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New Business Spotlight: Don’t Plan A Birthday Bash Without My Little Party

If there’s one good thing that’s come out of lockdown, it’s My Little Party. Envisaged and created by kids’ entertainer Emily Rose Adams, this new party platform is going to revolutionise your kid’s party planning. My Little Party is a huge directory of everything you’ll ever need to plan a party. From supplies and invitations to entertainers and any theme you could ever dream of, it’s all here! I know from experience if you want to host a party with a particular theme, it takes hours of research to get everything perfect. My Little Party has basically done all that for you. I love that you can go to the website, click the theme you want and it gives you a list of the best suppliers and entertainers out there. You get in touch with suppliers through My Little Party and you can leave reviews on there. If you’re based in London, there’s a list of the top party planners too!  

I wanted to find out more about My Little Party, so got in touch with Emily for a quick chat.

How did it all begin?

I worked as a kids’ entertainer and music teacher for several years. After working for dozens of families each year, I realised that many of them had a difficult time arranging birthday parties for their children and often complained about having to spend hours looking for party providers. During lockdown, I decided to build a platform which would empower both customers and local businesses to find each other.

Read also: 10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss On Netflix This Summer

What inspired you?

Lockdown has been a really difficult time for small businesses and self-employed entertainers. Most of them lost all of their work overnight and were forced to cut back on expenses. I wanted to use the downtime to create a platform that would make it easier for party providers to connect with customers as soon as restrictions were lifted, and to help them save on advertising costs by being promoted on our website. Lockdown has also been hard on children, many of whom have celebrated birthdays without their friends. By selecting the best entertainers in the business, I wanted to give customers the option to have parties as soon as possible in a safe environment.  Most of our providers offer socially-distanced parties, and many of them are now busier than ever!

Read also: 12 Fun Men’s Holiday Shirts That He Will Actually Wear

Who is your ideal customer?

Parents and carers who want to bring some birthday magic to their kids!

What is your top parenting tip?

Relax and let our entertainers do all the work for you.

Emily’s favourites

Shop: Wholefoods

Website: Kinderlist – recently discovered this. It lets you shop for children’s gifts and create wishlists

Holiday destination: Italy

Restaurant: London has too many amazing ones to pick a favourite!

Hotel: I recently stayed in a converted cave hotel called Aquatio Cave in Matera in the south of Italy which had stunning views!

Find out more on MyLittleParty.uk

Looking for something else? Take a peek at my ultimate directory for the best parent and baby recommendations.

Fashion Spotlight

NEW BRAND ALERT : loved by Da (& her Ultimate School Run Trousers)

Loved By Da LOGO

It’s rare to see a new business develop from the get go. Mostly I am sent a new website once it is up and running but not with loved by Da. I have been privileged to see it grow from conception last year when Amanda spoke of wanting to start her own business of all the clothes and accessories she personally loved, to having her first collection LIVE on her amazing website this February.

 

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Amanda (her nickname is Da – hence the Da in her company name) is super stylish and has an ability to put together colours and outfits that only a few women can! Her enthusiasm for what she is doing is tangible too.

 

For me, fashion is just as much about looking good as feeling good and if you can do this with minimal effort and a reasonable price tag you’re onto a winner in my book.

 

 

To kick off she has created The Ibiza Collection – a trio of gorgeous, one size fits all hareem style trousers. Each pair is named after her favourite places in Ibiza, a place she goes to every year.

 

Bora Bora

Kicking off with the Bora Bora’s (as these are the ones I have) the charcoal grey with the neon stripe down the side are absolute beauts. Named after a party bar on Playden Bossa beach, the side stripe is a nod to the neon trend this year.

 

Bora Bora

 

Old Town

These trousers have a vintage lace side stripe on charcoal grey, an ode to her favourite town in Ibiza (vintage – Old!)

Vintage Lace Stripe

 

Talamanca

These are on my wish list too – who doesn’t love a bit of silver & navy blue?

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What I love most about these trousers, is that they are super comfortable and very versatile. Throw them on in the morning for the school run and then exercise and continue wearing them throughout the day and into the evening.

  • Trainers, jacket and scarf on the school run

School Run Style

  • A slouchy t-shirt for pilates/yoga

Loungewear

  • A pair of heels for a night out

Heels

 

  • Pregnant or just had a baby?

Sadly don’t have a photo of this one quite yet!!

Despite juggling a few balls (she rents out her beautiful home for location shoots and has two very active boys to name a few), Amanda has executed a perfect launch and I am excited to see what’s next!

Follow her on Instagram @lovedbyda and Facebook /lovedbyda

lovebyda.com

Interiors Products Spotlight

Enjoy the Perfect Cup of Tea with Jo Deakin

Jo Deakin China is exactly the reason I started The London Mummy 3.5 years ago. I was always emailing friends about other friends new businesses and so decided to start a central place in which to share my discoveries! So today I wanted to share an interview with mother of 2 Jo Deakin, who has recently launched a beautiful fine china collection.

So, sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy…. (& once you have finished I have no doubt you will want one of her cups to drink out of!)

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What made you start Jo Deakin?

A friend was staying for the weekend who was about to get married and as we talked about the excitements of her wedding list and she mentioned that she would love some lovely contemporary cups and saucers.  I had just had my second child and like a lot of mothers, I was ready to engage my brain a lot quicker than with the shell-shocked factor of becoming a new parent!

I had a background in interior design and have always been a huge fan of bright colour, pattern and of course drinking comforting drinks from china!  It took a very quick reaction to our friend’s comment from my husband who simply said, “well you could do that, design a new range of cups and mugs…”

That is literally how it began!

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What inspired you?

When I think back Ceramics of all forms have been in my life for a long time.  From playing with my grandparents’ eclectic collections as a little girl, to working in the ceramics department at an auction house in Edinburgh, to buying my first china jar in a shop off Jerymn Street with my first payslip from my first job in London.  I guess it was a relationship that was meant to be!

The opportunity to do something for myself, to re-establish my capabilities as a person, not just as a mother, was a huge inspiration for this collection.  However it is incredibly important to me to be able to predominantly work from home as my son is not quite 4 and unable to drive himself home from nursery yet!

Who is your target market?

I would love to think that my target market would be anyone equally passionate as myself about drinking their favourite tea, coffee and everything in between from fine bone china.

I would also like to think they were people who liked to share a quiet moment with friends, family or just on their own to take stock of the moment, breath, slow down and sip, and re-energise for the next leg of the rollercoaster!

Ideally they must also like colour and pattern of course.

How have you juggled motherhood with starting a new business?

That is exactly right, juggling!  I have no idea how I have got to this stage of actually launching, apart from determination, excitement for it to work, support from my family and close friends and a really big dose of caffeine!

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Any tips for those thinking of embarking on a new venture?

I would 100% say as long as you believe in the product/thing you are thinking of embarking on, and you feel excited every time you think about it, then there is nothing stopping you giving it a go.  It is so much better to try than to not know how it could have turned out, and that’s where I am at at the moment.

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Jo’s Favourite’s 

Shop : I love any treasure trove shop I stumble across that might sell some china bits, everything from Anthropology on the high street to an antiques shop, like the ones we used to visit as children.  Broadway and Tetbury, not far from where we live in Worcestershire, have some fantastic choices.  I love to walk through William Yeoward (looking not buying!) as their glass is exceptional and I think the experience of being somewhere like Andrew Martin is also really great.

Website : Jo Deakin of course!

Restaurant : I have very special memories of times at J Sheekey’s, La Famiglia and Sexy Fish but actually my husband is obsessed with cooking meat on our new BBQ so having friends at home is one of the best times for food!

Hotel : The Datai in Langkawi is one of the most incredible places I have ever been, including stepping on an enormous lizard on our way back from breakfast!

Holiday destination : The Maldives and Sri Lanka was a trip of a lifetime I will never forget for our honeymoon.  Otherwise the south west coast of Portugal and likewise in Cornwall are incredibly close to my heart.

Parenting tip : Try to laugh more than shout!

jodeakin.co.uk

Reviews Spotlight

SmartMats : Keeping Kids Mealtimes Fun and Interactive

Let’s not judge the family next door who are letting their children play with their iPads during mealtimes. But oh, the family next to them are really engaging with their children.  Aren’t they good parents. Oh look at that family, that kid can’t sit still however his parents are trying his hardest to amuse him… and so on. Oh that family is dreadful letting their kids run around the aeroplane (so us…)

We can all identify with each situation and if there was a solution to having calm happy kids in a restaurant or aeroplane – we would all know about it.  Until now, when there is an answer!

I recently came across the genius idea of SmartMats – quite simply, educational and interactive paper placemats.  Nathalie, the founder of SmartMats is here to tell more…

What are SmartMats?

Brightly coloured paper placemats which redefine kids dining experiences. SmartMats engage with kids through interactive and dynamic subject matter. Parents are kept happy too with the educational content of the mats.

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We are also a socially aware company. Social responsibility is very important to us. We give 10% of our profits to the NSPCC and only use 100% recycled paper.

Why did you set up SmartMats?

As a mother of three young children I saw and studied the considerable physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family mealtimes. With this often came the challenge to create a positive experience away from technology. SmartMats enable children to interact with each other and their parents through the use of a fun, unique, educational tool. Creating fulfilling family mealtimes and expanding children’s knowledge.

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Who are SmartMats designed for?

SmartMats are aimed at children between the ages 2 and 12. They are divided by age group, 2-4, 5-7 and 8+. However, each mat has a drawing and colouring section which can be enjoyed by all ages.

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SmartMats can be used at home, in restaurants, hotels, airplanes. These mats are filled with games and activities to keep kids busy, happy, and off screens!

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We used them after swimming and they were particularly useful for our mixed age group.

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How Can We Buy SmartMats?

SmartMats can be purchased directly from the website  and are also sold on The Event List 

 

If you are looking something to keep the kids entertained whilst also mentally stimulated  – get a pack of these for the summer!!

 

Natalie’s Favourites

Shop : Hours are spent at Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street. The kids love sitting in the corner of the shop on the little chair and trying out various books before buying.

Website : I spend much too much time browsing Net a Porter as well as Trip Advisor.

Restaurant : River Café on the river in Hammersmith for special occasions. I also love The Fromagerie in Marylebone for a quiet breakfast away from the craziness of London life. The kids love the pizzas at a small pizzeria Olivetti.

Hotel : As a family we have spent many, many happy times and adventures in the treehouses in Chewton Glen. Situated in the New Forest in Hampshire. Being outdoors and hiking in the beautiful, lush countryside and having picnics on the nearby beach is perfect.

Holiday Destination : Each time I visit Venice I am amazed by its rich history, beautiful architecture and the wonderful Italian culture. Above all walking between the canals and exploring secret passages is so much fun.

Parenting Tip : What you do has a far greater impact than what you say. It is important to lead by example through actions, not just words.

Services Spotlight

Buengo : Sell It For Good

This week, I discovered a fantastic new app, Buengo!  If you’ve ever felt like you’re drowning in stuff but you never quite get round to clearing it out, this is the app for you. Buengo lets you sell the things you no longer need, and donate the proceeds to good causes! Decluttering while doing good at the same time – win-win!

I immediately downloaded the app (it’s available on the App Store and Google Play Store) and saw the list of great causes to choose from. It was good to see some big charities in there along with smaller causes who have a new way to raise their profiles.

 

buengo-logo-with-strapline-transparent-background

 

 

 

SELLING FOR GOOD 

It didn’t take long for me to find some things at home that I was prepared to sell for a good cause. Once I’d decided what to sell, I took a few photos of my items, wrote a description and chose the cause I wanted to donate to – the whole process took less than five minutes and couldn’t have been easier.

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I wanted to donate to a charity close to my heart – CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, as my friend Katie’s daughter has been looked after wonderfully by them since birth.

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t have clutter (please, share your secrets!), no need to worry because you can also donate money on Buengo. So, even if you don’t have anything to sell right now, you can still support the causes close to your heart. I think this would be a lovely way to vary which charities you donate to and find out more about good things happening in your local area and beyond.

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THE BUENGO STORY

The idea for Buengo came about when friends Alex and Fela were helping Fela move flat. They took one look at the huge pile of stuff (most of which Fela knew he was never going to use again) and set about doing the big declutter.  They had been dividing their time between Barcelona and the Uk and had seen the success of marketplace apps for second-hand goods in both places.

They felt there should be a way to sell things for good – donating the proceeds to good causes and giving back, rather than keeping the money for yourself. The idea of Buengo was born at that moment.

WHY IS IT CALLED ‘BUENGO’?

The name takes inspiration from their Spanish influences – combining the word “Bueno” meaning “good”, and “go” for the sense of action. Today Buengo has come to signify exactly that – do something good by taking action.

RAISING MONEY FOR YOUR OWN CAUSE

Another thing I really love about Buengo is that you can also use it to fundraise for your own cause. Perhaps you’re looking for new ideas to raise money at your children’s school, or a friend is fundraising for someone close to them – Buengo doubles up as a crowdfunding platform. Just like the items, setting up a campaign takes less than five minutes, then, all you have to do is encourage friends and family to donate. I’ll be sharing my items on Facebook to let everyone know!

EASY TO USE

It’s really simple to use.

  1. Download the app
  2. Photograph your item
  3. Upload your item with a description and price
  4. Choose your cause or charity
  5. Share your item on Facebook to let everyone know you’re fundraising!

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They are proud to have launched this platform where people can declutter their lives, reach out and share with their local communities, and forward the money from something old to help support causes do something new.

So, why not have a quick declutter in time for the summer holidays?

Download Buengo now and support a cause close to your heart!

Download the App

 

Services Spotlight

10 Tips To Take Great Family Photographs This Summer

Helen Bartlett is award-winning family photographer and a brand ambassador for Canon. She has been working as a professional photographer since 2003 and specialises in natural, black and white photographs of children and families. She is based in London but regularly travel throughout Europe photographing families having fun together and capturing memories for the children to look back on in the future.

Helen & Family

Thank you Helen, for sharing your top tips…

The suitcases are packed, the kids are excited and the summer holiday draws near. This is the time of year that many of us reach for our cameras or our phones to record the fun times spent together as a family, to take photographs that the kids can look back on and remember the seemingly endless summers of their childhood, and the fun we have together.

In this article I want to share with you some of the tricks I have learnt over fourteen years as a family photographer. Tips that will, I hope, inspire you to make this year the best year for your family photographs.

1. Carry your camera with you

This might seem obvious but I’m as guilty as the next person of taking my camera away on holiday and then leaving it in my hotel room. If your camera is too heavy, then perhaps now’s the time to get a smaller one that you can carry with you and there are so many brilliant compacts out there that offer you a lot of creative control while still fitting in a pocket.

The benefit of a separate camera is also that you can be phone-free and concentrate on your time together as a family without the temptation to check in on email.

The main thing is to remember that the best camera is the one you have with you so work out what suits you best and carry it with you everywhere.

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2.Pick your moments

There are two parts to this tip – good times for the children and good times for the light and they are both equally important for a great results.

The best light is in the golden hour just before sunset and just after dawn but equally, trying to photograph a toddler past their bedtime is a recipe for disaster.

Work around the children’s schedules and never miss a nap for a photo opportunity, tired children are not easy subjects for the camera.

I find that first thing in the morning works best for both the light and the children’s moods as everyone is full of energy, has fully tummies from breakfast, and kids are usually really happy to cooperate for some family pictures before the day gets started.

Of course, equally don’t let a great moment pass you by just because the light isn’t great, if everyone is happy and having fun then that is the most important thing.

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3. Look for the light

Light can make or break a picture and the more you look for it the better your pictures will be. Open shade, such as under a tree, is perfect for family groups as nobody will be squinting and the light is soft and flattering.

If you are indoors then find a window and have your children sit nearby and look towards the light for the best pictures. Bright sunlight on the beach at the middle of the day can be very difficult for photography due to the wide contrast and harsh shadows so try to take beach shots early in the morning or towards the end of the day when the sun is lower in the sky.

At sunset consider taking silhouette images –expose your images for the sky and get the children to jump in the air or hold hands for a beautiful picture.

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4. Photograph everyone having fun and engaging in activities

It’s tempting on family holidays to come back with a selection of pictures of the family posed in front of different landmarks. These pictures have their place, of course, but it’s also nice to mix in more candid shots of everyone having fun.

Instead of posing statically before a beautiful view perhaps get the kids to play a game and use the environment as an element of the picture rather than the main focus. If there are games or activities that will sum up your holiday, then make sure to photograph those.

 

5. Photograph the details too

These can be delightful to look back on, the teddy your child refused to leave at the hotel the entire trip, the crabs you caught by the sea.

Take pictures that will spark conversations with your children when you get home or when you look back on the pictures in a few years’time.

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6. Tell a story

Engaging in activities and photographing details are all part of a bigger picture, that of telling the story of your holiday. Try to take pictures that remind you of what was happening and with whom.

If your kids are constantly winding each other up, do photograph that too, some of my favourite shots of my brother and I from my childhood we are bickering and laughing at the same time.

7.Take pictures of all the important people

Summer holidays are often the time we catch up with grandparents and it’s wonderful to photograph the children with the older generation.

Look for the activities people do together as this takes the pressure off posing for a picture and also makes the resulting images so much more meaningful.

8. Make sure to get in the pictures yourself!

In every family there is always someone who is the main photographer. In my family it was my dad and there are less pictures of him from my childhood than of the rest of us.

With smartphones and selfie sticks, self-timers on compact, mirrorless or DSLR cameras it’s easier than ever to make sure everyone is in the frame. Your children will love seeing pictures with you in and if you struggle with selfies, I always seem to have my hand over the lens, ask someone else to take your picture, or even think about hiring a professional.

It’s becoming increasingly common for families to hire a photographer for half a day while on holiday to accompany the family and take pictures of everyone having fun. This is a fantastic option, as it means you can be present in the action and leave the professional to take care of the pictures.

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9. Edit your pictures

Back them up.

Make a book.

It’s easy to take pictures and then forget to edit them and once you are back home then normal day to day pressures take over and often the images get forgotten.

Try editing your pictures of an evening, apps like Adobe Lightroom are now available for your phone or iPad and are perfect for holidays.

I also love Snapseed and use it to process all the pictures I take on my phone.

Do keep a copy of the unprocessed version of your favourite images in case you want to go back to reprocess in the future. Do remember to back up all your images as phones and hard drives do fail.

There are a lot of cloud-based storage options available now and these are amazing. Then print your pictures, pop favourites in frames or tape them to the fridge. Perhaps make a book of thesummer of 2018 that you can all look back through together. Make sure the pictures are looked at as this is what it is all about.

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10. Have fun

Most of all enjoy it, have fun. Taking photographs of our loved ones is one of the most wonderful and rewarding things we can do. Images that everyone will look back on in the future and remember the good times they had together, it’s a great gift for the children and it’s such fun to do.

This is so useful. I especially liked 7 and 8 – get yourself and the Grandparents in photo! Thank you Helen!

Helen is available to take your family photos, so get in touch info@helenbartlett.co.uk or helenbartlett.co.uk
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Fashion Spotlight

New Brand Alert : Liberation Swimwear

One market that needs a few new brands is clothing for teens. There are few companies that target teens (please email me if you have any small business recommendations for teens!) however, two teenagers themselves have spotted a gap in the market for teenage swimwear.

Ellie Spark and Jemima Feather, both 18, started Liberation Swimwear last year. They both always wanted to start a business and thought there was a gap in the market for fun and affordable swimwear for teenagers.

Liberation girls

They have both been going to Cornwall since they were little and do lots of waterskiing. They were always looking for an alternative from their wetsuits. Linking with increasing awareness of the danger of UV, having a product which protected you from the sun whilst looking vibrant was a win win situation!

They also sell fun bikini’s.

Liberation Bikini

They are both doing their A levels at the moment but once they are over, they are really looking forward to focusing more on Liberation.

How entrepreneurial – I wish them all the best!

Liberation Swimwear

Big Fashion Spotlight

Up Close with Ruth Green

Whenever I walk down the Fulham Road, I make it a priority to pop into Indian Summer. Not only is the interior of the shop beautiful, all the items that Ruth Green buys for the shop are spot on. From new baby presents, to interiors and fashion and accessories, it is a gorgeous lifestyle destination to buy something for yourself, a present for a host or a gift for a friend.

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What is your business?

I have a lifestyle boutique in Parsons Green called Indian Summer.

What’s your secret to working whilst raising a family?

Getting the best support around you that you can and accepting early on that you can’t do it all.

Ruth & family

What advice to you for people who have a business idea?

Go for it, it is the best feeling starting something yourself, working hard and seeing it grow. I think you need a plan and a lot of faith but trust in yourself and go for it!

What’s your favourite item in Indian Summer at the moment?

Our Daisy Navy Blouse. I live it in.

Daisy Blouse

What’s your fashion style?

Relaxed and comfortable, I definitely seem to have day to day uniform of skinny jeans, pretty blouse/ t shirt and cashmere jumper and the a lot of jewellery!! I have a slight obsession with hoops, necklaces and all things sparkly!

Ruth

3 favourite small clothing brands

Samsoe and Samsoe
Indi and Cold
On the Rise Jumpers

Top 3 go to items in your wardrobe when you are in a rush

Ripped skinny jeans, white linen T shirt and my Rosie Indian Summer Cashmere jumper.

Rosie Jumper

3 items that make you feel a million dollars

My biggest Indian Summer Hoops, my new wooly sheepskin bag and my sparkly P448 high top trainers.

Sparkly Trainers

1 item that everyone asks where you got it from

My fur-lined parka from Berenice from a couple of years ago, it has embroidery down the arms and is very pretty.

Biggest purchase mistake ever

I bought two pairs of court shoes with thick heels when I was pregnant and they are pretty awful and have never been worn!

Best return of investment on a wardrobe item

All my jeans and boots get worn to death.

Boots or trainers

Anything by Alpe especially my Star boots in Castor at the moment.

Star Boots

Favourite fashion bloggers

The London Mummy (obvs)
The Glam Mummy
Mothers of Daughters

Interior style

Pretty eclectic, a real mix of things from the shop so quite feminine/ bohemian with quite a lot of neon in the mix too!

Interior tip

Simple base i.e. a lots of white and grey and then add the colour so if you change or mind or hate it, it’s not hard to change.

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Where do you get your interior inspo from?

Love a bit of Elle Deco and Living Etc and lots of friends lovely house!

Bare faced or full face?

Somewhere in-between, not into foundation but can’t leave the house without a bit of bronzer and smudge of eye liner.

Best beauty buy on the market

Quite into my Obagi skin care at the moment also I will forever by obsessed with my 8 hour cream from Elizabeth Arden, it’s a classic.

3 items in your make up bag

Eye liner (always black), under eye concealer and bronzer all by Bobbi Brown.

Hair tip

Don’t wash it too much!

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Life saving hair product

I adore anything by Kerastase especially the hair mask!

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Silver or gold jewellery?

Gold

Favourite Jewellery brand

Kirsten Ash

Kirsten Ash

 

Most romantic restaurant in the world?

Villa Magia in Positano.

Best hotel with kids?

Kelly’s Wexford, Ireland.

Kellys

Last supper meal?

Ohhh hard one… Steak, rare with yummy red wine and anything chocolatey for pud.

Default kids supper

Gnocchi and pesto.

Hangover cure

Coffee and an almond croissant.

What you do to relax?

Wine, bath and good book

Favourite film?

True Romance

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Last book you read?

The Tea Planter Wife by Dinah Jefferies

Tea Planters Wife

Favourite box set

Billions

Billions Cast

The song you pelt out in the car?

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

A quote you try and live by

 

What is meant for you, won’t pass you by.

 

What tests your patience?

Trying to answer e-mails with screaming children pulling at my arm

3 words to describe yourself

Bubbly, Bossy, Blonde!

indiansummerlondon.com