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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Stretch your legs with Culture Baby

Here's to another great initiative benefiting mothers in London. Culture Baby seems to save London mums from cramped coffee shops, nasty looks and banality, by whisking them around culturally stimulating locations all over the city with experts in tow.

"Culturebaby is determined to put mums at the heart of London’s cultural life. Through a series of baby-friendly events and courses, that will stimulate our imaginations and engage our cultural sides. We’ll organise artists, writers, musicians and scientists to give illuminating talks in safe environments in which mums can relax. We’ll arrange visits to museums and galleries and we’ll put on behind- the-scenes tours of the most stunning buildings and homes of the capital."

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe

Friday 11th March 2011 meet at the gate of The Serpentine Gallery 10.15am
Come and join us for a unique FREE event for mothers who want to stretch their minds and their legs with their children. Learn about the works and life of the acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor whilst you see his work in a beautiful setting.
We will have a couple of experts with us to tell us about the work on display so you can learn something whilst getting out with your child. All children are welcome. Bring your pram/sling and a friend along for a fun morning.  Please pass this invite on and help us raise awareness of access issues for mothers with babies in London.

Unfortunately I won't be able to make it this time, but I imagine that it would appeal to other parents in the London area inspired to go for a good walk and learning about something cool, so I hope some of you see this and go. You need to book but it's free to do so this time. Other events cost around £6 mark.

When organising local meetups in the Richmond area for Netmums - I wish I knew more about the history of the buildings that we pass (if on a walk) and explain to the mothers that come along what it was used for or simple trivia that I remember. I'd like to enrich others but then I'm not sure if they care... Perhaps I need to brush up on some knowledge to make it interesting, read those history signs, make it to or better still, ask an expert to come with us on our walks! It will be lovely when spring has sprung properly and we can let the toddlers, who are constantly aching to get out of the prams or wriggle out of slings, out on the grass and talk politics, science, literature, art or just what you're feeding your baby...

Do you ever feel the need to get out and learn stuff?

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Babywearing at 1 year

It's been wonderful carrying Leon around with me tucked up like he was still a little baby - but he's not anymore he's turning into a little boy. Oh and he weighs 12kg (2 stone!). It's very useful for short periods but now he is too heavy! Granted I should be carrying him on my back in a rucksack fashion - but find that I cannot stand up straight and he falls down slightly each time I do. Time to go to another Sling Meet I think. A real confidence booster if you need reassurance with sling ties.

I can't help but carry him on my front in a Front wrap cross carry. I like to see him and talk to him. It's easier to get around than the pram and I feel liberated oddly enough, to walk pram free, darting in and out of pedestrians like before. But he's so heavy and my back gets tired (the cross over should be in the centre and not too high up). I regretted hauling in my pram to The National Portrait Gallery as there was so much space -  perfect to let babies out and crawl together. Conversely, I took the sling to the Saatchi Gallery for a mums meetup but there were floor level pieces and I wasn't as comfortable letting him crawl around. Shame on Saatchi's lack of benches on the Ground floor. What if you're waiting for people and need a seat! Pramless parents, pregnant ladies, elderly and tired need a place to sit.
Anyhow, they did manage a crawling session from the peruvian crematorium into the hall! The Gallery Mess restaurant was lovely - so accommodating to babies and could choose for babies from kids menu also. Leon had a delicious sausage and mash with sweetcorn as well as a few bits of food I'd brought along for him also. My, does he have an appetite.

The sling is a long cotton wrap and been a wonderful asset for transporting him since newborn in a hammock tie - but to be honest, I started using the wrap more when he was about 4 months on the front, in a simple front cross carry. He really enjoyed being at face-level with people and enjoyed the interactions in the street and I like that he's not all the way down there with those stinky car fumes. It's very convenient and means I try and pack minimal stuff in my big bag when going places. Restaurants and buses love it as you don't take up much space. If he's tired he can easily fall asleep against me and if I'm lucky I can put him down on the side of wherever we are while I have lunch.
And, nothing beats being so close to your baby. Well - being close to a small baby is wonderful. When you can't see over their head it's time they were hauled onto your back!

This website's very good for showing how to wrap your baby. The lady Diana is so strong to throw them up on her back like that! Oh yes - if you decide on a back wrap - best to wait for Summer or move to sunny Florida like Diana. The humpback look that you'll achieve wearing a coat over this wrap is rather unsightly.
Wrap Your Baby - rucksack instructions

I'm pleased that I gained the confidence early on in wrapping my baby - although I still use the pram a lot in gives me a brilliant alternative. For the next sproutlet I think I'll wrap them in the sling quite often as it's so comfortable and so easy when they're tiny - but I like that Leon is very independent and enjoys the pram. I didn't carry him around the house on my back like I thought I might. Only once did he wants to to be carried and I need to get on with cooking/washing up etc he entertained himself watching what's happening from behind my head and then fell asleep immediately afterwards.

It would be lovely to hear from other people that enjoy carrying their babies/toddlers and I wonder if you shopped around a bit to find the right one for you and if the wraparound babycarriers seemed to tricky? Would you be willing to try it out? I know several Sling Meet groups have a Sling library so you can borrow them! What a great idea :D

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sheer Cover Mineral Makeup review

Make-up wise I am a bit of a minimalist. Since I was a teenager I have worn mascara and eyeliner pretty much every day and in my twenties have started wearing a bit more lipstick and blusher. But now realise I should probably pile it on a bit more. Non-stop mummyhood has called for the odd YSL Touche Eclat here and there, but now I think I need a regular facial and some kind of foundation. Plus when I saw my tired face on this Fashionistable blog post I decided I need to work on perking up a bit!

Lucky for me, I was invited to a Beauty Bloggers Delight event in November and was introduced to a range of make-up from Guthy Renker including Sheer Cover, Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty,  and a not so scary microdermabrasion system from Youthful Essence. After a party makeover by fabulous and sweet makeup artiste Elkie Philips I was sold on the wonders of the Sheer Cover mineral makeup, enjoyed several freebies and a few weeks later decided to purchase the introductory kit for £30. (I opted not to get the monthly top-up and just the one-off kit!)
Includes 2 x Mineral Foundation in two shades, Duo Concealer in two shades, Extra-Length Mascara, Base Perfector and 4 free gifts : Studio Foundation Brush, Concealer Brush, Sheer Colour® Compact, Vanity Case and the Sheer Cover® Tips & Tricks DVD
Sheercover Medium mineral foundation

The kit arrived after my Christmas holidays (I ordered at beginning of December) so have been experimenting! The mineral foundation is so light and easy to brush on it's rather fun. Compared to other foundations/powders I may have tried in the past it's not awfully streaky and the colouring is spot-on, though it can easily be blended as you get two shades to mix up. According to makeup artist Armand Beasley "it doesn't clog pores and leaves you feeling like you're wearing no makeup" which I find to be true as it's so light.

I don't wear it everyday, but when I do, I feel made up and better knowing my skin has no reddy bits, has an even tone and my blusher/bronzer holds much better too. However I need to improve the blending around my nose as my hubby keeps pointing out - oops!

It's also made me realise how important the lighting needs to be in make-up application if you don't want to step out looking like a tart... New lamp for bedroom perhaps? I think so...

The base perfector is an ideal primer that is meant to smooth fine lines and reduce appearance of pores and it smells nice. The compact has several lipglosses that I've enjoyed using though have pretty much finished them already! The best free gift that came with the pack was probably the big Studio Foundation Brush as I didn't have one of those and I can also use it to apply my lovely Guerlain Terracotta bronzer that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas ;)

NB. I recently received a 'top-up' package from Sheercover and was debited a further £60!! I asked WTF that was about and apparently in the Ts ands Cs it says that by purchasing you agree to them sending you these top-ups. Cheeky! The Ts and Cs are at the bottom of the page and in my opinion it should clearly state that on the order page. You're allowed to cancel at any time so I surely did and sent it back for a refund. They were very efficient and handled that very well. Just be careful!