My Camp Bestival Beauty Essentials

Pampering, room service and fluffy bathrobes are WAY more my cup of tea than glow sticks, muddy wellies and sleeping under the stars. I don’t feel apologetic about this, it’s just WHO I AM. Aged 24, I joined up to Mr & Mrs Smith and didn’t look back. I was all about the weekend mini break and I’d spend hours (days!) planning the next one. Babington House, Calcot Manor, Hotel 38, Cotswolds cottages, a cheeky Hotel du Vin here or there, Edinburgh’s Tigerlily… *slips into reverie about mini bottles of Molton Brown shampoo….*

But this weekend, I’m pushing myself as far out of my comfort zone as I possibly can, by attending Camp Bestival. It’s going to be dusty (or muddy). It’s going to be tiring. It’s going to be cramped. I’ve decided, however, to try to style it out as far as I can, by taking some carefully selected beauty products with me… (y’know, as well as the baby wipes and deodorant.) Here are my Camp Bestival beauty essentials….


Festival beauty essentials 2013

1. Steamcream, £12.99 – this little tin of wonder can be used to moisturise your face, hands and body. Multi-tasking, or what?

2. Ole Henriksen TruthTo Go Wipes, £15 – orange scented and containing green tea, these are seriously posh face wipes. When I use them, I’m going to close my eyes and imagine I’m in a luxury spa.

3.Carex Moisture Plus Hang Gel, £1.45 – to keep our hands germ-free when my toddler decides she needs to use the potty in the middle of the night, and I don’t want to trek to the loos to wash our hands. (Yeah. I’m lazy. Deal with it.)

4. Percy & Reed Quintessential Quick Travel Kit, £24 – containing mini bottles of dry shampoo, dry conditioner, texturising spray, finishing polish and bodifying cream, this little set is everything I need to disguise my unwashed hair.

5. Bliss Sinkside Six Pack, £20.50 – if I do manage to get to a shower (I really really hope I do. Wet wipes can only do so much… surely?) then this kit will keep me clean and shiny. I love Bliss products. The lemon and sage isn’t my favourite scent they do (I prefer the blood orange and black pepper) but it’ll wake me up with a ZING at least.

As far as my Camp Bestival hair is concerned, I’m going to be all about the twists and the plaits…

Camp Bestival hair - twists and plaits

Tickets are still available for Camp Bestival – but you need to be quick! Adult Weekend Camping tickets are £190, Age 15 to 17 Weekend Camping tickets are £113, Age 11 to 14 Weekend Camping Tickets are £98 and under 10s are free (but they still need a ticket). Day tickets are £60 a day.


Psst! Boring disclosure rules state I have to let you know Camp Bestival have invited me along in order to review it. All views are my own. Obvs.





Brilliant Mum-In-A-Hurry Make Up

I’m one of those people who tends to stick to the same beauty products for years – you know those older ladies you see, still wearing the blue mascara and pink shimmer lipstick that they wore in the 80s? That’ll be me, in forty years time. (I’m also going to wear quirky clothes just because I can – old people can get away with pretty much anything, can’t they?)

It takes so long to actually FIND the make up that really works for me, once I’ve found it (Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, MAC concealer, YSL Touch Eclat), it takes a lot to convince me to switch my allegiances. So it’s really something when I come across products that I love so much that I switch allegiances and tell all my friends about them.

This happened to me three times recently. I came across three products that SERIOUSLY impressed me. Why? Because they help me look fantastic, fast. I don’t have time for products that look great when you apply and then fade quickly, and I don’t have time for products that are so tricky to apply that I’m late to wherever I’m going because of all the faffing.

So here goes, this is the make up that will change your life *



(*if you’re as superficial and make up obsessed as me, that is)

Make up for mums in a hurry


First up, Pretty Quik Instant Nail Polish Remover. If you haven’t tried this stuff (other brands are available – the Maybelline one is worth trying too) then you need to GET ON BOARD. Forget bottles of nail polish remover and cotton wool. This little wonder pot has a sponge inside it, soaked in polish remover. The sponge has a finger-shaped hole in the middle. You simply place each finger in the pot, twist a few times, and remove. Hey presto! You no longer have chipped, tatty looking nail polish! Granted, using the traditional method isn’t too labour intensive, but it’s a bit of a faff and using the Pretty Quik pot is SO FAST. It’s a serious game-changer.

GOOD FOR: Mums who never get around to removing their nail polish but hate the chipped nail look.


Next, the YSL Babydoll Eyeliner. I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find the perfect liquid eyeliner this year. The Clinique one was too wobbly-of-brush, the No 7 one was too firm-of-pen (and did this weird thing where it actually started to remove the liner if I went over the same bit twice. Not helpful) but this, my friends, this eyeliner is AMAZING. The YSL Babydoll Eyeliner is a brush rather than a pen, but it just applies the eyeliner like a dream. In around 4 seconds flat, I can do a straight line on each eye. No wobbly bits. Hooray!

GOOD FOR: Mums who need to apply make up quickly but still look brilliant.


Finally, I am LOVING the Smashbox Megatint lippy in Cerise. I’m fairly new the the red lip thing (I was utterly convinced for years that my faint acne scarring was more noticeable if I wore a red lip) and until now, I’ve been faithful to a MAC lippy. But this, this bad boy is in another league. Easy to apply, a strong colour and it lasts. Like, really lasts. I can apply first thing in the morning, drink tea and coffee, eat lunch and it’ll still be there. It’s magic. The only small downside to the Smashbox Megatint is that it feels quite drying on your lips but a bit of lip balm worn overnight soon sorts this out.

GOOD FOR: Mums who need that instant glam look but don’t have time to reapply multiple times in the day.


Amazing Smashbox Megatint lip colour


What are your secret weapons when it comes to looking good in a hurry? Please share!



Win A Kids’ Haircare Set From Love Boo!

Earlier this week, I bought the DVD of Disney movie Tangled for my toddler. She is obsessed with Toy Story, Monsters Inc, A Bug’s Life and Madagascar at the moment, so I thought introducing her to a Disney princess would be fun. While watching it with her (I may have enjoyed it) I found myself getting a bit stressed out at Rapunzel’s long hair – it trails behind her and she throws it around like she’s an ariel fabric acrobat. ‘Eek!’ I thought. ‘It’s going to get so knotted!’ before realising that a) it’s just a cartoon and b) it’s happened – I’ve become a mum who is obsessed with my child having neat hair.

It’s just SUCH a battle to brush my two-year-old’s barnet. We bought a Tangle Teezer, which helps a bit but sometimes she even refuses to let us near her with it because she doesn’t like the tugging on her hair knots.

Enter those clever people at Love Boo (formerly known as Boo Boo) who have recently launched a kids’ haircare range. And it is just brilliant. I bought some a month ago from John Lewis and it’s taken the stress out of brushing my todder’s hair. In a bid to share the joy, I asked Love Boo to give away some products and they’ve given me two sets of the haircare range – the Natural Soft & Shiny Shampoo (£8.99), the Natural Soft & Shiny Conditioner (£8.99) and the No More Knots Detangling Spray (£8.99). All of Love Boo’s products are paraben-free, smell gorgeous and have beautiful packaging so they look cute in the bathroom too.

Love Boo Competition

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Getting Some Regular Mum Me-Time

Me-time is something I think about a lot. As a working mum, it’s fair to say that my train journey to work (which, by the way, I’m usually standing up for) is my only regular me-time. But it’s something that is so important – and for dads too. It gives us time to reflect and sort through the thoughts from the day. It gives us time to just slow our brain right down and take a moment where we’re not rushing from one thing to the next.

I’ll be honest – I’m rubbish at making myself relax and switch off. Anyone who knows me in real life will tell you that I have my iPhone practically glued to my left hand, I check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram more than is healthy, and if I’m not working, I’m blogging. Oh yes, or doing that other small thing – being a mum!

I try so hard to slow down and switch off. ‘Right,’ I tell myself. ‘I’m going to have a bath and read a book.’ But ten minutes into my bath, my hand reaches for my phone (much to my husband’s horror – what if I drop the phone in the bath?!) and I’m checking what’s happening on Twitter. People say that it’s nice to take a break from technology and that if they ever leave their phone at home, they realise what a nice break it is. Not for me – all I do is break out in a cold sweat.

On evenings where I’m not working on my blog, I get a bit twitchy. ‘What do people do in the evening?’ I wonder, before sitting with my phone-in-hand, scrolling through my Twitter feed all night. It’s like I need to re-educate my brain in just doing nothing.

I think part of it is (yes, this again) mum-guilt. As mums, we’ve trained our brains into thinking we always have to be busy, otherwise we’re somehow failing as mums. Which obviously is utter crap, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling that way.

I’ve decided to do two things in a bid to relax more and give my brain a chance to breath.

1. Exercise more. I say ‘more’, I mean ‘some’. I feel so much better when I exercise – my brain gets some space from the day and I often end up working through a problem at work, or come up with a great idea. So why don’t I do it more often?

2. Go for a spa treatment once a month. For weeks now, I’ve been craving a back massage. There’s a lot of tension built up there, and while the odd back rub from my husband is nice, I think I need a professional to get rid of some knots. So I’ve decided to book myself a regular massage (or facial). To heck with the cost. I deserve it.

Disney On Ice Dare To Dream Bloggers' Pamper Day, Aveda salon, London

Last week, I was invited to have a mini pamper session by a PR promoting Disney On Ice. I know, it was like she knew, like it was some kind of Disney magic, or something. At the fab Aveda Salon in London, I had a manicure and pedicure. Granted, it wasn’t the much-needed massage, but just taking that time out made such a difference. Ginny, the lovely PR, chatted to me as I sat being pampered, telling me about the new Disney On Ice show that’s just gone on sale (It’s called Dare to Dream and is themed around the Disney Princesses – how apt, given my treatment that day), and I felt like I was a million miles away from normal life.

It reaffirmed in my head how I need to look after myself more so, starting this week, I’m going to put my two-point-plan into place. I may still tweet from the bath, but that’s OK, isn’t it?


A Mummy And Baby Spa? Oh It Was Heaven!

When you’re a parent and you work full time, every minute of the weekend is precious family time. We plan our weekends to try and pack as much fun stuff in for the toddler, combined with seeing friends and family. Child-free friends now know that meeting us for lunch means dragging themselves out of bed for a midday start, and we meet friends-with-kids somewhere glamorous like a cafe with play area or a soft play centre.

But there are times that I miss being able to pop off for a manicure or a haircut (heck, even popping off for a wee!). A bit of pampering is good for everyone, and it’s tricky as a working mum to justify an hour or two away at the weekend to indulge. So praise be to an amazing place that I discovered through Twitter – the Mummy and Baby Spa in Balham.

Before you have visions of tots having facials, with cucumber on the eyes and hair wrapped in a towel, the treatments are just for the mums. Independent mindbodysoul is a specially designed salon on Ritherdon Road, where mums can have express treatments while their baby or toddler plays alongside them. ‘This. Is. The. Dream,’ I thought when I looked into it. But my next reaction was, ‘Ha! As if MY child would play next to me, happily, while I have a treatment!’ I could just see her clambering all over me saying “What doing, Mummy?”

But, get this. She didn’t! It was amazing. The room we were in had two treatment chairs and a small play area in the middle, with toys and books. After a shy first few minutes, she sat there playing (and munching on the breadsticks I’d brought to bribe her with.) The staff were so lovely and encouraged her to draw on the giant chalkboard wall. One therapist even sat reading an Everything’s Rosie story to her. All while I had my gel manicure applied and chatted away.

 Spa for mums in Balham, London

Spa for mums, Balham, London


To top off a perfect morning, two doors away from the Mummy and Baby Spa is an amazing bakery – Deelite Bakery. We popped in there to have chocolate croissants, baked onsite, and to have a play in their kids’ play area. Oh and take photos of my new gel mani!

Family friendly cafe, Balham, London

A few weeks later, I tried out the sister salon on Balham High Road. I took an afternoon off work and went there to have my (awful) roots seen to. The salon use Aveda products and my barnet looked amazing afterwards – I’m still getting compliments on the natural looking blonde colour. In contrast to the Mummy & Baby Spa, the Hair Salon & Spa has a child-free relaxation room downstairs which you can chill out in, while your colour is developing. Dim lighting, beds to lounge on and complimentary magazines and drinks. This place was heavenly in a very different way.

Win a spa treatment
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Independent mindbodysoul invited me along to try their gel mani at the Mummy & Baby Spa, and their hair services at the Hair Salon & Spa for the purpose of this post.