New Year, New… oh sod it, never mind.

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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. 

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HAUTE MAMA: Helen Cordy of Wood/Grey

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Bloody hell. I’ve just recently discovered Wood/Grey and now I need to change everything in my home in order to be happy. Helen Cordy has THE most beautiful taste and brilliant collection of what are now ESSENTIALS in my mind. The cushions! The throws! Also, the gorgeous Herbivore range for bath and body – the Coco Rose Body Polish is enough to send me into a spin. Helen is also a mum, and so here are her top tips on the products that got her through pregnancy and beyond… GT

“My beauty routine has vastly changed in the last few years.  I certainly choose my products a lot more carefully, considering the ingredients in a way that I didn’t really do before my pregnancy.  Something that’s also changed is the convenience factor; products need to be easy and quick to use as the luxury of time for myself doesn’t really exist anymore between being a mum and running Wood/Grey!

Some friends gave me a lovely care package when I was expecting and that’s how I discovered Bloom and Blossom Indulgence Bath Oil £18.  It’s a blend of natural essential oils including Sweet Almond, Ylang Ylang Flower and Lavender and several others.  I became totally addicted, it made a huge difference to my skin, with the oil continuing to be absorbed into the skin after the bath.

036My make up routine is pretty minimal these days; mascara, loose powder, a little blush/bronzer if needed and the most important one, concealer.  I suffer from what must be a pretty common mum problem, dark circles under my eyes!  T
he most effective one I’ve found is Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer £22.50.  I definitely couldn’t be without this little saviour.

I often end up letting my hair dry naturally as I always run out of time, so my go to hair product is Herbivore Botanicals’ Sea Mist Salt Spray in Coconut £18.  It helps create those elusive beach waves and smells truly amazing.  All Herbivore products contain only natural ingredients with no fillers of any kind.  I’m a real convert.”

 

Haute Mama: Steph Douglas, Don’t Buy Her Flowers

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Steph Douglas, founder of Don’t Buy Her Flowers and writer of The Sisterhood (And All That) blog, photographed in Central London.

Steph is one of those brilliant women who wants to make motherhood – and indeed, womanhood – a nicer hood in which to find yourself. Rather than the wilting flowers that give you one more job to fit into the nappy-feed-rock-clean-soothe cycle of the newborn days, Steph suggests you send your most loved new mothers a kit of things she’ll actually LOVE – magazines, sweet treats, Cook vouchers and beauty products galore. Since launching focused on gifts for new mums, they’ve organically grown for other occasions – thank you, birthday, anytime someone needs a bit of a pick up. Have a browse at Don’t Buy Her FlowersI’ve already bought several of these boxes and the general response is a tearful ‘ohmygodireallyneededthat-sob-sob-sob’. But yesterday she launched my new fav – the Time Out Box (£91-£201, for London residents only) is for new mums but really, anyone you think deserves or needs a treat, including a voucher for a MILK Beauty treatment. A review for their manicure will be up soon, courtesy of pregnant lady, Nicola of Cissy Wears – suffice it to say, this is something a mum is sure to love. Someone comes to you AT HOME to pamper you in the comfort of your own home, while you feed / eat / snore. 

Steph is also a bloody nice woman. If I ever have another kid, I’d like someone to send her round, please. With one of each of her mega boxes. So now, here’s what the woman who is curating the best post-birth gifts uses on that smashing MUMFACE of hers. GT 

Seche Vite £11 – I am TERRIBLE at painting my nails. It’s not so much the actual painting, but having the time or patience to dry them properly. I inevitably do them before bed and then fall asleep and they get all smeary. Then Clemmie Hooper told me about Seche Vite. Chuck it on after you’ve painted and they dry super quickly, it smoothes the finish and the colour lasts longer. You can even fix chips with a top up of polish and this. I don’t want to say life-changing, but…

Clarins Instant Concealer £22 – When you have baby-induced eye bags, you need the good shit, and it turns out YSL Touche Eclat is actually a highlighter, so I read about this in Glamour and haven’t looked back.

If I had to choose one favourite treatment, it would have to be a pedicure. I just can’t replicate what they can do in a salon and a bright toe massively lifts big, dry mum feet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haute Mama: Dress Like A Mum

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Photo: Polly Geal http://www.littlekin.co.uk

Just as my aim is to redefine the term ‘Mumface’ into the fabulous thing it really is, Zoe de Pass is showing us that ‘dressing like a mum’ should be something to love and embrace, not avoid. She’s all about wearing your most loved pieces on a daily basis and not accepting that you should change your taste in clothes just because you’ve given birth – in her case, to two gorgeous kids. Zoe’s Instagram feed is a smorgasbord of bright colours, sequins, sexy ass jeans and breastfeeding-friendly dungas. She’s inspiring mums to enjoy clothes once more. She also likes a bright lip, and I was dying to hear what she uses…. GT

Since becoming a mother of two I have noticed my skin and face look tired, especially in the early days. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I looked like a grey alien! So I try to take more care looking after my skin these days. I recently had a facial peel with Dr Mayoni – a mother I met through Mothers Meetings – which helped perk my skin up a lot and since then I have introduced Vitamin C to my routine which has helped with the greyness! I also use Liz Earle Eyebright™ Soothing Eye Lotion as my eyes are now permanently tired. Putting this on in the morning or after I’ve cleansed cools and de-puffs them.
I like Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick as it’s really easy and quick to put on and it lasts. I’m not very good/neat when I put on lipstick so this is great – its like lipstick for beginners! I heard a bright lip detracts from a tired eye, so I have been wearing lipstick ever since.
Charlotte Tilbury FILMSTAR BRONZE & GLOW LIGHT TO MEDIUM Face Sculpt & Highlight is amazing – it gives you cheekbones! I got it for Christmas the year before last and it’s still going.

THE NIGHT FEED FACIAL

THUMBNAIL2Whether you bottle or breast feed your child, those night feeds can be really hardcore. There’s all sorts of science to explain what happens to your skin when you don’t sleep, but really I’m sure you’ve seen it all and don’t need me to tell you. While nothing can do all the brilliant things sleep does for your skin, this kit of pep-you-up treats can go some way to tackling the effects of sleeplessness, and more importantly feel so good to use. In those small hours when you might be feeling truly drained and need to stay awake a little longer to see that your baby is duly fed, burped and changed, help is at hand. Keep these products on your nightstand or in a box by your nursing chair – alongside a big bottle of water, of course.

OULI’S OINTMENT £13

ERBORIAN BAMBOO SPLASH £29 – OUT IN APRIL HERE

YOURS TRULY ORGANICS FIX ME REPAIRING SERUM £28

ERBORIAN GINSENG INFUSION EYE CREAM £40

OUTDOOR HANDS INTENSE SKIN THERAPY CREAM £6.95

NUXE SPLENDIEUSE ANTI-DARK SPOT PERFECTING MASK £30 FOR 6 MASKS

 

How to shop for your baby’s first Christmas…

image found on Babydino
image found on Babydino

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. No matter how many times you read The Snowman to them or hold them up to the Christmas tree, a baby under 2 will most likely miss the point of Christmas. They certainly won’t be expecting any particular presents and they WILL be more interested in the mountains of wrapping paper than what is within. It doesn’t mean you should forgo presents altogether, and actually there’s a real bonus to Christmas shopping when you have a newborn: lots of the best products are wrapped up in gift sets so you save a little money on each item. This is the gift guide for you, for your pregnant friends and to leave at your in-laws house so they don’t even THINK about wrapping a giant gorilla for your newborn.

Organic Babies Hello Baby skincare gift set £15.95

This genius kit includes a mini Soothing Baby Salve and Dry Skin Baby Lotion – a great way to try out a new product, lighten the load of your changing bag or to fill your wash bag for that Christmas visit to the in-laws. There’s also a 100ml Baby Wash & Shampoo (one of my absolute favourites – see my review here) – which is well worth the price on its own. The set contains NO nasty chemicals (SLS, SLES, parabens, alcohol, foaming agents or artificial fragrance) and so should suit the most sensitive of skins. This is the one I’ll be giving to pregnant friends this Christmas, too – perfectly peachy baby skin in a box.

Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Baby Healthcare Kit £11.95

I haven’t addressed baby nails before, mainly because IT FREAKS ME OUT TO EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. Honestly, those tiny, delicate fingers and you’re supposed to take a device designed to slice and dice to them?! But equally I couldn’t bring myself to chew on them either, so I’ve become very adept at a baby mani. You need to find your own way through the scissors vs clippers debate and this kit has it all. Chuck in the aspirator (let’s not discuss this one, but I can confirm: essential during the winter months), and thermometer, it really is a bargain. It also contains the softest hairbrush ever, the very thing that I used to gently work the cradle cap away (lubricated by Organic Babies Soothing Baby Oil).

Blossom & Bloom Mother To Be Trio Set £45

The ‘mother to be’ bit in the name is misleading – this will make A.N.Y. adult human being beam. Ok, so it’s not strictly speaking FOR your baby, but happy mother = happy baby, so they say. And it just so happens that this set contains Anti Stretch Mark Cream (my favourite during pregnancy and since then), Revitalising Leg and Foot Spray (this too I have reviewed here) and the gorgeous Indulgence Bath Oil. I’m anti-bubble bath because of the potential irritants, especially just after labour, but this aromatherapy blend is skin-softening and SAFE.

REVIEW: Aveda hair colouring by Ellie O’Mahoney

Ellie and Mark's Wedding-226a-XL My colleagues figured out I was pregnant before the 12 week mark because my hair was in such spectacularly bad shape. In an effort to reduce the baby’s exposure to toxins, I went cold turkey on hair colour as soon as we started to try to conceive. This wasn’t as big a sacrifice as it might seem – I’ve never been a once every six weeks highlighter. I’m lazy where beauty’s concerned and as hair salons’ prices have crept up in recent years, I stuck to the laidback beachy vibe of my Cornish roots (pun intended) and booked in for a colour topup twice a year only. But the problem is that in the months before getting pregnant I bought my first house and in so doing gave away all my worldly goods and reduced my expendable income to zero, so by the time I got pregnant, my hair was already in dire need of a good blonding.

 

The NHS is reasonably unclear about whether to dye or not while pregnant saying: “Most research, although limited, shows that it’s safe to colour your hair while pregnant. Many women decide to wait to dye their hair until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the risk of chemical substances harming the baby is much lower.”

 

So far, so confusing. But it does suggest that: “Highlighting your hair, by putting the dye only onto strands of hair, also reduces any risk. The chemicals used are only absorbed by your hair, and not by your scalp or bloodstream.”

 

So when it got to the point where my boss told me that she was staging an intervention and pretty much ordered me to sort out my by then greying, half blonde, half brown moptop, I felt, at six months’ pregnant, that I was past any point at which I could cause the tiny one any damage and, at any rate, I’d be having the less risky highlights. Safe, see.

 

But I couldn’t shake the feeling that in the name of vanity I was exposing the babba to a whole host of bleachy chemicals. Which is when I thought of Aveda, whose tagline is “connecting beauty, environment and well-being”. Their website is covered in talk of: “the art and science of pure flower and plant essences,” so if any salon was going to protect my baby from the potential perils of dyeing my hair, these guys would.

 

I booked in for a Aveda Full Spectrum™ balayage. They’ll only let you have it done after you’ve passed the 21 week mark, which is interesting considering the dye consists of 99% naturally-derived formulas. I was due to have highlights but when I explained to my lovely colourist that I was still a bit nervous about having my hair coloured while pregnant, he suggested balayage. Kate Middleton’s a big fan and I can see why. It basically involves painting ammonia-free dye onto the hair to create a more low-maintenance, natural look. It also reduces the risk of the uniform streaks that highlights can sometimes create and frankly if Queen of Hair Kate’s into it, I’m into it.

 

It was a shock looking into the mirror immediately afterwards. I was convinced it was too orange but within a few days, my eyes had adjusted (and friends had reassured me I just wasn’t used to seeing my hair coloured after having left it so long) and I loved it. I loved it so much in fact that I didn’t need to do anything to it before I got married six weeks later. It’s natural-looking, glossy and by God if his constant kicks are anything to go by, hasn’t done the baby any harm at all.

Sophie La Girafe, the skincare collection

Sophie La Giraffe Baby range with SophieYEP, Sophie has her own beauty contract. Her own collection, to be precise. But we’re not talking about some gimmicky bubble bath though, riding the mammal’s good name – this is serious, organic, FRENCH skincare for babies. Using organic essential oils and baby-friendly ingredients like soothing oat milk, it is scented but ‘naturally’ so with white tea rather than synthetics. It’s also 100% vegan. So it caught my interest. I’ve been trying the baby oil and baby lotion, both of which are gorgeous. And the scent? It’s pure baby, that powdery, sweet smell you could live in forever. How do they do that?! And it hasn’t irritated my toddler or her very sensitive mama’s skin.

The third product I was sent was the Baby Face Cream. Babies need face cream, now?! – my first thought. But actually it’s only like applying a balm to calm or even prevent irritation, and does absorb more swiftly. I still wouldn’t apply anything on a daily basis if you can avoid it – that peachy skin is best left alone – but if your child does suffer with dryness, this could be a nice salve for them, or one for the changing bag.

My absolutely favourite though, is the body wash. It doesn’t foam (good, no SLS to dry out babies’ skin) and is beautifully softening on both fine hair and sensitive skin. Nice one, Soph.

Why not peruse the range, now available at HARRODS and online.

HAUTE MAMA: Melissa Wang of eden & zoe

family photoMelissa Wang, founder and designer of eden & zoe’s beautiful cashmere childrenswear, is currently pregnant with her third child. A very well travelled lady and already mum of two girls (Eden and Zoe, of course), she was one of my first choices for a beauty grilling on what the best pregnancy and baby care products out there might be… GT

Must Have Mommy Products: Bio Oil and Clarins stretch mark control for pregnancy skin care and to keep the stretch marks away (so far so good!). I’m also a big fan of Ren Clean Skincare – for body and hair care and Jurlique Citrus Hand Cream, especially since new and expectant moms wash their hands a lot!

Must Have Baby Products (and I used on my girls!): Weleda baby care.  I love their Calendula cream range – especially the diaper rash cream – it’s worked wonders for both Eden and Zoe!

 

Childs Farm 3-in-1 Organic Swim Wash

3 in 1 swim (lid up)I have mentioned my daughter’s love of a swimming pool before, I believe? And my dislike of a slippery post-swim shower, perhaps? We swim at least once a week so have tried my fair share of swim-related products, especially as my husband keeps leaving whatever new shower wash I’ve come across in the changing rooms. Bad for me, good for YOU, as I’m now a total expert. And Childs Farm 3-IN-1 Organic Swim Wash £3.99 is the new one, which he is not allowed to use himself, but I now give to Emie to bring in and out of the shower with them. Because if he loses this one, there will be hell to pay – it is ACE. A 3-in-1 wash it basically cleanses away that horrible skin-ruining chlorine without stripping my daughter’s still delicate skin, and washes her hair too. Granted, Emie’s hair is still fine so I’m yet to test it on a real tangle-magnet post-swim, but I still think this is the ultimate do-all bottle for every parent’s swim bag. It IS scented and it DOES contain alcohol (a very VERY small amount) but it IS incredibly gentle and states it’s suitable for eczema prone skin. I used it on my face where I do sometimes suffer with eczema and it didn’t even cause the familiar tightness I usually get with soap or hot water. And considering it contains 98% natural ingredients and the essential oils within are organic, it is such a bargain. Enjoy, swimmers!