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Sisters Are Doing It…

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Did you know that a woman called Ruth Wakefield invented Chocolate Chip cookies (major props), a woman called Patsy Sherman invented Scotchguard ™ (my sofa thanks you) and that surprise, surprise it was a woman called Mary Phelps Jacob who invented the bra? (major props in every sense). 

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I’m sitting on several madcap inventions (OK, two) that I mutter about on a daily basis so I am really excited to find out who is going to win this year’s  Triumph Women in Making Campaign’s amazing £10,000 business bursary. The short list of entries has already been made and now it’s down to Triumph’s panel of inspiration makers, shoe guru Sophia Webster, designer Roksanda Ilincic, Nails Inc founder Thea Green, last year’s bursary winner LIzzie McQuade and Fenwick’s Lingerie buying Manager Georgina Coulter to decide on a winner. 

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Triumph’s team of Inspiration Makers. Give me those shoes.

The ‘Women in Making’ winner will be announced in June and not only will they receive the ten grand prize from Triumph, they get a year’s worth of mentoring from the makers panel & the chance to be showcased within Fenwick Bond St. Check out the shortlist here: triumph.com/womeninmaking   

If like me you didn’t manage to submit your game changing business plan this time we will watch and learn and you can still head down to Maison Triumph, a ‘pop-up space’ in Seven Dials, London which is open to the public until June 2014. The space includes installations, events, inspirational talks and a series of maker workshops all of which feature the Triumph brand ambassadors. Mary Phelps Jacob would be proud.

Mega Post: Discoveries of the Week…

I have had too, too much work to do recently and have neglected TMT dreadfully! Here’s a whizzy round-up of nice things I’ve seen, done and bought this week…

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Ikea has got loads of new stuff in! Went on Sunday and got this play mat which folds up very compactly and doubles up as a yoga/sunbathing/sprawling about mat for £25. Got lots of other bits too but that’s for another post… 

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I’ve been lusting after this £95 polka dot Paul Smith hat and had been considering taking a paintbrush to a plain straw trilby but then I saw this lovely looky-likey in Jigsaw for a fraction of the price! Yay! No blue streaks down my face this summer. Polka Trilby, £35, jigsaw-online.com

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Also loving this vintagey looking jacket from Jigsaw that would look great with denim and hot pink lipstick. On my birthday list. Parisienne Silk Jacket, £195, Jigsaw

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A very nice PR told me about classic with a twist (my fave combo) children’s clothing brand Elfie London this week. How cute is this quilted jacket? Reversable Jacket, £56, elfielondon.com

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I bought this swirly pink skirt from ASOS, £35. Can’t wait to wear it with a grey marl jumper and a statement necklace or five. 

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Feel like an instant bathroom make-over? BHS has these gorgeous (calling Kate Spade) bright towels from £2 for a flannel to £22 for a huge bath sheet. 

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I finally found out where this wallpaper from the S/S14 Boden campaign is from. It is a Designers Guild design. Now just have to convince husband…

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Love this little fella. Imagine against a dark grey wall with a green glass vase full of marigolds. Rabbit Lamp, £69, SKK Lighting

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I have just discovered LA based British fashion illustrator Cate Parr. I love her rich coloured, dreamy watercolours. The best news is that she sells prints on Etsy from around £20. Sold!

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I had my hair styled at uber colourist Josh Wood’s Atelier (brilliant and just tucked behind Holland Park Tube) with a range of products that sound like my dad sneezing. It’s all organic, contains no nasties and the key ingredient is a nut oil that blows Moroccan Oil (apparently this is the devil’s lube - not the exact words of the lovely man from Rahua (bless you) you understand) out of the water. From £26 a bottle it isn’t cheap but you’ll be doing your hair and the planet a huge favour. Buy at Liberty and naturisimo.com

NO JUNK SNACK
On the other blog I write for The Motherhood, I made some lovely (if I do say so myself!) rhubarb and orange yoghurt ice-cream as part of the Organix No Junk Challenge. Basically Organix are encouraging families to cook healthily and want to get the government and food industry boffins to reduce chemicals sugar and salt in kids food. Definitely a good thing. I think we make pretty healthy meals as a family but i have to say snacks can be a bit dicey. After school the kids want biscuits, crisps, cakes and a hack at the Easter egg mountain that has hardly even been dented. Yesterday I decided to make a healthy snack platter for the girls and some friends to keep them going before dinner. They looked at me as though I had given then a platter of frogspawn to eat but when they realised nothing else was coming they ate it very happily  -  especially the celery with peanut butter. I will definitely be doing this more often.
If you want to sign the Organix No Junk Pledge click here: www.organix.com/nojunk

                                                               

NO JUNK SNACK

On the other blog I write for The Motherhood, I made some lovely (if I do say so myself!) rhubarb and orange yoghurt ice-cream as part of the Organix No Junk Challenge. Basically Organix are encouraging families to cook healthily and want to get the government and food industry boffins to reduce chemicals sugar and salt in kids food. Definitely a good thing. I think we make pretty healthy meals as a family but i have to say snacks can be a bit dicey. After school the kids want biscuits, crisps, cakes and a hack at the Easter egg mountain that has hardly even been dented. Yesterday I decided to make a healthy snack platter for the girls and some friends to keep them going before dinner. They looked at me as though I had given then a platter of frogspawn to eat but when they realised nothing else was coming they ate it very happily  -  especially the celery with peanut butter. I will definitely be doing this more often.

If you want to sign the Organix No Junk Pledge click here: www.organix.com/nojunk

                                                               

Summer Ugging

Last week the girls and I were invited to check out the Ugg kids summer collection. Hmmm, I thought, bit sweaty for Summer… But wait the summer collection isn’t just sheepskin boots. My 8 year old loved these tasselled booties that are really light weight and perfect with leggings and cotton dresses (hello festival gal!) and there were plenty of sandals that my 4 year old took a shine to. These flower punched blue ones are very classic and most importantly have been thoroughly tested for rubbing. And they don’t! Last year we went through 3 pairs of sandals and many tears before we settled on blister proof Birkenstoks so it is really nice to have something a little less chunky and foot friendly in our sandal repertoire this year.

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Kyleigh Boot, £65, Ugg Australia 

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The Summer sandals that don’t rub. Sunny Sandal, £35, Ugg Australia

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Um, who is this grown up person? Can someone please stop the clock!

PS Dad bought the leopard print leggings back from a work trip to America. My leopard print veto has been officially overruled…

Glad Tidings

My brother is getting married! To a lovely, lovely lady who my girls adore/are obsessed with. So happy for them, they make such a lovely couple yada-yada-yada… Finally, I AM THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDESMAIDS!!! Finally I can wallow in lace taffeta, velvet capes, ballet slippers, posies… Watch out for posts on bridesmaid dresses, wedding outfits and tiaras galore. Humour me. it’s been a long time coming.

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I would like to say a special thank you to my eldest daughter who showed no subtlety in expressing her enthusiasm for the match and represented her family’s sentiments so succinctly while they outwardly blushed and  inwardly cheered and fist-punched. Bravo. Addagirl. Youthegirl. Whoop.

Genuine comments exchanged between daughter, her uncle and his future wife

UNCLE: What more could an uncle give his niece for Christmas?

NIECE: An Auntie

NIECE: “I think Lindsey would be such a great mummy. Don’t you? I think she is the next best mummy to my mummy. Or she would be…

UNCLE: “I’m afraid we can’t come to your party because we’re going to a wedding and we won’t be back on time. “ NIECE: “Your wedding?! Are you getting married? Can we come? Yayyyyy!!!”

NIECE: ”I wish you were part of our family. I love you.”

Neice begins to refer to Uncle’s girlfriend as Auntie at all times in the six months leading up to their engagement.

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Pictures from divine flower girl dress designer  ilovegorgeous.co.uk 

 

CHOC-FEST

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With my nerves frayed to the quick from hearing the question ‘What can we do now mummy?” around 20 times per day last week, the arrival of two golden tickets to a party to celebrate River Island’s new Mini collection for 0 - 3 years olds had me beaming like Charlie Bucket. The RI team had transformed their head office into a WIlly Wonka wonderland with wall to wall astro turf, jumbo candy canes and Mr Wonka himself who was on hand to entertain the little ones. Top marks to Willy who managed to keep firm control of the kids even through their wild eyed sugar crazed high.    

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Pug socks, t-shirt painting, fizzy pop, balloon modelling, Mr W - it couldn’t have been better! 

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We had a chance to browse the summer collection for ages 3-12 as well. Even I, who would like to dress my children like the Amish found several pieces that I really loved. Forget hand knitted car coats and smocking, these are the clothes that your kids really want to wear and LOOK at that cat ear hat!!!

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1. Florida 76 t-shirt, £8 2. Jersey Sleeve Hooded Jacket, £25 3. Blue Brick Sunglasses, £6 4. Blue Chino Shorts, £12 www.riverisland.com/boys

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1. Sleevless shirt, £12 2. Cat Ear Hat, £6 3. Candy Stripe Hair Bow, £4 4. Floral Dungarees, £18 www.riverisland.com/girls

And now, River Island for the babies! 

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The new Mini collection has some super cute pieces that really stand out from the crowd. Available from mid May.

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.