Going solo

Well I’ve finally done it. I am now officially a freelance marketer and copywriter! It’s been a scary unsettling time since being made redundant from my job at the beginning of the month, and going it alone wasn’t an easy decision.

I have to say, I’m someone who likes the security of a regular income and stability, especially with Aria to think about. I didn’t want her to have to go without anything or for my husband to feel under pressure as the main breadwinner. But, as always, he’s been my biggest supporter in this.

A big positive in the last few weeks has been being able to spend more time with Aria. Although my mum was looking after her when I was working part-time, I still felt guilty being away from her for a few days. I feel like we’re enjoying each other’s company so much at the moment, even with the odd toddler tantrum! Watching her grow up and do new things everyday makes my heart burst with pride.


I don’t know about you but I feel like options are still very limited for working mums. Unless you’re happy to and can afford to put your child in nursery full time, you often have to take what’s out there. Part-time jobs are few and part-time jobs in the industry I want to work in, that actually pay well, are even fewer. Our options are very limited and I think this is rather unfair. But, you make a choice I suppose.

Speaking to some other ladies when doing a makeup job at the weekend, we discussed the fact that for men, things stay pretty much the same. After paternity leave, they go back to their full time job whereas our lives are unrecognisable. That gets easier as little ones get older and I’m sure many husbands, like mine, do their fair share at the weekend.

Apart from anything I suppose I want this to be a positive thing and an opportunity I grab with both hands. I doubt I would’ve had the guts to go it alone without a push. I want Aria to grow up thinking she can do anything she puts her mind to. I hope I can inspire her.

What’s your experience as a working mum? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Thanks for reading,

Em xx

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Recipe: Buckwheat, blueberry and raspberry pancakes

Over the past few years I’ve really got into cooking and experimenting with different flavours. This has grown since having Aria as I love cooking for her (even if she is fussy sometimes!), and have made all her meals since we started weaning.

Interesting breakfast ideas can be tough and we tend to alternate between porridge and scrambled egg most weeks. Looking through some books the other day, I came across a recipe for buckwheat and blueberry pancakes in my Clean & Lean Cookbook and couldn’t resist giving them a go. Safe to say they were as delicious as they sound and I even added some raspberries – wild huh! They were a hit with Aria too so I thought I’d share the recipe below. I’ve adapted this slightly by adding raspberries and almond milk:

Serves 3-4 (Depending on how big you like your pancakes!


1 cup milk (I used almond milk, but unless you have an intolerance semi-skimmed is fine)

1 large egg

1/2 cup wholewheat flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

olive oil for cooking

maple syrup for drizzling (optional)



In a large bowl, whisk the milk and eggs, then gradually add the flours and whisk well until you have a smooth batter.


Add the blueberries and raspberries and stir.


In a frying pan. heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Once hot, spoon in a small ladleful of batter and keep in a small round shape.


After 2-3 minutes, flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Repeat until you have around 8 pancakes.


The result! I like to serve them with strawberries. Delicious!

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!



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.


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!

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

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…

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).

Christmas jumper_nice baubles

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.



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