mumface smallBear with me – it’s like the longest labour ever. But since I’ve written a book, I’m expanding the conversation here to cover all aspects of motherhood. My new website is in the works over at Harper Collins, and I think will be ready for visitors this month…

In the meantime, you can order the book here, and join me on Instagram.

See you soon!



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I’ve been inundated with texts from friends over the past few weeks asking after foundation. The seasons are shifting, so it’s time for many to rethink their coverage, taking on the ubiquitous advice that you MUST switch to tinted moisturiser immediately because it’s better for your skin in the heat. RUBBISH! IT ALL CLOGS PORES TO THE SAME EXTENT! But nonetheless, I shall proceed…

The general gist of the text is always, I want something light that won’t cost a fortune. And I wish I could text back with a simple, BUY RIMMEL FOUNDATION, IT’S THE BEST! But actually getting the right foundation is way more complicated than that, and you DO get what you pay for. So here goes: my guide to what’s good, what’s cheap and what actually works…

  1. YOUR FOUNDATION IS ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR CLEANSER. If you’re not using the right cleanser or cleansing thoroughly enough, your foundation will not sit in the same way, plus it will have a whole myriad of problems to cover. If you want to scrimp on foundation, PLEASE invest in Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm first. A weekly or even b-weekly enzyme exfoliant would be good too – I like Indeed Labs and Peter Thomas Roth.
  2. YOU NEED TO HYDRATE YOUR SKIN BEFORE YOU APPLY FOUNDATION. I only know of one foundation which effectively hydrates while it covers (Hourglass Hyaluronic Skin Tint) but even under that I always need moisturiser. I swear by Pestle & Mortar Hydrate, and focus it around the eyes, chin and lines.
  3. DON’T RELY ON FOUNDATION’S SPF AS SOLE PROTECTION. You’d have to wear a shit-ton of makeup to actually get the protection of a sun cream. I really rate Darphin Intral Environmental Lightweight Shield SPF50. But remember: the time it protects you for is the time is usually takes you to burn (usually around 10 minutes) multiplied by the SPF number, so for example SPF50 gives you approximately 500 minutes of protection. And you should still avoid direct exposure to strong sunlight.
  4. OK, now you can apply it. I don’t have time for primer on top of all that other stuff (see points 1-3), so I am very demanding of my foundation. It must be long-lasting and comfortable without a primer. So, no – I don’t often scrimp on foundation. My current favourites are:
  5. NARS PURE RADIANT TINTED MOISTURISER £30  – it’s excellent for drier skin, but for me it skims over lines and gives the appearance of plumped up skin with a healthy sheen. This is a high summer choice for me when I’m not after quite so strong a coverage.
  6. GIORGIO ARMANI POWER FABRIC £36 – this is AMAZING – definitely light and seamless on the skin, but it also covers properly. I have a mammoth hormonal spot right now and haven’t used concealer once thanks to this souped-up base. It’s imperceptible to the touch once it’s on – just a genius formulation, possibly witchcraft actually. Plus, a little goes a hell of a long way so you get your money’s worth on a cost-per-wear basis. And I repeat: you will NOT need a primer.
  7. IF YOU REALLY HAVE TO SCRIMP – I would recommend BOURJOIS HEALTHY MIX FOUNDATION £9.99 mixed with a dash of serum for added glow. L’OREAL TRUE MATCH GENIUS 4-IN-1 COMPACT FOUNDATION £12.99 is a brilliant base but I use it for touch-ups rather than an all-over job. If you did want to use it like that, make sure you moisturise well first, give the cream time to cook and settle, then apply with a clean sponge (not the one in the compact – harbinger of germs).




Move Your Frame, Mama!

MumHood-3F7A9143Pip Black and Joan Murphy are the awesome women who set up Move Your Frame in 2009, a health and fitness hot spot that broke the mould. Five stand-alone studios later they’re launching a mum-focused programme of fitness classes – Mumhood – mindful of what’s safe and helpful during the three trimesters and in the months after giving birth. Within Mumhood there are four programmes for each stage, encompassing workout guides, nutrition guides, a monthly Q&A webinar and access to an online group.

  1. Pregnancy – videos are split into trimesters.
  2. Postnatal Phase 1 – aimed at new mums of those who haven’t done any rehab since they had their baby and may have had a C-section or issues such as abdominal separation, pelvic floor issues, prolapse etc.
  3. Postnatal Phase 2 – aimed at new mums with little or no abdominal separation, or who have exercised during pregnancy. Alternatively, great for those whose babies are a little older, but they haven’t done any rehab work yet.
  4. Fit Mums – for mums whose babies are 6 months and over. It’s a low impact but HIGH INTENSITY workout, which is quite tough and created to help mums get the most out of the short amounts of time she has to squeeze exercise in.Aside from this there are also specific Mumhood classes at each of the 5 studios in London. A variety of Mumhood events and workshops are also set to take place with guest speakers from the worlds of nutrition, hypno-birthing and baby sleep.I got to ask Pip a few questions before their official launch last week.

How does it differ from other programmes at FRAME?

The Mumhood programmes and classes are designed specifically for the pregnant or postnatal client, so the exercises are selected especially to ensure that a) they are safe, but b) they are working/stretching the areas of the body which need it most during these times. We also give modifications for SPD and other common pregnancy conditions. The postnatal classes are designed so that you can bring your baby with you, so no excuses about childcare. The environment means that mums are happy to breastfeed and hold their babies if they need it, without feeling like they need to leave the room.


What kind of mum-related concerns does it help tackle?

How to assess your abdominal separation, pelvic floor issues. What proper pregnancy nutrition looks like, how to fuel your body for life as a new mum, what exercise is safe during pregnancy, how to keep calm and prevent anxiety as a new mum, Top ‘Mumhacks’ to make getting through pregnancy and life as a new mum as easy as possible!

What support are the mums offered?

We run monthly free webinars where you can ask us whatever questions you may have regarding exercise, nutrition, generally getting through life… We also have closed facebook groups attached to the programmes, so you can join a likeminded community of other mums and mums-to-be going through the exactly the same process.

Why was it important to you to add a programme for mums?

When Joan and I fell pregnant for the first time, it was quite a shock to find how limited the options for pregnant women to continue to exercise were. Advice was contradictory and definitely fell on the side of caution, but at the same time having done our own research into it, and being extremely active pre-pregnancy, we knew that staying active would keep us sane, and ultimately would be best for our bodies and create the best possible start to life for our babies.


As a new mum, exercise, especially group exercise, will help get you out of the house and help to prevent postnatal depression. It will also help you to get on with your daily life without injuring yourself, and help to boost your energy levels.

When Joan fell pregnant the second time, the timing felt right for us to seriously think about launching Mumhood which we had been quietly working on for the past year or so. Through Frame we had started to see the number of pregnant ladies coming into the studios confused and wondering what they can/can’t do, but keen to keep exercising and we wanted to do something positive that would be of benefit both to our current customers, but also to those pregnant ladies and new mums around the country, who may not have access to somewhere like Frame.

How do we join?

Sign up here –


Sleep Aids I Swear By…

babysleepOK, so I am not about to give you parenting advice anytime soon. BUT sleep is the holy grail, isn’t it? And it’s what helps your MUMFACE look and feel great, so this is like playing the long game to better skin, if you like. It’s a beauty sleep cheat sheet of sorts.

We have had so many ‘sleep regressions’ over the past four and a bit years of parenting, I’m inclined to say night wakings and dodgy bedtimes have actually been the norm, with a few weeks in between that have made us think we’ve finally got it nailed. But sure enough, back in December things took a downward turn again, and bedtime went from peaceful story time to GETINTOBEDOTHERWISESANTAWONTCOMEISWEARTOGODIFYOUGETOUTOFBEDONEMORETIME… None of our old tactics worked, and at four, our daughter had got the better of us. Star charts, marbles-in-a-jar and finally, bribery, all fell on deaf ears as she went crazy every night. A night light, Gro Clock, lullabies, gradual retreat, silently putting her back in bed, special toys, a new bed, different sheets, a new blanket, a ‘quieter’ mattress protector, more new special toys, another new night light… suffice it to say about £750 later we were still awake. And the less sleep we got, the worse the bedtimes became and it all began to get on top of all three of us.

Then a friend – she of The Mama Squad in fact, but she is actually a superhero – told me to try Alan Wick. His ‘CLOSE YOUR EYES SLEEPY CHILDREN’ hypnosis CD tells gentle stories and coaxes the child into a relaxed state so they can drift off to sleep on their own. I was sceptical because I thought any kind of sound at bedtime would be distracting and actually keep her awake (we’d tried countless lullaby CDs back in the day and realised they made things a whole bunch worse), but now she’s old enough to listen to the words, follow his instructions and fully relax every inch of her body. IT WORKED! She fell asleep within minutes of the first play, no shouting, running around or crying.

We also incorporated in some new products from our beloved Bloom & Blossom – their new pillow spray and massage oil are divine, and adding a very brief massage of our daughter’s back and shoulders signalled a change from the fun of bath time to the tranquility of bedtime. I say brief, because I now know that whenever you start a new routine, only introduce something you know you can sustain for potentially years to come. I squeeze her shoulders gently, hold my hand on her chest (heart chakra – got it from yoga, innit) and back, then sweeping down her back once or twice is all it took. Then she has a drop of oil to rub her own belly and arms. The pillow spray means she has a very clear sleep signal as she gets into bed. The light goes off, Alan begins his calming stories and we’re away.

In fact, lying on my bed next door I basically pass out, too – he’s that good. I’ve also sent it with her to my mum and dad’s for a sleepover – only her third time away from us ever – and it worked just as well there. She went to bed with no hitches.

Long may it last!

The Smells That Help Me ‘MUM’

perfumeI was at home with a sick four year old last week, which consisted of cleaning up sick, role-playing with some surprisingly obnoxious Sylvanians and then more cleaning, the nostril-burning scent of Dettox always hanging in the air. The vomiting started on Tuesday night – my sweet girl apologising every time – and by Friday (observing the 48 hour quarantine rule) I was a shadow of my former self and sick to death of the smell of bleach. My gorgeous girl was better but I was like a wet [bleach-soaked] rag.

When you’re doing really full-on mothering with no breaks, self care is the last thing on your mind. I collapsed into bed every night at 8pm, sweaty, hands red raw from all the cleaning. But there was one thing that I kept up and made me feel a fraction better: scent. I can’t see my own face as I rush around, my hair matters not, but if you close your eyes every time you get a hint of a sensual smell, you could be anywhere. You could be dressed up to the nines, ready to embark upon a big adventure. You can feel all that with the added bonus of having your little one snuggled in your arms. And it sort of tempers the stench of vom.

Sometimes a smell is all you’ve got to remind yourself that you are an adult, that you are a woman, that you are a vital, sexy, strong, kickass kind of person. I have three perfumes on my dressing table that represent a side of me I can call on for back-up when times are tough.

Issey Miyake – my mum wore this in the 90s, and I was allowed a spritz from time to time. It reminds me of having a strong woman alongside me, kind and resilient, ready to tackle all my problems with me.

Francis Kurkdijan Apom Pour Femme – the closest thing I have to a signature scent, I interviewed Francis when I first when freelance and was full of optimism and fighting talk. I went to New York to meet editors with his Apom Extrait (basically perfume oil) in my handbag, so it was bound up in being brave and excited, out in the big city by myself, ready to forge my own new path.

Jo Malone Myrrh & Tonka Cologne – This one is new, but I started wearing it before Christmas, so it has all that warmth and excitement of the build up to the big day. It’s also ridiculously sexy – nothing Noro Virus about this one.

New Year, New… oh sod it, never mind.


It’s the headline I dread as a beauty writer. In fact, I refused to write a piece under it last year and this year nobody asked. I think perhaps the tide is turning away from thinking January is a good time to start dieting and detoxing yourself into misery? Let’s hope so. Because I say: don’t go changing. In fact, I am still eating cheese boards for lunch and having a little Prosecco party most evenings. I am going to up the yoga content of my life this year, just not at the precise second while I’m still nursing the ribs of an infected chest and a fully stocked inbox. Nope, I am enjoying a sloth’s entry to the new year, looking forward to the new opportunities and soon-to-be-changing seasons without denying myself a single thing. Give yourself a break.

What I am doing though, is a whole lot of restorative bathing. I’m back on the relaxing lavender essential oils (one of the only things I trust not to disrupt the pH balance of my bits when bathing) and despite the abundance of central heating, my skin is actually smoother and softer than it’s been in ages thanks to a well-timed return to my favourite moisturiser: Pestle + Mortar Hydrate. I’ve been writing a big skincare feature for a magazine which required me to try a bunch of new serums and creams, and while some have been awesome, my skin is clearly pleased that I’ve reverted back to my usual routine. Because sometimes getting back to the OLD you is the best bit about the post-Christmas period. 

HAUTE MAMA: Olivia Chantecaille


Olivia Chantecaille has serious beauty pedigree – Chantecaille is simply one of the most beautiful luxe makeup and skincare brands there is. But what does a true product maven do when she’s pregnant and then has a daughter? I was very excited that Olivia agreed to be one of our Haute Mamas, and even more excited when I learnt of her new launch…. GT

“Being pregnant was wonderful and terrible. Some days I felt practically omnipotent like a pregnant superhero that never gets sick. Other days, I could hardly stand the exhaustion and insane nausea, but somehow looking back it doesn’t seem that awful.

When I was pregnant, I was grateful that I didn’t have to adjust my skin-care routine very much. It was reassuring that everything I was using was safe for my baby and me. I couldn’t get enough of our Pure Rose Water to refresh especially during the summer. I actually went through a couple bottles in the hospital to help calm and soothe; plus, it’s anti-bacterial.

I did pre-natal yoga, which really helped to keep my muscles feeling limber as my belly grew. It was also great for deep-breathing which I feel like I never do enough of. I mostly did acupuncture which I think really made a difference in how I felt at every stage of my pregnancy.

Delphina’s birth inspired me to create our new collection, Chantecaille Bébé. I was looking at all the organic and natural baby skin and bath care products on the market and found them to not be up to par with the products I used on myself.  As a new parent I was nervous about making mistakes. I wanted products that I trusted implicitly—pure, high-quality, safe formulas that were created with integrity. So I made them. All the products are entirely natural and organic and certified by COSMOS. There’s the Wild Moss Rose body lotion, Flower Petal hair and body wash, and Orange Blossom face crème. They all use the wild moss rose, which is clinically proven to be calming, soothing and anti-itching. Another big difference is that we use a flower water base instead of plain water, which adds additional soothing, calming properties.”


Mumflu: now you HAVE to have some me-time


I absolutely love December (mince pies, parties, presents) and HATE December (snot, vomit, phlegm) – it’s like playing some kind of germ-roulette everytime you step out the door. (Yes, I have OCD – let’s just move swiftly past that and onto the beauty bit…)

This year, we have been surfing the sub-par wave as a family – one feels a bit rough just as the other recovers to nearly-normal. But basically we are all one infectious friend away from flu. I am mainlining chicken bone broth, Echiniforce, Vitamin D and Vitamin C, but the nicest thing I’ve actually ENJOYED using is MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion £27.50 for if you’re feeling a bit rough, feel like you’re about to feel rough, or have full-on stinking flu. OR a hangover, as it turns out. The heady mix of peppermint and fennel really clears your head, and even better: when I bathe in this before bed I wake up with the silkiest skin. Now fennel is often warned off for pregnant women, so I wouldn’t risk it. But if you’re all clear, this is a Mumface wonder.

So take the time this month to wallow, indulge and breathe. xx



DADFACE: Daimon Barber Serum for your beard

beard_and_stubble-serum-coMy husband, Rich, ladies and gents. This review of a rather tasty beard serum has been edited because it was filthy. But essentially, it’s worth sharing because this is the kind of product that the man likes to use but that also benefits the much-kissed babies and partners. One for the Christmas stocking, perhaps? GT

When I became a father I accepted that there would be inevitable change and a degree of sacrifice. Sleep, for example, was something I was particularly fond of. I was also partial to a spot of ‘not watching CBeebies’.  Obviously delights like these had to go in favour of my kid.

But I WAS surprised to find that routine things of my daily life would also be interfered with.  Things such as going to the loo without someone watching you, or leaving the house without having to hunt down my shoes first, usually finding one behind the bin and the other being used as a boat by Sylvanians. I even lacked the time to shave my particularly boyish face which led on to the period of my life that my wife loving refers to as ‘those few months when you tried to grow a beard’.
It wasn’t all bad though. I personally feel the facial hair makes me seem more distinguished and if nothing else it hides some of the lines on my face that are the bastard love-child of ‘4-years worth of disturbed sleep’ and his evil mistress ‘the agonising stress of trying not to accidentally kill your child’.  The downside was that my lovely wife and daughter no longer liked kissing me because of the ‘roughies’. It was for this reason that I agreed to try Daimon Barber’s Softening Bear & Stubble Serum.
I’m not great with recognising scents, and I’m certainly not familiar with Ouhd and Egyptian Mallow.  However, this smells of ‘rich mahogany’.  My wife sometimes catches me standing in front of the mirror just smelling the tube. I’m not sure it has actually led to a softer stubble yet but my chin and cheeks are definitely feeling more moisturised. I like it, they like it, my beard likes it.