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    News

    NEW MUM ESSENTIALS - 3RD TIME ROUND

    People always assume you have everything when you have your second or third child but I have found that in the time since I had my last there have been a lot of new and exciting "essentials" out there for us mamas, many created by mamas! Read on to find out my favourites...

    GO EVERYWHERE MAT

    Fiona and I designed the GEM because we found that, in the early months, your baby is mostly horizontal and they want to have a kick and a look around. The GEM is an on-the-go solution to a baby playmat as it rolls up, looks good and is easily portable. 

    Emmy lives on hers, as we feel she wants to be part of the gang so in the early days, she was on it on the kitchen table during tea time, outside the bathroom at bath time, in the garden when her sisters were having a picnic...the list goes on.

    BIG SWADDLES

    So useful! We love the designs by Mama Rules which really could double up as a scarf due to the on-trend prints. I use mine to drape over the buggy to block out the sun or shop lights, breastfeeding cover, milk mopper-upper and lightweight blanket in the summer. My fave is the tropical print, shown here with AVERY ROW moses sheet in Sunrise.

     BAMBOO BREAST PADS

    In the early days, having a new baby is like landfill hell with all the nappies, sanitary pads, breast pads etc. Good then to be able to cut down on some of this with washable breast pads and these ones by Mama Designs are made from bamboo. I love bamboo, it's so soft!

     

    THE RIGHT BUGGY

    I was lucky enough to be given a Stoke Scoot to try out when Emmy came along and I have really loved it. It's Stokke's version of a Bugaboo Bee (which we had last time) but probably a bit sturdier. It's really easy to open up and close down and the baby carry cot attachment means a total flatbed for sleeping while you're out and about. The hoods and covers are also UV protective which was great for the spring and summer. Perfect with one of our pretty moses sheets.

    SLING

    I used a sling by Amawrap which you can tie in all sorts of ways as your baby grows. It was a big help being able to hold the baby close, and have free hands to run around after the other two. I found it more versatile than the Baby Bjorn type carriers I've used in the past. It kept Emmy so snuggly and warm, especially good on a windy beach in Cornwall...

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    BEST FAMILY STAYCATIONS OPTIONS

    Sometimes packing for a flight with car seats, travel cot, buggies and piles of suitcases just seems a little bit too much.  Or the thought of having a screaming unhappy baby and child on the plane is enough to make you rethink about going away.  The UK has some amazing places to visit whether it be for a long weekend away of for a week over the school holidays. We've compiled a list of great staycation options in the UK, all of which have been visited by ourselves or by close friends with children of all ages.

    Bedruthen Steps Hotel and Spa (Newquay, Cornwall)

    (From £170 for a double room per night)  

     

    Situated on the North Cornwall coast, this family friendly hotel has a beautiful coastal location. Don't be put off by the not-so-attractive 70s looking block when you arrive, it's what's on the inside that counts! As well as being a few minutes walk from a beautiful beach, the hotel offers lots of activities for kids of all ages, from indoor softplay, pool and entertainment each night in the main hotel area. Perfect for entertaining your little ones while you sip on a cocktail at the bar which is close enough for you to see them but just far enough away to drown out some of the noise of a kid's party. 

    There is 2 hours of free childcare each day, a baby listening service and local babysitters can also be arranged for you. 

    The food is locally sourced and good quality, with a kid's special sitting each evening at the family restaurant. The rooms are quite small and basic but you get the feeling the nightly rate reflects all other aspects of the hotel, mainly the range of activities for little people!

     

    Center Parcs (Woburn Forest, Bedford)

    This branch is located a convenient 1-1.5 hour drive out of London, but there are various locations all over the UK. There is so much to do here and various grades of accommodation so you can go basic or more lux, and do as much as you want (or very little). 
     
    It gets busy during school holidays so we would recommend booking a few activities and restaurants in advance. There is also a helpful Centerparcs app to track your itinerary.  Apart from the huge indoor play pool centre which includes 4 waterslides for various ages (including adults!), there is a huge variety of activities to choose from.  Pony rides, indoor climbing adventure, chocolate making class and bowling are just a few.   For adults, they have an excellent spa with a good range of treatments. 

    Accommodation is neutral and comfortable. The food offer was slightly disappointing but considering everything else it is all in all a great option for a few days away. 

       

    New Park Manor (New Forest, Hampshire)

    (From £115 for a double room per night)  

    Part of the Luxury Family Hotels group with hotels all over the country, all of which offer great facilities for families with babies or young children.

    New Park Manor is a beautiful 17th century hunting lodge located in the heart of the New Forest between Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst.  The family spa hotel can arrange all the baby equipment you would need for the stay from cots, changing mats, sterilisers etc, taking the stress out of packing for you.  For babies there is a baby monitoring service, free milk and pureed food.  For babies from 3 months up to children of 8 years old, there is a supervised crèche filled with toys and crafts, plus play areas.  Each child is eligible for a free two-hour session a day.  Babysitting can also be arranged.  The swimming pool, bikes (including toddler wagon options) and cinema room will keep children of all ages busy.

    Being in the middle of the New Forest, ponies, picnic areas and cycling trails are on the doorstep.  If you do decide to go a little further Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World are a short drive away.

    As well as a full range of treatments, the spa features hydrotherapy pools, thermal rooms, a foot spa, 'experience' shower and outdoor hot tub, plus relaxation areas.

     

    Celtic Manor (Newport, South Wales)

    (From £99 for a double room per night)  

    Celtic manor is set in 1400 acres of parkland with two properties onsite, the period Manor House and the contemporary Resort hotel, plus a self-catering option in the Hunter Lodges. 

    For children under 5  there is a creche which includes activities such as bubble-blowing, sensory time and music makers, a soft play area for children up to 8 and a games room. For kids 11 and over,  there is the daily Hideaway Club with a fully qualified child care team. There is also an outdoor playground, two adventure golf courses, archery, laser combat, tennis, mountain bikes, clay pigeon shooting, fishing and an exciting forest jump tree top ropes adventure.  An endless choice of activities for all ages!

    There are a number of the restaurants number of restaurants on the resort many of which have children menus so you can all dine together.  There are also more formal dining options if you fancy a night off.  Babysitting can be arranged by the hotel. The two spas and health clubs offer a huge range of spa treatments and exercise classes.  

     

    Chalcot Manor (Tetbury, Gloucstershire)

    (From £199 for a double room per night)  

    Chalcot Manor is a beautiful stone manor house with farm buildings set over 220 acres of beautiful Cotswolds meadowland.  There is a good choice of family rooms and two delicious dining options, one formal and one pub-like that caters for children.  They offer baby listening devices tuned into the reception desk or can arrange babysitters.

    The playzone is open daily for ages 0-16.  There is an Ofsted registered creche which is packed full of toys.  For older kids there is The Mez with it's own 12 seater cinema, playstations and Xboxes.  There are also tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor pool, a dedicated kids playground, woodland gymnasium, mini football pitch, a disc golf course, free bikes to hire and horse riding.

    The spa with its long list of treatments available is great for a couple hours of time out.  The outdoor hot tub is fab!

    IT'S FESTIVAL TIME! WHAT TO PACK WHEN TAKING A BABY

    With the sun shining and British summer fast approaching it must mean festival season has arrived.  Whether you are going to a local gathering on the village green or heading to the mother of all festivals Glastonbury, we've created a list of essential items to pack when venturing out with your baby.

    SUNHAT

     

    Little Hotdog Watson have a fun colourful selection of hats to keep your little one's head cool.  All hats are UPF50+ providing protection from UVA and UVB rays.  The citronella mix repeller finish in the fabric also protects them from mosquitoes for up to 30 washes.  The design also means their ears and the back of their necks are covered too.

    www.littlehotdogwatson.com

     

     

    SUNCREAM


      We love the smell and non greasiness texture by the French skincare brand Mustela.  They specialise in natural products that are gentle on skin prone to atopic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Its SPF50 sun screen comes in three sizes: 100ml, a travel-friendly 40ml and a large 300ml lotion. It uses a patented active ingredient extracted from avocados to encourage the skin’s natural barrier and preserve its cells. It’s also water resistant and suitable from birth.  Available at all good pharmacies

       

       

       

      EARDEFENDERS

        Vital for any music festival and useful for both when they are awake and trying to sleep. They look pretty cool too!  Banz do a great range for babies 3 months plus and are available at Kidly.

        www.kidly.co.uk

         

         

         

         

         

        WATERPROOFS 

          Let's face it, we are bound to have some rain during a festival in the UK.  Investing in a good waterproof is vital, as there is nothing worse than a cold wet unhappy baby.  The Dutch brand Go Soaky have created simple, stylish and high quality waterproofs in unisex colours.  The Roger Rabbit waterproof onesie for babies up to 1 years old is perfect to keep them dry from head to toe.  There is a soft jersey lining for extra comfort and the diagonal zip makes putting it on and off super easy.  They also do a range for toddlers and  children up to 14 years of age too.

          www.gosoaky.com

           

           

          GO EVERYWHERE MAT

            Holding a baby all day in a sling is going to result in some very sore shoulders plus they will soon get cranky and need a good kick about.  The AVERY ROW Go Everywhere Mat has a waxed cotton base that is both water resistant and hardwearing, making it perfect for damp grass or rough surfaces.  The cushioned mat with its soft cotton top makes it super comfy for your little one to lie and sit on while you get some deserved rest.  It all comes bundled up in a bright yellow leather carry strap perfect for transporting around from place to place. 

            www.avery-row.com

             

             And of course plenty of wet wipes!!! 

            ALL CHANGE

            It's all change here at Avery Row! Over the summer we've been working away with the goal of launching some wonderful new products in time for the new season. Keep watching, we'll be giving some sneak peeks on social media and our blog over the coming weeks.

            For me personally, this September is a funny one. Not for 20+ years has September meant 'back to school' but now my little baby is taking her first steps in to the big wide world and embarking on this wonderful new phase of life. I am excited for her, and she seems quite happy about the idea too. She's not going to bed cuddling her school bag like some of her friends, but she's not dreading it. I guess I should be happy with that.

                 

            We've had a fabulous summer and spent lots of time cramming things in before we're in a school routine forever (well at least 12 years...) including visiting every playground in West London, lots of picnics, a couple of very good outdoor theatre productions, swimming in (slightly suspect looking) outdoor pools e.g Ravenscourt Park, pond dipping at the Wetlands Centre, zorbing at Hobbledown Farm...the list goes on.

                     

            And even though our British summer redeemed itself towards the end, now it's time to settle in to Autumn. Crunchy leaves, conkers, halloween. We can't wait! 

            In addition to changes in our household, Fiona is managing spectacularly with a huge bump in the final weeks of pregnancy. Her world about to change forever! 

             

             

             

             

            BEST OILS & CREAMS FOR STRETCH MARKS WHEN PREGNANT

            My second trimester is now officially over.  Everyone told me that it would be 13 weeks of much higher levels of energy and that I would feel great again. Unfortunately that feeling only materialised in the last 4 weeks but it did happen and it was great to feel human again.  

            Being a first time mum but a little older than average age to have you first, I've seen lots of my friends and family go through their pregnancies and got loads of helpful tips on the way.

            One thing I was conscious of was avoiding getting stretch marks.  I think it all stems from the tattoo I got near my stomach as a teenager and for some reason even worrying back then that it would become all distorted when I had a baby, despite that being far far into the future.  I still remember the tattooist saying that as long as I kept it oiled and moisturised it would be ok.  Once my tummy started growing and my skin suddenly felt much drier and tighter I was on the case.  I bought some and was gifted a variety of oils and creams.  Here is my review on some of the creams and oils I tried. 

            Bio-oil  

            (£14.99 for 125ml)  

                

            You only need a little so the bottle will last a long time.  Good value for money and is really nourishing, leaving your skin really smooth.  The main problem was that it takes a long time to soak in.  In fact it takes so long I think I will be throwing out a lot of my t-shirts after this pregnancy from all the oil stains.

            Khiels Argan Oil cream

            (£30.00 for 200ml)

            Technically not a stretch mark cream but I've used this cream regularly for the past 10 years. Argan oil is high in vitamin E and gives skin a natural boost. Another pro is that the lotion is non-irritating, non-greasy and absorbs easily so there's no need to wait a long time before getting dressed, .  The main drawback is the price, when I realised I had used a quarter of the 500ml bottle in a week I probably needed a less expensive option. 

            Mama Mio - Tummy Rub Cream

            (£23.50 for 120g)

               

            Great non-greasy cream, that absorbs straight into the skin quickly without it feeling oily or sticky.  Contains organic shea butter and omega rich oils such as argan, avocado and coconut oil to give strength and elasticity to the skin.   Your skin does feels really elasticated and nourished after each application. Has a nice smell which isn't very strong.   

            Cowshed - Stretch Mark Balm

            (£21.00 for 250ml)

                 

            Glides onto your tummy and skin really smoothly leaving it feeling soft and moisturised all day. It contains all natural ingredients such as sea buckthorn oil, coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E, to keep your skin moisturised and elastic as it stretches. Another plus is that you only need a small amount.  However it has a more oily texture compared to some other creams/balms as so takes a while to absorb into the skin. 

            Palmers Coco butter stretch mark cream

            (£3.35 for 250ml)

            Definitely, the best value for money, absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling smooth and elasticated.  Even though the cream is quite thick, you do need to use quite a lot of it to stay moisturised but given the price, that's not really a major issue.  The only drawback for me was that I have never been a fan of the smell of coco-butter.  But it you like the smell then this is a hit.

            Clarins - toning oil

            (£40.00 for 100ml)

                  

            Smells really lovely and leaves skin feeling really smooth and soft.  It's not as hydrating as some of the creams but for a body oil, it absorbs relatively quickly, much faster than the bio oil.  It's more expensive than some other products out there, but you don't need much so a bottle will last a long time.

            Fiona xxx