Lifestyle

DAME JESSICA ENNIS HILL LAUNCHES FITNESS APP

With her new fitness app, JENNIS, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill aims to share the expert advice and support she was so grateful for during her pregnancies

 

When did you start thinking about creating the app?

The original idea came when I was pregnant with Reggie. I found it overwhelming trying to find the right information about fitness in pregnancy and post-natally. Luckily, I had an incredible physio to help me navigate this and I am so grateful for that, so I wanted to find a way to share the information with women everywhere.

What can it do?

There are three options within the app: workouts for pregnancy, post pregnancy (Jennis Pregnancy) or people who have busy lives and want a quick effective workout (Jennis Fitness). The workouts are all very easy to follow and are tailored to different levels of fitness.  The pregnancy workouts allow the woman to choose what activity they do based on how they are feeling and are tailored to suit each trimester of their pregnancy.

What kind of advice and support does the app have?

As well as the work outs, we have created something called ‘Your Pregnancy Questions Answered’. There are videos of me with physio Ali Rose chatting about some of the big things I discovered when pregnant and answering some common pregnancy exercise questions too.

On our website we will also host lots of informative pregnancy content, alongside our own content we have partnered with experts in their field – there will be lots of advice and support for mums to be – and Dads too!

How did you feel when you were pregnant?

I loved being pregnant but like every other woman I had no idea what to expect.  Our bodies go through so much change and I was super lucky to have an amazing team around me to explain what was happening and why. That was incredibly reassuring and that is why I have created Jennis, to share these insights and training programmes.

Did you feel any pressure to get your body back, particularly as you’re Jessica Ennis, World and Olympic Champion?

After the birth of my first child I was still a competing athlete and I really wanted to get back – I was always asking Ali if I could start doing some ab work, she was very careful and taught me ways to check if my abs were knitting back ok. I am so glad I listened to her advice and that of my coach as I came back all the stronger for it.  A gradual strengthening of your core muscles and building back strength sensibly is definitely advisable.

How do you fit fitness into your daily routine with the children?

I just try and grab 20-minute windows when I can, either when the kids are at school or after they have gone to bed. If they are around, I will still try but sometimes they might get cut short if the kids want to ‘get involved’ but even 5 minutes is better than nothing.

We’re told that through the app we’ll see the real Jessica Ennis-Hill. What’s she like?

Ha! I’d like to think… energetic, cheerful and honest. I am very down to earth and love a bit of a laugh.

Did you find becoming a parent tough?

I don’t think any parent is prepared for sleep deprivation! Having a baby is the most joyful thing you could ever imagine – but the lack of sleep is really tough. I am absolutely loving being a mum – it is a new challenge every day but the joy my two bring to our lives is immeasurable.

What advice would you give to new parents?

To accept help from family and friends and that there will be days when you have a newborn that you get nothing done and that is absolutely fine!

How well do Reggie (4) and Olivia get on (1)?

Brilliantly, I am so lucky!

What’s your favourite thing to do as a family?

I think holidays are the best time as we are all together 24/7 – otherwise a lovely walk with our dog Myla on a weekend.

Jennis app £9.99 a month www.jennisfitness.com

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS

We all have our favourite Marks and Spencer’s food don’t we? Here at City Kids we are very partial to a Percy Pig or two. So we love that M&S have just launched the cutest little collection of their best loved items in the food hall.

‘Little Shop’ comprises 25 iconic M&S Food products, miniaturised into collectables for customers and their families to collect, play and swap over the summer holidays, building their very own M&S Little Shops.

Small but perfectly formed, the collectables  (they are toys and definitely not edible) include a range of exclusive M&S Food icons, from mini Percy Pigs to plant-based favourite, Plant Kitchen Cauliflower Popcorn, alongside birthday party legend, the Colin the Caterpillar cake, and there are even family faves such as Chicken Tikka Masala, marking M&S’ introduction of the first ever chilled ready meal in the UK back in the ‘80s.

Collecting is simple. From 10th July, every customer in M&S Food stores spending £20 or more on food will be offered a Little Shop collectable pack containing one of the 25 iconic minis (and additional collectables for every subsequent £20 spent).

Hours of Fun

Ensuring kids both big and small get a surprise every time they receive a Little Shop collectors pack, collectables are given out in concealed paper packets and must be opened to reveal the mini M&S Food icon inside.  Alongside the food collectable, the pack includes a fun collector’s card with facts about the product and a joke.

With playing and learning at the heart, Little Shop collectables encourage imaginative play as well as helping to teach kids a little bit more about where food comes from.  Brightly coloured collectors cards provide fun food facts with further details at www.marksandspencer.com/little-shop where parents can find additional food and sustainability information as well as downloadable activities including quizzes and games- perfect for keeping the kids entertained this summer holiday.

Swap Shop

Kids (and grow-ups of course – we want to play too!) can also swap till they have they full set and there are even swapping events in 70 M&S Cafés across the UK where customers can trade their duplicates. Can’t wait for swap shops?  Use the #mylittleshop on social media to locate other collectors and create your own swapping communities.

To take their collection of collectables to the next level, customers can shop an exciting range of mini accessories available in stores. The range includes everything a Little Shopkeeper needs including a replica cardboard Little Shop front complete with till and shopkeeper sign (£10), mini metal shopping basket and mini trolley (£3 each), Little Shop apron (£3) and a must-have collectors’ album to keep collectables safe.

Such a fun idea for the summer holidays – we are sure these lovely little items will find their way in to every play kitchen and pretend shop all over the country.

THE BEST BEACH AND POOL TOYS

The sun is out and summer holidays are just around the corner. If you are hitting the beach or spending your days by a pool with your little ones, then some new toys and inflatables are always a good idea. Who doesn’t love floating around in giant blow up flamingo?!

And no one does beach fun better than Australian brand Sunny Life. Their website is a one stop shop with everything you could need for hours of play time on holiday.

There is a great selection of inflatables – from large lie-on ice cream cones and lobsters to classic rubber rings in donut and rainbow designs. For little ones they have smaller unicorn and whale rings too. And you can buy a handy pump so no more huffing and puffing for hours on end. What a relief!

 

Games include bat and ball, inflatable ring toss that can be played in the water and a floating volley ball set. Older children will love the plastic cricket set and for tinies there is an adorable little sand play kit, the brand’s take on the classic bucket and spade.

You’ll also find beach towels, chairs, pillows and umbrellas. For the perfect pic nic there are blankets and cooler bags. They have your entire time at the beach covered.

 

The selection is vast and everything Sunny Life sells is bright, colourful and eye-catching. We will definitely be packing a selection of their toys to take with us on hols this year.

And at the end of the day when the kids are in bed we will happily float around the pool in that giant flamingo – maybe with a little cocktail in the mega handy cup holder attached to it! Fun for all the family!

 

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS

Our weekly round-up of super-cool things for your kids to enjoy

Family Rule

Do you ever look at your children and think ‘how did they get so big so quickly’? It’s a feeling all parents have. With Family Rule you can keep track of their progress – no marks on the wall required.

Each of their gorgeous, handmade wall rulers come with a sharpie pen so you can write directly onto it. Unlike pencil on a wall, a Family Rule height chart can be removed when redecorating, taken with you when you move, and passed down through the generations.

A really special way to record the many stages of your family.

 

Outside the Lines

If you have little girls, then you need to know about Outside the Lines. Established by two friends to create a collection that delivers a unique boutique look for girls and doesn’t compromise on quality or design, it’s a treasure trove of fashion for girls.

They search the globe for beautiful trims, fabrics and details to ensure their products have that little something extra and unique touches.

We absolutely love the embroidered playsuits and dresses for summer and the gorgeous accessories such as hair clips and super-cute bags. They currently have a fantastic sale on and there’s even a few items for mums too – just saying.

Little Tikes

 

The summer holidays are literally days away so it’s time to start thinking about how to keep your little ones entertained during those lovely (hopefully!) sunny days.

A new addition to the garden toy collection is always a good idea and we think Little Tikes get it just right for pre-schoolers with their outdoor range. How about an interactive water table or handy little sandpit that comes with a lid and is easy to pack away?

Check out their range at littletikes.co.uk and you’ll be sure to find toys that will bring hours of happiness (and peace and quiet) to your garden this summer.

 

THANK YOU GIFTS FOR TEACHERS

Looking for a great end of term present for your little one’s teacher? We have some great ideas for original gifts they are bound to love

It’s coming to the end of the school year which means sports day, prize giving and summer parties. It’s also time to remember those who make it all possible – the amazing teachers.
Thank goodness for these wonderful humans who teach and care for our children. Their creativity, commitment, patience and enthusiasm are what makes learning fun for our little ones. They work tirelessly all year and we’re sure we are not the only mums who often think how to do they keep a class of 20 kids under control all day when we struggle with two or three?!

So, it’s time to say a little (or big) thank you to teachers. Parents often club together (thanks class reps everywhere for organising this) to buy a more expensive gift for their  teacher, which means a donation of a few pounds per family can accumulate into a sum big enough to purchase something really special.
While a homemade card is the only thing teachers ever say they want, a pressie is a nice way to show your appreciation.

A box of chocolates? A bottle of wine? Of course, these are lovely gifts but if you are looking for something a little more special then here are a few places you can pick up a present for you’re the person who has looked after and inspired your child all year.

Make it personal

Everyone loves a personalised gift. A mug or a notebook with their name on it shows you’ve put in a bit of time and thought. These things are particularly useful for teachers – it’s so handy to spot your own cup straight away in the staff room.

A message from their pupils – ‘thanks for being a great teacher Mrs Smith from the class of 2019’ – is a lovely keepsake to remind a special teacher of how important they are to the children. You could even opt for a little piece of jewellery. Something they will treasure forever.

There are lots of places to pick up personalised presents. Our favourites are Not on the High Street, Prezzy Box and All By Mama. Check them out and you’ll find a great range of gifts and something for every teacher will like.

 

A gift that’s great for everyone

How about letting your teacher choose their own gift? The One4all Gift Card can be spent in over 55,000 stores ranging from clothing to food. Stores include Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, Curry’s, John Lewis, WH Smith and Topshop.
It’s the ideal voucher to give because your teacher is bound to find something they love -that could be a little treat or something practical they really need.
The card can be bought online from One4all.com or from any local Post Office and what’s more, it suits every budget as you can put anything from £10-£400, so you can group together with parents or purchase your own.

A break from the classroom

Teachers work so hard all year and it would be really nice to give them an opportunity to kick back and relax. So how about travel vouchers that they can put towards a nice break?
For example, Cool Stays have portfolio of hand-picked places to stay around the world, with vouchers available from £20-£500. There are villas and hotels as well as more unusual properties such as lighthouses, buses and boats. Many are family friendly and there is accommodation to suit all budgets.
Or if you’d really like to spoil your teacher get him or her a Mr and Mrs Smith voucher. They can be used towards booking any of their amazing 1,000 boutique hotels and houses around the world and are available for any amount from £50 upwards. The company have lots of fantastic hotels in the UK, so a night away is entirely possible if a group of parents buy a voucher together. A special treat that anyone would love to receive.

 

GLORIOUS GLAMPING AT GAMBLEDOWN FARM

Editor-in-Chief, Victoria Evans, takes the family glamping and reviews one of Hampshire’s gorgeous glamping sites.

 

Let’s get this clear. We’re not camping experts, we’re pretty amateur, but we have been glamping before so we have some points of reference.

Previously a Feather Down farm stay, owners Tamara and Richard have struck out alone to bring you their take on the glamping experience at their 200-acre farm in Hampshire. Gambledown Farm sits within a slice of heavenly countryside on the outskirts of the New Forest, comprising the main farmhouse, barn conversion, cottages and four African-style safari tents. Tent underplays the situation somewhat. Here you have accommodation built on a raised platform, complete with running water and gas supply: yes, a flushing loo and hot showers shall be yours!

Inside you’ll find wooden flooring, a kitchen with gas hob, a wood burning stove, sofa and dining table as well as two bedrooms (one double, one bunk) and a cubby hole room reached from a fixed ladder which also sleeps two. At times it’s hard to remember that you’re in a tent: it’s very clean, comfortable and the ceilings are high. Plus, there rechargeable lanterns and lights dotted in and around the rooms.

Out on the veranda you can survey your kingdom which houses a herd of shorthorn cattle, two horses, chickens (you can collect eggs whenever you want), two Gloucestershire Old Spots as well as beautifully protected hedgerows, maintained expertly by Richard. In fact, Richard will happily take guests on a tour of the farm, explaining how it works, what lifestock and crops he grows and also what farming is like in today’s world.

 

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Richard and Tamara host Pizza Night where you can create your own pizza and have it cooked in the wood-fired pizza oven. And when you run out of supplies like milk, charcoal or wine, you can head to the well-stocked honesty shop in the barn.

When we stayed, we weren’t fortunate with the weather – it hit two degrees overnight. However, the fire and the duvets kept us going until a hot cuppa and cooked breakfast in the morning.

Nearby Romsey hosts a Farmer’s Market every weekend, plus a large Waitrose if you want to stock up on other necessities.

Highlights for the children were definitely collecting eggs from the chickens. In fact, our son gave names to all of them and is campaigning for us to get some chickens at home. The secret rope swing down the lane was also fun. But perhaps what we and the children probably enjoyed most was the sense of freedom they were able to have, running off to enjoy the countryside, with us knowing that they could play in the copse or fields without us hovering nearby.

Tamara and Richard were fabulous hosts – nothing was too much trouble and they were incredibly knowledgeable about the area and the land that’s been in the family for years.

We have forged some happy memories at Gambledown Farm and definitely hope to be back.

MAISON DU MONDE’S NEW JUNIOR COLLECTION

Maison Du Monde’s New Junior Collection

Whether it’s cushions, glasses or a new sofa, Maison Du Monde has long been the go-to store for stylish interiors fans. So it’s no surprise that their latest kids’ collection is absolutely gorgeous.

In 2016 the French brand added a children’s range, but the latest offering is the most extensive they have designed to date.

Now for the first time you’ll find styles that cater for babies through to teens with the 2019 junior ‘universe’ collection. This includes everything from furniture and lighting, bedlinen and curtains to cushions and amazing accessories that complete the look of each room perfectly.

For the nursery we love the clever modular cot and changing table combo that is both practical and chic. The lovely neutral and pastel colours are perfect for a little one’s room.

 

Moving on to older children you’ll find brighter colours and innovative designs. Themes include ‘Marine’, ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Dreams’. Little girls will love the ‘mermaid’ room set and for boys there’s ‘dinos’.

They have teens sussed too with super cool monochrome mixed with metal and pale wood to give a sophisticated New York loft look.

But our favourite part of the collection is the outdoor range. Now you can create the most fantastic kid’s space in your garden with mini deckchairs, tepees  and tables in bright, fun colours. There is also plastic tableware for the grooviest pic nic ever.

And the final great thing about Maison Du Monde? It doesn’t’ cost the earth. Their products are all well-made and functional, but not ridiculously expensive, making it even easier to introduce your youngsters to amazing interior design in their own rooms.

maisonsdumonde.com

 

 

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS

Our weekly round up of super-cool things for your little ones to enjoy

Toy Story 4

The wait is nearly over. Woody, Buzz and Slinky are about to hit our screens again in a matter of days. Toy Story 4 had its London premier this weekend and we are just a little bit excited.

We all thought that the Sheriff and his friends escaping the clutches of evil Lots-o’ and finding a lovely new home with Bonnie was the end of the road for Toy Story right? Well we were wrong. The fourth film in this much-loved Disney series hits UK screens on June 21.

Expect all the gang back together again and heading off on an exciting road trip where they discover just how big the world can be for toys. This summer’s must-see kids’ movie is set to be every bit as good as the previous three so get that date in your diary and pre-book tickets ASAP – they are bound to be in high demand!

 

Beautiful toys from Le Toy Van

Nothing beats classic, well-made toys. The kind you can keep forever and every child that ever comes to your home will be drawn to.

From dolls houses and car garages to play kitchens and doctor’s kits, Le Toy Van make some of the best toys around that will really fire up little one’s imagination.

If you, like us, are fed up of TV and screens, then switch off the gadgets and opt for one of their amazing playsets instead.

They encourage role play and creativity and are all educational in their own way – how we love a pretend cup of tea or a trip to an imaginary market.

 

 

 

Le Toy Van have been making wooden toys, designed in Great Britain with a touch of French je ne sais quoi, since 1995. They are all ethically made from sustainable tactile materials that are also really durable.

So next time you are on the lookout for a fab birthday present for your own kids or their little friends, make sure you check out this brand because there really is the perfect toy for everyone in their lovely range.

letoyvan.com

 

Little Jude’s Healthy Lollies

Whether the sun is shining or not, kids love an ice lolly. But, unless you make your own (fun but a bit of a faff), most ice lollies are packed with sugar. Yummy, but not great for little teeth.

So we were delighted to hear that independent ice-cream brand Jude’s has launched a range made with fruit and vegetables. The Fruit & Veg Rockets are made with naturally sourced ingredients and no refined sugar.

A much healthier option, they contain just 32 calories and less than 10% sugar, making them the lowest sugar content frozen treat on the market, according to the brand.

The treats are available in Sainsbury’s and cost £3.59 for a pack of six. Or visit Judes.co.uk to find other stockists.

 

 

SUPER STYLISH KIDS SWIMWEAR

Summer is here at last and summer holidays are just a matter of weeks away. Whether you are heading for a villa in the Med, searching rock pools in Cornwall or setting up a paddling pool in the back garden – your kids are going to need the right kit. If you are on the lookout for some super stylish new swimwear for them, then check out these great brands that we love. You might even find a new cossie for yourself too.

Marks and Spencer

M&S is continually upping its game in the kids wear department. Every season they deliver great designs at super prices. This summer they’ve got it spot on with their new sustainable swim range. From pretty pastels to vibrant prints they have your little ones’ beach wardrobe covered.

The collection is made using recycled plastic and transformed into a polyester fibre that is durable and strong. It’s actually quite amazing think the fabric was once plastic bottles. It’s super comfy and easy to clean.

The range has been endorsed by the British Skin Foundation with UPF 50+ sun protection. Pop in to a store or shop online.

Beanie and Bear

If you’re after bold, bright and original then look no further than Beanie and Bear. Created by graphic designer and mum of two, Noya Bebawi, each product has in-built UPF 50+ protection.


As of 2019 their swimwear is being made Using SeaQual and EcoNyl recycled fabrics, making it as sustainable as it can be. And, thanks to its innovative construction, it’s twice as resistant to chlorine, suntan lotions and oils. Protecting the environment with no compromise on quality or style. Plus it’s all ethically made in in Portugal.

Sunuva

Sunuva is a one-stop-shop for all things swim and beachwear. From three months up to teenage, their range is fantastic. Think everything from bikinis to kaftans for girls and trunks and UV T-shirts for boys. We love the fact that you can get co-ordinating costumes for all your kids as they have a siblings collection.

 

Or if you’d like in on the action, they pick something from their mother and daughter or father and son ranges for some ‘mini me’ styling. The prints are really original and stylish, plus there is a selection of sustainable rash vests made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets.

Boden

There’s a distinct feel of the great British seaside about Boden’s swimwear. The stripes and the bold colours make us think of sandcastle building and sitting on deck chairs eating ice cream. From tiny baby up, Boden have something for everyone with all the UV protection you need. We love their matching sun hats and flip flops.

And of course – never ones to miss out on a key trend – Boden have also embraced the ‘mini me’ look with matching swimsuits for mums and girls and trunks for dads and boys.  In fact we are quite sure you could coordinate the whole family – if that’s your thing!

 

 

 

Tom and Teddy

If it’s just boys you are buying for then Tom and Teddy is a great place to start. They have five different collections including ‘Jungle’, ‘Tropical’ and ‘Solids and Stripes’, all with trunks for little boys and big ones – the perfect place to find matching dad and son shorts.

 

 

 

 

 

With bright prints including of everything from palm trees to flamingos, you’ll easily be able to spot all your boys on the beach if they are wearing T&T kit.

 

 

 

 

 

CITY KIDS’ ADVICE TO NEW MUMS

Baby Sussex has arrived! Huge congratulations to Meghan and Harry on the birth of their baby boy. Right now they will be in the lovely new parent bubble, gazing at their little son, completely amazed that they have created a perfect little person. It’s a blissful, even if slightly surreal time, and one to be treasured.

So far, no pics of the new prince. Good for them, for opting to keep the birth and those special early days private and personal for as long as possible. This precious time should be afforded to all new parents, even if they are one of the most famous couples in the world.

Because even though she’s a princess, Meghan’s experience of birth and new motherhood won’t be that different from any other woman’s – she will undoubtedly get cracked nipples and the baby blues just like the rest of us.

The early days spent adjusting to enormity of becoming a mum can be both wonderful and difficult in equal measure. Here are some of the ways we think new mothers – even royal ones – can make it easier for themselves.

 

Make sure you have mates who are on (exactly) the same page

Mum mates, with babies pretty much the same age, will keep you sane in the early days and beyond. This is why you do antenatal classes, be they NHS, NCT, The Happy Birth club or some other private group. It’s not so you can chat hypothetically about the birth beforehand, it’s so you can talk about what really happened afterwards. As well as everything else that new motherhood brings with it – the good and the bad.

You need women around you who can sympathise when you cry about being up all night feeding a screaming baby or that your stiches haven’t healed and you can’t sit down properly. Discussing your birth and life in the immediate aftermath with other women who are in the same boat creates the strongest bonds of friendship you can imagine. You are there for each other in a way that no one else is. Even your oldest, dearest friends who possibly have their own kids already won’t quite get it if they aren’t living through it.

Mention how many mls of formula your baby took at 3.26am and most people will glaze over pretty quickly – other new mums will understand the importance. Bring up piles/cracked nipples/night sweats and they won’t wince and head for the nearest exit.

Take a social media break

We know the Sussex’s are fans of Instagram – their new account has six million followers already. But for her own sanity we would urge Meghan and all new mums to take a complete break from social media.

It’s quite hard to scroll through pics of other women looking super slim and fabulous when your tummy feels like jelly and your boobs are leaking. Yes, you will get back to feeling and looking (pretty much) like your old self at some point in the future but with your hormones raging and feeling exhausted and sore, it can be hard to remember that. Seeing carefully curated images of others looking gorgeous is just not a great idea – even if you are a stunning princess/actress.

But almost more importantly, social media is just a total waste of time when you have a beautiful new baby to gaze at. Post pics of your newborn if you want to but certainly don’t feel any pressure to do so. We live in a crazy time where everyone is expected to announce life events online, but the world won’t stop turning if you step off for a while and just focus on being with your little one and taking care of yourself. You have nothing to prove so you don’t need to get dressed, put make up on and take ‘hashtag newmummy’ pics unless you actually want to.

Good on Meghan for not partaking in any of that so far. She is keeping her baby away from the media until she feels ready to introduce him to the world and we think it would be a good idea for all new mums to follow her lead and give themselves a break from the pressures of social media.

Let people take care of you too

Meghan is bound to have plenty of people to take care of her after the birth of her baby. There will be Harry and her mum Gloria as well as a team of staff to cook and clean, leaving her to focus on looking after her little son and, importantly, recover from the birth.

Very few new mums have a live-in cook or housekeeper, but it’s still vital to take it as easy as possible in the early days. Midwives recommend that ideally you spend the first two weeks in bed but for lots of women, especially those with other children, that’s not always an option.

All, however, should rest as much as possible and accept help from anyone who wants to give it. If a friend offers to drop off a meal or a walk the dog then accept the gesture. If no one offers then ask for help – most people will be all too willing. The phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is so true but is often forgotten as we try to juggle everything ourselves.

Ignore the pressure to ‘get back to normal’

While Meghan is unlikely to be loading the dishwasher or nipping to the shops, the pressure will be on to ‘get back to normal’ in other ways. People will comment on when she will resume Royal duties and on her figure – on how quickly she ‘springs back into shape’.

All of this presumes that she will somehow ‘get back’ to what she was before. She won’t and neither should she want to. Becoming a mum changes you physically and mentally in so many ways. Of course, you are still you, but an altered version who may well look, feel and think differently, if not forever then at least in the short term.

We really hope that Meghan is kind to herself as she adjusts to these changes in the way that all women should be. The whole world will be watching her, and while (thankfully) most women don’t face that level of scrutiny, there seems to be a constant pressure these days to bounce back to your old self. Get back to work; to the gym; to your social life.

Our advice to Meghan and to all new mums would be to ignore all this external pressure as much as you can. Take things at your own pace: listen to your body and your baby while you adjust to the most life changing event you’re ever likely to experience.

 

If you know someone who has just had a baby or a mum-to-be here are some truly useful (and lovely) gift ideas.

A gift box

Don’t Buy Her Flowers helps you put together boxes of goodies that mums actually want. For example, The Growing a Baby Package (from £21.40) with herbal teas, cooling foot cream and midwife Clemmie Hooper’s best-selling book How to Grow a Baby. Or the Recovery Package (from £48.50) with lots of lovely soothing products for tired bodies. You can select the items you want to make a bespoke box. We love the fact that you can add vouchers from ready meals company Cook, a godsend for any new mum who needs to eat healthy nutritious meals but doesn’t have time to make them.

Muslin squares

This is one of the most useful things any new mum can have. We love the ones from Aden and Anais.  These lovely soft material squares are multipurpose. You can use them to swaddle a newborn or tuck it under your baby’s chin when bottle feeding to catch any spills then pop it over your shoulder when winding to protect your clothes from any little dribbles.

In the summer, you can drape a muslin over the front of the pram to keep the sun out of your little one’s eyes or use it as a light weight blanket if the weather turns chilly.

And when you’re done bung it in the wash at 50 degrees and the straight in the tumble dryer afterwards. Easy to use and easy to look after. This is a gift that keeps on giving.

A breast feeding pillow

Supporting your back is a must when breast feeding so this Bbhugme Nursing Pillow is a godsend. It ties easily around the waist to give optimum support for your neck and shoulders whilst providing additional comfort for your baby. And with adjustable firmness this pillow adapts to your needs as your baby grows and is available in eight different colours. £63.95 from Scandiborn.

 

First baby image: Gustavo Cultivo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST LONDON PARKS FOR PICNICS

A sunny bank holiday weekend? Must be time for a picnic. Here’s our guide to the best London parks for picnics

Primrose Hill
One of our favourite London views is from the top of Primrose Hill, a whopping 63 metres above sea level. A special spot to watch the sun go down.

Victoria Park
Over 86 hectares, this is one of London’s larges parks, as well as one of its oldest. Sadly the splash park isn’t open until May but you should be able to find a little piece of green for your rug.

London Fields
Close to Broadway Market, if you can’t be bothered to pac the picnic, you can buy supplies here. The Olympic-sized lido might be worth a look in this weather too!

Holland Park
There’s plenty to do here if you need to keep the kids entertained with football, golf and netball. Plus the Kyoto garden may just be a hint of how Japan is looking during blossom season.

Richmond Park
Ignoring the roads that criss-cross this huge expanse of land, you really could be miles from the city here. Don’t talk to the deer though, they can do serious harm.

Wandsworth Park
A nice spot by the river, with a couple of pubs close by if the mood takes. Plus Putt in the Park which is fun for all ages and abilities.

Brockwell Park
If you get here early you’ll have time for a swim at Brockwell Lido and then a wonderful picnic in the park. Explorers will discover the 19th-century clock tower, a walled garden and some formal planting.

Thames Barrier Park
Who knew there was an accompanying park to this feat of engineering. It’s a whole day out too, including fountains, flower gardens, manicured lawns and a café.

St James’s Park
Give a nod to the new arrival, if she or he arrives this weekend, with a trip to one of London’s most royal of parks. Surrounded by royal residences and Horse Guards Parade, there’s also a fountain, lake and pelicans to amuse.

Kew Gardens
Always a popular choice when the sun shines, it’s still possible to find a quiet spot for a sarnie. Plus there’s the chance to see the Chihuly at Kew showcase.

Images courtesy:
Primrose Hill: Royal Parks
Holland Park: travellingdaveuk
Brockwell Park Lido: Brockwell Park Lido

GUIDE TO SUMMER HOLIDAY CLUBS & CAMPS IN LONDON

If you thought you had it all worked out, but realise you’ve dropped a ball, here’s our guide to Summer holiday camps and clubs. Take note of some of the discounts we have available too!

THE LITTLE GYM

Themed activity camps that not only teach gymnastics but also work on confidence, self-esteem and creativity. Pirates, princesses, magic wizardry and superheroes for children aged 3-12yrs in Chiswick, Westfield, Wandsworth, Hampton Hill.
Quote CKTLG19 to get a 15% discount on camps at Chiswick

thelittlegym.eu/uk

 

RICHER EDUCATION

London’s leading STEM learning provider. Richer Education camps are not just about education, but also fun! All levels of knowledge are welcome and activities are led by specialists in their field.
4-14 yrs in appropriate age groups running at Imperial College London and at Baden Powell House in South Kensington.

richereducation.co.uk

 

FIRETECH

Innovative and creative tech camps covering Junior Python, all girls coding, video game design, Python and Java coding, Creative Digital Design, Unity 3D and more.
9-17yrs Imperial College, City of London School & South Hampstead.

£25 off with promo code CITYKIDS

firetechcamp.com

 

WILL TO WIN

Tennis for a week is a great way to improve. Lots of drills, games and match play with an emphasis on fun! Rackets can be borrowed.
4yrs+ Chiswick, Ealing, Regents Park, Hyde Park.

willtowin.co.uk

 

ARTS ED SUMMER SCHOOL

Acting and musical theatre summer school which teaches audition techniques, gives West End training and offers the chance to make your own movie. All from the best in the business.
7-16 yrs+ Chiswick

artsed.co.uk

 

WATERMANS SUMMER WORKSHOPS

These festival-themed summer workshops include music, making and having fun and include some FREE drop-ins. Highlights are a family gig with the Brass Funkeys, Cut-a-Shine’s family barn dance and animation workshops with an Aardman aficionado.
4-16yrs Running from Tuesday 30 July to Thursday 15 August in Brentford.

watermans.org.uk

 

FLIPOUT

Trampolining camps which include freejumping sessions, drama, art and back to school booster classes. Even a free t-shirt.
6-14yrs Brent Cross

flipout.co.uk

 

LITTLE HOUSE OF SCIENCE

Curious minds encouraged to explore, experiment and play at Imperial College.
4-11yrs Imperial College, Chelsea, St Johns Wood, Notting Hill & Kensington

littlehouseofscience.com

 

FIT FOR SPORT

Activity camps which have been running for 25 years to give children the opportunity to try a variety of sports and activities.
4-12 yrs all over London.

fitforsport.co.uk

 

CAMP ENGLAND

Multi-sports camp aiming to develop sporting talent as well as ‘Life Skills Through Sport’ such as resilience, teamwork, empowerment and responsibility.
5-13 yrs Richmond, Teddington, Hampton, Esher, Kingston

campengland.co.uk

 

SUMMER OF SLIME

Every parent’s favourite pastime…But Slime Planet are at the rescue offering one hour workshops every day during the holidays. Poppin’ Candy and Glow Slime are highlights.
3 yrs+ (under 5s need supervision) Arch 494 Rathgar Rd, London, Sw9 7EP

slimeplanet.co.uk

 

CAMP BEAUMONT

Multi-activity camp hosted at schools with some of the best facilities in town.
3-16 yrs at UCS and King’s College School. Runs until 23rd August.

www.campbeaumont.co.uk/our-camps

 

SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE THINKERS

Inspired by architecture, the summer programme is called Nature’s Architects and focusses on learning from nature’s builders such as birds and bees.Can be booked as a single session, weekly or whole course.
4-11 yrs (under 6 to be accompanied by an adult. Runs until 15 August.

www.schoolforcreativethinkers.com

 

CYPHER CODERS

Coding and tech inspired camps which touch on themes such as music, robotics, nature, oceanography and art. Pick up points across West London to their bases in Notting Hill and St John’s Wood. 5yrs+

cyphercoders.com

 

ET PATATI PATATA

Learn French from native speakers in this 30 hour a week immersion school. Gold Award holiday camp.
4-16 yrs in three age groups Hammersmith

etpatatipatata.com

 

MY LITTLE BOARDERS

Two disciplines, Skate park Skateboarding (in the morning) and Street Skateboarding (in the afternoon) running and running catering for beginners, intermediate and advanced skaters.
6-14 yrs Royal Oak & Camden

mylittleboarders.co.uk

 

KITE STUDIOS

All day workshops on Wednesdays including Plants inspired by Kew Gardens and Mixed Media with Ferdinand the Bull. Askew Road.

kitestudios.org

 

SHOOTING STARZ

Choose from multi-sports, football, netball or mini skills and book half, full or extended days or weeks at camp.
3-13 yrs Club Des Sports Acton.

shootingstarz.co.uk

 

ROCKS LANE

Multi-sports, netball and football on offer with lunchbox included.
3-12 yrs Chiswick, Barnes, Bishops Park

rockslane.co.uk

 

BRENTFORD FC COMMUNITY SPORTS TRUST

“Confidence, Fair Play, Leadership, Respect, Sportsmanship, Teamwork” Soccer schools which teach technique in a fun and safe environment.
5-12 yrs Isleworth

brentfordfccst.com

TNT HAMPTON POOL

On Tuesdays and Thursdays take the kids for two hours of inflatable fun with bouncy castle, giant aqua run, walking on water and of course, swimming. Snack included.
5-14 yrs Hampton

hamptonpool.co.uk