Mother’s Day is creeping ever closer (It’s THIS sunday by the way!), but thankfully there’s still plenty of time to buy your mum/wife/partner a gift that she’ll love and doesn’t scream ‘last minute’!

So whether your mum likes a spot of pampering, or an action packed day out we’ve got it covered and there are options to suit all budgets and tastes.

Flowers and chocolates aside, here are some of the things I would love to receive on Mother’s Day.

Last Minute Mother

1 // Forest Gin, £59.50

Forest Gin is a hand-crafted, small-batch gin that is produced using a range of botanicals native to Macclesfield Forest which is nearby to where we live. Lovingly crafted by husband and wife team, the locally sourced ingredients include a range of foraged forest botanicals including wild Bilberries, wild Gorse Flowers, wild Raspberries, and local Moss. The result is incredible and Forest Gin is packed with flavour, and is delicious to enjoy either neat or mixed with tonic water. In addition, Forest Gin is beautifully presented in a unique English Porcelain bottle by Wade Ceramics.

There are a small number of stockists in the UK that sell Forest Gin in-store or you can order online through Harvey Nichols, who will deliver the next working day (Express delivery) if your order is placed before 3pm.

2 // Mia Lia Bracelets, £varied

Mia Lia create stylish handmade fashion jewellery with a bohemian touch. With a strong celebrity following, they offer a huge range from simple, understated bracelets to tasseled, loud ones!

On a large number of items, Mia Lia offer Express Next Day delivery, but you must contact them by 12.30pm and they will notify you if it’s possible.

3 // Anorak Boats Beach Bag, £35 (currently £17.50 in the sale)

Nautical & super pretty, this lovely beach bag is large enough for you to pack everything you need for a seriously long day at the beach.

Anorak offer ‘Next Working Day’ delivery for an extra cost on orders placed before 3pm.

4 // Crystal Maze tickets, £45-55 per person.

One for the 90’s kids, they will love the opportunity to make their way round a reconstruction of the set from the hit Channel 4 gameshow, completing logic puzzles and physical challenges in order to collect precious crystals . I actually bought tickets for Andy, my sister and brother in law for Christmas and I CAN’T WAIT to get stuck in!

With locations in Manchester and London you can buy gift vouchers to redeem on a date of their choice if you aren’t sure of their diary commitments.

Last Minute Mother

5 // Boden Hebe Leather Trainers, currently £67.50 in the sale

Currently 10% off in the sale, I adore these embroidered trainers and you can order Express Delivery for a super speedy service.

6 // A pampering session

A few hours child-free at the local beauty salon is utter bliss for a mum. Reading glossy mags, drinking hot tea and being pampered is the dream for most mums so check out your local beauty salon and order some vouchers pronto!

7 // The Naked Candle Co. Original Spiced Pomegranate Candle, £11

I have a few of The Naked Candle Co Spiced Pomegranate diffusers dotted around the house and they smell EXACTLY the same as Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir, at a fraction of the price!

Call Jake or Simone on 07960 27 3355 to ask about delivery before Sunday.

8 //  Oliver Bonas Medium Gold & Glass Mirrored Jewellery Box, £28

I love this vintage inspired gold and glass jewellery box and it would look lovely on display on a dressing table.

What would be your ideal Mother’s Day present? Check out my previous gift guides for more inspiration herehere and here.

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Spanish brand Mayoral are one of my favourite childrenswear brands thanks to their stylish and fun collections. Beautifully made with classic designs, you’d be hard pushed to not find something you love for your little ones and most importantly they are excellent quality; we’ve bought a fair few pieces over the years and they’ve all lasted really well, especially the boys polo shirts  and girl’s t-shirts that have been worn to death, washed umpteen times and still hold their shape.

Having celebrated their 75th anniversary last year, Mayoral are going from strength to strength and have gained international recognition thanks to their high quality, versatile pieces. For girls you can expect unique floral prints and playful graphics and for boys they offer both a formal range of nautical-themed shirts and preppy trousers, and a sporty range with cool tees and stylish day wear. They also offer a gorgeous range for newborns and babies and a range of accessories.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are my picks for boys and girls…

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1 // Girl short striped skirt with zipper, £23.99

2 // Boy nautical style windbreaker jacket, £38.99

3 // Boy long sleeve polo with rib knit cuffs, £21.99

4 // Girl guipure shorts, £24.50

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5 // Boy short sleeve polo with contrast collar, £20.50

6 // Girl short sleeve t-shirt cupcake design, £16.50

7 // Girl denim style dress with tulle skirt, £39.50

8 // Boy chino long trousers with belt, £27.99

Not only do they do casual wear well as seen above, they also offer a brilliant selection of ‘formal wear’ suitable for Christenings and Weddings, which is stylish yet comfortable for the littles. I always find children’s formal wear hard to come across on the high street, so next time you have a special occasion to go to, don’t forget to check out the Mayoral range to save you trawling the shops!

The one thing that always shocks me about Mayoral is the price. For such a ‘premium’ brand, their pricing is incredibly affordable and on a par with the more upmarket high street brands.

You can find all the latest news from Mayoral on their Facebook and twitter pages and to see the full range of their lovely wares, check out their website. Mayoral can also be found in a huge selection of boutiques around the country and thankfully it’s stocked in our favourite local one: Milkshake Boutique in Wilmslow so we can try before we buy.

Are you a fan of Mayoral? Let me know in the comments below.

*Disclosure: PR collaboration

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As a busy mum of two, I often find myself completely stuck in a hair style rut. On a school/work day, with limited time to do anything with my hair other than shoving it up in a messy bun/ponytail, I’m always in awe of the school mums that turn up looking perfectly groomed!

With that in mind, I’ve been browsing good old pinterest, and have pulled together six of my favourite quick and easy updos for busy mums, that even I might be able to master with an extra 5 minutes in the morning.

1 // The Top Knot

Top Knot Tutorial

2 // Three Twisted Buns

Three Twisted Buns

3 // Messy Waves

MESSY WAVES

4 // Braided Hair

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5 // The Twisted Bun

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6 // Easy Milkmaid Braid

Apart from the Messy Waves which could be created with a good pair of straighteners, I’ve purposefully chosen styles that are kind to your hair so you don’t have to invest in advanced tricho pigmentation treatment or similar, thanks to heat damage!

What do you think of these six quick and easy updos for busy mums? What’s your ‘go-to’ hairstyle? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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  • Rebecca | AAUBlogMarch 2, 2017 - 6:49 pm

    I never thought I wouldn’t use my straighteners much, but am getting to the point where I can leave it and just embrace the ‘beachy’ waves haha. i love the barefoot blonde blog – wish my hair was her length!ReplyCancel

  • Sonia CaveMarch 2, 2017 - 7:53 pm

    These all look lovely and I used to wear braids a lot, but I’ve recently had my hair chopped off. Makes me want to grow it again!ReplyCancel

  • Vikki HolnessMarch 3, 2017 - 10:44 am

    Oh i absolutely LOVE the 3 twisted buns and braided hairstyles. I really should be more creative with my hair, most days it just gets chucked up in a messy bun or ponytail! xxReplyCancel

  • Harriet LeeMarch 6, 2017 - 10:51 am

    These are fab ideas! I love all of them and will have to give some a go as I always get stuck in a rut with my hair xoReplyCancel

  • Janine DolanMarch 6, 2017 - 3:24 pm

    I am not as adventurous with my hair. It’s always down and in a pony tail when I go play tennis. Boring I know.ReplyCancel

  • Alex Lamb & BearMarch 6, 2017 - 4:25 pm

    Love these ideas! I’m guilty of chucking my hair up every morning, mainly because my baby pulls it out and eats it!! XReplyCancel

  • GeorginaMarch 7, 2017 - 11:16 am

    Such a gorgeous selection of styles!
    My go-to is of course the topknot/mumbun. Just so easy to do in a rush! xxReplyCancel

  • StephanieMarch 7, 2017 - 8:56 pm

    What a good set of updo’s! I need to practice on my up do’s as I really struggle to make them look nice.ReplyCancel

Kidzania LondonLast month we were invited to Kidzania London to give our children their first (fun!) taste into the world of work  as guests of 365 Tickets, an online ticket retailer that offers huge discounts for the biggest and most popular attractions in the UK and around the world.

Located within Westfield, KidZania London is a child-size city, set up like a shopping mall, where the kids are in charge. Kidzania offers children the opportunity to try out an enormous variety of jobs in a very impressive, life-like environment, where parents are strictly relegated to the sidelines and the children have to put some effort in to earn their keep – if only the real world was like this!

Kidzania London

KidZania is clearly signposted within Westfield, but it’s also very easy to find on the first floor next door to Marks & Spencer thanks to the huge aeroplane marking the entrance.

The airport-style check in made the children excited about what was to come and they loved having their ‘boarding cards’ (tickets) scanned and having to pass through ‘immigration’ before they could enter. The helpful staff fitted each of us with a security bracelet that zaps the little ones in and out of each activity and enables the adults to keep tabs on them at all times. It also ensures your child’s safety as they can only be checked out of the City with you present and it records any allergies your child has.

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Kidzania London

At check-in the children were also given 50 kidZos (currency) each so they could pay to participate in some of Kidzania’s most popular jobs. Whilst it seems counter intuitive to make children pay for some of the jobs (you should get paid for working shouldn’t you?), it’s actually a great idea as it means that the children quickly learn that in order to be able to undertake all of the jobs that they would like to, they need to do other jobs to earn enough money.

If they do enough ‘paying jobs’ and have some spare kidZos at the end of the day, children can save it in a KidZania bank account for their next visit or spend the money in the shop at the end. Sadly mine did neither of these things as they spent their last kidzos that they’d earned, making pom pom necklaces and having their faces painted!

‘Designed to empower kids, KidZania gives them the confidence to challenge themselves and inspire them to explore the world of opportunities. KidZania is a real life role play experience for 4-14 year olds,  blending learning and reality with entertainment. Each role-play experience is crafted to teach kids essential life skills including financial literacy, team work and independence’.

(Kidzania website)

The employment opportunities at Kidzania are almost endless and hugely varied.  Roles include actor, advertising executive, air-conditioning engineer, air-line pilot, beauty stylist, bell ringer, chocolatier, customer manager at the department store, the list goes on and I’ve only gone as far as ‘C! There really is something for everyone, and for those who have no idea what they’d like to try, there’s even a job centre!

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Many of the jobs are interlinked. For example, once trained at the fire station, our mini firefighters jumped into the fire engine to put out a fire in a burning building round the corner. Once there, they met the mini-police officers and mini-paramedics, who all worked together to successfully put out the fire, secure the area and treat injuries.

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For some reason, one of our favourite occupations was that of the courier, who ferried packages to and from various businesses throughout the town, where they were signed for just as we do in our more mundane, less upbeat, adult lives. Navigating the city was a good challenge for the littles and they loved taking it in turns wheeling the trolley and getting their clipboard signed as they handed over the packages.

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The supermarket was also a big hit, and Phoebe absolutely loved working in the maternity unit despite the fact she could barely see over the table!

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The staff, playing the roles of doctors, nurses, police officers, firemen, cooks, shop assistants, bank clerks, tattoo artists etc. were all friendly and patient, and critically, were fully committed to the roles they were playing, which is what makes the experience so realistic for the children.

In KidZania the tickets are timed to 4 hours, but within that time our children became chocolate makers, cashiers, shoppers, firefighters, maternity nurses and couriers amongst other things and it’s definitely enough time to get through a vast array of jobs, queues permitting of course!

Kidzania London

Kidzania LondonKidzania LondonKidzania LondonKidzania LondonKidzania LondonKidzania LondonAs we’d been invited to review Kidzania for the blog, they very kindly allowed Phoebe to take part in all the activities despite being two years too young. This meant that she was an honorary four year old for the day and allowed to participate in all the same activities and jobs as Jack, Bea and Ted (their lovely cousins) which was a huge relief as we could have had a huge meltdown on our hands if she has been limited to just the Science Laboratory, RightZKeepers play house and Kindergarten.

Situated on the first floor, these ‘Early Years’ attractions, all offer unique interactive play opportunities for those under 4 years of age, but they definitely wouldn’t have kept Phoebs entertained for longer than an hour, and especially if she knew what fun the others were having in the city without her!

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It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re planning on going to Kidzania as a solo parent with two or more children and one of those being an under four year old, it would be nigh on impossible to get the most out of the place, as you aren’t allowed to leave children over the age of four unattended until they are eight years old and you obviously couldn’t be in two places at once. So ideally bring your partner or a friend to help even out the ratios and enable you all to get your money’s worth.

Children from the age of 8 years can be left on their own at KidZania enabling adults to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet in the ‘Grown Ups Garden Shed’ with its board games, TV area and comfy sofas or in one of the numerous cafes dotted around the city.

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We weren’t made aware about it until near the end of our time at KidZania but on our next visit we’ll purchase a B-KidZanian PaZZport for the kids as we all know how much children love getting stamps in books! Not only that, B-KidZanians receive more benefits to enjoy at KidZania London, including fast-track access to the City once you arrive at the Airport, discounts at KidZania Shops and the chance to earn more kidZos!

Thanks so much to 365 Tickets for a brilliant day out. Despite being slightly too young to really make the most of it all (they have no idea about the value of money yet for example), the children were totally engrossed for the four hours we were there and thoroughly enjoyed participating in all the different jobs. In fact, they can’t wait to return on our next trip to London in April!

If you’re looking for discounted tickets at unbeatable prices, from theatre tickets in London’s West End to passes to Disneyland Paris, you must check out the 365 Tickets website. You can also keep up to date with their latest offers by following 365 Tickets on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was very kindly sent the tickets for the purpose of this review, but all words, opinions and photographs are my own.

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  • Sarah CantwellFebruary 1, 2017 - 2:52 pm

    Aw we very nearly took Rosalie here yesterday as we were in Westfields. I’m glad we didn’t now as she would be most upset to be confined to the under 4 area xxReplyCancel

  • Sonia CaveFebruary 1, 2017 - 7:34 pm

    This looks like amazing fun, and our little lady would love it!ReplyCancel

  • Keri-Anne PinkFebruary 1, 2017 - 9:19 pm

    I have heard such wonderful things about kidzania. A few of my friends have taken their children and have raved about it! It is such a clever idea :)ReplyCancel

  • StephanieFebruary 1, 2017 - 9:39 pm

    I’ve seen lots of post on this place, and I think it sounds fantastic! I think my twin girls would love it, and would quickly spend their money!!!ReplyCancel

  • Mrs hFebruary 2, 2017 - 3:29 pm

    This looks like so much fun. Little Miss H has a fantastic imagination and I know that she would love this. She is always playing make-believe. Her favourite activity is to dress up and pretend she is a doctor, hairdresser or teacher. So this day out really does sound perfect for her. Hugs Lucy xxxxReplyCancel

  • The London MumFebruary 5, 2017 - 7:52 pm

    We’ve yet to visit Kidzania, but it’s on the list for sure because I know my son would just love it!ReplyCancel

  • Janine DolanFebruary 6, 2017 - 2:52 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing. My four year old would be completely amazed by this and might even take his fear away from certain things.ReplyCancel

  • JodieFebruary 9, 2017 - 8:30 pm

    Your photos are stunning! We went a year or so ago and my girls didn’t really understand the concept unfortunately. I loved the idea though.ReplyCancel

Geronimo-Fest_Logo_2017

Following a hugely successful festival in 2016 at Tatton Park, the ultimate in children’s festivals in back for its third successive year and 2017’s Geronimo Festival promises to offer not only a great family day out but a whole weekend full of amazing acts and activities.

Taking place from the 27th – 29th May, Geronimo is back, bigger and better with a host of big names from children’s TV teamed with a plethora of outdoor activities, live shows and workshops.

In fact, Geronimo is now a family mini-vacation destination and will offer camping and glamping for guests who don’t want the fun to end. You can take your own tent, caravan or motor home or let Geronimo take the hassle out of camping with their range of themed tents available to suit all families.

This year there’s a change of location and Geronimo will be held in the stunning, expansive grounds at Arley Hall in Northwich, Cheshire giving you access to a whole host of new and exciting attractions set over a larger scale. The event will be now held over three days so that more people can take advantage of everything the show has to offer.

The magical family festival which has been billed as ‘Glastonbury for Kids!’ by the Daily Mirror, will play host to a huge array of TV stars who will take centre stage throughout the day including Mr Bloom and Justin Fletcher. In addition Dinosaur fans will be pleased to know that Andy Day will be making an appearance and little pirates can join Cook and Line from Swashbuckle in a rip-roaring pirate adventure! The theme of this year’s event is Princesses, Knights and Dragons, and families are welcome to dress up and join in the fun.

For older children there is a Digital Zone where they can meet their favourite YouTubers and Gamers as well as try their hand at all the latest tech. Geronimo guests will also be treated to two full Circuses, a Theatre Tent and a Show Ground Arena with lots of displays including motorcycles, jousting and fencing.

For active children, there’s so much to cram in, including mobile climbing walls, cardboard harp workshops and a Bear Grylls Assault Course. In fact, Geronimo has so much going on for children of all ages, I’m not entirely sure how we’ll fit it all in, but I’m so excited for Jack and Phoebs who will be in their element!

Take a peek at last year’s Geronimo Festival to get a snapshot of what’s on offer…

As we only live about half an hour away, we are still undecided about whether to camp or not (Phoebe and a tent, I fear won’t be a good mix!), butI know Jack and Phoebe are going to have a brilliant time come rain or shine as many of the activities will be under cover and in marquees.

If you fancy coming along too, Geronimo currently have an Early Bird offer that is available until the end of January with Tier 1 tickets available from just £16.50! As an added incentive, early birds who purchase Tier 1 tickets will receive a free wristband for the Victorian Fun Fair. But act fast as the Tier 1 tickets are selling like hot cakes and once they’re all sold, the Tier 2 tickets will be released that are more expensive!

To purchase tickets and for more information visit the Geronimo website.

Disclosure : We have been offered tickets to Geronimo Festival free of charge as part of our role as ambassador.

 

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