I’m – as most people know – one of those people who does the school run in RayBans whatever the weather. I’m big on lack of eye contact before 9am. I don’t wear glasses for reading but I’m fairly fastidious about different pairs of shades for driving, running and creating an air of haughtiness at the school gates.
And all of this is before I start rotating pairs to avoid panda eyes.
I chose the Amanda design, which comes in tortoiseshell (my choice) or black because a) I wanted to try out a really wide cat eye shape on my face and b) the name Amanda makes me think of the badass chick on Revenge.
First thing I noticed was they are SUPER LIGHT. I thought my trusty Raybans Aviators were barely there, but these are several grams lighter. So they are really comfy and great for driving.
I loved the shape too – they are bigger than the website picture implies (very Dita von Teese) and really flattering (translation: they hide all your eye bags yet make you look like you’ve thought about your outfit.)
They’re about a quarter of the price of Raybans; so a good option to stock up on if your pesky offspring keep ‘borrowing’ (ie breaking) your more expensive ones… I’m coveting the super girlie Gwendolyn pink shades too… (as I said: I’m an addict!)
Made from Barley Grass, Spirulina & Wheat Grass and other key ingredients to boost everyday energy, this supplement is part of a range from OrganAx that can be taken daily.
Editor writes:“Daily Boost promises to improve one’s energy levels (yep, after six months of doing night feeds I definitely need that), balance blood sugar (ie less irrational shouting at my big kids when they’ve polished off my stash of chocolate buttons) and increase libido (which I think I misplaced in the drawer with the huge maternity pants…)
It comes as a big jar of greenish looking powder, which you mix with either a) a smoothie (delicious) or b) non-dairy milk (an acquired taste).
I also found that you can add it to soup, porridge or an Elly Pear style ‘rainbow pot’ (ie leftovers) and barely notice the addition, but DO NOT try and down a spoonful chased down with water as it’s like swallowing frogspawn (I imagine). My husband chucked some into pancake mix, but I’m not going to applaud this as he smothered said pancakes in maple syrup afterwards.
There are so many fruits, veggies and good things in this that you’ll feel smug just reading the label. Definitely more than any person with children (as opposed to those svelte, Fabletics-clad twenty-somethings you see power walking, clutching their Nutribullet cup) would consume in a day.
Notable inclusions are baobab (which is currently meant to be the cure for everything) and guarana (which used to be on sale as an ‘energy boost’ at the sort of festivals I went to in the ’90s).
I definitely feel ‘good’ after two weeks of a scoop per day. I’m not sure about any weightloss and I haven’t turned into a Playboy Bunny overnight, but I do feel a bit more like Super Mum. Which is guess is down to all the superfoods, right..?”
OrganAx Green Superfood Daily Boost costs £29.99 for a month’s supply. It is not recommended to be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Order online here.
Editor writes: “I love baby-wearing. It took me a while to get into it; with child #1 I believed the hype that ‘some babies just don’t like to be carried’, but really, it all comes down to finding the perfect sling for you and your child. And the finding the right tension.
Child #2 was all about being carried. From the jersey ‘moby’ wrap I carried him up and down the hospital ward in to the Ergobaby we climbed a mountain with. Even Dad got in on the action (although he preferred the shape of a BabyBjorn.)
By child #3 I’d realised what works for 6 months maybe isn’t the best all-round solution. Those moby wraps stretch if you don’t keep tightening them and there comes a point when picking things up from the floor whilst wearing a baby isn’t an option. The Ergobaby design is great but the straps can be quite chunky (especially in Winter when you need to put a coat on over the top).
The Mei Tai carrier principle is really simple; it has no clips buckles, you simply place your child on your front or back and wrap the tie straps around you. Unlike a moby wrap, the ‘baby bit’ is a complete piece of material to support front or back, so there is no guesswork. In short, it’s a bit like popping your baby into the top of a pinny and tying it in securely.
Like other ergonomically designed carriers, the Mei Tai means that your child will sit in a ‘spread squat’ position, for healthy spine and hip development. Personally, I would say this carrier is a great option if you want the versatility of a wraparound (ie being able to toss it in your bag) but a little bit more support (ie enough to have hands free for shopping bags and siblings).As with all carriers, you’ll need to fiddle around a bit to find the optimum tension – I found putting it on in front of a mirror was helpful (not least because my narcissistic child was distracted by his reflection) but also to check the straps aren’t twisted. A few goes and it will be second nature. And because the straps are just (albeit reinforced) cotton, you won’t need to rock that ‘cardigan on backwards’ look because your jacket will still fit over your shoulders.
The carrier comes in three colourways. We tested the ‘Earth’ one, which is blue and brown striped. I thought at the time that it was quite subtle, but as I seem to have bought some very similar sofa cushions recently, the pattern obviously had a more lasting effect on me!”
The Amazonas Mei Tai is available to buy online from Funky Giraffe RRP £43.90
Timex have a new range of children’s watches, both analog and digital, designed to help the younger ones learn to tell the time and give the slightly older ones a durable, fashionable, easy read option.
SM tester writes: “Oh gosh I dread that point when my kids get to learning-the-time age. I know it is a rite of passage and a key life skill, but there is so much to the process that just does not compute to a five-year-old brain. “Why is it 15 past and not 3 past?” “But Mum, you just said it was quarter past?” Aaargh!
In this case the difficulty is compounded by the fact that Caspar is very much more contrary than his sisters were. Up is Down most days, you know the sort…?
Timex are obviously a stalwart watch brand; my own first watch was a Timex. One of those ones with the black leather strap and white face and is the sort of ‘design classic’ you’d imagine the secretaries in Mad Men wearing. It’s also the sort of brand that can be easily repaired (I remember going in to the High St jewelers and having batteries changed and straps replaced as a child.)
We reviewed one of the new kids’ collection. Ours was orange and green, with a friendly looking octopus on it. Clock-topus, my son calls it. It is water resistant (for when they forget to take it off for swimming, or over zealous hand-washing) and you can adjust the strap. The face is plastic, making it a bit lighter and less likely to smash during playground footie.
Better still, the hour and minute hands are marked ‘hour’ and ‘minute’ and are different colours. The minutes are then marked in their increments (five past, ten past). So it’s easier to comprehend but still has some semblance of a traditional clock face – so what has been learned this way doesn’t then need to be re-explained.
The other handy thing is that the adjustment dial is quite difficult for little fingers to alter (unlike the Gro Clock, which every one of my children has reset from an early age!) so the chances are the time set will stay in line with GMT.
I’d love to say that when asked what the time is my son precociously tells me that it is half past three; more likely he’ll still yell ‘Dinner Time!’ and chase me ’round the garden like a maniac. But, he hasn’t taken it off yet and – as we know with fickle five year olds – that in itself is something positive…”
The Timex Kids’ range starts at £24.99 and is available online from Timex or in many high street stores.
The Bobux Rove is a closed toe, leather and suede combination sandal. Perfect for the warmer summer months, they come in navy or black in sizes 27-33. RRP £49. We tested…
Editor writes:“Here are two types of kids’ sandals. On the left, a pair of Crocs. On the right a beautifully designed suede and leather pair of Bobux shoes, built in-line with best foot health practice and podiatrist endorsed.
Only one pair is currently permitted at my son’s nursery. Can you guess which it is? Yep… The Crocs.
There is obviously so much wrong with that rule – don’t even get me started. Especially when my son (a middle child who lives for running, jumping, climbing trees and climbing the wrong way up slides) won’t keep shoes on his feet if they’re not comfy.
Apparently – and maybe you have the same logic at your nursery – the reason Crocs are permitted is because they have solid/closed toes. The reasoning being that if a health and safety fail meant that a box of LEGO fell on your child’s foot, the toe of a Croc would protect them from a trip to the nurse’s office. Hmmm…
Bobux do have a selection of open toed sandals too (I’ll point out here). I’m personally a fan of kids’ feet having as much fresh air as possible in the Summer – and bar an excursion that involved pebbles, mud or gravel – I would happily have them go open toed from March til October. But I opted for the Rove as they give the option of kicking a ball around (or alternatively kicking one’s heels up in a two-year-old tantrum.)
Now, my son knows what a box from Bobux looks like. He knows that inside there will be tissue wrapped shoes that fit his feet like gloves (except obviously, not like gloves!) and furthermore he knows that when a box comes from Bobux, it is for him. He doesn’t need to be told about the fact that they keep his feet healthy and aid correct posture and growth. To him they look and feel fantastic and he can’t wait to put them on. This occasion was no different and in seconds the new sandals were on his feet (surprisingly, on the correct feet too) and he was off into the garden…
Because these shoes are so light, they don’t need to be removed to bounce on a trampoline and the vents around the toes mean that sandpit sand just falls out – with a bit of dinosaur stomping. The sandals are leather, but the odd puddle doesn’t really matter and you can just give them a wipe with a damp cloth in the case of paint, glitter or marmalade spillages.
On the first night of owning these sandals, my son wore them to bed. Of course, once he was snoring away, clutching his beloved bunny, we wiggled them off him. However, if we had left them on, I honestly think he would have slept just as soundly.
The way these shoes fasten is really clever as it looks like a popper, but is actually an adjustable velcro strap. Really easy to make sure the shoes are on firmly; not too tight but, you know, so one can’t be hurled in a strop or come loose in the supermarket whilst you’re distracted.
I can’t fault these sandals and neither can my son. Which is why I shall be flying the controversy flag and sending him to nursery wearing them.
Editor writes:I’ll say it: this might be the best bra you’ll ever own. Whether you plan to breastfeed, or pound the streets with your trainers on, if childbirth has rendered you larger than a D cup, this bra not only gives great support, but is super comfortable and incredibly flattering.
If you are actually a gym bunny and looking to squeeze in a quick workout between feeds then even just putting this bra on will make you feel like a streamlined professional athlete – it has awesome hold andsupports at the back to help your posture plus the straps don’t ride down whilst you are moving your arms. There is almost no bounce (even jogging) and the mesh paneled boob-divider bit in the middle means no sweaty cleavage (yes, I know, sorry…)
If you just want a day to day nursing bra, obviously Cake have a huge range (including their new Sugar Candy plus sized collection) but the Zest bra will double up as an everyday option. Despite the sporty colourways (grey/turquoise/yellow or black/orange) it gives you great shape under a tshirt or jersey dress (I’m a big fan of those Baukjen throw on dresses and they work wonderfully with this bra)
The nursing clips are really solid – they don’t ping off like some do when you have a lot of milk – and they’re very easy to snap on and off. Because this bra gives a lot of support, if you do find yourself walking around between feeds/expression having forgotten to do them up, your breasts won’t notice at all.
As a brand, Cake is loved by the super-perky likes of Pink and Miranda Kerr… as well as hundreds of mums.
The Zest bra is available online or in stores, RRP £46.90
If you’ve seen the current issue of the magazine you’ll have seen that our latest Buggy Love came in the sunshiney yellow form of the Aurora from Ickle Bubba.
We agreed this is a versatile little lightweight buggy, ideal for toddlers who mostly-but-not-always want to walk (or those who’ll skip all the way to soft play, but sleep all the way home!)
Whilst it does operate as a travel system (with the help of the Galaxy car seat) we think this one comes into its own in the ‘just walking’ gap as it is light enough to carry on your back as well as fitting into the tiniest of car boots.
SM tester writes: “my daughter was 9lb at birth and at five months was nearly twice that. ‘She’s a healthy weight’ was what everybody said… but to me it meant one thing: havoc on my back.
When you have other children to contend with also, you often find yourself picking your baby up at an odd angle anyway (ie you forget to bend from the knee etc) because chances are at the same time you’re trying to entertain a toddler by doing keepie-uppies with a balloon or you’re kicking a bit of lego under the sofa because you can’t be bothered to tidy it up… Sound familiar? (It’s not just me, right?)
Anyway – I had this Utopian idea that when the new baby came along the Bugaboo would come back out of the shed and we’d be nipping about in it. But what in fact happened when the buggy was re-introduced was that the bigger kids just wanted to ride in it again.
So, Plan B; put the baby in a carrier, push the buggy.
What I liked most about the Ergobaby Adapt was the simplicity. Once you’ve fiddled around to set the straps the way you want them, you hardly need to adjust them again, just clip the carrier on and off each time. With the Adapt you don’t need a newborn insert and the baby is right next to your chest (and more to the point, boobs) and their bottom is snugly held in place by the bucket seat, which is roomy enough for my chubby daughter and is fairly wriggle-proof.
The sleep-hood feature is useful too, not just for head support but also for privacy. Essentially, this carrier is a doddle to use and you can comfortably carry not just a heavy baby but also a toddler without straining your back. The multiple positions mean it functions as a front and back carrier, depending on yours and your child’s preference.
It’s also worth mentioning, unlike some carriers, this one can just go in the washing machine if there’s a ‘little accident’. “
The carrier comes in black, grey, admiral and azure blue and is available from Mothercare and John Lewis, or online.
If you’ve recently discovered the dashcam concept, you’ll be aware of one thing: you really need a dashcam! From improving your insurance costs to generally making you a safer driver, it’s a clever little box that is not just for auto geeks and Jeremy Clarkson.
SM tester writes:OK, I thought, I’m way more aware of myself behind the wheel now than I was when I was 19. As my husband says, having three kids in the car takes all the fun out of driving… In the *touch wood* event of an accident I would be mortified if it were my fault…
Driving up to Yorkshire on Boxing Day, in near standstill traffic on the M11, a white Toyota Yaris pulled in front of me from the inside lane without warning or signal. The passenger was asleep, complete with a duvet and pillow and the driver was wearing pyjamas. How do I remember this? I don’t really – I remember braking sharply – but the rest I know because I have it on film.
No one was hurt – nothing was damaged… But if it had been, I would have all the evidence in a police/insurance and (heaven forbid) ambulance friendly playback device. My car’s own black box.
There are other perks that – on a day to day level – are more positive. The alerts telling you when there are speed cameras, for starters. Or those telling you when you are drifting out of lane (although this does go off when you overtake) and the one that tells you if you are too close to a car in front (although again, this does go off randomly sometimes when City driving).
If you happen to be an off-roader, the dashcam is the ultimate gloating tool; you can upload the footage of your adventurous drive straight to Facebook or your blog.
The dashcam sits in the windscreen and if you leave it on when parked you’ll have a record of anyone tailgating you, or trying to force entry to your car. Or – foxes sleeping on the bonnet…
If you’re super old-skool and can’t function unless everything is written down, the Mum’s Office range of diaries is wonderful way to keep your brain in order throughout 2017.
With loads of room on the left hand side of the page for everything you need to do each week (it’s ‘space-generous’ enough to use this page as a work organiser) and then columns on the right hand side so that you can match up your plans with the commitments of your children, husband and pets. Ergo avoiding accidentally forgetting to pick one of them up from football practice or dropping your toddler with the dog groomers.
If you have more than three kids, probably worth getting the Big Family version (also a good option if you have large handwriting, lol) but the bestselling Mum’s Diary (or even the mini version) are better choices if you carry a smaller handbag. The Big Family diary works great in a Birkin or a large tote tho.
The diaries also include sections for notes, useful info, year plans, term dates etc and with both the Big Family Diary and Mum’s Diary you can slot in receipts, permission slips, party invites blah blah into the back cover and hold the whole lot shut with the elastic fastener. There is also an elastic to hold a pen.
The hardback cover on these diaries comes in delicious (Smythson like) colourways ranging from super girlie pink, hipster orange – to uber chic champagne or French Navy. We adore the Seafoam colourway best; it’s so calming… (and we all need a bit of that when it comes to organizing a family!)