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The Big Feastival 2014 | We’re ACTUALLY going!

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I enter competitions on a whim. I forget about them. I entered The Big Feastival competition via the Jamie Oliver ‘Gold Club’ back in December… at the time, I remember saying to Mr Memoirs, “We should keep that weekend free, just incase!”. His obvious reaction was “No need, we never win anything…”. He’s eating those words right now, because I DID WIN!

We’re so so excited, I can’t even put it into words! And that is saying something.

I’m even excited about the camping part! Which is DEFINITELY saying something.

We’ve always wanted to go to The Big Feastival – as we’re huge fans of Jamie Oliver, and Alex James fan’s to boot (I was always on team BLUR, of course). This is literally the perfect festival for us, especially with Eli in tow too. It’s hugely family-friendly (heck, Justin Fletcher A.K.A Mr Tumble and actual Mr Bloom swoon are there too!). There are dozens of activities and area’s to keep little ones entertained. Plus, and most importantly, this is a foodie festival. With all our favourite chef’s in attendance! You can see the list of who’s-who, here> CHEF’s.

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The marketing team at Jamie Oliver have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve been super swift to reply to any queries we’ve had and have kept me up to date with everything. The tickets landed on my doormat this morning, giving me a new lease of excitement – WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING!

So – what’s the plan when we get there?

Well, we’ll unload the car and get the tent up as soon as possible – and get settled in! We tested the tent a few weekend’s ago and it was super easy to assemble – which is good news because I would get bored so quickly otherwise! For the first time ever, we also have a camp bed; there was no way we could sleep on the actual floor for a few nights (we literally have the bones of elderly people!).

We’ll then head into the festival, which open’s at 11am!

We’re really looking forward to seeing presentations/tasting’s with our favourite Chef’s, as well as joining in all the toddler activities we can feast on! Eli is very, very good with his food, so we’re certain he’ll get stuck into munching whatever he can. As reader’s of my blog, and friends of mine IRL, will know, I’m massively mildly obsessed with Little Bird by Jools. Basically, there is little else that I will dress Mr Eli in, other than Little Bird. It is my imaginary children’s fashion made reality (and probably better than my imagination to be honest!). And guess what? Little Bird will be at The Big Feastival too! Last year there was even a catwalk (I can’t cope!), which I’ll so be FROW of with Eli. Hoping he doesn’t gatecrash though – I know he has a soft spot for Jools and her design’s too! I’m literally so excited I can’t even contain myself!

Just look how adorable these kids are man! LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Bird!

So the countdown is officially on, now that tickets are in hand! T-minus 13 day’s! This weekend we’ve bought Eli some new threads to keep him cool or warm and dry across the Big Feastival weekend. That’s the only trouble with a British festival, you really need to pack for ALL weather! I’m certain we’ll have an amazing time whatever the weather will be. There are adventures and memories to be made… and that’s the main thing.

 

MM.

 

PS – any tips you have for camping with a 2 year old would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the line-up (in full, more or less).

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Halloween costume inspiration, for kids!

We LOVE Halloween. But, we’d already decided before Mr Eli arrived that he was ALWAYS going to be a skeleton, with Converse on, at Halloween. Well, until he’s old enough to say “NO MORE NOW, PLEASE!”, of course.

But I can’t help but adore these following costumes I’ve found on Pinterest. Most of them would work at any time of the year too, not just Old Hallows Eve. ENJOY!

(Below is a small selection of the costumes I’ve pinned, to view the whole lot, click here >>> Halloween Inspiration)

UP!
UP, image taken from Pinterest.

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E.T, image taken from Pinterest.

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Fox costume, image taken from Pinterest.

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Lady Liberty and Honest Abe, image taken from Pinterest.

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Spray painted toy soldier (not sure how the poor bairn walks!), image taken from Pinterest.

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Cardboard box dinosaur, image taken from Pinterest.

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Don Draper (not sure how appropriate this is!), image taken from Pinterest.

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Jesse and Walt (REALLY not sure how appropriate this is, either!), image taken from Pinterest.

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Zombie kid! Image taken from Pinterest.

MM.

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BRAND IN FOCUS | Little Bird, by Jools Oliver at Mothercare.

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We’re HUGE fan’s of the Oliver’s in our house. Most food I cook, on a daily basis, is a recipe derived from one of our many Jamie Oliver cookbooks.

When I heard about Jools, Jamie’s better  other half, designing the Little Bird collection for Mothercare I just KNEW it was going to be amazing. (I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while!) I’ve always loved the quirky, cool and relaxed way Jools dresses her beautiful 3 girls and little boy. The Little Bird collection is reminiscent of just that – the fun, but trendy, way Jools dresses her own children – plus some harping back to the 1970’s and her own childhood memories for good measure too.

I thought I’d share my favourite Boy’s pieces from the latest collection for A/W 13.  Albeit, Jools has cleverly made some of the pieces unisex – so great if you do have more than one child, the clothing can be passed on and around.

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Little Bird by Jools, Long Sleeved Graphic Print T-Shirt, £7.00 – £8.00
We do have a penchant for 70’s design and interiors. Have to say, we’ve not yet really dressed Mr Eli is anything 70’s related as yet. Aside from his Converse, Fred Perry, dinosaur print tee’s,  oxford shirts and skinny jeans. Things like that just look like modern-day as fashion’s are always revived like that. But I LOVE this 1974 long sleeve tee. Lovely and bright and will go with everything.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools, Desert Boots, £16.00.
These mock suede boots are just amazing – such a classic style. Just like what Daddy wears! You can choose between the red or yellow laces – which is great for outfit matching. Wear these boots with chino’s or jeans for a comfortable, smart or casual look.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools, Dark Wash Jeans, £10.00 – £11.00.
A lovely pair of unisex jeans in a nice dark denim colourway. I’ve seen Buddy Oliver sporting these and he looks super cool. These dark wash jeans feature a classic design which can be worn in many seasons to come. They have a mock leather back pocket patch and contrasting stitching inside. Team with colourful tees and shirts for a cool and casual look.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird By Jools Brown Cord Trousers, £10.00
A MUST for the 70’s wardrobe – the humble brown corduroy trouser. These soft cord trousers have a straight leg, so perfect for Mr Eli keeping that skinny-fit silhouette going. These trousers will look incredible with Eli’s classic Converse Low-Tops and a bright print top – or with a smart shirt tucked in!

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools Socks- 5 Pack, £6.00 – £6.50.
How cute are these socks? Love the way they’ve been displayed in the campaign imagery too. You can’t go wrong with a bright and playful pair to jazz up an outfit. They’re great value in a pack of 5, to be washed and worn during the week. Each pair has contrasting toe and heel colours and ‘Little Bird’ stitched onto the bottom.

 

Click here to purchase
Little Bird by Jools Cool Pyjamas, £12.00.
Saving the best till last… I love, love, LOVE these pyjama’s. They’re so, well, COOL! With Eli wearing his Boots & Bar on a nighttime, we have to cut holes into his baby grow’s so that we can fit the bar through. It makes it a little easier for us if we need to remove the bar – and I think it makes it a little bit more comfortable for him too. I’m thinking now might be the time to switch baby grow’s for PJ’s! No more messing about with cutting holes into lovely baby grow’s, that can’t be used again. But my oh my, how adorable does the little chap in the campaign shot look here? Love the styling!

MM.

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Want To Know More?
The Little Bird clothing range from Jools Oliver has been developed to reflect the unique and modern approach to motherhood that Jools enjoys with her wonderful family. From gorgeous newborn baby clothes to stylish and fun boys and girls clothes, this exciting clothing range is easily mixed and matched, the Little Bird range really is great value for money.

Inspired by Jools’ own childhood memories of growing up in the Seventies, this boutique collection is not about short-lived trends, but an eclectic mix of iconic, timeless pieces, that every child between six months to five years will want to wear.

You pick, they mix!

Loved by Jools, designed to be mixed and matched by you and your brood.

Don’t Forget…
Take a look at the rest of the fantastic Little Bird by Jools collection, exclusive to Mothercare.

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Our changing bag: The Mulberry Clipper Holdall.

This has been the sight next to our front door, for the past NINE weeks. These are all our hospital bags, ready and waiting! Suitcase is mine, and is filled to the brim with every essential you need for your stay at hospital – you can read what those absolute essentials are, here>>I’ve FINALLY done it! Hospital Bag(s) are packed! The amazing Mulberry Clipper Holdall is our changing bag (more on that in a second), the Barbour bag to the bottom left is OH’s essentials (iPad, change of clothing, toiletries) and the Borough Market bag is all our food supplies!

So, Changing Bag… we spent such a long time searching for the “perfect” bag. We wanted something that didn’t look ‘Mummsy’. We didn’t want something that was feminine, OH will be carrying it around too! During our search we found that there was nothing that was completely unisex – apart from the generic black satchel style bags… which to be honest, just didn’t hit the spot for us! This is going to be a bag that we’ll use every day, so we wanted to be really happy with it! All of the ‘Mummsy’ style bags are pretty expensive anyway, £250+!

We looked for actual Leather satchels as we felt this would be most universal for us both. But with Leather, comes a pricetag. We soon found that even just nice Leather satchel bags, that weren’t necessarily for our purpose, were coming up at £400+. When we would look into the details of these bags, we found that there just wouldn’t be enough space for everything that a babba needs on a daily basis – as well as what we might need to cram in for ourselves too! We also decided we wanted something that would be kind of waterproof – Britain is not renowned for it’s dry weather is it!

We went to all the usual high street stores in search of just a standard, but small, holdall that would meet all our demands. We almost settled on this one from Barbour – Barbour Wax Cotton and Leather Trim Satchel, £119: Style available from JohnLewis.com

But, this bag is actually a little too big for what we need it for! It looked massive against me and I just couldn’t see ME using it. OH on the other hand, was chuffed with it.

So on with the search!

I’m a massive fan of Mulberry. It’s my favourite brand. So, I said I wanted a Mulberry Alexa…

Mulberry Oversized Alexa Messenger & Shoulder Bag, £925. Style available from JohnLewis.com

But then we realised that the £795 size wasn’t big enough… and £795 is a ridiculous price for a ‘changing’ bag! OH also concluded that an Alexa was too feminine for him. I did email Mulberry regarding changing bags, as they’re clearly missing a huge audience by not offering a selection! They replied to me with:

We have taken on board customer requests for changing bags and our soon to be available Autumn Winter 2012 collection will include the Rosie Baby bag in Black or Oak Tiger Print Nylon as part of the range.

Pretty exciting! But a bit too late…

Then I started looking at their holdalls. We’d always said we wanted a Clipper holdall. They’re classic Mulberry. They’re perfect for trips away. They’re a style that just will not date – but will get better with age.

We went along to Westfield: Stratford City to take a closer look. The Simple Mulberry Clipper Holdall (£350), was the perfect size! Inside and out 🙂

So we said “sod it” and bought it 😀 It’s beautiful. We’re over the moon with it – and more to the point, unlike ‘real’ changing bags, we’ll be using this holdall for years and years and years and years to come. It’s a style that is built to last! So we were happy to pay the £350 price-tag, because it’s going to get so much more use than a standard changing bag. It completely meets our very niche criteria and OH cannot wait to get outside with it 🙂

MM.

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Up to 50% off at Cath Kidston!

I was just having a wee online shop around and noticed that there is a wonderful (up to) 50% off at CathKidston.co.uk!

As their Sale creative says, this means that the Sale is now “Cheap as chips” 😉

Shop the Sale online now>> CathKidston.co.uk

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Dressed for the Occasion: Maternity Dresses from ASOS.com

We’ve been invited to a wedding on Saturday 21st July… my due date is just 6 days after said-wedding. Whether we even make it to the 21st July without Baby Boy arriving is actually a bet in itself!

But this set aside, I thought I’d have a look at some Maternity ‘Occasion’ dresses anyway. I headed to all the usual Maternity stockists online and came to ASOS.com last, but by no means least. I was quite honestly shocked at the full range of smart to casual that they had on there! Wish I’d visited earlier in my pregnancy now!

Anyway, here are my favourites… These dresses all scream elegance, but also look really very comfortable. I’m sure you could also get away with most of them post-pregnancy too!

ASOS Maternity Grecian Maxi Dress With Side Split – £35.00
ASOS Maternity Exclusive Dress With Scallop Sleeve – £45.00
ASOS Maternity Exclusive Dress With Embellishment And Fluted Sleeves – £50.00
ASOS Maternity Midi Dress With Lace Detail – £50.00
ASOS Maternity Katie Lace Dress – £45.00
ASOS Maternity Midi Dress In Lace – WAS £55.00/NOW £33.00

 

MM.

 

 

 

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Newborn Nappies: There’s so much choice out there, which did you go for?

We’ve pondered many-a-time over which Newborn Nappies to use. Which brand are best in quality, absorbency, fit and of course, which are lightest on the old purse strings?

As we live in a very rainy Britain and we currently do no have a tumble dryer (plus only electric heaters/radiators) going cloth isn’t really an option for us. We struggle to get our own clothes dry at the minute (definitely going to invest in a tumble dryer for Winter!!). So, we’re going disposable…. but what does that mean?! With so much choice out there, which are best for Newborns, based on my criteria above?

I asked my Twitter followers for their tried and tested recommendations… here is what the lovely people out there said.

 

From @CharlieMooswww.charliemoos.co.uk

 

From @NatGourleyreadysteadymummy.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @MummyAdventurewww.themummyadventure.com

 

From @Petitmewwww.petitmom.co.uk

 

From @BexandMicbusybeemummybex.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @TheMakeUpMentor – themakeupmentor.co.uk

 

From @CupcakeMumma11cupcakemumma2011.blogspot.co.uk

 

From @KiddyChartswww.kiddycharts.com

 

So there we have it… the consensus is Pampers Vs Own-brand.  Do you have a different opinion from experience? Or even just agree? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or via Twitter @MaternalMusings and I’ll be sure to add your comment to the post above!

Thanks for all the responses so far!

MM.

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I’ve FINALLY done it! Hospital Bag(s) are packed!

After weeks and weeks of , “Oh, I’ll definitely pack it this weekend!“, I did actually get round to packing my hospital bag(s) this week! But only after I thought I was going into labour with my coccyx pain! Perhaps Baby Boy Bump was tired of my excuses for not packing the bags too!

So, with this all in mind. I thought I’d share my list of ESSENTIALS. I’ve been through absolutely dozens of “What to pack…” lists, along with forums and speaking with friends. And I think I’ve pretty much formed the definitive list. You DO need to take lots to the hospital. I’ve chosen to take everything in a suitcase simply because it’s easier than cramming everything into lots of bags… it will also fit in the boot of our car neater 🙂 I do know it looks like I’m going on holiday, but I swear, it’s all completely necessary!

Here we go then…

FOR ME.
To have ready to hand.
Birth plan/preferences
Maternity notes
Cash for carpark
Cash for payphone – there might not be signal. The battery might go on your phone!

For labour/ward.
Maternity pads – two packs of 10
Breast pads – 15 pairs
Cheap nightie(s)
Large cotton knickers – 7-10 pairs
Bedsocks with grips to the bottom – your feet get cold during labour.
Massage oil
Lipbalm
Bobbles
Headband
Hair grips
Brush
Pillows – my usual pillow and maternity pillow
x2 Dark towels
Phone chargers
Change of clothing for leaving the hospital – baggy, to fit at least a 4-5 month pregnant bump.
Slippers/Flip flops
Fan
Stopwatch – to time contractions
Swimwear – for the birthing pool!
Hot water bottle
Plastic jug – useful for afterwards, going to the loo is likely to be quite painful. Pouring a jug of warm water over the affected area whilst going to the loo can allegedly help sooth the pain.
List of phone numbers on paper
Face cloth
Camera
Toilet roll – we like our quilted Andrex!
Plastic bag for dirty clothes/towels
Book/Magazines
Pen and paper – useful for writing down notes that may be passed on from doctors/midwives; or in the instance that I can’t talk whilst mid-contraction! Also good to have if we get bored and fancy hangman!
Clean clothing for James (Other half)
Ear plugs – it might be quite noisy… 
Nice nightie for afterwards
Dark dressing gown
Birthing ball – just incase there isn’t one spare. This can be left in the boot if not needed.
Birthing ball pump

Toiletries
Shampoo
Conditioner
Makeup bag
Mirror
Deoderant
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Mouthwash
Facewipes
Antibacterial hand gel
Gaviscon
Anusol
Deoderant
Dettol wipes for ward
Lavender Oil
James’ wash bag with toothbrush/deoderant/bryl creme

Something extra…
Chocolates for the Midwives for afterwards
Card for the Midwives for afterwards

Food/Snacks/Drinks
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Mini cheddars
Bananas
Cereal bars
Frozen drinks – it’s apparently quite hot on the wards. A frozen drink will melt slowly, so will be much nicer than warm bottled water!
Juice – cordial
Bottles of water
Glucose tablets
Bendy straws – useful for drinking at any angle!
Crisps
Two plastic cups – so we can celebrate afterwards?!
Peppermint teabags – useful for trapped wind and cramps afterwards.
Dried fruit
Chocolate
Soreen

BABY CHANGING BAG.
Going home outfit
x5 vests
x5 baby grow’s
Pair of scratch mittens
Hat
Booties
Blanket
x6 muslin squares
x6 bibs
Soft toy
Swaddle
Towel
Cardigan – just incase, I know it’s July, but I do live in England.

Toiletries
Cotton wool balls/Cotton wool pleats
Grooming kit – for his little nails!
x27 nappies – a whole pack of Pampers New Born.
Sudacrem
Vaseline – useful for smothering over Baby Boy’s bum, it makes it easier to clean the first newborn poo’s away.
Bottles – just incase there’s an issue with breast feeding.
Ready made formula bottles – just incase there’s an issue with breast feeding.

Is there anything I’m missing from your own list?! Something that might have proven absolutely essential for you during labour or afterwards?

MM.

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Boys Clothing: Topshop Mini ‘Dino’ Jumper.


Topshop Mini ‘Dino’ Sweater, £15.00. Click here to purchase.
OH and I absolutely love the idea of our baby boy in Space and Dinosaur printed clothing… and just spotted this on the Topshop website. It’s absolutely lovely! ‘Twill be perfect with the new Converse we have for him!

Unfortunately, Topshop do not stock Mini at many stores anymore so this is going to have to be an online purchase. Topshop also charge for their shipping, which is £4 (!!). It’s a tiny jumper! Does anyone have a promotional code for money off/free shipping so that I can justify this purchase please?

MM.

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Book worm: Which books do you recommend?

Both OH and I are avid readers and we want to start building up our library for the little one now. We’d like to actually start reading to the massive baby boy bump too – so wanted to get books that are suitable from Newborn upwards… thing is, there are SO MANY books out there, we just don’t know where to start! We can remember a few popular books from when we were kids (The Hungry Caterpillar, The Jolly Postman, that kind of thing…) but books do you recommend? Which books did you buy for Newborn and older? Which books did you ‘swear’ by?

Would love to hear your recommendations! We’re really excited to get buying!

MM.