How to Breastfeed…

I’ve thought about writing a post like this for a long time, but Breastfeeding is such an emotive topic I’ve shied away from discussing it. That and well, breastfeeding sometimes doesn’t leave you much time to write blog posts about breastfeeding. ;) Theres so much I could include in this post that somehow my thoughts have never quite made it to the page, but I decided to bite the bullet and make a start.


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Let’s get it out of the way before I begin. I am an unashamedly passionate breastfeeding advocate. But to be completely clear, that is simply because I hope for everyone to have the lovely experience I have had feeding my two girls. I’ve had a relatively smooth ride feeding my babies, but I appreciate that not everyone does and in my experience, although it’s improving all the time, breastfeeding support is often not as good as it could be when people really need it. These are the key principles and resources that I felt helped me both prepare and persist with breastfeeding, as a new mum and feeding a second time around, along with the many months of even less glamorous feeding a not so little baby or toddler. I’d love to hear if you have any amazing tips that you found invaluable too.

Make your wishes clear from the outset.
If you do want to breastfeed, make your wishes clear to the delivery team around you from the outset and your family and friends. Write it down in your birth plan that you want to have immediate and uninterrupted skin to skin, and want to try and breastfeed within the hour if possible. This is totally possible even if you’re having a C-section – when I had Bea the team were so supportive bringing her straight to me on the table, where she stayed for the duration, and getting me feeding straight away in recovery. The sooner you can start the better, in terms of calming and nourishing your baby, and it’s good for expelling the placenta if you’ve had a vaginal birth. The sucking stimulates hormones which promote the uterus contracting down once the baby is out, also reducing the risk of haemorrhage.
You may wish to consider what your wishes are if you or the baby are unexpectedly taken ill and have to be separated – this is a good discussion to have with your partner and make your wishes clear to them if you can’t be present to express them.

Prepare the people around you.
When I planned to breastfeed for the first time with Bea I had no immediate family members who were breastfeeding or had breastfed for any significant length of time. The culture was very much around bottle feeding and that had a big impact on the kind of help I was offered. For example, if you bottle feed and you’re tired, someone else can give the bottle to the baby and cuddle them while you go get some sleep. People also always love feeding a baby and often put pressure on to be able to do that for you, encouraging you to express or add formula in for that reason.
If you are breastfeeding then the kind of help you need is completely different, you need to bond with and focus on the baby and feeding him or her, and the offers of help need to be around looking after you as you might not be able to! Ask friends or family to bring prepared food, do a quick shop, take the dog for a walk, put the recycling out, put a wash on, hang it out or clean the house. If it’s not your first child ask them to play or do an activity with your older children either in the house or take them to the park. Your priority needs to be the baby and their priority needs to be facilitating you doing that and helping to do all the things you can’t, (or maybe can do, but it would be lovely not to so you can spend those precious first few days and weeks enjoying your new bundle,) as a result.
I also felt I needed to prepare my mum particularly, who I knew would be worried if I was struggling with tiredness because of all night feeding marathons or frequent wake ups. I wanted to make really clear that I expected that and was prepared to deal with it, and that I didn’t see tiredness as a reason to stop feeding or to give a bottle, so it wasn’t put forward as a well intended offer of help. (I should add here, in the end my mum didn’t have to worry as Bea was a dream sleeper despite being breastfed, it was Cora who brought us the challenges second time around!)

Arm yourself with knowledge
The first few days after having a baby can be really tough. You’re physically exhausted and often sore and after having gone through a long period of exertion in labour, just when you need some sleep and rest to recover you enter a period of intense sleep deprivation. Aside from the physical drains, your emotional reserves are low as the hormone rollercoaster kicks in, and you may feel anxious and doubt your decisions or your ability to breastfeed. Getting a few key facts straight in your mind can help you feel more equipped to make decisions when other health care professionals start to get involved or even give you strength to keep going on that 4th night of sleep deprivation when your milk still hasn’t come in and you can’t think what to do for tiredness and worry.
A bit of reading in the weeks before you are due can be really helpful with this I think, and I particularly rate this book: The Food of Love. It’s funny, real and just quite brilliant.

Key things to remember are:

  • Your baby has a super tiny stomach when it’s born and that slowly slowly slowly expands over the course of weeks as the quantities of milk it receives increase. It doesn’t need a 100ml bottle of milk at birth to feed it.
  • The Colostrum your body produces before the milk comes in is in tiny, tiny amounts but the nutrients in it are so complex and fat rich that it’s enough to sustain your baby in those initial days before your milk does come in.
  • Milk is produced by the body according to demand so even though your baby may be on the breast and sucking a lot in those early days before the milk appears, it’s not a sign of hunger, but a normal reflex. Your baby is working with your body to tell it to produce the milk. Give the baby a bottle at this point and it stimulating that reflex and the body isn’t prompted to make milk. It’s not quite that simple as there are other factors involved in milk production, and one bottle wont halt the whole process, but it’s a really important connection to make that your supply is made according to demand, from your baby.
  • The milestone of your milk ‘coming in’ – the point where your breasts actually start to produce breast milk for the baby can take several days. It can be sooner with a second child or when your body is particularly quick off the mark, but after a C Section when your body was caught by surprise that the baby was coming out, or if you had a long labour or traumatic delivery and are exhausted, that can slow things down to. As a point of reference, I had my first daughter on a Monday via C-Section. I think my milk came in on the Friday. This is how human beings were designed and it works just fine, don’t feel pressured into giving a bottle if you don’t want to because your baby is ‘hungry’.
  • Babies don’t go to the breast just for food. Breastfeeding is about so much more than nutrition. It is safety, comfort, connection, soothing, pain relief and more so when your baby wants to latch on, it might not be because they’re hungry. Trying to get to grips with that when you’re touched out, tired and fed up is one thing, but also having to fend off comments from others about how baby ‘can’t possibly be hungry‘ or how ‘you’re making a rod for your own back,‘ can be really stressful in an already confusing time so having some knowledge about normal infant feeding habits can really give you some confidence to stick with it. Little Peach is a really great Insta account for breastfeeding mums with sound advice and inspirational daily snippits.
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Happy World Breastfeeding Week followers! I've been feeding this little one for almost 5 months now and was already pregnant with her when I stopped Feeding Bea at just over 2. When I first started thinking about breastfeeding my sole motivation was an 8hour flight we had planned when Bea was 4months and not wanting to faff around with formula on flights. On my two and a half year breastfeeding journey since, I've become a passionate breastfeeding advocate and I love seeing mums and nurslings succeed and have fulfilling Bf relationships. It's not about what's right or wrong or even best, but that I wish every woman could experience the joy I have from breastfeeding my girls. #WBW2017 #normalizebreastfeeding #breastfeedingweek #breastfeeding #joy #love

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Make a nest
Breastfeeding can appear to be the most natural thing in the world. Once you’ve got the whole thing down you can latch a baby on in your sleep (in fact they will do it themselves,) and feed one handed striding around the park whilst herding a toddler too, but that’s not how it works with a newborn. BOTH of you are learning then and you both need time to get a few things right. Guiding the baby to latch on, making sure its a great latch to prevent you getting too sore and help baby to stimulate the milk as much as possible, all takes some serious co-ordination and frankly a lot of getting your boob out. You need to be able to see it, Baby needs to be able to get at it without clothes rucked up around you… The majority of new mums don’t feel that confident wrestling with a screaming babe and a bare breast with great uncle Arthur visiting or in the local Costa Coffee, so this is a time for battening down the hatches a little, holding off the visitors and just resting. Make sure you have your partner on feeding duty – that’s feeding (and don’t forget hydrating!) YOU by the way. Get super comfortable, keep things warm so you can do lots of skin to skin to promote milk production, and soak it all in. Milk production is also strongly linked to your physical state. If you’re exhausted and physically drained from labour, your body needs the rest to get the milk going and the oxytocin rush you will get from uninterrupted bonding with your baby is super important too.

This isn’t advice just for the first week either. Sometimes things get more difficult when your milk has come in as baby gets a taste for the milk and has some catching up to do. If you have lots of visitors holding the baby, again aside from it being exhausting you can’t learn your baby’s ‘cue’s’ as well because you’re not as close, which is really important in the first few weeks. Getting to know your baby and when they want to sleep or feed makes your life so much easier! And when baby wants to latch on again for the 5th time in an hour you shouldn’t have to explain yourself or listen to comments from well meaning relatives which put you at risk of committing a violent crime in your sleep deprived state. ;)

Have support on standby
If you did NCT or a local birth preparation course hopefully you had a breastfeeding session and took away some information about feeding support when the baby arrives. Local midwives often have ‘infant feeding’ teams who come and visit to help you but anyone who has been trying to get to grips with breastfeeding a baby knows that when it isn’t going to plan you feel like you need hand holding several times a day, not a couple of times a week. There’s no substitute for good experienced advice when you actually have the baby in your arms either.
La Leche League, (UK site here – LLL UK) connects mothers to local support groups and practitioners and has great blog posts. Breastfeeding Consultants/Lactation Consultants Local breastfeeding nurse, breastfeeding café’s or 4th trimester meet ups all offer practical and emotional support throughout your breastfeeding journey, from newborn to weaning, so familiarise yourself with where to find them before you need them and USE THEM. The NHS BF page has lots of pointers to help too.

It takes a village
What frustrates me about breastfeeding is there is always someone ready to talk about how hard it is but there are few people willing or able to talk about their positive experience. There aren’t enough people talking about it, or doing it, to make it normal. We should be able to talk openly about our experiences, be that sore nipples, (I can recommend a cream for that!) choices around Co-sleeping, (I have World Health Organisation guidance on that which you can use to practise safe co-cleeping!) the challenges of feeding an older baby or toddler (Seriously, solidarity sister!) the sleep deprivation during a growth spurt, how to keep breastfeeding when you go back to work, how to get baby to take a bottle, how to go about weaning from the breast if you want to… the list goes on and on and on. There might not be a solution but what I’m trying to say is a problem shared is a problem halved. If you know people who have or are breastfeeding, lean on them. Use their knowledge and experience, – I’m willing to bet they will be desperate to help; be that the girl next door or your mother-in-law, if they’ve breastfed for any amount of time they will often really ‘get’ what your facing and they might even be able to help. Its take a village to raise a child and that phrase is never more true than when applied to Breastfeeding.

Writing this has made me think of some many more breastfeeding posts I’d like to share. I have never written about my breastfeeding ‘journey’ with Bea and Cora to date, or about how I kept going when I went back to work at 7 and 10 months respectively. Do let me know if you’d like to read those, and if you can add to my list above. And if you found this because you are breastfeeding and needed help or support, or you are planning to, You are Amazing, Keep Going!

Rebecca x

Buying a Buggy…

As any long time readers of Florence Finds will know, or those who see me on Instagram, you’re much more likely to find me carrying my kids in a sling than pushing the buggy. We are huge fans of a woven wrap both for it’s closeness and convenience and before Cora was born the most use our Uppababy got was when my mum came once a week to look after Bea. However, once Cora arrived it started seeing a bit more action, although more as a pushchair with Bea than to put Cora in, as I think I would always choose to sling a baby and push a toddler. We were lucky and Bea became quite keen and proficient on her scooter when she started preschool and we started walking every day but prior to that when she was younger and less reliable both in terms of walking and behaviour, it was handy to be able to strap her in somewhere.

Now Bea is 4 and Cora is approaching 19 months and our travel system is once again gathering dust. Aside from my preference for slings I do resist using it because it’s heavy, cumbersome and inconvenient. I dislike getting it in and out of the car, I don’t like seeing it in the house and we have no where to store it easily (the cellar is the usual spot where it lives between mums visits but that means it’s much harder to whip out when we need a quick trip out.) It’s also really big for my mum who is quite petite and suffers with arthritis in her hands which makes it more difficult to manoeuvre up and down the three steps into our Victorian house where the cellars mean our ground floor is 1m above ground level. I should say, I’m not trying to be negative about the Uppababy. If you want a proper travel system and like a bigger pram I think it’s great but for me any of the travel systems or prams of that size don’t meet my needs as well.

We had been vaguely considering a Maclaren type pushchair for a while but not got around to doing anything, when I spotted the Babyzen YoYo+. A favourite of bloggers and Instagram it’s a good looking little pushchair, and folds up ridiculously small and light – in fact it was designed for its ability to fit in the hand luggage on an aircraft so if you’re into travelling with your little one it could well be worth the investment. But there’s the catch. An investment it certainly is, at around £370 for the pushchair (suitable from 6 months) and an extra £100ish for the newborn attachment to make it useable from birth, it was the priciest option that we looked at. For our needs it seems a bit excessive, but if you happen to be looking for a pram from birth it actually compares favourably with most of the travel systems (the Uppababy for example is around £900 these days for the full kit of frame, pushchair, bassinet and car seat adapters) – just check the car seat you have or plan to buy is compatible with the Babyzen as it doesn’t fit with all of them. The other major negative is the basket – it’s so ridiculously small that you’d struggle to put much in there at all, maybe your pre-baby handbag, which lets face it you probably won’t be taking out with the pram much, and I felt the frame seemed a bit light to hang a full changing bag off too. So despite my lust for it we started looking to see what comparable options were around but didn’t cost quite as much. I thought I’d share this as people often review their pram or buggy on blogs but don’t have much to compare it to which is a bit of a biased review imho.

On our first stop in John Lewis we were shown the Mountain Buggy Nano V2. This was £209 and very similar in terms of the fold down mechanism and size, although not quite as small so I don’t think it would fit in the hand luggage compartment. It was actually a few grams(!) lighter but to me I didn’t like the way it looked compared to the Babyzen (more like a Maclaren,) and it reminded me of a stripped out racing car where all the comfort had been removed in favour of reducing the weight. It did lie flat, so was suitable from birth, but didn’t take a car seat. It also felt a little sturdier than the Babyzen to me but I still didn’t love it, the basket was similarly small to the Babyzen and by comparison with other umbrella fold buggies it still seemed pricey so I kept looking.

Next stop was Mamas and Papas that I happened to wander into and asked what they had that compared to the Babyzen. By now I had refined my priorities and knew I wanted something that folded small for storage and was light enough to carry up and down steps/put in and out of the car with ease, but it didn’t need to be super small for travel. I also wanted a single push handle rather than two, to make it easy to steer with one hand. First I was shown the M&P Acro, which is super light, also folds really small (similar to the two above) and came in under £200 with the Bank Holiday discount they had on at the time. (RRP £179) Again, I liked it but it felt a little bit stripped out and basic, plus it was a bit flimsier and harder to put up and down.

Next we looked at the Armadillo City2 and I loved it! Again, with the BH offer it cost just £141, (and it’s currently in their mid-season sale at £139!) but weighed in at 7.3kg and folds in the same way as all the ones above to a very slim standing position for storage. The folding mechanism was easy (I found with some we looked at the sales person even struggled doing it!) and it felt sturdy despite its featherweight. The basket is a more reasonable size (although don’t expect much from any that fold in this way and you won’t be disappointed,) and it’s got a single bar handle so is easily steered one handed. It comes with the rain cover – I was surprised by how many considered a rain cover an extra, and a cup holder. The seat lies flat so could be used from birth which is handy to know as you never know when you might want to lie a baby in there even if you’re out with a toddler, and the hood even unzips at the back for a bit of ventilation in hot weather.

After quite a bit of use in the last month since we bought it, I feel confident recommending it to any of you looking for a light weight, slim folding multi-age group buggy. I’d love to hear if any of you already have it, or if you looked at it and opted for another alternative?

Rebecca x

Skin Solutions: Step 2 – A beginner’s guide to acid toning

As I’m getting a bit older (and frankly I don’t think it’s age, its lack of sleep courtesy of child number two!) I’m definitely noticing the signs of aging in my skin. Alongside my problematic breakouts that have dogged me throughout my adult years, it’s sparked a new interest for me, in trying to make the best of what I’ve got. I’m not into cosmetic surgery, or the explosion of fillers and botox that is being widely embraced (yet!) but I am more than ready to dip my toe into the world of more powerful skin care and with that I’ll hand you over to Penny, who has been guiding my way down the skincare rabbit hole. Today, she’s talking acid…


Acid exfoliants are everywhere these days and come in many forms, types and strengths – from gentle lotions to more full-on home peel kits. Today I want to talk about toning with glycolic acid – it is widely available, suitable for most skin types and tends to give results quickly. A glycolic acid-based toner (used post-cleansing and pre-serums/moisturisers) will gently remove dead skin cells, leaving fresh-looking, radiant skin beneath. Those with acne, uneven skin tone and visible pores can hope to see clearer,
more even-toned skin; those with dry skin will benefit too as the acid creates an easily penetrable base for your lovely serums and moisturisers to do their thing. Basically, it’s good news for everyone.

However – it pays to ease in gently. I am guilty of getting excited and over-aciding to start with (my skin type is dehydrated/sensitive so I should have known better) and ending up like a scrubbed ham – not a good look. Don’t be a plum like me – ease in to a regime
that includes glycolic acid, or any active ingredient, by using a gentle product and/or using every other evening to begin with. On first application you can expect a tingle – but it shouldn’t feel any worse than that.

After toning, proceed with the rest of your normal routine. I have learned it’s best for me to follow with a hydrating toner (more of that next time!) and/or hyaluronic serum to pack the moisture back into my dehydrated skin before moisturising. Then always, always apply sunscreen – AHAs increase photosensitivity so this bit is non-negotiable!

A brief side-note: very sensitive types looking for something gentler than glycolic might like to investigate mandelic and lactic acid products. If you have very badly congested skin and glycolic isn’t cutting it – salicylic acid might work better.

Happy aciding!

Glycolic acid toners – Pennys’ top picks

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner, £5.95
I managed to get this half price, which it often is. It doesn’t feel quite as nourishing as the Pixi version (see below), but if you’re using other hydrating products then who cares. Absolutely brilliant for the price.

Bravura London Calendula Toner, £12.40
This gorgeous toner combines glycolic and lactic acids and healing calendula

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads, £12.95
You can always find these discounted somewhere – scour TK Maxx, Superdrug and major supermarkets. The pre-soaked pads are particularly handy to pack for travel. For those on a super tight budget – Aldi Lacuna do a decent dupe of these for mere pennies if you can track them down!

Pixi Glow Tonic, £18
Pixi’s fabulous best-seller and my personal desert-island beauty product. Love it.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold, £33
A cult product with a deserved reputation, Liquid Gold is not an everyday toner, but an intensive overnight treatment (product suggests using 2-3 times per week but I tend to use once a week). Excellent for resurfacing, smoothing lines, evening skin tone and brightening up dull skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

I don’t mind admitting, I’ve been using the Pixi Glow Tomic on Pennys’ recommendation for about 4 months now and its definitely made a difference to the frequency of my breakouts and just general skin brightness. I’ve also added in the liquid Gold (courtesy of the M&S Beauty advent calendar 2 years ago!) as a bit of a trial before shelling out on a full size bottle. I’d love to hear your experiences and tips if you’ve got any! – Rebecca x

Hello September…

Well hello readers!

Let’s just skim over the fact that I’m finally saying hello on the 19th of September and embrace the season for new adventures and fresh starts. I love September. That whole back to school feeling, new fashion trends to embrace, the need for new stationary in a throw back to new school years starting, the shifting seasons… I can’t get enough of it. This year it feels all the better as it’s co-inciding with the never ending house project coming to an end. In fact as I write this I feel like today was a bit of a milestone. Our Crittall door screen and back door (yes, that of the 20 week lead time…) was finally delivered and installed today, and I couldn’t be happier with them. Also, our thermostats and wiring were finally completed for the underfloor heating, separating the two ‘zones’ in the living area and tiled hall/utility, from the house radiators. I was pretty desperate after the cold snap we had a week or so ago to get the use of the heating back and typically just as this tropical feeling storm passes through I finally am able to switch it on. Those were the two remaining things outstanding from our build and to top it all off we had our snagging meeting with the builder and architect today too! It really feels like the full stop at the end of the project.

It’s been a long old year in terms of the house renovation – I went back to work in January and we started the build 2 weeks later. The rest of the year completely flashed by in a groundhog day of dust, builders and research research research into the right this that and the other for the interior finishes. People often ask me on Instagram or here how I plan a room scheme or makeover and in this case it was 6 rooms at once, but the answer is that I research and plan obsessively over a long period. It’s a bit mind blowing but for me it gives me confidence in my decisions that I won’t go off something when I’ve loved it for 6 months already, and when I know that every bit of the scheme works together too. Now we are really at the fun stage of adding in the bits of decor like art, furniture and a few wall colours and papers here and there. So yeah, more research!

Getting back to September, Bea started reception this month, having just turned four, and so far it has been pretty seamless. She’s returned to the same school she went full time to pre-school at for the last year so it hasn’t been much of a change or jump for her and for that I’ve been very grateful. She’s very good at adapting to new situations and I was surprised at how resilient she was starting pre-school – 2 days in and she was waving me off without a backwards glance, so I was surprised how emotional I was dropping her off to school for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed by guilt and regret that in the whole summer I hadn’t made any time or space for a day of just Bea and I and put Cora in childcare. Our childcare set up means whenever we have childcare in place I’m working, and I also didn’t take time off over summer, preferring to continue with term time holidays whiles she’s under 5 and we can, so although we enjoyed loads of lovely days out together, that feeling of time slipping through your fingers as a mum really hit home. What is it with kids making your eyes so leaky! It’s really made me re-evaluate again the time I spend with the girls and whether that needs reconsidering. So watch this space. On the flip side, Cora and Bea are so good together, and love each other so much, I shouldn’t feel too bad about not spending time with them individually. A year ago when Bea started pre-school I really breathed a sigh of relief to get some respite from probably the hardest phase of her life so far in terms of challenging behaviour, whilst trying to parent a frankly pain in the backside sleep thief baby. This time around the summer has been so much fun now she’s more grown up and co-operative and Cora is able to play with her too, and I’ll genuinely miss her and our little girl gang trio.

I hope you don’t mind me popping in here for a bit of a ramble… I’ve been longing to get back to the blog for such a long time, but the mental space and actual time just hasn’t been there. I finally feel like theres a semblance of a chance that I might be able to come back a bit more regularly and I’m really feeling ready to flex some creative muscle, so watch this space. ;) I have a whole pile of half written blog posts on everything from reading lists and books, to the room reveals from our reno project, travel and just some more general mum and life stuff, ready and waiting to be finished and published so hopefully I can get a bit more of a rhythm going.

Of course being September theres a few other things I want to tackle while my motivation is high! Cora is 18 months old now (Noooo!) and I still haven’t got back into regular exercise. My diet is appalling too so I’m on a mission to find some exercise I enjoy doing – I was thinking of trying Zumba and I really want to sort out my midsection 2 babies down the line so want to find a pilates class. That and some forward planning on the food front wouldn’t go amiss – I’m hoping to totally nail the next two days (Thursday and Fridays are often a bit of a car crash as I work them both and so does Pete,) by prepping ahead with the Instant Pot, something I’ve never really gelled with. So wish me luck!

I’d love to hear what you have all been up to. Are any mums out there reading who have been tackling new school starts? Are you looking forward to anything about Autumn or planning anything now summer is (whisper it) over? Drop me a comment, it would be lovely to chat again!

Rebecca x

Toys for 4 year olds: Aquaplay

Happy Sunday readers! Yesterday we celebrated Bea’s 4th birthday and we bought her a bit of a last minute present that has turned out so well I thought I’d share it with you all here in a quick review.

I asked some friends recently what their 4yo’s liked to play with and one suggested a water play system like this. We didn’t really have a ‘big’ present in mind for Bea this year but all we had bought her were some dress up outfits and an electric toothbrush – I always try in vain to buy toys that might give me 5 minutes peace and encourage some independent play now she’s getting bigger and particularly with the summer holidays looming. I also hoped we might find something that was Cora proof too – Bea was always so delicate and liked to do arty things, we have never had to put the crayons out of reach – they were always out in her bedroom to use, but now Cora draws on everything so it needed to be something she could use too.


The Aquaplay Mountain Lake is amazing! Bea didn’t look up for an hour once it was set up for her and Cora has been wading in (quite literally) too! It’s an amazing toy for the garden and we are using it inside because our Karndean flooring doesn’t mind being wet. And it’s got educational value in teaching about water movement and imaginative play. Now just need to figure out where to store it! If you’re stuck for a present or have been eyeing this wondering if it’s worth it, I’d definitely recommend it! (more Aquaplay sets here, including a smaller transportable one in a case)

Rebecca

#FFHouseReno: The Bathroom

The bathroom looks like it will be the first room finished in this mad renovation project so I think it’s time I talked about the design process. Before I start, a disclaimer… I don’t really *cough* like bathrooms. That’s not strictly true I suppose. There’s many a bathroom I have enjoyed spending time in, but bathroom design just leaves me cold. So I basically ignored the bathroom for the longest time during the planning stages. We have never renovated or replaced a bathroom before so I also didn’t really know where to start. Expect of course, Pinterest.


This is the image which inspired our bathroom design as a whole.

A little bit of background first, Kate Watson-Smyth from Mad About The House says you need to know the who, what’s and where of a house before you plan anything and I wholeheartedly agree. This bathroom, although it will be a bathroom for all of us currently, will long term become the family/kids bathroom, when we complete the final renovation stage of this house and move up to the top floor. For now though we are a young family with many a bath time ahead of us in which all four of us will be trying to move around the space, so layout was important. I wasn’t prepared to compromise on having two sinks and we wanted a freestanding bath but that was pretty much it. This was a bit of luxury for us now but also half an eye on two girls competing for mirror space in future. ;) I also wanted storage for the myriad bath toys we now have, plus toiletries of mine which are bound to double again with the girls growing up. That was pretty much it in terms of what we needed. And what I wanted desperately was for it not to be boring. Easier said than done.

I scoured my bathroom pinterest boards and tried to establish some themes. It turns out I like my bathrooms light and bright, with simple natural colours and warmed by wood accents. However, every now and then a crazy tile I had saved would pop up and make me think, ‘Am I missing the opportunity to do something fun? Is it going to look boring?’ so I tried to find a way to bring in a bit of colour and personality. Not something synonymous with contemporary bathroom design.


The first moodboard I made to get my thoughts and ideas down on ‘paper’.

Now one part of bathrooms that I do love are tiles. But trying to find the cool tiles you just saw on Pinterest is not easy. And it’s even harder to find them at a good price point. It’s fortunate I don’t like the 4 tiled walls look because my goodness, tiles are expensive. I decided the way to include that pop of fun and colour I need was to have a patterned tile and quickly fell in love with encaustic tiles when we were researching for the hallway floor. My encaustic tile search is probably for another post as they are not the cheap option but I managed to source them at about half the price of some of the first ones I spotted. We finally narrowed the design down to a graphic starburst hexagon tile, after a brief flirtation with stars, in a dark marine blue.

For the walls, I considered tilling up the wall in the same tile but that would have been missing out on the opportunity to mix in another style I like. I have a lot of love for the clean, classic and budget friendly look of metro tiles, but I’m slightly obsessed with herringbone too so decided to tile the shower in a white elongated tile in a herringbone layout. I managed to find a handmade looking tile with quite an undulating surface in the right proportions for a fraction of the price of the higher end tile stores and to make it more of a textural effect rather than a graphic pattern, we have chosen white grout.

Black shower taps

Next up was taps. Again, I had decided on brass, but wow, taps are expensive (there’s a theme somewhere in here…) and I couldn’t find quite the style I wanted. When I was bath hunting I came across Lusso Stone who have really well priced tap and shower sets, and decided to cross over to the dark side and go for matte black. Those of you who are regular readers may remember that I really dislike black. I have barely anything black in my wardrobe but I’m finding that I am using it more and more in interiors as an accent neutral and I am so excited to see these go in. It was compromise that made me go for them, particularly as we chose everything for the bathroom so late we were starting to really try and cut the budget, so were under pressure to make savings in this room, but I think they are going to make a fantastic compromise and won’t look too stark because of…


Wooden vanity

The Vanity Unit. I knew I wanted a wooden floating unit or a sideboard style piece of furniture, originally thinking I’d source a vintage midcentury sideboard, but I just couldn’t find anything I was happy to make a decision on. Eventually I reconciled myself with the fact that anything we bought new would have to be chopped up and drilled into to convert and settled on the Fresco Sideboard from Swoon Editions. Unfortunately we had quite the debacle and had to switch for another one last minute but I’m really happy we did and can’t wait to see it in situ. The wood will add warmth to an otherwise quite stark room and the brass detail is just going to make me happy. :) We plan to top it with a piece of marble to save the wood top from getting stained and have chosen counter top rectangular sinks to fit the mid-century vibe.


The final moodboard where I put all my chosen products together to make sure they worked together.

Lastly the bath. We looked far and wide at baths and really fell for the composite ones with their matt velvety finish. The first we liked was Victoria and Albert then we found Lusso Stone which are vastly cheaper than most and supply a lot of hotels and building projects with very sexy baths. The one we chose was mainly due to size restrictions because I could easily have chosen many of their gorgeous designs and hopefully it will be with us next week.

I think that’s it! I’m still updating Instagram Stories most days with daily progress and much of that is currently bathroom progress, so please do check in if you want to see some behind the scenes action. (Disclaimer: I may or may not be found on some days tearing my hair out or rocking in the corner quietly, depending how bad a day it has been!) I think it will be another couple of weeks then I should have some finished photos for you!

Hope you like it!
Rebecca

Skin Solutions: Step 1 – Cleanse

Good Morning everyone! I wanted to introduce to you today a new series of posts we will be doing here at Florence Finds, from a not so new face! Some of you might remember Penny from her music series when FF was a little more active (In fact I’ve known her since the Rock My Wedding Days!) and she recently started a skincare Instagram. I didnt know about her personal skincare mission but she has been dedicating some serious time to sorting her own skin out and in doing so has become quite the guru. I’ve already switched up some of my routine on her advice (clueless newbie over here!) and the good news is she going to be sharing it with you guys on a semi-regular basis here! In between you can catch her on Insta @BrazFace

A post shared by Penny (@brazface) on

Step one: Cleanse

I have always thought my skin type was oily/spot-prone, so it came as a bit of a Scooby-Doo head-tilt moment when a beautician told me that my skin was, in fact, enormously dehydrated. It had become sensitised thanks to the procession of harsh, spot-fighting (some of them GP prescribed) face washes and treatments I had been putting on my hormonal-acne-addled skin. These products occasionally gave me short-term results, but long-term they had been making my problems worse.

I started investigating gentle, more balancing cleansers, triggering a skincare obsession that’s still going strong. My first cleansing oil (from Sanctuary, details below) had such an immediate impact on my poor, neglected skin that I was hooked. My under the skin, cystic spots reduced hugely, and my complexion started to look smoother and more even.

The discovery of double cleansing came next; two cleanses in the evening, first to remove makeup and second to wash the skin beneath. The concept has been around for a long while now and I came late to the party – entirely because I am lazy and the thought of so much as hot cloth cleansing every night sounded like a massive hassle. These days however, I am converted. This more involved routine has yielded such good results that I weirdly enjoy doing it. It’s virtually meditative – plus a good excuse to lock the bathroom door for a bit of peace.

These days I am constantly switching my favourite cleansers in and out of my ever-changing routine and I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Here are just some of my personal picks (particularly for problem skin like mine), I would love to hear about yours in the comments…

Sanctuary Ultimate Cleansing Oil, £12.
Beautifully easy to use, feels luxuriously hydrating but still gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Superfacialist Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, £10.99.
Cheerfully brightening and invigorating with a seriously citrusy fragrance. A good starter cleansing oil.

Coconut oil, £5 – £8, from any large supermarket or health food shop.
This one may seem unorthodox, but bear with me…I whipped a jar of coconut oil out of the kitchen cupboard and started using it as a pre-cleanse when I ran out of cleanser one time. My skin was being particularly bothersome and reacting to everything. You know what? It calmed my skin down a treat and made my face smell like a Bounty bar. Full marks!

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £10.
TBS always have some killer deal or other on, so you can often get this for less than a tenner – which is astounding given how good it is. The balm melts on contact with your face, which is very pleasing, and it cleanses thoroughly without stripping.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £15.
The famous hot cloth cleanser – a classic for all the right reasons. Manages to simultaneously cleanse, soothe and hydrate, all whilst smelling all nice and natural which always makes me feel virtuous!

Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser, £23.50.
I bought this when my skin was in a particularly stroppy period – so stroppy that I was willing to throw twice as much money at it than usual. I’m happy to say it did the job. It’s a cream cleanser (and I like so few of them so this is high praise!) brilliant for balancing tricky, combination skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

We would love to hear about your cleansing routine – do you double cleanse? And if you have any questions, lets hear them!

The Fash Flash: Spring Update

This Spring I’ve had a really strong urge to update my whole spring/summer wardrobe so I’ve had a proper clear out and started again. Looking back its been a long time since I have shopped or bought summer clothes – last summer I was only a couple of months postpartum and the year before I was wearing clothes I had pulled out from years before as I’d not long got back to my pre-Bea weight and shape. So some of my stuff had been hanging around for years. I felt really bored with the endless Boden and Joules breton tops I had accumulated and the style rut I had fallen into when wearing them. Don’t get me wrong, I will have endless love for the classic breton but I wanted to feel a bit ‘different’. So I thought I’d share the pieces I bought and I might do a bit of a ‘what I wore’ style round up in a month or so when this little lot has had an airing.


Mint velvet Palm print Jacket £129 (currently 15% off with code HOLIDAY15 until May 5th but bought at JL with 20% off!) // H&M Pink speckle club Tee £8.99 (also got my eye on the blue stripe version) // H&M yellow stripe cropped boxy tee £8.99 // New Look Striped knit khaki top £12.99 // New Look Broderie Red Stripe top £9 // H&M Pink Skinny Jeans £17.99 // H&M Grey jersey dress £12.99

A few things are quite different to usual… I’m having a complete obsession with blush pink which I’ve never worn before, (look out for it in interiors too…) and I’m loving it for a few fashion updates that feel completely different, particularly the skinnies which will be a nice alternative to the classic white jean. I’ve always been a fan of khaki, and I think it looks great in summer and with pink, so I’ve added that in with this palm print jacket and the tie front knit top for an different texture and style to the usual tee. The Jacket was a splurge but given the weather we have had so far this year, I’m thinking it’s going to get a LOT of wear and be a future classic too. The same goes for this gorgeous warm yolky yellow (the most flattering tone of yellow to wear I think) in a cropped boxy style. It’s got a nice swing but I must admit I’ll be reserving it for days when I’m feeling on the skinnier side. ;) (Note: It doesn’t show any skin as long as you’re not wearing low jeans with it!)

It’s unusual for me to venture into New Look too but because I was having such an update I needed bargain pieces to pad things out and was pleased to find serious steals that weren’t just fit for teens. H&M also came up trumps with this basic marled grey jersey dress for running around in in the week. Side note: I’m pretty much down to morning and evening feeds with Cora now, so dresses are making a reappearance in my wardrobe again, without having to scour the shops for breast feeding friendly details. Amen to that!

Office trainers £22.99 (Also available in Silver stars) // Solillas Sandals // Hush pink stripe tee £35 // Hush White and Black Midi skirt £65 // H&M x Anna Glover Palm print dress £17.99 // Hush Daphne Jumpsuit £60 (currently in the Spring Sale until Monday and available in blush or navy)

Although I don’t follow a strict capsule like I once did, I do try to shop in bulk at the beginning of the season too and to make sure I consider what I’m buying as a whole. So what I need for work, (that’s for another post perhaps,) everyday and the (few and far between these days!) occasions that crop up. I find that means I don’t end up panic buying or stressed at the last minute when invitations arise and I can make the most of impromptu date nights if we get the chance! I love this palm print shirt dress (sold out online but I found it instore so do check, and consider sizing down – it’s huuuuge! I bought an 8.) – it’s right up my street in terms of style and I can see it over the pink jeans as well as worn solo with flip flops on the beach. I’m usually a fan of Birkenstocks for summer utilitarian chic, but this year I’m giving these Solillas a go and they feel super comfy on first wear. They make me think of holidays! All my trainers had had their day and these were a super bargain so I snapped them up too.

The Hush skirt is a major departure in style for me but I’ve worn it already on date night with the trainers, black tights, my strong girls club sweat and my leather jacket so it’s proving it doesn’t need to be a high summer style. I used to think this style was unflattering but I’m loving the less showy, less try-hard style to it. And lastly, THAT jumpsuit. I hesitated to buy this after trying it on but then put a changing room photo on Instagram and the response was overwhelming – I’m so glad I bought it – it’s so comfy, flattering and I can see myself wearing it with heels as I did here, or with trainers in the day for a lunch date. I took a 10 in this and it’s not as loose on me as the model but I prefer the fit that way.

Items I’m recycling:
Ash Block Heel tan sandals (pictured above)
Madewell Leopard flats
All the sweats(!)
Dungarees
Distressed Boyfriend and True Skinny jeans – both GAP
Breton sweatshirt dress (also GAP
Classic Leather Jacket (Whistles)

I’m still on the look out for a few pieces. rather perversely I’m feeling the need for a warm jumper with all the horrible weather we have had, and I’m still so excited about summer dresses and having a choice thats unrestricted by breast feeding that I doubt I’ll resist a couple of extra purchases. A basket bag would finish things off nicely! I’ll keep you posted! ;)

Do let me know if you’re inspired by what you’ve seen here or if you’ve got any places I should be looking at – what are you wearing this spring???

Love, Rebecca

The Fash Flash: Don’t Sweat It.

Something has happened to my style lately and I am now a complete convert to a good old sweatshirt. Of course I’m not talking 80/90′s throwback oversized numbers but a super soft well fitted sweatshirt with a well chosen slogan can seriously do some wardrobe distance. It’s particular strength being the ‘I don’t even want to get dressed today but I can feel like I’m in pyjama’s while looking semi-cool’ look. I used to think they were super unflattering – particularly if you have a bigger bust, but with a complete boob monster in tow still and the cup size to match, I’m re-thinking my pre-conceptions.

I thought I’d do a little round up of some of my favs, with some boutique and small business finds.

Let’s get started!

Strong Girls Club and Rebelle by Mutha.Hood – Owned and designed by Gemma (follow her on Instagram for hilarious pink, tassel and llama loving stories) I love nearly every design she produces. Bea and I have the matching ‘Strong Girls Club’ sweats (see above,) and I recently bought my bestie and I ‘Rebelle’ sweats in the flash sale. A must have for all Mothers of Daughters, Boom.

Mother Neon pink hoodie by The FMLY store – Possibly the original purveyors of statement sweats, or certainly the first that brought them to my attention, The FMLY Store (formerly Selfish Mother but now expanded to include the whole family,) this brand has a huge range of styles and slogans. I’m currently coveting a supersoft design (I already have an original boyfriend grey and coral ‘Winging It’ and Hot pink ‘Mama’ scoop neck,) or the new super casual outline design on the spring hoody. Another bonus to buying from them is their #GoodTees programme where they donate £5 from each sale to various charities – a total of £811,574 has been raised so far!

Scamp and Dude – Next on my list to purchase are these super cool animal print and lightening bolt striking designs from Scamp and Dude. Another Adult/kid brand you can get these unisex designs and give a little person some superhero confidence too – every product has a lightening bolt embroidered on the sleeve for kids to press and feel when they need a little boost. The range was inspired by creator Jo’s stay in hospital when she suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage and had to leave her children while in hospital, which inspired her to make a product that made children feel more secure when away from their loved ones. Check out the accessories range too – I love the pouches and the Superhero Sleep Buddies. (You might also have seen on Instagram that ASDA have ripped off the ‘Superhero has my Back‘ design so please do support her ORIGINAL brand. Shame on you ASDA.)

A Finer Thread – For a luxe take on the trend A Finer Thread creates embroidered designs on classic colours, like these chic J’adore sweats. Everything is made to order and you can even order bespoke designs so check them out for a special treat.

Lastly, the very reasonably priced and wine inspired FWP by Rae range includes this Premier Cru – first spotted on our very own Erin, but also worn by the instagram fash pack including Kat from Does my Bum look 40, amongst others. (Check out her blog for fashion forward styling for when you no longer want to feel like you’re dressed like a teen.) Who doesn’t love a reminder that it’s almost wine o’clock?

Have I missed any? I’d love to hear of any new brands I should check out!

Love,
Rebecca

Renovation Ruminations: Tiles Tiles Tiles…

I think it’s time I kicked off with some interiors inspiration for the renovation project, right? In truth, you might expect that I would have this all sorted but in fact it has for a long time felt hard to see past the project even starting and getting those piles in, so I didn’t really focus too hard on the interior aspect. The bathroom has had the least of my attention because, well, bathrooms just don’t really excite me. Of course that hasn’t stopped me pinning them and fortunately, as I always say to people who are planning a project big or small, if you pin loads of images you like to Pinterest you can often then find a theme. Particularly because I’ve been using Pinterest for so long, I can also see if my tastes have changed, or pick out things that look dated already which helps to refine what I like, and also try to sift through rooms that are ‘Gorgeous but not me‘ and ‘Yes, I can live with that!

There are a few key themes that have inspired me and tiles have been my latest obsession so lets get on and have a look!


Grown up mermaid tiles

For the longest time I thought if I ever re-did a bathroom I’d keep it all white, white, white. In fact, I’ve learnt enough about myself that I can start neutral but I always seek colour eventually, and I also really don’t want a clinical or cold looking space. I’ve always love patterned tiles, be they Morroccan style, mosaics, or just interesting colours and lean towards anything with a handcrafted feel, so although I started planning a black hexagon tile floor, we soon moved towards looking for something more colourful.


Fish scale tiles // Circle tiled Shower // Star tiles // Concrete and patterned teal tiles.

How amazing are these? But could you live with it? There’s something very ‘holiday’ feeling about these designs I think. They remind me of a beach hotel, somewhere like Miami, or Australia, but I wonder if I’d tire of them or if they would feel out of place in the middle of a bleak English winter. But then maybe they would be just the thing to brighten up your day?

Or if you’re not 100% about taking the plunge with colour, how about this ever so pale and restrained touch of colour?


Pale and Interesting

I find these pastel and muted tones so restful. They’re just the thing I think for a change from the now classic white metro or subway tile, but with a bit of a modern twist. The pale green/grey/blue tones are just so pretty and elegant.


Pale Green shower // Blue metro tiles and marble // Pale blue herringbone // Grey metro tiles

Then there’s the Monochrome trend. Whilst I never would have described myself as a monochrome lover, I find myself decorating in Black and white more and more. Its the perfect backdrop for other materials (wood and metals in the case of the bathroom,) and a brilliant foil for colour too – in fact both the girls bedrooms have black and white wallpaper which is perfect to balance out all the colour that comes with the mountains of toys.


Black Chevron and brass shower // Black Hex wall tiles

What I do like a lot however is texture and a monochrome palette is the perfect way to introduce pattern like the current trends for interesting tile laying (herringbone or chevrons to name but a few) or shapes, like hexagons.


White Herringbone wall tiles

So what do you think readers. Could you or have you stepped away from white tiles? I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations!

Rebecca x

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