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Friday, 10 July 2015
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So, little Harper Beckham is four today.  Happy birthday to you and anyone else who has a birthday today!  We’ll undoubtedly be watching Harper develop into the world’s premier fashionista in the coming years.  Hopefully she’ll develop her own inimitable style.  And she will always have the Wimbledon Championships to look forward to on her birthday! 

Nowadays, in the fashion world, anything goes and ‘unisex’ is a growing trend in children’s clothing in particular.  Prince George sported a cute red and white shorts and top combo for Princess Charlotte’s christening which would have equally suited a boy or girl.  Some of the media chose to criticise the choice which paid homage to the outfit worn by Prince William when he was taken to see his brother Harry for the first time, saying variously that it was old fashioned and too ‘girly’.  Given the rise in recent years of great unisex brands like Tootsa Macginty, Prince George is clearly anything but old fashioned. He’s in fact right up with the latest trends and looked, in our opinion, adorable.

Hot on the heels of Harper will, of course, be Princess Charlotte.  We can’t wait to see her outfit choices in the coming years. 

Meanwhile, long may the heat wave continue and good luck to England in the Ashes.  Oh, and happy birthday Prince George for 22 July!  Terrible twos here we come..........

Thursday, 05 March 2015
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Selfish Mother is a ‘blogzine’ which describes itself as ‘rebranding motherhood one post at a time’.  You can sign up to receive their fab, funny and insightful articles about the reality of modern motherhood. You can even join the sisterhood and signup to post your own contributions.

Founder, Molly Gunn, says of Selfish Mother:

‘This isn’t a site about how to look after your kids. It’s a space to share what us mothers (and fathers) are really thinking; a world away from that image of ‘perfection’ the media would have us striving for.’

And they are really doing their bit to support disadvantaged mothers across the world.  The Selfish Mother ‘Mother’ branded sweatshirts and tee shirts are sold on the site with all profits going to  Women for Women International – an amazing charity that helps women in eight war-torn regions rebuild their lives through training programmes. 

It’s a lovely idea for us privileged ‘western mamas’, in Molly’s words, to help others much less fortunate.

And, what’s more, the sweats and tees have been featured in lots of trendy fashion press.  So, grab a ‘Mother’ top for Mother’s Day.  You will be bang on trend and supporting a great cause for women.

Thursday, 29 January 2015
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The fabulous and great fun This Girl Can campaign is creating waves in the media at the moment.  

As the television ads went live, the campaign trended on Twitter and influential media commentators including Caitlin Moran waded in with enthusiastic support @Caitlinmoran ‘Watch this, and prepare to feel AMAZING ABOUT BEING A WOMAN AND HAVING A BODY’.

The campaign arose from research into understanding participation in sport (or lack of it...)  among girls and young women  There are increasing concerns about young people’s participation in sport: studies have found that boys are more likely to participate in sports and physical activity compared to girls at secondary school age and that the gap between the genders becomes more pronounced as you go through the teenage years.

Family and friends were considered to be among the most important factors influencing participation in sport which is why mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunties and uncles all have a role to play in setting a good example and giving encouragement to young girls today.

The This Girl Can campaign laughs in the face of some of the other issues identified as affecting girls’ participation in sport – namely body confidence and fear of being no good.

To quote the campaign, let’s get ‘Sweating like a pig’ and we’ll start ‘Feeling like a fox’.  And let’s set a great example and encourage girls and women around us to join in the fun.

Friday, 26 September 2014
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Former Harry Potter actress and one-time Burberry model, Emma Watson , has hit the headlines this week with an impassioned speech she gave at the United Nations in New York last weekend.

In her capacity as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN for Women, Emma was launching a new UN initiative, the HeForShe campaign.  The aim of the campaign is to end gender inequality by enlisting the help of men and boys.

Emma eloquently argued that for too long feminism has been synonymous with man-hating and asks, if feminism is to make any progress in achieving equality for all, then this surely is counter-productive?

She gives some heartfelt examples of being called ‘bossy’ herself from a young age and of her first-hand experience of troubled men and boys feeling reluctant to seek much-needed help for problems due to fear of not living up to ‘manly’ expectations.

Watch the film and see if it prompts you to reconsider what it means to be a’ feminist’.  As Emma sums up, in the quest to end all gender inequality: ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’

Friday, 05 September 2014
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It's back to school time so we thought it would be interesting to reflect on what aspirations we have for our daughters and what effect modern consumerism is having on them.

In a recent article in the Times, Carol Midgley tells of how she once painted her daughter's bedroom pink- assuming this was what she would want. Until her daughter fessed up that she hated pink. And Hello Kitty too! 

Gender stereotyping by retailers is widespread and there are calls to stop segregating toys into 'boys' and 'girls' as this can be a factor in discouraging girls to go into science and engineering careers.

In her article 'Raising super-girls: why be a princess when you can be prime minister?' Carol mentions some interesting work being done to end gender stereotyping.  An American  online retailer 'A Mighty Girl' sells toys, books, clothes and films which only feature girls as strong, independent leading characters. 

'Pinkstinks'  is a UK group which was established by two sisters and parents to ‘confront the damaging messages that bombard girls though toys, clothes and media’ and uses the tag line ‘There’s more than one way to be a girl’.

So, does pink really matter?  There is growing evidence that it does and that gender stereotyping at an early age can shape children's futures. Pinkstinks believes that pink has become the modern brand colour for girlhood but that  ‘brand pink’ focuses overwhelmingly on ‘being pretty, passive and obsessed with shopping, fashion and make up’.  

The key issue is choice.   Choosing pink because you like it, or preferring purple, or red, or whatever because you like that better, should be a matter of personal choice.  It's very clear when looking at girls' merchandise that the choice is limited. Limited to pink.

Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is: does this reflect what our daughters REALLY want, or what they think they SHOULD want?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014
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According to weather forecasters, the term ‘summer’ refers to the period in time from June to August in the northern hemisphere.

So, only 4 days left!

We didn’t want to depress you, rather we feel it’s a good time to celebrate this amazing summer.  This year has seen us bask in the warmest weather since records began.  (We’ve also had the third highest rainfall, according to the Met Office).

To celebrate the impending  end of the summer of 2014, we wanted to share some pictures you’ve sent us of your girls having a great time in the sun in Rockley Cove around the world.

Dot Rashkini

 

Daisy Skirt Rashkini

 

And did you realise that there’s only 119 days to Christmas?  And 205 days to spring 2015?

Just saying!

 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014
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The National Trust is currently running a campaign to encourage families to get outside and play, explore and simply have fun together.  

’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ is promoting a list of 50 fun things to do outdoors during the summer holidays with the aim of ‘creating memories that will last a lifetime’.

The list ranges from things as simple as eating an apple from a tree (no. 9 on the list) and going star gazing (no.27) to more adventurous escapades which would clearly need adult supervision, such as going swimming in the sea (no. 42) and canoeing down a river (no. 50).

Essentially, it’s about getting families exploring and playing in the Great Outdoors together.  And isn’t the weather perfect for it at the moment!

The site is interactive so that, once signed up via a simple registration process, children can track their progress and get motivational tips and rewards. You can also download the app to your iphone or ipad so children can tick off their achievements on the go.  The site also suggests places near your home to enjoy each adventure, linking to National Trust properties around the country – some of which are holding events linked to the ’50 things’ list.

So, go explore!

 

Friday, 18 July 2014
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Guest blogger and mother of two Tamara Heber-Percy is co-founder of boutique travel company Mr & Mrs Smith. She knows a thing or three about finding great getaways for the whole family: we asked for her pick of the best hotels from their new Smith & Family collection that still have last-minute availability this summer…

 

Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas

This beautiful clifftop paradise in Crete is perfectly poised to make the most of the incredible sea-and-sky views. I love the sleek decor, the blissful spa with its Finnish sauna and all three indulgent restaurants. It’s wonderful for water babies too: take your pick from of the 129 private saltwater plunge pools to splash around in, or head to the private beach where diving, water-skiing, wind-surfing and banana-boating are sure to wear your little ones out by bedtime. Take advantage of the excellent babysitting services and spend the evening in the Crystal Box bar, which overlooks the glittering bay. 

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Asia Gardens, Alicante, Spain

You don’t have to fly long haul to get a taste of Asia: this hotel takes inspiration from Bali with thatched roofs, bold red buildings and jungle-tucked gardens. There’s an all-day kids club and a pirate-themed children’s playground, but the hotel’s headliner has to be the spectacular meandering swimming pools at the heart of the resort. I love how Asia Gardens manages to combine something special for adults (a superlative Thai spa and a grown-up bar) with great entertainment for children too. 

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St Moritz Hotel,Cornwall, UK

For anyone keen to avoid airport queues, this Miami-style resort in Cornwall is the perfect spot for a staycation. Apartment-style suites, decorated in soft sea shades, are as relaxing as the views and there’s a Cowshed spa with six treatment rooms to escape to if you can sneak away from the kids for an hour. There’s plenty to do as a family too: join your children for a surfing lesson, or, if the unpredictable English weather catches you out, there’s a kids-only games room and an indoor pool to splash around in.

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Castello di Casole, Tuscany

Castello di Casole is perched on a Tuscan hill overlooking verdant valleys and vineyards. I love spending quality time together as a family when we’re away and there's plenty of scope to do that here: staff can organise treasure hunts in the grounds and pizza-making lessons – not the cleanest of activities but definitely good fun! There isn’t a crèche or kids club here so you’ll need to be independent, but Italians are so welcoming to families it won’t be difficult. The local food and wine is excellent – this is, after all, Italy.

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Barceló La Bobadilla, Andalucia, Spain

Strolling through the olive groves after a spectacular moonlit dinner, it seems improbable that such a romantic place could possibly cater for families. Barceló La Bobadilla, however is spacious enough to accommodate kids without feeling overrun: there are tennis courts, a teen-only bar and 900 acres of farm and forest to roam on quad bikes. Whether you're lounging by the enormous pool or cantering through the grounds on horseback, this Andalucian bolthole makes for an unforgettable family holiday.

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Smith & Family match best available rates, offer loyalty money back on every booking and a free family-friendly extra on arrival. To book visit smithandfamily.co.uk or call the expert Travel Team on 0330 100 3183.

Friday, 04 July 2014
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There’s currently a film on You Tube that has been viewed over 20 million times - yes, 20 million – since it was published exactly a week ago.   It also has nearly 86,000 likes.  And nearly 10,000 ‘dislikes’.  Interesting, no?

 ‘Always #Like a Girl’ is a promotional video by sanitary wear brand, Always.  So why the fuss?

The film shows a selection of women, boys and men being asked to perform a series of actions -   running, fighting and throwing - ‘like a girl’.  

They all - women, boys and men alike -  perform like parodies of themselves, flailing around, awkward and silly as if doing something ‘like a girl’ means doing it badly.  

However, when a group of young girls are asked to do the same things, they simply run, throw and play fight.  Like the girls they are.  When asked what it means to run ‘like a girl’, one of the girls responds candidly, ‘to run as fast as you can’.

The point being that somewhere at the vulnerable time between being girls becoming women, doing something ‘like a girl’ becomes an insult.

Take a look and see what you think

Let’s teach our daughters that it’s great to do something ‘like a girl’.  Because girls are amazing, just like boys. 

 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014
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Summer has well and truly arrived in the UK with consistently high UV levels over the weekend.

This means that as parents we need to take sun protection seriously, especially for children who spend so much time outside in summer, and who have the most sensitive skin.

Here’s our 10 point guide to protecting delicate young skin in the summer sunshine:

  1. 1.Minimise exposure to strong sunshine between 10am and 3pm
  2. 2.Apply a sunscreen of at least factor 30 to exposed areas at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun
  3. 3.Re-apply sunscreen often – especially after swimming
  4. 4.Choose sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection – both cause skin damage
  5. 5.Use UV protective clothing to reduce the amount of exposed skin where you’ll need to apply sunscreen – rash vests are great  for this
  6. 6.Seek shade when possible – be inventive and use umbrellas or fun tents
  7. 7. Keep babies under 1 year OUT of the sun
  8. 8.Don’t set a bad example by using tanning beds – choose tanning lotions
  9. 9.Protect children’s eyes too – we love Zoobug children’s sunglasses
  10. 10.Above all – don’t allow children to burn! And set a good example by not overdoing it yourself

Remember – just one case of sunburn under the age of 12, means that you are much more likely get skin cancer later in life. Fact.

Read more from the British Skin Foundation here 

 

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