It’s now time to share a little something that I (Victoria) didn’t know I needed until I got one. Handy, right? It’s a travel bag* for my most used baby item, the Sleepyhead Deluxe, beautifully modelled here by Jo and Poppy. As my little girl definitely takes after her mama and loves her sleep (thank you Ada!), we get a heck of a lot of use out of the Sleepyhead. It is something I would genuinely recommend to anyone expecting a baby and to any new mums reading. Yes, it’s expensive, but I think a good night’s sleep in the early days is worth every penny. I’ll be purchasing the next size up, no doubt about it.
A few weeks ago Jo and I were lucky enough to head off for a stay at the wonderful Bluestone in Wales (more on that, here) with our husbands and the girls, which was the perfect opportunity to give the travel bags their first road test. They transported the bags stylishly and were (obviously!) ideal for storing the Sleepyhead when not in use. Great for keeping the merchandise looking as good as new! Throw in a few pockets here and there, and you’ve got a pretty nifty one stop shop for all your baby essentials.
Wedding season is now officially upon us and I (Victoria) am delighted to be a guest at my second wedding of the year next month. Oh, I do love a good wedding! However, shopping for an outfit has been slightly harder this year, as I am still exclusively breastfeeding my little girl. First time around I went for a skirt and top combo and used a technique known as ‘one up, one down’. For the uninitiated, this simply means wearing a vest underneath your top to pull up or down (aha!) as needed, neatly protecting your modesty while feeding in public. A top mum hack there, learned, like so many other things, from a Facebook group!
As regular readers will know, we are very much dress girls here at She and Hem, so I’ve long been on the hunt for some breastfeeding friendly pieces. As luck would have it, I think I’ve found the perfect one! Unless the weather takes a drastic turn, the Clemmie Shirt Dress from Boden is the dress I’ll be rocking up in. This cotton shirt dress falls just below the knee, which is super flattering, especially when constantly picking the little one up and putting her down. It also has what I now consider to be a daily essential; pockets. Another perk of this dress, and one I had never really considered, is the hidden buttons! Located on the chest, these Mum friendly gems ensure there’s no dress gape or accidental flashing. Ingenious! I would go as far as to call them a personal game changer and will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more brands adopting this subtle little twist.
Keen to see more breastfeeding friendly dresses? Just let us know in the comments!
Now that we’ve got the girls, we are all about that family-friendly life. We spend a lot of time Whatsapping eachother (and our NCT mates) places we’ve found that are good for the little ones and it’s always super useful to know where is good to take them. One place that ticks a lot of boxes for us is Cabot Circus, who spend a lot of time ensuring kids of all ages (plus their parents!) are well catered for. One thing we love about Cabot Circus is that everything is under one big ol’ glass roof. There’s ample parent and child parking available and they have excellent changing facilities, including feeding rooms.
We popped down during half-term to check out their young hero super-school for a masterclass in superhero style. Poppy and Ada were a little young for the craft activities but there were lots of young heroes having the time of their lives designing capes, cuffs and masks! POW! Give it a few years and it will be Awesome Ada and Power Poppy to the rescue.
We left the bigger kids to the crafts and hit the shops! We had a grand old time swooning over the girls dresses in Monsoon and may have made a cheeky purchase in Zara. We always love a shop that caters for both Mum and baby! We also had a little gander in Smiggle to pick up some bubbles and bells as we are big baby sensory fans!
Speaking of baby sensory, we went for dinner at Yo Sushi which proved to be a big hit with the girls! They loved the lights, the noise, and all the sushi whizzing round! It proved the perfect distraction for them, while we sampled some of the new things on the menu. The Okonomoyaki and Salmon & Yuzu Tartare were especially fabulous and we are now addicted to Ramune Soda. The new menu is also great for those who aren’t big sushi fans as they have added a market foods section so you can sample some different styles of Japanese food. This was the first time my (Jo) husband and notorious hater of sushi, James, had visited and he was thrilled to discover that he was well-catered for. We were all pleasantly surprised by how family-friendly Yo Sushi proved to be as it wouldn’t be the first place you would think of when dining out with two babies under six months. The staff went out of their way to make sure the babies were well looked after and Poppy really enjoyed her egg shaped high chair! We were really impressed that the high chair can be tipped backwards to accommodate smaller babies and the changing facilities were fantastic.
Our next Cabot Circus mission is to try the baby cinema at Showcase Cinema De Lux on a Thursday morning. Has anyone been?
*Cabot Circus very kindly provided our meal at Yo Sushi! but all opinions are our own.
Along with our lovely husbands, James and Andrew, we recently took the girls to Bluestone National Park Resort for their very first holiday. For our first trip away we wanted somewhere that wasn’t too far, so at just over two hours in the car this Welsh delight was perfect! If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you may remember we visited Bluestone a couple of years ago (back when we were footloose and fancy free) to review their adult only packages. We were really looking forward to going back and seeing it through a fresh pair of new parent eyes and found it quite amazing what you don’t notice before you have children! Bluestone is perfectly geared up for little and big kids with plenty of activities for even the babies (they offer baby sensory, massage and yoga although our top tip would be to book in advance as we missed out on the sensory class). We really appreciated just how easy everything was made for us, even eating out was a breeze thanks to how child friendly all the facilities are. All restaurants should have a buggy park!
We stayed in the six person Skomer Lodge which was slightly luxurious thanks to its three beds and three bathrooms situation. The girls really appreciated having their own bathrooms – we just can’t drag them away from the mirror! We were all slightly nervous about attempting a holiday with two such young babies but thanks to the amount of space we had, we were never under each others feet and it was very easy for one baby to be crying in the night and not disturb the other. A big relief for us all! If you’ve got bigger children, all the lodges have lots of lovely outside space for running around in or for even bigger kids (hi) for drinking prosecco and eating fish and chips from the onsite posh fish and chip van. We were even visited by some friendly rabbits and ducks!
We were #blessed with good weather so made the most of being in such a beautiful part of the world by exploring and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors. One of our favourite things we did whilst away was the very pretty nature trail. Poppy and Ada actually slept through the whole thing but we had a lovely time admiring the bluebells, fairy houses, and giant fox sculptures! After a lovely long walk, we ended up at the picturesque Camp Smokey for a quick marshmallow break and some sing songs round the bonfire. Last time we visited we only ventured here during the evening but actually much preferred it in the day. It was so peaceful and it felt very special being there with the babies. Yeehaw!
We love this photo of the girls! We are hoping to take the same photo of them every time we go back to Bluestone!
It wouldn’t be a She and Hem holiday if we didn’t try and eat all of the desserts on offer. We loved the ice cream milkshakes at Ty Coffi and set ourselves the challenge of trying every flavour! They were so good! However, the star of the holiday has to be those ridiculous freakshakes. Oh my goodness what a treat. When ordering, the waitress was curious to know how many people would be sharing the shakes and was somewhat shocked to discover that we had one each. Did we regret it? Heck no. We probably shouldn’t mention that we then went on to have a spaghetti bolognaise should we… To combat our sugar high we left the boys with the babies and booked ourselves in for a two hour spa session. It was glorious and very much needed. In fact, whilst sitting in the outdoor jacuzzi we got chatting and soon realised that everyone there was a mum having a bit of a break. We felt very rejuvenated and soaked up every second before bouncing back to our lovely little ladies and their equally lovely dads. The four of them had had a real blast while we were away.
We also had a blast swimming at the Blue Lagoon swimming pool. There’s an abundance of family-sized changing rooms (complete with baby changing tables – so useful) and the pool itself was extremely baby friendly. We took the girls in the special kiddy pool (they loved the bubbles!) and then braved the wave machine and the rapids! Such daredevils. The girls aren’t quite big enough for the flumes yet but, hey, there’s got to be some advantages to being a grown up! We must have been in the pool area for a good couple of hours which is crazy! We even did a couple of feeds whilst lounging in the poolside deckchairs.
Thanks for another lovely stay Bluestone! We will be back!
J&V (and A&P&A&J) xx
A massive massive thank you to Bluestone for inviting us. Although they really did spoil us rotten this review is 100% honest.
When East Coast Nursery got in touch to see if we (well, Poppy and Ada) wanted to review a couple of their large size floor mats, we said “ummm yes please”. It was the perfect timing, as we were about to head off for a midweek break where we would be sharing a lodge. We thought these mats would come in so handy for the babies to play on safely whilst we were away. And they certainly did! The best thing (other than the exceptionally groovy patterns) was that Poppy and Ada could share a mat easily, meaning we could put each mat in different rooms in the lodge. They are spacious, fun, and kept the girls amused for a long time. As you might imagine, we are both quite impressed with them, especially considering neither of us had actually thought about buying a play mat before. Now, we both have them out for the girls, 24/7. The pair just love exploring the mats together.
Ada’s mat (seen above) is the Patchwork Activity Mat*. This one is covered in colourful characters, one of whom is the ever charming Sally. If you follow us on Twitter, you will know that both our girls have previous experience with Sally, and are obsessed with her dolly form as a Say Hello Activity Friend. This is one toy I (Victoria) know will settle Ada if we are out and about – she loves Sally’s feet, which double as chew toys! Her mat also has a little baby-safe mirror under a sunshine, pretty ribbons and a cloud teether. All are ridiculously sweet.
Poppy’s lovely mat is double-sided for double the fun! It’s the Say Hello Friends Double-sided Activity Mat, with the added bonus of a groovy high contrast second side featuring black, white and red shapes. As you can see above, she blooming loves it. Who needs a baby sensory class when little ones can just roll around on a mat, right? On the flipside, once again you have the wonderful Sally and friends, but this mat also comes with a not one but two baby mirrors and textured fabric, so your little one can get crazy with some crinkles. Now mat’s the way to do it! Thanks East Coast Nursery.
Last week I (Victoria) woke up to the lovely surprise that I had been featured on People of Bristol, an awesome Instagram account that we follow. It was fellow Bristol blogger Lily from Lily Doughball who recognised me, presumably by my oh so subtle Peanut Butter jumper, and I was pretty chuffed about it. Thanks for the tip Lily!
People of Bristol is an account that posts illustrations of those who catch the eye of children’s and commercial illustrator Nicola Colton, and I was spotted waiting for my husband outside Cafe Kino, one of our favourite spots in Bristol. As it was a sunny, busy Saturday afternoon, he had popped into see if there was enough space to take the buggy in. Nicola captured me so well considering I must have been there, rocking my little one to and fro, for less than a minute or so. What a professional! Jo and I are hoping she might venture into blog illustrations…
Alongside my Peanut Butter jumper, I was also wearing my swimmers print ankle grazers (posted about here) from Laura Ashley with my faithful yellow Superga’s. Comfy, colourful and fun all round. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Nicola’s wonderful illustrations and to find out if anyone else spots themselves. Keep your eyes peeled, people of Bristol!
Check out the People of Bristol Instagram here and Nicola’s Instagram page here,
Having fun with fashion is something that’s important to both of us and something that we’ve both desperately clung on to throughout pregnancy and now new motherhood! It’s blimmin’ hard though when your body keep changing! We both optimistically assumed we’d be squeezing back into our old pre-pregnancy shirt dresses but boo hoo those new big boobs aren’t having any of it! This has resulted in a fair amount of laziness with jeans and tops becoming an everyday go to whilst all those glorious novelty prints are resigned to the back of the wardrobe.
So we were so excited to receive these breastfeeding friendly beauties from the new Sugarhill Boutique SS17 collection and somehow managed to take some outfit shots whilst Poppy and Ada slept in their prams (just out of shot!). We felt like a couple of super mums as we balanced our camera on a buggy and set it to self time – haha! So professional.
Both dresses are such an excellent length and thanks to their simple but stylish nature, a doddle to accessorize! Victoria is wearing the vintage inspired Beatrice Sundress* in a lovely stripes and heart print that’s exclusive to the Sugarhill Boutique website. She teamed it with an M&S red belt and her brown boots from Boden* (similar here). The cut is going to be perfect for Summer and, naturally, we love the full skirt and pockets combo. I (Jo) am sporting the Laria Roll Sleeve Palm Print Shirt Dress* which features a dreamy floral palm print that I’m quite obsessed with. I love yellow and navy together so I added a pop of colour with my belt (the dress does come with a matching tie belt though, if you’d rather) and finished off with my yellow and silver shoes from Kaleidoscope*. This dress is so floaty and soft that’s it’s very comfy to wear. Ideal!
Many thanks to Sugarhill Boutique for our new frocks!
We’ve got a spring in our step thanks to Kaleidoscope who have just launched their #SpringCleanYourWardrobe campaign. They kindly asked us to choose a few pieces from their latest collection to show how we transition between the seasons, while keeping things fresh! As well as transitioning between seasons, we are also transitioning into dressing like badass Mothers! This has meant a bit of a shift in style for us both and has meant we are looking for practically as well as things that are fashionable.
As the weather is pretty changeable at the moment, we both plumped for a cropped trouser. Victoria went for the Culotte Dungarees* which she described as ‘an enjoyable length’. Take from that what you will. They are an excellent update on your bog standard dungaree and are perfect for layering with either a cute t-shirt or a jumper, depending on the temperature. Ever the renegade, Victoria did neither of those things and styled them with the rather jazzy Graduated Spot Print Blouse* instead. This was chosen due to its striking resemblance to a baby sensory book and we are pleased to report that Ada approves! Babies are always on the brain now here at She and Hem! The Snakeskin Panel Backpack looks great but was slightly smaller than expected so it will have to come back out when changing bags aren’t an essential! However if you don’t need to cart around loads of stuff it’s a lovely piece!
I (Jo) went for the outrageously green Button Detail Cropped Trousers*. Thanks to their high waist, I find these are so incredibly comfy to wear and I really like the button detailing around the pockets. I was a bit worried that I would find it difficult to style them but actually I really like how they pop against other colours. I teamed them with the nautical Dipped Hem Stripe Shirt* which ticks both my breast feeding friendly box and the no need to iron box! A double winner. The fabric is a lovely soft flowing material making it perfect for warmer days and I love how versatile it is. I’ll be wearing it a lot! Bag wise, I went for the Cross Hatch Saddle Bag* because I’m a sucker for pink! It does come with a long pink strap but I swapped mine for the Brighten Up Your Day bag strap* from Cath Kidston. I think the yellow and the pink looks excellent together! I also choose the floral bomber because I really struggle to find lightweight jackets and I like that I’m able to pop it in my rucksack if the sun decides to shine unexpectedly.
Finally, shoes! We are both wearing T-Bar Pointed Toe Pumps which are surprisingly comfy (we’ve been burned by flat sandals before – ouch!).
The Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel on Bristol’s beautiful Corn Street (part of the Old Town) has recently had a makeover and we were kindly invited along to have a nosy around and sample their afternoon tea. You know us, we don’t turn down invitations that come with proccessco! Chin chin! Victoria hadn’t visited the hotel before but I (Jo) actually had my Sixth Form prom there (many moons ago) so I was quite excited about seeing their swanky new look.
We were greeted at the door and immediately handed our bubbles before being shown to our table in the newly opened Keepers restaurant. The bee theme is due to the hotel having a 40,000 strong hive on the roof and the honey they use in their dishes is produced from harvesting their nectar. We had noticed there had bee(n) quite the buzz about this place since opening, and looking around it was easy to see why! The decor is excellent and we were filled with food envy as everyone seemed to be eating something tasty.
After taking our tea order (builders and Earl Grey thank you very much) we were presented with a sharing board filled with delicious Parma ham, feta cheese, hummus, olives, red pepper, artichoke, salmon sandwiches and Mediterranean flatbreads. We also had some little bowls of popcorn which was an unexpected bonus! We were both really surprised and impressed with this selection and it made a nice change from the usual tower of cucumber sandwiches. We polished everything off! The next platter was then brought over which, much to our delight, was a pudding lovers dream! We had scones (pre creamed and jammed – controversial!) as well as brownie, shortbread and macarons. There was also a massive jug of sauce that we weren’t quite sure what to do with but it looked very pretty.
We walked off our lunch with a tour of some of the refurbished rooms. They are so huge! Plenty of room for two mummy bloggers with two big buggies. A particular highlight was the many nods to Bristol’s street art scene with the hotel working closely with local street art festival, Upfest, to adorn the walls with fabulous prints. A really nice touch. The furniture was pretty darn cool too and we were especially taken with the super jazzy armchairs (the ace fabric is by Kitty McCall who we are now slightly obsessed with). The girls were impressed too and we are all very much hoping to go back for a stay soon.
Big thanks to the lovely Lauren from Brown and Bee (formerly PPOMG) for the invite and looking after us all on the day. Big thanks-a-latte also to the waiter who brought Victoria a coffee whilst I was gone for several days changing a particularly fun nappy.
How do I get my baby to sleep? Surely one of the most Googled things by any new parent and something I (Jo) was guilty of researching many times at 1am, 3am and 4am back in those hazy newborn days. I think it’s fair to say that my baby, Poppy, was a pretty bad sleeper. She didn’t like sleeping anywhere other than on me and whenever I would put her down she would wake up instantly. I’m not going to lie, I found it incredibly hard. We’d decided against going down the co-sleeping route and had already invested in a Ewan, a Sleepyhead and a co-sleeper – apparently Poppy wasn’t impressed by our John Lewis haul. I spent hours reading other people’s posts about the 4th trimester, falling deeper and deeper down a forum black hole looking for ways which might help. After weeks of pretty much no sleep I was willing to try anything!
One of the things I had stumbled upon in my search for a sleep solution was the idea of the swaddle sleeping bag (swaddling being one of the many things I had tried unsuccessfully!). I’d seen a couple of people swear by them and I was pretty intrigued to see if they could make a difference to us! Very kindly, ergoPouch sent us an ergoCocoon* and I must admit it was a complete game changer. Sleeping bag swaddles are designed like a regular baby sleeping bag but thanks to some poppers in the armholes, you can securely keep the baby’s arms inside the suit. The result? Poppy was unable to startle herself awake with her arms! As well as this, thanks to being in a sleeping bag rather than having a blanket, she couldn’t kick her covers off either! We did laugh a lot at her the first time we put her in it – she looked like a hotdog! But the laughter soon turned into to a huge sigh of relief when the first time we put her down in her Sleepyhead SHE STAYED ASLEEP. I sat on the bed staring at her in complete disbelief.
Poppy is now 4 months old and (currently) sleeps like a dream. We honestly haven’t looked back. After our initial success, we spent weeks placing both of Poppy’s arms inside the ergoCocoon before slowly transitioning her by keeping one arm out at night for a couple more weeks and then, finally, both arms out. It was a fantastic process and now we have a very happy baby who has now moved on to sleeping in sleeping bags.
Have you found any genius ways to get your baby to sleep? And, yes, we do blow bubbles to try and get Poppy and Ada to look at the camera!
*The ergoCocoon was provided for the purposes of review but all thoughts and opinions are mummy’s own