20 Week Update!

So we are over half way now, but with this being my third time, I am under no illusion that the second half will fly by as quickly as the first, what’s ahead is the tough slog! However the sickness has certainly improved and as such I am able to make the most of my time with the girls again which is a huge relief. Generally speaking, health wise all is good! We have just returned from the 20 week scan who have confirmed the due date to be 27th March 2015, that the little bean is on track at 12oz and 8.9cm (despite my enormous bump!) and that all fingers and toes are present.

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We didn’t find out about the sex, I was actually quite eager to this time, but as we hadn’t before – we decided to go with a surprise again. It was mostly Paul’s decision not to find out, he said it was because it’s literally the only thing in this world that could always be a happy surprise no matter the outcome, but I’m pretty certain it’s so I don’t start shopping.

Here I am at 19 weeks wearing my new favourite day dress. It is by Seraphine, part of their AW14 collection and is available in other colours. It is the first item I have tried from this brand and I am now a huge fan, the fit and quality are superb and the prices are very reasonable. I’ll be putting another fashion post together shortly now that my collection is growing nicely!

Seraphine, £55 Photography, Mrs Shutterspeed

Seraphine, £55
Photography, Mrs Shutterspeed

Enjoying an autumnal walk at RHS Wisley

Enjoying an autumnal walk at RHS Wisley with my girls

Cuddles with my Savannah Ruby!

Cuddles with my Savannah Ruby!

In other news… my boobs are massive, bump is probably bigger than it should be (as is my bum) and my chocolate addiction is getting way out of hand. Aside from the risk of being the size of a house by D Day, there is also a high chance of bringing on gestational diabetes so I really do have to reign it in and will have to work out how I can get my sugar highs in other ways!

I have just received a Yoga Bellies DVD as part of my Project B subscription which I intend to try so will let you know how I get on. Project B, by the way, is a really lovely monthly subscription for mums to be. You will receive a beautifully packaged box each month filled to the brim with well thought out products and gifts to see you through your pregnancy stages. This month, on top of the DVD, I received a beautiful tinned candle, alcohol free wine, some relaxing bath soak and some Bio-Oil! You should definitely check it out, why not spoil yourself during pregnancy hey!?

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Anyway, we are off on holiday tomorrow, heading to Dubai to make the most of a holiday whilst it is still just about manageable! So will see you in a week rested and tanned (said no mum of 2 toddlers, ever). x

Make Up Tools: The Bare Essentials

“There are only three things you need to know about good makeup application – blend, blend, blend.”

To get the most out of your make-up, it’s important that you have the right tools to apply it. Brushes have always been a bit of a beauty over site of mine, I realised this morning that some in my make up bag are over 10 years old! This is partly down to the cost but mainly because the choice is so vast I haven’t the first idea where to start in replacing them. Even the average kit has probably 20 brushes, what on earth can they all be used for?! But I can’t put it off any longer, both my Chanel Le Petit Pinceau and Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow brushes have had their day and are now leaving hairs all over my face. So this week, I have turned to the beauty experts at Jane Iredale to seek advice on the essential tools needed for everyday make up, below are the products recommended:

(you can click on any image for further information but I would suggest having a search around online before making a purchase as the prices vary so much, I have found some of these brushes starting from as little as £7!)

The Handi Brush - A flat headed, long bristled powder brush made of goat hair. Will evenly apply powder foundation and light bronzers.

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White Fan Brush - This one is made with boar’s bristles which are softer than you would think! Perfect for applying subtle blushers and shimmer powders. The white hairs easily show how much colour has been picked up reducing the risk of over applying.

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Camouflage Brush -  This is one of those ‘all rounders’ so long as it is kept clean (top tip below on brush maintenance). Thanks to its long hairs, this is a brilliant blender perfect for both concealer and dramatic eye shadow.

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Eye Shader Brush - A short, medium density brush made of pony hair. I find this is great to use for the middle tone eye shadow to contour your eye socket and add depth to your shading.

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Detail Brush - An essential tool to create the perfect ‘smoky’ eye effect. Applied to the lash lines it will give you dense colour with a soft finish.

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TIP:  A tip learned from my days working with beauty writers at L’Oréal is to wash your brushes with warm water and baby shampoo, it really is the best and definitely the cheapest beauty secret out there! 

As you’ll know from all of my previous beauty posts, keeping the application simple is at the forefront of all my recommended looks. I have been using the above tools for a few days now and can honestly say what a luxury they are to use. My make up bag feels complete (for now) and my morning beauty regime has been made even easier.  These brushes are definitely some of the most reasonably priced I have come across and are of professional quality making this ‘Essential 5′ a perfect gift for Christmas!

My AW14 Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

I’ve been stocking up on maternity clothes since I was 7 weeks pregnant and now at almost 18 weeks am finally able to fit into them! I absolutely love maternity wear, pretty much everything is stretchy :). I have several friends pregnant at the moment, all very excited about making their first maternity purchases so promised to put together a list of my ‘can’t live withouts’ to get them started on their shopping. This time around, I have shopped smart and stuck with simple basics that I can accessorise daily for new looks. Click on any image for prices and other colours.

Easy Wear Tops

These wrap tops by JoJo Maman Bébé are such a wise investment because they really do grow with your bump and are incredibly flattering to wear. I’d choose stripes for instant city chic, and a brightly coloured plain wrap to be worn with a contrasting vest underneath for a more casual look. There are loads to choose from!

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JoJo Maman Bébé, £29

Basic Tees

Isabella Oliver are in my opinion one of the most luxurious maternity brands out there and as luck would have it, their sales are on… They do truly fabulous long sleeved tees that are totally worth the extra pennies. Go for a couple of muted shades that can be transformed with different accessories.

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Isabella Oliver, £31

Best for Jeans

H&M do a fantastic range of maternity clothes that are very reasonably priced. And at less than £15 I don’t know why you’d look anywhere else. They stay up, have pockets and don’t sag at the bum and are seriously comfortable across the bump. Stock up in blue and black and they should see you through!

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H&M, £14.99

The Day to Night dress…

This beautiful show stopper by Isabella Oliver is in the sale!!! Perfect for a casual day look with a thick knit cardigan, tights and ankle boots and then to be transformed at night with black patent heels and a clutch. There is a reason this brand is a favourite with the celebs!

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Isabella Oliver, £62

 

TIP: When shopping online for maternity wear, check the elastane content in the garments – the higher the better (between 5% and 10%) so they dont lose their shape after a few minutes wear. They are usually more expensive but totally worth the investment as they will last the pregnancy. 

The Useful Tunic

I lived in these JoJo tunics in my last pregnancy, perfect for work and smartening up. You can either wear these with leggings and loafers or tights and boots. Seriously versatile and a dress you are sure to get plenty of wear out of. I wear mine with a skinny belt under the bust to give even more shape.

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JoJo Maman Bébé, £35

Accessorising…

The key to smart maternity shopping is to keep things plain so that you can create lots of looks just by changing your scarves, jewellery, shoes, belts etc. and the best thing about accessory shopping is that you can wear these long after your pregnancy. Scarves really will become your best friend over the coming months and in my opinion the best places to get quality without breaking the bank are Zara, H&M and French Connection.

This is a whole lot of monochrome for the money and will go with all of the plain basics above…

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Zara, £19.99

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t everything… These are just the staples to get you started. More posts on luxury maternity fashion to follow :)

How To Cheat The Pregnancy Glow

So my big blog news this week is that I am pregnant! Our 3rd little bundle of joy is due at the end of March 2015. Whilst we are both extremely excited (and terrified) at the prospect of a new little addition joining our family, I am afraid pregnancy isn’t something I find particularly easy… As with my previous 2 pregnancies I have been diagnosed with hyperemesis, which is basically really hideous morning sickness (that lasts approx 24 hours a day and can go on for the entire pregnancy!). As a result of constantly being sick and quite dehydrated, I look rubbish pretty much most of the time…

Now, for all you other sufferers, I am afraid I can’t offer you any solutions – I have tried everything and nothing works for me, (although Ice Pops have recently offered some temporary relief!), but what I can do is give you some beauty secrets to disguise it giving you that enviable pregnancy glow that doesn’t come to us naturally! And the best part is that it shouldn’t take any more than 2 minutes to fake!

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The Tools…

The Face

Studio Fix by Mac where have you been all my life!? This has totally replaced my liquid foundation, the coverage is brilliant and takes me approximately 20 seconds to apply! I sweep a large face brush in circular motions straight over a clean moisturised face to give the most even finish.

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MAC Studio Fix, NC30

The Glow

Whilst giving you an all over healthy glow, bronzer is a great tool to contour your face and give more definition to your cheek bones. The applicator most bronzers come with are actually the best for doing this and the trick is to do your face in 2 halves. Once the brush has enough bronzer on (tap it to shake off excess), start on your cheek bone from the hair line and gently sweep it back and forth to the apple of your cheek to build up colour, use what is left on the brush to cover the rest of that half of the face (you shouldn’t need extra powder) and do the same on the other side. My current favourite is Bronze Goddess by Estēe Lauder. This should take approximately 15 seconds to complete.

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Estēe Lauder, Bronze Goddess, 02 Medium

Highlight

I use a shimmery blusher by Mac to give some colour to my face. I dab the smallest amount to the cheek bones with a blusher brush to give a natural and healthy look. 10 seconds….

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MAC, Mineralize Blusher, Love Joy

Eyes

I’m using my Chanel Quadra eye shadow in browns. I actually only really use the cream to cover the lids and the brown to contour the eye socket, the darker you go – I find the less tired you look! If I have time and can be bothered, I’ll add a touch of Liz Earle pencil eye liner to the top lashes. 30 seconds.

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Chanel, Quadra Eyeshadows

Day or night I like to use the heaviest mascara I can get my hands on, and so far for me, this has proved to be Dior Iconic. A few licks on the top lashes is enough to last the day and brighten tired and blood shot eyes! 20 seconds.

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Dior, Iconic

The Lips

Finally, for the lips go for something with a slight gloss and a natural colour. My favourite at the moment is Chanel Rouge Coco Shine, in shade 54 Boy. 5 seconds.

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Chanel, Rouge Coco Shine, 54 Boy

Now this isn’t enough to make you exactly red-carpet-ready, but for a quick fix to a healthy and natural look, these are the tried and tested tools I’d recommend. The down side to faking the pregnancy glow is that you can forget getting any sympathy :)

Stylish and Traditional Christening Gifts

With the baby showers behind me at least for another year, it is looking like the season for Christenings! I have put together a list of some of my favourite gifts that I have seen online and personally sampled so can wholly recommend. Each one comes beautifully packaged and is in keeping with the traditional theme of a religious christening but with a modern and stylish twist to last the test of time. Click on any image to be taken straight to the site for further information or to check out the rest of their collections.

Kit Heath, Dinky Diamond Cross Necklace £40

Perhaps their first diamond?! A seriously special gift particularly from a God Parent. This cross is inlaid with mother of pearl and has a small sparkler set in the middle. A delicate necklace for a beautiful little girl and at a very reasonable price.

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Lost My Name, Personalised Book £18.99

For slightly older children, a personalised book is a lovely gift. Scarlett has recently shown a real interest in learning to write her own name which makes this book the ideal learning tool to get her familiar with the letters. You can opt in to include a personal message on the first page making this a book to treasure forever.

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Babes With Babies, Silver Zoo £45

As the name suggests, Babes with Babies is a very stylish site offering a huge collection of gifts for babies and expectant mums. I think this is such an unusual keepsake, a silver zoo with beautifully crafted animals designed by Tales From The Earth. Each animal symbolises something different, a wolf for close family and friends, an elephant for long life, a lion for courage and a bear for wisdom. I love the idea of these little treasures being kept close to the child throughout their life.

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Hornby, Train Set

A train set is one of those gifts that will be kept forever and loved by children of all ages, boys and girls. There is a huge selection at Hornby starting at £67.

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Vivi Celebrations, Teeny Heart and Cross Bracelet £49.95

Vivi Celebrations specialise in children’s jewellery and unusual silver gifts that celebrate special occasions. I loved this dainty silver charm bracelet decorated with hearts and crosses to symbolise love and faith.

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Great Little Trading Co, Wooden Noah’s Ark £40

Don’t be afraid to buy toys for a christening, the special ones will last forever and be played with by generations to come. GLTC do a huge selection of children’s toys and gifts that are all brilliant quality. This gorgeous little wooden ark is a very appropriate toy for a christening.

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Tales From The Earth, Little Girls Big Diamond Ring £46

Whilst looking for ‘traditional gifts’ I came across this. And like a little girl who lays eyes on her first diamond ring, I fell in love. Too many christening gifts can get shut away only to be worn and treasured on very special occasions, but this sterling silver and Swarovski charm is worn by Scarlett at every party she goes to!

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My 1st Years, Silver Engraved Baby Bangle £50

Engraved for Savannah, this bangle by D is For Diamond is already her most treasured keepsake. My 1st Years have a great selection of stylish gifts for little ones and is a first stop for children’s brands not on the highstreet. All of their products arrive beautifully packaged in a luxury gift box free of charge making the whole gift experience very special.

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Review: Gloria Golf and Spa Resort, Turkey

As promised in my previous post of my favourite Family Resorts, here is my review of our time spent at the wonderful Gloria Resort in Turkey. It is a holiday destination that I would highly recommend!

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There was so much to do here, more than I have ever encountered at a family resort and the days were packed with kids activities from the moment we woke until we all crashed at the end of the day.

Starting with the rooms, we had a family suite which annoyingly I didn’t get a single photo of! But, it consisted of a master bedroom with lounge area opening to the balcony and a second room with twin beds for the girls. It was heaven having the separate room and Scarlett was most excited to have her own en suite!

The buffets in the main restaurants weren’t huge but what was offered was very good and aside from breakfast, were different everyday. There was a small kids selection and even purees for babies.

This brilliant little splash pool actually had sand on the ground which took some getting used to but the kids loved digging it and making soggy castles!

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Not the most successful sand castles!

Another shallow pool perfect for toddlers!

Another shallow pool perfect for toddlers!

There were plenty of deep pools for real swimming!

There were plenty of deep pools for real swimming!

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We are ice cream connoisseurs in this family and can feedback the chocolate ice cream was goooooood….

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They also did great pizzas and pasta at the ‘Gloria Pub’ nearest the pools. (One to check out!)

After lunch, it was straight off to the water park!

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At only 20 months Savannah loved going down the big slides on our laps – but these little toddler slides were great for when we needed a break!

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Despite us being at the resort during the school holidays and it clearly being very busy, there wasn’t a single queue for the slides, you could always get a group of beds together and it never felt over crowded.

The evenings were either spent at the main restaurant where they would open up an outside bbq for you to order your food and have it bought to the table (as well as being able to use the buffet), or trying out one of the many a la carte restaurants on the resort.

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Dining Al Fresco!

We only tried the Seafood and the International restaurants which were both good, but we soon realised that having 4 children and only 3 iPads (pah) – the buffet option was least stressful!

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After dinner – the entertainment begins in an impressive outdoor arena with cinema seating. A children’s show would start every night at 8.30 (everything from the Smurfs to Madagascar) followed by an organised disco with dancers for the kids to get on stage and have a dance. There was usually an adults show on after this, but we rarely made them as all of us were ready for bed by this point!

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Spot me and Grandma!

Often before bed, we would have a quick play / cool down in the air conditioned soft-play (just to make sure the kids were reeeaaally tired!) which also had a miniature outdoors village to keep their little imaginations active before finally hitting the sack and doing it all again!

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We did go to the private beach but didn’t spend much time there as it was just too hot, but the kids (and Paul) really enjoyed the trampolines! There was a selection of watersports that weren’t included but were averagely priced compared to others we have seen and it had beautiful pontoons with luxury sun loungers for those without small children to enjoy.

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You can see why you wouldn’t attempt this with a 1 and 3 yr old!

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Crab watching!

This resort makes for a pretty full on week, jam packed with activities to keep the kids entertained 24/7, but fear not – there is a luxury spa for the parents and the Prestige Pedicure is definitely a treatment to check out, I’ve never had one like it!

We didn’t take advantage of the kids clubs but reading the activities it is definitely something we would have done had the girls been older. There is so much more to do at this resort from world class golf to children’s pony rides it’s hard to fit it all in one blog post! Basically if you have kids that need constant entertainment – this is the resort for you.

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Alex and the gang doing a treasure hunt for the kids and teaching them a dance routine!

Fireworks at the beach party!

Fireworks at the beach party!

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Even the swish beach party had a children's entertainer so all the kids were raving with their balloons!

Even the swish beach party had a children’s entertainer so all the kids were raving with their balloons whilst the adults sipped their cocktails!

 

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The bridge to the beach

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Savannah in her new skirt from Box Upon A Time

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We found Travel Republic and EasyJet had the best deals on when we were booking so it’s definitely worth shopping around. I’d also check directly with the Gloria Resort for any special offers they may have.

 

Review: Box Upon A Time

It’s not often you’ll see an entire blog post devoted to a product review on Scarlett and Me. I try to avoid too much brand pushing across my blog, but when a product such as Box Upon A Time lands on your lap you make an exception…

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So What Is It? 

It’s actually quite hard to summarise this service whilst giving it the justice it deserves, but essentially it is a subscription for premium childrenswear.

The simple steps involve you creating a fashion profile for your child to include age, size, likes and dislikes, then from here – a stylist from Box Upon A Time will consider this profile and put together a beautiful box of designer goodies suitable for the season.

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It’s all incredibly straight forward and there are 5 steps in total


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Needless to say we went with Style Chic dahhhhling

Savannah’s Box

A few weeks after the profile had been submitted, the beautifully packaged box of goodies arrived… A friend was over at the time and we were both extremely excited to check out its contents!

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Why Do It? 

I initially wondered if I bought my girls designer clothes, would this be the way I’d do it? Surely the pleasure of going into the shop and making the choice yourself is why you would buy designer clothes at all? But actually, I can confirm that the genuine excitement of receiving the box to discover such beautiful brands that I have never even seen in any shop far outweighs any shopping experience! Especially knowing that all of the designer goodies are worth 60% more than I’d be paying through my subscription (a breakdown of your savings are also included in the box).

Plenty Of Options…

You are offered various levels of subscriptions; Silver, Platinum and Gold starting from just £29. You can suspend your subscription at any time and have no financial ties, you can opt for monthly or quarterly subscriptions and it’s even possible to just buy one box which would make a very special gift for any new mum.

You can check out the extensive list of designers they work with here

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This is a lavish concept that appeals to a niche audience, but if you do have the cash or already like a designer splurge (and a bargain) then head to Box Upon A Time. It’s a lovely idea and one that I hope catches on! For more information you can visit their site at www.boxuponatime.co.uk