Our Round Up Of The Best Restaurant Dinner Kits

Our round up of the best restaurant dinner kits (and they deliver nationwide!)

Because we could all do with a culinary treat, or a treat of any kind…

Not much good came out of the pandemic, but one thing that did is at home dining, and at home-delivery boxes have now officially become big news! Restaurants all over the country are now offering nationwide delivery for their meals and it’s an amazing opportunity to try something new and different – all in the comfort of your own home. Make a meal of it – lay the table, get dressed up, put some music on and enjoy…

Dishpatch have been having rave reviews recently – they aim to bring the UK’s best restaurants to your home with exclusive menus delivered across the country. The meals are fully prepared with all cooking and preparation done by top chefs, food is delivered on a Friday, ready to be finished at home. Dozens of high-end restaurants are offering delivery boxes through Dishpatch – including the likes of Angela Harnett, one of our favourites!. The delivery box includes all the ingredients to make this beautiful dish. It’s worth checking the Dishpatch website regularly as restaurant and menu boxes change frequently.

Hawksmoor – Nationwide Delivery
Hawksmoor – Nationwide Delivery

March: The Fillet Box – £125.00 for two

Hawksmoor have nine restaurants in the UK (and one in New York!) – they are incredible steakhouses with a real focus on sustainably sourced ingredients. The Hawksmoor at Home delivery boxes have been very successful and frequently sell out. They offer easy-to-make meal kits such as – March: The Fillet Box which includes 2 x British Fillet steaks, Matt Brown’s ultimate oven chips, creamed spinach, peppercorn sauce, sticky toffee pudding, wine, and cocktails! Hawksmoor state that “we’ve worked hard to make our cook-at-home steak boxes as easy and stress-free as possible. Each comes with full instructions and our How to Cook the Perfect Steak guide, along with a QR code to take you to masterclass videos with our Executive Chef, Matt Brown – a former Head Chef of two restaurants with 3 Michelin stars!”

Dishoom – Nationwide Delivery
Dishoom – Nationwide Delivery

Bacon Naan Roll Kit – £16.00 for two

The eternally popular Dishoom is based on the old Irani cafes in Bombay, India. The unique and stylish décor, the scrumptious all-day dining options and fantastic ambience means Dishoom is always packed out. They are now offering one of their most popular dishes for nationwide home-delivery. The famous bacon naan is now available as an ‘at-home’ cookery kit with everything you need to recreate the dish at home. The kit includes two Naan rolls, bacon, tomato chili jam, plus an extra naan dough ball for experimentation (!) – there’s also chai spices and loose-leaf tea so you can recreate the delicious Dishoom chai for two. (A vegan option is also available.) For every kit they sell, they donate a meal to Magic Breakfast – a charity that aims to end hunger as a barrier to education in UK schools.

The Wolseley is legendary – an all day café/restaurant in the grand European tradition situated on London’s iconic Piccadilly. The atmosphere is decadent, and it’s always popular with the most fascinating crowd – politicians, media types and a sprinkling of famous faces! The Wolseley and the other restaurants owned by Corbin & King are now offering an online home-delivery service. There are a variety of starters, mains, and desserts to choose from and they also have a Mother’s Day ‘Breakfast in Bed’ box that will be available to order from Friday 26th February. This includes half a bottle of champagne, Severn & Wye smoked salmon, Cotswolds Legbar blue eggs, caviar, freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade raspberry truffles and a ‘Breakfast at The Wolseley’ book – the perfect start to your Mother’s Day! 

Simon Rogan at Home – Nationwide Delivery
Simon Rogan at Home – Nationwide Delivery

‘At Home’ 3-Course Meal – £90.00 for two

Simon Rogan is probably best known for his restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel which currently holds two Michelin stars alongside many other prestigious awards. Rogan is known for his innovative dishes and the provenance of the ingredients – his food is quite simply sensational! Simon Rogan at Home offers a three-course ‘at home’ dining experiences as well as special seasonal celebration menus. A fantastic range of extras such as British cheese and bespoke wine pairings can be added to your order. All dining options come with easy-to-follow videos demonstrating how to prepare the dishes. 

Côte at Home – Nationwide Delivery
Côte at Home – Nationwide Delivery

Apres Ski Box – £55.00 for two

Côte Brasserie is the popular restaurant chain found nationwide – they offer relaxed all day dining inspired by the bistros and brasseries of Paris. They serve up French classics made from fantastic quality produce. Their new offering Côte at Home means that you can order the best of French bistro cuisine for your own home. The price range is competitive, and they have a huge variety of options. Delivery is free on all orders (a £40.00 minimum spend is required) and available for delivery nationwide. We are big fans of their luxury and limited editions boxes – try the Après Ski or Seafood boxes. The Apres Ski box includes cheese fondue, Toulouse sausages and lentils, tartiflette and chocolate sauce with lemon meringue for dipping! Delicious! They have also launched a new vegan range that has proved incredibly popular.

Stein’s at Home – Nationwide Delivery
Stein’s at Home – Nationwide Delivery

The Lobster Box – £100.00 for two

Rick Stein is a celebrated chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter. He is best known for his love of fresh and simple seafood – his restaurants are incredibly popular and booked months in advance. The Stein’s at Home menu boxes bring the best of fresh Cornish seafood and classic dishes to your door. Each box serves two with a starter, main and dessert. All the preparation is done – you just finish off the dishes at home. Our favourite was The Lobster Box featuring grilled scallops, lobster thermidor and chocolate pave! Amazing! Delivery is available across the UK every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Top Educational Apps To Take The Guilt Out Of Screen Time

We know. You never thought you’d be ‘that’ parent, but reaching for a screen makes life a easier sometimes and that has to be ok. And if we told you that familiarity with an iPad is part of the official curriculum? Yup, all early years settings use electronic devices, so while we’re not saying let them at it 24/7, a reasonable window of time combined with a supervised edit of apps… well, you get to pee/drink coffee/do the washing in peace, and they’ll be coding by the age of three. Almost.

The following apps are compatible with Apple and Amazon Fire. Now go and out that kettle on, no mum guilt required.

Reading Eggs

Hands down our most used app after Citymapper, this reading program is stuffed with games, songs and other educational activities suitable for kids from two to 13. They start with basic phonics before moving on to stretching their vocab, reading comprehension and fluency in a super-fun and interactive way. It’s about the price of one and a half Starbucks lattes per month, but you can try it for free for 30 days, and then chose from various payments options, including a family subscription or one-off yearly fee.

Play Osmo

This award-winning play system isn’t cheap; you’ll need the Osmo base for your digital device and a reflector to pop over its camera (the system is all about merging the real world with the digital) before you can start buying games bundles, but it’s customisable to your child’s interests (there’s a Disney Princess bundle, for example) and they’ll have hours of fun while also acing maths, spelling, drawing and problem solving of all kinds. Starting at age three and going all the way up to 12, it’s an investment for the whole family.

DoodleMaths, DoodleEnglish and DoodleSpell

Say it louder for the parents at the back; if not free, this collection of maths and English apps for primary school-age children is pretty cheap and has you covered with times tables, spelling, punctuation etc, all targeted to your child’s ability. It sends motivational messages to help keep them driven and eager to learn (we can only hope, right?) and if that’s not enough you can track their progress in the DoodleConnect App. Then they really can’t get away with doing nothing…!

Alpha Blocks

Based on the brilliant CBeebies show, this one is entirely free – though you can inject some pennies into it if you feel like upgrading. It’s great for getting your littles to focus on sounds and blending, and a great opportunity to follow up what they’ve learnt while watching TV.

Number Blocks

Just like Alphablocks but for numbers, again based on the BBC show. This fun app helps your little ones to learn their numbers and figure their way through simple mathematical problems.

Teach Your Monster To Read

These award-winning games have a BAFTA nomination under their belt and are free to use if you log onto the website from your computer (or pay £4.99 to download the app). Kids follow a magical journey, picking up rewards and meeting various characters as they learn everything from blending sounds to reading full sentences, depending on their level. Imaginative, colourful and thoughtfully put together, it will tick all their boxes – and yours too.

Hit The Button

£2.99 and worth every penny, with a huge selection of quick-fire mathematical games and activities that are as addictive for adults as they are for kids. Basic to look at but impossible to walk away from.

How To Get Gorgeous Hair Without Any Effort

Concerned about how you’re going to style out that mum bun? As mums, we want little effort and maximum effect, I mean we haven’t got much time to play with here!

Yep, we hear you! We’ve gotten used to having messy hair that only the postman sees and then panic when it’s time to go out because we don’t only have to get ourselves ready anymore.

Don’t worry, we have got you more than covered with some quick and easy hairstyles, and who better to teach us than Clairol’s UK Ambassador, Michael Douglas.

Follow his expert tips to look less like a swamp monster and more like a MILF.

Your easy-peasy (polished) pony

Michael says spending a little more time preening your ponytail will make ALL the difference.
• “Blast some dry shampoo in at the roots and a short burst of Silvikrin hairspray into the middle part and ends of your hair”.
• “Loosely pull your hair backwards and tie-up. Then take a comb and gently tease the ponytail to give it added volume and gently smooth it with a soft brush”.
• “Finish with a light burst of hairspray to hold the style in place”.

Don’t wash your hair hack

Keep applying your dry shampoo in a hurry and ending up with huge white patches? Yep, been there. Apply the product at night, rather than in the morning. This enables the powder to evenly distribute throughout your locks as you toss and turn in bed. The result? You wake with hair that looks freshly cleaned and has a fabulous bounce – no washing required!

Wonder waves in minutes

No time to curl every strand and section? Michael’s speedy styling trick will save you.
• “Style your locks into a middle parting, so the hair is equal on either side, then cover the two sections in flexible hold hairspray”.
• “Take one of the sections and twist it like rope taking it backwards away from the face until it starts to fold onto itself and pin in it place. Do the same on the other side”.
• “Put a hairdryer on a low speed but high heat, then warm both sides up for about 2 minutes each, and leave to cool”.
• “Once cooled, remove the pins and let the twists fall out”.
• “Tease the twists with your fingers and use some dry shampoo and hairspray to add extra texture”.

*Pro-tip: If it feels too wavy. Michael says, “Blast the style with a hairdryer on a high temp, as this will help to relax the kinks and give a more undone look”.

Michael’s best tip for styling in-between washes

Unwashed locks can seriously lack volume. “Add in some texture via tongs”, says Michael. No time to get ready in the morning? Create a few waves the night before, then use dry shampoo to reinvigorate your style when you wake up.

Quick colour fix

Can’t get to the salon? Try a semi-permanent colour wash instead. They’re novice-friendly and take minutes to take effect. A fail-safe way to reinvigorate your locks and make you feel human again.


We like:

*Takes 3 mins: Maria Nila Colour Refresh, £24
*Takes 25 mins: Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-permanent Colour, £6.99

Can’t Mum Without – Frankie Graddon

The juggle is real, as we are all very aware. So what items make your mum-life just that bit easier? We spoke to some of our mums to find out their top 5 must haves. First up; Frankie Graddon, Content Director Wardrobe Icons & Co-founder of The Wingwoman.

Six Studio nursing bras
1.
Six Studio nursing bras

It can be so hard to feel attractive after birth, especially when maternity underwear is typically very unsexy. Six Studio do the prettiest nursing bras and matching pants that are also extremely comfortable and supportive. I have lived in the Rosa style.

Buy Now
Lovevery play gym
2.
Lovevery play gym

We’ve had this since Alfie was a couple of months old and it’s brilliant. The sensory toys and exploratory mat keep him entertained and have helped encourage motor skills and tummy time. Now that he can sit, we’re using the spotty canopy which transforms the gym into a tent which he loves to play in.

Buy Now
Studio Noos leopard tote
3.
Studio Noos leopard tote

Having been a life long devotee to compact bags, I’ve learnt that when you have a kid, only giant handbags will do. This super roomy tote fits everything in: muslins, toys, spare clothes, nappies – the lot. I love the leopard print which goes with everything, and the fleecy texture.

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The Snoo Smart Sleeper
4.
The Snoo Smart Sleeper

I’d heard amazing things about the Snoo Smart Sleeper previous to giving birth so was very keen to try it out – and I’m so impressed. The bassinet rocks and plays white noise to soothe 0-6 month old babies, stopping them from waking up and helping them sleep longer. We started using it when Alfie was 3 weeks old and it’s been particularly good at calming him when he’s overtired, and it’s definitely made the four month sleep regression less painful. I really love the fact the swaddle is attached to the bassinet so he can’t roll or slide around. It’s also super chic to look at which, when your house has been taken over by baby things, is appreciated. Expensive but for the hours of sleep gained, worth it!

Buy Now
Omeril book light
5.
Omeril book light

I love reading a few pages of my book before going to sleep, but with Alfie in the bedroom with us we have to keep the lights off. I ordered this book light a few weeks into having him and it’s one of the best things I’ve bought! It clips onto your book and gives off a soft light which means I can still read without waking him up. It’s also great during night feeds when you don’t want to stumble around in the dark.

Buy Now

How To Help Your Kids Through A Common Cold

Let’s be honest, being born without the ability to blow your nose is a real kill joy, which makes baby’s first cold a frustrating experience for both of you. And they’ll keep on coming; one every few weeks for their first few years of their lives. At least, it’ll feel like that.

Obviously, we’re entirely grateful it’s just a cold. Nonetheless, we could do without up to a week of sleepless nights for all concerned and so could you. So here’s how we keep our tots comfortable when they’re all bunged up – though be aware that some tips are age-appropriate, and if baby has a fever, please consult your doctor.

Plenty of fluids

Water; H2O; the good stuff (or if your baby is under six months, it’s breastmilk or formula; they’ll probably be getting their regular drinks in, unlike toddlers who need a little more guidance). If they’re over one year old, try warm water with lemon and Jarrah honey – it’s expensive but it’s two to three times higher in antioxidants than Manuka, so all the better for fighting it off. But whatever you do, keep them hydrated. The beakers here are great to pop by the side of their beds and adapt as they grow. An investment. For children that are weaning or weaned, cold-busting solids include bananas (rich in vitamin C to boost the immune system and potassium to aid their sleep), sweet potatoes (loaded with vitamins, fibre, and so filling), and porridge (easy to digest, warm in their tummies and for babies over one you can add your Jarrah honey. Did we mention Jarrah….?).

Loosen the air

Air humidifiers keep the air moist (sorry) and some have a diffuser function which allows you to add soothing essential oils such as lavender (hello sleep… we wholly recommend). The genius Babymoov also acts as a night light with calming colour settings. It’ll keep the air damp so noses and throats don’t feel quite as dry; especially helpful when winter brings central heating. If you have a bathroom with a bath and a separate shower cubicle, turn the shower on during bathtime and set it to REALLY hot. The bathroom will function as a makeshift steam room, helping to unblock your babe.

Prop Them Up And Thin It Out

To ease congestion, try ilting a baby’s crib so it’s very slightly higher at the head end (we use a couple of books) or give older kids an extra pillow. Saline drops are great for clearing the airways too clear their nose (drops for babies, the spray for bigger kids). It might only last for a couple of hours but every little helps.

Get Their Vits In

Kids who eat a sensibly balanced diet get everything they need from their food, but if you have a fruit and veg refusenik on your hands you might need to top up their vits. Do your research as some brands are be ladened with sugar… and if your kids won’t even eat the gummy bears then syringe in the liquid instead; we’re fans of Animal Parade.

There’s The Rub

Smother this on the soles of your baby’s feet then put some socks over the top (it works just as well with an all in one). Keeping your babies feet warm will also help them sleep and get over the virus faster… then when they turn two you can turn to Vicks.

And finally…suck it out

That’s right, suck the snot right out of their nose. No, they won’t thank you for it. No, you won’t feel good about it, but if it gives you a few hours of sleep it’s worth it, right? Just knock it back with a massive gulp of wine and we’ll never speak of this again. Until next time…

Why I Love Being a M.O.B (Mother of Boys)

I’m the mother of two amazingly kind, smart and compassionate boys who are literally the beat of my heart. Having stated that, I never shy away from admitting that I always thought I’d have at least one daughter. As a lifetime girlie girl who places deep value on the bond between women, I always harboured idealistic notions of being the mother of a girl and being able to share my words of wisdom as she blossoms into womanhood, as well as my wardrobe and makeup stash. But as destiny would have it, it was written in the stars that I would be a #BoyMum. Suffice to say it has been an incredible journey of fun, lots of laughs, adventure and new discoveries. Here follows some of the main reasons I love being a boy mum.  

You get to fully immerse in boyish stuff.

I’ve always been unashamedly girlie. I was the little girl who wore pink frilly dresses, played with Barbie dolls and loved reading fairy tales where the princess was swept off her feet by the gallant prince. To say my understanding of what we regard as ‘typical boy’ behaviour and pursuits was limited is an understatement. Becoming a mum to my two boys has helped me discover a brand-new world of toy trains (Hey, Thomas & Friends), police cars with noisy sirens, badass superheroes, fire trucks and football stickers.

They challenge your beliefs and help you grow.

Having stated the above, it’s also worth noting that my boys often surprise me just when I think I have them sussed them out by going against gender stereotypes. For instance, it’s not unusual for my youngest to ask for the princess tiara instead of the racing car when we’re out shopping at the supermarket and he’s trying to bag a treat. His confidence to do so without feeling it somehow emasculates him or makes him feel less of a boy is truly refreshing to me. Our outlook on gender identity has changed so much in society in recent years, and I can only imagine there will be a time in the future when this particular point won’t even be worthy of discussion, as it will simply be the norm as we edge into an era of gender neutrality.

Boys clothing is pretty cool.

Another unexpected discovery since becoming a mum of boys is just how awesome and cool boys clothing is. My boys are 10 years apart, and I recall when my eldest was born, boys clothing was definitely less adventurous. Fast forward to present day and boys’ fashion is no longer confined to unadventurous palettes of blue. In fact, it has evolved and become more diverse in offering, allowing for wider colour options of beige, taupe, mustard yellow, olive and racing green. This, I must say, appeases the shopaholic in me to no end.

They bring out the energy bunny in you.

My five-year-old boy literally never. stands. still. He’s a boundless ball of rambunctious energy, constantly zipping from pilar to post in a manner that makes me wearisome just looking at him. The plus side of this? It has helped to unearth the sportier side of me which has laid dormant for many years. During lockdown it wasn’t unusual for me to be at my local park with boys in tow, participating in 20 metre dashes, kicking a ball, or trying to keep up as they bomb it down the track path on bikes and scooters.

They help you shape the future generation of men!

With so many conversations taking place in society about misogyny and toxic masculinity, it’s an honour to be able to be the change I want to see by helping to shape and mould my boys into formidable men, who are respectful and considerate of women (and their fellow menfolk), and don’t shy away from expressing their emotions or feel they have to act a certain way.

Receiving kisses and compliments aplenty

My little one has certainly been gifted my hubby’s silver tongue, and it’s not unusual for him to shower me with compliments, noting if I’ve changed my hairstyle, bought a new dress or even wearing a new lipstick colour. Boys just naturally express their love for their mamas differently. Whereas my boys don’t shy away from being affectionate with their Dad, it’s on another level with me. From cosy snuggles on the sofa watching cartoons or being smothered in kisses just for the heck of it – I must confess, I simply love being the Queen of their Hearts.

How To Stop Your Baby Waking Too Early

If this isn’t high on your Google searches already you are one lucky mother. There’s nothing more exhausting or infuriating then a baby who wakes early and refuses to go back to sleep – though the unsolicited advice that comes with it (‘put them to bed later… let them nap/don’t let them nap… have you tried dipping them in butter and rolling them in breadcrumbs’) is also high up on our list of things not to love about the early years. We’ve combined the tips we’ve picked up along the way with words of wisdom from expert Kate Cohan Founder of @Sleep.Time.Baby. And if none of these work for you, our advice is to buy a Sage Barista Coffee Machine and fire up the iPad…

TMC: How do I know if my baby has woken too early?

Kate : Tough one. But go with your gut on this – the guidance is for them to have 12 hrs of daytime and 12 hrs of night, but it’s often more like 13/11hrs. The earliest I would say is okay to wake is 6am and the latest is the latest time that you can fit your daytime naps in and still get to your normal bedtime – normally around 8am.

TMC: What makes a baby wake early?

Kate: The main cause of early rising is overtiredness! An overtired child will find it harder to have a more settled night’s sleep, leading to waking in the early hours. Then we can look at factors such as too many/too little naps during the day, is it dark enough, does hunger or noise wake them too early, are they cold or has it become a habit, and can they self-settle? So basically lots of things!

TMC: What can I do to stop my baby waking early?

Kate: Address the possibilities listed above. I would suggest trying an earlier bedtime for five days to check for over-tiredness, and then later for five days to see if either makes a difference. Then you might need to tweak their daytime routine or night-time environment, give them more nutrition, look at how they’re settle or consider a ‘wake to sleep’ model before they wake up themselves.

TMC: What can we do to get them back to sleep again?

Kate: Early rising can take some time to alter, so consistency is key. Keep them in their room until as close to 6am (or your ideal morning time) as possible. You can comfort them and offer support to settle, of course.

TMC: Is there anything we can buy that would help?

Kate: White noise is great! I recommend the Mar Pac ones (https://yogasleep.uk/collections/all and use code Sleeptimebaby for 15% off) Dark is is essential so black-out curtains and a travel black-out blind can be very helpful; the Gro Company ones are good.

Your Early Waking Checklist

• Move bedtime to 6pm for five days to see if this works.
• Make sure their bedroom has complete black out (easier in the winter months)
• Check their nightwear suits the ambient temperature of their room (see our guide here). Add a pair of socks, vest, or switch to a long-sleeved sleeping bag.
• Try giving them a banana, porridge or oat cake just before bed to stop hunger waking them up.
• Take habit out of the equation. Set your alarm for one hour before they usually wake to stir them slightly and break their sleep cycle; they should go back into a deeper sleep for a few more hours.
• Consider encouraging them to settle themselves to sleep, so they don’t wake in the night wondering where you are (because that’s how they drifted off).

8 Weird Things No One Told You About Newborns

Here at TMC we pride ourselves on telling the truth. The whole truth, even when it’s ugly, strange or downright disgusting. Because let’s face it, pregnancy and birth are pretty peculiar things, and it doesn’t stop there. Want to know what the books won’t tell you about newborns? Forewarned is forearmed…

Attachment Issues Start Early (Literally)

Remember the 90s, when your home phone had a curly cord that prevented you from wandering further than a 5ft radius from its base? Well, that, only the base is the placenta (still firmly wedged inside you) and the cord is attached to the screaming new human you’ve just pushed out.
Sometimes, the cord is slightly too short, meaning when you try to pull the babe up to your chest, they spring back as if they’re attached to a bungee cord. So, you just have to… sit there. Legs akimbo, waiting for the cord to stop pulsing so your totally grossed out partner can cut it with a pair of children’s craft scissors (spoiler: it’s harder than he thinks).

They Come Out Covered in Crap (Again, Literally)

the kid emerges bone dry (and about 12 weeks old). The truth is, they’re covered in all kinds: blood, poo (theirs, not yours), and vernix; the white sticky substance that covers their skin while in the womb. Your first inclination (naturally) would be to give them a good scrub before dressing them in your White Company onesie of choice; but you’ll be told to wait a week first, giving the vernix time to soak in naturally.
It’s the equivalent of having a facial on an expensive spa day, then being told you have to wait for three hours before going in the sauna afterwards. You’ll want to do the right thing, but you’ll more than likely end up giving in after three days and whacking them in the bath.

The Umbilical Cord Looks Like a Witchetty Grub

The first time you change the kid’s nappy, it might surprise you to discover two inches of umbilical cord where a neat little belly button should be, clamped with what looks like a sandwich bag clip from Lakeland. Three days in, it’ll smell like… well, exactly what it is, which is dead flesh (TMI?). You’re still not allowed to wash the baby, and spend every nappy change terrified that you’ll knock it off and curse them with an outie for the rest of their life. It will fall off, eventually. Some people even keep them, but those people are weird and we’re not sure we want to be friends with them.

Their Head Has a Pulse

Ever wondered why people are obsessed with protecting the baby’s head? Well, it might be because there’s a large gaping hole there, where their skull hasn’t fused together yet (aka the fontanel) meaning that their brain is essentially exposed. Terrified yet? Yep, us too.

Baby Girls Have Periods

Around day three, you might notice drops of blood in your baby girl’s nappy. This will scare the shit out of you but try not to panic; a spike in maternal estrogen levels can simulate a female foetus’s uterus, producing a mini-period within the first week of their life. Not weird AT ALL.

The First Poo is Like Thick Black Tar

It’s a pretty well-known fact that babies poo a lot, but what you might not know is that the very first one comes out like treacle. And not in a good way. You could genuinely lay tarmac with this stuff; it’s dark, sticky and will take out an entire pack of Water Wipes in one go.

Acne Doesn’t Wait For Puberty

We’ve all woken up with a giant spot on our forehead and new-borns are no different: baby acne is a thing. Apparently, the magical properties of breastmilk clear it right up, so resist the urge to squeeze and slather on some of that liquid gold instead.

Sometimes They’re Hairy

If your kid decides to make an early appearance, don’t be surprised if they come out with more back hair than your dad. Officially known as lanugo, this is the first hair your baby’s body makes, and plays a vital role in protecting skin and regulating body temperature in the womb. Don’t crack out the Veet so soon (kidding), it will fall out naturally after a few weeks.
We know we shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t shave your baby (something our midwife once said to us, which made us think only one thing: someone once did).

You Can Now Have Breast Milk Delivered To Your Door.

Yep, you read that correctly. Breast milk is now available on tap.

Ok, maybe it’s not that readily available.

But a new delivery service means there’s another option (other than formula) for parents who are unable to breastfeed.

Now, we completely understand how the concept might throw you off a little.

Tbh we had a lot of questions too.

So that’s why we caught up with Best Milk’s founder Dr Julia Sarno to find out what it’s all about, if it’s safe and why you might want to use it.

Why did you create Best Milk?

“I created the company because I experienced issues with breastfeeding, and I wasn’t able to access the NHS supply because my baby wasn’t sick or premature. After searching for a service like this, I realised there was nothing out there for me. By creating Best Milk, I hoped to provide a solution for other parents that experienced the same issue as me”.

Who would use it?

“A lot of parents can’t breastfeed, but they want to offer their children the benefits of natural milk. This might be because they have used a surrogate or they’ve adopted. There can be many reasons why someone might want to use the service. It could be that a mother needs to go in for an operation and wants their baby to have breastmilk while they can’t provide it”.

Where does the milk come from?

“We are a milk bank that collects and screens excess breast milk, which comes from wet nurses and we conduct direct screening of all the women that donate”.

How do I know it’s safe?

The screening process of our sharing mothers is rigorous, and every donation is thoroughly checked. We work with two top UK accredited (UKAS) laboratories, and we follow and support both our sharing mothers and the recipient families. We don’t accept donations from mums on antibiotics, antidepressants, painkillers, have mastitis or are Covid-positive. Every donating mother has successfully passed a serological screening, which tests for HIV-I & II, Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HBC), Syphilis and HTLV (human T-lymphotropic virus).

What happens to the milk after it’s donated?

“We test every donation, and if it passes the screening process, then it is professionally pasteurised to ensure any traces of bacteria or viruses are destroyed. All of its vital nutritional and immunological properties are maintained during the practice. The milk is then stored at the correct temperature, ready to be sent out for delivery”.

How much does it cost?

“Each case is individual. Some mothers can breastfeed, but aren’t providing enough milk for their babies, so they just need a top-up. It completely depends on the individual, and that’s a conversation that we will have with each parent. Our most popular 5000ml package consists of 25 bottles of pure breast milk and costs £500. This will feed a newborn for up to a month”.

How is it delivered?

“It’s sent out via a courier in a chilled container to make sure it stays fresh and at the correct temperature. Then dependant on the milk you’ve purchased you store it either in the freezer or fridge until you need to warm it up ready for your baby to drink”.

Is it available nationwide?

“Yes, we now use a very specialised courier that can deliver anywhere in the UK”.

Is this the only service in the UK?

“Currently, yes. It’s available in other countries, but other than the NHS, we are currently the only independent milk bank in the UK”.

Co-Sleeping: Expectation Vs Reality

Along with dummies, screen time and the Sleepyhead,, co-sleeping is one of the final parenting taboos. Yes we’re aware of the risks (which should never be ignored) but we’ve all been there and the truth is that snuggling up with your baby can be the best thing ever. It’s not, however without its downsides…

Expectation

‘My baby will sleep in their (very) expensive bedside crib/Moses basket’

Reality

Turns out, nobody briefed your new-born they’d be relocating from a warm and squishy womb to a giant Snuzpod in a matter of days. Yes it cost you £200 and you bought the bottom sheet from John Lewis but they’ll still want the comforting sound of your heartbeat and the touch of your skin. When they scream all night, take it as a compliment. They miss you.

Expectation

‘We’ll never have sex again’

Reality

Sleeping with your baby doesn’t mean you can’t have sex, it just means your sofa gets a lot of action (ok, some…we’re still really tired). Babies go to bed early, so make the most of that precious alone time and do it downstairs. With the curtains shut, obvs.

Expectation

‘We’ll all get more sleep’

Reality

Your tiny intruder now commands three quarters of the king-sized bed, leaving you to fall asleep on a perilous cliff-edge of mattress. You clutch onto the corner of the duvet (now barely covering your right shoulder) like your life depends on it. Namely because it actually does; if you roll over you’ll almost certainly knock yourself out on the bedside table.

Expectation

‘If the baby is right next to us, my husband will have to help more’.

Reality

Take it from us; they don’t hear them. Your next-door neighbours won’t sleep through the ambulance-like wails of your offspring penetrating the walls, but your other half will snore on by like a warthog. It’s biological, apparently, but feel free to unleash seven shades of holy hell when they wake up the next morning and announce that they’re ‘still tired’.

Expectation

‘My baby has slept soundly in their crib from day one. That’s never going to change’.

Reality

That may well be the case now, but you can bet that the second they graduate to the Big Girl’s Bed, you’ll experience the fresh horror of waking up 12 times a night with a small child standing three inches away from your face. Four hours of them bouncing right out of bed every time you put them back in it, and we guarantee you’ll and shove them in with you for some much-needed peace.

Expectation

‘I’ll definitely co-sleep with my child’

Reality

Fun fact: kids rarely do what you want them to. So you can practically guarantee that if you’ve opted to share the bed with your baby, they’ll have other ideas. From the night-time wanderer to the won’t-stop-wriggler, you might find yourself putting them in their own room regardless.

Expectation

‘They’ll never go back in their own bed’

Reality

There aren’t many 40-year-old men still snuggling up to their mums, so stop worrying. One day they’ll want their own space and you’ll probably be really sad, so just soak it in while you can.

Expectation

‘People will judge me’

Reality

Just like stalking your other-half’s ex on Insta and picking your nose, we’ve all fallen asleep with a babe in the bed, whether that’s once in a blue moon or every night for six years. We’re all just doing what we can to survive – and don’t worry, everyone knows it.

Totally Rational Fears Every Mother Has Before Baby No.2

Most people think that deciding to have your first child is the biggest decision you’ll ever make. The truth is, deciding you’re ready for round two can often be just as terrifying. You’re not alone. Here’s our TMC guide to things every parent worries about before Baby No.2…

How Will I Deal With Pregnancy Whilst Looking After My First Child?

If your pregnancy was spent napping and hugging the toilet bowl for the first 2 hours of the day, it’s only natural that you might wonder how the f*ck you’re going to get through 9 months of feeling like utter shit whilst chasing after a toddler. The answer of course, is that women are super-human and somehow no matter how awful we feel, we manage to suck it up for the sake of our family. Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends for much needed respite and if your first kid still sleeps in the afternoon; feel zero shame in joining them.

Fear Of Giving Birth

This is not your first rodeo; this time you know those 20 minute births you see on One Born are total bollocks, and the reality is a much longer, much messier affair. Needless to say, you will not be wasting valuable snack room in your hospital bag packing shit like Lavender Oil; nor will you be attempting the first 48 hours without ALL THE DRUGS. Forewarned is forearmed, so take comfort in the fact that you’ll know what the hell is going on this time, and equip yourself with the information and support you need to get through it.

How Will I Love As Much As I Love My First?

You. Just. Will. You might not take as many pictures, or be able to instantly recall how many days/weeks old they are; but cliches are cliches for a reason, and your love will just grow with every new addition.

What Have We Done?!

Having a baby turns your world upside down and inside out. You’ve just got your shit together, found a routine that works for you, maybe gone back to work and then BOOM; those two little lines turn blue again. You might feel ever-so-slightly panicked whilst you try to imagine how on earth you’ll juggle another one in your already jam-packed schedule; but within weeks it will feel like they’ve been here forever.

Will Our First Kid Feel Neglected?

In the short-term it’s totally normal for first-borns to act out a little whilst they get used to the new (and very loud) new member of the family; but in the long run, you’ve just grown them a best mate for life. Try the old trick of buying something from their little brother/sister to give to them when they come to the hospital, and resist the temptation to laugh when they ask ‘when the baby is going back’.

Will We Disappointed If It’s a….

Let’s be real here; gender disappointment is a thing, and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. You might have spent your whole life imagining a little girl to go shopping with when she’s older, and realising that dream is over takes some adjusting. The truth is, every kid is different and whatever you end up with, once they are here you won’t be able to imagine your family any other way.

Is It Bad If I Don’t Breastfeed This One?

Breastfeeding is a big commitment and if your BF journey wasn’t smooth sailing, you might be considering if you can take on the physical and mental toll the second time around; especially with another one to look after. There is no wrong answer; a hungry baby just needs feeding, whether it comes from you or a bottle.

Will We Ever Leave The House Again?!

In between feeds, nap schedules and PUT YOUR BLOODY SHOES ON; it’s hard to imagine ever being able to leave the house without reinforcements ever again. The short answer is yes (but it might take several attempts).

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 June 21st.

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.

6months

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 Things New Mums Shouldn’t Worry About

It’s another of those undeniable truths no one tells you until you’re pregnant: the minute those two blue lines appear you’ll start to experience a low-level anxiety that lasts for the rest of your parenting life. Becoming a mum can feel totally overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to obsess over the smallest of details. So save some time (and a little piece of your sanity) by checking off the stuff you really don’t need to worry about…

Not Knowing What The F* To Do

Repeat after us: I WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO. Yep, even if the total sum of your parenting experience thus far was holding your mates’ baby while she went for a wee, or 15 minutes of hide and seek with a mildly bearable four-year-old one Christmas. How will you know when to feed them? What if they are too hot/cold? What if you’re so knackered that you don’t hear them cry in the night? Right now the fact you’ll be allowed to leave the hospital with a tiny human and no previous experience makes zero sense… but trust us when we talk about instinct. Nobody knows your baby better than you do, and you’ll be an amazing mum.

Keeping Your House Clean

For the first two weeks your house will feel like Euston Station; a constant stream of family and friends all wanting to meet your brand-new bundle of joy and hear you tell birth story for the seventh time that morning. Lovely yes, but also really annoying, especially when you’re knackered and learning how to breastfeed. When you finally get five minutes to yourself spend it showering, sleeping or going to the toilet in peace. Not hoovering, not washing-up, and not putting the bins out. Oh, and send your dirty clothes to your mother-in-law.

Not Reading Enough Baby Books

Spoiler alert: your baby can’t read, so they don’t have a clue that Gina Ford says they should be sleeping 7pm-7am by 12 weeks old. Nor did they get the memo about being ‘happy’ or ‘contented’. Throw the book in the bin. We mean it.

Other People’s Opinions

Everyone has one and they won’t hold back, from your well-meaning mum to the old lady in Boots who tells you she doesn’t like the name. The health visitor hates the Sleepyhead, your auntie thinks babies sleep better on their fronts, someone at Baby Sensory doesn’t do dummies; people will be desperate to share what they’d do differently. Save yourself some time and ignore all unsolicited advice. Just smile, nod, and do whatever you think is best.

How You Should Feed Your Baby

This is a biggie. Nothing divides opinion more than breast Vs bottle, and nothing causes more mum-guilt, heartache or emotional strain. Your baby needs feeding, and as long as you’re not taking them to McDonalds for a happy meal at two weeks old, just how you do that is your decision and yours alone. Make your choice and feel good about it. You’re doing great.

Losing the Baby Weight

For us, the most effective way of getting past a post-partum body wobble is always this: whenever you feel a negative thought about your bod, pick up your baby. Look at their nose, their tiny hands and feet, their beautiful long eyelashes. You made those. Your body grew them from scratch. Nothing could be more amazing so eat the cake and give yourself a break.

Hitting Milestones

All babies are different and while it’s good to have a rough idea of where they should be, your baby doesn’t know they should be sitting up at six months. They’ll do it when they’re good and ready, so try not to compare to other kids or waste time worrying about why they aren’t walking yet. It’ll come.

Making Friends

Parenting is an amazing leveller; you’ll never struggle to start a conversation again. Find your tribe, whether that’s at NCT, a TMC event or even online. Even having one other mum to text during the 3am feed is a huge help… and if you’re really stuck, there are apps that can hook you up with someone to do exactly that.

Losing Who You Are

Becoming a parent changes your life; drastically at first. But after a while you’ll reach a new normal and find that you’re still you. With a bit of planning, you can party again, go to the gym, or wander around the shops for two hours without a pram. Your ambition’s still there and your career too; you can still feel attractive and be a good friend. Take the time to take care of yourself and you’ll be a better parent because of it, we promise.

Changing the Nappy Immediately

Now there’s a blue line that doesn’t have to change everything. Completely unnecessary. Unless it’s a poo.

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”.