Category Archives: Features

#MothersDayWeek – Helen Wooldridge of Cuddledry

Helen and Polly’s amazing Cuddledry concept – the apron towel that makes bathtime less stressful – won over five dragons and is now a hugely successful multi-award winning brand.

Helen and Jasper 2

We were delighted that Helen took time to answer our Mother’s Day questions:

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

Helen: firstly watching my nine year old son in a rugby match, and then being surprised by my kids – or so they tell me!

Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?

Helen: my mother says always make sure you don’t just cleanse, but use a good toner before you moisturise. She has lovely soft, young skin in her seventies, so I am trying to remember to do as she says!


#MothersDayWeek – Sally Hall from Dorothy and Theodore

dolly and teddy

Sally Hall, is the founder and Director of online boutique Dorothy and Theodore.

We asked her if she has a beauty tip her mother or grandmother gave her to share and she gave us a brilliant answer!

Sally: “Keep a light lipgloss in the kitchen cupboard – if the doorbell rings unexpectedly, a slick of lipgloss, will make you feel ready for any visitor regardless of the onesie you may be wearing!”

Editor’s pick: Make a Mother’s Day with the beautiful yellow leather changing bag from Dorothy and Theodore collection…

#MothersDayWeek – Gina Conway of Gina Conway salons and spas

Gina Conway runs Gina Conway Aveda Lifestyle (4 salons and spas in London) and has just launched an at-home service because as a busy mum she knows how hard it is to fit me-time in at a salon…

portrait or Gina Conway by JB

She took the time to answer our Mother’s Day Week questions…

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

Gina: I am planning on doing a lucky winner’s hair for Mother’s Day. We’re running a Facebook competition for daughters to submit their mothers for eligibility for this prize so we can pamper the mums who need it the most. As a mom of 3 I know what hard work it is so I’m looking forward to being the one doing the winner’s hair – I’m totally into giving back. I want to make women feel amazing and am committed to nurturing all women no matter of income or age.

Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?
My mom always told me that I could dye my hair purple if I really wanted to (and at the time I wanted to cause I was a rebel) but the way she said it was “Of course you can, (making it difficult for me to rebel against) but just remember, you’re the one who’s going to have to walk around with purple hair…”

Gina Conway, Owner, Gina Conway Salons and Spas

#MothersDayWeek – Wendy Shand of Tots to Travel


Wendy Shand, SM of three, Mumpreneur and Founding Director of luxury baby-friendly holiday company, Tots To Travel took the time to answer our Mother’s Day Week questions.

Tots To Travel is a specialist luxury baby/toddler-friendly holiday company set up by Wendy after disaster struck during  a family holiday when her two-year old son fell into a swimming pool – luckily he was ok. The Tots To Travel team visit every resort, hotel, and cottage they list to ensure they are child-safe and suitable for families. They also ensure all properties with pools are secure and  include an Essential Kit (with steriliser, stair gate, bath toys, blender, black-out blinds etc)  so parents don’t have to squeeze it all in their suitcase.

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

“My blissful Mother’s Day will be spent with is a long, lovely breakfast, (poached eggs, bacon and avocado, a delicious healthy juice (also a beauty tip from me as it’s  an indulgent breakfast, yet healthy) somewhere very relaxed, ideally lingering in one of our UK cottages.

Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?

“After a busy day juggling family and business life, I love nothing more than a reviving bath with a few handfuls of Epsom Salts and a sprinkle of lavender oil. Epsom salts are  known to help detox the body, reduce bloating, and help put the pep back into your skin.”

#MothersDayWeek – Helen Cook of Mellow Duck

Image: Roco Mag

Mellow Duck’s gorgeous and vibrant range of upholstered pods  includes Pouffes, Stools, Footstools and Side Tables; the perfect treat for tired feet or handy seating for unexpected guests.  They offer an easy way to bring a dash of colour to contemporary or traditional design schemes.

Director Helen Cook took on our Mother’s Day Week questions…

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

Helen: I will be spending some of Mother’s Day watching my son play hockey …which is always exciting….. fingers crossed he will get to the next stage in the selection process to play for Yorkshire! Before the match I’m cycling with a friend ….and afterwards I plan to chill, no cooking or anything domestic, might just stretch to reading the paper. The boys are always great at remembering it’s Mother’s Day and know what I like from the wonderful beauty shop in Ilkley….

Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?

Helen:The beauty tip I received was “moisturise, moisturise”, face & neck, day and night – I use a mix of Boots #7 Protect & Perfect Serum and Clarins Extra Firming Night cream (for day wear too!) and feel absolutely distraught if I go away and forget either.  Hopefully it’s paying off as I get older…..

Last year my eldest bought me a clock….. a “wine o clock” clock with bottles instead of umbers……mmmm, not such a great role model then!!

#MothersDayWeek – Meghna Patel of Mahi Naturals

Meghna Patel is the director of Mahi Naturals, who import skincare from Australia and distribute in the UK to wholesalers and retailers like Wholefoods, Planet Organic and John Bell & Croyden. Brands include  Hope’s Relief, Australia’s No.1 natural and award winning range for eczema and suitable for babies from birth through to adults. Meghna is a mum to two boys.

MP pic 4 2014

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

Meghna: My family together with my parents and my in laws so that everyone has there mum there and our kids have both grandmothers there too! We will be having a meal at home and spending the afternoon together.

Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?

Meghna: I have always been told that rubbing warm olive oil into the hair ends and scalp then keeping it in overnight and washing it out the next day helps to moisturise and condition the hair as a regular monthly treatment. My mother used to do it for me when I was little and I try to do it now especially in winter when the heating dries everything out. I was also told that chickpea flour in milk makes a good exfoliating face mask although I admit I have never tried this!

#MothersDayWeek – Rachel Lowe MBE

Rachel Lowe is a succesful Mumpreneur and the founder of  Destination Board Games and She Who Dares
Despite the fact that Dragon’s Den didn’t opt for her board game, Rachel’s tenacity resulted in the Destination game being launched in Hamley’s in 2004. Rachel was awarded an MBE in 2009 and had a heroic story detailed on Panorama – read more here.
We are honoured that she took the time to answer our SM Mother’s Day questions…
How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?
Rachel:  I will be spending Mothers Day with my beautiful girls and we will also be spending time with my mum. 
We love a traditional roast dinner so that’s what will be on the menu! 
Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?
Rachel: I do have some beauty tips from my mother AND my grandmother. My mum always said to me when moisturising your face, remember to also do your neck, chest and hands. As when you get older these are the give-away regions. My mum also used to say when shaping your eyebrows never take from the top, as that’s your natural shape, always create the arch from below. I think there is a lot to be said for this! And the more natural you can keep your look, the less work you actually have to do to maintain it. My Nan always had defined eye brows. Her tip was to always own a good eyebrow pencil. My nan also always had good hair. Always tidy. No point in spending time on your make-up if your hair is scruffy, so giving yourself those extra few minutes to make an effort will make you feel so much better in yourself.

#MothersDayWeek – Shona McLeod of Shonamac

Every day this week we will be celebrating mothers and asking SM’s we love to share with us their Mother’s Day moments and also their inherited beauty tips.

We are really happy to be kicking off with the brilliant Shona McLeod, founder of Shonamac – the unique reselling service offering pre-loved designer goodies to 30,000 customers over twelve years. Shona juggles hot to trot Jimmy Choo bargains and vintage Prada with being a SM to four children.

Our SM Mother’s Day Questions:

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

Shona:  I will have all four of my children at home and so after breakfast in bed and presents(!), we will be taking our two dogs for a long walk in Richmond Park before a local pub lunch. The girls will then be back off to boarding school in the afternoon so it will probably be an episode of The Walking Dead with the boys…

Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?

Shona: My grandmother used to wear very little makeup but she used Ponds Cream on her face every night and had the most perfect complexion. So I have always moisturised, even as a teenager – and hopefully it is paying dividends now.


Got a designer piece you never wear and want to sell at a potentially higher rate than EBay? Check out

#SM Sleep Week: The Serenity Star from aden + anais

In ’round off to our Sleep Week features, one of our SM testers tried the Serenity Star from aden + anais out on her newborn son.
The lowdown: this nifty little gadget is a night light, sound machine, temperature monitor, feeding timer – and usefully also (for new mums) a clock to see how many hours left til bedtime or what time ‘Neighbours’ is on TV.
Our SM Tester says: I am currently in the magical and dream-like state of dealing with a two-week old newborn. Gone are my cravings for macaroni cheese (although the calorie content can still be found on my thighs) and in are sleepless nights and stitches.
However, this is not a new experience for me: with a toddler of two and a half already, the newborn housemate has no choice but to get with the programme and chip in. No neatly folded, carefully ironed clothes; no time to spend endless hours gazing at his peaceful sleeping face; no point cooing over the mustard factory in his nappy.
In fact, it is like someone has pressed fast-forward on my life and suddenly everything needs to be done in half the time. I don’t have time to sing for hours on end, nor to carefully log each feed in my leather bound ‘baby book’; the room thermometer from my first child is gathering dust in the corner and we don’t have a night light – quite frankly, I forgot to buy one.
I feel guilty. My second child is every bit as precious as my first, but I just do not have the time to spend fussing and fretting as before. I want the essentials for my second – out with the worries and in with the necessities. Security; safety; food; cleanliness and, above all, love.
The good thing I found about the aden+anais Serenity Star is that is does just that. For me, this handy little gadget gets rid of the fuss and gives you exactly what you want. With features including a clock, temperature check, nightlight, sound machine and even a feeding diary, I had everything myself and my precious second bundle needed, in one place.
The star shape looks attractive in our (sadly not yet re-done) blue and white nursery and the mains and battery options means it is easily transportable too. The low-level soft light is bright enough to make a warm glow in the room, but not too bright that it causes him to wake up (tick box for feeling secure and giving Mummy extra sleeping time). The temperature check with a blue glow for ‘cold’, ‘red’ for hot and ‘white’ for just right (how very Goldilocks), means I don’t need to scramble around tiptoeing trying to check if he is about to freeze or boil without putting the light on and waking him up (tick box for safety). The sound machine plays two varieties of lullabies as well as having a setting for omitting white noise and a heartbeat, means I can make my little one feel snug, whilst reading a story to my toddler downstairs. And,lastly, the feeding diary means my frazzled brain has one less thing to think about.
But most of all, this product is something new. New for him.  And special. It may have all the features we have already seen, but not in this package. Just like my second child.

#SMSleepWeek: Swaddle Style

Swaddling is an age old and wide-respected technique for settling babies into slumber – also aiding colic, providing comfort and a womb-like sensation for the sleeping baby – and we’ve found that despite looking (in a textbook) like doing a bit of origami with your wee one, in fact, the trick is identifying the type of baby you have and matching it with the right swaddling product.

Best Classic Swaddle:  we award this to Aden + Anais, with their supersized, supersoft swaddles that come in a range of beautiful designs (and hey – if they were good enough for Prince George). They double up as a pram shade, burp cloth – just general SM accessory (our Ed ties one to her Mulberry Bayswater )

Our SM tip with these is that the more you wash them the softer they get, so if you are struggling to make the ends ‘tuck’ then iron down a couple of corners first before you use – this gives them a bit more ‘stick’.

Best for Wriggly Babies: we adore the Love to Dream Swaddle UP for wrigglers. It was often thought (taught, chastised…) that if your baby likes to move its arms then you should simply swaddle tighter. But in fact, as long they can keep their arms as warm and snug as the rest of them,  they love the ability to rub their noses, suck whatever is going and generally wave their arms in the air in a baby-rave style. This range caters for babies from birth up to 36 months; details include clever twin zippers, seams on the outside and gorgeous colourways.

Love To Dream

Best for Easy Peasy: the Maguari’s Miracle Blanket is uniquely shaped to make swaddling a doddle. Secure the baby’s feet in the bottom, then wrap both arms in and secure with velcro. Prevents scratching, crying and makes latching easier.  Suitable up to 14 weeks – which is so fleetingly swift that amongst our office we have passed them down, but wonder if the brand might not start a nationwide recycling programme?

Best Organic Cotton: The Gro Bag organic swaddle ticks all the boxes here, made from soft but warm organic jersey, and washable at 40 degrees, this is a great green product. Gro Bag work with The Lullaby Trust and the charity recommend their products.