Mama Speaks... by Laura Swann & Natalie Mcilveen

It’s done… the 31 days of January that felt like 74 are OVER and so is our #mamasunplugged project.

If you missed it, you can read our New Year blog here but to recap – after a crazy 12 weeks at the end of 2017 we felt like we were becoming slaves to our phones, we were keen to get some balance back into our lives and pledged to do the following for the month of Jan;

  • Ban phones from the bedroom and buy an alarm clock
  • Put phones away at 8pm
  • Switch off Sunday – to spend slow, quality time with our families – phones away, so no distractions!
  • Unfollow social media accounts that make us feel rubbish

So how did we get on?

Well we’d be lying if we said it was easy…

Being completely honest switching off at 8pm was HARD, especially when we felt like we should really do some more work! We also noticed that we automatically reached for our phones (to start scrolling) every ad break and missed not being able to google stuff immediately.

However, after a few nights of switching off we found the twitch to pick up our phone reduced, FOMO lessened and we actually enjoyed not double screening. We caught up on our favourite box sets, went to pilates and stretched and even went to bed early and read two WHOLE books throughout the month!

Our sleep definitely improved (as much as it can with small people in your house/bed) and we’re certain it was because we had a few hours of wind down time, away from the constant stimulation in the form of apps on our phone and away from the white light of a phone screen.

The bedroom phone ban meant that we couldn’t check emails just before going to bed or first thing in the morning, which took away a lot of stress and do you know what – those emails could wait until 9am and nothing bad happened!!

Switch off Sunday has been a revelation – we’ve started buying and reading the papers again, on consecutive Sunday’s my daughter and I baked cupcakes and we had lots of family gatherings and walks where we felt completely present – the phone on mute in our handbags. Don’t get us wrong – we still watched TV as a family but we didn’t feel the to need to be checking our phone all day and that was the balance we were looking for.

What’s next?

We thought our #mamasunplugged project would just be for January but actually we’ve really reaped the benefits of switching off more last month and WANT to carry it on.

So the phone will stay out of the bedroom, we will aim to switch off the computer/phone at 8pm every evening (we may have to be flexible during busy times/evening events) and Switch off Sundays will definitely stay a thing.

Keep your eyes peeled for more Meet Ups around self-care, mental health and slowing down in 2018 as we feel it is such an important topic for the digital age we live in.

Our Top Tips for unplugging…

  • Embrace the non-digital – buy an alarm clock, a paper diary, a proper camera, a wrist watch so that you reduce the opportunities to reach for your phone
  • Download the Moment app to record how long you spend on your phone (you might be shocked) – don’t get us wrong we love scrolling social media as much as the next person but you can have too much of a good thing!
  • Put some boundaries in place – we bet you have boundaries on screen time for your children, why not put some in place for yourself? These might not be the same as ours but it’s all about regaining that balance
  • Enjoy some SLOW, quality family time away from devices at least one day a week and make that day EXTRA special

Books to read…

  • Off - Your Digital Detox for a better life by Tanya Goodin
  • Self-care for the Real World by Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Philips
  • How to break up with your phone by Catherine Price (available to buy on Friday)

 

 

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Mama Treats...by Victoria Genevieve

I don’t know your thoughts on this but… WHERE DID 2017 GO?

This year has flown by (more so than any other for me) and I’m not complaining... it's been a fantastic year with only a few bumps in the road for a change.   So on that note, whether your year has been good or bad, I’ll give you the run down on the best part of the year…Christmas Party Fashion!

I’m not one to shy away from a bit of sparkle, glitz and shimmer and this year is no exception. In fact, it's bolder and brighter than ever before and this in itself is something to celebrate.

Colour

One thing you’ll notice this party season is the amount of colour options available and this year we are going bright and sparkly! My two absolute favourite pieces have to be a sequin knee length skirt from Miss Selfridge, I have to confess I did not spot this myself - I spied it on the catwalk at Stylist Live and I was instantly sold. The best bit, which I found out upon purchasing while leaving the main stage, is that it comes in two other equally stunning colours and now I cant decide which one to buy.  

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This is so beautiful you could wear it with something very simple on top, but I’ve got a feeling it would look AMAZING with a rainbow coloured roll neck or something colour clashing and killer sparkly heels, I’m thinking the more Edina Monsoon the better (for those of you too young to know who I’m talking about... think Ab Fab).

But if you wanted to do colour in a more delicate feminine way then what about this beauty from Marks and Spencer?  This dress just requires a simple diamanté shoe and long earrings with a similar feel. Try these from Scouting for Pearls ...

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Although I’d probably have to go with something more like this ...

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There are two things that always crop up in a clients’ wardrobe, two things that may not make sense for 48 weeks of the year.  But it’s best to keep hold of them or you’ll be running around looking for the same thing every year...the velvet and sequin ensembles.

I dare anyone to tell me that they haven’t once owned a velvet jacket, if you have one lurking at the back of your wardrobe then now is the time to unleash the beast. Wear it on repeat all the way through until January 3rd, then you’ll know you not only looked fabulous but you shopped your wardrobe and did Christmas in style!

The sequin dress is a thing of Christmas and New Year dreams. They require minimum effort as they don’t need much in the way of accessories, all you have to do is get your make-up right, whip that hair up and sparkle like the fairy on top of the Christmas tree. What’s not to love? Try these that I’ve found on my travels...

Sparkly Sequin Long Sleeve Shift Dress - Marks & Spencers

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So go forth and sparkle - it's Christmas and although you may not get loads of wear out of what you buy, just think “Do I feel absolutely amazing in this”? If the answer is YES, you know the score. It's time to SHINE!

Victoria x

Mama Treats...by Victoria Geneve

It’s probably sods law that on the day that this is published it will be boiling hot outside and we will be discussing how we’re having an Indian Summer, BUT as it’s currently 14 degrees, raining and foggy outside (not to mention I’m wearing cashmere bed socks at my desk, FANCY I know) I will talk to you about what you should be wearing and buying for Autumn/Winter 2017!

Red….

If there is one colour your should be buying it's RED, red knitwear, red dresses, red lipstick, red coat, RED everything and you can really go to town on it this season.  When it comes to red you can either go along the lines of ‘more is more’ or just 'a suggestion of' by adding a red scarf with red nails for example. 

I’m totally in love with this Red Coat from H&M

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And this Red Dress…. 

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And if you’re as daring as me I’d totally wear both at the same time with a pair of metallic boots... or go OTT and wear red boots or trainers too. These are the perfect trainer to add a bit of bling to your Autumn/Winter Wardrobe and don't get me started on how comfortable they are.

Kimonos

A trend that has continued from Summer, the humble Kimono. Worn over a cami or T-Shirt in the summer months can now be worn over a thin knit or my favourite, a cashmere jumper. When the cold really sets in try layering a cashmere jumper, leather jacket and ‘dark’ kimono over the top for an elegant alternative to a Camo Jacket. I love this one from Zara.

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All you need to do is wear a black pair of jeans, a jumper and throw a kimono over the top. Job Done. 

Pearl Studs

Pearls on EVERYTHING!! Ok so I saw this trend a few years ago at a high fashion press day and it was when metal studs were the thing.  When I saw Pearl Studs I was like ‘YES’ - elegant studding this will definitely take off, and surprise surprise it has. Boots, jeans, jackets all embellished with pearls, it's not quite Pearly Kings and Queens it's more romantic rock chic. Here are a few examples: 

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Topshop Pearl Hoop Earrings

Floral Dresses and Chunky Knits

One fail safe fashion trend is a floral dress. This is set to be the one outfit you need in your life and when it's that simple it would be rude not to at least give it a try. Think more GUCCI than ‘high street florals’, think clashing colours and prints with a dash of red, all dressed up with a sock fitting ankle boot or dressed down with a simple minimal trainer.  Take a look at H&M and &OtherStories

There is a very luxurious season ahead filled with glamour and femininity. Embrace it, go for it and remember...it's just clothes, it's just clothes you choose to wear that make you look and feel the way you do when you LOVE your outfit. 

No excuses for motherhood getting in the way either. Floral prints disguise sick and food marks, Kimonos are simple and easy to wear when breastfeeding and can double up as a cover up.  And as for footwear?? No heels posted on here, all flats and practical. Now go and get ready for your best season yet.  

And if you ever want any help just holler! x