Monday, 16 May 2016

Top Gifts for Expecting Mums

Is your wife/best friend/sister/work colleague expecting 
and you don’t quite know what would make her happy? 

Let me help. 

As much as an expecting mum 
might coo over cute baby grows and newborn bundles, 
there’s one thing that is going to make her feel truly special: 
a bit of pampering.

A pregnancy massage at the Mandarin Oriental Spa

Rumours say it’s the best spa in London
I’ve been there and I can attest that as far as spas go, 
this is top top top. 

The facilities are like a comfy water cocoon: 
dimmed lights, an ideal temperature and soft sounds 
will relax the tensest of persons. 

Arrive early to take a dip in the vitality pool 
and enjoy some tea and the yummiest oat cookies in the relaxation area. 
Then the therapist will take your medical history 
and note any intolerances before proceeding with the selected treatment. 

The pregnancy treatment is an all over body one, 
aiming at relieving stresses, heavy legs and an aching back. 
The price is a bit steep, 
but it’s definitely worth it for some royal pampering.

Skin Spa from Baylis & Harding

This time last year, I was heavily pregnant with Baby P. 
With my feet swollen and tired of carrying all that extra weight around, 
one of the things that made me feel really nice 
was having long footbaths and massages. 

Baylis and Harding, the luxury cosmetic company, 
recently launched a range of products especially created for mums to be. 

The Mum To Bee skin spa gift set includes everything 
one needs for a mini pedi aat home: 
foot soak crystals, a honey and almond foot lotion 
and a pair of supersoft socks. 

In short, what every mum to be needs before D-day.

Ultimate Rose Pregnancy Treatment, duration 1h50min £210
Baylis and Harding Comfort Me Sock set, £6, available at Tesco online

Disclosure: complimentary treatment & PR samples.
Views and wording my own.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

London's Sky Garden with Children

True to the famous quote,
London is never in short supply
of extraordinary things to do and see.

One of the latest additions and, up until recently,
a hush-hush secret of Londoners is the aptly named Sky Garden;
Europe’s first hanging gardens in the heart of the City of London.

Up on the 36th floor of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper,
magnificent gardens and breathtaking views of famous landmarks
make this a must-visit London destination.

 A Mum in London

We went there recently with the kid and baby
and had an unforgettable day out.

To visit the Sky Garden there are two options:
you can  pre-book a free visit,
but that needs to be done months in advance
as the free public access is restricted and overbooked,
or you can book a table at one of the restaurants
and enjoy the gardens whenever you want.

A Mum in London 

We had a Sunday brunch at the restaurant;
for £39 per adult and £19 per child
one can have starters and desserts from the buffet,
order a main course
and drink as many Bloody Marys and milkshakes as one likes.

We had the pulled pork burger, which was super tasty,
the kid had an enormous fish and chips plate
and the baby stuffed his face with fresh raspberries.
The best part was the desserts, with top marks for the banoffee.

 A Mum in London

So, how child-friendly is the Sky Garden?
Well, it is fine if you have older children,
but not so much for babies and toddlers.

The gardens are laid in levels and have steps,
so if you have a buggy you will need to take the lift
and miss the different planted levels.

But, overall, the views and the amazing gardens make up for it
and I would strongly recommend going there with children
to enjoy spectacular views of the fantastic city London is.

Sky Garden20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF
Entry is free but must be booked in advance.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

First Birthday Party Ideas: Paddington Bear

First birthdays are really special;
I find they are best celebrated with close family and friends,
lots of home baked goodies,
a spectacular cake, and a cute theme.

Paddington, the chubby Peruvian bear, 
is ideally sweet and cute for a girl's or boy's first birthday, 
and it's really easy to create lots of themed goodies from it. 

Since I am not renowned for my home baking skills, 
finding easy-to-do treats was priority number one. 
Luckily, these Paddington bear themed treats 
are both delicious and simple to make. 

A Mum in London

Paddington Bear Party Buffet Ideas

Here are some ideas for creating a yummy 
buffet with kids' firm favourites: 

{cut a Babybel in half and add a straw at the bottom of it}

-Bear-shaped sandwiches filled with sweet and savoury fillings 
{cut the bread with a bear-shaped cookie cutter} 

-A marmalade cake for the grown-ups 
{this Jamie Oliver recipe seems yummy and simple} 

 -Colourful Paddington bear cupcakes for the kiddos 
{use blue and red icing and Paddington bear wafer paper topers}

A Mum in London

As for the presentation, things couldn't be easier. 

With the Paddington themed party supplies, 
like balloons, tableware, tablecloths, banners 
and cute pre-filled party bags,  
the party table will look fab and children will be delighted. 

For entertainment, 
have the Paddington Bear movie at the ready 
and as an extra touch, 
you can treat the little guests to their own 
Paddington bear toy or book! 

Picture: Paddington bear party tablecloth, balloon and party bag from

Many thanks to Party Bags and Supplies 
for sending Baby P his party supplies. 
Views and wording my own. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Checking Children's Eyesight with a Fun Storybook

As from today, parents in the UK can do 
a basic eyesight check at home with their children  
thanks to the Zookeeper Zoe storybook 
which is available for free at Boots stores nationwide 

Developed with the National Literacy Trust, 
the book contains four simple to follow eye check activities 
to help parents and carers understand
if their child might need support with their vision. 

A Mum in London

We attended the launch party, packed with animal fun, 
and tested our eyesight while following Zoe's zoo adventures.
The book has lovely, colourful illustrations 
and an easy to follow guide for the eye check activities. 
The 4 year old boy was happy to take part in all the activities, 
as they are intended to be like a game.

The book is also a good reminder that all children 
should have a regular eye health check from the age of three 
and every two years afterwards. 

A Mun in London

Zookeeper Zoe is a first step in understanding your child’s vision, 
and is not intended to replace a comprehensive eye check.

Eye health checks are provided free 
-courtesy of the NHS- for all children up to 16 years old.  
If your child needs glasses, 
you can also get an NHS voucher towards the cost, 
so often they are free of charge.

Zookeeper Zoe is free and 350,000 copies will be available as from 16 March 2016 in Boots stores across the UK. You can book online a free of charge eye check for children up to 16 years old.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Visit Athens: Five Local Tips

The Greek capital is a diverse, cultural, often chaotic city,  
but pretty in its own special way. 

Nevertheless, Athens is usually just a stop-over 
before boarding a ferry to the islands,
and most visitors have to cram as much sightseeing as possible
in a short space of time.

I'm often asked what are the must-sees and dos in Athens;  
so, I wrote down five local tips
for discovering Athens in just a few days or even hours. 

A Mum in London

1. Visit the Parthenon and Acropolis Museum
Spend a day indulging in classical beauty. 
A visit to the Parthenon and the new Acropolis museum 
naturally tops the list of things to do in Athens. 

+ tip: have lunch at the Acropolis museum restaurant;  
you will enjoy tasty, light Greek specialities, 
and the most breathtaking view. 

2. Stroll and shop in Plaka, Thisseion and Monastiraki
This is the touristic centre of Athens, but also a favourite place for Athenians. 
The tavernas, cafes and little shops set amongst classical ruins
make it a very lively place. 

+tip: watch a movie while enjoying superb views of the Acropolis 
at the open air cinema Ciné Paris in Plaka.

  3. Hike on top of the Lycabettus
It's hard to imagine that wolves were wandering there in ancient times.  
Nowadays, you'll only see dogs and wild tortoises. 

+tip: Go there early in the evening and climb on top of the mount 
to see the sun set in the sea behind the Parthenon.

A Mum in London

4. Go for a drink in Kolonaki
This is the posh Athenian neighbourhood, 
where politicians and wealthy people live. 
Expect to find chic boutiques and cosy restaurants.  
+tip: On a hot summer's day, go for an ouzo and some mezes 
at Dexameni square, a haven of  tranquillity with trees and jasmines. 

5. Visit Kallimarmaro and Zappeion Gardens
Kallimarmaron or the Panathenaic Stadium is the place 
where the first modern Olympic Games took place; 
it's also the finish line of the famous Athens Marathon. 
Zappeion Gardens, the former garden of the Royal family, 
is an oasis in the centre of Athens.

+tip: sip a traditional Greek coffee at the little cafe 
which is just across the street from the Prime Minister's residence. 

Read more about Greece's Unspoilt Islands, some of its Best Beaches, and discover more Greek islands on the Travel Section of the blog. 

*all images original to A Mum in London

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