Summer Capsule Part 2 [Core Essentials]

I think I’m getting to grips better with the whole concept of the capsule and making it work for me, so this season I didn’t have a number of pieces in mind and I didn’t categorise as rigidly as tops/bottoms/dresses, more what the clothes were for. 99% of the time in summer I live in tee’s or lightweight knits and jeans or shorts, so I decided to invest in these a little more this season.

Blue v-neck // Breton stripe // Slogan tee Red stripe and graphic tee

I like to feel summery by a certain point in the year, even if the weather isn’t playing ball, especially true this year, so I make sure I have a few light knits in summery colour ways and plenty of long sleeved tee’s. This year I ‘invested’ in a Boden breton, although with the often available discount codes, it didn’t feel like too much of an investment at all, plus this twist on a breton, actually from the Boden teens range. The grey stripe is almost a light weight sweatshirt material so was great for the early part of spring when I wanted to shake up my wardrobe and for the cooler start to summer we had.


Grey Stripe // Swing strappy top

I’ve also wanted a slogan tee for a long time and loved the vibrant blue of this one from Baujken, which actually was an investment, but again I used a discount code. I also got another, this time v-neck royal blue tee from Hush which I have actually mixed into my work wardrobe with the printed pencil skirt I shared in the last workwear post, so it’s earning it’s place in my capsule.


Boyfriend jeans // Printed Khakis // Shorts // Skirt

For my bottom half options, I decided to be sensible. When I did my first capsule last Autumn, I was a bit obsessed with the idea of covering all eventualities, because of the associated buying ban until the next capsule. This time I just acknowledged that I wear the same stuff all the time and kept it simple. 4 pieces was all I needed and only one, the Hush skirt, was a new buy.

The last instalment will be coming later this week, with knits, dresses and occasion wear and shoes.

Do you think you could get your core essentials down to this number of pieces?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Essentials for up to 4 months

This morning I’m continuing my list of essential (for us) items as we learn what we did and didn’t need and use as Bea gets bigger. This isn’t the obvious essentials (see more on that here,) for a baby, but the things that have been used every day and made a big difference to our lives, the things I’d recommend to every new mum. So here you go, the up to 4 months edition!

Baby Sleep Timer app
A Mummy essential first… this sleep timer saved my sanity! Around the 8-10 week mark Bea started to cry more than usual, particularly before sleeps. We exhausted ourselves thinking about what could be wrong and after a few days I realised we were totally missing her sleep cues and she was getting over-tired. This app tracks the baby’s sleep and as a result I know what her patterns are. When I’m out and about I find it really useful to know when she is ‘due’ a sleep (as we don’t use a rigid routine yet,) and it helps me stop second guessing myself as to what’s wrong when she is simply tired. Being able to see the patterns also helps me plan. Now she is 4 months we’re working towards a 3-4 nap routine and knowing what time her last sleep of the day is and when bedtime is due has made life so much easier. It essentially means we work with her sleep routine rather than trying to bend her to ours – far less painful!

Giraffe Squeakaboo Squeaker and Rattle Toy
This rattle was a gift and is one of her favourite toys. It is the perfect size for her tiny hands and that’s why it’s a firm favourite for practicing her grabbing, plus there’s a bonus jingle when she finally gets there and safe gnawing!

Bigjigs Toys BB050 Mini Roll Rattle (Blue)
This is also a favourite toy – it contains a bell, a squeak and crinkle in the stick part and she love to stare at it when I shake the bell and try to grab it. There is also textured fabric and it invariably goes straight into her mouth!

Mamas & Papas – MAGIC – Stargaze Stripe Playmat
On the toys front, this is hands down the best, well actually the only ‘baby entertainment’ buy we made. There are many cheaper baby gyms on the market but we bought this at 6 weeks and having bought her no other toys thus far, I felt it was worth splashing out on. The other reason we went for this over standard gyms was the integrated lights and sounds. I reasoned that at 6 months she didn’t really look round much and certainly wasn’t grabbing, so a static gym with hanging toys wasn’t going to do much. This has lights built in to the canopy that twinkle with very relaxing (spa-like rather than nerve-jangling baby) music! There’s a kick plate to change the lights and music, and dangling bits that do the same. She is absolutely transfixed when she’s on it and after 3 days gave a big smile the minute the music came on. Every morning she goes on there while I get breakfast and have a bit of me time to plan the day.

GroBag We used to swaddle Bea but when we came back from Florida and the temperature had dropped, plus Bea had grown big enough, we transitioned to a GroBag. I actually bought a neutral one from Mini Club at Boots, but any brand with the side poppers to adjust the size is essential, particularly if you have a small baby, due to the large age range on them. It’s one less thing to worry about knowing she can’t smother under blankets, particularly now she naps in the cot and blankets would have been harder to tuck in.

Mamas & Papas Baby Snug Raspberry
Now Bea is 4 months she is napping less and taking much more interest in the world around her. She’s not even close to sitting yet but we wanted her to be able to sit with us sometimes, to get a different view of the world, as otherwise she is always lying flat looking up. We don’t have a bouncer so it’s great to give me some hands free time when I’m eating, or preparing food and I imagine it will be useful when we start weaning with the built in tray. I also like that this one grows with the child, as the coloured insert slips out – perfect if you have a big baby!

So readers, do you have any of these items? Have I missed anything that you found a life saver at this stage?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS!
Essentials for the first 6 weeks

Family Lifestyle: Daily Essentials @12 months

Now that we have an almost one year old (say whaat?!), daily life is very different from those foggy newborn days. The changing bag gets re-filled with nappies and snacks, but the contents barely changes; we can pack the car for a night away and still be able to see out the back window because we’re not so worried about having to take everything and the kitchen sink “just in case”, and we can even go for a walk and stop for a coffee without needing much more than our coats. But we have definitely built-up a selection of family essentials that we use everyday and could not live without, they’re just not necessarily the same ones we were using when Freddie was tiny.

Becky did a fantastic post a few months ago on newborn essentials that you should all check out if you haven’t already, and I thought this would be a good next step. You won’t find nappies, a pushchair and a car seat on this list, because I figured that by this point you’ve probably got those sorted, but here are a few things that might make your days that bit easier (or give you something to look forward to if you’re still at the oh-my-goodness-we-only-brought-one-change-of-vest stage.)

Baby’s essentials
H&M baby socks
I bought a pack of these on a whim when Freddie was newborn and discovered that they are the best baby socks EVER. They simply do not come off! We’ve gone through 3 sizes already and find them thick enough for those first few cautious feet-dragging steps.

Sleeping bag
We loved the Arden & Anais muslin sleeping bags this past summer, but have used coser ones since then. I really rate the sleeping bags from Matalan, but as long as they’re easy to fasten and are warm enough for the time of year, then I’m not fussy.

High chair
We LOVE our Stokke Tripp Trapp and would definitely buy another for a second child. It’s lovely to have Freddie right up to the table with us and it doesn’t look out of place (or get in the way) in our kitchen.

Mum’s essentials
Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser
I included this in my Christmas gift guide, but wanted to put here it as well because I cannot rave about it enough. I bought this for myself the first time I went shopping without Freddie and wandered into SpaceNK, and said that I was sick of looking like I hadn’t slept in a week (which was only partly true) and instantly fell in love. Nearly every time I wear it someone tells me I’m looking well and it takes 4 seconds to put it on. Buy some now.

Waterproof jacket
I have this one from Seasalt in a different pattern and, while not cheap, is fantastic. For most of the mums I know, getting out the house everyday is an absolute necessity and while you can plonk the rain cover over the pushchair, it’s just miserable getting wet yourself when you know you need to do another loop of the park. High fashion a proper rain mack is not, just plain sensible it is.

Plain stud earrings
I stopped wearing dangly earrings and cut my hair short when Freddie was about 3 months old and started grabbing both, but I hated not being able to wear any jewelry – I just didn’t feel like myself. Luckily my husband was listening to one of these rants and bought me some gorgeous simple gold bird studs (they’re flat to my ear, so even when Freddie spots them he can’t yank them out) and I wear them everyday.

Dad’s essentials
A big jumper
Although it is getting warmer, if can still be quite chilly at 5.30 am. If you’re lucky, like me, daddy will often get up with the baby and give them breakfast, while you can have an extra hour in bed and a jumper like this pulled over pjs is what I usually find Tom in when I come down for a cup of tea.

Roobios tea
When I asked Tom about his daily essentials since becoming a dad, this was the only thing he could think of. Rather than having a normal cup of tea before bed, he now has this vanilla caffeine free roobios tea so that he can get as much sleep as possible. (I also liked this when I had morning sickness as an alternative to ginger, by the way.)

So, tell me readers, what have I missed? What are your daily essentials for older babies? And, as toddler-dom gets closer every day, what do I need to get sorted for the next stage?

Love, Esme.

Find Esme on her blog Esme Wins or @Real_Married

Masterstrokes

The perfect make up needs the perfect tools so I thought I would share the make up brushes I use for an every day face or a more glamorous look. It’s worth investing in brushes – if you look after them, they last for years and £14 here and £20 there feels like less of a splurge.

Everyday:

Bobbi Brown Foundation Brush.
I don’t wear foundation daily, applying a tinted moisturizer (if anything) with my fingers. I do however use this brush for applying cream blusher and blending it across my skin. When I want a full coverage for a night out, I use the other side to apply liquid foundation.

Bare Minerals Max Coverage Concealer brush.
Before this brush I always applied concealer with my fingers and found the result less than satisfactory. For an airbrushed look, I now use a skin matched concealer with this brush and very lightly buff it on – almost just tickling the surface with the brush at 90 degrees to the skin, for the most immaculate coverage. It’s also great for applying foundation or concealer to small areas like the under eye area or sides of the nose, where required.

MAC 217 shadow brush
This is meant for filling in the whole lid with a base shade before your other colours or shading. On a daily basis I’m lazy and tend to just use a neutral tone to even out my eye lids, but this brush works just as well with a darker shade, blending the edges out beautifully.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage brush
This was designed to be used with the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer. Applied in the same way I described above, it provides really full coverage without any of the caked on appearance. It also really stays put but that’s likely to be more to do with the product itself.

Ruby and Milly brow and lash tidy
I don’t think this is available anymore but most brands offer a similar brush. I use it mainly to brush through my brows in the morning (with the mascara wand-like end) and make them look a little more presentable, but it’s also useful to separate lashes before or between applications of mascara, for a really defined look.

Bare Minerals Blush Brush (Flawless Application Face brush)
Sold as a foundation brush, I use it for my blusher, or bronzer, finding it really soft and just the right shape.

Special occasions:

MAC 266 Small Angled Brush
I think this brush is my sister’s best friend and she is queen of the eye makeup. Perfect for lining the bottom lash line with a complimentary colour to your eye shadow or even using one of the shading colours to draw along the upper lash line, it allows a really precise finish.

Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush
This one is especially for BB gel liners. If I want a retro thick liquid liner look, I use this to create the perfect flick and line, either building up the thickness or using it front/side on for different widths.

Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner brush
Another special brush, I use this with the tightline cake eyeliner for a subtle but effective lash boost. After wetting the brush, I create a liquid liner by wetting the liner cake and coating the brush then looking up or straight forwards toward the mirror, push the end of the brush into the base of the lashes (from underneath them,) to create a full, thick look to the lashes and a subtle line.

MAC 228 Mini Shader Brush
When I’m creating a party or smokey eye, this is the brush I use to define the eye socket, and particularly to create a feline eye shape. It’s small enough to not take over the eyelid with the product it distributes and soft enough to blend too.

Powder applicator.
Not quite a brush, this is what I use to apply powder and really set my base for a special occasion like a wedding where I need my make up to go the distance. I use a loose powder, applying a light sprinkle to the pad, or dipping it and knocking off the excess. Then you rub the pad together on itself by folding it over in several directions working the powder into the pad. Finally, with fingers through the back of the pad’s loop, press the pad onto the skin, rolling it on and off, first along the t-zone then outwards for the perfect finish.

I hope you found this useful – as I’ve learned how important brushes are, I always wonder what has been used for a particular effect when I see a particularly beautiful makeup look. Have you got any must have brushes you can recommend readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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