As my years as a parent grow, I tirelessly and heroically spend many hours documenting my offspring's every move. Having been through the toddler stage once already and now re-running that again (oh joy), I was blasted back into the reality of toddler photography.
Gone are the placid lumps of baba-flesh you could place on the floor and fake sneeze at to produce an almighty toothless grin. Beautifully artistic shots with baby draped over fluffy cushions, snuggled in baskets and basically just being calm are firmly in the past. An ethereal mother Earth pose whilst cuddling the sweet fruit of your womb? You'll be lucky.
So after much research and practice, i bring you the 7 pitfalls of toddler
1) Wearing something funny but refusing to show it.
We all like to force our children into wearing stuff we find hilarious so we can point and laugh at them, then show our friends who will also point and laugh at them. Unfortunately in most cases, the toddler refuses to go
along with this amazing idea and instead ruins every attempt of a photo
opportunity by removing said item or distracting the photographer with wails of 'DON'T LIKE IT!'. How inconsiderate.
2) Looking cute but gross with dirt.
Don't get this confused with uber cute photos of babies covered head to toe in homemade pasta sauce or smeared with their first try of yoghurt. I'm talking about the toddler who has been avoiding the mummy wet wipe attack for a few hours and just looks a bit, well, rank.
3) Refusing to look anywhere near the camera.
So you're in a gorgeous photogenic setting, toddler is happy, you're all charged up... you just want a smile to the camera..? Nope. Ok, an acknowledgement? A whiff of interest in what you're trying to do? Not a chance. It's incomprehensible to understand why the toddler won't take their eyes off of the gorgeous leaves surrounding them, or the party of older kids playing football, or the snow they've never ever seen before and just LOOK at the camera. What's up with that?!
4) The blur.
Remember the time you'd put your baby on a mat on the floor and they'd stay there for, like, an hour? I mean they might try and roll over or spew up a little but they'd pretty much be stationary until they decide it's booby/bottle time or just fancy a bit of a snuggle. Not so with the toddler. You spend months willing the baba-flesh to rock, crawl and eventually walk yet when they do, the days of posed photos disappear like Mr Tumble's Spotty Bag, in their place a hazed ghostly image of fuzzy frenzy. Not so great for the A3 canvas.
5) The incredible sulk.
A part of parenting is showing other parents how happy your kids are compared to everyone else's. It's also about showing how enriched your life is with these amazing creatures of happiness and pure wonder in it. In front of the camera, they have other ideas. Distain, Indifference and full on dislike of any situation are emotions that come easy for the toddler caught on film. C'mon kids, ready? 1, 2, 3, SMILE?!
6) So hung over.
This one comes with a smattering of fear for what the future holds. Babies sleeping look angelic. Weeny little souls drifting in and out of
dreams about shapes, colours and love. Now look at your toddler sleeping. It's a mini version of yourself after that office party and Doner Kebab (no salad, chili sauce) on the way home a few years back. Remember? When you found your pants in the... yeah. We won't go there.
7) Looking a bit ugly.
We all know our kids are the most beautiful things to have walked the Earth. They came from us, so they must have super awesome genes,
right? Gazing into your baby's slightly wrinkled face, big wide eyes and dribbly smile is one of the best things in the world. So easy to capture every gorgeous expression, every new smile fills your heart with love. By the time the toddler comes around, things change. Sometimes, just sometimes, they can look a tiny bit ugly. Totally not all the time, though. It's a bit like when you open your phone camera to snap a photo and you're unexpectedly on rear-facing cam. Ain't no one wanting to see THAT.
As well as all of the above, toddler photography also has one more point. Brilliance.
All of these things being captured are starting to build up their little personalities, which will shape them into the wonderful people they become. Placid lumps of baba-flesh are easier to grab a striking image from but toddlers are bloomin' amazing, and they show it in every way. My tongue is firmly wedged in my cheek writing this post of course, we do need to put the cameras and social media updates away a little but it's also great fun to capture all of these moments too. Plus, out of the many 1-7 pitfall photos you snap of your wonderful, crazy, manic, emotional toddlers, there will always be the ones that are pure gold.
Just a little admin post, setting up some stuff to get my blog out and about, seen a bit more, shared and loved! If you're on bloglovin,
Whilst browsing my favourite local Twitter hashtag #BeckBromFL I came across a brand I had never heard of, through local rep Mari. The brand is me&i, a Swedish based clothing company founded by mums, for mums (and everything in between!) I don't usually do fashion blogging but I love writing about companies who are individual and trying to make a difference, which me&i are definitely doing.
So, a little about them before we get to the pretties! me&i was started in 2004 by Susan Engvall and Helene Nyrell in their kitchen at Barsebäck, Southern Sweden. The great ethics of the company are deeply run
through all aspects of the brand, from production and factory conditions through to materials and ingredients used. Here is where we find out the first part of what makes me&i different. Their clothes are produced in Turkey and Portugal in closely monitored factories which adhere to their specific guidelines for working and production conditions.
"We only use factories that apply our Code of Conduct which specifies
Most of their clothes are Oeko-Tex certified. Please click the link for more information about how this certification is keeping harmful or un-tested substances out of clothes production, something which is very important to think about when purchasing children's clothes especially - we all know how little ones like to chew on their sleeves.
Obviously to have guidelines and standards of this kind of quality, alongside items being made of organic cotton and beautifully soft combed cotton, then the price per item is a little more than your average high street store but you do get what you pay for. On top of being a brand with a conscience, they like to make clothes which have durability and are long lasting. On to some photo examples!
The colours and prints are bold, bright, individual and hardwearing.
Colours are picked for each season but match between old and new seasons too, this creates a weath of outfit opportunities.
On the above items, you can see the double layer material over the knee on the leggings for added durability. On the skirt, the waistband is tailored to be rolled up or down to change length, making it suitable for littlies and bigguns and most importantly, able to grow with your children.
Here is another example of innovative design, the vest below has foldable sleeve cuffs which match the external pattern perfectly, enabling you to buy bigger and roll the sleeves up - making the whole item last a lot longer and again grow with your children. Plus, who could resist a hat that cute?!
I am a huge fan personally of individual and quirky items for my kids and I. Below, is another amazingly cute set which caught my attention, soft to the touch, squidgy AND adorably cute. The trousers and leggings are actually cut very generously around the bottom, making them a perfect fit for cloth nappy wearers, too. Again you can see the detailing on the cuffs and adjustable waist enabling your purchases to last a lot longer. Sheeeeeeeeep!
The children's range of clothing at me&i is New-born to fifteen. I took my
eleven year old along with me when meeting Mari to get his opinion about the designs. He is quite fashion conscious now and loves purchasing items for himself. He really loved the individual and slightly alternative look of the clothes produced and was very impressed. It takes a lot to impress him at the moment, so that says something! Skulls were a firm favourite with him (and me, I have to say) but he also loved these tracksuits below in particular. I would love to have one of these for each of my boys (11 and 2), what a cool way to match.
Another more grown up look is the jean and t-shirt casual style, which is always in fashion. Fantastic adjustable waist here again and adjustable length in the leg too. Again you can see how the colours can be easily interchanged for a different look, throughout the styles. The other big thing I love about the colours and prints is that the majority of items are unisex.
The last clothing image I have to show you is my favourite. These are items from last season's release but I just love how you can match mother and child in such a fashionable and cool way. I adore stripes and skulls - so really this combo is perfection in my eyes (note the little skull detailing on the mama top!) I wish I had a better way of conveying to you how soft and flattering the materials and combed cotton is in real life. I literally couldn't stop stroking the clothes.
me&i also make clothes for women, I was a little dubious about this at
the start as I've never been one to treat myself with clothes or even look into how my own clothes are produced. The prices are similar to that of the higher end high-street budget but perfectly reasonable considering the production values, materials used and fantastic cut of the clothes. I decided not to take any photos of the women's range but to show you some photos from the me&i website. You really need to see these clothes worn to appreciate the style and ability to flatter any figure type. Laying on the floor just didn't do these pieces justice. Here are a few of my personal favourites. (Photos by me&i)
The Twisted skirt and Penguin top. I love this skirt, the cut is so flattering and individual. It's almost fluid in the way it wraps around you and flows with your body when you walk. Plus, it's HOT. You can go evening with a loose fitted top, heels and statement necklace or just as easily rock it up with a leather jacket, thick tights and DM's. (Photos by me&i)
I'm a huge fan of Boyfriend jeans at the moment, I find the cut extremely
flattering for most shapes and again these are no exception. A real staple for any wardrobe, especially teamed with a funky t-shirt such as the Pirate v-tee shown here. What could be better suited for the upcoming festival season?!
There are also pants. Cloud pants! (photo by me&i)
These are so cute and their design reflects their feel, soft as clouds! Not
only are they totally sweet in design, the cut is also extremely comfortable and well suited for cloth pad users. If you'd like to know more about ethically produced and safe re-useable cloth pads, please take a look at the wonderful Fit and Fluffy Mama blog for more information and inspiration.
me&i also produce a small range of toiletries (body lotion, hand cream
and perfume) which are paraben free and produced in Sweden. The light floral and melon smells are a delight and would leave anyone feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Buying these items is a little different. me&i products are sold via
parties, fronted by a local rep. I have always been slightly worried by these kinds of thing as you think automatically it's going to be the hard sell and pressure to buy. Reality couldn't be further from that misconception. me&i reps are passionate about the clothes they are selling because they love them. Mari was genuinely excited to show me each item we looked at and loved wearing the brand on herself and her beautiful daughter. This wasn't just for the sell, it was from a respect and passion for the clothes and company itself.
Parties are usually held at your own house, with a group of your friends.
Although me&i reps are happy to discuss different events and places such as fun coffee mornings or pamper days too! The host (you) gets either a free item or an amount off of purchases depending on how many people come to your party. That has nothing to do with purchases, simply just the amount who actually turn up. So even if it's just you and another friend and you don't buy a thing, you will still get a bonus. Mari explained she prefers a more adult-based party as although we all love our children and toddlers, it's a little difficult to properly concentrate with a tribe of smalls running about the place, I have to agree there! But of course any children are welcomed too. As is wine. Mmmm wine.
Mari also explained that, especially with women's wear, it was so much better to try on clothes rather than just browse the racks, as you really get a feel for the items and fit of the different cuts that possibly you wouldn't have thought about trying before. So basically a heap of your friends with some snacks and drinks, with a personal shopping experience for you and your kids for free, no pressure or nastiness... much like the clothes themselves!
I'm really loving the me&i brand now. Talking to Mari and doing my own
research into how clothes are produced has opened my eyes on many subjects I hadn't ever thought about as a consumer. Please check out the official webpage at www.meandi.se/en/ for a more detailed explanation of what goes in to their clothes and items, how each piece of clothing offers longer durability, what their fabulous ethics are and of course how to host your own party!
You can also follow me&i on Twitter @meandiUk
and on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/meandiuk?fref=ts
Mari is on Twitter too @MariMeandi
and also has a Facebook group which you can request to join here https://www.facebook.com/groups/marimeandi/?fref=ts
All views and photographs (except where stated) are my own. Please note this is not a paid endorsement or advertisement, I have received no payment for this blog post.
I couldn't let today pass without writing about Peaches Geldof-Cohen - the sad news hit us that on Monday 7th April, a few short weeks before her younger son's 1st birthday, Peaches died 'suddenly and unexpectedly' at her home. I am completely floored.
Of course, I didn't know Peaches. I'd seen her and her mama Paula around when she lived in Hastings, I followed her on Twitter and Instagram, I even talked to her through the latter (much to my excitement!)... but that's the thing... none of us really knew her but we felt like we did. She was an open soul on social media, she chatted about her love for her pets, her beautiful boys Astala and Phaedra, interspersed replies and debates with her fans next to chatting with her husband and best friend, she shared her home, music, date nights, ghost-hands, good times and bad times. So yes, to all the people criticising that none of us have the right to grieve because none of us knew her - you're wrong. And grieve we will.
Peaches became somewhat of a spokeswoman for 'Attachment Parenting' over the last year, taking on the likes of Katie Hopkins and trying to break the taboo tied to a more instinctive and responsive way of raising children. She was supportive of co-sleeping, bedsharing, breastfeeding, babywearing and had an active dislike of the 'Cry It Out' method to get children to sleep. She was very vocal about these issues which gained both positive and negative publicity. She handled some stuff wrong, sure, she was no hippy perfection earth mama. But that was ok, she was always true to herself. I'm sure most of us were young, passionate and opinionated at some stage (and hopefully, still are!), being in the media spotlight should make you think about stuff before you say (or retweet it) but we all make mistakes.
The thing is, Peaches loved her boys, so much, that's what shone through everything. That's what so many of us took from her in her recent years, we enjoyed parenting with her, shared the love for her kids through her many videos, pictures and escapades. We related to her and the boys. Now, those two little souls don't have their mama to cuddle up to - who can explain that to a 1 and 2 year old? How can you comfort a toddler and baby who are used to sleeping with their mama every night, cuddling and playing with her every day... that she's not there anymore? It's just so heartbreaking. Peaches had a vibrant and unsettled past but consistently claimed that marrying Tom and having the children was the thing that turned her into who she was meant to be all along.
I don't want to speculate on what happened today but I'm sure we will have some answers soon. No matter what the situation, this wasn't deserved. The boys do not deserve this. Peaches family and friends do deserve respect and quiet in their time of grieving.
So, I started this post with the title of a Smiths Song, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, I believe the light Peaches has left with her husband, her sons, her family and friends will never, ever go out. I will end this post with another musical link, a song called Needle In The Hay by Elliot Smith, one of her favourite artists and my absolute all time favourite song of his.
Rest in peace Peaches. Thanks for being you.
There have been a lot of new things in my life recently. Most prolific are the changes and deteriorations to my health and fitness. This has brought about many changes too in a domino effect of sadness. I have lost friends who I thought were dear and true to me alongside friends who were just out to grab what I could give at the time. Both hurt as much as the other actually, I'm not sure why but being left out of parties and play dates of people I was just starting to know cut as deep a wound as being ignored by friends of 15yrs+. I think it's because it made me feel that this.was.it. Now I was ill, no ne else would want to make friends, put up with my occasional flakiness, bother to understand me... why would they? Too much hassle for someone you barely know when there's a wealth of healthy individuals who can stay out all day running around parks, London museums, restaurants, nights out. To top it off I'm a horror sci-fi fan who is into metal and hippy stuff. Still a taboo in the general world of 'mummy dating' it seems...
...but it also brought about a domino effect of happiness that I wasn't expecting. I DID meet new people. People who understood what it was like to feel chronic pain and be left behind like the lame dog. People who understood what it was like never quite fitting in with the popular group. People who understood how it felt to have a bit of a 'what the fuck' life moment and are still not quite sure how they're going to pick their stuff up and get it all together. These people have been part of the backbone that has helped me pull myself back up (alongside my fantastic hubster, children, parents and very close friends). I'm really thankful for that.
One of these people is Tamz from The Fit & Fluffy Mama. This lovely lady is a true inspiration to me and we stumbled across each other quite randomly one evening in a parenting forum on Facebook which is based around a love for slings and babywearing. She was in hospital on Mother's Day and posted a gorgeous photo of her LO's handprints given to her as a gift from her friend. We got chatting about the hospital thing and realised that we are sharing the same specialist hospital (UCLH). Now, we have different health things going on, Tamsin is coping with an extremely painful and rare condition that I can only imagine how hard it is dealing with but she took the time to write back, to be positive and shine love, to think of others when she is going through the most terrible time... like I say, a true inspiration. On top of that, through our chats and reading her blog, I've discovered she is one cool cookie too and wanted to share her ramblings with you all.
So please, take some time out to pop over and check The Fit & Fluffy Mama out. Tamz has just made her debut into vlogging and is currently writing some ace pieces about re-useable cloth menstrual pads. Definitely informative, important and eye-opening reading! Say 'Hi!' from me! Xx
I've been playing with my striping tape recently, it produces some really
effective nail art with limited technical difficulty and is extremely versatile. I thought I'd show you a little photo blog of my latest mani using both striping tape and ombré effect.
Firstly, get your materials together. Make sure your nails are clean, filed
and ready to go. It's advised to apply a good base coat first however i'm
naughty and don't usually. Be better to your nails than I am, people!
Next, apply a base colour. This helps your ombré nails look evenly spread. I chose gold but other popular choices when creating an ombré nail is white or black depending on the colours chosen. I find it's best to chose a varnish that has pretty great coverage with just one coat, to avoid having heaps of product on your nail. Often if you have too many layers of varnish, it'll just peel off after a few days. That sucks. Ok, now wait for your nails to dry.
Once dry, grab your sponge. This is an old washing up sponge, fine in texture but foundation sponges work great as well. Paint the two colours of varnish horizontally on to the sponge how you wish them to appear on the nail. Quickly, press the sponge on to the chosen nail as if you are sponge painting on to paper. During this step, I always feel like I'm three and thoroughly enjoying messy play at pre-school! It takes a bit of practice, you have to dab a few times and WILL get a messy finger around your nails. There are various methods of reducing the excess on your fingers (Vaseline, cello tape) but hey, it's only varnish and it comes off, so again I'm naughty and I don't bother. Be better to your fingers than I am, people! Don't forget to leave your accent finger plain gold and wait for your nails to dry.
For this mani, I only wanted an accent finger in stripes - so I chose which
finger (ring) I wanted to prep and went ahead and cut some tape. I find it
easiest to cut off a good few lengths and stick them to my fingertip or wrist, then I can pick and chose where I want to place each one without having to stop each time to cut more lengths.
Once you have placed your striping tape on to your accent nail in the desired pattern, paint over it with your chosen colour. I debated doing ombré over this too but I decided to stick with plain orange this time, to make it stand out a little more. Whilst you're waiting for this to dry, clean up around your other nails. I use a cotton bud dipped in nail varnish remover and a Barry M nail varnish remover pen for the really close edges for a nice sharp finish. Look, a nice bit of Vulcan for you.
Once you're all cleaned up around your ombré nails and your top colour over you striping tape is dry, gently pull off the striping tape, strip by strip. Make sure you try and take them off in the order opposite to how you put them on (last to first) as this will make peeling easier.
All that needs to be done now, is to put an ace top coat over your creations, let it dry... and you're done!
I also created this last week, which was popular over on IG. I really love the diamond effect on my index finger and am thinking of doing a mani based around this next week.
If you have a go at these or have another creation with striping tape/ombré to share, let me know, I could feature you here!
Who is Julie?
30 something, mother of two gorgeous boys, lover of one gorgeous husband, perpetually living in a dream world full of wine, chocolate and artsy crafty things.