Natural baby skincare: the Mustela range

Mustela productsI’m getting myself into the baby zone again. It’s a very different zone to the toddler one – or even the one year old one. Baby time is counted in weeks – not months, not years – and everything changes so quickly. I do worry if I’ll remember things, if it will all come flooding back (during a sleep-deprived 3am feed?) or if I’ll find myself Googling things frantically (probably during the subsequent feed at 4.30am).

So, having passed the half way stage and moving into my six month, I’m starting to remind myself, gently. An invite from Mustela to experience their baby skincare range couldn’t have come at a better time. Especially not as it included a session on baby massage with a specialist Continue reading

GUEST POST: Late Fragments – advance parenting

IMG_0015-0.JPGMy sister has given me space for a guest blog. I won’t use it to rhapsodise about being Scrip’s aunty (I’d like to save that for a future post), but to highlight another blog, which has now also become a book, Late Fragments, available to pre-order here.

It’s a blog by an old friend of mine, Kate Gross, who writes about being a mum, amongst other things, but also about ‘advance mothering’ – that is, preparing her five-year-old twin boys for a future without her. Kate needs to do this because she’s in the final stages of advanced cancer, and she won’t be with her family for much longer.

I knew Kate when we both worked in Brussels more than 10 years ago. After that we drifted apart, as people do, but I sometimes heard her news from mutual friends or acquaintances. It was an absolutely dreadful shock to learn of her diagnosis a couple of years ago, and a lovely surprise to discover her blog. I knew Kate before she had her children (in fact before she met her husband), but through her writing I have got to know her again as a mother.

I sincerely hope no-one reading this is in a similar situation to Kate or her family. And I don’t recommend her blog to make you realise how lucky you are, nor to remind you that the little annoyances of life don’t really matter, nor to prompt you to hug your own little ones that bit tighter when you put them to bed tonight. I recommend it because, through my tears, I have found Kate’s writing beautiful, wise, and life-affirming, and I hope you will too.

Half way through: a second pregnancy

Half way through pregnancyHalf way there – in fact, just over half way. The bump is discernible, the aches and pains are back but my taste for coffee still isn’t. Even though I can see and feel all of that – not to mention tiny kicks and punches even as I type – I still can’t quite believe it’s real. We’re going to be a family of four and one of those is going to be a tiny baby. Wow.

In some ways things are very familiar, and in some ways there are surprises. This is what I’ve found so far, second time around: Continue reading

Helping children who need it most – with the RLSB

RLSBWith endless present lists on my iPhone Notes, earmarking a day off work purely for Christmas shopping and nipping out each lunchtime to buy bits and pieces, it’s fair to say my Christmas has become pretty commercial. So when, in amongst the festive offers, I got an email about a new study on childhood blindness by the RLSB (the Royal London Society for Blind People) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), it stopped me in my tracks.

As a family, we are so lucky to have our full sight – and I’ve realised since having Scrip that seeing is such an important part of a child’s learning and one that I take completely for granted. The sad findings of this new report show the harsh reality faced by a child with sight difficulties when they reach 11 years old. Such as:

Continue reading

Christmas present inspiration: the BRIO Roller Coaster Set

BRIO Roller Coaster SetThere’s something so exciting about large, squarish packages coming through the post. Forget Scrip, I was like a small child at Christmas when I unwrapped this one. Unfortunately, she was peering over my shoulder at the time so any thoughts of giving this to her as a surprise went out the window. ‘Is it for me?’ were the words that came tumbling out of her mouth.

And yes it was (as long as I can have a go too). The BRIO Roller Coaster Set, from Marbel Toys, looks exciting from the box and the fact it’s tall, twisty and little wagons go whizzing down it means it delivers on the excitement as well. Continue reading

Natural family photography

Baby legs Baby in the air Bump shootI was out for dinner on Friday (a rare treat) with friends I first met over 10 years ago at my first job in advertising. One of them is now a rather talented wedding and family photographer – Jonny MP – and we were talking about kids’ shoots being his favourite.

He took some lovely photos of our wedding when he was just starting out, did a bump shoot for us in Richmond Park and also took some pictures of Scrip at 9 months when we gave friends a kids’ shoot as their son’s first birthday present and managed to have some of our own done, too. With two children himself and a naturally friendly nature, every shoot has been a lot of fun.

I recommended him to some parents just a couple of weeks ago. Jonny has a very natural style and is fantastic at making everyone feel at ease, instantly, so getting the best out of you. We have so many of his photos around our home (I use one in my profile picture) and we’ll treasure them forever. And I’m sure when the new little one arrives we’ll be organising another family shoot.

Here are just a few of mine, and plenty more examples.

New father