Browsing Category


Books Family Life

World Book Day Costume Ideas

The speed at which World Book Day comes around each year feels as fast as Christmas does. Next Thursday is the day that we all panic and raid the fancy dress box as we realise we haven’t prepared… ok perhaps that’s just me? Whether you are prepared or need some fresh ideas, Emily from Parrot Street (a monthly book subscription for children between 5 – 11) is sharing some simple ideas that aren’t too difficult to recreate, won’t cost a bomb and still celebrate everything that is fun and fantastic about books. Thank you Emily!

Raid The Wardrobe

The easiest option is to use clothes that your child already owns and just add a few props. For the little girl from The Paper Dolls we attached a cardboard butterfly to a hairclip but, of course, the outfit wouldn’t be complete without our own versions of Ticky, Tacky, Jackie the Backie, Jim with two noses and Jo with a bow!

Paper Dolls

For Tom Gates we created a cardboard guitar and simply added one of his favourite treats, a caramel wafer! And for Claude and Sir Bobblysock we bought a cheap red beret from eBay, attached a sock to a red jumper and created a black collar from ribbon and a chocolate coin wrapper.

Tom Gates

Dig In The Dressing Up Box 

What about using a costume from your dressing up box and simply adjusting it to become a book character? Furry ears and a face-painted nose combined with pjs and a dressing gown make for the perfect Mr Bear from Peace at Last.

Mr Bear

Cardboard Crafting 

Making a cardboard tabard, connected at the shoulders with ribbon or string, is very easy to do (assuming you have a large box to hand). We just cut out the shape of this boogying pear from The Kitchen Disco before giving it a few coats of green paint!

Kitchen Disco

Get Really Creative

These last few ideas require sewing or fabric glue but if that doesn’t put you off they are pretty simple to recreate. Rosie Revere’s dress is a large white t-shirt – we just glued red and black ribbon to the bottom to make the stripes. We bought a cheap polka dot bandana from eBay and made her toolbox from a cardboard box.

Rosie Revere

Finally, we couldn’t resist recreating a beautiful parakeet from Parrots Don’t Live in the City. We slipped a green pillowcase onto each arm, secured it to the jumper and then got to work cutting the shape of the feathers. We glued some of the green fabric to a simple mask and added a cardboard beak!


None of these costumes quite right for you?

The girls at Parrot Street have created a download of over 30 more simple ideas and are sharing it as a welcome gift for anyone that joins their mailing list before 7th March.

Join the list here

Books Events Family Life

10 World Book Day Ideas To Save Time & Money

With three kids who are all involved in World Book Day this year, there is no skirting around the subject and fobbing them off in something that I thought about at 7.05 that morning (i.e. like the last 4 years).  There needs to be a bit of preparation.


I watch in awe as children arrive at school on the Thursday (it’s always in a Thursday yeah?) in handmade costumes and just hope that my kids don’t start comparing their (my!) nominal efforts to their friends ones.

(They don’t, they are just delighted to not be in uniform)

What’s the problem then?

It’s the MOTHERS whose judgement I fear!

I don’t want to feel inadequate, this year I want to be known as one of those mothers, who do think, stitch, create and make.

But as I cant stitch – I have to think outside the box and thinking is one thing I can do!

This year, I am giving myself 4 days to concur up something that looks like I haven’t done any work the whole week, other than for Thursday, but really, I have just thought for 5 minutes and brain stormed with the little ones so we are all happy.

There will be no sewing machine out and no £12 last minute costume from Amazon. 

I am going to share my ideas which each have a twist



Animal Lover 

Rather than go the predictable route of a favourite like The Lion King (brown face paint and whiskers and voila – you can be pretty much any animal!), I want to introduce you to the Tall Grass books written by the lovely Clare Luther.

Each book is based on one animal’s journey, each with a different message.

The Friends Who Care 

Go top to toe in grey clothes, with a cushion under your tummy. 

(When I say you, I actually mean them – although I did go to go to World Book Day drop off and pick up dressed as Paddington Bear one year!)

The Friends Who Care

Happy To Be Me 

A gorgeous story with a lovely message encouraging children to be content with who they are and what they have got. These books should be on the National Curriculum!

Wear yellow and stick large brown spots on with masking tape. 

Happy To Be Me


Mr Men Fans 

We owe Roger Hargreaves a huge thank you. Hi characters are very easy to replicate.

My oldest is doing Mr Bump this year

A bit of face paint, colour block dressing and loo paper and hey presto you are a Mr Bump.


Mr Bump


Little Miss Sunshine 

One for the little ladies.

Head to toe yellow, freckles, bunches and red bows. Sweet!!

little miss sunshine

Princess worshippers 

If your daughter wants to go as Frozen, I mean Elsa (do you find yourself calling her Frozen too?) but you simply can’t allow her to go as a character that came about first in a movie (oh the shame in front of the mothers #jokenotjoke) here is a good idea.

Angelina Ballerina is a respectable bet.

Pink leotard and tutu. Pink Bow. Add whiskers. 

Angelina Ballerina

I am trying to push her towards Little Red Riding Hood as she has dark hair (and we don’t have a pink tutu)

Red towel and a little basket = immediately look like Little Red Riding Hood.

Little red riding hood


‘Footballer’ Wannabe 

My second son wants to go as a footballer from his ‘When I am group, I want to play for Arsenal‘ book (You can buy any team and they are really encouraging books)




I am rolling with it this year. ‘Let go’ I chant to myself, it is a book.

And it’s not a competition!

A few other ideas for football fanatics… (all great books that I recommend)

Froggy Plays Football 

Football Kit + Green Facepaint. 

Froggy Plays Football


Kicking a Ball 

Just had to include this wonderful book. Buy if you have a football lover ‘who only wants to kick a ball… ‘

Dress in any football kit!

Kicking a ball


For Those Who Hate Dressing Up!

Super Star Kids 

If your child isn’t one for dressing up, whack them in their home clothes and tell them they are a superstar, Gavin Rhodes has written a series of rhyming moral fun books and they are wonderful!!

I highly recommend them.

Rhyming Moral Fun

Roald Dahl has created some wonderful characters that are very easy to recreate at home without putting your kid into a full blown costume .


Blue dress, red ribbon and a couple of books under her arm. (although maybe the red bow was just for the stage – even easier!) 


George’s Marvellous Medicine 

Red T Shirt, saucepan and a bottle of shampoo!

George's Marvellous Medicine

And if you still can’t think all the major supermarkets have incredible ranges to pick from…

Also, if the actual purpose behind World Book Day is lost on you, head to the official website for a read!

There are also lots of WBD events happening around the country – take a look and if your little one is full of beans after school – you can head down there to continue the magic!

Hope this has helped and reminded you that it doesn’t have to give you a headache!

Have a great week (and can’t wait to see your efforts!) xx

Books Little People

The Pregnancy & Newborn Edit

Despite this blog being called ‘The London MUMMY’, I don’t actually post that much on one major part of being a mother – pregnancy & babies. There is a plethora of fantastic blogs & websites more geared towards that stage (my favourite is My Baba) whereas I am more focused on activities, fashion & championing new business’s.

However, when the lovely author Lucinda Van Der Hart, who is expecting her 3rd child after a 5 year gap, offered to do a guest post on what’s new in this underworld of pregnancy & baby products & services, I was delighted, as I was intrigued to know. She lives in Barnes and is author of Soul Food For Mums & The Pregnancy Book. Let me hand her over…

I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my third baby, and wiggling on a birthing ball as I type. My elder two children are now the ripe old ages of seven and five – which means it has been a few years since I last went through pregnancy. And when it comes to ingenious products for mums-to- be, it seems that a lot has changed in that time.  This time around, I’ve enjoyed discovering a selection of the gorgeous and useful that simply didn’t exist with rounds one and two. Here’s my edit of some wonderful finds.

1. The Sassy Bloom Box

If you are looking for a baby shower or new mummy gift, the Sassy Bloom box ticks every box – a prettily-packaged box of goodies delivered to your (or a friend’s) door. Costing from £23 each, boxes are available for a mum-to- be in her third trimester and can then be tailored to a baby’s stage, up to the age of three. Order a one-off box, or have a box delivered monthly. I sent off for the third trimester box, which included a stroller frame bag (for carrying tricky items such as flowers or older children’s toys on the back of a buggy), scrummy toiletries for mum and baby, a baby blanket and a buggy hook.


2. Mamaway 3-in- 1 Lightweight Down Jacket

This ingenious invention is must for every fan of baby-wearing – an ultra lightweight down jacket complete with a zip-in panel to extend its size for wear during pregnancy, or for use while your baby is strapped to your front in a sling. The panel can also be removed all together, turning it back into a normal jacket again, so this really has potential for longevity. The jacket packs neatly away into a small drawstring bag – I’ll be keeping mine in my changing bag at all times.

Currently available at the discounted price of £76.30.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.02.19

3. Amoralia’s Nursing Bras

Seven years ago, buying a nursing bra meant purchasing a functional, and quite frankly, very unattractive piece of underwear. Now there’s a host of gorgeous nursing bras to choose from. I love Amoralia’s Allure in ruby – a sumptuous, deep burgundy shade with black lace detail and velvet straps. It features a removable flexi underwire, enabling you to decide whether or not you want that extra shape or support. It’ll only set you back £39.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.05.36

4. The Squeezy App

Not so glam perhaps, but the reality is that every mum and mum-to- be has to do those annoying pelvic floor exercises. Recommended by my physiotherapist, this handy little NHS app costs just £2.99 and will not only remind you to do your squeezes at set times each day, but also give you instructions to follow for each set of exercises. Ta da! Exercises done. Almost.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.08.20

5. The Private Pregnancy Show

If you are considering private medical care for your pregnancy and delivery, you may like to pay a visit to London’s first Private Pregnancy Show. Taking place from 21-22 May 2016 in Mayfair, the show will host workshops and seminars from leading UK doctors, midwives and motherhood specialists on the benefits of private care for pregnancy and childbirth, breastfeeding, complementary approaches to birth preparation, returning to work and more. Tickets are £20.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.09.53

6. Leah Sarago’s Fit and Sleek Prenatal Physique

Somehow, sweating it out in the gym with an enormous bump on show has never appealed to me, so in pregnancy I turn to exercise DVDs. Five years ago, Davina McCall’s ‘My Pre and Post natal workouts’ DVD was pretty much the only acceptable home pregnancy workout. Now there’s a much bigger selection of DVDs available, and my favourite is Leah Sarago’s. This is made up of 15-minute segments – select which ones you want and put your own workout together. For me this offers a strong balance of challenging an expanding body, building strength and preventing injury.

£25.95 on Amazon

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.15.24

8. The Baby Book: How to enjoy year one by Rachel Waddilove

I can’t strictly say I didn’t know that this book existed when I fell pregnant this time – I had it in an earlier version and used it endlessly with my other two babies. But Rachel, who has extensive experience as a maternity nurse and baby sleep expert and has helped Zara Philips, Gwyneth Paltrow and Minnie Driver with their babies, has recently launched a fully revised and updated edition.

£12.08 on Amazon

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.17.45

7. Cook’s 10% Discount For New Mums

This is another fabulously practical gift that I would heartily recommend for any new parent – a hamper or vouchers from the makers of delicious homecooked freezer meals at Cook. Parents of new babies can receive the discount for six months after their baby’s arrival.


9. WaterWipes

Here’s a product that I can’t quite believe wasn’t invented earlier – the chemical-free baby wipe. WaterWipes contain 99.9% water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract, a natural skin conditioner. Available from Boots, Superdrug and Tesco’s among other retailers, I’ll be buying these for use on baby’s delicate skin.

12 packets for £25

Front of 60 Pack

10. The Honest Mum’s Club: Parenting. Depression. Cake. by Hannah Oakland

Every mum will experience the baby blues at some stage during the early days and weeks with a newborn. But at least one in seven mums go on to do battle with postnatal depression. In this newly-published book, Hannah Oakland bravely shares her experience of this often-hidden illness, approaching a serious topic with much-needed honesty and humour.

£9.98 on Amazon

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.19.26

Lots of food for thought – thank you Lucinda (great name btw 😉 )

PS. Going to tell you about my latest venture soon, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek whilst I tweak

Books Products Spotlight

Ready To Go Back To Work?

At the school gates this morning, I signaled to some mothers in my oldest sons class ‘coffee?’ and they either mouthed back ‘work’ or ‘interview’ or ‘new job’. I never received this memo! However, in all seriousness, I am thrilled for my friends who are finding their feet – returning to work or are embarking on a new start up themselves. (More Spotlights for TLM!)

One such mother, Charlotte Billington, a mother of two boys, has written a fantastic book What To Do Next? to guide you on your way if you are slightly unsure of the route you want to take or have absolutely no idea!


Charlotte is a professional career coach who is passionate about helping people reach their career potential and find a job they love.  With a solid business background in recruitment, career guidance and coaching, she has worked for some of the best known companies in London.

Intuitive, practical and wanting to inspire others, Charlotte strongly believes that everyone, with some help and guidance, is capable of great things at work. Her overall purpose in life is to help others shine in the jobs they choose, to enjoy it and, most importantly, to get real satisfaction from it. That is why she has written this book – to help people be the best they can be and make the best choices to achieve happiness in their careers.  As well as being for individuals, the book could also be used for outplacement purposes following redundancy.

photo 2

In her role as a career coach, Charlotte realised that there was a gap in the market for a practical, uncomplicated, exercise type career guidance book. She therefore used her wealth of knowledge and 20 years experience to create What To Do Next? The book contains a series of exercises and questions designed to draw out the individual and unique skills, strengths and motivators of anyone wanting to make a change in their career.

Peppered with motivational quotes and divided into manageable sections, each chapter is a step-by-step process, encouraging the reader to gather information about themselves.  Once they are in possession of all of these findings, they will then, in the final chapters, be able to work through what they want to do next.

photo 1

Charlotte advises professionals from a large variety of different industries and What To Do Next? is ideal for a broad spectrum of professionals. From new mums looking to return to work, as well as those who have had years out, mid-level and senior professionals who feel unfulfilled in their current job and want to change tack, and retirees looking for a purpose.

Ultimately, the aim of the book is to assist and coach anyone looking to make a change in their career, towards finding a job so suited, that it will not feel like work.


Charlotte’s Favourite’s

Restaurant : Nobu

Hotel : Katikies  Santorini, Greece

Website :

Shop : Rebecca Taylor

Holiday Destination : Portugal

Parenting Tip : “However tired or frustrated you are, calm down breath, and talk to them positively in a fun nice tone. It is amazing how much better things will go. Also talk to children like adults and explain what is going on; they might understand the situation and empathise with you or think you can work together”

Purchase a copy of What To Do Next on Amazon £20

Books Products Spotlight

Poppy Fraser: 10 Minute Suppers For Children

Thank goodness for this wonderful book. Even my 1 year old was starting to have an opinion on the limited choice of what was on offer, especially over the holidays when, after 36 hours worth of children each day (3 x 12hrs!) the frozen drawer became my best friend.  I have admitted before that I am not a natural at whipping up something imaginative from scratch, so I am delighted that Poppy Fraser has brought out her second book 10 Minute Suppers For Children.



A cookbook full of delicious, nutritious and lightening quick recipes is music to all parents’ ears.  The recipe’s are created that the whole family can enjoy them too. I know my husband would think Christmas had come early if I served up any of Poppy’s recipe’s.  I particularly like Poppy’s ‘Raw Banana Flapjack’ –  we always over order on the bananas and they are multi purpose – to have as a snack, pudding or instead of breakfast.


No one understands the pressures of a kitchen full of tired, hungry children better than Poppy, who has four of her own, two of them Irish twins. Poppy wrote the book because she was desperate to come up with a system to help her cope at that time of day when the children are exhausted (as was she).  She knew she was about to have 2 babies under 1, as well as the 2 elder boys, so things were going to be tricky. The less time spent cooking, and the more time being freed up for other things was vital.

“The charitable element of the book, with money from each sale going to Cancer Research, was also something important to me, having watched my beloved father die from cancer.”


Poppy in the back with her 4 children and very hands on mother


Poppy’s Favourite’s

Shop: Gardiner and Gardiner – an antiques shop in Cromarty, Scotland

Website: Ebay – a wonderful source for Children’s books that she collects.

Restaurant: Roka – Charlotte Street, London

Hotel: Hacienda de San Rafael – near Seville, Spain

Holiday Destination: Home – the Highlands of Scotland


The book is as lovely as Poppy is.  So buy buy buy AND a percentage goes to Cancer Research.

Click here to order 10 Minute Suppers For Children


Books Products Spotlight

Whimsey Wood Children’s Books

Despite having 2 wonderful daughters, a cheeky baby son, a great husband, 2 rescue cats and 2 squeaky guinea pigs, Sarah Hill still manages to find time to write her wonderful children’s books.  I read Posie Pixie and The Snowstorm to my 4 year old son and he hung on every word.



‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series consists of 35 books, which are divided into 5 sets each containing 7 books. Every book is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna change as you read through the series. There is also a proverb tucked into every story for the reader to find, giving her books real meaning. They would make a lovely present for a little one. 10% of her ‘Whimsy Wood’ book sales are donated to The Wildlife Trusts UK.

Her 6th Whimsey Wood book

Her 6th Whimsey Wood book


Sarah’s ‘5 Favourite’s’

Shop: White Stuff


Restaurant: The Bath Priory, Bath

Hotel: Charlton House Spa Hotel, Somerset

Place: Westonbirt Arboretum

Click here to purchase the latest ‘Whimsy Wood’ book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ direct from the publisher, Abela Publishing

For all 5 books on special offer click here

Books Family Life Products

Love Languages: What Makes Your Child Tick

I have read a few parenting books.  Actually, if I am honest, I have started a few parenting books but once I have got the gist of them, they are confined to the book shelf. One book though that has been particularly helpful is ‘The 5 Love Languages of Children’ by G Chapman and R Campbell.

In a nutshell, ‘The 5 Love Languages’ are –

  • Acts of Service
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch
  • Gifts

Where we go wrong, is that we show our love towards our children in the way that we feel loved. For example, the ‘Love Language’ I like to receive is Words of Affirmation (my husband jokes that I am all of them!) so I am always encouraging my children and telling them how much I love them. However, I think they know this so don’t feel particularly loved when i say it – they like to see it in action. The oldest would prefer Presents (funny that) and the middle, Quality time. This also works with your other half and friends.

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

I thoroughly recommend you buy a copy and work out who is what.

Please order through your local bookstore and keep small book shops alive!