Love or Hate Marmite? It’s genetic…

In a landmark scientific study, Marmite has discovered the reason why we love it or hate it – proving that the answer is in our genes. Over the past 12 months, Marmite has worked with one of the UK’s leading genetic testing centres – DNAFit – to conduct a clinical trial to determine whether there is a biological link to people’s taste preference for loving or hating Marmite.

Coined ‘The Marmite Gene Project’, the ground-breaking study has scientifically shown that people are born genetically more likely to be lovers or more likely to be haters of Marmite and conclusively shows that there is a genetic foundation to Marmite taste preference.

Cementing its reputation as the most loved and hated product of our generation, the genetic study recruited more than 260 healthy adults, with an equal split of men and women taking part across the UK.

Study participants were first asked to taste a 2g serving of Marmite on their tongue for 10 seconds, filling out a questionnaire to identify their assumed ‘love or hate’ Marmite taste preference and their reaction to Marmite once tasted.

Saliva cheek swabs were then taken from each participant to obtain DNA samples that were sent for genetic analysis to identify SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) associated with Marmite taste preference. More commonly known as ‘snips’, SNPs are single DNA building blocks that have an impact on specific traits.

A whopping 8,760 hours were spent swabbing, analysing and interpreting results. The Marmite Gene Project has identified 15 candidate SNPs that are linked to Marmite taste preference.

Thomas Roos (MSc Biology & MSc Clinical Research, Stanford University), Principal Investigator of The Marmite Gene Project at DNAFit, said: “Our research indicates that Marmite taste preference can in large parts be attributed to our genetic blueprint, which shows that each of us is born with a tendency to be either a ‘lover’ or a ‘hater’. Our data reveals that there are multiple genes that contribute towards this, and it is a really exciting discovery.”

However, Roos also offers hope for all Marmite lovers hoping to convert friends and families to the ‘love’ side of the spectrum.

 “Like anything in genetics, taste preference is dictated by both nature and nurture. Our environment can impact our taste preference as much as the genes we are born with.”

A scientific White Paper is available from today detailing the full findings. Gene Test Kits will be available to buy from so people can discover for themselves whether they were born Marmite lovers or haters.

Philippa Atkinson, Marmite Brand Manager, said: “For over a century we too have been questioning why the nation is so clearly divided between love or hate for Marmite. Finally, we have the answers. The DNA data provides a glimpse into our taste preferences. While it’s fascinating looking at the data on this scale, the fun really starts when you test your own DNA and begin to delve into your own genetic make-up and see if you were born a lover or hater of Marmite.”

Avi Lasarow, CEO of DNAFit, said: “Advancing technology means we live in a world of increased appetite for highly personalised food and fitness information. These fascinating findings show again how each day we are understanding more and more about the role that genetics play in our daily lives. The mystery around Marmite is one of the great British food debates, and we are proud to have led this exciting research project.”

Join the conversation using #MarmiteGene.

The Lowdown: The Library of Fragrance

With the sad news that one of our fave brands is closing its UK distribution, we’re running the interview we did with them a little while ago so that you can read it whilst you bag yourself a bargain in their closing down sale...

We chatted to MARK CRAMES, CEO & Chief Perfumer, The Library of Fragrance

SM: How did the brand come about?

MC: The concept for Library of Fragrance was first developed by Christopher Brosius – a perfumer who hates perfume! Brosius had worked as a New York cab driver in the 1980s – a decade synonymous with many notoriously overpowering fragrances. Finding the clouds of his clientele’s perfumes too much to bear, Brosius set out to launch his own collection of single note fragrances that would, quite simply, capture and celebrate the wonderful smells that surround us in everyday life.  

SM: In the 90s the fragrances were quite quirky, right?

MC: Outside of Europe, The Library of Fragrance is known as Demeter and the brand just celebrated its 20th birthday, last year. The first three scents to launch in New York, in 1996, were Dirt, Grass, and Tomato. From there the ‘library’ of fragrance expanded rapidly and in the brand’s native USA, there are now over 300 scents to choose from. Over 100 of these are currently available in the UK within The Library of Fragrance – ranging from the expected, like Jasmine, to the completely unexpected, like Play-Doh.

SM: But now there seem to be a lot more ‘elegant’ ones?

MC: Whilst there are many quirky and unusual fragrances in the collection, as a brand, we strive to celebrate the scents of objects and experiences from life – no matter how odd or unusual – and ‘bottle’ them in wearable fragrance form. Colognes within the library range from the expected, like Jasmine and Bulgarian Rose, to the unusual, like Rain and Gin & Tonic, to the completely unexpected, like Thunderstorm and Play-Doh! We don’t discriminate – if you can smell it and it’s a pleasant smell – at least to some people – we’ll try to make it!

SM: Which are your best selling fragrances?

MC: Our best-seller in the UK – and indeed globally, is Baby Powder, which is inspired by the iconic scent of Johnson & Johnson baby talc. The scent of baby powder commonly makes those of us, from a certain generation in the western world, feel calm and cosseted. ‘Baby Powder’ is the best-selling The Library of Fragrance scent in the UK and enjoys a top three position globally, and this wouldn’t be the case if only those who had cared for young children and used baby powder were associating with it. Our olfactory system is the first to develop and we have a fully functioning sense of smell by the time we are twelve weeks old in the womb. This compares to our visual system, which takes several years after we are born to become mature enough to store and recall visual memories.  This likely means that whilst we may not have visual memories of baby powder, our brain connects the scent of baby powder to when we were cradled, soothed and cared for by our own parents & guardians. Interesting, Our Baby Powder cologne is not our best-seller in Germany, where the market-leading baby talc has a different fragrance.

 Other fragrances can be very popular in some countries and cultures, and not in others. Gin & Tonic, for example, is our third best-seller in the UK, enjoying significantly better success than in other countries where it is also available.  Naturally, this makes sense because Gin & Tonic is a popular drink in the UK.

SM: Are there any that you are surprised are so popular?

MC: Yes! We are constantly taken by surprise and we often have no idea about how popular a new fragrance is going to be before we launch it. A good example is Pixie Dust cologne; it’s a great fragrance, but we didn’t really expect it to sell at the rate it did, because it’s not really in line with the brand’s habit of creating ‘tangible’ scents (alas, we haven’t smelt actual Pixie Dust!) – but it obviously speaks to the more whimsical amongst us, and if anyone could prove what Pixie Dust actually smells like, I’m quite sure that our cologne would hit the mark. That said, we believe that the best-performing fragrances for us are those that tick at least three of the following boxes:

  • An enjoyable, long-wearing scent
  • Recognisable and ‘tangible’ to many different people
  • Relates to commonly held, positive memories
  • Represents a ‘thing’ that can remind us of people and their interests, hobbies or personalities, making it an ideal gift (ie: our Baby Powder and New Baby colognes are often bought for expectant mothers and our Gin & Tonic is very popular at Christmas – possibly because everyone knows someone whose favourite tipple is its namesake!)

SM: What inspires a new fragrance and how long does a new idea take to reach the shelves?

MC: Inspiration can come from anywhere – a place, an object, an email from a customer or a new material that’s created in the perfumery industry, which allows us to create the scent of something, accurately, for the first time. A good example is our Kitten Fur cologne, which is due to launch in the UK next month. I have been trying to create this scent for 15 years but it continued to allude me. Last year, I was sent a new material to smell and I just immediately thought of my own kitten, Dreads – and knew it was the ‘missing piece’ of the scent puzzle. However, much of the time, inspiration is closer to home. Pure Soap was created by me to capture the scent of my wife, who does not like to wear perfume but always uses Ivory Soap. In a similar breath, our Mountain Air was inspired by a family holiday to Alaska. The air was so pure and fragrant and I was moved to capture the scent in a bottle so that I could cherish the memories from that trip, anytime I liked. 

SM: The fragrances are blendable: create a bespoke combination for Slick Mummy Magazine please?

MC: For the Slick Mummy scent, I will take a punt with Orange Blossom + Rain + Gin & Tonic. It’s a fresh, summery and uplifting blend that’s instantly reviving, crisp, feminine and clean. And there is not a mother I know who does not deserve a gin & tonic!

SM: The bottles haven’t much changed in 20 years, have they?

MC: Not really, no. We believe that to achieve our mission of expanding the use and enjoyment of scent, each and every day, great fragrance has to be affordable. We bottle all our fragrances to order, at our own factory, in Pennsylvania, USA, which is how we are able to have such a vast collection of different scents to choose from and yet, keep our retail prices affordable. We also keep our prices low for our customers by keeping packaging to an absolute minimum – which allows us to spend money on the actual fragrance, rather than packaging that will be discarded.

For more info visit the website.

Mamas and Papas x Tiba + Marl AW17 collaboration launches Sept 18th

How exciting?! Two hero brands once more collaborate to create an exclusive buggy design and two stunning changing backpacks.

Building on their design partnership with parenting fashion duo Tiba + Marl, Mamas & Papas are delighted to unveil this season’s AW17 collaboration.
Brand new for AW17, the award winning Mamas & Papas Urbo2 pushchair sees a navy edition of Tiba + Marl’s signature leopard print showcased alongside its striking pewter chassis. To complete the look, a coordinating carrycot and footmuff also make up this distinctive collection.
Landing on 18th September, the collection will be available online and in-store. Also featuring two new changing bag designs, exclusive to Mamas & Papas – navy leopard print or metallic pewter design.

Kate’s pregnancy essentials…

Based on former pregnancies, we’re guessing The Duchess of Cambridge might be stocking up on the following…


Fearne Cotton’s tips for busy parents

Upfront of her book launch this week, Fearne shares some parenting tips:

1)   Try and look after yourself! As parents, we put ourselves at the bottom of the list and we look after our kids, our families and friends and then we get exhausted and are no use to anyone. Finding a little time in the week which is just for you seems impossible but is very important.

2)   Eat well! Again, sometimes when you are busy and on the run you forget to eat meals or you eat whatever is in the fridge. I think taking a bit of time in the evenings when the kids are asleep to look at what you are going to eat the next day, maybe make a packed lunch for work or when you are out with the kids. Make sure you’re fuelling your body so that you have the energy and the stamina to keep up with a really busy family life.

3)   Don’t beat yourself up. I say that for myself as well because sometimes when you’ve got kids you feel like you are doing everything wrong and you sort of end up cursing yourself and thinking ‘why did I do that?’ or ‘why didn’t I do that?’. We are all going to have good days, bad days, tough days, easy days, so don’t beat yourself up.

4)   Treat yourself! I think it is really important in the week, or even every day, to have a little treat or little moment that is just for you to celebrate being a parent and give yourself a pat on the back. For me it’s having a really nice coffee, or whether it’s having a chat on the phone with a really great friend, just little moments when you take time to give yourself a well done.

5)   Buy yourself a really good hat because I don’t think I have ever had time to brush my hair before taking my kids to nursery or school. So, get a good hat and pop it on your head – job’s a good’n!

Television and radio presenter and renowned yoga enthusiast, FEARNE COTTON, is releasing her first ever children’s book YOGA BABIES, this Thursday 7th September 2017.

Complete with fabulous images from highly respected illustrator Sheena Dempsey, Yoga Babies is a charming children’s picture book featuring a group of loveable yogi pre-schoolers; the beautiful illustrations highlight a range of yoga poses the characters are trying. As children are being read the book, they can either have a go at copying the poses or simply enjoy the story and spot the funny details in the pictures.

Publisher: Andersen Press, RRP: £9.99

Yoga Babies is released as a hardback on Thursday 7th September 2017, RRP £9.99.

(guest post)

Mamas & Papas are set to be the UK exclusive stockist of the limited-edition Bugaboo Buffalo Atelier pushchair

As of tomorrow, the brand new Bugaboo Buffalo Atelier will be sold exclusively in the UK at Mamas & Papas. To mark their five-year partnership together, Bugaboo has selected M&P to be their Uk stockist.

We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the Atelier model earlier this year at Bugaboo’s offices and must confess we were super smitten. The range (which also includes the Cameleon3) was essentially created to showcase the precision of the Bugaboo design team and it defines sleek, elegant quality in a buggy system. We cooed over the quilting and the leather-look handlebar plus and the stone melange colourway is really timeless. Obviously – as it is a Bugaboo – the mobility of the wheels is second to none.

The Bugaboo Buffalo Atelier (exclusive to M&P) retails at £1119 – Available in-store and online at

Louisa Grace Interiors Founder Claire McFadyen’s top tips on investing in childproof antiques

We all long for that perfect home balance of modern technology and easy to maintain products but do you find your love for antiques and vintage style can seem too hazardous to indulge in when you have sticky fingered, ball kicking, nail varnish wearing little darlings?!

The big question is – how can you invest in antiques that are childproof in order for you to make the style of family home you crave?  Well, I have been buying, selling and adding antiques and vintage pieces of furniture and accessories to my home for years and I haven’t stopped since having my two daughters, in fact, I think I have embraced it all the more.

Here are my top tips on buying antiques that will survive family life and still give your home the character and beauty you desire.

1 – Remember, antiques may be old but they are not always delicate.  There is a reason they have lasted for possibly hundreds of years and that is because they are well built, crafted from strong materials and made to last.  Make sure the item you are interested in still seems strong and sturdy and you can be sure it will survive family life

2 – Antiques make great storage solutions.  Consider investing in antique and vintage trunks as storage solutions for toys and games.  Once everything is packed away you are left with a beautiful piece of furniture to enjoy.  These are also great heirloom pieces for your children to treasure as they get older.

3 – Treat the item with the correct protection like beeswax or varnish (or both for the best solution of all!)

4 – Don’t be scared to invest in those more delicate items such as mirrors, just make sure they are safely and securely attached to a wall or shelf and out of the reach of little hands.

5 – Finally, buying antiques is also eco-friendly.  You are helping to teach your children that not everything has to be shiny and new.

Visit Louisa Grace Interiors website to find out more.

(Guest post)

SM reviews… The Ergobaby OMNI 360 carrier

Editor writes: “Ergobaby put a LOT of thought and effort into the design of their latest carrier. It has been designed to be ‘the only carrier you’ll need’ from newborn to preschool, with four carry positions (parent facing, world facing, hip and back) and no insert needed, even right from week one. 

I’ve been using Ergo’s a lot with my 3rd child, who is almost one. Sure, they might be a bit ‘more’ to carry with you (if it’s one of those ‘I’m not sure if we’ll need a buggy or a carrier’ situations) but lately, I have been challenging myself to just put the baby in the carrier and keep my hands free (for carrying bikes, scooters, shopping – or just gesticulating wildly!)

As my son has grown (well, he was never exactly a delicate flower…) I have been keen to encourage back-carrying, not least because I feel that he’ll be carried for longer like that (but also because it makes carrying scooters and waving one’s arms about whilst berating a sibling much more efficient.)

But due to a number of factors, I had mostly (to date) just been carrying him in the parent facing, front carrying mode. Which is fine, but makes tying shoelaces (your own or your kids’) tricky. Ditto when you drop your car keys on the floor you sort of have to limbo down to the floor. 

Enter the OMNI 360, in gorgeous, ‘go with anything’ Midnight Blue. First, we gave it a go in ‘world facing’, front carrying mode. Which was lovely for my son, but rubbish for me, as the newfound freedom of his arms meant that he was grabbing my phone, pulling things off shelves and reaching for Mummy’s wine o’clock tipple…

So then I went for it with the back carrying. You can either start with the baby on your hip and sort of shimmy them ’round to your back, or go for what some babywearing types call ‘the Santa sack toss’ where you just try and get them up there and the straps on in one seamless move. (Or – get your other half to position your child…)

Here’s a pro doing it…

With a wriggly baby, I found the easiest was to do the maneuver over the sofa or a bed – with the OMNI you are just doing the same Ergo thing in reverse (ie set the straps beforehand, pull on and clip). 

Back carrying with the OMNI is really effortless; on par with carrying a well fitting backpack. As the model on the Ergobaby website demonstrates, it is also possible to do it whilst wearing white jeans and without getting biscuit crumbs in your hair #winning. 

I shall try the hip position next and report back…

One of the other ‘new touches’ to the OMNI design is the ‘fanny pack’ bag which, when in its original clip position and on someone who is 5ft 4, sits literally on your foo-foo. As my other half said, you’d know about it if you were pickpocketed! Thankfully, you can detach it and – as it’s the perfect size for carrying keys, phones, bribery packets of chocolate buttons and the like – clip it to another part of the carrier.

Obviously, all the positions are hip-safe (because it’s an Ergo) and you can wash it on a warm cycle in the case of ‘little accidents’ (although here’s hoping you don’t have to do this too often…)”

Shop online for the new OMNI 360 – RRP £154.90

Parenting Style Coveted

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