Immortalise your cheeky tot

It’s School Photo season and that time when the more photography savvy of us are looking at the tear sheets and the price lists and thinking ‘we could have hired a professional instead…’

Such pros can be found at Mud & Glitter – a collective of illustrators, stylists and of course photographers who can immortalise your child in all his or her rosy cheeked, knee socked, fairy winged glory to create something that looks like you’ve torn it from the Boden catalogue.

With respective CVs that have seen them work for Dior, Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney, the Mud & Glitter collective offer a studio day with prints for just £300 – and not a grotty cardboard mount frame in sight!

Sports Cars you can fit a stroller into…

If you’ve got the looks and the lifestyle, but still need space for the little ones, try our selection of ‘roomy but speedy’ sportscars for size:

  • Jaguar XK, from 59,900 – quintessentially British, this car is like sailing a yacht up the motorway. Plenty of space in the boot, you could even get a week’s grocery shopping in this one…     
  • Honda S2000, from £28,546 – sportier and sleeker than the brand implies, plenty of space behind the seats and by all accounts quite reliable too…
  • BMW116 Sport – a bit clunky looking but the boy racer interior makes up for this. Massive boot and five doors…
  • Audi TT Coupe – four cylinders of power and a decent boot but the back seats are a little cramped to manoeuvre small ones in and out of car seats…                    

 

Stott & Scott’s Floppy’wester: the only hat you’ll ever need!

We’re loving this one: think two hats in one, but one is a Barbour and the other a luxe Twiggy-esque lace Boho one…

One hat for downpours and dressing down, one for ladylike lah-di-dahing…

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Available in six colour combos, the design duo behind the brand explain ‘

‘Our hats are practical but very versatile and they look as equally striking commuting to work as they do at a garden party or festival. The waterproof layer has been tried and tested; it’s a godsend for preventing frizzy hair and the wide brim keeps the rain off your face and neck, it’s quick to dry off and best of all, wearing the hat leaves both hands free so that you can go about your busy day…’

Edith Bowman recently tweeted: ‘they’re lush’.

Order online from www.stottandscott.com

Explaining Erotica to a Toddler

OK, so you’re momma Kim Kardashian and little Nori is asking why your ample, oiled butt is gracing the cover of a magazine..?

Fair enough, it’s not a situation we’re all likely to find ourselves in, but if the little ones do discover one of our indiscretions (whether it’s a saucy bit of textual nudity or casually annotated copy of the Karma Sutra) then here’s a bit of Slick Mummy advice to ease the convo:

  • Say ‘Do as I say not as I do’ is the advice that comes from Madonna – the raunchiest of role models  – whose four kids apparently have a strict regime at home and no mobile phone until their 16th birthday…
  • Check your child’s school’s policy on Sex Education, which they are obliged to provide. Do they advocate the use of ‘clinical’ terminology or slang? Using terms like ‘penis’ might make grown up concepts seem more ‘grown up’.
  • “Wait until your child asks you,” says Robert Walrath, a child psychologist at the Center for Educational and Psychological Assessment in Manchester, New Hampshire. “If children are not asking, it’s not important to them.”
  • Former Playboy Mansion resident Kendra Wilkinson says ‘don’t make a fuss’. Whatever the situation, if you make it a big deal, so will the child.

Or you could just go for the ‘Ross from Friends option’ and launch right into Sir Mixalot’s ‘I like Big Butts…’

Five Little Miracles…

Whether the little ones have come down with the sniffles, or you’ve just got plain ole ‘knock em for six’ manflu, these should help to ease the pain and get us through Winter…

The Chicest Prosecco

It’s 4pm, the masseuse just popped ’round whilst the little darlings are napping… Who are we trying to kid: we are stressed as hell, our BFF’s have rallyed and we need some serious girl time.

For moments like these, make everything just a little more girlie and lovely with our newest discovery: pink bottles of prosecco from Liquid Gold Drinks. Booze just like Barbie meant it to be! Available to mail order in boxes of six (natch) but also come in your husband’s team colours (most likely) if you wanted to share the bubbly love…

Liquid Gold will be exhibiting at Taste London this month…

 

Linda Plant’s Interior Style Tips

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Interior designer Linda Plant has created beautiful spaces for celebs, royalty and fabulista worldwide.

These are her quick fix tips for creating a beautiful home…

  1. KEEP IT SIMPLE. MAKE IT INTERESTING Don’t over clutter the space. Mix traditional and modern; for example a modern piece of art looks great in a more classical setting. Don’t be afraid of bold colour and my personal love which is bold texture! I adore the power of neutral but you have got to have some contrast in there. Be brave!
  2. 2 . SIZE MATTERS I always go for scale because I love the ‘wow factor’. Start by getting rid of the clutter: Less is More. Say goodbye to lots of little cluttered bits of furniture and hello to a couple of scale choice pieces!
  3. 3 ACCESSORIES So important to bring life to your room. Follow the Less is More rule but again give scale to accessories. I love using groups of objects of different sizes as it creates interest. The one accessory I couldn’t live without: WHITE FLOWERS . They bring life to a space. If in doubt add white orchids! It never fails: I use them everywhere.
  4. 4 WALLS AND CEILINGS Don’t forget walls and ceilings. Art is a must for creating the interest and glamour you need. Back to scale I like to see large single pieces but I also love the use of sets or collages, there are lots on my website as examples of this . I always use a mix of framed and unframed, prints and oils – you can mix it all up and be daring. For your walls and ceilings if its paint there are some great colours out there, but I love to see contrast in my schemes even if it’s a neutral palette. It just looks smarter and more chic. Ceilings don’t have to be white.
  5. 5 TEXTURE CONTRAST I can never have enough; I use texture everywhere. I love wallpaper because it adds warmth and interest and is still a great backdrop – especially now there are so many fabulous papers and you can create jaw dropping feature walls. I just did a fabulous reception room the main walls were done in a white textured paper and the chimney breast was papered in dark chocolate brown crocodile textured paper – the contrast looked sensational. Speaking of contrast, I often line my drapes in a contrasting fabric it looks so interesting and smart . Fabulous scatter cushions transform a sofa armchair or a bed. (But not too many!) Don’t forget the floor too: if you have hard floors you have got to have amazing rugs. I mix super silk rugs with cheaper textured ones to make it visual.Whether it’s a chandelier or a super big shade, don’t skimp on it. Use a combination of floor lamps table lamps and focal point ceiling and wall lights. I follow my rule of scale here too but I hate small lights… Lights are a crucial part of your interior design. And Don’t forget candles – I love them (especially the big ones!)
  6. 6. STORAGE. RETHINK IT I just turned a boring pair of dining room alcoves into fabulous dark wood wine storage units. I like to transform space to make it both decorative and useful. We always need more storage in life! Or try making a shelf into a feature: a big criss-cross book shelf in a room can transform the room and became the centrepiece.
  7. 7. MANTLES SHELVING I love using these and extend them where possible. These are great areas for display and interest and create visual balance.
  8. 8 MIRRORS MIRRORS The simplest of all design solutions. I use them everywhere in every way: reflecting light, showing colours and small spaces in an interesting way. They are one of the least expensive ways of making magic and I couldn’t live without them.
  9. 9 FIRE. FIREPLACE Add a fire where you can! There are so many ways today to use them. Many fireplace companies are now making portable ones and you can use them as space dividers. I think they give a focal point to a room and a lovely glow on a winter’s day.
  10. 10 .FABULOUS LIGHTING Whether it’s a chandelier or a super big shade, don’t skimp on it. Use a combination of floor lamps table lamps and focal point ceiling and wall lights. I follow my rule of scale here too but I hate small lights… Lights are a crucial part of your interior design. And Don’t forget candles – I love them (especially the big ones!)

Linda Plant was shot by Rich Hendry

Lose Baby Weight the 5* Way at a Matt Roberts Retreat

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Celebrity trainer and gym empire owner Matt Roberts told us about his luxe retreats – and some of them are family friendly!

Slick Mummy: At first glance your Retreats look like the chance to top up my tan or snoop on a celeb wedding… Will I actually get fit?

Matt Roberts: There are between 4 and 5 hours of structured training every day, so getting fitter is a guarantee. In fact, for some this might sound like a lot of exercise to get through each day, however the way each day is planned and orchestrated means that your body is being tested in different ways and different intensities throughout, making sure that you are stretching your ability but staying within the realms of possibility!

Slick Mummy: What made you decide to include the Retreats as part of your brand?

Matt Roberts: The demand and trend for fitness and activity based holidays is one that is growing rapidly. Clients have asked me to do these for years but I only wanted to do them when the time was right and I had the best venues available for the Retreats programme. This isn’t slumming it and eating basic food, this is being pushed physically, staying in a luxury surrounding, having first class service throughout and some incredible food. Only when it was a perfect offering was I keen to get the service out there, and now it is ready so we are pushing ahead at full speed.

Slick Mummy: How did you choose the locations?

Matt Roberts: They are places that I personally like to go to and that I have tried out many times. Whenever I travel I exercise hard, and wherever I am I am always thinking how great the venue might work for a group. So I have picked the places that I know work well, and there are more to come too!

Slick Mummy: Are the fitness programmes tailored to the venues…? How does working out on a Retreat differ to in one of your clubs?

Matt Roberts: The programmes vary venue to venue based upon the setting, facility, environment and climate, however the basic structure of each day remains similar in format, with the same approach to the overall timing and scheduling of the day. The Training itself is comprised of many of the approaches that you would get in my clubs, it simply provides us with an extended time each day with each client in which to get even more work done. This concentration allows us to get some great results in the Retreat and gives the client a massive boost in their programme once they are back home again. Clients all say that the effect on their body when they had returned home was amazing and that the results just keep on coming!

Slick Mummy: You’ve been quite vocal about parents setting a fitness example to reduce child obesity. Are your Retreats family friendly?

Matt Roberts: Our retreat at Forte Village is certainly family friendly, there is a great kids programme of sports and exercise at the resort and the service is set up to allow parents to do the Training programmes and kids to do the sports and then meet up during the day at various points along the way.

Slick Mummy: You’ve trained the likes of Tom Ford and John Galliano, did they teach you anything about fashion in return..?

Matt Roberts: I’m sure some of what they said rubbed off!

Slick Mummy:  We hear you’re a fan of photography/arts. Has anything caught your eye recently?

Matt Roberts: Yes, but unfortunately they weren’t for sale and even if they were I’m afraid the price might be prohibitive. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona has some amazing pieces and I’m particularly keen on the Blue period. Most people describe it as melancholic but I personally just saw a great deal of calm in them (probably something Freudian!)

Slick Mummy: And finally, do you have any vices..?

Matt Roberts: I always get asked this! I guess people would love to hear that I’m a secret choco/alcoholic!

No, sorry, I don’t! my answer used to be that I love a really great glass of Bordeaux or Barolo, however I stopped drinking completely a year ago, so even that’s gone! sorry to disappoint!

Visit www.mattroberts.co.uk/retreats for more information.

Hi-Tech Feeding Bottles

Despite the professionals at the Cow & Gate helpline assuring us that the best bottles for bottle feeding (regardless of colic, tongue tie or need for boobie similarity) are the cheapy ‘straight up and down’ ones you get from the chemist, there seem to be a plethora of new, super-sciency ones out on the market at the moment.

Our Slick Mummy testers gave the following the once over (with three and six month old babies):

Munchin Latch System

This one is meant to mimic the breast, rather than look like one. The teat is much larger and less ‘pert’ than most and comes in three flow speeds. The bottle has a built in anti-colic valve and the bottle comes in two sizes.

Pros: our tester thought the bottle performed well – especially with the faster teat – and the design (including the pretty blue valve) was lovely.

Cons: the base arond the valve is hard to clean.

Available at Boots, £6.99 per bottle

Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Advance Comfort System

The Tommee Tippee bottles have the appearance of the sort of breast that would neatly nestle into a champagne saucer (wouldn’t ours all?) but this new addition to the range includes an air venting system (a bit like a cocktail swizzle stick) which prevents bubbles. Again, these come in two bottle sizes.

Pros: our tester thought the product performed well and was compatible with the regular TT accessories (bottle warmer etc)

Cons: our tester advised that one screw the lid on a bit tighter just before feeding as hot water cooling seems to contract the seal a little bit.

Available at Boots £13.99 for two bottles.

Dr Brown’s Natural Flow System

These claim to reduce colic and also preserve vitamins through preventing oxidation (who knew milk oxidized?) and they come in a variety of colours,  sizes (including preemie) and teat flows. Recommended by 9/10 midwives.

Pros: our tester liked the colourways and the fact that they were easy to clean and didn’t cloud.

Cons: a bit fiddly to put together and prone to leaking if not done properly.

Available at Boots £19.99 for starter kit.

Kids on Planes

If you were one of those watching the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take Prince George on a 31 hour flight to NZ thinking ‘the horror!’, you have probably at one time or another been ‘that person on the flight with the screaming baby’.

As we all know, certain budget airlines go out of their way to make life difficult for traveling parents, but the following have at least tried to make an effort:

  • Virgin Atlantic: kids all get an unsurprisingly Branson-branded backpack with branded toys, plus special kids’ meals including cheese strings and pizza. Babies are offered cots and complimentary nappies, plus there are bottle warming and changing facilities on all flights.
  • British Airways: BA do offer a couple of useful services (you have to ask tho!). One is a free actual seat for under 2’s as long as you bring an approved car seat. The other is serving the kids’ meals first to avoid tears as the trolley moves up the aisle.
  • Emirates: keen to snare their travelers young, Emirates offer tots the chance to rack up their own frequent flyer points, to exchange at theme parks. They also provide complimentary strollers in the airport and cots on board the flight, plus free formula for babies and kid friendly movie choices.
  • Gulf Air: with their ‘Sky Nanny’ programme, this airline is a cut above when it comes to being child friendly. Sky Nanny can watch the kids, change the baby, play games, sing lullabies – a veritable Mile High Mary Poppins.

Traveling on a low cost airline? It’s often actually cheaper to book another seat for a child than it is to struggle with the excess baggage costs – although most do offer a discount for baby items such as travel cots, carseats and strollers.

A few lifesavers we’ve discovered:

  • Banz Ear Protectors: great for blocking out loud runway noises. Possibly worth offering to your fellow passengers also!

  • Babasling or Moby wrap: handy if the little one needs to sit on your lap and you’d like both hands free to drink in-flight wine.
  • Mothercare ‘My Move’ stroller: at just £20 and in a range of colours, this is super light, super easy to fold and brilliant value as a holiday stroller if the weight of your regular one threatens to ground the plane …

  • Poncho: as we know, in some countries keeping our boobies under wraps is more than modesty, it’s the law. Play it safe if you’re planning to breastfeed on a flight. This one from Etsy comes in vibrant holiday colours and doubles as a blanket.

  • Ready Mixed Milk: either in cartons for tots or disposible bottles for babies, avoids having to taste it at check in to prove you’re not disguising liquid nitrogen as infant formula on a flight you’re taking your actual child on (as airport officials seem to suggest!) Aptamil and SMA make both in their range.

  • Pacapod Firenze Bag: holds 40 litres, includes internal storage sections big enough for feeding/changing items, child’s hand luggage, laptop and Duty Free.

 

Parenting Style Coveted

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