For the men in your life (but really for you).

Christmas time is fast approaching (yesssssssssss) and if your husband/boyfriend/dad/brother is as useless as buying gifts and mine are (minus the boyfriend), they'll need some help.

So, ladies, I'd like to introduce you to... AskHerFriends. 

AskHerFriends is brand new, online gift-giving experience that helps guys finally get it right with gifts for their special ladies, AskHerFriends uses social media to rally together those who know her best and turns them into his own personal team of advisers. It’s simple –he signs up, chooses from a wide variety of gifts and experiences on offer and puts them onto his Advice List, which is then sent via e-mail or Facebook to her friends. They can then rate and comment on his choices, thereby deciding which of them she will love the most. He has the confidence that she’ll love what he has chosen and she’s delighted with her new gift. Genius, non?

Here is what founder, Ben says:

“I started asking my girlfriend’s mum and friends for their advice, and they were really helpful. Then speaking to my mates I came to realise that I wasn’t the only one getting it wrong in the gifting department. So I decided to bring all that together with AskHerFriends.com, and make the whole gifting process as easy and hassle-free for blokes as possible. Because when you do surprise your partner with the perfect gift, it’s the best feeling!” 

With gifts from brands such as Quill London, My Wardrobe and Liberty as well as smaller, independent labels, the guys really cannot get it wrong.

Stool - Dark Room, London, Christian Lacroix Notebook - Quill London, Star Bangle - Rock My Vintage

So if you think know they need help picking you the perfect gift, direct them to AskHerFriends. There is also a helpful blog to inspire them, a 'What's Hot' list to give them an idea as well as an 'Idea Map'.

And tell him from me, HAPPY SHOPPING!

AskHerFriends is on Facebook and Twitter.

Tits, boobs, breasts, jugs.

Whatever you want to call them. In this instance, I shall call them tits. Mainly because I don't like the others (although many think 'tits' is vulgar) and because, although I'm fast approaching 27 (I know, I know... You all think I'm a baby - TRUST ME, I don't feel like one so let's just leave it there), 'tits' makes me laugh. So tits it is.

If you've had a baby (or seven) you'll know the effect that baby has on your jugs (I can't keep typing tits because I may end up giggling too loud and a) waking Lil up or b) wetting myself) and it ain't a pretty one at that.

Mine droop. Sag is such a harsh word and makes me gag a bit. They droop all sad because they're no longer right up high, all pert and young. Ol' droopy tits they call me (nobody calls me that except me in my head).

We could all have our tits enhanced and some of you may have already done so (lucky). But my husband won't hear of it (although if he saw them right now he'd probably write me a cheque quick sharp) and I don't have the cash to flash to Doctor Matti on the plastic mecca that is Harley St. So this is what I'm going to do...

One of my sisters is a boob guru. She's been trained up in boobs and how to measure them and which bra is good for what. She can tell you your size just by looking at you, fully clothed. Yup, that is how god damn good she is. She told me not that long after having Lil, something I already knew. My tits had started to sag. Thanks for that, sister. Bitch won't mince her words.

But what was I to do about them? She knew I couldn't afford new ones. 'Invest in a good bra and nobody will know any different, unless of course you show them'. Good advice. But not the best advice when the only person who was bothered about them was me. I didn't care that nobody really knew just how low they hung, I couldn't bare to look at them.

'Wear a bra to bed'.

Good lord, say whaaaaaat? Possibly the most uncomfortable suggestion that has ever left her mouth. Aside from sharing a bed with her and getting a black eye at the end of it. Apparently, gravity cannot pull those suckers down the whole time they're strapped in to a hammock.

It took me a while to think about this one. But tonight, I decided to give it a go. So here I am in bed with a wireless bra on. I thought about doing the 'I must increase my bust' exercise but then remembered I actually don't want to increase their size, just increase their position. A foot or two.

I shall let you know how I get on. I imagine it'll take a few years to notice any difference, unless of course I find a cheque in my purse to get some new ones. But we'll see...


*I ended up taking my bra off about an hour after getting in to bed, it was just too uncomfortable. Maybe i'll try again tonight.*


The Rough Patch.

We're going through one over here. Lil and I, Lil and Tim, Tim and I. The whole family.

We've hit a stage where Lil likes to do just that....hit. And kick. I thought I'd witnessed the most exquisite of tantrums a while back but I was wrong. She proved to me on Friday that the best was yet to come. Wow, that kid can throw a strop. My past tantrums are nothing in comparison.



I've been told that this is the norm for 18/19 month olds. No wonder so many Mothers turn to booze. I think I've consumed more this week than I have in one month during the party season. And we know the party season is upon us so I dread to think the food bills over the coming weeks and not because I want to party.

So what else is to come? Come on, fill me in. A possible divorce?

Christ knows Lil's recent spell of naughtiness is pushing my husband and I apart. There is a whole lot of resentment going on over here as well as strained, unkind words. This kid certainly knows how to push our buttons. And lack of date nights aren't helping. We don't appear to want to spend time alone with each other which is marvellous.

Do you have any tips on how to come through this rough patch? How to not let my child defeat me?

Your wise words are very, very welcome...

If I were a...

I found this post on Lia's blog so I copied and pasted it on to here (with my 'If I were's' obviously!)

What would you be?




If I were a gemstone, I'd be raw citrine
If I were a pair of shoes, I'd be a pair of beaten up leather biker boots
If I were the weather, I'd be a sunny winter morning
If I were a facial expression, I'd be a frown

If I were a car, I'd be a vintage Jaguar XKE
If I were a time of day, I'd be 10pm
If I were a month, I'd be November
If I were a place, I'd be Lower East Side, Manhattan
If I were a liquid, I'd be a large glass of Malbec
If I were a taste, I'd be something sweet

If I were a sea animal, I'd be a manatee 
If I were a food, I'd be a churros
If I were a colour, I'd be charcoal
If I were a musical instrument, I'd be a flute
If I were a flower, I'd be a hyacinth 
If I were a song, I'd be 'Ramblin' Woman' by Cat Power

If I were a planet, I'd be mars
If I were an object, I'd be a snow globe
If I were a fruit, I'd be a blueberry
If I were a sound, I'd be the rain
If I were a day of the week, I'd be a Tuesday.

Losing Myself.

I haven't had anything to say just lately, as you may have noticed. I fell in to a bit of a hole and stuff happened and I need to start finding a way out of it. The pressures of being a 'cool' Mum got to me, I guess, among other things. It's funny how you find it so hard to take your own advice on not giving a shit about what kind of Mum you feel pressured to be.

I often feel I'm not worthy of different labels such a 'cool' or 'inspirational'. After all, I don't work and juggle motherhood like so many Mums I know. I'm a Mum and that's about where it ends. I can't speak seven different languages and I don't have a degree (yet). I don't run a successful business selling clothes or work fourteen hour days as well as cook, clean and find time to hang out at the newest hip bar. I don't like being made to feel I'm not inspirational because I know I am. Maybe I only inspire Lil to be more creative but to me that's something big.

My Mum inspired me and still does, in so many different ways. My Nan inspires me too. She didn't work while she brought my Mum and Uncle up, but still she is a huge inspiration in my life. My Nan ran a tight ship and kept two kids and a husband fed and watered, she looked after me while my Mum went back to work. Two amazing, completely different women. Both inspirational. I'd still call them cool, too.

I guess my point is, as hard as it can be to not get sucked in to some crazy-arsed labelling system that mothers often create where if you don't work and look after your kids or you're not out partying every night, you're boring.

Lil can count to ten, knows half the letters of the alphabet and can string a sentence together and that's because of me. So really, I am inspirational. And cool (although you wouldn't think so now if you could see me...).

Don't pressure yourself to be somebody you're not or someone you think you should be. Every Mother is different and every Mother is an inspiration. To me, anyway.






HOLLYWOOD COSTUME WITH CULTUREBABY.

Did you read about CultureBaby? Were you intrigued? Excited? Want to join in the fun? Well you can on 25th October...


SACK OFF JEZZA KYLE AND CBEEBIES and Join CultureBaby for a talk and a walk with your little one through this wonderful exhibition at the V&A which will bring you close to over 100 of the most iconic and unforgettable film characters from a century of Hollywood filmmaking from 1912-2012.




Your ticket includes a private lecture and talk with the curator and a dress up box to let everyone from 0 - to granny discover their inner icon!

For more information and to book your ticket to this glittering event, click here.




CULTURE, BABY!


Who said you can't soak up culture if you're wearing a nappy? For those of you who haven't heard, CultureBaby, the brain child of Lucie Charkin is a service to parents of very young children feel and interact with culture. It's unlike anything else around for Mums and babies and in my opinion, a far cry from dull toddler groups I've often found myself at. 

Lucie says: The spark came 6 years ago when Lily my eldest and I were both asked to leave an otherwise empty Museum because she was crying. I left feeling unwelcome and confused as to why any museum would turn away a member of a key audience with time and a desire to learn. Like many of my friends I also shared a frustration at the mindlessness of standard mother-and-baby activities and harbored a desire for stimulating company and ways to share new experiences with my children. So in 2009,  after my last child Thea was born, I started working on CultureBaby.

Have a look at CultureBaby's first year here.

Previous events include a Serpentine Summer Party, a talk on Damien Hirst at The Tate Modern and Italian Renaissance depictions of the mother and child at The National Gallery.

Read more about the supermum behind CultureBaby...

NAME Lucie

OCCUPATION Founder and CEO of www.culturebaby.co.uk

WHAT DID YOUR LIFE CONSIST OF BEFORE YOU BECAME A MAMA?

More cycling holidays, sleepless weekends – out of choice, travel and me! In my twenties I lived in Hong Kong running a private gallery for a Swiss dealer, before setting up my own art gallery in Beijing, China. I returned to UK in 2000 and hit the Dot.Com boom with icollector.com. After this I headed up the Charitable Giving team at the Natural History Museum and then I managed to squeeze in an MA in Art Criticism and Museum Studies and a dream job at Artangel before I got pregnant with Lily; who just turned 7.

HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON?

Motherhood has made me realise I am mortal and that you have to make the most of the time you are given (heavy!!). I like to think motherhood has made me strive to be a better wife, mum, friend and role model to my delicious daughters. I am more aware of what my choices mean to those around me. Above all it has given me greater feeling of responsibility towards womankind not because of the tie that childbirth suggests but rather because of the life-changing challenges to the sense of self that this amazing journey presents.

ASIDE FROM CONCEALER, WHAT CANT YOU LIVE WITHOUT NOW YOU HAVE A CHILD?

Perfume. I like to wrap myself in a smell that is with me day and night that makes me feel good.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A FIRST TIME MUM?

Take it easy on yourself, work around your needs and try to get to know your baby. Set yourself a small goal each day in those first weeks and REST. Do not underestimate how much your child understands, feels and learns. Those first 18 months are a daze but they are critical in shaping your child’s neuro-pathways and your bond. Whether you are with them 24 /7 or 3 hours a day after work– talk to them. Tell them everything that you are doing, thinking, seeing.  BUT whilst you are doing this, do the things you love! Keep your mind open, meet other parents and come to culturebaby to get a dose of mind candy!

HOW HAS YOUR WARDROBE CHANGED SINCE HAVING A BABY?

It has shrunk! No time to shop.

CAKE OR BISCUITS?

Biscuits – nutty ones with a cup of coffee

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?

Seeing someone being passionate about something they love

DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRETS OR TIPS TO MAKING MOTHERHOOD THAT BIT EASIER?

Come to one of our events – they make you feel alive, interesting, engaged and let you meet other likeminded folk.
Also if you can love yourself everyone you care for benefits and feels it. So try to keep a hold of what you love doing  (or loved doing before babies) and do it with your baby that way you can both grow and learn together. Always move on from a mistake we all make them, adapt and don’t try to do too much in a day!
Lastly – travel and make the most of that first year, as this is when our bundles of joy are so portable and yummy to cuddle in a sling. Its not until they start really moving that you realise how much freedom a sleepy babe in arms can give you and how you can really make the most if your year off at home with your baby, friends and family.

CultureBaby are on Twitter.

To see what's coming up over at CultureBaby, take a look here.

Today.

Pitty dwess. Shhhh, sleep time. Minnie mau. Shhhhh. BEEBIES!

Lil, get your hands OUT of the toilet. Splash Mummy. NO, DIRTY. Dirty.

If you don't chew your breakfast properly, you'll be sick. Bleuuurrrrrrgh.

Go back to sleep.

Shhhh.

Don't THROW. Stop that NOW. Now Mummy.

Char bear, pease, pease, pease.

Dwink. Yes that's Mummy's drink. Hottea. No it's juice. Jewce, me jewce. No, you'll spi..... ahhhh LIL.

Shall we go to bed? No.

Let's have a nap, yes? No.

Ow poo. Bum change time. No no no.

LEAVE MONTY ALONE.

Lilian, come away from there.

You mustn't climb up there. LIL, NO.

Cam down. What did you just say?

My husband.

I don't really write about him do I? I once thanked him on here but that was about it. I feel I need to publicly apologise to him, he'll realise then that I am sorry.

I've been very nasty to him lately, you don't need to know why but it was a bit unnecessary. Yes, it's annoying when he doesn't wash up properly (it's really annoying - I mean, HOW HARD IT IS?) but it probably doesn't warrant me screaming at him. It isn't his fault his asthma has flared up so it was probably a bit out of order for me to tell him to shut his stupid mouth noise up. Sorry about that, Tim.

I moaned at him for his lack of affection but now I know it's because I'd probably tell him to fuck off if he so much as put his hand on my knee (he's never done that anyway so not a good example).

What I have to remember is that he works hard to keep Lil and I fed and clothed and I should probably cut him some slack. So I intend on trying to control my hormones (like that's even possible) and being nice.

If you need a little help, I suggest you read Chapter 7 of Buddhism for Mothers - 'Living with partners'. I don't think he's noticed yet (probably due to my outburst on Twitter about how annoying it is that he can't put the hoover away properly) but I've made some changes to the way I am with him.

Because contrary to what comes out of my mouth when I'm having 'an episode'... I do love him.

18 months.

video
8 weeks old.


Lil is 18 months old today. Where did those months go? I remember the times when I used to sit and watch her all day. I'd casually look at the clock to see it was 3pm and we were both still in our pyjamas and I'm glad I left the house in a mess and just watched my tiny daughter stare back at me wondering what the fuck my problem was. Looking back, I took a video of her almost every day during those first few months and to watch her transform in to a baby with a million expressions was delightful.

I can hear her now, upstairs with Daddy. Fighting sleep. Something she used to do back then too. Motherhood is so hard and there are times when I have questioned if I did the right thing. Not that it mattered for not only was it too late, I was smitten. This kid infuriates me like no other, she tests my patience one hundred times a day and her sometimes consistent whining drives me crazy. But gosh do I love her bones. I love her so much it breaks my heart and I still wish, everyday, that I could make time stand still.



My beautiful best girl.

My friend Alice.


Twitter is a wonderful place isn't it? I first came across Alice over at Mothers Meeting but started speaking to her on Twitter. We appeared to share a love of wine, clothes and saying it how it is as well as both having adorable daughters, something I suppose a lot of women share. But Alice was different, she was my kind of person. I don't have many girlfriends like her. 

We met for the first time at Kaisa's amazing shop launch (go check out Pop the Fashion Store) and since then have been friends. Alice makes me belly laugh and for that she's a keeper. Her blog is just marvellous and in my books she's a MILFY mother and baby guru.

Read all about 'er...

NAME Alice Harold

OCCUPATION Mother of two and sometime Digital Marketing Consultant (mostly in the evenings at the moment)



WHAT DID YOUR LIFE CONSIST OF BEFORE YOU BECAME A MAMA?

I used to work as a Marketing Manager for a magazine in London and was never at home because I was too busy working and playing. Now I only leave the house to go to the park or Tesco – how times change! I do occasionally leave the house for other fun stuff to make sure I have interesting things to write about on my blog, though…

HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON?

I feel like I grew about a million more emotions as soon as I became a mother. I’m so much more empathetic to others and a lot less selfish. Plus both of my beautiful children obviously make the world a much better place!

ASIDE FROM CONCEALER, WHAT CANT YOU LIVE WITHOUT NOW YOU HAVE A CHILD?

I really value my downtime with crappy TV programmes: The Real Housewives of The OC/Beverley Hills/NYC, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives… I love them. Plus I would be lost without the advice of so many other amazing mums on Twitter. A definite must-have. And most importantly, my husband! Bringing 2 babies into the world together has been a core-shaker but ultimately it has made us stronger.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A FIRST TIME MUM?

DON’T WORRY! I spent so much time worrying about being a mum when in reality 80% of it comes naturally and the other 20% you can Google.

HOW HAS YOUR WARDROBE CHANGED SINCE HAVING A BABY?


I don’t have a need for high heels or sequins any more (though sometimes wear them to the supermarket to mix things up).

CAKE OR BISCUITS?

CAKE! In a total mummy-cliché I quite like to make cakes, they cheer people up. My favourite is my rainbow sponge (v impressive) but really I’m happy with Delia’s victoria sponge.

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?

My own mum and mother-in-law. Sorry for all the grief, mum! Mums who hold down hectic jobs outside the home: I struggle working from the room next door to my kitchen. Britney Spears (not really).

DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRETS OR TIPS TO MAKING MOTHERHOOD THAT BIT EASIER?

Be strategically selfish! I think it’s important to take a couple of hours off every week to get your hair done, see a friend on your own or go shopping. I have been away for the night on three separate occasions since my 5 month old was born and I appreciate the children so much more when I get home. It’s like seeing them for the first time.

Two kids AND she manages to get dressed, let alone look beautiful.



Alice is on Twitter and Facebook


Birthday Wish List.

My birthday is fast approaching and I have been trying to compile a list of things I'd like. I'm not really after anything materialistic this year (apart from these earrings, this bag, this print and this cushion.) I do, however, have my eye on a shit load of better things...

1. Sleep. Even if it's just six hours of undisturbed sleep. Please.
2. An eye bag reduction or a concealer that isn't shit.
3. Some energy.
4. Quiet. Some god damn silence with no whining and zero screaming.
5. To not have to tidy up my daughters mess EVERY SINGLE DAY. Christ knows I'm so close to chucking her shit away. When will she learn to clear up after herself?
6. For my husband to actually wash up PROPERLY.
7. To have someone make me breakfast in bed. Anyone. Just once.
8. A BIRTHDAY CAKE (Mum are you reading this????)
9. To feel sexy (or is that not allowed now my tits sag?)
10. Fish and chips.

Anyone would think I was asking for the world. Sheesh. But all I'd love is EVERYTHING on my list, that isn't asking for the world, is it?

My name is Charlotte and I'm addicted to...

the sound of the hoover.

When Lil was born, I downloaded a baby sleep app from the app store on to my phone. It includes sounds from the womb (or whatever they think these sounds sound like), the waves crashing or the rain hitting the window. We used the sound of the hoover to soothe Lil to sleep when we just couldn't bare to do it ourselves after she first turned our world upside down. We still use it on her occasionally, especially if she's having a restless night.



But every night when I'm in bed, I switch it on for myself for I cannot get to sleep without it. No matter how tired I am or think I'll fall to sleep as soon as I'm in bed, I can't sleep if I don't hear the noise of the hoover. I feel like a bit of a freak, to have such a comfort at the age of almost twenty seven. Why not just give me a god damn blankie and a bottle, right?

Does anyone else have anything that comforts them (alcohol aside)? Or am I due a long stay in a padded room?


LIVIE AND LUCA GIVEAWAY - CLOSED

If you follow me on Twitter you'd have seen me writing about the brilliance that is Livie & Luca. Lil's first pair of boots came from these shoe gurus and we LOVE them! Not only do they sell baby, toddler and older kids shoes, they've branched out in to women's footwear!






Baby Auto (also in Toddler)



These are just a few of my favourites, go check out their website to see lots more.

Want to win a voucher to spend on a pair of Livie and Luca shoes?

Enter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!

OLIVE AND MOSS

A while back I came across Olive&Moss after someone I follow on Twitter tweeted about it. I had a look through their site and mentally made a list of things I'd like for Lil and things to buy babies that were soon to be born.

So when Olive&Moss approached me to advertise, I was delighted. Such a great brand with cool baby and toddler clothes, how could I say no?!

The brainchild of Creative Director, Nina Govan, it's a designer brand that caters for the under 4's with bright, playful products. The high quality clothes are based around a group of animal friends each with their own unique personality and identity (Louis the Lion is my favourite).

Olive&Moss is stocked all over the world as well as in their online store. Their first ever winter collection includes classic day sets, hooded rompers and snowsuits.

Here are a few of my favourites:







The cuteness doesn't end there, go take a look for yourself!

If you are looking for something sweet for you little one, Olive&Moss are sure to have it. They're also great for newborns, the gifts sets are adorable!

But who is the woman behind this great brand?

NAME Nina Govan 
          
OCCUPATION Creative Director Olive&Moss

WHAT DID YOUR LIFE CONSIST OF BEFORE YOU BECAME A MAMA?

Setting up the business was an enormous part of my life before Bea came along. The last 5 years has been very much dedicated to making Olive&Moss the success that it is today.

HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON?

It has made me aware of how incredibly hard all mums work and how absolutely amazing they are!

ASIDE FROM CONCEALER, WHAT CANT YOU LIVE WITHOUT NOW YOU HAVE A CHILD? 

Bronzer, the cleaner, dummies, my Iphone and of course Peppa Pig

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A FIRST TIME MUM? 

Be as organized as you can. If you work hard to keep your baby, house and life organized then it actually allows you time to sit down and enjoy those precious moments with your baby.

HOW HAS YOUR WARDROBE CHANGED SINCE HAVING A BABY?

I seem to have 4 outfits that fit any given time. Arg, 17 months on and I and I am still losing the baby weight. I’m slowly moving down in dress sizes so I am prepared to say WOO HOO. Obviously ironing has gone out the window, and I am afraid to say its practicality all around these days…

CAKE OR BISCUITS?

Biscuits ALWAYS

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?

My Family, my team at work and of course my daughter Beatrice

DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRETS OR TIPS TO MAKING MOTHERHOOD THAT BIT EASIER?

Looking forward to a glass of wine at the end of the day!!


You can follow Olive&Moss on Twitter and Facebook.