous when mouthed by teething babies.

Splash About - Splash Pals Sammi Seal (low res)Toys such as Splash Pals are manufactured from natural rubber and hand-painted with a high-grade vegetable based paint so they are safe for teething babies. These swim toys are naturally resistant to mould because they don’t have any air holes. The colourful swim characters are ergonomically designed for little fingers to grasp, and will always flip on their backs promoting a great safety message for little ones learning-to-swim.

When should I use armbands?

Splash About - Float Suit Apple Daisy designOnce your toddler is comfortable in the water a float suit is a great next step. Suitable from 12months with adjustable buoyancy, it positions the child correctly in the water for learning-to-swim and leaves arms unrestricted by armbands or reliant on holding floats. Be warned, putting on/taking off can be a struggle so make sure you choose one with a back zip to avoid changing room tussles!

Whenever you choose to introduce your baby to the joys of swimming, remember be patient – sometimes having fun takes practice!

Find out more at www.splashabout.com

Vote for Splashabout in the MMHA16 by using the hashtag #MMHASPLASHABOUT on social media

#MMHA16: will the Doona get your vote?

BADGE2So, it’s a legal requirement to have a Group 0 carseat in order to bring one’s newborn home from hospital by car (and in some hospitals they enforce this rule even if you plan to walk or take public transport!) but who says that it needs to solely function as a carseat alone? Not the clever boffins at SimpleParenting, creators of the Doona, that’s for sure!

Like so many genius inventions, combining two useful things together saves time, space, arm muscles and a few pennies (think of the Trunki, Wash n Go, the Fitbit, errr…the snood…) and in this case the Doona is the hybrid of a carseat and a stroller… One minute it secures your child in the back of your car, then you arrive at your destination and – hey presto – no need to struggle getting a buggy out of the boot, or fiddle about trying to attach clips and the carseat to a buggy frame – you simply unlatch the Doona’s own wheels and off you go…

The Doona comes in a whole rainbow of cheery colours and the whole thing weighs around 7kg (so lighter than a Bugaboo Bee). To quote Baldrick from Blackadder, we think the Doona is “as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University…”

Vote for the Doona in the MMHA16 on social media by using the hashtag #MMHADOONA

#MMHA16: The big deal about Smalls

BADGE2Smalls make luxe everyday loungewear and activewear from breathable merino wool.

With a range of undergarments that are smart enough to pass as outerwear, be worn as pjs, under winter layers or for skiing, you might wonder how you managed without them.

One thing’s for sure: kids don’t want to take them off…

To vote for Smalls in the #MMHA16 on social media use hashtag: MMHASMALLS

#MMHA16: Why the @Boden Mac is the perfect School Run coat

BADGE2We ummed and aahed about the perfect School Run coat. Classic styling over fashion, how warm does it need to be…? There were lots of considerations, but here are a few reasons why the Boden Mac came out tops:

 

  • It has a hood, which means your hands can be free for road crossing, carrying shopping, buggy pushing and eating toast on the way…
  • The colourful design makes you visible (great when your walk to school takes you down a country lane on a misty morning)
  • The pockets are roomy enough to hold larger items (Fruit Shoots/baby bottles/commuter coffee cups, packs of wipes, half eaten toast…)
  • It keeps the rain off (and you can wipe off sticky handprints or jam…)
  • It might not be the warmest fabric, but the straight cut means you can layer a jumper underneath.
  • You can roll it up in your bag and it doesn’t look creased afterwards…
  • It looks great with jeans, works as a colour pop over a suit -or as a cover up over pyjamas…

To vote for the Boden Mac in the #MMHA16 on social media use hashtag #MMHABODEN

images: Boden

#MMHALILLYANDSID: In praise of great baby blankets…

BADGE2Our junior columnist Wild Hendry tells us why the Lilly and Sid baby blankets got his vote…

Wild writes “I am four years old now and I still have a baby blankie on my bed. So does my brother, who is two. It’s the same one he came home from hospital in. My brother likes to snuggle under his, but I tuck my fox called Bubble up each night in mine, in case he gets a chill.

IMG_00003111Our blankies are from Lilly and Sid, who make all sorts of good things including hoodies and rabbits and tshirts with pirates on. I could go on about blankies being soft and warm but you might know that already; what you might not know is that they can be used as flags when you need one for your den, or to wrap things up when you are playing at having birthdays, or picnic rugs if girls come over and want a teddy tea party.

I start school in September so will probably have to stop taking my fox Bubble with me in my bag like I do for nursery. But I know he’ll be alright, tucked up on my bed, waiting til I get home…”

To vote for Lilly and Sid baby blankets on social media use hashtag #MMHALILLYANDSID

#MMHA16: SM chats to The Organic Balm Company

BADGE2You’ll have seen that The Organic Balm Company’s Mother and Baby Nourish Balm has been shortlisted for the #MMHA16. We caught up with Rachael Giacomuzzi, who filled us in on how she launched the brand during her maternity leave and the wonders of hemp seed oil…

SM: How did the company come about?

Rachael Giacomuzzi: The idea for The Organic Balm Company came through requests from friends and colleagues for samples of a balm I had formulated to soothe the eczema which had appeared on my hands. I had a strong reaction to a petrochemical based ingredient in creams in the past which resulted in me pursuing chemical free and organic skincare products. Though my fingers and palms were so dry, cracked and painful I struggled to find a product the worked well and felt appealing to use, one that felt more like an indulgence rather than necessity! I knew the specific ingredients I wanted, having grown up surrounded by books on carrier and essential oils and knew the places to research for traditional skin care preparations, so decided to create my own ‘dream’ formulation. I selected oils that worked best for dry, sensitive and eczema prone skin. Oils with the right fatty acids, vitamins, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties were crucial and the result worked incredibly well. I enjoyed the whole process so much that when people began repeatedly asking me for samples to help their skin, I knew I was onto something. I then set to work on a range of luxury and stylish high performance products that would revitalise and re-hydrate skin, a range that was 100% organic and chemical free.  It took a few years to time research and fully develop the range, I was working full time in Television and commuting so didn’t have much spare time. However, a few years later towards the end of my maternity leave I felt it was the right time to launch and used my countryside setting as inspiration for the brand itself.

SM: Which are your bestselling items?

Rachael Giacomuzzi: The Frankincense Indulgence box goes down very well as it contains our organic RAH (Rosehip, Argan, Hemp) Facial Serum which is a simple yet extremely luxurious and effective blend of oils with natural anti-ageing properties in a rollerball bottle. It’s great for on the go skin care! It works really well with The Soothe and Restore Balm for Hands with Frankincense and Lavender, this was the original formulation which soothed my skin and inspired our company so I personally have a special place in my heart for this product. Our Mother and Baby Nourish Balm also sells really well for women who are after a very light simple balm.  It’s great for the legs and arms to give thirsty skin a healthy glow and its super quick to apply on small people!

SM: And which do your own family love best?

Rachael Giacomuzzi: Good question! As a family we don’t go anywhere without the No Nonsense Balm. It’s very similar to the Soothe and Restore Balm but as it contains no essential oils and is a stainless steel tin it’s a great multi-purpose balm for the whole family when you are out and about. Though saying that, I wouldn’t be anywhere without the RAH Facial Serum in my makeup bag, my Mother would say that too and in my son’s backpack, there’s always a Mother and Baby Nourish Balm to be found.

SM: Where are the products made?

Rachael Giacomuzzi: We are based in rural West Sussex and have a small setup where the products are made. We find producing in smaller batches means fresher products and this is important as we use oils which are quite delicate. Before I got into chemical free skincare I didn’t think too much about why a beauty product had say a 2 year shelf life for example, and the kind of preservative it must have contained in order to prevent the microbial activity for that amount of time! You wouldn’t want to eat a ‘fresh’ ingredient that had been sitting around in a cupboard for a couple years, so you can apply the same principle to skincare. The shelf life of our products range from 6 – 12 months but with any natural product, I think we should use any product within a couple of months. Our products are rich and a small amount goes along way but of course, if you love using a product, using it up is quite a pleasurable challenge!

SM: Tell us about a secret ingredient/wonder product?

Rachael Giacomuzzi: I felt it was important that each ingredient we use should be singularly beneficial in its own right. We don’t use any ‘filler’s’ and ingredients to bulk out or thicken up the product so you could pick out Argan oil, Rosehip oil, Almond oil or Cocoa Butter for example as ingredients you’d use alone to nourish skin, so therefore it’s quite difficult to select one over another. However, one magic ingredient we have in all of the balm products is Hemp Seed oil. It’s amazing for dry skin conditions! It’s one of the richest sources of Omega 3 and 6 with a perfect 3:1 ratio and closely matches our own skins lipids. Its high Linoleic Acid and mineral content, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties means it really helps improve the skins barrier function and condition so plays a very important role in why our products work so well for dry skin.

SM: Was it difficult to be completely organic and synthetic free?

Rachael Giacomuzzi: It has been a challenge, at points along the development it would have been easier and far more cost effective to not go down the organic route. However, not being 100% was never an option. It had been a driving principle for me when I was searching for a product to soothe my skin all those years ago and had been let down by some products that appeared to be organic when in fact they had only an ingredient or two that were. It was that and seeing organic skincare loaded with synthetic chemicals too. It was very disappointing and so we wanted to be completely transparent with our products and formulated the skincare range with UK certified organic ingredients so we know we are using organic and that tested properly for any traces of pesticides. As we do not use water in our products we don’t need to use a preservative system like you would with lotions, moisturizers and cream cleansers. It has been reported that the average woman uses about 13 different beauty products a day and most contain at least 20 ingredients and additives, with various consequences to the body and skin. It showed that through make-up and lotions this could mean around 515 chemicals being applied on the face each day.  Our bodies just aren’t designed to handle the ‘toxic build-up’. I find it very disturbing the amount of chemicals in baby products too, from shampoos to baby wipes and creams. Our product range is small yet we hope to grow and help people make the switch to healthier skincare. Being chemical free is just as important to us as being organic so it really is our driving force and will remain true to it as we grow.

SM: What’s next for the business?
Rachael Giacomuzzi:
We have some fantastic new products in the line-up and we can’t wait to release those and I am pleased to announce here that we will be launching our mini organic beeswax candle set to complement our Hunicamb Candle in the Autumn. We have just got a new stockist, Garden Organic at Ryton Gardens in Warwickshire so that’s exciting and we are also doing some Skincare events with our Surrey Stockists. These events are a great opportunity to chat with our customers face to face, to answer any queries they may have and for us to find out what other products they would like to see from us!

Find out more and shop online at www.theorganicbalm.com

To vote on social media for Mother and Baby Nourish Balm use the hashtag: #MMHAORGANICBALM

Announcing the shortlist for the #MMHA16

BADGE2It’s the 7th of the 7th – so lucky for some – and hopefully for the following twenty products and brands that we’ve selected for this year’s Mummy Must Have Awards Shortlist. 

This year’s awards will be voted down to a final ten winners via likes on Instagram and retweets on Twitter – so show some love for the ones you rate highest and there will be some incentives and competitions along the way to make the voting more exciting 😉

Editor writes: this year’s shortlist was actually something of a challenge as we had so many fabulous submissions and suggestions. Our criteria for the #MMHA has always been quite broad in terms of category, but infinitely comes down to one simple fact: this product is bl**dy brilliant! Big thanks as usual to all the input from our writers and celeb mums and congratulations to all included in the shortlist…

The #MMHA16 Shortlist is as follows – in no particular order: 

Lilly and Sid Baby Blankets: in a world of blankies, these are the ones that kids would choose for themselves. Soft, washable, durable, ethical – you’ll find these well loved and still on the beds of pre-schoolers. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHALILLYANDSID
Nuna Leaf  Baby Seat: This clever baby rocker has a one-of-a-kind side to side floating motion and grows with your child to become a comfy toddler armchair. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHANUNALEAF

Chillipeeps:
we love these little teats and spouts, which can be popped in a handbag or changing bag and are the perfect size to fit into a ready mix formula carton or a bottle of water. Reusable and dishwasher-proof, they are possibly the best £7 you’ll spend… To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHACHILLIPEEPS
aden+anais Muslins and Dream Blankets: with a constantly evolving range of gorgeous but understated designs, these muslins and blankets really do get softer with each wash and are roomy, for snug as a bug swaddling and snuggling. We love the latest Disney collaboration prints as well as the chic classic designs. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHAADENANDANAIS
Pacapod Jasper: loved by celebs ranging from Benedict Cumberbatch to Zara Phillips, the Pacapod’s unique pod system means that you can just ‘grab and go’. We adore the Jasper’s chic leather outer, spacious interior and general elegance – and the fact that it crams 35 litres of baby clobber into one hardworking handbag. To vote on social media use hashtag:  #MMHAPACAPOD
Tiffany Rose: celeb mum Becky Mantin told us “I love Tiffany Rose for pregnancy & nursing clothes” and we fully agree; stunning designs, flattering fit and the occasion wear really does make one feel ladylike and special (even in the third trimester). To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHATIFFANYROSE
Boden Mac: we had great deliberation about the perfect ‘school run coat’, but in the end (thanks to the unpredictability of the British Summer) the Boden Mac was the clear winner. Showerproof, with a hood to keep your hands free and pockets big enough to hold Fruit Shoots, car keys, wipes and bits of toast – this coat comes in a range of vibrant or classic colourways and means you’ll always look ‘together’ no matter how late you are running…  To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHABODENMAC
Bambini & Me Rompers: we think Bambini & Me is definitely a ‘one to watch’ brand and we fell in love with the adorable range of rompers and bodysuits, made with skin-friendly bamboo. The range also includes swaddles and sleeping bags – all very unisex and deeply delightful. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHABAMBINIANDME
Bee Good Plump and Firm Moisturiser: made with British wildflower honey and hyluronic acid, this day cream packs an absolute suckerpunch of tightening, glowgiving and nourishing – so much so that we swear you can go without makeup. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHABEEGOOD
The Organic Balm Co Baby Mother and Baby Nourish Balm: a one stop solution for stretch marks, rough elbows, sensitive baby skin, dry feet, eczema… You name it, this delicious blend of vitamins, omega 3’s and hemp seed oil can zap it! The pump dispenser makes it changing-bag friendly too… To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHAORGANICBALM


Bobux Shoes
: designed for little feet to have the freedom of being barefoot, this range of padders, first walkers and toddler shoes is not only created to allow healthy development but the comfortable fit also ensures ‘stay-ability’ if you have a child who insists on throwing their footwear off in the supermarket…Check out the latest collaboration with Solene Roure also. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHABOBUX
Belly Bandit Tummy Tucker: your new best friend when it comes to blitzing the baby belly, this postpartum secret is made from medical grde, latex free elastic and is recommended by doctors – as well as being loved by celeb mums including Camilla Rutherford, who called it ‘Mother’s Little Helper…’ To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHABELLYBANDIT

Mon Breton: we’re big fans of the Breton top as a ‘throw on with jeans and you don’t notice the yoghurt stains’ mummy-dressing solution. Mon Breton have pushed the boundaries of a timeless classic by allowing you to personalise with initials or cute emojis. Go matchy-matchy with their men’s and kids’ range too… To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHAMONBRETON
Oh Arthur: This trio of ladies have put together a ridiculously cute collection of childrenswear and accessories – making them undoubtedly one of our favourite boutique startups. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHAOHARTHUR
Baby Bjorn One Outdoors:  real game-changer if you like to a) babywear b) yomp or c) want no limits on where you and baby can explore. Festivals, hill climbs, fun runs… this carrier can take on the elements and is ergonomicaly designed for comfortable carrying from birth to three years. Lovely colourways too! To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHAONEOUTDOORS
Laurence King Colouring Books: Jasmine Guinness told us “, you can never go wrong with a colouring book and pencils, it’s such a nice thing to do and luckily the kids agree. Creativity is so important.” And when it comes to fabulous, innovative colouring books we adore the range from Laurence King Publishing, such as ‘To the Moon, the World’ Tallest Colouring Book’. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHALAURENCEKING
Doona: this carseat-come-stroller really has broken the mould when it comes to practical design and out-of-the-box thinking. Laura Hamilton told us “this is one of my all-time favourites.  It is so convenient for travelling or even if you need to pop out quickly.  So many people comment on it when they see it because it’s such a clever invention.” To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHADOONA
Nappy Grab bags: wipes, cream, nappy and mat all in one pocket-sized solution. Biodegradable, simply roll it all up and bin it afterwards. Keep one in the car, under the buggy, in your coat pocket – life suddenly got a whole lot simpler! To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHAGRABBAG
Splashabout Wetsuits: the brand that brought you Happy Nappies now has a range of wetsuits for children and babies (including one that integrates the famous nappy pants), meaning that kids will stay in the water for longer without getting cold – and easing the transition from warmer baby pools to regular/outdoor pools (or English seaside paddles!). Adorable designs and a range of lengths/sizes – Beyonce’s daughter loves the ‘Apple Daisy’ one. To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHASPLASHABOUT
Smalls: layer up with these merino wool tops and leggings that are so pretty they work as outerwear or PJs too. Brilliantly breathable, your kids will be warm and toasty (but not uncomfortable or sweaty). Merino stays cleaner for longer (less washing) and it doesn’t sag, bag or shrink. Fab underlayers for flights, camping trips and puddle jumping…To vote on social media use hashtag: #MMHASMALLS

We hope you like our selection and will show your support by giving your favourites some social media love. The votes will be counted on August 4th and the final ten winners announced.

One last thing: we have two extra award categories this year, both of which will be voted for by our editorial panel and guest judges. They are Buggy Love (our stroller category) and Better World (our charity and ethical partnership award). Watch the site for more details on both of these.