Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ladies wot shop

Further to my last post where I decided not to be a frumpy mum, today I ventured into a personal shopper experience in Debenhams.  It's a fantastic service and I wish I'd discovered it sooner.  It was so easy to book an appointment.  The website asks for very straightforward information.  I do wish it asked for a little bit more info though such as your dress size, style preference, height etc as this could come in useful for your shopper later.

Screenshots of the booking process:

I was 5 minutes early for my appointment and the girls at the paydesk called for my shopper to come down.  The lovely Sammy arrived about 10 minutes later. Sammy was lovely and welcoming and I immediately felt at ease.  The only thing that puzzled me at this point was being asked if I had booked my appointment.  I had in mind that they would be aware of all the bookings and know who they would be working with and when.  Very odd.

Despite the lack of awareness of my appointment Sammy was straight into business.  She asked me a few questions about the purpose of my appointment and what I was looking for.  Before leaving me to go trawling the racks, she made sure I had a coffee in my hands.

While Sammy was looking for clothes for me to try I decided to make Oscar and I comfy.  The dressing room had two very large cubicles, seating, mirrors and magazines.  The dressing room served as the perfect playpen for the wrigglebum.

Sammy brought back a good selection of clothes, some of which hit the mark straightaway, others either didn't fit me that well,or were just not to my taste.  Some of the things she picked for me I really didn't think I would like, but the minute I put them on I loved them.  The personal shopper experience is great for encouraging you to be a bit braver and try things you'd normally leave on the rack.

Now that Sammy had a better idea of what I liked, and what worked for my body shape she disappeared again to get more things for me to try.  I decided to take advantage of the privacy and feed the wee man.

Sam, clearly knows her way around the store as it didn't take too long for her to return with another good bundle of clothes.  

Again, there were things I loved, and things I hated.  After this I decided to take a wander around the store and try picking up some things myself that I wouldn't ordinarily choose.  While waiting in a rather long queue, for a standard changing room, with a pram, and a lot of clothes, Sammy collared me and invited back up to the dressing room.  I was very grateful!

After trying on the last lot of clothes, the 2 hours were nearly up and I had the very difficult task of narrowing down the items I liked to the items I could afford to take home.

I really enjoyed this way of shopping and will definitely be doing it again. There's absolutely no pressure to buy anything at all, and you get good honest and constructive feedback.  Sammy was great at talking me through how to finish off an outfit how I could mix and match items, dress them up and dress them down etc.  Of course it's even better if you've got a little one you need to entertain while shopping.

8 out of 10, could be improved by taking more information at booking and perhaps having a number of items ready to browse through upon arrival.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Frumpy mum

I've never been known for being fashionable or trendy. I've always gone for comfortable with a twist. The twist for the last 9 years has been my hair. I've always made an effort with my appearance and liked to feel 'pretty'.

Since having a baby I seem to have lost my way.  My current day to day wear consists of leggings or jeans (which don't fit) either a vest and t-shirt/jumper layer because it's been nice and easy for breastfeeding on demand.

Nine months have passed since the baby arrived and for nine months before that my wardrobe was severely limited by a large bump poking out front.

I return to work late January, and as I look in my overflowing wardrobe I struggle to put together more than a couple of outfits I feel comfortable in.

One of my problems is that I lack confidence in putting together an outfit that works. I struggle to visualise how pieces can go together and really don't understand what works for my shape.

Holding my hands up in defeat, I've decided to enlist professional help. Next Monday I will be in the hands of a personal shopper who will hopefully be able to clue me up and send me back out into the world with all the knowledge I need to make myself look and feel good.

Here begins Project Less Frumpy Mum.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Making Choices

As a first time older mum, the minute I knew I was pregnant, I couldn't do enough research into all the options available, and all the choices and decisions I'd have to make.

Some of the choices I've made have raised a few eyebrows (babywearing and baby led weaning for example), but I've done my research and I'm comfortable and confident in those. So much so I generally don't even try to defend those choices when questioned.

The one thing that is repeatedly asked of me though is why I give my child the food he gets, or rather why I don't give him the food I don't.  I believe in encouraging a baby to try as many flavours and textures as possible, as long as it's healthy.  That's not to say I won't ever let him have chocolates, cakes, chips etc, but there's a time for those and that time is not right now.

The latest figures, for 2012/13, show that 18.9% of UK children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were obese and a further 14.4% were overweight. Of children in Reception (aged 4-5), 9.3% were obese and another 13.0% were overweight. This means almost a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds were overweight or obese.

As someone who was slim when growing up because of a healthy diet and lots of exercise, but who didn't understand nutrition and has ended up a couple of stone heavier than is healthy; I don't want to see my child struggle with his health because of his diet later in life.  What's important to me is to ensure that my child enjoys ALL foods and learns about a healthy, balanced diet. One which includes fruit, vegetables, fish and fresh meat, as well as nuts, seeds and CAKE!  Gawd, I can't imagine a life without cake and wouldn't dare inflict that on anyone, but it's important to learn what a healthy lifestyle is all about.  Of course once he's older he can make his own choices but at least they will be informed choices.

In the meantime I take my responsibility as a parent seriously. We have fun with food and exercise while nurturing and developing our bodies. I will encourage him to try all foods and learn to cook, understand where food comes from and understand the importance of food choices on your body and mind.

The basics are obvious, limited sugar and salt. The NHS website provides lots of useful information, but the key rules to follow are these:


Babies shouldn’t eat much salt as it isn't good for their kidneys. Don't add salt to your baby’s food and don't use stock cubes or gravy as they're often high in salt. Remember this when you’re cooking for the family if you plan to give the same food to your baby.


Your baby doesn’t need sugar. By avoiding sugary snacks and drinks, you'll help to prevent tooth decay. Use mashed banana, breast milk or formula milk to sweeten food if necessary.


Occasionally, honey contains bacteria which can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to infant botulism, which is a very serious illness. It’s best not to give your child honey until they’re one year old. Honey is a sugar, so avoiding it will also help to prevent tooth decay.


Whole nuts, including peanuts, shouldn't be given to children under five as they can choke on them. As long as there's no history of food allergies or other allergies in your family you can give your baby peanuts once they're six months old as long as they're crushed or ground into peanut butter.

"Low-fat" foods

Fat is an important source of calories and some vitamins for babies and young children. It’s better for babies and young children under two to have full-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese rather than low-fat varieties.

Whole nuts, including peanuts, shouldn't be given to children under five as they can choke on them. As long as there's no history of food allergies or other allergies in your family you can give your baby peanuts once they're six months old as long as they're crushed or ground into peanut butter.