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Happy Easter!

With two birthdays close to Easter we often have egg hunts in the garden at parties and this year I went a bit mad and bought the entire local gift shop’s Meri Meri Easter decorations supply. I’m blaming the pollen and the Sahara dust cloud. The Egg hunt set is so cute and the cake stand is gorgeous. The kids loved them almost as much as me and i would say they are robust enough to be wheeled out for a good few years to come. Investment buy. Not guilty.

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This looks great but be warned it takes AGES to put together. Colours are more bright and neon in real life too.

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Of course you don’t need an Easter tea towel, do you? Do you?!

Available at shopmerimeri.co.uk and lots of local shops too. Prices start at £1.85 up to £8.00 in this range.

Are We Nearly There Yet?

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I love these Jonathan Adler Travels with Tumi luggage designs. I’d like to see a few more slogans like “I need a wee-wee” and “Mummy, I’m going to be sick”. Might not look quite so good on the carousel…

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Not super cheap with the luggage tag at £50, the holdall £95 and the wheelie suitcase £545 but guaranteed to make you smile no matter how many times they ask that question/throw up in the back/crush crisps into the upholstery/bite the air hostess.  Available at uk.tumi.com

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Review

It’s tricky having a blog about your kids and what they get up to when you’re married to a conspiracy theorist who calls Facebook the Evil Empire and wants to keep his children’s digital footprint to an absolute minimum. (Note to FB friends: Yes I do love my children) Anyway, here goes my attempt at reviewing the Harrods Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience that my just turned 4 year old was invited to try out the other week without showing her elated little, tiara framed face…

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Having read all about the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique before we made the trip up to the 4th floor at Harrods, I was bracing myself for a girly glitter fest and making mental notes of the gender neutral activities we would be pursuing for the next five years to counteract the avalanche of face paint and frou-frou. This was just a little make believe fun for M that I was prepared to sit through for her entertainment…

On arrival we were greeted by Fairy Godmother in Training Heather who got down to M’s level to introduce herself and welcome her to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. At this point I let out an involuntary sob and tears welled up in my eyes. It was just SO ADORABLE! I couldn’t help it! Her little upturned face! Heather in her costume! The castle door! Hook. Line. Sinker. Basically, the next hour entailed M meeting a real fairy godmother in a magic mirror, casting magic spells with a wand, putting on her pre-selected Cinderella dress (which magically appeared in a dressing room naturally) choosing her princess hairstyle from a book, her nail polish shade and what style of face paint she wanted while I cooed and clucked in the background like an ovulating hen. Heather, who I would like to nominate for an Oscar, primped and pampered away making jokes and giving tips on how to be a real princess which basically entails being good and kind and loyal and brave. All excellent qualities.

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I have to say that Heather and the rest of the staff were incredible. They were all so warm, kind and funny and considering what a shy little girl M can be they totally set her at ease.

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During and after the princess transformation a photographer takes pictures finishing off with a few posed shots on a fantastically kitsch throne and in front of a balcony with a trompe l’oeil view, which you can then of course buy on your way out. I bought loads. Resplendent in her Cinderella dress and real fake hair up-do we left the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique with a spring in our crinoline for a tour of the toy department (which I think is a much better toyshop destination than Hamley’s these days) and then off to buy my dad his 65th birthday present (Yes dad, only the best for you!). On our royal tour there was much gasping from fellow shoppers but no one was quite as moved as one Japanese man who clutched his heart as he stumbled towards us and announced that my daughter was so beautiful that it was painful to him. M very obligingly curtsied before putting her head up my skirt.

I would definitely recommend this as a special treat for girly girls and their mums or even grandparents. It was such a sweet bonding experience and my little girl was in 7th heaven all the way through. She has since asked me several times when she is going back to princess school and her photos are proudly thrust into the faces of any new visitors…by me.

http://www.harrods.com/content/misc/boutiques/disney

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At home refusing to take off costume and bossing big sister (who regretted declining to take up the BBB experience herself) around. Big sister was known as ‘Maid’ for the next 24 hours 

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Back to normal Mexican Wrestling mode…

Say Cheese
I recently found this old passport photo between the pages of a book and it brought back such a rush of memories I couldn’t stop grinning and re-examining it over and over and again. Taken one summer when I was about nine years old with my best friend Lucy in a train station in Bradford, I am wearing my best rainbow stripe shirt that my Grandma in Florida gave me and I remember feeling that I was having the time of my life. Lucy’s mum was trying to sort out some tickets so she gave us some coins to keep us busy while we waited for her and this is the result. It has made me think that I should get my kids to sit for passport photos together or with their friends before orange curtained passport photo machines without wind machines and bleach lighting, don’t exist anymore. 

Say Cheese

I recently found this old passport photo between the pages of a book and it brought back such a rush of memories I couldn’t stop grinning and re-examining it over and over and again. Taken one summer when I was about nine years old with my best friend Lucy in a train station in Bradford, I am wearing my best rainbow stripe shirt that my Grandma in Florida gave me and I remember feeling that I was having the time of my life. Lucy’s mum was trying to sort out some tickets so she gave us some coins to keep us busy while we waited for her and this is the result. It has made me think that I should get my kids to sit for passport photos together or with their friends before orange curtained passport photo machines without wind machines and bleach lighting, don’t exist anymore. 

Sprrring Buys

The sap is rising as is my shopping lust…

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1) Neon Kiwi Beaded Necklace, £115 J.Crew 2) Lace Pencil Skirt £55, Warehouse 3) Marguerita Shell Top, £84 trousers, £110,Ganni at ASOS 4) Island Cluster Top, £75, French Connection 5) Silver Mid Heel Wedge, £71.20, Boden (I already have these they seem to go with everything)

Need all these pretty things…

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Blouse detail. Mmmmmm.

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Ganni suit detail. LOVE this print.

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1) Camo sweatshirt, £68, J.Crew) 2) Velour Frill Dress, £19.99, Zara 3) Polka Dot Crop Jacket, £58,Topshop 4) Liberty Print Trainers, £65,Gola at ASOS 5) Classic Winchester Lady Watch, £129, Daniel Wellington

A slightly sportier vibe…

I’m working in an office twice a week at the moment so I definitely need some pavement pounding trainers, the velour dress will look great with tights and boots and bare legs and flat sandals later, the watch is a preppy little finish for any outfit and the jacket and the camo top would look great with boyfriend jeans.

Odd Books from my Childhood

My mum still has loads of my old childhood books. Well, not as many as I would like as she did send a huge box off to a charity shop when I was in halls of residence. Having observed my reaction to this deep betrayal on my return to the family bosom, she spent a good few hours re-purchasing what hadn’t yet been sold from Sue Ryder (it was a win-win for Sue). This turned out to be very prudent move as lots of the books she rescued are now out of print and cost fortunes on Amazon! I was thinking about replacing my slightly dogeared copy of The Worst Person in the World, which my daughters now love, but have just discovered that I will have to pay £89.54 if I want a new one or £19.44 for a second hand copy!!! I started to look up a few other childhood favourites and most of these are crazily expensive too. What do these books have in common? They are all slightly odd, deeply loved and obviously inspire the kind of devotion that warrants a £90 price tag. I’m going to be digging through a lot more second hand book shops and jumble sales from now on…   

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The story of a cantankerous recluse who lives in a terrible mess and eats sour lemons for breakfast, which he finds too sweet. Fortunately a warty beast called Ugly and an old party hat help him to change his ways. 

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Simp is an ugly puppy who gets dumped in the dump! The story follows him on his perilous journey to finding a new owner and a brilliant new job. This one makes me go a bit misty. Sniff! 

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This book is pretty weird. A rat-catcher happens to live upstairs from a family of 14 rats. A family of rats happen to live underneath a rat-catcher. All sorts of valuable lessons about compromise and perception proceed. 

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The weirdest book of them all. This was actually my brother’s book and it freaked me OUT as a child. Basically some children abuse slugs and then they end up getting turned inside out and eaten by the slugs (I think). There’s an illustration of a child burping up a slug which is particularly foul. Such is the mesmeric power of this book that my brother and his best friend have a gag where they give it to each other wrapped as a Christmas present on alternate years. I am going to put a stop to this now that I know it sells for over £100 on Amazon…

Next Please
I went into Next the other day and bought LOADS of stuff for the kids. I usually find their children’s clothes a little over embellished for my taste but there were lots of lovely simple pieces for brilliant prices. Will post some soon. I couldn’t resist these hairbands as I swept my way through accessories to the checkout and and I seem to remember in my adrenalin fuelled shopping high that they were very cheap. Like £2.99 ish cheap? I cannot seem to find them on the Next website but i can assure you they are from there. Sorry about the lack of facts here - I got lost in the moment and have naturally lost the receipt too…

Next Please

I went into Next the other day and bought LOADS of stuff for the kids. I usually find their children’s clothes a little over embellished for my taste but there were lots of lovely simple pieces for brilliant prices. Will post some soon. I couldn’t resist these hairbands as I swept my way through accessories to the checkout and and I seem to remember in my adrenalin fuelled shopping high that they were very cheap. Like £2.99 ish cheap? I cannot seem to find them on the Next website but i can assure you they are from there. Sorry about the lack of facts here - I got lost in the moment and have naturally lost the receipt too…

Behind the Scenes at Orla Kiely A/W14

A few weeks ago (yes, I know this is very late!), i got to go backstage at Orla Kiely’s A/W14 show styled by ex Lula Editor and my style idol Leith Clark with hair and make-up by Luke Hersheson and Florrie White for Bobbi Brown respectively and quite brilliantly. A great morning full of whimsy and prettiness and Earl Grey tea in Orla Kiely paper cups. Wish i’d nicked one now…

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My outfit: H&M coat, J.Crew necklaces, ASOS bag, Boden everything else

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Bobbi Brown make-up and Hersheson hair.

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Little Ivy - Orla Kiely’s dog!

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Managed not to steal this.

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Make-up artist Florrie White and her lovely assistant.

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The feet and bag of one half of lovely Blogging duo She and Hem

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The Goody Bags!

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The shoes are part of Orla Kiely’s ongoing collaboration with Clarks. The bag is unfortunately not.

9 Signs of Age: Part II

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1) My mother used to dress me like Keith Chegwin. (see above)

2) I know who Keith Chegwin is.

3) I recently heard my daughter faux whispering to her friend while walking behind me: “My mummy is in her 30’s but I think she looks like she’s in her forties.” MY. OWN. DAUGHTER.

4) Twinge is my middle name.

5) Daughter enquires: “Mummy, why do you always wear children’s pants? You know, all big at the sides?” *madly rummages for 90’s thong*

6) I own a sensible, waterproof coat. Bought by husband but having been sneered at hasn’t actually been screwed up into a ball behind the hoover.

7) I furtively scrape my hair back into a Croyden Face-lift in the mirror at least twice a day.

8) I thought I had a black make-up smudge on my cheek. Turns out it was a bruise from manically rollering my face with an anti-aging gadget.

9) I fancied Harrison Ford when he looked like this:

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You’re welcome. Swooooooon.

Bought: Perfect leather look skirt and flat chunky boots
I’ve been searching for flat chunky boots that aren’t biker boots and a nice leather look skirt that doesn’t bunch around the waist for ages and I found them both in one week. The skirt is French Connection, £65 and the boots are Zara, £79.99. Not super cheap but they are now firmly categorised as wardrobe staples and I have been wearing them non-stop. Thankfully the skirt is wipeable.

Bought: Perfect leather look skirt and flat chunky boots

I’ve been searching for flat chunky boots that aren’t biker boots and a nice leather look skirt that doesn’t bunch around the waist for ages and I found them both in one week. The skirt is French Connection, £65 and the boots are Zara, £79.99. Not super cheap but they are now firmly categorised as wardrobe staples and I have been wearing them non-stop. Thankfully the skirt is wipeable.