With Mothering Sunday almost upon us, here’s my pick of the brands that celebrate mama life…
Sweatshirt (grey), £28, Do It Like A Mother pic (c) Photography by Petra
Girl gang/boy gang T-shirts, £15, Essex Mama
Penguin leggings (child), from £13.50; Penguin leggings, (adult) from £30, Fred & Noah
1 DO IT LIKE A MOTHER branded fashion is a by-product of Southend and Upminster-based hypnobirthing business of the same name.
Sweatshirt (grey), £28; Oversized T-shirt, £16: www.doitlikeamother.co.uk
2 ESSEX MAMA, was originally based in Harlow but is now established in Southend. Started by a full-time mummy Liz Cadman who was desperate to put her twitchy creative hands to use.
Girl gang/boy gang T-shirts, £15: www.essexmama.co.uk
3 FRED & NOAH is a hugely successful baby legging company based in Rochford (created by Natalie and Dan Reynolds – parents to two little boys) which makes mama leggings of select styles to twin with their tot creations.
Penguin leggings (child), from £13.50; Penguin leggings, (adult) from £30: www.fredandnoah.com Continue reading
Little fan: Sonny Jim seems to approve of my new Cambridge Satchel Company number
Sonny Jim is only a few months away from turning two – and my changing bag is even closer to reaching that milestone.
I bought it when my due date was looming and I had no idea of what I would actually need in a changing bag, but I liked the fact it didn’t look too mumsy, was leather and it had decent straps.
And in fairness, my Mothercare number has more than delivered. It’s seen me through the newborn days, epic walks with a tiny tot who would only sleep in the buggy. Trips to the beach. Picnics. Our first family holiday. Leaking bottles. Forgotten bananas. Poonami nappies.
It’s only now that the inside sections have ripped that I’m kind of over it. And I didn’t really want to go buying another “changing” bag, when the amount of gear I need to cart around for Sonny Jim isn’t really in the newborn baby league anymore. Especially now he’s got his own (super cute bumblebee!) rucksack/reins for his snacks.
So, I needed a new bag. A less mummy, more me bag. But that would still be able to fit a few nappies, a beaker, an emergency toddler vest/trousers in. It needed to be practical. But stylish. And good quality. Something classic. But not boring. And a decent size.
And, this was when I discovered the Cambridge Satchel Company (www.cambridgesatchel.com)
Nee-naws: My Sonny Jim in one of his terrific me&i T-shirts
When I was about 18, Ann Summers parties were a big thing. Cocktails and smutty chatter were the main thrust of the night. I actually know a girl who bought THREE rampant rabbits.
Fast-forward a decade, a few of us had our own mortgaged places, a few were married, a few even had a baby or two, and Jamie Oliver bashes were the way to spend an evening, a glass of wine in hand. I once spent an RIDIKULOUS amount of money on a squirrel-shaped nutcracker – that broke the first time I attempted to crack a nut with it.
Now a mama to the most darling of little lads, I think I truly realised that I’d entered another era when I threw my own me&i party. It was a lunchtime affair. With tea and coffee and cakes. And babies crawling around our feet. And the most LOVELY clothes for little ones (and, er, mums.) Continue reading
Fred & Noah fan: Fearne Cotton
YOU kind of know you’ve made it in the fashion stakes when Fearne Cotton posts a picture of herself on Instagram on Christmas Eve in one of your creations.
And then shortly after that posts another of her little girl Honey in one of your designs too.
Such is the rise of baby legging brand Fred & Noah – an empire run from a shed in a mum-of-two’s garden in Rochford.
Natalie Reynolds, 34, started making trousers for 0-4-year-olds while on maternity leave with her second son, Freddie.
Natalie was a lecturer in fashion design at South Essex College, running the fashion course, and initially making the leggings was just about her getting back into her hobbies.
But it very quickly turned itself into a serious income.
Natalie, who is an ex Thorpe Bay High School pupil, recalls: “It was exactly a year after starting the business that I was handing in my notice to the college and taking the leap to work full time on Fred & Noah at home with my husband. Continue reading
A new yearn: The Everhot
An Aga has always been something I’ve sort of unconsciously aspired to having. Y’know, along with a beach-fronted home, cashmere loungewear and hair that just falls right when I wake up.
Agas epitomise cosy kitchens. They conjure up warming night-time chatters, toasty toes and chubby-legged toddlers running across the kitchen floor.
So, at last night’s launch of Lower Barn Farm’s design studio (in London Road, Rayleigh) while there was SO MUCH lovely kitchen stuff to see up close and being used (thanks wonderful chefs!) there was one stand out for me.
The Everhot. It’s basically an Aga for the 21st century. A classic country kitchen look is combined with an energy-efficient heat storage range. Continue reading
Having a whale of a time in his Fred & Noah trousers
When it comes to dressing my baby boy, the more colourful the clothes the better.
I figure there’s plenty of time for boring clothes when Sonny Jim is grown up.
But finding fun fashion for the little guy isn’t always that easy. Much of the High Street, when it comes to boys – baby girls are another matter entirely! – is much of a muchness and even a little bland.
Which is why discovering Fred & Noah (www.fredandnoah.com) on the Neliana (www.neliana.co.uk) stand at the Baby Project, in Leigh-on-Sea, made me *so* happy!
From whales and foxes to raccoons and hummingbirds, the prints on the uni-sex leggings and shorts are exactly what children’s fashion should be all about.
My perfect post-pregnancy outfit
When one of your husband’s best friends is getting married just seven weeks after you’ve given birth, figuring out what to wear is something of a challenge.
It’s not like it’s worth buying something while you’re still pregnant because, let’s face it, you’ve got no idea what your post-baby figure is going to look like. And yes, you’ve got loads of nice frocks in your closet, but who wants the spectre of your pre-pregnancy size eight clothes looming that large that soon after a little person has vacated your being. Why put yourself in that I-can’t-get-it-over-my-bum-let-alone-zip-it-up hell any sooner than you need to? Which leaves you shopping for something new. With a newborn. And your baby belly still very much in evidence. Which is *not* the kind of thing shopping trip dreams are made of. Continue reading