#Win an Aspinal of London City Bag at #LuxuryBrandShow

London ladies: all you need to do to be in with a chance to win one of the lovely Marylebone or Mount St bags from hero brand Aspinal of London is pop down to The Luxury Brand Show today at Broadgate’s Exchange Square and fill out your details at their stand.

Loved by SM’s from Fearne Cotton to the Duchess of Cambridge, Aspinal’s bags are beautifully crafted and come in a delicious range of colours and styles.

Aspinal are also offering a free monogrammed journal with all purchases made at the event today.


This week’s Gin Cocktail is a G&T with an interesting twist, namely coconut water! Try it to believe it…

Thanks to She Knows for this one…


  • 4 ounces gin
  • 6 ounces coconut water


  1. Add ice to a cocktail shaker, filling three-quarters full. Add all the ingredients, cover and shake. Strain into a small cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.

Editor’s Tip: try using delicious organic Buko coconut water in the mix – a percentage of profits go towards protecting the rainforest so you can feel good from the inside to the tips of your karma…

What happened to all those girls who voiced Peppa Pig..?

If you’ve spent too many hours in front of the porcine princess random thoughts might begin to cross your mind: why is the kids’ room on the top floor if Daddy Pig is meant to be an architect and not fond of stairs? Do they ever eat bacon..? But possibly you might also ponder why – in the space of four series they have gone through three actresses to voice the lead role?

Does daily snorting turn them into unbearable divas? Is there some sort of curse on ‘she who plays the pig’? Or do the actresses themselves lead lives (ahem) peppered with intrigue?

Currently Peppa is played by child star and youngest ever BAFTA winner Harley Bird who hails from Rochdale and cites Catherine Tate as her idol.

Original Peppa – who also sings the really annoying theme tune – Lily Snowdon Fine is now living back in her native Vancouver and illustrating impressive graphic novels. Her connection with the show seems to be that her parents (Alison Snowdon and David Fine) went to film school with Peppa creator Mark Baker. Despite resembling a teen-angst Winona Ryder, Lily also voiced Barbie movies.

Cecily Bloom, who voiced Peppa in series two seemed to have abruptly abdicated the throne of the pink palace but seems to have been given a minor role (Lizzy Elf) in another Astley-Baker series Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. There were some other ‘culls’ circa series two, including axing Lily’s mother as Aunty Pig… Curiouser and curiouser.

So why three different girls? Maybe it came down to the producers’ instinctive approach. Mark Astley told Metro:‘,I’m proud to say we did no research into the preschool market, no child psychologists and we didn’t even have our own children at that point…’

Interestingly Candy Cat has also been played by three actresses. So might there have been a Cat-Pig spat..?

Holiday Hotlist… Ayo Body Polisher

One more essential to throw in the suitcase from a lovely new range we’ve just discovered called Ayo.

With a website peppered with incredible testimonials, we thought we’d check out what all the hype was about and instantly fell in love with the mood enhancing ‘Salute the Sun’ scent that is common throughout the range of body cleansers and moisturisers which was created by perfumier Azzi Glasser, featuring notes of Sicilian Bergamot and Mediterranean Lemon, as well as Jasmin Sambac, Geranium Bourbon and Rose Absolute, with the warmth of Indian Sandalwood, Patchouli and Vanilla Absolute.

The Body Polisher comes with a polishing cloth and contains Apricot Seed and Ecuadorian Ivory Palm to exfoliate the skin whilst Kigelia, Aloe Vera and Sweet Almond Oil hydrates, moisturises, conditions and softens.

SM tester says: ‘Mmmm-hmmm, this is truly the secret to getting holiday-ready skin, the smell is divine; like being in a Morroccan flower garden or something, heady but not overpowering. I have boys so it’s nice to have some ‘Mummy pampering’ in the shower and this is a great product – unlike a lot of grainy exfoliators a little really does go a long way and it doesn’t leave grit all over the shower. A little bit of a gentle scrub later and not only do you feel deeply cleansed but also super soft; it works wonders on ‘Mummy Belly’ skin that is dried out from stretch marks too. Dry feet are a thing of the past and I can’t stop stroking my own elbows…There’s almost no need for a seperate moisturiser – but Ayo make one, so, it would be rude not to!’

Available online from http://www.ayobeauty.com/

SM Chats to… David Audsley of DAIO

Hands up who has been here: you’re all dressed up and ready to go out to a family lunch, the kids are mud-free, wearing shoes on the right feet and your husband has found his only tie that hasn’t been used as a bridle for the hobby-horse. You’re in the car, everyone is strapped in, you’ve even downsized to a clutch bag instead of a changing bag. All is good in the world until three miles down the road you have that panic moment: Aaaaargh, I left the straighteners on!

More to the point, who knew that hair straighteners – after hot drinks – are the second biggest culprits when it comes to burns accidents for children? Not to mention the amount of house fires which originate from these appliances.

Enter hairdresser, Dad and design hero David Audsley and his DAIO invention, which not only safely stores straighteners so that little hands can’t pry them out to play, but also keeps them safe whilst heating up, cooling down – or if you’ve had a ‘blonde moment’ and left them on.

We caught up with him to find out about the product, his work with charities and why owning a DAIO will lead to a lot less ‘Aaargh!’ in the world…


SM: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, it’s a great product. We all have those OCD moments when it comes to straighteners, so we’re presuming your own partner had panic-moments too..?

David Audsley: Firstly, my pleasure and I’m really glad you like the product. Absolutely, but she probably didn’t panic often enough to be honest. The bedroom carpet, window sill and bedside table will vouch for that!

There was a particular moment when it really hit home for my wife and she realised how dangerous her straighteners could be and how easy it could be to have a nasty accident. My daughter Madison was two at the time and walked into the bathroom where my wife was getting ready grasping her straightening irons pretending to straighten her hair like mummy.

Luckily they hadn’t been on and weren’t plugged in because she actually picked them up and held them by the plates. It was a massive wake up call. It was then that I really started to develop the idea more and did massive amounts of research on child burns, house fires and the sheer amount of insurance claims from straightening irons… And it’s scary!

SM: How did the DAIO develop from an idea to a product?

David Audsley: The great thing about been a hairdresser with a busy column is that you get to meet lots of people with very different jobs. First of alI, I used my clients as a sounding board to see if they thought there was a need for the product. Just about everyone I spoke to had their own story about mishaps with heated hair appliances, varying in levels of seriousness.

I eventually spoke to one of my long standing clients Pat Mangion, who I knew had come from a marketing background but more importantly had developed new products from their infancy. To be honest I had all these notes and sketches of the product I wanted to make but had absolutely no clue who to speak to about it or how to move forward with it.

Pat has now become my marketing director and has held my hand through the whole process from concept to design to manufacturing the DAIO.

SM: Tell us about the connection with Lindholme Prison? (DAIO team is working with Lindholme Prison to provide work experience and job opportunities for offenders.)

David Audsley: On the DAIO journey we’ve been fortunate that a lot of people have wanted to help us and put us in touch with some key people. The Lindholme connection came off the back of a meeting the team had with a very helpful gentleman that worked for the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). MAS helps UK start-ups with potential R&D grants and also offers sound advice on all aspects of manufacturing, planning & logistics in the UK.

When discussing logistics and pick and pack companies, he mentioned a government reform scheme that he thought could help us. The scheme not only makes the assembly of products a lot more affordable for UK start-ups but also helps to offer inmates potential employment whilst serving their sentence and also aims to provide employment for them on release.

The inmates that have assembled our product have done a fantastic job, taking a massive amount of care and pride in ensuring that it was done to a very high standard, for which we as a company are extremely grateful.

SM: And with the Child Accident Prevention Trust, what made you decide to donate profits? (£1 is donated for each DAIO sold)

David Audsley: We approached CAPT because when I was doing all my research, they seemed to be trying very hard to make parents and children aware of the dangers of hot hair appliances and working to prevent these accidents from happening.

When we met CAPT’s Chief Executive Katrina Phillips we all agreed we’d love to be able to help by donating an amount from each UK DAIO sold. She’s a lovely lady who is clearly passionate about the charity and the great work that her team does. This year we’re going to be involved with CAPT’s Child Safety week and hopefully help them spread the word and raise awareness on the importance of storing your hot hair tools before, during and after use.

SM: As a hairdresser rather than a product designer, did you ever think ‘all these accidents might be avoided if women just embraced the frizzy look’?

David Audsley: Ha ha! It’s an interesting idea, but not one I think will be massively embraced by women all over the world. It would definitely solve some of these problems though. I have clients that straighten their hair even when they wear it up so they have a super sleek ponytail.

With the way fashion and trends change seasonally, there’s always some weird & wonderful new hair tool coming to the market to aid you in achieving that catwalk for the high street look.

You only have to look at the arrival of hair wands and the comeback the tong has made over the last few years when the “beachy” tousled look and curls came massively back into fashion.

And those particular products really need to be handled and stored with care because essentially you’ve got a completely exposed 230 degree metal implement. At least straighteners have a little bit of plastic around them.

I’m pretty sure hot hair tools are here to stay in one form or another. I’ve seen the panic on women’s faces when their straighteners break and heard them debate even leaving the house or going on a night out without straightened hair.

SM: What do your own children think of the DAIO?

David Audsley: I’ve got 2 children. My son Dylan is nearly 11 and Madison is only 4 and they’ve both got very different opinions about the DAIO.

Dylan thinks it great because I’ve been fortunate to have got some great coverage in the local and regional newspapers, online and had the opportunity to do a fab radio interview recently. In his mind that means his Dad’s famous (or that’s what him and his year 5 classmates think…) that’s good enough for me. Joking aside, I think he’s really proud, he understands and has seen how much time I’ve devoted to developing the DAIO as well as juggling 12 hours a day stood behind a chair cutting/colouring hair in my salon to fund the DAIO project over the last 2 years.

Madison on the other hand thinks I’m a spoil sport because she can’t play with mummy’s hair straighteners anymore because she can’t get them out of my wife’s DAIO clamped safely out of her way! But actually as times gone on it’s more “out of sight, out of mind.” Because the irons are no longer balanced strategically over the edge of my bedside cabinet, they’re not at the forefront of her mind.

SM: What’s next for you and the brand?

David Audsley: For the brand, it’s about getting the message out there and building the DAIO brand across the UK and Europe initially. We’re are also working hard behind the scenes on our next two products and looking to increase our production capacity for the DAIO so we can do a full scale campaign on the market and get DAIOs in homes everywhere hopefully.

For me, I’m hoping to spend a lot less time in the salon over the coming year and hopefully be even more hands on with the brand. I want to be able to action all the above as the DAIO starts to gain more traction.

Order your DAIO here.

#HolidayHotlist… BEABA Baby Sunglasses

Chic French brand Beaba makes a range of children’s sunglasses; in on-trend colourways, designed for maximum comfort and with UV protection you can trust.

Our SM tester says: ‘My kids are trendy. There is no doubt about it. I love dressing them up in little shirts, waistcoats and chinos. Their summer wardrobe, however, lacks a bit of imagination. Shorts and a t-shirt just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. The summer clobber is definitely missing something.

Luckily, Beaba sunglasses landed on my doorstep. I cannot tell you how funky my 10 week old little boy looks. Yes, he has Elmo on his baby grow; yes, he has shorts that don’t quite fit; yes, he has sick all down said clothes anyway, but with these little sunglasses (which have flexible arms, so they can be adjusted and don’t fall off) he looks genuinely awesome. Funk-ality aside, they also protect his delicate peepers from bright sunshine too. He can now pretend he is not asleep when people are cooing in his face, too (Mum, I’m talking to you!)’

How to… Get your toddler cycling

If your tot is dragging his heels on the ground but clinging steadfastly to the four-wheeled comfort of the Bugaboo, you might be thinking it’s time to get them some independent wheels.

‘The balance bike is the better option than stabilisers’ say the experts at Evans. ‘Some balance bikes have a short rubber strap that connects the fork to the frame and keeps the handlebars facing forward. This is really useful as it means that steering is also taken out of the equation until your little cyclist is ready and the strap can be removed.The benefit is that balance bikes enable your young rider to learn to scoot along using their feet while getting to grips with the basics of balancing, free from other complications. Take a look at the Pinnacle Tineo for a good example of a balance bike.’

For very young children try the adorable Juno Early Rider Spherovelo: described as

SM Tip: don’t leave wooden frame balance bikes outdoors as they’ll rot in the rain, sounds obvious, I know, but easily done!

Slightly older toddler? Evans say ‘The first golden rule is to ensure that you buy a bike that fits your child properly. It also needs to be suitable for their abilities so try to avoid getting something that they will grow into. The danger of buying something too big for them is that until they get big enough, your child will be attempting to ride a bike that will be too heavy, difficult or dangerous for them to use.The second golden rule is to buy the best children’s bike you can. A good quality bike will last for many years, be light and manoeuvrable and made using decent parts that need don’t need constant attention. You want to get your child a bike they won’t want to stop riding.Children’s bike sizes are referenced by wheel size diameter. We can estimate a suggested wheel size for a child based on age, but it’s best to have them test ride a bike as obviously height will vary. In general, the main difference you find in a larger wheel size is in the longer distance between the saddle and the handlebar, coupled with a longer wheelbase. If the bike is too long, when the child turns the handlebar, you will see they are forced to stretch too far, reducing control.’

Now you have the wheels, how to get them motivated? Bikehub suggests either running alongside the little cyclist or using a stick to support the bike and thus save your back… They also suggest letting the child coast along and then let go – a method they call ‘scoot scoot weeeeee’. Bikehub’s Number One tip: Do. Not. Use. Stabilisers.

The best place to teach them, according to David Dansky from Cycle Training UK, is somewhere with lots of room. ‘Go for a wide, flat expanse of tarmac, rather than grass,’ he says. ‘You might be tempted to use grass because you’re afraid he’ll fall, but grass is much harder to ride on than tarmac…’

Editor’s tip: check out the range of Father and Baby cycle wear from Plain Lazy

Our 2015 SM Awards

We’ll very soon be announcing the shortlist for our 2015 Slick Mummy Awards – Ten ‘Mummy Must Haves’ that we can’t live without. Beauty life savers, Changing bags that wow, Restaurants that encourage sticky fingers, Flattering fashion picks and of course the best in toys, children’s clothes, snacks, nappy rash cream and more.

Our criteria: something that impressed us so much we just had to make a song and dance about it!

Winners will get a banner on our site for 12 months and we will also feature all their product news.

Drop us a line on SlickMummy@journalist.com for more info, to submit a product, fashion and beauty item, holiday destination or child friendly restaurant.

Slick Mummy Moments… Lady Diana Spencer

Although the media may be plastered with pictures of Princess Diana and baby William as her would-be-granddaughter HRH Charlotte of Cambridge enters the world with a big name to live up to, but at SM Towers we loved that moment when – as a nursery school teacher – the then Diana Spencer rocked the sheer skirt and tank top look with aplomb.

Editor’s Tip: Update the look with Forever 21’s chiffon overlay dress, which has a long sheer skirt over a bodycon dress and jewels fit for a Royal knees up.

Holiday Hotlist… Pure Potions Rescue Salve Kit

Pure Potions have created the Rescue Salve Kit. Four little itty bitty tins that tuck so teeny tiny into your changing bag that you might forget you packed them.

Our SM tester says: cue the moment your eldest takes the airport trolley for a joyride, realises too late it has no brakes and skins his knee before the holiday has even begun – and look, you have a dinky pot of calendula and comfrey balm to rub on the graze right there in your hand luggage.

Insect bite? Just whip out the pot of tea tree balm and apply a blob to the boo boo.

We use arnica all the time as the boys play fight and the toddler is a bit wobbly still so does often fall over – it’s a godsend – but the tube of it we bought last year at a French hypermarche has a bit of a yellowy hue and has stained many a shirt. So we’re loving this little salve pot as it’s clear, non sticky and the tin doesn’t leak.

Finally, the lavender one is meant for burns and I thought it would never get used, but sure enough on our first night away I scalded my hand on a hotel kettle! This one does need to be applied regularly if you don’t want a blister but by the following morning there was barely anything to see…

Parenting Style Coveted

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. More Info | Close