We regrettably never had a baby moon when I was pregnant with Vivienne, but having just bought our cottage we had other priorities. And history seems to have repeated itself this time round as we are in the process of buying a new home hoping to move in within a few months time. But this time around I was determined that we would have atleast one night just the two of us enjoying our company in the luxury of a hotel room, with a good meal and a slap-up breakfast.

Enter The Mitre Hotel.

Local for us just down the road in Hampton Court, this beautiful building sits opposite Hampton Court Palace and on the edge of the river Thames. A seriously stunning spot with so much to explore in the nearby area.

We arrived in the early evening and after being shown to our grand room over-looking the Thames we collapsed. Being eight months pregnant I was ready for an early dinner and TV in bed. We headed down for our dinner both intending to indulge and we were not let-down. Three courses of the most delicious food. Simple but good food. And big portions!


The hotel itself was a little treasure trove of history with lots of hidden areas including this adorable atrium style library which we snuck into to take a look at some of the books. Tapestries hang from the high walls and Tudor history is everywhere.

www.mitrehamptoncourt.com

Anyone considering a break with their other half before the baby arrives – do it. Even just one night away from the every-day routine will be a memory you’ll have forever and some much needed relaxation.

Ashley

x

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With this baby still showing no signs of her arrival I have been advised by numerous people to get walking. So off to the shops I went. Surely walking a mall is as good as a park? And there in Topshop I spotted a beautiful soft pink silky tea dress. The perfect combination of feminine and modernity. Cute little puff sleeves, a flirty length and fabric that glides across the skin as you move.

The tea dress has been a sell-out piece for years at Topshop, ever since their success with the first Kate Moss collection, and each and every season they bring out a few different fabric designs. This pink beauty will look stunning in the Summer with black gladiator sandals or chunky ankle boots. Add a leather biker and you’re good to go.

If you prefer your tea dresses a little longer they also do the same design in a stunning blue shade which is a midi-length and very similar to the red polka dot dress I bought a few months back and linked on the shop.

And below is my latest Topshop Edit for you to shop, all the pieces I want to own, and some which I may still have to shop…

 

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So the other week I had one of the most relaxing experiences of my life – EVER! I was pampered head to toe for an hour and a half. I drifted in and out of consciousness and finished feeling like I was walking on a cloud. I didn’t want it to end. And I will most definitely be back.

What was this amazing experience? A mum-to-be face and body treatment with Jurlique. In the unlikeliest of locations for relaxation sits a little sanctuary, a small and perfectly formed room of heaven within their flagship store on Oxford Street.

On my arrival I was greeted by the lovely Hollie Wray, Assistant Manager, and escorted to the treatment room (actually first it was to the loo then the treatment room) and after a few questions and pieces of paperwork she started working her magic.

Jurlique

I cannot recommend this treatment enough. The products are divine, Hollie was divine, and the whole package was just perfect. It would make the most gorgeous gift for an expectant mother.

And as we are so close to Mothers Day you may even be tempted to treat your own mother…? They are launching a special Mother & Daughter treatment – the ‘Hydrating Rose Ritual’. I have popped the details below…

This 60-minute experience is the perfect treat to share with your Mum/daughter.
 Upon arrival you’ll both enjoy a glass of Rose bubbly whilst our beauty
experts guide you through your skin consultation. You’ll then be
transported into a world of pure luxury in our Nature’s Spa.
 During your 30-minute spa treatment, you will each experience a
relaxing hydrating Rose facial and our luxurious Rose hand and foot
ritual, leaving you feeling restored, relaxed and radiant!
 Following your spa treatment our beauty experts will be on hand to
advise you on your personalised skin care ritual.
 £40 booking fee redeemable against purchases on the day.
Event dates: 20th – 26th March 

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If you buy one jacket this Spring make it a ‘Shacket’…. and a military one at that. The universally flattering khaki material looks great dressed up and down and can be worn layered and singular – weather dependent. You can belt it, tuck it, wear it loose, tie it up or tie it around your waist. It gives instant nonchalant cool and will stand the test of time as a classic in your wardrobe not just this season but into Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Styling Tips

  1. Don’t buy it too tight or it’ll only ever be a shirt never a shirt-jacket. If you prefer showing your figure off then opt for one of the designs with a pull-string waist.
  2. Check that it’s comfortable and soft enough moving your arms around in – too hard and it’ll always look rigid and ‘new’…. the worn in look is the best look.
  3. Wear it open at the neck with a Spring t-shirt or casual shirt underneath and then loosely tuck it into the top of your trousers.
  4. Wear it as a jacket with an evening look to give a casual care-free ‘I haven’t tried too hard’ feel to your outfit.
  5. Add a belt – statement or super simple leather skinny – with some jeans to create a beautiful silhouette.
  6. Keep playing with your opposites – if you’re wearing it in a masculine way then opt for some girly accessories or hair down. Feminine styling – add aviators and biker boots no problem.
Shop my edit at the bottom… and for some stylish inspiration these ladies show you how its done. From Anine Bing cool to festival boho embellished design.


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Forty whole weeks gone by, exciting, nauseous, exhausting, apprehensive and thrilling weeks. I can’t believe the time has finally come to meet my new daughter. To add another little person to our family. This small little person that will have her own personality, her own traits, moods, features and appearance. When I try to picture her I just see Vivienne and its so hard to imagine someone new that my husband and I have created. Another little terror for us to love endlessly.

It’s gone just as quickly as it has slowly. Some weeks have skipped past in a heart-beat where I have barely remembered that I am even pregnant. Other weeks have been drawn out with chronic heart-burn, exhaustion and a lack of sleep. But in general I know I have been pretty lucky with the pregnancy and I am grateful.

So as I have neared closer to d-day I have been busy stocking up on all the essentials, and the luxuries, ready for her to arrive and I wanted to share these with you in the hopes it may help any mums-to-be.

The Buggy

I have gone big here – the Bugaboo Donkey. The look-out guys I am taking over the pavement buggy! But in all seriousness that’s the misconception – the reality is an incredible buggy that with just a few clicks changes from a single to a double. And actually is no wider (not even a millimetre) than some of their other designs like the Buffalo. It’s all down to clever design. It fits effortlessly through the small front door of my cottage and is easy to put into storage mode when I’m not using it. My main worry with choosing a buggy was do I just get a buggy board for Vivienne or do I go for a double. I liked the idea of a buggy-board but I know if I am in a rush to get to nursery, the shops, a doctor appointment or baby weigh-in (which I know they’ll be plenty of) she will be jumping on and off and it’ll end up quite stressful. So this means I can rush off with them both securely strapped in and then if for example I drop her off at nursery I can leave her seat there and click the buggy into a single. Will let you know how I get on with it.

I have the absolutely gorgeous limited edition version here…

and I have linked others below too…

The Car Sear & Isofix base

I have chosen the rather attractive and amazingly engineered CybexCloud Q car seat this time around. This bad-boy is ground-breaking, I know it seems crazy getting so excited about a car-seat but its amazing. It was created in conjunction with midwives and doctors and actually allows your baby to be in the flattest possible lying position reducing the risk of breathing difficulties while the baby is sleeping…

…The 11-position adjustable headrest changes the length and angle of the harness so it grows as your child does. This can be easily adjusted with one hand without needing to take your child out of the car seat. The new telescopic Linear Side-impact Protection can be easily and individually adjusted. This offers the very best protection against impact. The flexible material and structure of the infant car seat then absorbs the forces of an impact and channels them away from the baby.

 Well worth looking into buying if you have a baby on the way.

The Crib

We used my old moses basket for Vivienne which had so much sentimental value but in reality, in our tiny cottage with its teeny bedroom it wasn’t ideal. This time around I have opted for the SnuzPod, a 3 in 1 bedside crib. I have it in the softest putty grey which  I adore, and all the matching grey bedlinen. The beauty of this crib is it can be whatever you want it to be. If you love the idea of co-sleeping its a great alternative, great for breastfeeding, c-section mums, and mums like me that just want ease in the night. A quick reach over for bubs, feed and back to sleep. At least thats what I am hoping for!

Featuring a unique 3-in-1 design; a bedside crib for a safe and easy night’s sleep; a stand-alone crib for the nursery with handy storage shelf, and a lift-off bassinet for daytime naps around the home or away allowing you to keep your baby’s familiar sleeping environment.

  • Awarded Best Cot, Crib Or Moses Basket in Mother & Baby Awards 2015
  • Awarded Best Cot Design in Junior Design Awards 2016.
  • Best Crib & Best Sleep Solution in the Loved By Parents Awards 2016.

Made from high-quality beech wood, and available in an array of versatile colours to match your decor or room theme. These cribs features see-through mesh window which aids breathability and allows you to feel reassured without risking disturbing baby’s sleep. The unique zip-down side wall means you can comfort and feed your baby, before returning back up to provide them with a safe and secure space, out of the way of any loose duvets or bedding. The SnuzPod cribs are height adjustable, so you can match the SnüzPod mattress base height to the mattress in your bed

 

The Breast Pump

I am planning on breastfeeding and all going well, expressing when needed, not only to increase the supply but also so that I can let others feed with a bottle. So to get the most from my (currently rather large) breasts I have opted for the amazing Medela Swing breast pump. Medela are found in 94% of UK hospitals and there’s a reason for that – they’re worth the money they cost.

Medela’s Swing Maxi double electric breastpump has a 2-Phase Expression function that allows you to collect up to 18% more milk than single pumping. Short, stimulating patterns are followed by longer ones to ensure optimal milk flow. The small and compact design is easy to use, transport and store. It’s quick to assemble and easy to clean, so it’s ideal for use on the go with batteries, or at home using the mains adaptor. One Calma Solitaire teat included, which mimics the unique breastfeeding sucking behaviour of a baby. Also includes two bottles and two bottle stands. The comfortable design features a range of vacuum levels and settings. Quiet operation for added privacy. Can be used in double and single modes.

The Baby Carrier

 

Style-conscious parents will love the Yema for its sleek design while babies benefit from the close contact. Thanks to the seamlessly adjustable seatpanel and the adjustable headrest the carrier grows with your child. It is suitable from birth to two years (3,5 kg – 12 kg, ca. 86 cm) and offers three carrying positions: front parent facing position, hip carry position, and back carry position. These positions promote a natural spread squat that is important for baby´s hip development.

Cybex Yemaya carrier

This is one baby carrier you won’t be ashamed to be seen wearing. I opted for the grey colour but if you like to make a statement check out the fashion collections – Birds of Paradise and Hide & Seek. They’re stunning!So what makes this so unique – its ‘ergonomical perfection’ and ‘high fashion’.  The minimalistic design and the carefully implemented details make the Yema a fashion accessory. Plus its super clever – you can wear it in three ways – front, back and hip. I’ve included the shots below.

Front carry position -

Hip carry position -

Back carry position -

The Sling

This is ‘baby-wearing’ at its most luxurious – Artipoppe Sling

A lightweight, airy woven wrap is your best option for the summertime. Not only because of the variety of blends, compared to stretchy or structured carriers, but mainly because of their versatility and convenience. Linen, hemp and silk with cotton are often great options for hot weather. Wool or cashmere blends can also be attractive because of their temperature regulating qualities. Furthermore, Artipoppe’s seaweed blends are spectacular in warmer climates, because of their delicate cool touch and airy character.

The Muslins

I totally fell in love with the prints on these muslins – I have the butterfly design but how cute is this nature inspired animal design?!

Shop all the designs here – The Little Art Collection

The Special Dress

I feel a bit guilty admitting I haven’t bought many clothes for the new baby… I kept a lot of Viviennes clothes so they’ve been lovingly washed and folded (by my amazing mum – thanks mum!) ready for her arrival. But I did want one special item that was hers and Mama et Moi has the most beautiful pieces. Run by the lovely Carla its a relatively new Mama, Baby and Child boutique. She loves finding pieces that are a little different from the average highstreet clobber around and works with some great  European Brands as well as some amazing British brands. She is also very passionate about being able to give back where she can, whether that be from the brand and their social responsibility projects or from themselves.

This is the little dress I have for my daughter…

Shop their collections here – Mama et Moi

The Nursing Pillow

With a soft cotton sleeve and silicon pebbles in each end, you can easily adjust the pillow’s shape and firmness which is ideal if you’re using this before your baby arrives to sleep and then afterwards when feeding. It’s also great for the baby to lounge on!

We are passionate about creating a better world and life for our children, and have chosen to make its sleeve from cotton, which is highly sustainable and environmentally friendly, as well as silky soft against the skin. The sleeve is OEKO-TEX certified, and is machine washable on Warm (40 °C). 

The pillow itself is EN71 food grade certified, and is easily cleaned in the shower. It is filled with a kind of beads called ESP, which is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and certified for use with infants. The pebbles are made from BPA-free silicon rings, and double as the perfect teething toy for your child.

You can buy one here – bbhugme

The Belly Bandit

I used a Belly Bandit after having Vivienne and I swear it helped me get my stomach and waist back. I put it on when I was in hospital as I had to stay a few nights due to waters breaking early and then a few checks they needed to do on Vivienne. I then wore it day and night for a good few weeks. It gave me that much needed support physically and I think mentally too. I had the original and the bamboo and they were both fantastic. This time I have opted for the BFF. Shop the collections here including some really great support bands for during your pregnancy…

Thank you for reading, and best of luck to any expectant mothers… enjoy the journey!

Ashley

x

 

 

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