Monday, 19 May 2014

Beauty Editor's with Babies: Lisa Durant

Lisa and Luca, aged 3
I've finally got together another 'Beauty Editor's with Babies' post and I'm so excited about this one. Mostly it's because it features my very lovely and gorgeous friend, freelance beauty editor Lisa Durant. I worked with Lisa way back when she was the Beauty Director at InStyle and quite honestly, I've never worked with a nicer (for want of a better word) person or even team. They were all brilliant. She also brings me coffee every time we meet up for play dates with our boys. Even if it means parking up, getting a car seat out and back in again. Even in the rain. You see?! And, of course, I'm also excited because she divulges some amazing must-have products and know-how. And as someone who has made it through a lot of InStyle '100 Best Beauty Buys Awards,' and a mummy to a gorgeous little boy, Luca, (see picture, how cute?!) she knows what works and what doesn't. Here's what she really rates.

1. Clarisonic Sonic Facial Cleansing, from £99 (
'Before having my son, Luca, I didn’t really see the point of this cleansing brush. Of course I didn’t, I was child-free with perfect skin! Now I’m devastated if it runs out of charge mid-cleanse. One extra minute cleansing with this brush equals plumper, glowing, super-clean skin that looks marginally less haggard.'

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon
2. Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon, £19 (
'However short on time I am in the mornings, I can’t expose my naked face to the world. And mascara alone doesn’t cut it for me, so these shadow pencils have transformed my morning routine. It takes a second to smudge across my lash line (or get more involved for a rare night out – woo!), blend with my finger, add mascara and I’m done.' 

3. Dr Hauschka Neem Hair Oil, £22.95 (
'I could have cried when my hair fell out after pregnancy. My hairline not only crept closer towards my crown, but the ends turned into a knotty, dry mess. This intense oil saved my hair from the chop. Massage it in before bed (don’t forget to really work it into your scalp too), wash out the next morning and it leaves hair softer and shinier than any heavy-duty hair mask I have tried.' 

4. La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream, £5.50 (
'Changing nappies, potty training and being a germ-fighting mum means my hands have taken a battering and this is the only product that makes a difference. It creates an invisible film over skin, healing cracks and irritation. It’s hardcore stuff, but feels like you have nothing on.'

5. Weleda Calendolon Ointment, £6.75 (
'I literally can’t live without several tubes of this in my life. It’s the only thing I’ve found that instantly clears up eczema flare-ups, soothes heat rash, burns, scrapes and insect bites. Luca calls it ‘Mummy’s magic cream’ and it literally is just that.'

Monday, 5 May 2014

No more plastic.

After sorting out and bagging up yet another load of plastic toys that my four-year-old never plays with and carting them to the local charity shop, I've made a decision to try and not buy so much, well, crap. To be honest, it's also because I am just so over picking-up/sorting/tidying every teeny piece of plastic into the right set or trying to find a bare corner for another huge contraption that won't tuck neatly into the children's IKEA storage boxes we've just bought. I realise this just makes me sound like a weird, controlling mum but actually, when I think about it, it's the nicer, wooden stuff that Max tends to go back to again and again. His Batcave/Thomas Trackmaster/Spiderman bike have rarely been picked up since he got them at Christmas.

So there you go. I'm having a plastics amnesty and anything that's barely been touched in the last year is going to (eventually) go. Of course I know Max's current obsession with anything superhero-related doesn't really fit my new aesthetic ideal - no-one does a beautifully painted, wooden Spiderman figure for instance. And things like Lego are always going to have a place in our home - and we all love a bit of Lego. However, I'm going to think more about what we do buy him; from the big stuff to those rubbish plastic toys stuck on the front of magazines which he loves getting - but invariably end up in the bin when they break hours later. And I already have a gorgeous Wendy House in my sights for Elsie.

So here's a few of my favourite wooden toys that are genuinely loved by us all in the Rudolf household. They tick all the right boxes in that, they're beautiful, well-made and most importantly, actually played with over and over again.

1. Chad Valley Wooden Alphabet Trolley, £11.99 (

Max was given one similar to this as a baby and we still have it for when Elsie starts walking. It looks great and he loved stacking and playing with the blocks as well as practising his first steps.

2. Pintoy Wooden Trike, £45.77 (

We 'borrowed' this bike from our neighbour after her little boy moved onto the balance bike and we could hardly get Max off it. In fact, he sometimes has a little ride around the garden on it even now. It's just lovely.

3. Tidlo Animal Sorting Cube, £14.99 (

This is probably one of the sweetest little sorting blocks I've ever seen - and as well as sorting shapes, there are animal pictures to pair up too. We have one ready for when Elsie moves on from playing with spoons and plates.

4. Brio Rail & Road Loading Set, £54.95 ( 

Ah, how I love Brio; Max and his daddy have spent hours (days even) putting together their little wooden rails, teeny trucks and bridges and have built up quite a collection. This stuff never gets old and lasts and lasts. Love.

5. Plan Toys 50 Wooden Building Blocks, £17.99 (

I've been meaning to get a set of these for aaaggges but in the meantime, we've been building towers with our Jenga blocks. You can get loads of versions of these and Max loves playing with them at nursery - I think they're just one of those toys that kids never tire of.