An AM/PM Skincare Routine Using The Ordinary

A stripped back guide to the no-frills skincare brand that’s anything but basic

There was a time the beauty industry kept the real science behind the scenes. Sure, you could buy a spendy elixir made from rare plant dew gathered at dawn, or a gold-lidded jar of distilled babies’ tears (and we’re only just exaggerating), but highly efficacious skincare using proven ingredients at prices we can all afford? Not a chance. And then in 2013 along came The Ordinary, with its functional-looking line of clearly labelled formulas, showcasing hero ingredients such as peptides, retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. In short, the stuff that really works. So far, so revolutionary. But where another brand might have one simple vitamin C serum for example, The Ordinary will have a whole range of powders, suspensions and solutions in wildly differing percentages. It’s an offering that’s not only mega in scope but seemingly requires a chemistry degree before you can pronounce the names on the bottles, let alone put them into a skincare routine.

Which is where we come in. And although there’s no such thing as one skincare regime to rule all others (no matter what the brand), there are some key fundamentals that can help you put together an effective morning and evening routine. Roll up for your as-basic-as-possible The Ordinary explainer.

Morning skincare routine

1. Cleanse

Don’t even think about skipping it – you need to wash off all the sweat and dead cells (true story) accumulated during your action-packed quarantine dreams. Plus, if you’re planning on applying any skincare or make-up afterwards, this is where the prep starts.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, £5.50, works by gently trapping and removing impurities on the surface of your skin without stripping away its natural oils – unlike harsh, sulphate-loaded cleansers that can leave you feeling dry and tight. Rub between your palms before applying to a dry face; massage in then rinse away.

2. Trap in moisture

A juicy splodge of hyaluronic acid, a molecule that helps skin to conserve moisture, keeps skin plump and hydrated. A pea-sized amount of lightweight The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, £5.90, is the one here. The B5 helps to strengthen the skin barrier, thus extending your skin’s capacity to hold onto water while fending off daily wear and tear.

3. Treat

Now for a shot of vitamin C – it’s the potent antioxidant that dermatologists agree is key to brightening skin tone, helping to prevent pigmentation and slowing collagen breakdown. You’ll reap maximum rewards if you apply it in the morning as it’ll help to reinforce the sun protection prowess of your SPF product while fending off damaging free-radicals that come at you during the day by way of pollution, smoke and radiation.

Many of us already pop some vit C on the daily (The Ordinary reports that sales of  Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone, £5.75, have rocketed by 161% since lockdown began) but this is strong stuff so if you’re a vitamin C newbie or have sensitive skin, start your vitamin habit with Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, £4.90. It’s still potent but will ease you in nicely while our old friend hyaluronic acid comes to your rescue on the moisture front. Speaking of which…

4. Hydrate

Depending on your skin type (and how emollient your SPF is) you may find you can skip this step, but most skin will likely benefit from an added moisture hit.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, £4.90, is your relatively rich daily hydrator. If you still like the texture and feel after you’ve used your first tube, go large for £6.80. It’s better for the environment from a packaging point of view and you’ll save precious pounds too. Let’s face it, the travel sized minis are pretty redundant right now anyway and the sales figures are showing it – The Ordinary’s ‘super size me’ options have seen a 35% lift in purchases.

5. SPF

Yes you do still need to wear SPF in lockdown, since 90% of skin ageing is triggered by UV exposure and your living room window is a portal. Mineral sunscreens are considered less irritating to skin than chemically based formulas and The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30, £8.90, is the brand’s highest mineral based formula. It has a lot going for it in terms of soothing hydrators, but one downside is the white cast it leaves behind skin. If you’ve got dark skin this will be especially apparent in which case we’ll give the off-menu recommendation of Ultrasun Face Anti-pigmentation SPF50+, £32, which provides high level protection that’s suitable for sensitive skin and doesn’t come off ashy. One brand can’t give you everything.

Evening Routine

1. Cleanse

This time around, you’re double cleansing (exactly as it sounds: cleanse, rinse and repeat) using a warm flannel or muslin cloth, especially if you’ve been wearing make-up or SPF, both of which are designed to stick to the skin as long as possible, so need thorough attention.

2. Exfoliate

Twice a week max, especially if you’re using the much ‘grammed The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, £6.30, which often pops up on Stories owing to the blood red ‘vampire facial’ hue created by its fusion of pore clearing, surface smoothing acids. A patch test is advisable before applying all over your face. Even then, use only in the evening as AHA acids leave skin more sensitive to sun damage and never leave for more than ten minutes.

For a gentler facial acid trip, Lactic Acid 5% + HA, £5.80, is the one. It doesn’t pack such a punch in terms of fading pigmentation but it leaves skin soft and is a milder starting point for sensitive skin or chemical exfoliant beginners.

3. Treat

On days you’re not exfoliating, this is where retinol, and all other Vitamin A derivatives come in. Vitamin A is one of only two skincare ingredients clinically proven to definitively delay signs of premature ageing (the other is SPF) but be aware that not everyone can tolerate it so it’s best to start ‘low and slow’. Begin with a gentle retinol formula (in the case of The Ordinary, Retinol 0.2% in Squalane, £4.20) and apply a small amount once or twice a week, building up to every other day or moving onto a stronger formula as your skin develops a tolerance. It’s not wholly dissimilar to weaning. On which note, steer clear of vitamin A if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. There’s plenty of time to get on the retinol train later, and in the meantime an all-rounder serum such as The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, £5, can have a reversing effect on breakouts and dullness.

4. Moisturise

Wait at least twenty minutes post retinol application and then it’s on with The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, £4.90. If you’re a facial oil fan and have dry skin, consider layering The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane Oil, £5.50, over the top of your hyaluronic acid serum for ‘no messing’ nourishment instead.

All that said, any skincare routine has an element of ‘you do you’, so Deciem (The Ordinary’s parent company) recently launched an At Home consultation service which allows you to chat or schedule a video call with an in-house expert. Whether you have questions about individual products or a new routine, or want to find out what the hell you can put on that raging spot, they’ll shed some light and (if you give them the go ahead) can check in three weeks later to see how you’re getting on. It’s not a facial, but in the current times, it’s something.

The Best Ways to Recover From a C-Section

Image: Jorgen House

With any other major surgery you would be sent home to rest and given the correct care plan to repair your body.

However, it’s not quite like that with a C-section – mainly because you have a new tiny human to look after. But also because the guidance given is just not good enough.

So we’ve summarised the key things you need to aid your recovery.

Just because you’ve had a baby, it’s so important to “Make sure you take care of you”.

The first couple of weeks:

Keep a track of your pain relief:

It’s so easy to forget what you’ve taken and when and when the pain kicks in it can really set you back. Either chart it on your phone or the fridge and set reminders or get your partner to take charge of it for you. With so much going on in your brain it’s nice to offload something and let them take care of you. They’ll probably like that they can help too.

The best way to rest

We know this can feel impossible but you really do need to rest. Pull in all the help you can get. Pause any other unessential tasks like washing, cleaning etc… and use tools like pre-made meals. Try and reduce screen time and sleep when you can and let other people help you recover. You may feel like you want to do more but we promise it will only delay your healing and can also cause infection.
Stock up on face masks and beauty treatments that you can do sitting down and make the most of it.

Garnier Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask
Garnier Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask

How far to walk after a C-section

Start with small walks around the house, avoid walking up and down stairs and when you do try and hold your scar and stomach and move slowly. Then when you’re ready take a small walk outside and don’t be afraid to turn back on yourself if a destination feels too far. You’re healing and there’s no shame in admitting you need to return home to rest. It’s essential.

Arnica will help you to heal

Great for healing and not something your hospital will supply you with as it’s homeopathic. You can take the capsules and also use the gel or cream on the scar once the dressing comes off.

Weleda Arnica Tablets
Weleda Arnica Tablets

A high temp doesn’t always = an infection

But keep an eye out for it. A high temp can sometimes happen when your milk comes in but it’s always best to check any sudden spike and to ring your health visitor if you have one.
Also keep an eye your scar to see if you think it’s not healing well. You should have regular check ups for this anyway but it’s always good for you to familiarise yourself with what it looks like. And again this is also something your partner can do for you if you don’t feel ready to look, which is completely normal if you’ve had an emergency section. It will get a lot easier.

Up your fibre content to avoid constipation

Avoiding this is important, for healing and overall health. Post op you might find it takes a few days to settle back down to normal. Help yourself by keeping your fluids and fibre rich foods up to aid in bowl movement. If this persists abdominal massage can also help.

Lifting things and being lifted

Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby and when you need to get up from the sofa or bed get your partner to help raise you up. You will regain strength quite quickly but it’s important to really let them heal, especially in the first few days and weeks.

Get yourself some big high waisted pants

The pants they give you in the hospital tend to cut in too low and are just plain rubbish and the other all in one pants can make you feel sweaty. We’ve found the best thing is a high-waisted maternity knicker with a pad placed inside.

High waisted seamless pants
High waisted seamless pants

Sneezing, coughing, laughing and crying

You might be crying a lot and hopefully laughing, which can cause pain. And having a cold or cough is complete bitch as it bloody hurts. The best way to combat this is to gently hold your scar and tummy, almost cupping it, and this will help.

Treat yourself to some new high-waisted Trousers

Often women find the section above the scar is tender too. This is because of the internal incisions you’ve had and can also be down to internal trauma caused from having the surgery, so the higher your pants and trousers the better!
Don’t worry about jeans or heavier materials, loose and soft clothing is key. You won’t be in them forever but you need them right now.

MAMA Before & After Jersey Trousers
MAMA Before & After Jersey Trousers

Keep your blood sugar levels up with dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a winner for helping you get some energy and a great treat to have on standby.

Ferrero Rocher Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Bar
Ferrero Rocher Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Bar


You’ve started to heal, what next?

Complications that can happen

Your scar is just the bit you can see but under the skin there is a lot more healing taking place. During the healing process adhesions form, initially good (to close the wound), however they can cause potential issues as they bind to organs and tissues in the pelvis, which can cause incontinence, pelvic pain, and back pain.
Which is why it’s important to take care of yourself. Women also often find that they experience pulling or restrictions in the area, when getting back to moving more. So once you feel comfortable to do so, start reconnecting with your body by gently massaging the stomach (no need to go directly on the scar to start with), above and below the scar and once it has fully healed, on the scar too.

Feeling disconnected from your body

After a C-section lots of women express a lack of ‘connection’ to their body, like it has failed them in some way. Please remember that you have definitely not failed. You just grew a tiny human and you birthed that baby and went through a huge journey to get where you are. You will recover and you will feel better in time. It is so normal to feel like this and like everything it will improve as you strengthen your physical and mental health.
You can also feel like your tummy or parts are disjointed. This is often accompanied with poor core control, stress incontinence and other issues. Again this is a completely normal feeling to have. It will improve as long as you give yourself the proper care and attention to recover.

How to get the care you deserve

Speak to your GP and request to see a women’s health physio. Or take matters into your own hands and book an appointment with your local practioner. You will find lots of Google, ask some friends who they used or look for your nearest Mummy MOT. Mummy MOT is a brand we trust and have used personally and you can find them almost anywhere.

What does a women’s health physio help with?

They will check your scar and tummy. They’ll be able to tell you if you have any stomach muscle separation. Most will offer an internal examination too, which checks for internal damage, prolapsing and measures the strength of your pelvic floor. It sounds invasive but after birth you won’t mind and it’s actually very reassuring to know if everything is ok in there or not. After your chat and examination they’ll give you advice and exercises to help you recover. If you end up paying for it yourself we guarantee you won’t regret it.

Before you do anything just breathe

All of the core muscles (Diaphragm, Pelvic Floor, Abdominal wall, Lumber Back muscles) work together when we breathe. Sit with your hand on your tummy (or if no time, do it when you’re lying down just before sleep) take a deep breathe in and then exhale through pursed lips till you have no air left. You’ll feel the tummy move away from your hand, you might also feel the lower back tighten and the pelvic floor move upwards. Repeat this as often as you like, it will aid recovery, reconnection and relaxation. This is the first step back towards any type of ‘exercise’ as it’s setting the foundations for a strong and well functioning core.

Starting to exercise after a C-section

The best way to repair your body and regain strength is to focus on breathing, postural exercises and gentle walking that you can build up slowly with time.

Rehabilitating exercises you can try after your 6-week check up:

Pelvic Tilting: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. On an out breath, tilt your pelvis so your lower back presses into the floor, inhale and release. Repeat x 10

Bridging: Start position as above. As you exhale, lift your bum off the floor till you have a slope from your knee to your chin, inhale as you lower. Repeat x 10

Leg Slides, start position as above. As you exhale so the belly moves down, start to slide the leg forward, just as far as you can without your pelvis moving. Inhale as you bring the leg back in. Move slowly! Repeat x 5 each leg

Try and eat some healthy foods

We know it’s so hard and cake is all you want. But poor nutrition will slow post natal healing. Especially after a c-section when the the body needs to repair the damage done by the operation part of your birth. If healthy eating feels too hard, include a green smoothie into your day, they’re quick to make and will help you tick off some essential nutrients that you need.

You need:
Protein – helps tissue repair.
Vitamins A, C & E – repair the skin and underlying tissue. Boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and help wound repair.
Magnesium – attracts water into the intestines so helps reduce constipation.
Collagen – great for wound healing and scarring
Omega-3 – helps maintain cells and reduces inflammation.

Read next…             

Green Smoothies That Every Mum Needs

Smoothies are a great way to stay topped up with essential nutrients.

An easy way to drink a shed load of fruit and vegetables while you get on with other things.

How To Handle Sleep Deprivation Like A Pro

Having children = being tired. Here’s how to make it a little better…

Tip 1

Nap Time

We’re not going to patronise you by telling you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ but… yeah…that. So seriously, forget the housework. No one cares if your living room is untidy and you haven’t made the bed. Visitors gonna visit, but they can jolly well crack on with a bit of washing up while they do.

Tip 2

Change Your Mindset

Instead of thinking ‘I need to get eight hours a night to function’, start thinking in blocks of 24 hours. You might only get four hours of broken sleep one night, but you have the next day and the following night to catch up (see tip #1).

Tip 3

Tag Team

Rope in some outside help. Child-free friend, Grandma, the old lady across the street (she looks trustworthy enough). And if it really is just the two of you, write up a schedule that means you have regular, non-negotiable chunks of time to yourself (see tip #2).

Tip 4

Get a Routine

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; the routine will piss you off and then it will set you free. Bath, bottle and bed won’t rock anyone’s world but you’ll thank yourself three years later when your kid goes down at 6.30pm every night like solid gold clockwork and you can crack open the Pinot Grigio and have dinner in peace.

Tip 5

Stop Trying To Get Them To Sleep

There is nothing worse than being off-your-face exhausted and still the kid just WILL. NOT. NAP. As tempting as it is to spend hour after hour anxiously willing them to nod off, you should probably know that babies (like horses and Tinder dates) can smell your desperation. Reverse psychology is the best course of action, for them and for you. Put the TV on, go for a walk, play like your life depends on it. Pretend you couldn’t give a damn whether they napped of not and while we can’t guarantee they’ll go to sleep it might trick you into feeling better.

Tip 6

Go Out

We guarantee that however bad you feel now, you’ll feel a million times better after a shower and a walk around the park. If in doubt, get out. You can remember that one even when you haven’t slept in a week.

Tip 7

Lower Your Standards

You know what you need when you’ve had less than three hours sleep and you’re breastfeeding a ravenous baby? A biscuit. Seven biscuits. Whatever it takes to take the pressure off. If you don’t get dressed today and all you eat is a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk and a Dominos? Be kind to yourself; that’s okay. If your toddler has developed a chronic case of insomnia and you’re so tired you’ve started to hallucinate? Whack on four hours of Peppa Pig and feel no shame.

10 Types of Mum Mates Every Woman Needs In Her Life

The Organiser

Remember World Book Day? Us neither. But Organised Mum does; she’s got spreadsheets for this shit. She knows all the best baby classes and always has a spare swim nappy/outfit/pack of wipes.

The Insta pal

She slides into your DM’s on the daily and is always the first to throw you a like on your latest grid post. There are no plans to meet IRL, you’re happy just being each others vitual cheerleader.

The Experienced Mum

While you’re still finding your feet with baby no.1, she’s on to her 2nd, 3rd or 4th. This is not her first rodeo! She’ll tell you what to pack in that hospital bag, can diagnose a suspicious rash over Whatsapp and has potty training nailed like a pro. She’s your guru!

The One Whose Kid Has The Same Issues As Yours

You know what’s worse than your baby not sleeping through the night? All your friends’ babies sleeping through the night!
Thank goodness there’s a pal in a similar shit situ to you.

Off During The Week Mum

You’ve spent many a random Tuesday spent wandering through a National Trust park together and she’s always free for a quick play date/brew.

The Laid Back Mum

The antithesis of the Helicopter parent. Big believer in the 5 second rule. Most likely to be spotted scrolling through Instagram whilst their slightly-feral child runs riot through soft play.

The ‘Newer New Mum’ Mum

Newer-New Mum’s baby is 6 months younger than yours, which makes you an absolute pro qualified to dish out parenting advice. This makes you feel smug, like you know what you’re doing; when you absolutely do not.


The only woman in birthing classes whose birth plan was also ‘for the baby to come out’. You bonded over your dislike of…well…basically everyone else, and your kids are the same age, which is handy when you’re both awake at 3am trying to stay conscious for the night feed.

School Gates Mum

You’ve made small talk with her 5 days a week for 6 years and know all her innermost secrets, but you don’t actually know her first name and now it’s way too late to ask.

The No-Judgement Mum

Unflappable, unshockable and always brings wine, chocolate or both. We like her the most.

What It Really Feels Like To Discover Strawberry Naevus

Did anyone else hold their breath through every check-up on their newborn?

So, his hearings fine? And she can see? Oh, OK. So, they’re OK?


But what happens when the doctor finds something out of the ‘norm’?

Jennifer Everett describes what it felt like to discover her son had a strawberry birthmark and why she needs other people’s opinions to change.

On the 17th of July 2015, our beautiful baby boy, Carter-James, was born. A few days later, we discovered what looked like a small reddish scratch on his face.

Our midwife’s first thought was that it was a scratch with a minor infection, but a week or so later, it was still there, and we were referred to our GP. After this, we went to the doctors, and they confirmed that it was a birthmark and that we needed to see a specialist.

A few weeks later, not knowing what to expect, I found myself sat anxiously waiting while a specialist examined my little boy’s face.  After what felt like a lifetime, but was probably more like five minutes, the doctor confirmed that it was a strawberry naevus.

‘Sorry, a what?’ I thought.

He confirmed it was a birthmark that would only get bigger and become significantly raised and red. He requested that we come back in two weeks to review it again and look at possible treatments as the rate of growth would be quick.

I left the children’s centre, feeling shocked. Once it registered in my head, I cried and cried. Some people may judge me for this, but as a mother, you expect your child to be born ‘perfect’.

Even though Carter-James was and still is the most perfect boy ever! The initial shock of our baby having a big red raised birthmark on his face was quite daunting.

I had so many questions running through my head.

How big is it going to get? What even is a strawberry birthmark? Why has it appeared? How long will he have it? Can we do anything to reduce its size?

The next day I gathered myself up and headed straight to Google.

I found quite a lot of information. I even saw a site that claimed that if a mother craved strawberries in pregnancy, and didn’t eat enough, then a birthmark could appear. I can tell you now that this is NOT true.

The night before our second appointment, I looked adoringly at my beautiful baby boy as he lay sleeping. For the first time, I properly looked at the birthmark, and it had got a lot bigger and raised. I looked further to see and discovered that it was in the shape of a heart. And ever since then, we have called it his special little love heart.

The next day we went to see the specialist. He asked about my labour, and I explained that there was an issue where the doctors couldn’t locate Carter’s heartbeat, and we had an emergency delivery. Without going into all the gory details, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and he had to be worked on for a while before he took his first cry. The doctor said that this trauma was the probable cause of his strawberry naevus.

The doctor explained the treatment process was for our tiny baby to be put on beta-blockers, which slow down the heart rate and starve the haemangioma of blood. This then stops the growth, causing the birthmark to die.

As soon as beta-blockers was mentioned, the first thing that came into my head was ‘NO!’. He then continued to explain that Carter would have to have regular monitoring on his heart.

Again, I was thinking, NO! NO! NO!

The doctor asked what we thought of this. My first words were ‘No way!’ our little boy is not going through that. At the moment, this is not affecting him. Why should he have to go through that? The doctor was shocked by our response, he seemed to admire our decision, and he said that most parents immediately take the treatment. As a family, this wasn’t right for us, and instead, we decided to opt for monthly check-ups to see how things progressed.

The doctor was happy with our decision and he explained it was possible to let things run their course, and it would eventually go. His only concern was that it could possibly affect his breathing, but the advice was to keep an eye on it and if it had any bleeding to come straight back. Luckily, this never happened.

Every appointment going forward, I continued to say no to the treatment.

After several monthly check-ups and massive growth in the strawberry, we were told that the birthmark had stopped growing and that it was now in its fading process, which was brilliant news!

The doctor then informed us that it could take up to seven years to disappear but could be gone by the age of two.

But now, something has changed.

Carter-James is a happy, confident, outgoing, always smiling, beautiful boy, and up until a few months ago, his birthmark has never really been an ‘issue’.

However, as he’s got older, he has started socialising and interacting with children more and going to child-friendly places.

I now see children and adults staring, pointing and refusing to play with him because of that ‘thing’ on his face. Parents even slyly remove their children away from him like it’s some infectious disease.

I see the way Carter looks at me as if to say, ‘why is everybody leaving mummy?’

He is unaware of his special mark, as this is all he has ever known. This breaks my heart to the point that we have sat down as a family to reconsider our options.

I feel frustrated that it’s other people’s reactions that are causing this discomfort. And I get it because I too was naive at first. But I hope that sharing my story will raise awareness over birthmarks and help us to be kinder, so that children like Carter aren’t affected. 

It’s rare, but whenever I see another child with strawberry naevus, the relief and excitement on the other mother’s face is palpable, it’s like being in a tiny club that no one understands.

I hope this insight will help people realise that birthmarks are a ‘normal thing’ and the people with them are not monsters.

89% of Mums Have Felt Lonely Since Giving Birth 

Our survey says…

No, it’s not a game of family fortunes. We spoke to over 600 of you and found that 89% of mums have felt lonely at least once since giving birth. With 40% saying they feel lonely, either most or all of the time and a startling 51% of women who felt loneliness said they couldn’t speak to anyone about it. This is heart-breaking reading.

Why it’s vital, we support mums

The Mum Club was set up to try and eradicate feelings of loneliness and isolation. Our founders, Jessica and Lauren started the club back in 2016 because they discovered the level of care for new mums was lacking.

 “We’d go to these baby classes, and while they were entertaining for the children, we’d leave having spoken to no-one and feeling emptier in a way. This experience drove us to create TMC – because we didn’t want anyone to ever feel like that”.

“We feel it’s essential to reach out to other mums and make sure they feel spoken to. Our end goal is that wherever you are in the country, a TMC group will exist – online or in person. We want you to be able to access the same love, support and laughter, with a TMC village in every possible corner”.

Working with PANDAS

We’re thrilled to announce that this month sees the launch of our partnership with postnatal support specialists PANDAS.

In the last year, PANDAS has noted a rise of 150% in requests for help. Plus, calls to their helpline have increased by a whopping 240%. In response to this, we have pledged to make PANDAS our 2021 charity of choice, and they will be supporting them with donations and helping to raise awareness for the foundation.

PANDAS provide free support services for parents struggling with their perinatal mental health. Their free helpline (0808 1961 776) offers support Mon-Fri. They offer peer to peer support for every parent, with lived, work and academic experience best placed to support families in their times of need. For more information, head to

Annie Belasco, Head of Charity at PANDAS says, “We are delighted to be joining hands with these superb women who have set up TMC.  Driven by their experiences in parenting, to create a strong network of mums who can help each other. Through their information and motivation this is a great new beginning for parents who feel lonely and want to connect with others in their parenting journey”.

Our survey also revealed…

85% of mums experienced low feelings, extreme sadness, anxiety or depression after giving birth. With 1 being the lowest, 32% of these women marked their feeling as 7 or above in terms of extremity.   

Shockingly, only 8% of women feel there is enough support for mums.

89% of mums felt anxious in the last year. 60% said it was a frequent experience, and 29% said it was the first time they’d ever felt anxious.  

53% of mums rated their self-esteem lower than 5 in the first 6 months of motherhood. (*based on a scale of 1-10). 47% of these mums didn’t feel they could talk to anyone about it. 

Surprisingly, only 8% of women said they felt there wasn’t a stigma attached to feeling depressed or low.

Overwhelmed and forgotten were two of the most popular words used to describe how mums have been treated in the pandemic. 

89% of mums said they felt hesitant to moan about their pandemic experience because others were suffering more.

The Mums biggest worry for their children is that they’re lonely.

To help us raise awareness of our findings, we’ve also been working with leading psychotherapist and empowerment coach Emmy Brunner, who describes:

“Throughout the pandemic experience, I have seen many usually high functioning women and mothers, hit a point of feeling completely mentally exhausted and yes, alone, despite being amongst our four walls with our families.  Surrounding yourself with other women at the same life stage and going through a shared experience, but in the structure of a proactive and supportive environment like The Mum Club is a positive way to receive validation for how you’re feeling, making you feel less alone”.

Lauren and Jessica say, “we were saddened to see these results, but also unsurprised. It’s important that now, more than ever, we look after each other and if we can do anything to provide a moment of light relief, or to let other mums know that it’s not just them, then we’ve achieved what we set out to do with The Mum Club.”

18 Great Pieces To Feel Stylish Whilst Breastfeeding

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Breastfeeders, you’re in luck! Buttoned-down midi dresses, oversized blouson shirts and wrap blouses have become key players in the modern wardrobe, and they couldn’t have been more perfectly designed with easy access in mind.

Breastfeeding can be difficult enough to manage without public malfunctions, especially early on. Having some practical pieces that don’t make you feel you’ve lost your style identity helps no end. Think comfortable shapes with pretty details, and beautiful colours and fabrics that will boost your mood just hanging in the wardrobe.

Nothing makes for more discrete feeding than a button-through or wrap-front dress; throw on a thin, stretchy vest underneath and you’re in layering heaven. Add a pair of Converse or New Balance trainers for comfort, or sandals and a basket bag for a day out in the sun.

Shirts and blouses are as good as it gets, the more buttons the better. Cotton & linen blends are key for the summer; keeping cool and breezy is a must when there’s a hungry baby attached at all times.

Jumpsuits are not just comfortable but super-flattering on a range of different body sizes, especially when you’re post-partum and feeling less confident in your new shape. Here are a few TMC favourites.

When Should My Baby Be Crawling, Clapping And Talking?

Leading questions like, ‘Is he crawling yet?’ ‘Can she clap?’ or ‘Any words?’, are one of the most annoying things about Motherhood.

Why other people are SO obsessed with how your baby is developing, we don’t know.

Who cares if Emma’s darling daughter was on the move at eight months?

Remember, it is unlikely that you’ll see an 18-year-old rolling around on the floor unable to walk – unless it’s 2am.

They. Will. Get. There!

In the meantime, “enjoy your baby and let them do things in their own sweet time”, says paediatrician Dr Kiran Rahim aka @themunchingmedic.

Don’t enter the comparison game

It’s easy to feel like a bad parent if you’ve not sat there for hours teaching them to clap or crawl. But that’s ridiculous. Most just do it on their own. “I didn’t teach my kids anything, I was barely surviving, and that is totally fine”, says Dr Kiran. She adds, “I actually stopped going to my classes because I hated the comparisons that mums make. When environments become toxic, you start to question and compare your baby, and you really shouldn’t. We all have different personalities, quirks and nuisances, and babies are the same”.

Dr Kiran’s developmental roadmap:

Keep her checklist nearby, refer to it when you need reassurance, and then tell those nosey parkers to mind their own. *Remember – this is for reference, and if your baby isn’t beginning to babble at six months, it’s not a red flag. You don’t need to worry. “One child might not be walking by twelve months, and another could be walking at eight months. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other, says Dr Kiran. “Be kind with your words and think twice before saying, “oh, mine was born talking and walking” it might make an already struggling parent feel worse about their child”.

6 weeks

Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• There’s no social smile.
• No head control.


Around this time, babies can:
• Roll from their tummy onto their back.
• Begin to sit with support.
• Grab things with their hands.
• Transfer toys from one hand to the other.
• Turn their head to their name or to a noise.
• Begin to babble.
• Put toys, feet or your nose to their mouth.
Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are squinting and not reaching for things.

9 months

Around this time, babies can:
• Sit independently without support.
• Roll from front to back and back to front.
• Begin to stand with support.
• Pick things up with their thumb and index finger in a pincer grip.
• Recognise and respond to their name.
• Hold and bite their food.
• Develop stranger danger and object permanence. *This means they cry when you leave the room or if they don’t recognise a face.
Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are not sitting or are very floppy.

1 year

Around this time, babies can:
• Begin to walk independently.
• Throw objects.
• Say Mama, Dada or a few words.
• Wave and understand Peekaboo.
• Drink from a beaker cup.
• Clap with their hands.

18 months

Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are not walking.
• They have no words or don’t babble.

2 years

Around this time, most babies can:
• Run on tiptoes.
• Walk up the stairs with two feet at a time.
• Throw a ball (psst…kick a ball is 2.5 years).
• Begin to draw a vertical line.
• Turn pages in a book.
• Have two-word sentences, e.g., ‘Mama eat, I hungry’.
• Begin to eat with a spoon.
Red flag. Speak to a doctor if:
• They are not talking or understanding simple instructions.

3 years

Around this time, most children can:
• Walk up and downstairs.
• Draw a circle.
• Begin to use scissors.
• Bead things through a string.
• Have 3-word sentences, e.g., ‘Mama, let’s go!’.
• Understand things are bigger or smaller and colours.
• To start sharing toys.
• Play independently.
• Eat with a fork and spoon.
• Be dry by day.

5 years

Around this time, most children can:
• Run and walk up and down stairs like an adult.
• Draw shapes like a cross, triangle or body parts.
• Cut pieces of paper.
• Understand complex instructions, e.g., pick your shoes up, put them in the cupboard and then wash your hands.
• Be dry by night (some children can go on until 7 years).
• Can dress and undress some items of clothing.
• Begin to do up buttons and zips.

Remember these are just a guideline about what may do and when, most babies will and some will make you wait. Think about adults, some of us always on time, and some of us never are, despite how hard we try! The most important take home message is, if you are worried, please speak to a Doctor.

10 Pregnancy Myths That Are Total BS

The ‘joy of pregnancy’ comes with a whole host of side effects and an extra serving of unsolicited advice. Growing a human is tricky enough without having to navigate your way through a sea of misinformation. Here’s our TMC guide to those pregnancy myths that are total BS..

Morning Sickness Just Happens In The Morning

Let’s start with the obvious. Pre-pregnancy we naively presumed we’d just wake up and vom before cracking on with the rest of our day. OH HOW WRONG WE WERE. The reality is pregnancy sickness doesn’t seem to give a shit about punctuality; it can actually happen any time of the day or night.

You Have To Stop Exercising

Gym bunnies of the world rejoice! There’s no need to stop exercising the moment you discover you are avec bebe; in fact, it’s actually recommended by the NHS. As your pregnancy progresses, you may have to tailor your workout to accommodate your ever growing bump (READ: No Rock Climbing) but for the most part, you can carry on as normal for as long as you feel comfortable.

You Have To Wear Maternity Clothes

Let’s be honest; whilst there are a handful of amazing maternity brands out there most pregnancy-wear is pretty grim. If you don’t fancy splashing out a wedge of cash on a ‘Baby on Board’ t shirt that won’t fit you a few weeks from now; try sizing up, elasticated waists and a few key investment pieces that will last (we’re still wearing maternity jeans and our kids go to school now).

You Can Eat For Two

You might be as devo’d as us to learn that most women only need an extra 200 calories per day in the final trimester of pregnancy. Personally, we demand a recount. We were told there’d be more cake.

You Can Guess The Sex From The Shape Of Your Bump

There’s actually no evidence to support that the shape of your ever-expanding tummy gives a clue to the gender of your baby. Unfortunately, this won’t stop your Mother-in-Law declaring ‘it’s definitely a boy’ because you’re ‘carrying it all in the back’ (whatever that means).

You Can’t Have Sex

Unless you’re advised otherwise, sex is completely safe and there’s absolutey zero chance of poking the baby in the head (a common worry amongst totally modest men). Let’s file this under things you don’t necessarily HAVE to do just because you CAN….

It’s The Most Magical Time

Some women enjoy every second of pregnancy. Those women are magical pregnancy unicorns. For the rest of us, there are moments where the weight gain, nausea, swelling and internal battering from tiny baby feet get all too much; and that’s pretty normal.

You’ll Get That Pregnancy ‘Glow’

Firstly; not always true. Many women actually complain of increased breakouts, dry or acne-prone skin during pregnancy; as fluctuating hormone levels send your skin into overdrive. Secondly; we’re not ‘glowing’ so much as ‘sweating’.

You Can’t Eat That!

Dippy eggs, sushi, cheese; if it’s delicious and you want it, the chances are there’s some article somewhere about why you shouldn’t be eating it. The truth is the guidance changes all the time, so make sure you do your research and take guidance directly from your doctor or midwife.

Pregnancy is 9 Months Long

40 weeks = 10 months. BASIC MATHS PEOPLE!

How to Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better

Ahh sleep, the thing we used to get so much of!

Whether you’re trying to get your babies to bed or your kids are a bit older and you struggle with drifting off, a good night’s sleep is no longer a given.

But there are a few tools you can use to help, and who better to advise us than The Mum Club founders Jess and Lauren, who have 6 kids between them!

Read on to find out their all time sleep essentials for mum and baby.

The Best Things to Help You Sleep

Tempur Comfort Cloud Pillow

It seems like a massive splurge to spend this much on a pillow but trust us – it’s worth it! Your head softly sinks into it but it’s still firm, which reduces the amount you toss and turn before drifting off.

Neom Wellbeing pod

We’re obsessed with this diffuser and we like to use it with lots of different scents but it’s an essential for sleep and the Perfect Night’s Sleep Essential Oil Blend (£20) is the dreamiest fragrance to fill your room before bed.

Votary Pillow Spray

There’s something about the ritual of spraying a pillow mist over our beds before we get in that just makes us feel like we’re in a spa. The fragrance contains sleep inducing lavender that helps us relax and calm our whirring minds.

Neubria Sleep Supplements

We’ve both encountered issues with drifting off and since taking these supplements we’ve noticed a vast improvement. They are formulated to aid relaxation so you get to sleep quicker but they also help with sleep quality and duration. And while they can’t do anything about a baby that wakes up they will enhance the time that you get with head to pillow.

M&S Jersey Pyjamas

These are made from the softest fabric and are breathable, which means you don’t get too hot and wake up in the night. They’re also extremely comfy without looking dowdy.

How to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

Hush White Noise

If you don’t already know about the magical powers of white noise, then it’s time you did. It helps promote relaxation prior to sleep by providing a constant soothing sound for the brain to settle on. It’s also works to drown out noises that might disturb sleep throughout the noise. The only issue is you staying awake wherever it’s on.

Chicco Next to Me

This allows you to sleep next to your baby without being in the same bed. Your baby can safely sleep in the crib next to you, allowing you to respond quickly, whether for feeding, changing or night time snuggles.

Baby Mori Clever Sleeping Bag

These bags are made from beautifully soft organic cotton and bamboo fabric, which is breathable and thermoregulating to help keep your baby or toddler at the perfect temperature all night. It also features a double-direction zipper to make nighttime changes a little bit easier – great in the early days.

Gro Anywhere Blackout Blinds

We’d never have believed the difference a beam of sunshine could make to a little one’s sleep, but every sleep expert we’ve ever encountered, mentions them as a must-have. And we 100% agree. These are great as you can take them down and with your whenever you travel.

Jelly Cat Bashful Bunny

Not all of our children took to comforters or cuddly toys but the ones that did were obsessed with Jelly Cat cuddly toys and comforters and they massively helped with getting them to sleep when we travelled to other places and they weren’t in their crib or cot.

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

How You Really Feel After Giving Birth

Side note: You don’t have to do it all

As women, we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be what the modern world views as a ‘perfect’ mother, friend and partner.

But we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to bother with all that ‘perfect person’ crap.

The weeks after birth are not about springing back, how clean your house is, or how good you look on Instagram.

It’s a time to recover, recoup, and look after YOU.

  1. How will I feel after birth?
    A lot is going on in that very tired brain of yours. Your to-do this should read; ‘Look after me. Look after baby’.

    But for some reason, we feel that everything from our home to our hair, needs to be immaculate. It’s probably our Mother-In Law’s fault or the image of K-Mid and her post-birth bouncy blow-dry.

    Either way, it’s got to stop says @midwife_pip, who is a practising midwife and founder of The Pregnancy Wellness Podcast, she says, “All Mums are superheroes, irrespective of how clean your home is. There is too much unrealistic pressure on women after birth, and we need to realise it’s ok to swerve the washing for a week and put our hair in a bun.”
  2. How long is the postpartum period, and how do you look after yourself?
    It’s about 40 days but take as long as you want and need. “It’s not the time to start dieting and start restricting food”, says Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Emma Brockwell. “Bust that bounce back myth. Try not to do too much. Accept help and listen to your body. By looking after you, you’re looking after baby”.
  3. What is Cuarentena?
    Not to be confused with quarantine, Cuarentena is a Hispanic tradition that for a period of approximately forty days, a new Mum thinks of nothing else but herself and her newborn.

    During this time, she abstains from sex, and other family members take charge of household chores like cooking and cleaning. Sound goods. Can we add champagne to that?
  4. What should you not do after giving birth?
    Stop trying to do too much. Because we can’t see you. But we know you are!

    Fiit Mum trainer Charlie Launders says, “Refrain from lifting anything too heavy while your core and pelvic floor are healing. If you can, try not to lift anything heavier than your baby. Do not start exercising for at least six weeks after giving birth. Jumping straight back into workouts will slow down the healing process, and you could end up prolonging your recovery.

    Walking is good, and you can do this as soon as you feel ready, but you will be surprised at how tough it may initially feel, so take it easy and gently increase the amount you walk over a couple of weeks”.
  5. When can I do housework?
    God we’re fun these days, aren’t we? But we get it, tidy house, tidy mind. “It depends what type of housework you’re thinking about doing”, says Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Emma Brockwell ”. “If you’re thinking about lugging the hoover around your three-story house” (nice btw!) “then you need to wait a while”.
  6. Why you need to rest after giving birth?
    Adrenaline can be a dangerous thing. “It can trick you into thinking you’re in better shape than you are”, says, Fiit Mum trainer Charlie Launders, “Often new mums are filled with adrenalin and other happy hormones, and it can lead them into thinking they’re more capable than they are. Rest is important in every stage of motherhood, but in those early days, it’s crucial. Your organs are moving back to their original places, and you might be healing from a traumatic labour”. So, make sure you are allowing your body enough energy to recover.
  7. What happens if you don’t rest?
    “Stop trying to run before you can walk”, says, Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist Emma Brockwell, “If you don’t rest, you can endure physical pain in your neck, back, shoulders or pelvis. You may encounter issues with your pelvic floor and cause disfunction, encourage leaking, bulging or heaviness in your vaginal area. It could also affect your mental health if you do too much too soon and it can make you feel low. Listen to your body and try not to jump too far forward, otherwise you might send yourself backwards”.
  8. Is it ok that I don’t feel like having sex after birth?
    Absolutely! Whatever birth you had; your bits will be recovering from pregnancy. And if you’re breastfeeding your tits have taken on a new non-sexual role of feeding a human. Your husband will be over-excited at how big your knockers have got, but he’ll just have to wait.

    Read more in our ultimate guide to sex after baby –
  9. Is it normal to bleed more than 40days after birth?
    We’re all different, but generally, it lasts around 24-36 days. Don’t worry if it goes on for longer or stops and starts, that’s normal too. If you feel unsure or notice something different, like a clot, mention it to your health visitor or GP.
  10. How can my tummy become flat after delivery?
    Hold your horses, says Fiit Mum trainer Charlie Launders. “Immediately after the birth, you may look exactly as you did during pregnancy, but your stomach will feel softer. It may stay like this as the uterus contracts back to its original size and place. All of the organs that relocated to make way for your baby will be moving back too. Your core muscles will be recovering without you even realising, as well as your pelvic floor.

    Your body is doing a lot! So, try not to put too much pressure on yourself”.

    Read more about how long it will take for your stomach to go down here How long will it take for my tummy to shrink?

Easy Bakes to do with your kids

No knives or mixers required

Need some baking inspiration to keep the kids busy?

The following recipes are so easy to follow, that even the most novice of bakers won’t mess them up.

Plus, there’s no knives or sharp objects required, so they’re completely safe for little ones to make along with you.

Stress Free Biscuits

Your kids will love designing these biscuits, and the best bit is you can make them in whatever way you like. No cutter? Get creative and roll out your own shapes. No ingredients? Use a pack of pre-made plain biscuits and get decorating.


• 200g unsalted butter or margarine
• 200g golden caster sugar
• 1 medium-large egg
• ½ tsp vanilla essence or paste
• 400g plain flour


1. If making your biscuits, preheat your oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6.
2. Put the butter or margarine in a bowl and beat until creamy. Then add the sugar, egg and vanilla and finally the flour.
3.Separate the dough into 5/6 pieces and roll it out on to a floured surface, so it becomes about 1/2 cm thick.
4. Cut or create your shapes, peel away the left-over dough, re-roll and repeat.
5. Pop your shapes on to a pre-lined baking tray and bake for approx. 8-10 minutes or until golden.
6. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes and then ice the biscuits using whatever decorations you choose.

Easy peasy peanut butter cookies

Using only five ingredients, these delicious peanut butter cookies can be made in 30mins.


• 225g peanut butter
• 100g golden caster sugar
• 1 free-range egg
• 1 tsp vanilla essence or paste
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Line a tray with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
2. Beat the sugar and peanut butter together.
3. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
4. Roll out the dough into approx. 12 tiny balls, popping them on the tray with space between them.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.
6. Leave to cool, and then munch away.

Oh-so simple cereal cakes

The great thing about this recipe is you don’t really need scales, and it works with so many cereals, including Rice Crispies, Cornflakes and even Shredded Wheat.


• 100g Milk or White Chocolate (or both!)
• 40g of cereal


1. Place your preferred cereal in a big bowl. If using Shredded Wheat, then break it up with your hands to create lots of stringy bits.
2. Snap the chocolate into pieces and pop it in a large heatproof bowl, then microwave in short bursts (10-15 seconds). Take it out each time, stir and then microwave again until fully melted.
*You can melt it in a bowl over a pan, but we find the microwave method much safer to do with kids.
3. Transfer the cereal into the chocolate bowl (or vice versa) and gently mix until your cereal is completely coated in chocolate.
*Add more cereal or chocolate to reach your desired consistency.
4. Finally divide the mixture into roughly 12 cases and leave to cool for approx. 1hr. Or fasten up the process and pop them in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Straightforward banana bites

Dangerously easy to make – you can whip these bars up in a matter of minutes.


• ½ banana
• 4 tbsp of fine milled oats or baby oats
• 1-2 tbsp of desiccated coconut or raisins
• 1 tsp of warmed coconut oil


1. Preheat your oven to 180c/ 160 fan /Gas Mark 4
2. Mash the banana in a bowl and then mix it with the oats, coconut or raisins.
3. Shape the mixture into bars, squares or circles.
4. Place on a pre-lined baking tray and cook for 10-15 minutes.
5. Allow to cool and then eat away.

Your Prettiest Makeup Look In Under 5 Minutes

Holly Willoughby’s makeup artist shares her secrets

Wish you looked like Holly Willoughby? Or had someone to do your make up like hers?

Yep. Same!

Well, we’ve got you the next best thing. As we caught up with Holly’s makeup artist Patsy O’Neill to get her best tips on looking fabulous in no time at all

Prep before you go to bed

“Feed your skin and grab yourself a lovely face oil”, says Patsy. “Massage it on at bedtime, and it will make your complexion look more radiant in the morning – even if you don’t get much sleep!”. “I like Sukin Rose Hip Oil, £19.95. Sukin is a great brand that you can pick up at Boots, and I also love Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil 15ml, £34”. Lashes are a key tool for opening up tired eyes. Lacking in fullness? Patsy suggests applying a hair growth serum before you snooze, “at the moment I’m using Uklash Eyelash Serum, £37.99”.

Speedy routine for dry skin

“You need to get your skin in check before you apply any makeup”, says Patsy. “Always make sure you do a light cleanse in the morning, and if your face is dry, I would use a tinted moisturiser as well as a lightweight day cream or serum. Tinted lotions are an excellent way to add a quick wash of colour to your face. I like Trinny’s BFF Cream SPF 30, £35. It comes in a great range of shades that cater to the palest pale and the darkest dark. Just squeeze it in your hand and then apply all over like a moisturiser”. Dry lips? Patsy says, “Get a balm on as soon as you can. I’d even do it straight after you brush your teeth. I got Biossance Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm, £16 for Holly recently, and it’s great for chapped lips”.

The best under eye concealers

“It depends on your complexion, but some people can skip straight to concealer after applying a day cream”, says Patsy. “I really rate Becca Under Eye Brightener Corrector, £18.90, it’s a game-changer for illuminating the eye area and making skin look less tired. It comes in two shades, which work for pale skins and olive to mixed race. If you’re darker, then I’d suggest using the new concealers from The Ordinary, £4.90, they’re amazing, and you don’t need much as the pigment is so strong. I also like IT cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye, £25”.

Best product for glowing skin

“Grab a big fat brush and apply Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder, £38, all over your face. The name is deceiving, as it’s not powdery at all, instead it gives a light luminous finish to the skin”.

Quick and easy arches

No time for brows? “Yes, you do!”, says Patsy. “Just grab a brow mascara. They are amazing for defining your arches when you’re in a hurry, as they take seconds to apply. But you do need to be a bit careful, as you can easily overdo it. I would suggest slightly cleaning the brush with a tissue, so you have about half the amount of product left on. That way you won’t dollop on a big splodge of colour and end up with a severe-looking line. I like BBB London Brow Build Gel, £21”.

Rapid eyes

“A straightforward way to add colour to your lids is a smudgy eyeshadow pencil that you can quickly apply to your lash line. Delilah Stay The Night Smooth Shadow Stick Collection, £38 are so lovely, and this is a gorgeous set of colours. I also like Eyeko Double Act Shadow Sticks, £20, but there’s so many of this type of product now, Chantecaille have some, as do Laura Mercier, and they’re both excellent”. Want a perfect flick like Holly’s? Patsy says, “Try the Eyeko Black Magic: Cocoa Edit Liquid Eyeliner in Brown, £16, this pen has a lovely nib that is extremely easy to use. Many people dismiss brown, but I love it, as it’s much softer on the skin and it doesn’t make you look too done up”.

The best eye-opening mascara – that doesn’t budge

“Holly loves to use eyelash curlers to give her that wide-awake look, and they work for her, but they’re not for everyone, so do what suits you”. “If your mascara tends to go everywhere or you have small eyes, then you’ll love Smashbox Superfan Mascara, £19. I also really rate the Hourglass Caution Extreme Mascara, £29 but it’s quite expensive, so if you want to go high street then Maybelline Lash Sensational, £8.99 is brilliant for Mums, as it doesn’t budge”.

Lip and cheek tricks

“Absolutely use the same product on your lips and your cheeks, it’s the quickest way to apply colour. I use Beauty Pie Supercheek Cream Blush, £25 (members pay £7.97) and I love the shades of Trinny Lip2Cheek, £25”.

Patsy’s top tip for applying your blush

“It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re rushing. So, when you have time, get to know how much product you need. Is it two dabs or just one? It will make life easier when you’re dashing out the door, and you won’t end up with comical rosy cheeks”.

Lips that last

Want a colour that doesn’t budge? Patsy advises to apply your lipstick, then blot two or three times, and finish with a clear balm for moisture. “You need to get that colour into your lips and then take off the product that transfers”. Or she says to skip the process and use Glossier Generation G Lipstick, £14, “these are perfect for lipstick addicts that don’t want too much colour to come off when they kiss their kids. They have such a unique formulation. They’re almost a hybrid between a stain and a matte lipstick. I’m obsessed with them, and my favourite shades are Zip, Jam and Crush”.

The Perfect Age Gap Between Kids

As it turns out there’s no ideal time to have a baby, a fact which (since you’re reading this) you probably already know. As for number two (or three…or even four), while we’d hesitate to use the word ‘ideal’, some windows are better than others. Here’s the TMC guide to planning your perfect family. Because as we all know, parenting always goes exactly to plan…

9 Months

Behold the super-unicorn of mums. Rare is the women that’s not only prepared for back-to-back pregnancies – think about it, that’s 18 months straight – but has the balls (pun not fully intended) to consider sex less than four weeks after giving birth.

The Pros

You’ll get over it quickly..ish

Maternity jeans…nappy bags… the tide of rainbow plastic cluttering up the living room. It’ll feel like a lifetime but when you finally emerge from the baby fog you’ll never have to return again (though you’ll have aged a decade in the meantime).

They’ll have a playmate for life

Which means less time hosting pretend tea parties and more time scrolling through Insta and drinking your coffee while it’s hot (we’d call that a win).

It’s time efficient

Plan carefully and they could even be in the same school year: that’s one easy drop off for the rest of their academic life. Positives also include one sleep-inducing school nativity/nursery graduation ceremony/sports day every year. Boom.

The Cons

Your Mum- Bod

Back-to-back pregnancies put a serious toll on the body, especially if you throw in breastfeeding or a c-section or two. As for your mind, you’ll be in a constant state of delirium for the first two years and feel close to collapse from exhaustion at any moment.

It’s (bloody) expensive

On top of double the time away from work and double the nursery fees, you can’t even use the same cot/Polarn O. Pyret snowsuit/ruinously expensive buggy because the last kid hasn’t vacated it yet.

The logistics

You have one pair of hands to manage two very small children, neither of which can walk. Expect simple tasks (like leaving the house) to now take 46 times longer.

1-2 Years

The kid has started walking and follows (some) instructions. You’re missing the warm fuzz of the baby bubble and are staring longingly at newborns in coffee shops. You’ve (almost) forgotten the pain of labour and are romanticising your pregnancy just enough to be tempted by another go. Let’s do this.

The Pros

They’ll have similar interests

Put it this way, you’ll never have to bribe a sulky teenager to go to Peppa Pig world or attempt to forcibly restrain a toddler at the side of football pitch for 90 minutes. They’ll be into the same stuff at the same time, which (though it might not be a world of fun for you) will certainly be easier.

Your body will have recovered

Leave at least 18 months between them and your body will be completely healed* *apart from your pelvic floor, which is broken forever.

They both still nap

Master the wizardry of getting them to sleep at the same time and you’re literally winning at life.

The Cons

They might be jealous

Suddenly the tiny person that’s been doted on 24/7 has to share the spotlight. Expect anything from tantrums to outright attempted murder.

It’s all over too soon

You long for the baby days to be over while you’re in the thick of it, then look back and wonder how they flew by so fast. OK it’s a stretch, but it could happen…

3-4 Years

Hello Pre-School! With your toddler flying the nest (it might just be three mornings a week, but we’ll take it) you’ve got more time on your hands to do important things such as shave your legs, have sex and… think about having another baby.

The Pros

They’re more independent

Three-year olds can take a surprising amount of direction; including handing you stuff and alerting you when the baby is about roll off the sofa (that your husband left them on).

You can reason with them

It’s much easier to explain to a four-year old than a wailing non-verbal toddler that mummy needs two minutes to feed the baby. And if all else fails, they are just as easily bribed with biscuits.

School Happens

Imagine the bliss of six sibling-free hours each day, to spend soaking up your new addition. Plus, after the age of three (some) childcare is free so there’s no doubling up on nursery fees.

The Cons

They’re still jealous

By this stage, the eldest clearly remembers what it’s like to have your undivided attention, and will remind you of that fact by saying things like ‘you don’t love me any more’ and ‘can we send him back?’

The Deja Vu

Just when you thought you’d never change another nappy again…

5 Years

Worn down by half a decade of ‘ready for number two yet?’ from your MIL, you realise it’s now or never. Suck it up sis, it’s time for Pregnancy and Birth: The Sequel.

The Pros

It’s just like a real life dolly

They’ll relish the role of big sister/brother, with their very own baby to play with. Or at least, that’s what you will tell them.

You can get them involved

You want to name the baby? Sure. Sparkles Unicorn Bum Head Smith it is.

The Cons

Mind the gap

It’s the Peppa Pig/Five-A-Side conundrum. At some point you’ll have a small child and a grumpy teenager that wants nothing to do with either of you

Remember, remember?

It’s surprising how quickly you forget how to pick up a tiny baby, never mind keep them alive. You might have done it all before but you’ll still feel like a first time mum.