How to wear Spring florals…

Brrr… there’s a chill in the air and we’ve cranked the heating up a notch, poured ourselves another cup of peppermint tea and we’re thinking about making another casserole for dinner tonight…

Let’s cheer ourselves up with some ditzy Spring florals – and maybe next week we might actually get to wear them…

The Henrietta Floral flats from French Sole: add a touch of blossom to your toes, without actually having to bare them. These luxe leather flats come in baby pink or bluebell blue and have a teeny, elegant heel…

The Kensington Porcelain Blue umbrella by Fulton – let it rain, who cares, we’ll be twirling this floral brolly…

The Floral Grey Scarf from The White Company – who says floral can’t be monochrome? This one is super chic and made from merino, so gives enough chill cover for an alfresco glass of wine in a pub garden.

The Francesca Jacket in Ivy Botanical by Boden: no one does florals like Boden, and this boxy jacket looks great with jeans and a white tee – or dress it up with a tea dress and pearls!

Rosie for Autograph Silk French Knickers: add blooms to your bloomers with these lovely silk panties from M&S.

And finally, spritz a little Springtime scent; we’re loving the Gucci Flora Garden range – especially the new Generous Violet one.

#MothersDayWeek – Karina Grassy of Slumbersac


Karina is SM to six year old Katie, who product tests the Slumbersac range of quality baby and children’s sleeping bags.

We asked her…

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

Karina: I will be spending Mother’s Day visiting the Russell Cotes museum in Bournemouth and having an Afternoon Tea at a lovely hotel afterwards together with my daughter, husband and mother in law.
Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?
Karina: My grandma always used to say ‘A lady should never leave the house without lipstick on’.
Editor’s Pick: The Simply Range of sleeping bags is simply gorgeous… And great value too!

#MothersDayWeek – Chloe Brookman of Olli Ella

Chloe Brookman is one half of Olli Ella, retailing nursery furniture and bedding.  Sisters Chloe and Olivia (who live on opposite sides of the world but skype daily) describe themselves as ‘a kooky bunch’ and their range – with its luxe organic cotton bedding, furniture crafted to perfection and unique, colourful designs – as ‘playful, iconic, and above all, beautifully made’.
Chloe joined our Mother’s Day Week chat…
How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?

Chloe: Hopefully breakfasting in bed. All. Day. Long.

Do you have a beauty tip from your own mother or grandmother you can share?
Chloe: My mother and grandmother swore by their nightly routine of cleansing, toning and moisturizing; my sisters and I have been following this routine since before we were teenagers, so far, so good.
Editor’s pick: dream of running away and joining the circus with these delicious Harlequin children’s bedding sets

#MothersDayWeek – Maureen Dolan of Sand Dollar Swim

Maureen Dolan is a SM to four and she runs Sand Dollar Swim, providing fashionable UV protectant children’s swimwear.
She joined our Mother’s Day Week chat…
How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?
Maureen: I will be spending Mother’s Day with my mother my sisters and my husband and children. 
Do you have any beauty tips passed on by your mother or grandmother that you can share with us?
Maureen:  however tired you are never go to bed with out taking off your make up and putting on your night cream…. 
Editors Pick: how adorable is this rash vest from the Sand Dollar Swim collection? Perfect for little mermaids…

#MothersDayWeek – Julia Minchin of Hippychick

Image: Telegraph

Julia’s plans for mothering Sunday are anything but slick, mummy-ish and indulgent.  In fact, as with any Sunday (or weekend for that matter) at this time of year, Julia will be zipping up her boots, rolling up her sleeves and literally getting stuck in to helping her flock of ewes with the delivery of their lambs.  ‘When it runs smoothly it’s the most amazing experience in the world but that’s not always the case.  We normally have to bottle feed at least two lambs a year and that means through the night as well.  They are no different from human babies in the early stages.  Though it would be nice to think that I could be thoroughly indulged with a meal out and then flop into a bed of clean sheets at the end of Mother’s day, I’ll probably be sleeping out in the barn on a camp bed, at the beck and call of a couple of tiny lambs.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way and my brood of children, at least, will be with me to help.

Julia’s best beauty advice came from her great grandmother who always swore that the secret to beautiful skin as well as a long life was to follow a steaming hot bath with an ice cold shower.  Though Julia isn’t quite as rigorous with this regime, she does make a habit of splashing her face with cold water after her daily cleansing routine, morning and night.  This is followed with a generous layer of ‘Repechage’ a professional anti-ageing skin care range enriched with seaweed which she swears by.

Whilst her grandmother didn’t follow any particular beauty routine, she was a passionate advocate for carpe diem, seizing the day, a guiding principle which her granddaughter, Julia, has also adopted and implements daily.  Mother’s Day will be no exception.

Find out more about award winning children’s retailer Hippychick or read Julia’s blog…


SM Chats to Ali Burlingham of Waterbumps


AB - FB Page 2

Ali Burlingham is former Aquatics Manager at WaterBabies – the baby swimming lessons which have thousands of parents, including celeb SM Fearne Cotton, ‘splish splashing’ with their little ones – and she has now launched a new ‘sister’ venture called WaterBumps.

WaterBumps is an aqua fitness regime aimed to help pregnant women prepare for childbirth and get back into shape afterwards through gentle but effective workouts in the pool.

Currently regional,  but with plans to expand nationwide, find out more at

Many of our team’s own little ones were or are avid Waterbabies and we were delighted that Ali agreed to chat to us…

How did the idea for WaterBumps come about?

Ali: During my time as an Aquatics Manager at Water Babies I was challenged to keep ahead of the competition by thinking centred around other areas we could develop into. Lots of other competitors and swim schools were already doing 4-7 year old swimming lessons, but no-one was looking the other way!

As a practitioner of pre/post-natal reflexology, and having attended pre-natal yoga classes throughout my pregnancies, I started researching how we could break into this market. In the summer of 2012 Paul and Steve took the leap of faith (based on my research) and in January 2013 I became the Head of WaterBumps, a new and exciting role developing a new franchise business in pre and post natal water-based exercise classes – WaterBumps!

Most of 2013 and the start of 2014 saw us complete a feasibility phase where there was strong evidence that this market is untapped, especially in the water. An outstanding piece of internal market research (20% of the Water Babies client base – 8,000 clients) also proved to us that this market has great potential. Therefore the business modelling phase and programme trials were done and are now completed!

At the start of July 2014 we appointed a Business Development Officer, Penny and we relocated the Head Office of WaterBumps to Bristol. Since being here we have built the brand of WaterBumps, finished the website and on the 15th September 2014 we launched the first ever WaterBumps – WaterBumps Bristol & Bath. This is a company-owned franchise that I run with the assistance of Penny.

Can one do WaterBumps at any stage of pregnancy/post partum and does one need to be a good swimmer?

Ali: Women can join our ‘before birth’ classes after their 12-14 week antenatal check right through to due date. Our ‘after birth’ classes can be joined either once a woman has been medically signed off – 6 weeks after a normal vaginal delivery and 10 weeks after a caesarean as the recovery time is a lot longer, or any time after they have had a child – this can be years after too!!

No women do not have to be good swimmers, all our skills can be tailored for them to have their feet on the pool floor, we don’t ask anyone to go underwater or do anything that they feel uncomfortable with.

As you are currently regional, is there one ‘taster’ exercise you could share with us to try at our local pool?

Ali: Push and Glide – as soon as you are pregnant you don’t and can’t lie on your tummy and lots of women miss this. This skill is a great way to glide across the water on your front and give your body a full stretch. Stand with your back to the pool wall, with shoulders under the water. Place arms out straight in front of you holding a float. Bend your knees and gently push forward by pushing your feet either off the pool floor or the wall behind you. At the same time really stretch your arms forward and straighten your legs once you have started to glide. Sometimes you won’t go very far – this is more about getting the full body stretch rather than reaching the other side of the pool!!! It’s lovely and very relaxing, our mums-to-be really like this skill after a long day.

Are you running WaterBumps courses for would-be-instructors as well as for new/expecting mums?

Ali: Yes, as the business grows we will be training teachers through on the WaterBumps teacher training course which will include the brand new ASA Level 3 qualification that we instigated, designed and developed with the ASA (National Governing Body for Swimming)

And – we had to ask – is there any singing involved…?

Ali: Hehehe – not in WaterBumps classes – the peace and quiet of the classes is exactly what our ladies want – time to bond with baby, stretch and tone, as well as relax and switch off!!

Ali – we hope the new venture goes ‘swimmingly’ (and without any Happy Nappy accidents!)

#MothersDayWeek – Lorena Oberg of Lorena Oberg Skincare

Lorena Öberg Portrait colour

Lorena Oberg’s beauty empire includes clinics offering everything from scar and tattoo removal to mastectomy bra fitting, hair and beauty treatments, her Academy – plus her wonder product DermaEraze Miracle Oil, which is super natural and is great for stretch marks, dry skin, nails and hair.

She joined in our Mother’s Day Week chat…

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

Lorena: Provided that the weather is nice, we will be going, along with my inlaws, to have a picnic at Hever Castle which is close to our home.  We love the open spaces of Hever Castle and the gardens are just beautiful.  We usually run into local friends frequent the Castle.  My family is my greatest achievement.  A sunny day with all the people I love is the perfect way to spend any day.  We don’t  mind the weather and the place as long as we’re together.

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

Lorena: My Italian grandmother taught me early on how Olive Oil can be used in a million ways in our beauty regime.  I have since used Olive Oil as one of the main ingredients in my Miracle Oil, because that’s what my grandmother called it!”

#MothersDayWeek – Jo Smedley of Red Herring Games

Jo Smedley set up Red Herring Games on a shoestring in 2007 and since then the company has gone from strength to strength; providing the intrigue and the giggles for many a Murder Mystery party with their bespoke ‘at home’ kits and and interative events.


We asked Jo our Mother’s Day chat questions, but couldn’t resist sneaking in an extra one…

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year?
Jo: Driving down to Norfolk!  My mother-in-law is down from Shetland visiting her sister and we don’t get to see her very often given the distance.  Norfolk is easier to travel to than Shetland, so we’re heading down there to spend mother’s day with her.  (Which means a 3 hour journey there and back with two fighting children for me… joy… but at least I’ll have a hand blender again!  *my Mother’s day gift request as my last one broke (again… I’m always killing them!)


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

Jo: My mother (step-mother in this instance… long story, but I always think of her as my mum) isn’t into makeup or beauty particularly, and in fact neither of us go into it in a big way and only put it on for the odd special occasions, but I’ve always considered my mother extremely beautiful (she would deny that!)    I’ve always thought, the inside shines out.  If you have a great personality (as my mum does) – then your face radiates that and you don’t need loads of makeup.  No amount of makeup can hide a sour inside.   

Who would your dream Murder Mystery dinner party guests would be…?

Jo:  Ideal murder mystery guests?  Oh… that’s a tough one.  Mind you – I’ve always had the most fun with friends, so if I could invite around anyone I wanted, then I’d invite around all my best friends, ignoring their physical location as some of them, through moving, are now miles and miles away.)   However, if you’re looking for who I’d love to meet.  Well… I’d love to have Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant and John Nettles sitting around my dinner table.  My husband wouldn’t be too impressed, but he can pick the female guests!

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