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Hot Mama

FAMILY LONDON Top places to live

Penélope Cruz talks motherhood The Magazine For Stylish Mums



The new hub for creatives

Style experts helping busy mums look their best


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CHIC Cool continental looks for mums & little ones


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with the

New Cosatto Wow

Anna with Wow. The ultimate pram and pushchair. Shown in Fjord. See the full collection at

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Available online or in store:

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A carrier?

B slinger ?

C wrapper?










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Love grows here

Supporting the

The Woodland Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales (No.294344) and in Scotland (No. SC038885)


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contents MARCH / APRIL 2017


AGENDA What’s on

MAMAHOOD 38 1-2 kids

88 Sugar-free cooking

Spring books

42 Personal stylists

92 Health focus

48 Cruz control

HOME 96 Modern House

Dates for the coming months


New books for littles and one for mums-to-be

20 Summer of love

Th e best boutique family festivals to book for the summer

ESSENTIALS 27 Treat yourself

Top Mother's Day treats for yourself and your mum


Missoni SS17 girls collection. Dress £630 and

30 New baby list

Must-haves for mamas

33 Eggstravaganza Easter eggs for all ages

Making the transition easier

Th e women helping busy mums refresh their style

Penélope Cruz talks motherhood

FASHION 64 The making of me

We meet the founder of Question Everything

70 Kids fashion notes

Gorgeous new looks for little ones

WELLNESS 87 Food & Drink

Kids' menus in London

Three easy sugar-free recipes for mum and baby

Learning how to identify meningitis fast

An architectural gem

100 Family London

Th e best London villages for families

TRAVEL 108 Portugal

Lisbon and Sagres

113 UK getaway

A luxury yurt in Wales

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The joys of spring

elcome to the spring issue of Absolutely Mama. After a long, cold winter we found ourselves longing for some colour, so we turned to the continent for inspiration. The gorgeous SS17 girls collection from Missoni proved to be just what we needed; plus we talked to two gorgeous Spanish boutiques in London which both have enthusiastic followings, thanks to their modern take on vintage styles for littles. Staying with the continental theme, we were lucky enough to talk to Spanish actor Penélope Cruz (a total Mama crush), about combining work and motherhood, and Helen travelled to Portugal to soak up some

sunshine in Lisbon and then Sagres, on The Algarve. It can be hard work getting your mojo back in the style department after having a family, but we all want to look good, whether on the school run or heading into a big meeting. Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of two inspiring women helping multitasking mums to look and feel their best – read their secrets to putting together the perfect capsule wardrobe on page 42.


@h.kirkwood March / April 2017

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The Magazine For Stylish Mums Editor: HOLLY KIRKWOOD Contributing Editor: APPHIA MICHAEL Commercial Manager: KATIE AMPS Marketing Manager: NEFELI KRITIKOU Art Director: PHIL COUZENS Senior Designer: PAWEL KUBA Mid-weight Designer: EKREM YILMAZ Designer: REBECCA NOONAN Production Manager: CHRIS COUCHMAN Finance Director: ALEXANDRA HVID PA to the Directors: KERRY HOLLINGSWORTH Directors: GREG HUGHES, ALEXANDRA HUNTER Managing Director: SHERIF SHALTOUT For editorial enquiries please email: For advertising enquiries please call 07818056651 / 020 7704 0588 or email: For media partnership enquiries please call 020 7704 0588 or email: Part of the

197-199 City Road, London EC1V 1JN, UK FACT M.E FZ-LLC, Office 907E, TwoFour54, Park Rotana Complex, P.O Box 769328, Abu Dhabi UAE

LON DON OFFICE : ABU DHABI OFFICE: Zest Media Publications Ltd. cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Zest Media Publications Ltd. take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters. All rights reserved.


@ A B S O L U T E LY M A M A

Absolutely Mama supports

Download the Absolutely Mama app to discover, learn and share the latest MAMA trends and news.

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The perfect backpack, and a cool new gift idea for mamas-to-be

Scandi styling

Tiny Cottons Cheerful primary colours are the defining feature of the new Tiny Cottons collection which has everything from super-cute high socks to swimwear and fun separates. Dress £66;

MINI ME Balmain at Harrods

Balmain launched in Mini SuperBrands at Harrods in February, with their 'Mini me' range for boys and girls from 6-14. Faithfully reproduced pieces include their Japanese denim, and a range of mini bomber jackets.

Make a quick exit

Nubie We don’t know how we ever lived without this Nubie backpack. Made from ultra-soft felt it comes with changing mat, two bottle holders, key keeper and loads of storage pockets. Leave it packed by the door for effortless quick exits. £65

Block party

From Babies with love These pretty nautical nesting cubes are a brilliant retro toy for babies. From Babies with Love donates 100% of its profits to help orphaned and abandoned children around the world, through its partnership with the SOS Children’s Villages. Available from 20 March.



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ma m a LOVES

Fancy feet

Noé & Zoë Nici and Nadine of Noé & Zoë always come up with timeless prints, and their latest monochrome designs are no different; these shoes are a collaboration with moccasin specialists Petit Mai. From £22


FMLY Candles

Gifting for expectant and new mums just grew up: cool and modern, each Beaubox contains contains gorgeous treats for mum and baby featuring brands like Jem + Bea, Bloom & Blossom, Balance Me Beauty and Noodoll.

Selfish Mother The FMLY store goes from strength-to-strength in the clothing department, but we’re still charmed by their sweetsmelling candles. From £8,

Party frock

Jacadi Bold prints and primary colours characterise the latest collection from Jacadi, which is available from March. We love the contemporary shape of this pretty party dress £61.

r’s editock pi

For country lads

Boxing clever

Baby box movement Credited with helping to decrease Finland’s infant mortality rate enormously, the baby box movement continues to spread across the globe – education for new mums to be is key to the whole project. Find out how to get yours at

Elias and Grace There isn’t a boy in the land who won’t suit this charming straw hat – perfect for dreaming of lazy summer days to come. Bellerose Paloma Straw hat £26,

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To D r e a m Again 11 March -2 April Polka Theatre

Dreams meet reality in a new play at The Polka Theatre in March. Acclaimed children’s writer Toby Hulse mixes comedy and drama as real life meets the playful, magical world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Get musical with your under-5s, arrange a sleepover at the zoo, and book ahead for Easter fun

E A STE R RO U N D U P Book ahead for Easter, from tennis camps to ballet

Anyone for tennis 3-13 April Henry Lamb tennis camps

Henry Lamb only has six children on a court, grouped by age and ability. Easter camps are being held at Kensington Prep, Newton Prep and Putney High School.

Sadlers Wells Ballet 14 -15 April Family weekend: Vuelos

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s quest to make man fl y, dancers canter like horses, make a mess at the dinner table, and grow wings in Aracaladanza's newest show.

party idea

BedBUGS Sleepovers March 16 and April 7 & 21  ZSL London Zoo

7-11 year old creepy crawly lovers can stay overnight in the BUG house at ZSL London Zoo. They can explore by torchlight and wake up to the sounds of the animals, from the rare golden mantella frog to stunning moon jellyfish and giant orb spiders, plus get involved with games, talks, and storytelling. Breakfast included. Hopefully the gorillas stay put. 16


Eggstravaganza 15-16 April Horniman Museum

The Horniman Easter weekend is always fun for littles of all ages. Don't miss the Easter Egg hunt or storytelling inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

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all ages

Cutty Sark Every weekend King William Walk, Greenwich

Jump aboard Cutty Sark, the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, and fastest ship of her time, to hear incredible stories brought to life by characters from the ship’s past. Meet Captain Woodget, the ship’s most daring master; Jock Willis, the man who built Cutty Sark; Nannie, the ship’s figurehead; or the ship’s cook, James Robson, who all have an extraordinary story to tell. Then head to the nearby Maritime Museum for more salty sea dog adventures (and a lolly).



Until September Discover Children's Story Centre

e all know and love the Transport Museum in Covent Garden – a rainy day staple for parents. But in April a rare opportunity to see inside LTM in Acton offers tours and activities including a ride on a miniature railway, a closer look at tunnelling ephemera and access to the stunning art and poster collection. Perfect for transport geeks young and old.

arch 2 is World Book Day, as well as Dr Seuss's birthday. To celebrate both, the Discover Children's Story Centre has a programme of special events including author Cressida Cowell unveiling her brand new fantasy series. The Dr Seuss exhibition runs until September: inspired by the beautiful illustrations from these much-loved stories, expect storytelling and arts and crafts sessions, plus a Green Eggs and Ham hunt for Easter.


April 22 and 23 LTM Acton


3 music events for under 5s C HAM B E R TOTS



March 15&28 Wigmore Hall

March 21 Royal Academy of Music

March 10; June 16 LSO St Luke’s

Musicians from the Royal Academy perform at For Crying Out Loud! (concerts for babies under 1), while Chamber Tots is an interactive musicmaking session for 1-5-year-olds.

An interactive music session at the Royal Academy for 3-5-year-olds set in the inspiring Piano Gallery. Littles discover instruments and explore making music as a group.

The London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s departs on a magical musical journey for under-5s. Dance and sing your way along as the instruments bring the story to life.

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We've loved trying out some of the latest activity books for little ones, and Clemmie Hooper's bible for mamas-to-be hits the shelves W o r d s H O L LY K I R K W O O D & A M A N D A C O N S TA N C E


by Robert Graves , illustrated by Maurice Sendak


hand on


Th is is the only children’s book written by war poet and revered British writer Robert Graves. Written when he was 67, it was illustrated by a little known artist, who was yet to create his iconic Where the Wild Th ings Are. A longforgotten and wonderful story about the magic of reading. £12.99 

Noodoll Studio

A hands-on activity book set in the charming universe created by Noodoll Studio, A Day in Ricetown introduces the Ricemonsters, and encourages children to explore their world with puzzles, origami and colouring . £9.95



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Big Book of Beasts


or one fma ma

by Yuval Zommer

From the author and illustrator of the best-selling Big Book of Bugs comes a brilliant book about the hairiest, grizzliest, growliest and most fearsome beasts on our planet. It is packed with fascinating information and full of gloriously illustrated wildlife scenes. £12.95; 

H OW TO G R OW A BA BY by Clemmie Hooper

I can use my potty

Mum of four, Instagram star and midwife Clemmie Hooper shares her vast store of wisdom about pregnancy, birth and mamahood. Most books for mums just focus on one stage, so it's useful to have a guide along the whole journey. Written with frankness and humour, it's the perfect all-in-one bible for expectant mums. £14.99 

Bloomsbur y Activity Books

Th is engaging, colourful book follows the antics of Joe and Daisy as they learn all about using their potties. It's also full of activities and marvellous quantities of different stickers to use as rewards to encourage children to have a go themselves. Potty training can be stressful, but there is no failure in this book, which is one of the best things about it. £4.49 


Pnth AhP e mo

of t

by Michelle Robinson & Nick East


Inspired by astronaut Tim Peake and his sons, and featuring an introduction from Tim himself, this is a great bedtime book for fi ring little imaginations. Two space-mad boys get ready for bed and say goodnight to their toy rockets, launch pads and planet mobiles, before being whisked away into space on an adventure beyond their wildest dreams. £6.99 

Designed for children under five, this app introduces a new character from the ingenious mind of Chris Haughton. Hat Monkey needs help with all sorts of activities, and littles will love helping him out. £2.99  March / April 2017

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Sum mer of Love


2017 Wo r d s H O L LY K I R K WO O D

Avoid the big names and head for for one of the boutique family-oriented festivals taking place this summer. It's all about getting back to nature, with fantastic food, great music, gorgeous surroundings and sometimes even flushing loos.



Deer Shed 21-23 July Baldersby Park, Topclif fe, North Yorkshire

Littles can enjoy everything from ballet dancing with Matthew Bourne to the mind-expanding science tent. There is top-rate comedy and music all weekend, and the setting is superb.


C A M P B E S T I VA L 27th to 30th July Lulworth Castle

15-17 September Hawarden Estate, Flintshire, Wales

A return to more traditional times is advocated at this rustic, fun-filled weekend in Wales organised by Cerys Matthews and Charlie Gladstone. Try your hand at axe-throwing, archery, tree-climbing, leather working, knot tying or bushcraft. •


Dick and Dom return to Lulworth Castle for the most popular family festival in the UK. Organised by Rob da Bank it’s an ingenious mix of great music for parents and brilliant entertainment for kids of all ages. Increasing numbers of converts return year after year, so early booking is recommended. •

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3- 6 August Cornbury Park

Everything goes a little bit Swallows and Amazons at Wilderness, which boasts a dedicated tribe of followers who wax lyrical about the campfi res, costume-making, cricket and theatre plus music, fi ne local food and, praise the lord, nannies. •

July festival


Elderf lower Fields

BLISSFIELDS 6-9 July Vicarage Farm, near Winchester, Hampshire


Expect the unexpected this year from one of the best boutique family festivals out there. Blissfields has grown organically since 2001, and claims it never, ever rains. •

Begun just five years ago, Elderflower Fields is aimed at families who want to fully embrace the outdoors. Try your hand at everything from kayaking and paddleboarding to building your own adventure playground, plus some good, oldfashioned orienteering. Yikes. •


Family Festival

TurboCharger £39.95;



Do your best to pack light, because distances from the car to your pitch can be considerable. Remember that there are always stalls selling overpriced bits and pieces, which you'll be grateful for, but make sure you take the basics: • cool bag • ear defenders • inflatable chairs • ID Bracelets • first aid kit • torches • snacks and water bottles • smartphone GPS • waterproofs • wellies • portable chargers

26 to 29 May Pippingford Park, Ashdown Forest


In case phones fail £24.97;

LES THE COOLBAG He's a lifesaver £99;


Be prepared From £3.95;

INFLATABLE CHAIR Cuddle up in comfort £15;

March / April 2017

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Moomin around The craze for all things Nordic continues with a strong focus on Moomins throughout 2017. Mama takes a peek into their magical world Wo r d s PE N D L E H A R T E

f 2016 was the year of hygge, then 2017 is set to be the year of the Moomins. The Southbank Centre has launched Nordic Matters, a year of Scandinavian-themed events, which kicked off with Adventures in Moominland, an immersive exhibition dedicated to the rounded inhabitants of Moominvalley and their Finnish creator, Tove Jansson. Other global Moomin happenings in 2017 incude the opening of a new museum in Finland, the launch of a new animated series by Wallace and Gromit’s Steve Box and an Easter Moomin festival at Kew Gardens. March / April 2017  |  2 3

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I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the weekend The weekend guide for families in London

Making weekends wonderful PRESENTS

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MOOMIN PIECES Arabia’s Moomin range is available at

The exhibition at the Festival Hall focuses heavily on Jansson’s life, featuring original illustrations and artworks as well as letters and personal items from her studio, displayed in an interactive world based on the Nordic landscape of the books. Several of the Moomin stories, such as Comet in Moominland (1946) and Moomin Midwinter (1957) were written against the backdrop of political and socio-economic change in Finland and heavily influenced by Tove’s relationships with family, friends and lovers which defi ned the narrative and character development. Written during a time of hardship and war, the tolerant world of Moominvalley offered a refuge from the harshness of reality. Jansson explored her art and own sexuality within the confi nes of this changing political landscape - and her friends, enemies, fears and hopes often found themselves manifested in the complex and emotional stories. Accompanying the Southbank’s exhibition is a pop-up Moomin store in the Festival Hall, selling the ever-popular Moomin homewares. Finish design company Arabia started manufacturing Moomin-themed children’s ceramics, using Jansson’s original illustrations, in the late 1950s, and a second launch in the 1990s kicked off a Moomin boom that has never really gone away. The high quality ceramics with their simple, practical shapes and the high-shine glaze of the colourful Moomin motifs make the pieces highly collectible – and the limited edition ranges particularly so.

The Moomin-themed Easter extravaganza at Kew Gardens is an exciting interactive trail exploring the hidden depths of the gardens, passing vibrant displays of fritillaries, camassias and tulips, and culminating at a magical Moomin Camp in the wild woodland of the Conservation Area. On the Moomin trail, children will be able to get creative at interactive points along the way and visitors might even snatch a glimpse of the Moomintrolls through the trees. Sophia Jansson, creative director of Moomin Characters and niece of Tove Jansson, said: “All of the inhabitants of Moominvalley possess a deep love and respect for nature, from the Hemulens who spend their time collecting plants or butterfl ies to the adventurous Snufkin, whose music is inspired by the landscape around him. So we couldn’t be happier to be working with the team at Kew to inspire a similar love of nature.” • Adventures in Moominland continues at the Royal Festival Hall until 23 April. Book tickets at or call 020 7960 4200 • The Moomins Easter Adventure comes to Kew Gardens from 1 to 17 April. March / April 2017

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Fine casting in bronze, silver, gold & glass bespoke jewellery with Fingerprint engraving

Telephone 020 8769 4757

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity

Philippa Herbert Ltd 37 Riggindale Road, London SW16 1QH Mobile 07977 477 518

Borne is a collaboration between Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Registered Charity No. 1067412


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OSCAR DE LA RENTA Celestial earrings, £240;



Afternoon tea accompanied by a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut. £65 per person;

The girls away day at Lime Wood includes a massage, mani/pedi and lunch. £210;



Cute matching sweaters, t-shirts and bodysuits £32 a set;

Watch £225;


Scarf in aid of the Gynaecological Cancer Fund, £75; Selfridges and


Fingerprint bracelet £440;

WRIGHTSON AND PLATT Personalised pendant, £POA;


Mother and daughter spa days in Provence from £253.


Aurelia goodies plus a pretty necklace. £129;

Mother’s D ay t re at s


Channel positive thinking, and self-development. £38;

Make sure you get spoiled on March 26, or book a spa day for you and your mum March / April 2017

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Easy Street  COSATTO WOW

Featuring a smooth compact-fold system, one-hand seat recline, onehand release carrycot and adjustable calf support – plus a super-sized basket underneath - the latest travel system from Cosatto has been designed with mums-on-the-go in mind. £599.95;

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5 2 New

kid on the block Great stuff for babies and mamas

Wo r d s H O L LY K I R K WO O D


1. Musy heaven Aden + Anais The beautiful metallic collection from Aden + Anais consists of cozy dream blankets, super soft swaddles and versatile musys with gorgeous little stars. Choose from gold, silver, skyline or primrose colours. From £21, •



2. Adopt a friend

3. Romp around

4. Puree perfection

5. Rocking it

Big Stuffed Dana Muskat made the fi rst of these these oversized sea creatures for her newborn neice. Hand-crafted in Bretagne, the story is that these charming toys are looking for adoptive homes – and our name is 100% on the list. From £100, •

From Babies with Love The cheeky crab design from From Babies with Love captured our hearts this spring. As ever, 100% of the profits help orphaned and abandoned children around the world, through a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages. £21.90, •

Beaba Babycook Plus A gizmo that steams, cooks, blends defrosts and reheats? Sign us up. Weaning just got a whole lot more achievable, and when you're fi nished making baby food this is still a useful kitchen gizmo to keep around – try the cookbooks too. £159, •

Oli Ella Co Ko Rocker Designed from the point of view that a nursing chair shouldn’t look out of place anywhere in the house, these are a great investment. Ergonomically designed with extra lumbar support, they also come in a choice of 18 colours. £795, •

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essen t i a ls






6. All in one

7. Sweet separates

8. Sleepyhead

9. Multi-purpose

5. City Strolling

Fox’s Felts Th is miracolous Rattle Teether has a textured surface to help soothe painful gums. It’s super easy for little ones to grasp and a great sensory tool for visual and tactile stimulation. They can also be personalized. Aw. £13.99, •

Piupia Much of designer Claudia's inspiration comes from the sea and her latest collection features separates and super soft babygros. We fi nd the combination of soft pastel colours with vibrant illustrations bewitching. Tops from £28, •

Nubie Available in two delightful colourways these handmade mobiles shaped like balloons play a soothing tune and goes perfectly on a cot or a changing mat. Other designs include pretty clouds or a moon and stars. £34, •

Nibbling These necklaces are things of wonder. They provide something for baby to focus on when he's feeding, they soothe sore gums, and they're eminently chewable. And the more baby chews the faster those teeth show up. £24 •

Bugaboo Bee 5 With specially engineered wheel suspension for a smoother ride, and a one-piece fold, the latest design from Bugaboo is simple to carry and store in the tightest of spaces. Th is makes it a perfect pushchair for city life. •

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Camille Walala Limited Edition Easter Eggs £350 each;


Hazelnut Crunch Small Easter Egg £9.99;


Dorset Dinosaur Studded Egg £10.95;


La Poule D’Apres François Pompon £36 each;


Milk or Dark Chocolate Egg £50;


Chocolate Hen £3.95;


Milk and dark eggs filled with a selection of couture truffles from £25;


Animal Box of Chocolates £29;


Infinite Waves Easter Eggs £40;

PIERRE MARCOLINI The Kimono Doll £125;

O pulent Eggs Gourmet chocolate Easter treats for all ages


Ouef Dentelle Dark Chocolate from £46;

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Wish List

From the wooly mammoth you never knew you needed to a cool craft box

TUCKING UP TIME Harlequin Doll’s Bed We are anticipating hours of fun putting baby to bed with this classic Harlequin wooden doll’s bed from Cam Cam Copenhagen (mattress and bedding separate). £99

BE MINDFUL Headspace for kids It's never to early to get mindful, and Headspace has three apps for littles under 12. Featuring activites that teach them the basics of mindfulness, children can practice breathing exercises, visualisations and even try out some focus-based meditation.

Hannah & Tiff With its South East Asian heritage, Hannah and Tiff ’s SS17 collection employs hand embroidery combined with modern silhouettes in a fun palette of colours.

ea met


Creative, fun and messy, these baking kits are all made with natural flavourings, and these Easter chicks and bunnies are super fun for spring. From £14.99 34


MODERN BRITISH Great British Baby Company These handmade coats are inspired by Britain’s textile manufacturing heritage. The lambswool cloth is astonishingly soft, and they last for years - making them perfect family hand-me-downs.

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ELECTRIC VESPA For the toddler who has everything, this electric bike is a mindbogglingly faithful reproduction of the legendary scooter down to the smallest detail. £220


Molly and The Wolf Craft club 4-10 year olds will love this craft club. Every month they’re sent a new kit in the post, with everything you’ll need. Choose from a range of options, from a kite to a kaleidoscope. From £14.95.

Twinkle toes Moccis

These hand-sewn Swedish moccasins are available all the way up into adult sizes if you covet them for yourself; stylish and practical, they come with non-slip soles, and even go into the washing machine. From £22.97

Ice Age Wooly Mammoth


Th is mammoth is by far the most huggable piece of furniture we have ever seen. We hope they do adult sizes soon. £132

Tobias & The Bear x Mr Men The vintage artworks of Mr. Men were the inspiration behind this super cute collection from Tobias & The Bear. From the pure joy of Mr Happy to the lounging cool of Mr Lazy they're sure to raise a smile. From £8.

March / April 2017

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iCoo iCoocreates creates iCoo creates unique unique unique solutions solutions solutions to toenrich enrich to enrich family familylife life family life

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mamahood M U M D I A RY: G O I N G F R O M O N E -TO -T WO p . 3 8  P E R S O N A L ST Y LI ST S p .4 2   • I N T E RV I E W: P E N É LO P E C R UZ p .4 8

Style File MERCER7

Erna Leon is one of the inspiring mamas we met this month. We talked to her for our Styling It Out feature, as a member of an growing tribe of women who are collaborating to help busy mums realise that looking great doesn’t have to take hours out of your day, or break the bank.

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Mum Diary

And Then

There Were

TWO Number two on the way? Two-under-two survivor Apphia Michael gives you the lowdown on the star products that will make the transition smoother Wo r d s A PPH I A M I C H A E L

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mamah o o d


The bath time helper D R E A M B A BY D E L U X E B AT H S E AT


ou’ve made it through the day with a toddler and a baby, hurrah! Now how do you get them fed and bathed in a timely manner? Dreambaby’s deluxe bath seat allows babies from six months old to be bathed alongside their siblings. Attaching to the bath with strong suction grips, it comes complete with a heat sensor, contoured non-slip seat with extra padding and masses of leg room. And unlike some other seats, where baby’s legs can sometimes get caught and scratched against the plastic when they are lifted out, the front of the Dreambaby bath seat cleverly hinges open for easy access to your little splasher.  Dream baby Deluxe Bath Seat with heat sensor, £22, from JoJo Maman Bébé;

The Double Buggy I C A N DY P E AC H B LO S S O M


hought getting out and about with a toddler was hard? You now have two of these small and unpredictable humans to herd out of the door. Take it from me: a versatile and intuitive double pushchair makes all the difference between chaotic and calm, especially when you have siblings that are close in age. Not only does the iCandy Peach Blossom deliver on the style front, but it is a joy to push, and incredibly comfortable and spacious for little ones. A great travel system with lots of options for carrycot, pushchair seat and car seat combinations, the Peach Blossom also comes with elevators that allow the single seat or carrycot to be positioned higher and closer to the parent, together with seats that allow for world- or parent-facing mode. Crucially, it remains within the footprint of a single pushchair, even in double mode. Other features, such as a 25kg weight limit, puncture-proof EVA tires, a one-touch 5 point safety harness and a chassis that allows for one-handed folding (once the seat unit has been removed), make this an invaluable pushchair.  iCandy Peach Blossom, £955,




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Premium quality eco-friendly nappies & wipes. BAMBOONATURE.indd mama magazine.indd 1 1


@BamboNatureUK 10/02/2017 14/02/2017 09:19:09 18:09

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The baby carrier E R G O B A BY 3 6 0


ometimes you just need to transport everyone from A to B with as little stuff as possible - jumping into taxis, navigating the tube, or going to a place where buggies aren’t allowed. Enter the hardworking Ergobaby 360. With four carry position options, it is a versatile piece of kit which adapts to virtually any situation. Pop baby in the carrier so you have your hands free for toddler hand-holding. Or carry your toddler on your back while your littlest one sits in the pram. The Ergobaby 360 has a structured bucket seat which allows for baby to be ergonomically seated in all four positions. As a bonus, it comes with a supportive waistband and padded shoulder straps to help you carry the weight.  Ergobaby 360, from £129.90,


The sleeping pod SLEEPYH EAD DELUXE


The baby seat N U N A L E A F


andy for the times when you need to put baby down to tend to your older one (and there will be a lot of these), the Nuna LEAF is a baby seat that goes the extra mile. It has an upper weight limit of 60kg, which means both your newborn and older children will be able to enjoy it. Plus, it’s elegantly designed, lined with plush padded fabric and can be accessorised with an optional toy bar. Designed to mimic the motion of a falling leaf, this smart-looking seat gently sways from side to side without the need for batteries or excessive rocking from parents - swinging is activated with just one gentle push and lasts for two minutes, or non-stop if used in conjunction with the LEAF Wind, a mini-motor that attaches with a simple click to the base. Certainly one to be recommended.  LEAF, £160; LEAF Wind, £70;

oogle the Sleepyhead and you’ll fi nd no shortage of parents waxing lyrical about the pod’s transformative powers on their baby’s sleep patterns. And for good reason - with a unique design that essentially looks to reinvent the feeling of being in the womb, it provides a soft, cocooning space that babies love, turning previously restless babes into a contented little angels who sleep through the night. Fans of attachment parenting can also rejoice as it has been rigorously tested for fi rmness and air-permeability in order to aid safe co-sleeping. Th is really is a gamechanging newborn essential, particularly as it’s so portable which means you can just move it from room to room whenever you need to, or even take it away on holiday.  Sleepyhead Deluxe (0-8 months), From £99,

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Styling it out We all need wardrobes which are practical but don't compromise on style. Thankfully there are professionals on hand to help W o r d s H O L LY K I R K W O O D

here’s no question that returning to your social life, let alone back into your job can be intimidating as you emerge from the cocoon of new motherhood. In some ways you feel like a new person, but of course you’re also still your old self at heart. Plus, your body's been through enormous changes, and it can be hard to just pick up where you left off in the style stakes. Shopping trips can be reduced to smash and grab sessions, and you just don't have hours to put together outfits when you are juggling little ones. In short, when it comes to your new style as a mama, a reboot can often be welcome. Thankfully, a number of entrepreneurial women working in fashion provide specific help to mums and busy women in need of a style edit. As stylists who recognise the needs of time-poor women who still want to look current, they are becoming the go-to people for those of us who are keen to update our wardrobes in a user-friendly way. Helping clients to develop a personal style which suits all their needs, from the day-to-day to the one-off event, developing a killer capsule wardrobe is often at the heart of their work. Absolutely Mama talked to two brilliant women about how they help their clients to look their absolute best from the school run to the sashimi date night. 42


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ERNA LEON Founder of Mercer7 @mercer7official



rna is a gorgeous Armenian mother-of-two who originally trained in fi ne art, but subsequently moved into fashion. She trained at FIT in New York, and worked for names like Betsy Johnson and Calvin Klein jeans before arriving in London. After she had her family, she realised that an industry where full-time jobs involve working punishing hours might not suit her new work/life balance. She already had her own label, and so she decided to use her knowledge and love of fashion, style and art to launch a new fashion website. Launched this spring, Mercer7 ( is a go-to site for fashion inspiration which Erna edits on a daily basis. She aims to spend the time curating the very best pieces, from designer labels to the High Street, so users can hop online, see her suggestions, and buy pieces there and then. The site has a lifestyle feel: the magazine section interviews inspiring women from fashion and design, while the style notes identify specific pieces you need to achieve a certain look. Mercer7 has a very defi nite aesthetic – one Erna herself has been devloping for years – and it’s based around minimalist styling and classic tailoring: "The whole idea is around sustainability through timelessness," she explains."Being on trend can be very hard work – you can pay a lot of money for a bad quality piece which will date quickly, but if you choose to always invest in timeless pieces, and throw in some on-trend accessories which don't break the bank, this is a sustainable way of building a wardrobe which is functional but also very beautiful. Dressing in the morning will be easy – you won’t have to agonise over what to put together every day." Erna's own favourite item of clothing is her Maje jacket, which she bought in 2011 in Harrods and wears endlessly: "You can wear it for the school run but then also dress it up to go out later. Change your shoes and your top, and you’re ready to go!" The colour palette of Mercer7 is very monochrome, which allows users to build up pieces that go together, creating a perfect capsule wardrobe for dressing up and down, which is exactly what busy women – and let’s face




it, us mamas – are looking for. As Erna says: "Shopping changes when you’re a mum; your time and patience is limited and you’re really conscious of things like priceper-wear. Although Mercer7 isn’t specifically a site for mums, it’s a perfect resource for women who have little time but still want to look current." As a stylist, Erna also does do wardrobe consultations and personal shopping, mostly on a word-of-mouth basis and she’s keen to encourage collaboration across the board with other designers and stylists; it’s why she interviews so many people March / April 2017

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Beautiful organic cotton clothes for babies, toddlers, children and mums too. FRUGI.indd 1

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herself. "It’s all about seeing what’s possible," she explains. "Perhaps I can put some people who always wanted to work together in the same room and they can create something wonderful?’ As a resource for busy mums, and women tired of being let down by online shopping sites, Mercer7 seems like an ideal solution, and seeing more working mums collaborating and supporting each other is always inspiring. Carefully assessing the quality of each piece before it goes online, she is able to recommend a mixture of high street and designer pieces which combine to produce a sustainable collection for busy women who don't want to compromise on the way they look.

THERESE BASSLER The Style Coach @thestyle_coach


he wouldn’t call herself a stylist or a personal shopper – but Therese is a Swedish mum living in Barnes who works with women who need a bit of a refresh in the style deparment. Starting out on the shop floor in Selfridges 18 years ago, Therese later moved into buying and then styling: "I have

always loved the world of fashion and I’ve been lucky enough to work for some incredible brands both here in the UK and in Sweden,’ she says. "But I reached a point where I was working for a big brand, doing a 60-hour week with a toddler and an eight-month old, and something had to give… The change happened very organically: I was already doing informal wardrobe ‘detoxes’ through word-of-mouth, when a good friend suggested that I help women with their style full-time. "I call what I do style coaching: it’s not styling, or personal shopping. It’s a consultation to help busy mums fi nd the right wardrobe for their daily lives which is tailored to their specific needs. "Often they lack the courage to throw out old favourites which no longer work, and need to be encouraged to try new ideas." Therese only launched her business, The Style Coach (, in April last year, but the business grew quickly, mostly thanks to social media: "On Instagram I love to share great looks or pieces I’ve seen, and ideas for my followers, and I write blog posts for @amothersedit, which always generates leads from mums interested in fi nding out what I do." There are two elements to Therese’s service: a wardrobe edit followed by a shopping trip: so out with the old and then in with the new. But before she comes March / April 2017

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to your house she sends you a detailed consultation which covers a lot of lifestyle questions around how you spend your time, what your budget is, and how your commitments work throughout your day, from work to managing the family. "I like to say I am mixing fashion with function" she points out. The wardrobe edit involves an honest tour of your current wardrobe. Over about four hours Therese will take you through the pieces she thinks will work for the future, and which need to go. "What I aim to do, because this is what the majority of busy mums need, is start from the ground up with a killer capsule wardrobe of pieces which all work together, and you build it up from there," she says. The shopping trip is also tailored to clients’ personal style and budget – but there are shops she returns to again and again. "For some reason one really big gap in most British women’s wardrobe is really good quality knitwear," she explains. "And I’ve found that unless you’ve got a limitless budget you’ll fi nd the quality of cashmere at Uniqlo can’t be bettered." She also recommends the revamped

Jigsaw, Zara for fun pieces and Massimo Dutti, as well as contemporary designers like Isabelle Marant as good starting points for shopping trips. Like Erna, she advises women to spend on the items they're going to wear over and over – so a kaftan from Zara is a fun buy for the beach, but when you’re looking for something like boots you need to be prepared to invest. "I also like to play around with what mums wear day-to-day" Therese says. "Lots of women say they don’t often have the chance to dress up, but I say why not wear some beautiful leather trousers on the school run? If you look good you will feel good." Both Erna and Therese are distilling decades of industry experience into wisdom all of us can use – and the key message seems to be keep it simple and don't get carried away with impulse buys. It’s worth spending serious money on pieces you will wear for years; think about cost per wear, and be prepared to experiment with brands and shops you didn’t think were for you. Ultimately you should never have to compromise on style, whether you’re going into a big meeting or caring full time for your family. And thanks to ladies like these, it’s easier than ever to get a little helping hand. March / April 2017

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mam ahood



Film star, philanthropist, fashion entrepreneur and most importantly a mother, when it comes to having it all, Spanish beauty Penélope Cruz is taking life in her stride Wo r d s K A R E N A N N E OV E R T O N

otherhood has been a revolutionary experience,” declares Penélope Cruz, flicking her magnificent chestnut mane. “I’m a very different woman today – I worry less, I cook more, and my life revolves around family rather than work. Everything has changed for the better. Your way of seeing the world is different and you appreciate life more. It’s the most wonderful thing that can happen to a woman.” This intense passion and vigour for life is what we have come to expect from Cruz, who long ago broke out from the Spanish independent film scene to become a Hollywood icon. Unlike many of her peers, the 42-year-old is an open book when it comes to discussing her home life in Madrid with husband Javier Bardem and their two children – Leo, six and Luna, three. Though never revealing anything too personal about her brood, she is ebullient and candid about the many highs and occasional lows of balancing the different aspects of career and family, gesticulating enthusiastically and occasionally throwing her head back to let

loose her infectious laugh. For Cruz, giving birth to Leo in 2011 was the revelation. “From that moment, everything changes. Everything,” she emphasises. “You look at the world with completely different eyes. And you revisit your childhood in a way that it doesn’t go through any filter. It’s not mental – it’s just really in your heart and you experience these things again that you thought you had forgotten.” In a career spanning two decades, Cruz has been fastidiously devoted to her craft, always choosing roles that are artistically challenging rather than commercially lucrative. She admits to possessing a fierce stubborn streak, the upside of which is “having great discipline”. Born to a working-class family in Madrid, Cruz harboured ambitions of being a ballet dancer, training for nine years at the national Conservatory, and often danced till her feet bled. “I was very determined and dedicated when I was dancing,” she says. “And when I became an actress I always threw myself into every film role I ever took, although I’ve learned to be more relaxed and not get so involved with my characters as I used to!” As a teenager, Cruz found work as a model before making her film debut in 1992 in Jamón Jamón

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Sleep time guard & play time companion

ABSOLUTELY VALID FROM 21.02.2017 TO 21.04.2017

We have put a lot of love in creating Whisbear – The Humming Bear. The shushing device – that we prefer to call the Whisbear’s Heart – emits sound similar to what your baby remembers from safe and cosy environment of the womb. That is why Whisbear supports the transition from prenatal to postnatal life and helps babies settle and fall asleep. The Heart is armed with CRYsensor, an innovative technology that automatically enables soothing sounds if your baby wakes up and cries, to bring peaceful sleep back. Whisbear not only guards your baby’s sleep but is also a great playtime companion. We have used rustling elements in his ears and easy-to-grab legs along with contrasting fabrics to encourage sensory and fine motor development of your baby through exciting play!

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14/02/2017 17:29

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~ – a quirky satire exploring machismo and erotic desire. In the role of Silvia, the stunning 18-year-old wowed critics with her charisma, and it was the first time she acted opposite husband-to-be Bardem, although the couple would not fall in love until they worked on Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona – the film which won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Cruz and Bardem were married in 2010 in a small ceremony at a friend’s house in the Bahamas; Cruz gave birth to Leo the following year. Having nurtured her career for so long, the actress admits she was more than happy to put her energy into her burgeoning family: “I love being at home. I love being a housewife – I love the word, too, and what it expresses even though I know in English culture there is sometimes a negative sense attached to that,” she says matter-of-factly. “But to be a mother and to look after my family is the most beautiful experience I could imagine. I grew up in a very tightly-knit family where we had this wonderful atmosphere and I have such fond memories of that time even though life was sometimes a struggle.” Cruz remains close to her family. She and Bardem split their time between homes in Los Angeles and Madrid, where the actress co-owns a highly successful clothing boutique with her younger sister, Mónica. And although no amount of blockbuster films can pull her away from Spain’s successful homegrown film industry, those big international films do come knocking and when they do, Cruz will always strive to have her children on set with her.


“Fortunately, I have a lot of help,” she smiles. “Although I like to be with my children as much as possible. I think the relationship between a mother and her children is a very intense and joyful experience, and it’s important to me to help my children grow up to be confident adults. So I always try to bring my whole family along with me while I’m working.” Naturally, you don’t reach such dizzying heights of success without making enormous sacrifices, and the Vanilla Sky star admits there was a time she was a workaholic. “For a long time I enjoyed working very intensely and travelling a lot. I loved being able to explore many different kinds of characters and I was always full of energy and passion,” she says – then confesses that while she is still deeply passionate about her work, she now limits herself to one or two films a year. “I think the love of my children and my partner has made me happy...” she muses. “But even before I became a mother I had decided to quit being addicted to my

work.” She explains how her life on set had become so engrossing, she had reached the point where she didn’t have a life outside work – a prospect Cruz found “scary”. “Now I have a much more comfortable rhythm,” she says. “When you’re raising two small children, you need a better balance.” Cruz still has to make sure she looks after herself: “I try to stay in shape, but I don’t obsess about it. I’m more careful of what I eat, but food will always be one of my great pleasures in life. I drink a lot of water and try to get a good night’s sleep even though it's difficult with young children,” she says, raising her eyebrows. For Cruz, celebrity is merely a by-product of her day job, and when asked how she would describe her life these days, she responds warmly: “Every day I learn a little more about who I am, which is always the biggest quest. I have a beautiful family and a job that I love and which gives me a lot of freedom. I feel very grateful.” March / April 2017  |  51

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Get Nautical SERAPHINE

Falling just above the knee, and with versatile three-quarter-length sleeves, this nautical-themed maternity dress works perfectly between seasons. Designed in a flattering A-line cut it has a flexible fit for all stages of pregnancy, and once baby arrives it features nursing access at the front. £49.

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6 of the best FLORAL PRINTS






Stylish sleepwear, workout gear and our favourite floral prints

The cat's pyjamas •Olivia von Halle•


Her super-soft tracksuits may the ultimate lust list item right now, but Olivia still offers the last word in drop dead gorgeous sleepwear. £1,000.



1. Glamorous, Floral Brocade Bomber Jacket, £55; • 2. Jonathan Saunders, Alex Embroidered Floral Shirt, £575; 3. Marc Jacobs, Floral-Flocked Gingham Blouse, £305; • 4. Marni, Flower Print Asymmetric Dress, £1,660; • 5. Red Valentino, Sequinned Flower Tote, £755; • 6. Laurence Dacade, Pete Embroidered Velvet Ankle Boots, £615;



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With roots in both Bath and Oslo, Noctu’s night and loungewear is inspired by nature. Soft, elegant nightdresses come short or long, and in a pretty range of pastel colours. £45



we love

Kick-start your spring workout


01 BEST FOR BASICS • Lululemon This Canadian sportswear label has gone from strength to strength, offering gym bunnies a wide range of high quality workout gear and accessories in flattering hues.


New for March, the CAMILLA collection includes a Geo Print Pyjama top and pants which are light, soft and right on trend in teal. £45

THE RIGHT SUPPORT •Cake Maternity•

The T-back design and closely constructed straps on this maternity and nursing bra provide a snug fit, and mean it stays in place perfectly for light activity like yoga or pilates. £32.90

Toasty Warm •To a s t •

e love the wide wrappy tie on this beautiful dressing gown. It makes us feel a bit like we're in Memoirs of a Geisha as we potter around the house on a weekend morning. £95;


02 NEW BRAND TO KNOW • Michi Michi is the high-end workout brand that offers a sexy twist on gym basics. We love their mesh panelled leggings which hug in all the right places with miraculous leg-sculpting results. 03 MOST STYLISH • Varley For workout wear that can be worn from gym to baby group, Varley is the name to know. Inspired by California’s costal culture and London’s eclectic style, their eye-catching prints deliver Instagram-worthy looks. 04 HIGH STREET HERO • GapFit It might not be the first brand that springs to mind when you think of sportswear, but Gap is every gym bunny's affordable gem. From yoga and studio-wear, to barre and running kit, their wide-range of high quality separates come in a plethora of trendled cuts and high-tech fabrics.

March / April 2017

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is here to help!

We all know how unpredictable babies can be!

Even if you follow a regular routine, no two days are the same, and there are certain trigger times1 when your baby may be more prone to nappy rash 1.Morris H, The bottom line on nappy rash, British Journal of Midwifery, September 2012, Vol 20, No 9, pages 540-543


we an ing


com mon cold


for Nappy Rash For occasions when it does strike, Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment can be used to treat nappy rash, relieving the irritation and redness. Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment is a medicine. Always read the label.

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from Nappy Rash For daily protection, use Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment or Easy Spray Barrier Lotion at every nappy change to help protect against the irritants that can cause nappy rash.


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Bags Of Style Ke r i Ki t

esigned for the more stylish new parents, the multi award-winning KeriKit luxury leather baby changing bags combine quality, function and fashion. Designed for easy organisation and impeccable style, the enduring quality and flexible function associated with a KeriKit bag, ensures it adapts to your everyday baby in a carrier or sling inside the coat post-birth. Nice.


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Maxi dress Tulum €485

Let it


Berlin-based Santa Lupita’s flowing shapes are easy to wear at every stage of the pregnancy journey, and afterwards sa nta l up ita .co m

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Facing page: Eden Garden Dress €520

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15/02/2017 12:03

Fertility Shirt €245

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Harvest mini dress €320

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Angie Adams, founder, of Question Everything explains the inspiration behind her popular designs Wo r d s H O L LY K I R K WO O D

ABSOLUTELY MAMA: What inspired you to start a childrenswear brand? ANGIE ADAMS: I’ve always loved clothes and fashion and back in the 80s, living in Manila, I’d buy fabric and go to the local tailor and have clothes made for myself. I was a big Madonna fan and I loved her style so I would design and have my own clothes made in her style at the time. Things I couldn’t get in the shops. When I had kids, I would have dresses made for them on trips back to Manila and when in London, I’d receive so many compliments on them and subsequently friends and family encouraged me to start my own children’s clothing business. Believe it or not, I have used my past experiences playing in a rock band [Angie played drums in a punk band, and has toured with Iggy Pop and the Foo Fighters] and working as a homeopath as an influence on the design of my clothing. AM: How would you describe your personal style from day-to-day? AA: Mornings are a bit of a dash. I normally wear jeans, a jumper and cowboy boots

unless I’m heading out to meetings in which case I’ll wear a dress. I love dresses and collect them. One of my favourite designers is Coco Fennel. She makes beautiful and quirky dresses inspired by the 50s, 60s and 70s. I love vintage dresses and cowboy boots. I’m always on the lookout for good finds all over the world. I also love stars and tartan. Another brand I’ve been following and collecting since the 90s is a Japanese brand called Hysteric Glamour. They make great rock-n-roll T shirts. On my wish list is a pair of Miu Miu boots which are cowboy cut with cats on them. They sound a bit mad but they are very cool.    AM: What are your style inspirations for the brand?  AA: Childrenswear should definitely be fun! That’s what being a child is all about. I think it’s also important that the dresses are versatile and comfortable. I always try to include fun prints I know kids will like in my collections as well as classic prints. I love classic looks and obviously I always like to throw a bit of a subtle rock and roll feel into Question Everything’s collections. I feel

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fash ion

AM: What’s the most fun thing about your job? AA: I love designing the collections and have so much fun doing this. I also like to travel, so travelling to the Far East for production and to shows in the U.S and Europe is great! Building the brand has been hard work – and continues to be so – but it’s rewarding. Every achievement makes me happy and makes it all worthwhile. It also gives me a big kick to see children I don’t know out and about in a Question Everything dress. That’s a great feeling.

that the looks can be interpreted and styled according to each child’s personality. I don’t want to dictate but rather leave it open to play with. AM: What do your children like wearing?  AA: My kids are a bit older now so they have their own style and I don’t have as much input. My son likes Palace and my girls like Urban Outfitters and Top Shop. They also like mixing it up with a bit of vintage – and Dr. Martens are popular all round.  When they were younger I was always looking around for beautiful dresses smocked dresses too of course. I generally like classic looks but with a modern twist. AM: What’s been the biggest challenge so far? Do you manage to find time for yourself between business and family commitments?  AA: The daily running of a company involves a lot of admin. It’s quite time-consuming so my assistant and I share the work between us to make sure there’s always time for the more fun creative side of the business which is what inspires me to keep working hard. There are never enough hours in the day when I’m feeling exhausted I like going for a massage. I also love yoga, which has been a big part of my life on and off, time allowing. It makes me feel peaceful and centred.  Additionally, good friends are priceless. A long chat with a friend and hearing an outside perspective on something always helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed.




AM: What’s next for the brand? AA: So many plans! I never have enough time to fulfil all the ideas I have. I’d like to expand on our boyswear line and I have a Question Everything homeware project in the pipeline, as well as a possible small womenswear collection. We also have some really interesting collaborations in discussion so watch this space.


AM: Do you think the world is coming around to working mums and the idea of flexible working? Yes I think it’s more commonplace for mums to work these days and there are so many amazing female entrepreneurs that are mothers. It’s very inspiring to see but I do feel that although it’s more common it does not take the pressure off of still being a brilliant mum – perhaps sometimes it puts more pressure on. It’s all about balance and never forgetting your priorities, in my opinion.

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boutiques we love

fas h i on





FLAVOUR Spanish children’s clothing is having a moment. We meet two boutique owners PEPA GONZALEZ OF PEPA & CO


inding a balance between feminine and fussy for girls, and cute and preppy for boys can be difficult. Some British brands tend to go full Eton, or worse, full 80s princess, in the search of the vintage edge which we so love in the UK. As it turns out, two boutiques in London are leading the way, with a modern aesthetic offering attractive designs with a hint of nostalgia- and they are both Spanish-owned. Pepa & Co and La Coqueta both quickly gained dedicated followings. Their combination of affordability and highquality natural materials, means the clothes feel fresh and modern – and are perfect for this year’s spring and summer seasons.

Pepa & Co


Pepa & Co is run by Pepa Gonzalez, a Spanish mum living in London who saw a gap in the market for smart, affordable childrens’ clothes. To begin with she imported Spanish lines into London, and did good business but Pepa has a talent for designing, and it’s her own line which has most captured the imaginations of her clientele. Her Fulham boutique opened last year, and has been an enormous success. Pepa didn’t need the royal seal of approval to know she was doing well, but she took it as a compliment when The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were gifted a piece for Prince George, and became regular customers. Both royal babies are widely praised for their adorable style; who knew some of it has Spanish roots? p ep aandcom p any .com


La Coqueta

Another brand mums are falling for is La Coqueta. The brainchild of Spanish motherof-five Celia Munoz, the brand was born after Celia noticed her fi rst-born daughter Flavia was often complimented on her style; mums wanted to know where she got her clothes – and the answer was from Celia’s home country Spain. She also saw a gap in the market, for what she terms ‘traditional, timeless fashion for children, that still has a chic and contemporary style’ and after she had her fi fth child, she decided to take the plunge and open her own shop selling the clothes she loved. Working with handpicked Spanish designers using simple fabrics Celia says all her clothes are designed to last, making great hand-medowns. Her Hampstead boutique is always buzzing, and she launches in Liberty in March. lacoqueta .com


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6 of the best K I D S B AC K PAC K S

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FASHION NOTES New looks for littles, and six of the best backpacks

Hear me roar •Mini Rodini•

Th is lion short sleeve tee is going to be your little boy (or girl’s) new favourite weekend look




1. Becky and Lolo, Toddler Oilcloth Safari backpack, • 2. Kanken, £60, kanken-kids • 3. Personalised Fox Backpack, £15.99, 5wells. • 4. Novelty Dinosaur Backpack, £10, mothercare. com • 5. Jo Jo Maman Bébé, Skip Hop Zoo, £20, • 6. Pink Lining Navy and Cream Boats, £15,



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GLOBAL NOMAD •Outside the Lines•

SS17 for Outside the Lines takes its inspiration from global travel, combining elements of a bohemian aesthetic with a more contemporary look for freespirited girls who wish to explore their own style.


ASIAN INFLUENCE •Greenberry Kids•

We always admire the Korean brands Joo at Greenberry Kids curates for her site – this Cha Cha top is a perfect, on-trend version in a pretty pastel shade. Momo Ann Cha Cha Top

Their debut collection looks to the 60s and 70s

we love

POP ART •G.Kero•

The latest arrrivals from Marguerite Bartherotte at G.Kero just fi zz with colour. Featuring hip-hop sweatshirts, shirts and tee-shirts, she harmonizes colours and shapes to produce clothes guaranteed to brighten up any drab day.

Instant classics Va n s

he collboration between Vans and the now classic children's fi lm Toy Story features everyone's favourite characters and made us want to spend a rainy Sunday watching them all again.


d Branus Foc


ingdom of Origin debuts its Starlet collection online in March. Creative Director Vanessa Wright is constantly inspired by her love of British fashion and textiles, and the launch collection, for ages 4-11, features contemporary shapes and exquisitely soft fabrics, over 91% of which are sourced and milled in the UK. Inspiration for the Starlet Collection stems from the 60’s and 70’s rock ‘n’ roll era - the dawn of cool vibes, bohemian chic and relaxed style: think Jane Birkin, Pattie Boyd and Mary Quant. Being adventurous, creative and having a positive attitude is fundamental for a Kingdom of Origin girl. Vanessa also designs timeless pieces which can work across seasons. Using adjustable straps on dungarees, rolled up hems and cuffs, and soft elasticated waistbands, she hopes that each piece can be worn and cherished as children grow, and then passed on to siblings. We want it all.

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On the

Waterfront Inspired by the sea, Missoni's SS17 girls collection is as versatile as it is elegant. Separates combine effortlessly, while dresses make graceful occasionwear misso ni .co m

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wellness B E AU T Y N E WS p . 8 2  • FO O D N OT E S p . 8 5  •  K I D S ' M E N U S p . 8 7 S U G A R F R E E R EC I P E S p . 8 8  • BA BY H E A LT H A DV I C E p . 92

Natural Selection  KJAER WEIS

Born from a desire to create highperformance cosmetics using organic ingredients, Kjær Weis' skin-loving products and opulent packaging prove that high-end beauty can have a heart.

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8 of the best NAIL STRENGTHENERS r’s editock pi






Give your nails a little TLC, fake a blow dry and revisit the facial peel

School’s Out •Clinique x Crayola•

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Cult beauty meets colouring for this nostalgic collaboration. Clinique’s Chubby Stick has been given a makeover with limited edition packing inspired by Crayola. Tickle Me Pink; £17.50.

7 8 1. Butter London Sheer Wisdom £15 2. IBX Natural Nail Strengthener £10 3. Nail Apothecary Gold Ridge Filler £8.95 4. Seche Rebuild £11.95 5. Nails Inc. NailKale colour £14 6. Deborah Lipman Turn Back Time £18 7. Jessica Restoration basecoat £18.50 8. Mava Strong fortifying and protective base coat for nails £16



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welln es s BE AUT Y

BUFF UP •Spongology•

Th is eco-friendly collection is formulated with a skinsoftening, sulfate-free formula, with extracts of eucalyptus and lavender. Each buffer is designed to cleanse, exfoliate and massage skin from neck to toe. From £15.95;


FAKE A BLOW DRY Bumble & Bumble

For manic days this lifesaver from Bumble & Bumble is equal parts dry shampoo and style extender with a pinch of volume. Apply, tie your hair into a bun, and in a few minutes the ends will have a slight curl – like you’ve just had a blow dry. £22;

ME-TIME •Cowshed•

The Udderly Gorgeous range was designed with mums-to-be in mind, and with a therapeutic blend of Sea Salt and Himalayan crystal salts and Sea Buckthorn Oil the bath salts are ideal for a long, indulgent soak. £24;

Quick fix Nuxe

e can't speak highly enough about the hydrating effects of Nuxe’s Crème Fraîche Masque. Use it once or twice a week, leaving it on for ten minutes, and absorbing any excess with your fi ngertips. For a more refreshing experience, try putting the product in the fridge fi rst. £18.50


Cadogan Clinic Words: Joy Mo ntgo m e r y


acial peels are experiencing a surge in popularity, so we decided to find out whether the treatment is as unpleasant as its reputation suggests. Firstly, it turns out not all peels are the same. The strength of the solution varies according to your specific needs, from the lightest fruit acid peel to more intensive offerings. After a thorough skin analysis Dr Anjali Mahto at the Cadogan Clinic suggested we try the lightest fruit acid peel, as they require zero downtime and are great for boosting radiance. Dr Anjali aplied the peel with a small brush and left it on for just over 5 minutes but, contrary to popular belief, the process wasn’t painful: the overriding sensation was a warm tingling. Finally the neutraliser was applied – Dr Anjali explained this tends to be least comfortable part, but although the tingling intensified it was more than manageable. The immediate after-effects were a mildly sunburnt look and tight skin, however both had worn-off after around 30 minutes, allowing for a comfortable trip home. The longerterm after-effects over a week were also minimal, and after a few days we noticed our make-up gliding on and our skin developing a healthy glow. Sign us up.

March / April 2017

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15/02/2017 13:01

THE APP FOR TODAY’S STYLISH MAMAS Download the Absolutely Mama App to receive every issue before it hits stores

The Absolutely Mama app, updated bi-monthly with each issue of the magazine, offers the freedom to seamlessly glide between articles and features from parenting experts, top influencers and some truly inspirational mamas. Download the app to discover, learn and share the latest MAMA trends and news

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14/02/2017 17:41





Making dinnertime easier on everyone

Freezer Food Cook for kids

Cook's brilliant wholesome suppers for adults and children have saved our lives more times than we care to admit. Th is spring, for every COOK for Kids meal sold they will provide a school meal for a child in one of the world’s poorest countries.




Wy l d s s o n

One of our best New Year's Resolutions was to invest in a Sodastream. Unlimited fi zz on tap, plus add your own flavours, and an end to the mountains of plastic bottles in the recycling. Win.

Who wasn't shocked to fi nd out how many evils were in Nutella? Happily, Wyldsson has just launched its Hazelnut and Cocoa spread, which is vegan and palm oil free £5.99;



ecent research commissioned by Piccolo revealed that weaning was ranked as one of the most stressful parts of parenting. Plagued with self-doubt, nearly half of the 1000 parents surveyed thought they were doing something wrong. To combat this, Cat Gazzoli, founder of Piccolo, aims to produce the perfect balance for little ones

with fresh flavours and 100% organic ingredients. Based around the classic Mediterranean diet, which is all about variety, and a balance of fresh, local foods, these pouches are a departure from the surfeit of oversweet purees on the shelves. Babies are lapping them up - and what’s more you can also use them as fab quick pasta sauces for older ones too. A great cupboard staple. • March / April 2017

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Mama samples Asian-style kids’ menus at Busaba and Inamo Inamo


ny parents battling against screens at the table must make a point of avoiding Inamo. Because here the table literally is a screen. Yes: the entire table is a blank canvas onto which images are projected, and a clever trackpad allows diners to control them. So click on ‘draw’ and you can draw all over the table – including the plates – and then click again to have it all magically wiped, replaced with a series of games, or a virtual tablecloth,

or even a sneak peek into the kitchen via webcam. Depending on your perspective, this is either a wonderful opportunity to eat while remaining glued to a device or a nightmare in which even mealtimes are dominated by the fl ickering glare of technology. But don’t assume the place is crawling with children – there are some family groups, but mostly there are grownups here (many of them have simply switched the screen off ). Ordering from the lengthy Asian mash-up menu via iPad – complete with photographs of each dish – is simple but fairly time-consuming, though there is a human waiter option too. The children enjoy their three course menu (£9.95), whose options include sushi rolls, crispy seafood, Korean chicken wings, chicken satay, Singapore noodles and other favourites, followed by an amazing pudding of chocolate dipping sticks, which ticked all the boxes for being messy, chocolatey and marshmallowey while incorporating liberal quantities of popping candy. The adult menu is extensive: we particularly enjoyed black cod, baby pork ribs and yuzu miso aubergine, which was so deliciously sweet that any child would have adored it, if they could have been persuaded to try it, which ours couldn’t. The vedict: It may be gimmicky, but it would be a rare child who didn’t love eating off a screen. The food’s pretty good too. Inamo, 265 Hampstead Road, NW1 inamo -re staurant .com

Bu saba Eathai


estaurant-going children have come to expect activity sheets complete with crayons, stickers, puzzles and more as compensation for having to sit quietly at tables in public. Happily, at Busaba, the activity sheets are winners, with their foodie wordsearch and clever, time-consuming Where’s Wally-style illustration quiz. And what child doesn’t love a prawn cracker? There’s a starter, main course and drink for £5.90 – plus ice cream (with popping candy, naturally) for £1.75. Starters are either prawn crackers or slices of cucumber – you’d think everybody would choose the crackers, but our daughter, amazingly, didn’t – while main courses offer chicken pad Thai, chicken fried rice and satay chicken, or battered chicken/fish for the less adventurous. Bottles of crisp Asahi quench our thirst while the children pore over the wordsearch, and we enjoy curries and sticky rice at leisure. The verdict: Not too adventurous, but winning dishes for little ones make this a reliable stop. Various locations; bu sa b a .com March / April 2017

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aving a new baby takes over your life in the most incredible way, and the first six months are usually a blur of night feeds, changes and some wonderful moments. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, after four months the issue of weaning comes up. For children with older siblings it can be earlier as they’re keen to copy their elders, but most mums are trying out foods on their little ones from four or five months. It can be a stressful time, but also a fun time as you find out what your baby does and doesn’t like. Cooking for your baby is also another thing to add to the list, and we all try to eat as well as we can. This cookbook was born from the stories of many busy mums who resort to pre-prepared pouches for their babies, or spend hours making purees while surviving on biscuits and wine. There is another way, says nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker. Both mum and baby need to be eating well, so Dr Schenker has devised a set of recipes which are tasty, nutritious and also completely sugar-free.

baby CHI N E SE CHICK EN you CHICK EN LA KSA Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 30 mins Serves 2



A remarkable new book makes it easy to go sugar-free with fantastic recipes for baby and mama Wo r d s H O L LY K I R K WO O D Recipes SARAH SCHENKER

hicken is a great source of B vitamins which have various functions in the body including boosting immunity and cell growth, keeping nerve and blood cells healthy. It also contains iron and zinc.



 200g chicken breast  A pinch of Chinese five spice  a drizzle of olive oil  100g green beans For Baby: 2 tbsp (30ml) of the cooked chicken  2 tbsp (30ml) of the cooked green beans  2 cubes frozen butternut squash purée, thawed or 2 tbsp (30ml) fresh butternut squash purée  2 cubes frozen sweet potato purée, thawed or 2 tbsp (30ml) fresh sweet potato purée For You: a drizzle of olive oil  1 tsp (5ml) chilli paste  1 tsp (5ml) ginger paste  4 spring onions  1 red pepper  the remaining cooked green

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beans  the remaining cooked chicken  800ml hot low-salt chicken or vegetable stock  2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves  a pack (about 300g) of fresh glass noodles  1 tbsp (15ml) soy sauce  1 tbsp (15ml) fish sauce  juice of 1 lime  A few fresh coriander leaves

high in selenium and iodine. It’s a good idea to encourage your baby to eat fish on a regular basis so they get used to it and start to enjoy it. Like selenium, iodine intakes are generally low and if you don’t encourage your baby to eat fish there are few other sources that can provide it.

A laksa is a cross between a soup and a stew, so it’s instantly filling and satisfying and doesn’t need anything else to go with it. The glass noodles provide the carbohydrate, the chicken provides the protein and there is enough veg to count as three of your five a day. Dice the chicken breast and sprinkle with the Chinese fivespice. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and fry for 10 minutes, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through. While the chicken is cooking, steam or boil the green beans.


For Baby C H I N E S E C H I C K E N

This dish contains small lumps of chicken and green beans and is a step on from the coarser purées your baby may previously have been eating: you may need to use a hand-held blender to give the dish a quick whizz if he doesn’t like the lumps to begin with. Finely chop the chicken and green beans. Put the squash and sweet potato purées in a small pan, add the chicken and beans and gently heat everything through. Stir well to coat the chicken and beans in the purée.

2 courgettes  8 cherry tomatoes  3 skinless white fish fillets  A drizzle of olive oil  Juice of 1 lemon For Baby: 2 strips of the roasted courgette  1 of the roasted white fish fillets  1 tbsp (15ml) crème fraîche  a handful of grated cheese For You: The remaining roasted white fish fillets  1 fresh red chilli  1 garlic clove, peeled  Grated rind of the lemon  2 slices of wholemeal bread  A handful of parsley leaves  A pat of butter The breadcrumb topping is a simple way to give this dish an extra flavour punch. It’s a light, high-protein supper for those days when you feel you might have over-indulged on tea and


cake with your new parent friends. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (Gas 4). Thinly slice the courgettes lengthways and halve the cherry tomatoes. Place in a roasting tin. Place the fish fillets on top and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. For Baby C H E E S Y C O U R G E T T E F I S H

Finely chop the courgette and place in a small pan. Add the fish and break it apart by mashing it with a fork. Stir in the crème fraîche and grated cheese and gently heat though until the cheese has melted into the crème fraîche. For You H E R B - C R U S T E D F I S H

While the fish is baking, split the chilli, remove the seeds and roughly chop the flesh. Peel the garlic. Place the chilli, garlic, lemon zest, bread and parsley in a food processor and whizz together. Heat a pat of butter and fry the breadcrumb mixture for 3–4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden. Serve on top of the fish once it is cooked.

For You C H I C K E N L A K SA

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the chilli and ginger pastes, and chop in the spring onions. Deseed and slice the pepper, slice the green beans, then add them to the pan. Cook until the spring onion and pepper are softened. Add the remaining chicken, stock, spinach and glass noodles. Bring to the boil, add the soy, fish sauce and lime juice and simmer for 4 minutes. Top with coriander leaves.

baby CHEE SY COU RGET TE FISH you HER BCRUSTED FISH Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves 2

ustainable white fish such as pollack, hake, coley, plaice and lemon sole are a great addition to your baby’s diet as they provide texture and lumpiness to a dish, but the lumps are soft and easy to eat. White fish is a good source of protein and extremely


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Introduce a world of variety to your little one

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Absolutely Mama Feb.indd 1


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baby PA R SN IP & A PPLE PU R EE you CR A B CA K E S Preparation time: 25 mins Cooking time: 15-20 mins

arsnips have a mild, sweet taste but are not high in natural sugars; in fact they contain high amounts of soluble fibre, which keeps blood-sugar levels balanced, fills you up and prevent the release of ghrelin, which is a ‘hunger’ hormone. This can significantly reduce your likelihood of snacking between



meals. Parsnips also contain high levels of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and iron, as well as B vitamins and vitamins C, E, and K.

horseradish sauce  2 eggs  1 tbsp (15ml) water Plain flour, for dusting  8 tbsp (120ml)  wholemeal breadcrumbs  2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil  Fresh green salad, to serve


The parsnip and butterbean mixture makes a nutritious base for these tasty crab cakes – just chill it in the fridge before you combine the ingredients or they won’t bind together. As well as upping the protein content, the crabmeat is also a great source of iodine, zinc and selenium. Peel and roughly chop the parsnips and place in a pan of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain. Alternatively, place in a suitable dish and microwave the chopped parsnip with a little water, covered, on High for about 8 minutes, checking and stirring them halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the soft parsnips to a food processor with 1 tbsp (15ml) crème fraîche. Drain a small can (about 200g) of butter beans and add to the processor, then whizz together to make a paste.

2 large parsnips  1tsp (15ml) crème fraîche  200g (small can) butter beans For Baby: 2 tbsp (30ml) of the parsnip mixture  2 cubes frozen apple purée, thawed or 2 tbsp (30ml) fresh apple purée For You: 2 spring onions  A handful of fresh coriander  The remaining parsnip mixture 250g white crabmeat  1 tbsp (15ml) hot

For Baby PA R S N I P & A P P L E P U R E E

Put the parsnip mixture and apple purée into a small pan and gently heat. For You C R A B C A K E S

Use scissors to chop the spring onions, then roughly tear the coriander leaves. Add to the bowl of chilled parsnip mixture, along with the crabmeat and horseradish. Stir to combine. Beat one of the eggs, then add it to the bowl and mix until everything is well combined. Using damp hands, form the mixture into a rough ‘cake’, then divide it into quarters and form each wedge into a patty. The mixture should already be cold from the fridge, but if it doesn’t handle well, place it in the fridge for 5 minutes more to firm up a little. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas 4). Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with the water to make an egg wash. Place some plain flour and the breadcrumbs in two separate shallow dishes. Dust each fishcake with flour, then dip in the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs, making sure they are evenly coated. Shake gently to remove any excess breadcrumbs. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fishcakes for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown all over. Transfer to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 5–10 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through. Serve with a fresh green salad.

My Sugar-Free Baby and Me by Dr Sarah Schenker is published by Bloomsbury. £16.99;

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Spot the

Symptoms Knowing how to identify meningitis and sepsis in children can be a lifesaver Wo r d s E M M A H A M M E T T


here are over 3,000 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK. It can affect people of any age, but babies and toddlers account for 50% of cases, and adolescents are also at a higher risk. Sepsis can follow on from meningitis and many of the early symptoms are similar for both conditions, often mistaken for common illnesses such as flu. Sepsis and meningitis can both result in life-changing consequences such as amputations and brain damage, or death, which is why they are the first things a parent wants to rule out as soon as they see a rash and a raised temperature in their child. But how do you tell the difference between flu and meningitis, and at what point do you head straight for medical help? Firstly, there are two types of meningitis. The illness is actually a swelling of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation usually results

from either a bacterial or viral infection. Viral meningitis is unpleasant but rarely life-threatening and most people make a full recovery. Bacterial meningitis is more serious and can be caused by a wide range of different bacteria.

T YPES OF M EN I NG ITI S Meningococcal Group B is the most common strain of meningitis and there is a vaccine now available on the NHS and routinely given to babies. However, the meningitis B vaccine and the other meningitis vaccinations babies receive do not cover all strains of the disease so it’s vitally important that you remain vigilant and learn how to spot symptoms early. Older children are now being offered vaccination against meningitis C and teenagers have been getting vaccinated against meningitis A, C, W and Y since September 2015. Despite all the available vaccinations, people will still get meningitis from numerous different viruses and bacteria, so it remains of great importance to be able recognise symptoms early.

S EPSI S Sepsis affects over 150,000 and kills over 44,000 people in the UK every year. It can look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection, but can lead to brain damage, amputations or even death. It is vitally important to recognise symptoms early and treat it promptly. Sepsis occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive responding to an infection and starts attacking its own tissues and major organs. Sepsis often occurs following meningitis, but can be due to any other infection. Two other common ways of developing sepsis are a wound becoming infected, or as a secondary infection following an illness such as a chest infection or sore throat.

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welln es s

Common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia include: • fever • headache (or in small babies the soft spot of their head (fontanelle) could be raised) • vomiting • diarrhoea • difficulty breathing • floppy, lifeless and drowsy or stiff with jerky movements • a high pitched or moaning cry • irritable, not wanting to be held/ touched • refusing food • a rash





clear glass tumbler is pressed over the skin. Th is is the tumbler test. If the rash you see doesn't disappear, Symptoms can appear in any order immediately call an ambulance. and some may not appear at all. It can be harder to see a rash on dark skin. Check the soles of the feet, M EN I NG ITI S R AS H palms of hands, roof of mouth and AN D TH E TU M B LER TEST            inside eyelids. Never wait for a rash, as once a rash G ET TI NG M EDICAL H ELP appears due to meningitis, the child is usually extremely ill and will need Speed is of the essence with both advanced medical care. these conditions and if you are With most rashes, when seriously concerned about someone, pressure is applied to the skin, the get help fast. If you remain worried rash disappears. However, with despite being sent home, trust your meningitis, the rash is different and instincts and return. meningitis can does not disappear with pressure. kill in 4 hours. If you are worried it is Th is means it can be seen when a vitally important to act quickly.

Check wound sites following injuries or surgical procedures regularly. If a wound is infected, you should receive antibiotics as soon as possible to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.

SYM PTOM S Both meningitis and septicaemia can be hard to recognise at fi rst, because early symptoms often seem similar to flu and many other other common illnesses. Due to past meningitis campaigns, it is often assumed that a casualty must have a rash to be diagnosed with meningitis, however this is not the case. In fact, meningitis casualties may or may not have a rash and you should never wait to see one before seeking medical help - there are plenty of symptoms to look out for.

Emma is the author of Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls which is available on

March / April 2017




15/02/2017 13:29


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We love this cot from Danish designers Oliver Furniture, which has a timeless Nordic design, combining oak and birch with classic white lines. With two height settings, short grid side and removable bars, it will last a growing child for years, if not generations. £884

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F Modern Family Swiss architect Walter Segal’s experimental homes in south east London are perfectly suited to family life Wo r d s E M M A M A N S E L L Photography TA R A N W I LK H U

ive years ago, in the autumn of 2011, Taran and Celine purchased a distinctive family home on Segal Close in south-east London. Segal Close is a short cul-de-sac, that consists of seven selfbuilt Segal Method houses, constructed in the early 1980s to designs by the celebrated Swiss architect Walter Segal. The Segal Method was a way of constructing houses that eliminated the need for various processes such as brick-laying, cementpouring and other techniques that Segal considered superfluous to the construction of a good house. Instead, he advocated a modular, timber-frame system that is reminiscent of 19th-century American houses or traditional Japanese architecture. For Taran and Celine it was love at first sight when they visited Segal Close and nearby Walters Way, and since moving in, for Taran – a photographer specialising in architecture and interiors – it’s become more than just a home having been the focus of much of his recent work. His photography recently featured in the exhibition Walters Way: The Self Build Revolution at the Architectural Association Gallery, and he has recently published a book – Walters Way & Segal Close – co-written with Alice Grahame. We caught up with Taran, Celine – an exhibition designer at the Royal Maritime Museum – and their two young sons, Sohan, 5, and Nayan, 2, to hear about family life on Segal Close.

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Q&A EM: Were you looking to move to a Segal house specifically at that point? T&C: Our passion for everything Segal began in 2009 after we visited Walters Way where a handful of Segal homes were open for public viewing during Open House London.

EMMA MANSELL: How did you first come across the property? TARAN & CELINE: In early 2011 we spotted a Segal home on sale with The Modern House, and although it was already under offer at the time we asked the team to keep us on file on the off chance the sale fell through. Although we knew there was little chance it would, lo and behold, three months down the line we received a call telling us the house was about to go back on the market. We snapped up the opportunity and never looked back.

EM: What were your initial thoughts when you visited the property? T&C: We completely fell in love with the uniqueness of the street, the architecture, the sense of community, the layout, the light, the timber … the list goes on. EM: Where were you living before? T&C: We moved to Honor Oak Park in 2008 after several years living in period properties in north London. Segal Close is our first ‘modern house’ so to speak. EM: After you moved to Segal Close, how long did it take for it to feel like home? T&C: Celine is from Switzerland, so for her it made total sense to live in a timber house and for me – having lived in Japan for several years – I was also inspired by the compact living style and sense of being close to nature

that the Segal homes offer. In short, we knew the day we were handed the keys that this would be a wonderful family home for us. EM: What work have you done to the property since moving in? T&C: Internally, since we moved in we have changed the layout of the toilet and bathroom, modernised the kitchen and repainted all the timber to create a sense of light and airy openness in the home. Externally, we have added some decking in the garden and replaced staircases to the front and back of the house as well as revamped our balcony area. We’ve always tried to use local builders for any changes, and we’re careful to seek out those who have an understanding and appreciation of working with timber and timber-framed houses. The first artwork we placed in the house was a Rob Ryan piece titled Home. We thought the wording, “My home will have no windows, doors or floors nor bricks or mortar“, was quite fitting to our new home, and it is proudly placed in the entrance corridor. In terms of the interior, we especially like March / April 2017  |  97

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Teething made simple

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mid-century furniture and often try to find bargains at auctions, antique dealers and shops. Luckily there are a number of interesting haunts in south-east London so we often don’t have to travel too far to find unique pieces.


The Modern House New series ‘My Modern House’ revisits properties sold by The Modern House to hear first-hand from the owners what it’s like to live in some of the UK’s finest modern architecture.

EM: How did you go about deciding on the aesthetic for the interior? T&C: My wife is also an interior designer and had a clear vision of how she wanted the house to look and feel. The beauty of the house is that each room has built-in storage, which helps keep it tidy and minimalist. To some extent this dictated the contemporary look and feel that we tried to create. We re-selected our furniture to give a more mid-century feel, and we repainted the majority of our interior walls Farrow & Ball Strong White to create a blank canvas with accents of grey walls throughout to contrast. EM: Do you have plans to do anything more to the house? T&C: Over the next few years we’re thinking about building an extension to the house for our growing family – if we go ahead it’ll need to complement and sympathise with the original Segal structure. We are also looking at different ideas of how to maximise the space under our house to its best potential. EM: What is your favourite thing about living in the house? T&C: When friends and family walk into

our home, they often comment how they feel they have walked into a holiday house. Our views from the balcony and main living spaces are immaculate, overlooking trees and gardens from a high vantage point as the cul-de-sac is positioned on top of a hill.We often recall one of the first evenings we spent at the house was on bonfire night; we watched the fireworks going off across the borough all night from our fantastic viewpoint. EM: Are there any downsides to the house? T&C: One of the challenges is the constraints that the Segal grid puts on the width of the doorways, making them quite narrow. Hanging artwork can also be tricky as it seems to conflict with the visual lines of the internal vertical batons.That said, without question the upsides far outweigh the down. EM: Is there a strong community among the residents on Segal Close? T&C: Despite there only being four selfbuilders still present on both streets, there is still a strong sense of community running through both Segal Close and Walters Way. I think this the result of the design of the streets – the houses look onto communal outdoor spaces, making neighbours more aware of who is around. Each house has a




private garden and access to shared outdoor space beyond. EM: Are there any other properties in the UK that would tempt you away from Segal Close? T&C: We love living on the close, and for us at this moment London works in so many ways, so it’s difficult to say whether we would be tempted away. Saying that, having lived in a Segal home and experienced how the natural world is bought directly into our living space, perhaps the innovative timbered architecture of a HUF HAUS could be an alternative we would consider. I think it would be quite an adjustment for us now to live in a regular home built of bricks and mortar. March / April 2017  |  99

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Village People London is a much more family-friendly place than it was a decade ago, but certain postcodes have it all: fantastic green spaces, excellent schools and great local shops

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HAMPSTEAD Jamie Oliver used to own this charming 4-bedroom house in the heart of the village. It's brilliant garden is ideal for a growing family.  £3.25m; Benham & Reeves

Dulwich / East Dulwich


he rarefied streets of leafy Dulwich which surround the park are lined with vast Georgian houses occupied for the most part by baby boomers, now grandparents who can afford to help with the school fees, thanks to the enormous appreciation in their own properties. The proximity to Dulwich College also recommends this area to parents with an eye out for the best schools for boys, and many young families aspire to live here, although vendors rarely want, or need to sell. Young families looking for a little bit more of a buzz about a place often head to neighbouring East Dulwich which has a bustling high street, fun weekend market, a range of independent shops and a terrific local cinema. Set mid-way between Dulwich Park and Peckham Rye there is green space aplenty, and for mums and dads looking to head out in the evenings, the restaurants and rooftop bars of Peckham are minutes away. Nursery places are easy to find, if you put your name down early enough, and nannies, childminders and au pairs are attracted by the higherthan average birth rate. There is a good selection of schools including Goodrich, Dulwich Village Church of England infants’ School and the JAGS independent school for girls.

The Victorian three-and-four bedroom properties leading off the main thoroughfare Lordship Lane are a popular starting point for househunting families. Buyers tend to then extend into the loft, in the time-honoured fashion of south-London property owners. You won’t find anything for less than £750,000 or £800,000. The average house price lies somewhere around £820,000. Nearby Nunhead and Camberwell are also good options for those seeking even more space.

CAMBERWELL A fabulous Georgian townhouse in great location close to East Dulwich, this property is filled with light, and even has its own selfcontained flat.  £1.5m; Hamptons

Hampstead / Highgate


ith 800 acres of heathland right on your doorstep, Hampstead has been a sought-after place to live in London for hundreds of years – the housing stock harks back to a time when prosperous businessmen built beautiful houses in what was then the outskirts of the city, with views back down towards the centre – and it’s certainly still an area populated by the well-heeled. Hampstead High Street and Hampstead Heath are the focus points – in summertime the village decants to the Heath to picnic and swim in the ponds. Hampstead village has a wealth of smart independent shops and delis as well as the Everyman Cinema – the only cinema in London with at-seat service. You’re still on the tube up here, so access back into town is very easy. East of the High Street, South End Road has pretty Georgian cottages overlooking the heath and close to the elegant stucco Regency houses in Downshire Hill. Lots of families look for the Victorian terraces which line the streets east of the railway station, which are smaller but still offer good internal

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Teaching children to fly The House Schools Group is made up of three non-selective, co-educational preparatory schools for 3 – 11 year olds. The group collaborate closely, sparking off new ideas for ever more successful teaching practices. Whilst each school has a unique character, they share a common ethos: that every child is different, but deserves to learn to fly regardless of early learning abilities. High-flyers are encouraged to soar, whilst children who need extra support are given wings for their journey. The powerful combination of highly trained staff and tailor-made teaching opens up young minds to endless possibilities, encouraging them to think for themselves. Our pupils mostly call it having fun. We call it being the best they can be. The enthusiasm of our pupils has to be seen to be believed. We invite you to come along and judge for yourself at one of our weekly tours.

Open days: Orchard House Sat 11th March am. Bassett House Sat 20th May am. Prospect House Thurs 25th May pm.

Chiswick 020 8742 8544

North Kensington 020 8969 0313

Putney 020 8246 4897 House Schools Group

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space and a garden. Average prices in Hampstead hover around £1.6m but you can get houses for less in neighbouring Highgate, which is also close to the Heath, and has its own village vibe. There are some excellent state and independent schools in Hampstead. Hampstead Hill is an independent nursery and pre-prep, while University College secondary school is a well-regarded independent for boys (and girls in sixth form), and has a sizeable Oxbridge contingent. Girls with a theatrical nature head for South Hampstead High School. The Academy school, a mixed independent school for 6-13 yearolds places many of its children in impressively academic institutions and offers a progressive, informal atmosphere.

as well-to-do Londoners saw the potential here. Building commenced in areas which still have great family houses, including Castelnau – these old houses built with space for carriages (which means lots of space for parking) now change hands for as much as £5m – the average house price is £1.1m. It’s not on the tube but Barnes does have great links back to London Waterloo as well as

BARNES This six-bedroom house overlooks the village green, and is walking distance from both the Montessori nursery and the Harrodian school.  £3.175m Marsh & Parsons.

Hammersmith on the other side of the river. Buyers in Barnes love to boast about its independent shops, their Saturday farmers’ market, the superior fishmonger, and really good family-friendly restaurants for long Sunday lunches. Schools are another major reason families consider Barnes. Primary schools include Lowther Primary, Barnes Primary and East Sheen Primary. St Pauls and its prep school, Colet Court, is located on Lonsdale Road, as is The Harrodian, another local school with an international reputation.

HIGHGATE This modern 3-bedroom property is spread over three floors, and has open-plan living spaces including the living room, which opens straight onto the garden. £2.6m Foxtons



urrounded on three sides by The Thames, and with over 100 acres of green space surrounding it, Barnes is the closest thing to a real life ‘village’ you’ll find within Greater London, complete with duck pond and village green. The opening of Hammersmith Bridge in the 19th century kickstarted a huge new programme of development March / April 2017  |  1 03

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The revamped Four Seasons makes an ideal base from which to explore Vietnam's cultual heartland. The kids club immerses littles in local skills from lantern-making to organic farming, while adults can enjoy cocktails at the brand new beach bar.

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Get The Lowdown •Kodomo• handpicks the best luxury family holidays from staycations to far-flung adventures. All their hotels are independently reviewed, and the collection is constantly updated. Chia Laguna in Sardinia [right] is one of their Italian recommendations


TR AVEL N OTES Planning a summer escape?



•John Bray•

•Sleepspace travel cot•

Located just 60m from the Rock Sailing Club, this five-bedroom property is ideal for families. With incredible estuary views, you'll fi nd great walking, golf and the sheltered waters of Daymer Bay are all within easy reach.

If you're heading anywhere with flying nasties this travel cot is a must. Babies can sleep, stand and play while completely protected by the fitted mosquito net; it even doubles up as a teepee for extra play. From £194


Mandarin Oriental

Located just minutes from the centre of the city, the hotel sits in 20 hectares of olive groves and landscaped gardens. With a choice of villas or suites there is plenty of room to spread out, and all the Mandarin Oriental hotels are brilliantly family friendly.

The Royal Mansour

With Riads spread over three floors there is plenty of room to breathe in this architectural masterpiece where opulence is the name of the game. The hammam has to be seen to be believed, and personal butlers are on hand to help.

La Mamounia

Spread over eight acres, the gardens at La Mamounia can only be described as perfect; and make ideal playgrounds for little ones. A children’s menu is available in all four restaurants, and for grown-ups the spa is world-class. March / April 2017

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Opposites Attract Helen Baron samples two very different sides of Portugal


Wo r d s H E L E N BA RO N

ortugal seems to be on everyone's lips of late. Ruinously impacted by the global economic crash of 2008, the country has bounced back, embracing its industrial heritage liberal spirit to reinvent itself as a haven for entrepreneurialism in Europe. It has also made a virtue of one of the most negative consequences of its recession, plummeting property values, by selling itself abroad not as economically unstable, but as an affordable place to set up shop (and home). The results are impressive, with Portugal’s manufacturing base now one of the most dynamic in the Western world and its capital city, Lisbon, a desirable destination for hip creative types priced out of their native cities. In the words of one friend, a digital creative at a global fashion brand, ‘Everyone I know is moving to Lisbon or talking about moving to Lisbon. It’s the new Berlin – and it’s sunny.’ I’m not quite ready to make that leap myself, but I did think it was worth seeing what all the fuss was about – and what better way than a short break that would take in two of the country’s most celebrated destinations: Lisbon itself and then the sweeping southern beaches of the Algarve. The plan was to divide our time between two hotels owned by the fast-rising Memmo group: the Memmo Alfama, a pint-sized boutique hotel perched on a hill in the ancient heart of the capital, and the Memmo Baleeira, a mid-sized, modern beach hotel overlooking a tiny fishing harbour on the Algarve. We would drive between the two, a day-long, 328km road trip down through the centre of the country, and hopefully get a better idea of what Portugal is about on the way.

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Our first stop was Lisbon, Europe’s westernmost city and its oldest. We travelled in September, when the intense heat of summer has begun to subside, but we were still greeted by golden light glinting on the Atlantic and weather finer than any we’d seen in Britain for months. The Memmo Alfama does boutique very well indeed, with a sleekly minimal design that’s all picture windows and sinuously curving white walls. The interiors are softly lamplit and the space – which is inevitably in short supply in such a location, amid the jumble of buildings on one of the well-preserved city’s seven hills – is cleverly utilised to give an impression of quiet intimacy. Our room, while dinky, was stylishly appointed, and the communal spaces March / April 2017  |  1 09

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baby & toddler friendly holidays

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– such as the rooftop pool, tiered sun terraces and chic bar-cum-breakfast room – offered a perfect base from which to explore the mini metropolis at our doorstep. In these globalised, overwhelmingly homogenised days, Lisbon’s great strength lies in its comparatively small size. The city has scale and variety enough to please the dedicated urbanite but hasn’t had to compromise its singular identity – most of the shops, restaurants and businesses that throng its buzzing centre are independent, and many of these are actually worth your time and money. The city is certainly gastronomically blessed: among other gems, we snacked at hipster coffee shops Fábrica and Wish, lunched at Darwin’s Café and dined at the Independente, a trendy hotel in the Bairro Alto district. Everywhere we went, service was friendly and relaxed, the food inventive, authentic and hugely enjoyable. One warning, however: it’s probably not the greatest city to visit if one or more of your little ones is stroller-bound: the steep hills and plentiful cobbles would be pretty punishing. Our two days in Lisbon passed too quickly. Our journey south, towards the Algarve, took us through the heart of Portugal, and we were amazed at the sense of space and solitude awaiting us in the rolling grasslands. The countryside is beautiful – in a spare, golden way. By the time we reached our next destination, we were discussing the possibility of living in Lisbon after all. The Memmo Baleeira is distinct from its city sibling in terms of both size and style, with the latter’s air of cosmopolitan exclusivity replaced by a more fun, family-friendly vibe. The beaches of the Algarve (and Baleeira in particular, a resort known for its surfing) also at-





tract a different type of clientele. The hotel’s carefully maintained lawns, delightful swimming pool and cheerful, welcoming restaurant made us wish we’d brought our toddler with us, instead of leaving her with her grandparents. Days at the Baleeira can be BALEEIRA IS FAMOUS FOR ITS GREAT SURFING as full or empty as you like – for us, the lure of watersports and walks along the rugged shore were easily counterbalanced by the amenities of the hotel itself: we stretched out, sunbathed, read books for the first time in what seemed like aeons… in short, we relaxed. Sagres itself is cute, slightly crumbly, brilliantly beachy, and a great place to unwind after a couple of active days in the city. Once again we found ourselves packing our bags too soon, this time for the flight home – but at least now we know what the hipsters were talking about. On this evidence, Portugal looks set to be on the ‘most desirable’ list for a long time to come.

 Rates start at 137€ a night for Memmo Alfama and 85€ a night (including breakfast) for Memmo Baleeira. March / April 2017  |  111

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tter’s Holt is a lovingly fitted Mongolian yurt, set in its own secluded field. But don't confuse this with camping, because there's no danger of being cold, wet or uncomfortable here. The beautiful yurt, with its cosy, hand-painted interior, sleeps four in comfortable beds, equipped with a wood burner plus a separate kitchen in an outhouse that also incudes a fully functioning bathroom (with hot water on demand, of course). There are lots of blankets and everything you could possibly need is supplied, thanks to owner Alan and his wife, who have created this beautiful spot as a labour of love. Roughing it this is not. There’s full privacy thanks to the secluded location: essentially, you have an entire field and a bit of forest to yourself, plus your own stream (bring wellies). There's a large dining area, a barbecue and a firepit.


Otter’s Holt Yurt B R E C O N , WA L E S Wo r d s PE N D L E H A R T E


here’s ample entertainment for children on site. Paddle in the stream and go pond-dipping – nets are provided, along with a large glass tank and a magnifying glass for inspecting your haul. With any luck, you’ll spot an otter. Climb to the top of the hill and you’ll find a wooden deck that’s perfectly positioned to watch the sunset. Look closely and you’ll find otters carved into treetrunks and countless other charming details. In the evening, make a fire and toast marshmallows on it.



ust outside Brecon, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, this is a great location. Head into Brecon for the market and drive out to explore the area’s beautiful countryside. It’s a short drive to Hay-on-Wye to browse bookshops and antiques stores. We spent a wonderful day canoeing down the Wye from Glasbury to Hay (


Sugar & Loaf offers Otter’s Holt Yurt from £386 for three nights (available from April – October)

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You actually get three bags for the price of one here: a changing bag, a cool bag, and a tote. The clever organisation system includes a padded changing mat, changer pod and feeder pod, and it's now available in this pretty dusky pink for spring/summer. £89

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One Four Four

One Four Four is organised into different ‘worlds’: ‘Baby Fashion’ is a welcoming fashion boutique featuring a reclaimed wood floor and found furniture. ‘Baby Home’, has a helpful nursery selector tool, and a beauty area while downstairs you'll find a personal shopping/seating area and a showcase guiding parents through different pushchair options, plus a swing. Yes a swing. 144 Northcote Road. London. SW11

Our directory of top shops has your every need covered, from maternity clothes to the best stores for fashionforward little ones



Bonpoint is the French fashion house for children. A unique destination with its spot-on style, inspired window displays and the warm atmosphere of its boutiques and flagship stores in Paris and New York. Every season the house’s artistic director, Christine Innamorato, invents an enchanting and creative collection, from newborn to teenagers and those young women who are still Bonpoint girls at heart. 15 Sloane street, London, SW1X 9NB

London’s flagship Séraphine store on Kensington High Street offers everything you need for a fashionable pregnancy. Whether you are looking for the perfect fitting pair of pregnancy jeans, maternity dresses for work, or a glamorous outfit for an event, you are sure to come away with a style you love. 179 Kensington High Street plus Battersea & Marylebone

Great Little Trading Co.

Great Little Trading Co is an award-winning British business which designs and makes a unique collection of high-quality products that young families really need. From beautiful furniture & room accessories to create perfect spaces for children to grow, play, learn and sleep to smart storage that helps organise your home, they’ve got it covered. 12 Buckhold Road, Wandworth, SW18 4GP

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reso urces BOUTIQUES


Smalls,, is the award-winning range of stylish and multitasking 100% Merino clothing for children aged 0 – 14. Smalls’ keep-forever layers in natural, traceable supermerino are designed with active kids in mind, with longer lengths that don’t ride up, supersoft with no itchy labels and every Smalls comes with its own sleepy bag tag ... the perfect friend for your school bag.

Nine in the Mirror

Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley is a British award-winning children’s clothing brand. They design classic luxury childrenswear & are best known for quality & style, with prints designed in-house, traditional craftsmanship including hand embroidery, hand smocking & use of fine soft fabrics. 82 Marylebone High Street, Pont Street London

Nine In The Mirror was born when fashion buyer Adriana and online marketer Tatiana met while pregnant. Featuring expert content alongside a hand-picked selection of designer looks, in styles and sizes to suit women throughout their pregnancy – and beyond. Nine in the Mirror is the ultimate fashion destination for expectant women and new mothers, proving that pregnancy is no barrier to great style.


Every pair of Moccis are ethnically produced for you in Sweden with love and busy feet in mind, the finishing touches are even sewn by hand! Moccis are durable, long lasting, and safe as they have a non-slip leather soles and an invisible support strap ensuring that Moccis won’t lose their shape or fall off. The best part is that Moccis are machine washable!

JoJo Maman Bébé

JoJo Maman Bébé is the UK’s favourite mother and baby boutique, offering stylish maternity wear, practical children’s fashion, and adorable baby clothes, as well as beautiful gifts and toys, all produced to outstanding British quality. JoJo believes in putting people and the planet above profit. This is the ethos under which the business was launched 23 years ago and how it continues to run today. Stores across London

Piccoli & Co

Piccoli & Co is a London based children’s store and website specialising in Luxury Nursery Furniture, personalised baby gifts and accessories. Piccoli & Co also offers a carefully selected chic and sophisticated children’s fashion selection from newborn to four years. 63 Abbeville Road, SW4 9JW

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Philippa FERGUSSON Philippa Fergusson set up Philippa Herbert Ltd with Sally Herbert 10 years ago, making bespoke, hand engraved fingerprint jewellery and casting babies’ feet and hands in bronze, silver, glass and gold.

Ask the




Parenting professionals and leading mumpreneurs answer some of your most pressing questions

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Q Is there a certain age my baby needs to be to take casts and fi ngerprints? A The youngest baby we cast was 5 hours old and we recently took a cast of a couple holding hands who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary, which was so lovely! If your children are older and you wish you’d had their hands or feet cast when they were little, we can still take a cast and have it scanned and miniaturised so you can wear as it as charm on a necklace, bracelet or a pair of cuffl inks. The casting process is super quick and easy - we have been visiting clients at home and in hospitals and taking casts for over 10 years and as we are both mummies ourselves we are quite used to wriggly fi ngers and toes! For the fi ngerprints, the process itself is incredibly simple and can be done at home, we can send a kit out to you - all you need is one of our ink strips, some white paper and some baby wipes to clean off any inky fi ngers or toes. Again, we do this for newborns, toddlers, older children and adults. A pair of solid bronze baby feet or hands is a wonderful reminder of how tiny they once were and a hand engraved fi ngerprint charm on a piece of jewellery is a unique way of keeping your children close to you, even when you are away from them. The casts are available in a wide range of materials such a bronze, silver, gold and glass and we will bring samples to show you when we visit. All our jewellery is available in solid silver, yellow, rose and white gold and

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platinum. Our pieces are entirely bespoke and we work closely with you to create something to suit you. We work only with British craftsmen and women and all our casts and jewellery are handmade in the UK.

Mark SALTER Mark is the founder of for aisha baby food – a major UK infant food brand, pioneering exotic tastes for little ones Q How do I ensure that my little one won’t be a fussy eater? A I’m a big believer in not giving sugar (not even fruit sugars) to your little ones for as many years as possible. Weaning with sweet foods can lead to unhealthy food choices in later life. It’s important that your little one receives the correct nutrients required for growth and development. These are often different to ones found in adult food


(also some ingredients prevalent in adult food, like salt are to be avoided) so it’s often recommended to cook or purchase a separate meal for your little one to the rest of the family. No one food can offer all of the nutrients that your child needs so a wide variety of foods is best. Make meal times a fun taste adventure by cooking with a range of exotic healthy ingredients. Th is will broaden their taste palates so they will not be fussy eaters as they grow. Look out for toddler meal recipes from India or North Africa that use herbs & mild-tasting spices (not chilli) which are super-healthy, smell great and taste delicious; eliminating the need for sugary foods. It’s proven that for many infants these new tastes will lead to bigger healthier appetites and improved food choices in later life. We develop our recipes for aisha foods with small amounts of cumin, turmeric, garlic, coriander, and many other fun ingredients like chickpeas, lentils and quinoa. We sold our fi rst million meals, and won a national food award in 2016 and we receive numerous messages from parents saying how happy they are that their children are now eating and sleeping more soundly from having full tummies. Begin your taste adventures and give healthy exotic cooking a go.

Dawn KELLY Having worked in the healthcare profession as a qualified health visitor and lecturer for over 20 years, Dawn Kelly is a member of the Colief Expert Panel. Q My baby has developed cradle cap. What can I do to get rid of it other than keeping the area clean? A Cradle cap is a very common and harmless skin condition which is thought to be caused by overactive

sebaceous glands on your baby’s scalp. Although it tends to clear up on its own in a few weeks or months, it is possible to treat your baby’s dry flaky scalp if it is troubling you. You should defi nitely not pick at the flakes as this will simply irritate the skin. Instead, you could try massaging a gentle oil such as Colief Baby Scalp Oil into your baby’s scalp and then brushing the scalp with a very soft baby brush to loosen the flakes. After gently brushing, wash your baby’s hair and scalp with a mild baby shampoo to prevent a build-up of scales. You can do this every other day or when you bath your baby. If your baby’s scalp appears red and irritated and you suspect that it has become infected, be sure to consult your GP. March / April 2017

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Debi GREEN Debi is a family travel specialist at, the definitive guide to travelling with babies and children of all ages. babygoes2 .com Q What’s the key to a relaxing family holiday? A For many parents, a relaxing family holiday is something of a contradiction in terms. Happily, having helped families of all sizes and ages fi nd their ideal holiday over the past 18 years, I can confi rm that this is defi nitely not the case. Whatever the destination, careful packing and a straightforward journey with plenty of pre-planned distractions minimise travel stress,

and a considered accommodation choice is vital. Villas are great for flexibility and space – but those with a gated pool, safe play area, chef option and within walking distance of the beach and restaurants and shops will maximise relaxation. Hotels also work very well - many have excellent family-friendly facilities, such as baby equipment pre-ordering services and in-suite dining, but with no compromise on style or the adult experience. Hotel suites with separate sleeping areas and enclosed gardens enable parents to relax while children play or nap. Arguably the ideal option is a combination of self-catering but with access to luxury resort facilities, including an element of good quality childcare. Whether it’s a fulltime activity programme for lively children or just the occasional evening’s babysitting - this can be an essential facility for a relaxed holiday.

Jess HOLMAN Jess Holman works as a letting advisor at John Bray Cornish Holidays, helping families find their perfect holiday home in North Cornwall. Q I’m thinking of booking a family friendly holiday, what are the benefits of a UK ‘staycation’ ? A With Brexit looming, the cost of European holidays is likely to increase, so traditional bucket & spade breaks in the UK will become a an even better option. The self-catering market in the UK has changed a lot – today’s properties are stylish, contemporary and family-friendly, with well equipped kitchens, TV rooms, DVD’s, games and books to

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keep the kids entertained. Some also have swimming pools, gyms, hot tubs & tennis courts for grown up’s to enjoy! Without airline luggage restrictions you can bring all your baby essentials, and even pack your own food and drink to splurge on days out. Letting agents can be a very useful source of information, and should be able to put you in touch with nursery gear hire, supply a list of local babysitters, or suggest the best childfriendly beaches or restaurants within easy reach. If you don’t fancy cooking – they can also help you pre-order fresh groceries, frozen meals and even wine boxes to be delivered. Since our agents know their properties really well, make sure you ask them for advice on exactly what property to book for the perfect stay for your family. In addition to this, since a lot of self-catering homes also accept pets, there’s no need to leave the cat/dog/guinea pig behind in kennels, which improves the holiday immediately for the whole family. All of this means if you stay in the UK you're in with a much better chance of having a hassle-free holiday!

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Dr Iona BRAMATI -CASTELLARIN Leading Harley Street osteopath, whose patients come from far & wide – only woman with a PhD in her area of expertise. Q What are positive steps to look after your back during pregnancy? A Pregnancy causes inevitable changes within a woman’s body in quite a short period. The body is taken over by physiological changes, forcing mother-to-be to slow down and look after herself. The influx of hormones to maintain the pregnancy results in mood swings, weight gain, water


retention, postural changes and joint laxity. During the fi rst trimester, you’re still quite mobile and light so take advantage of it and keep active. Do your pelvic floor exercises, while yoga and Pilates are great forms of exercise during this period. During the second and third trimester, the women’s pelvis will rotate which may result in compression of the lumbar spine joints, possibly leading to sciatic nerve irritation, and pain in the legs and feet. At this time, it is advised to keep doing your pelvic floor exercises to protect your lumbar spine. Also, try to use supportive pillows and sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. Visiting an osteopath would allow for a tailored made treatment plan to assist your body in adapting to changes and making for a more comfortable pregnancy!   Contact the General Osteopathic Council for further information:

Heather MORRIS Heather Morris is a Registered General Nurse and State Certified Midwife. She is mum to Freddy, Harry and Jack.

Can nappy rash be prevented? No matter how careful you are, most babies are likely to get nappy rash at some time. Nappy rash is usually mild and can be managed with a good skincare routine and a barrier ointment. Taking care of your baby’s delicate skin is essential in both treating and preventing nappy rash. Following these simple steps will help: • Lie your baby on a towel and leave your baby’s nappy off as often as you can, to let fresh air get to the skin. Q

• Change wet or soiled nappies as soon as possible. • Clean the nappy area thoroughly using plain water or alcohol-and fragrance-free wipes. • Don’t use talcum powder as it contains ingredients that could irritate your baby’s skin. • Try to bath your baby every day, but don’t use soap or bubble bath. • Gently pat rather than rub your baby’s bottom dry and avoid vigorous rubbing. • Use a suitable barrier ointment at each nappy change.


“TAKING CARE OFYOUR BABY'S SKIN IS ESSENTIAL IN BOTH TREATING AND PREVENTING NAPPY RASH” Most mild cases of nappy rash can be easily treated with an ointment from your pharmacy and following this skincare routine, but if you are worried always seek the advice of a healthcare professional. March / April 2017

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Juliet OLDFIELD Is an actress, new mama and the founder of luxury events company Bedazzled Events. Q How can I plan a Spring party to remember? A Planning a party in the Spring is always a fun task as everyone is pleased to see the end of the colder months and ready to celebrate the longer evenings and warmer days. Popular themes for this time of year include Country Garden, Farm Animals and Beatrix Potter. The classic Pirates & Princesses is still the most popular theme all year round. At Bedazzled, we always suggest starting with a theme which both you and your child love, this will make the rest of the party planning easier. Once you have chosen the theme, take a look at your surroundings and work with what you have in your chosen venue. Whether you are arranging the party at home, in the garden or at a venue try to compliment the colour scheme and space available. The spring blooms will give you a

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ready-made pretty backdrop to base your decorations on. Spring is a great excuse to use lots of bright vibrant colours in the decorations, outfits and even food with all the yummy fruitcoming into season. We always try to design our menus to suit the time of year and even match it to the chosen theme. Keeping with the theme of a Spring

party, a scavenger hunt would be a perfect game. To begin with create a list of items which are easily spotted. Depending on the age of the children you could play a game of ‘What am I?’ by describing the items and have the children guess them to then write down ready to collect. Then send the children off in small teams to collect each item one at a time. An option for older children would be to put them against the clock! At Bedazzled, we feel very strongly that party bags should be of good quality rather then plastic items which won’t last the day, its not only better for the environment but also money well spent! We suggest that whatever your budget chose one quality item for example a book, puzzle or craft activity and, if you wish, compliment it with fun items which the children will use, for example stickers or bubbles. A great alternative for spring months is a take home garden craft which you could easily create from buying each child a little pot, some seeds and compost with perhaps some stickers so they can decorate their pot whilst they watch their flowers/plant grow at home. Th is is a gorgeous gift which will be loved long after the party.

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NETWORK It's not just little ones who can build useful networks from attending top London schools Wo r d s J A S M I N E R O B E R T S O N


hen Abigail, an exCity lawyer, found herself as a single mum with two young daughters and in need of a new job, she knew exactly what her game plan was. Get her daughters into Pembridge Hall, one of Notting Hill’s most elite preps known for its head count of senior bankers, get networking and nab herself a job back in the City. So she did. She’s now back in the Square Mile and her girls are getting a pretty good education, too. Parents, particularly of primary-aged school children, have long made firm friendships at the school gates. But with more and more women working, starting up and running their own business, they are also a great place for meeting and making business contacts. As the Talented Ladies Club website says: “The school gates are a brilliant chance to get to know a fresh group of talented mums and open your professional network even wider.”

We’re not talking networking in pinstripes in a monochrome office. This is more likely to be a morning coffee in parkas and Uggs after drop off. But where mum’s coffee mornings might have once revolved around the kids, the dog and where to find a decent plumber, they are now just as likely to include how to 'up your SEOs', drive traffic to your site, or catching up with a friend on a new business pitch. Among my immediate group of school friends, there are senior editors, publishers, TV producers, account managers, lawyers and heads of charities. I was recently at my son's football match with one eye on the ball whilst discussing a how best to launch a brand with another mum, a lawyer and branding expert at one of the world’s largest drinks companies. Women have always been collaborative and involved with each other, just in some cases this has shifted out of the home and into the workplace. And it’s not just women taking advantage. Just as mothers have got more involved in the working world, dads are more involved with their kids and will often be at the school gates and at sports matches and this can lead to all sorts of networking opportunities.

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“It’s all about the school gate mate,” says Jonny. A partner at a City law firm with four children at prep schools in north London, he says many a valuable client has been snagged through school contacts. Jonny says it’s particularly easy for Alpha-male men to socialize at London most sought-after preps. “It’s a relaxed and natural way of meeting people. This is because you are already in the club – you are at the school so you have proved yourself, proved you are successful enough to have afforded it in the first place, so the guards come down and you can be genuinely matey.” He points out it’s also “a stage of life thing”– when children are at primary school, parents tend

to fit 35-45 age bracket – they are doing well but yet to peak career wise “it’s a very dynamic phase professionally and you are looking to talk to people about how it’s going to happen,” he says. Jonny says what starts out as men comparing how rich and successful they are “ends up being collaborative and supportive – sort of like NCT meets the boardroom,” he says. When he went through a turbulent work patch, he found the interest and concern of other dads at his children’s schools genuinely helpful. Sport matches are a brilliant place to talk shop. Hours and hours can be spent on a touchline where any conversation can be a boon and men, in particular, chat easily and openly when there is sport in the background. At a recent football match Jonny was chatting with a fellow dad “about how much he makes and how much he takes home. I would never have a conversation like that with a partner at work or a client,” he says. The professional tribes you will meet depends very much on the type of school and which village of London you live in. Bankers, VCs, private equity boys and corporate lawyers will be at prep schools in the ‘posh’ pockets: Notting Hill and Holland Park, Hampstead, Chelsea, Dulwich and so on. Actors and illustrious media folk from the worlds of TV, film, advertising etc, may be further afield and many of London’s best state schools attract big names from the creative industries. The world of private schools used to be riddled with that very English disease of class. One big change, in melting-pot London at least, is that social networking at the school gates has become “very international and meritocratic. It’s not about who you know and much more about what you do,” says Jonny. And of course, no one is recommending you choose a school for your child based on how it will improve your job prospects but with nepotism and the old-school tie less of a workable option and Facebook and Linkedin too ghastly for words it might be worth considering when you fill in those forms. March / April 2017  |  127

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Challenge your preconceptions about Education. Give your child time to develop a love of learning and enjoy the academic successes that it brings. A family-run, independent, co-educational day school for children aged 3 to 11, in the heart of London. Personal tours each day of the week, except Wednesday.

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AM: What is your most vivid memory of your time there? MB: When I upset the English master, a Brother, who beat me to the floor I remember hoping I would get a mastoid like my cousin, and the Brother would be sorry…

Michael Bond

The author of the legendary Paddington Bear books on what he learned at boarding school

AM: How did it influence the rest of your life and career? MB: Not at all

AM: You left school quite early, why was that? MB: I wasn’t very happy there and I left at the age of 14 – besides there was a war on. AM: What was your favourite subject or activity there? MB: English was my favourite subject, and I enjoyed long distance running.


ichael Bond is a children's author best known for his Paddington Bear books. He has also written a series about a guinea pig called Olga da Polga. Bond is 91, has two grownup children and lives in London, not far from Paddington Station. ABSOLUTELY MAMA: Where did you go to school and when? MICHAEL BOND: Presentation College in Reading AM: What sort of school was it? MB: A Roman Catholic boarding school. I am not a Catholic but my mother liked the colour of the blazer – and I was a day boy.

AM: Who was your favourite – or most influential - teacher? MB: The Head Master who was a monk. AM: Did you have a favourite ‘secret’ place at school? If so, where was it and what did you do there? MB: The bicycle shed where I avoided lessons.

AM: Do you think other aspects of your early years were more influential, like your time in the army for example? MB: I would say that Army life had a far greater effect. AM: What inspired you to write Paddington Bear? MB: A small bear sitting on the mantelpiece – he looked so lonely in the shop that I bought him and took him home for my wife. AM: What are your plans for Paddington in the future? MB: It would be more accurate to ask what his plans for me would be. AM: How would you sum up your school days in five words? MB: Words fail me – not for the faint hearted.

AM: What beliefs do you think that particular school instilled in you? MB: A strong sense of right and wrong.


AM: What was your proudest achievement? If you didn’t have one at school, then what and where? MB: My proudest achievement was coming in last in the slow bicycle race, for which I was awarded an Ingersol watch.


AM: What was the most trouble you got into? MB: Laughing in class.


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AM: What effect do you think your schooling had on your character? It made me more aware of sin.

March / April 2017



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Talking Head

Mogg Hercules tells the story of meeting a boy who didn't yet understand the pleasure of learning and exploring new ideas for himself


sat beside a boy, who had been invited to spend the day with the children in Year 3, to have a chat, about how he felt about the possibility of being included at Dallington and to ask him to comment on his day’s activities with us. He was keen to show me how quickly he could complete computational maths, using the four basic functions. His answers were faultless. As a matter of interest, I asked him how long he thought his eyelashes were. “I haven’t learnt that. I don’t know the method, so I can’t do the answer.” “Estimate! Have a guess, then tell me what length you think your eyelashes could be.” “My tutor could show me how to do that. I have a tutor three times a week and we do tests from a book and I get to colour in a column to show how many I got right. If I get any wrong, I have to do lots of practice until I can do them.” So, was this the way maths was intended to be experienced? Hopefully not: learning, especially of maths, must have a secure basis using concrete objects and we believe very strongly that time must be made available to enable genuine discoveries to take place, ideas to be formulated, exchanged, discussed – and for the whole process to be enjoyable, rather than one long test. Is it more acceptable to say, “I can’t do maths. I was never any good at maths,” rather than, “I can’t read and

Because the boy was so uneasy about drawing without some form of reference in front of him, I asked if he would prefer to read to me. He did. He read each word perfectly. He could not predict what possibilities could develop, nor explain why certain events had taken place, in the story he had chosen to read. “But I was just reading! You asked me to read.” “And you did. Thank you.” Do we really want our children to avoid taking risks, making ‘mistakes’, or assuming that there is only one way to arrive at a destination? No: we must allow youngsters to fail, to allow them to grow. When I hear young children telling me that they ‘won’t do it like that again, because it just didn’t work,’ I am absolutely delighted. They had an idea, they put it into practice,




I certainly can’t spell.” Could this possibly have been the reasoning behind this boy’s parents having a maths tutor? He seemed to have been placed on a conveyor belt which, presumably, will lead to his academic success, which is all well and good but it’s not at the heart of what learning is about for us at Dallington. Then I asked: “Would you draw the people in your family? I really love looking at drawings.” “I’m not very good at drawing, but I can copy them.” “Have a go! You can talk me through your drawing, as you’re making it. “

and finally they reached their own conclusion. To me, that is a learning experience worthy of a place in a child’s developmental journey. In some peer groups there will be children who have had almost three learning Terms longer than those with late summer births. Do ages really matter? Is the provision made, or is it assumed that they are all in the same group, so they should all be doing the same things at the same time? I don’t think so - but it happens! Dallington School is a family-run, independent, co-educational day school for children aged 3 to 11, in the heart of London dallin g ton school .co .uk

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