Isn’t it time the fashion industry stop portraying skinny as normal?

If you know me, you’ll know I love fashion. I also love reading fashion magazines. At least I used to. But recently, when that month’s Vogue pops through my letterbox I’ve started to feel uneasy as I read it. Not just Vogue, but the majority of ‘fashion’ magazines are chock (that’s a word right?) full of adverts and models that are skinny. Not just slim, but unhealthily, unattainably skinny – ribs bared, hip bones jutting out, many, I’ve noticed recently, who look about 14. Why would I, a nearly 30 year old, desire to buy into a brand who uses models like this? I can’t relate to them.

What worries me more is, now that Aria is becoming more aware, the thought of her seeing these types of bodies as ‘the norm’ scares me to death. Why would I want my beautiful, healthy girl growing up thinking she has to look like this.

Other than Vogue, I’ve recently become a subscriber to Women’s Health and the contrast in images between this and the fashion magazines I used to pore over is vast. Healthy, strong women adorn the pages. Recipes that make me want to eat better, do more exercise and look after myself – for my health, not to be skinny. These are the types of images and messages I want my daughter to grow up with.

And, as the news comes today that an advert by Yves Saint Laurent has been banned for portraying a model who is unhealthily thin, it gives me hope that things could be changing and people won’t see these images as acceptable.

Don’t tell a parent they look tired

So this is a little bit of a ranty blog post. Sorry for being negative, but some things really do get my goat (where does that expression come from?!) and if you’re a parent, they probably get yours too. So instead of imploding from keeping in the mum rage, I thought why not blog about it!

Recently I’ve felt the best I’ve felt since having Aria, in fact since being pregnant…so we’re getting on for two years here. Since giving myself a kick up the bum to do some actual exercise, that doesn’t just involve wrestling Aria to the floor as she tries to crawl off after a massive dirty nappy, I’ve felt calmer, brighter and more energetic. More importantly, I’ve felt happier.

Just as you’re feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed, feeling more confident with this parenting thing, thinking – “Yes! I am not completely useless. My child only had a tantrum once today,” some bloody “do-gooder” decides to utter the words “you do look tired.” Tired? TIRED?! Are you f**cking kidding me?! Now, is this just something people say for the sake of something to say to someone with a young child (Hubby thinks this is true), or are you doomed to look tired until your child turns 18. Actually, probably beyond that, as you spend your nights awake until they come home after a night out.

Either way, if you’re reading this and you’ve said this to a parent, STOP, stop now and think of something nice to say. Or keep your mouth shut.

What other things get on your nerves now you’e a parent? Leave me a comment below or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith

Thanks for reading!

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"Did you just tell my Mum she looks tired?"

“Did you just tell my Mum she looks tired?”

 

The weaning journey at 11 months and 16 days…

As I write this, my husband is trying to get Aria to eat chicken and butternut squash tagine. Lovingly made last weekend, this delicious meal doesn’t seem to appeal to my darling daughter’s tastebuds. How do I know? She’s behaving as if he’s trying to feed her poison, by squealing and wriggling, her face bright red as she tries to escape from her highchair.

This isn’t a rare occurrence and there have been many tears of frustration over the last 6 months or so since we started the weaning journey, and that was just from me!

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From the beginning, we’ve made all of Aria’s meals from scratch, using the Annabel Karmel book and making up a few of our own along the way. I think this has made it even more upsetting when she’s refused to eat them, as we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure she has the best we can offer. I’ve felt, at times, like it’s a personal insult when she’s refused food. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

As I’m sure mums reading this can sympathise, trying to get your child to eat a variety of meals is a challenge. There have been several days where Aria will refuse to eat anything from a spoon, only wanting to eat finger food. Then for a few weeks she’s loved everything we’ve offered – from cottage pie to salmon and broccoli with pasta. Now, we’re going through a fussy stage and I’m trying to remain calm.

Although I’m certainly no expert, I wanted to write a post that other mums could relate to and offer a few tips I’ve found have helped over the last 6 months of our weaning journey.

1. Offer finger food at every meal (and an extra spoon!)
Aria is very independent and loves to feed herself, including finger food and eating with a spoon, although her aim isn’t usually that great! I try to offer finger food that’s easy to hold, including homemade fish goujons, slices of cheese, cucumber sticks, homemade salmon footballs and sweet potato wedges. I also find this is a good distraction, as is letting her hold her own spoon, whilst I slip some food into her mouth unnoticed!

2. Use distraction
Aria loves Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom so we tend to have this on at meal times as, quite often, she is engrossed she will let me feed her. I know not everyone will agree with this method, but it often works!

3. Make meal times fun
Nobody likes to eat alone so I try to time our meals together as much as possible. Aria’s more likely to eat if she sees us eating, although she often wants what we have rather than her own food, and it makes it more social.

I’ve also recently discovered that Aria will take food from her spoon if I let her pig puppet ‘feed’ her. Strange but true!

4. Stay calm
Easier than it sounds but take a deep breath…..or ten. I found, not only was me getting wound up when Aria wouldn’t eat making me feel exhausted, it wasn’t making meal times a pleasurable experience for either of us. The more frustrated I became, the more Aria refused to eat. Now I just think – she won’t starve, so maybe today she’s just not as hungry as the day before. Like us, she’s not a robot when it comes to how much we want to eat on any certain day.

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What stage are you at on the weaning journey and what are your tips for staying calm?

Let me know in the comments below or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith

Thanks for reading,
Em xx

I’m not a hat person but…

Ok, from the title of this post you can probably guess that it’s going to involve hats. The last week or so has been absolutely bitter, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older but I’m really feeling it this year!

I hate the feeling of numb fingers and cold ears and, seeing as I manage to lose my gloves after each Winter, I decided to go on the hunt for a pair today.

Browsing in Accessorize I spotted the hats – knitted ones, topped with fur bobbles. They looked so cosy I couldn’t resist trying one on. As I said, I’m not a hat person but this one was so comfortable!

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Of course, I couldn’t buy the hat without the matching gloves and so I left the shop kitted for the cold.

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Accessorize have also launched a reward card, which I discovered today, and are currently offering double points at the moment. As someone who shops in here a lot that’s good news!

So if you’re after something to keep out the cold, check out the rest of their range.

I think I’m converted…

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Are you a hat person?

Thanks for reading xx

Christmas wishlist

Christmas is more about giving than receiving. I love watching my family open their presents on Christmas day, and watching their faces light up in surprise when they receive something totally unexpected. There’s more excitement in not knowing what you might receive from your loved ones, than handing over a list of what you’d like. Of course, that was fun when you were little, but now it’s nice when you receive a thoughtful gift out of the blue.

That being said, I’m sure we all have a little wishlist of things we would like and I’ve selected a few of mine to share:

Tha Minituarist

I’m a real bookworm and like nothing better than the excitement of starting a new one. There’s nothing quite like that new book smell, and although I own a Kindle there’s nothing quite like a real book! I’ve had my eye on The Miniaturist since its’ release earlier in the year and can’t wait to read it.

Magimix 11610 Blender

Magimix 11610 Blender

Magimix 3200 Food Processor

Magimix 3200 Food Processor

These two items are more gifts for the house, but ever since becoming interested in clean eating and a plant based diet I’ve had my eye on this Magimix blender and food processor. Both come recommended by Ella Woodward (check out her blog Deliciously Ella, she’s fantastic), who’s really inspired me with her recipes and blog.

Deliciously Ella

Linked to the above, is Ella’s book, Deliciously Ella – full of fabulous plant based recipes, it’s a style of eating I can’t wait to learn more about and experiment with.

Sekonda watch

Sekonda watch

Lastly on my list is this gorgeous Sekonda diamante mother of pearl watch. When I had Aria I found having  watch a godsend. It may sound strange but I’d never been a watch person before that, but I found it so much easier when she was asleep on me, rather than rummaging around for my phone, to see the time. Unfortunately my watch broke a few months ago and of  course, now that she’s nearly 10 months her falling asleep on me is a rare occurrence, but it’s definitely easier when you’re running around with a pram, handbag and shopping. I love this Sekonda one as it will go with any outfit and is timeless.

What’s on your wishlist?

Thanks for reading xx

 

Christmas jumpers – embrace the tacky!

Last year, for the first time, I actually gave in and bought a Christmas jumper. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel all bah-humbug about festive jumpers but, to me, I didn’t see the point in buying one when I could wear something a bit more sparkly that I could wear more than once in the year.

But last year, for my Christmas work lunch, I donned a full on tacky jumper, complete with bells and the slogan ‘nice baubles’ (yes, really).

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This year, I’ve decided to embrace the tacky and bring it out again. I’ve even been tempted by ones I’ve seen in the shops – there are some seriously good ones around this year. So I’ve put together my top 5 Christmas jumpers. You know, just in case you feel tempted.

First up is this simple ASOS jumper. Although I’m not sure I agree with the slogan – surely you’re never too old for Christmas and Santa?

Another ASOS jumper, this time a reclaimed vintage number that will allow you to countdown to Christmas, with detachable numbers! Something you could wear every day of December! Actually…you might not want to wear it every day. Unless you want people to avoid you because of the mince pie stains.

Ok, so this one isn’t exactly Christmassy in the traditioal sense, but it is sparkly. And I like it.

Fiiiiive Goooold Riiings. This M&S jumper might have everyone who spots it bursting into song.

A must have for the style-conscious man in your life, this Next jumper is a must-buy (sarcastic, moi?)

So that’s my top Christmas jumper picks – which is your favourite? Have you bought one this year?

Thanks for reading xx

Winter warmers

Autumn and Winter have to be my favourite times of the year. Whilst everyone else was praising the warm weather well into November, I couldn’t wait for it to get colder. Crisp, sunny mornings when you can smell bonfires in the air are one of my highlights of the year.

It’s not that I don’t like the warm weather (and let’s face it, it doesn’t happen often in the UK), it’s just that I couldn’t wait to break out the cosy knits and boots, and encase myself in faux fur.

As you may know if you follow me on Twitter, I’m kind of addicted to Pinterest and my favourite boards at the moment have to be my  ‘My Style‘ and ‘Winter‘ boards. I’ve been poring over the cover-ups and Winter colour palettes, longing for a roaring fire I can snuggle up by with a hot chocolate.

I’ve always been a big fan of faux fur but this year, rather than a faux fur coat, I’ve been favouring gilets and fur collars –  just enough to make you feel cosy, but something you can remove when you get flustered doing Christmas shopping. My favourite colour combination at the moment is grey and camel.

 

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To me this combination has hints of Ralph Lauren chicness and can either be dressed up or down with heels or flats. I’m favouring a mixture between the two at the moment, combining my H&M grey cable knit with my ASOS camel coat and a faux fur collar,with black trousers and heels, or dark jeans and white trainers.

What are your favourite Winter colour combinations?

Thanks for reading! xx

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Can you believe we’re now in December? I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. This time last year I was heavily pregnant and had a few weeks until I went on maternity leave. What a difference a year makes! Safe to say this has been the most hectic, emotional, testing and happiest year of our lives, and as it’s Aria’s first Christmas I’m feeling even more excited about the festive season than normal.

Due to the arrival of our little one I’ve found it hard to focus on blogging this year, but I’m determined to be more committed in 2015 (promise!) and in that spirit I’ve decided to TRY and blog every week this month in the run up to Christmas. I’ll be writing a festive post every day and sharing with you our Christmas preparations, Winter outfits and basically anything Christmas related. (How many times can I get the word Christmas into this post?!)

So, to kick things off I thought I’d share with you a few of our Christmas traditions, and new ones we hope to have now we’re a family of three.

Something we’re doing for the third year running this Christmas is making our own Christmas cake. Using the fruit cake recipe used for our wedding cake, it’s a process we start about 8 weeks before and something that can’t fail to get you excited about the season to come. Last year we made our own marzipan and icing as well, and I’ll be posting the recipe and pictures in a post this month. Little tip – feel free to add as much brandy as you like, it is Christmas after all!

For the past four or five years hubby and I have made a point of snuggling up with a glass of champagne on Christmas Eve to watch one of our favourite festive films – It’s a Wonderful Life. Although it may not be the most cheerful festive film, it has a happy ending and we love it. If you haven’t seen it I recommend watching it as I guarantee it’ll have you saying ‘Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings’ until January!

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One of my favourite activities is putting up the tree. We’ve never had a real tree, but plan to have one next year, so will be putting up our faithful black tree (yes, black!) again this year. We tend to buy at least one new decoration each year, and last year whilst in Stratford in August came across a Christmas shop that is open all year round! We couldn’t fail to get caught up in the spirit as we entered. With a countdown to Christmas chalk board on the door and carols resonating inside, we bought new decorations for the tree.

This Christmas is extra special as it will be Aria’s first Christmas. Even though she’ll only be 10 months old I am so excited for her to experience it all. A friend of mine recently said that – “when you have children you re-live the magic of Christmas through their eyes,” and it’s so true. We thought we’d start a tradition of buying Aria a new decoration for the tree every year, and after a long search I finally found the perfect one in the form of a blonde haired, glittery fairy. She is truly perfect for her and I can’t wait to hang it on the tree.

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What are your Christmas traditions? Will you be making any new ones this year?

Thanks for reading! xx

 

Aria’s 6 month update

So after my last post I’ve finally sat down to write Aria’s 6 month update…at 30 weeks! Time just goes so fast and in-between my makeup course and looking after Aria, it feels like I’ve barely had a minute!

When we had Aria so many people with children told us to appreciate the time when she was a tiny baby, as they grow so fast. At the time I remember wishing it would get easier..fast! And now as I look at her I can’t believe she was a tiny baby who fell asleep on me after every feed. Now, she’s an inquisitive, cheeky monkey who can sit up by herself and always wants to be off playing and exploring. In a way I do miss the early days. Not the night feeds or the overwhelming tiredness, but the times when we could sit together for hours and she would snuggle close. That rarely happens now, but in exchange I have a beautiful nearly seven month old daughter who is developing a cheeky personality by the day!

Aria - 1 day old

Aria – 1 day old

I guess in this update I just wanted to reflect how much Aria has changed, her milestones and what her routine is now, compared to the early days.

Milestones

There have been so many milestones in the last 6 months, and not just the big ones like when Aria first rolled over, and there are more every week! But I guess the biggest ones have been:

First tooth – 4 1/2 months

First smile – 6 weeks

First time Aria rolled over – 3 months

First giggle – 4 months

First taste of solids – 5 months

First word (okay…babble that sounds like a word!) – Dadda

First time Aria sat up – 6 months. This was a funny one as a few times I’d gone upstairs to find Aria sitting up in her cot, and no idea of how she’d done it! I was so eager to catch her doing it I had my camera handy when she was playing, just to see if I could catch it on film. And finally last week, I did!

The past 6 months have been a total whirlwind and having a baby has turned our world upside down. I’m not going to lie, at times, it hasn’t been easy and there have been tears, frustration and tantrums…and that’s just Aria!

When you’re pregnant it feels like you’re waiting forever for your baby to arrive, and after all the planning, excitement and anticipation I don’t think anything prepares you for the complete life change. But, 6 months later, we’re settled into a routine and things are more manageable in some ways, harder in others and there are still surprises. Just when you think you’ve got things cracked, another spanner is thrown into the works, but I guess that’s kind of part of the fun right?

You certainly change and grow as a person. You have to become less selfish and give all your attention to someone else, and while that’s incredibly hard to come to terms with at times, isn’t it amazing that you get to shape someone’s life and be called Mum? To witness a first tooth, a first smile, a first little giggle makes the hard times worth it. You just have to try to remember that when you’re awake at 2am!

Since Aria’s birth we’ve taken pictures pretty much every day. I love documenting her in photos and can’t wait to share them with her when she’s older. In the slideshow below are some of my favourites.

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This has been a really emotional post to write. Please share with me some of your baby’s milestones and favourite moments in the comments below, or via Twitter at @Em_L_Smith.

Thanks for reading.

Em xx