Danielle Wilkins


    Sunday 11 March is a time to celebrate motherhood and spoil all the important women in your life. Bookmark this page and make this the best Mother’s Day yet, with a gift experience you (or she) will treasure forever (and thank us later)


    Flowers from FlowerBe
    A classic bouquet will always go down a treat, but for keen gardeners or budding flower enthusiasts, a delivery from FlowerBe offers something a bit different. The company sends a curated selection of stems along with a step-by-step guide for the recipient to arrange them herself, with additional design inspiration and tips tailored to suit your home. The brand offers a fully flexible service, so you can choose from a regular FlowerBe subscription or buy her a one-off arrangement especially for Mother’s Day.
    Prices from £22, flowerbe.co.uk 


    A makeover with Beautii
    Whether you consider yourself a make-up maestro or you barely get time in the mornings to apply a slick of mascara, nothing feels more indulgent than having your face ‘done’ by a professional. Cue Beautii – the capital’s luxury beauty concierge that brings treatments to your door. With a catalogue of hair and beauty treatments to choose from, not to mention some of the industry’s most reputable and professional artists all willing to offer their tips, advice and samples, mum will be ready for her Mother’s Day close-up in no time. Ahead of a big awards do, I called upon the services of Beautii’s Georgina Murtagh, who left my skin brilliantly flawless and glowing (no mean feat after a long day in the office, trust me). The team will personalise the service to incorporate any look you want, but I went big on eyes for a dramatic evening effect, including false eyelashes which come as part of the package. Naturally, when I usually apply them, five minutes later they’re flapping around my eyelids, but that isn’t a problem with Georgie’s expert hand. In fact, I forgot I was wearing any until I looked in the mirror (always a pleasant surprise), and my make-up lasted all night long.
    Prices from £65, beautii.co 


    Afternoon tea at The Dorchester 
    If she’s the traditional type, afternoon tea is a classic choice – and it doesn’t get more classic than one of London’s finest hotels, The Dorchester. Enjoy a selection of homemade finger sandwiches (we’re looking at you, smoked salmon with sweet mustard and dill) in the quintessential surroundings, along with the works – warm raisin and plain scones served with homemade strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream, a selection of French pastries and speciality teas. For the ultimate indulgence, add a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne.
    From £58 per person, dorchestercollection.com 


    A massage from Missbeez
    OK, so you may not be able to buy her the gift of time, but what you can treat her to is the next best thing – convenience. A spur-of-the-moment spa day or payday pedi may have become a thing of the past, but that’s where the at-home service from mobile beauty therapists Missbeez comes in. Created to help you order some of London’s top professional beauty services to your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all it takes is a few quick taps of the app. Choose from a whole menu of massage options for mum – deep-tissue, aromatherapy, calming or the ‘Missbeez Classic’. And if you’re expecting, you can even request a pregnancy massage. Bliss.
    Prices from £65, missbeez.com 


    Lunch at The Arch London 
    This stylish hotel in the capital has launched its dedicated three-course menu for London families. We’re talking tasty starters like seafood cocktail with tiger prawns and Dorset crab with avocado, and pressed ham hock terrine with sticky apple compote; main courses such as Norfolk roast black chicken or poached salmon, and white chocolate and passionfruit creme brûlée or bread and butter pudding with marmalade ice cream for dessert. There’s even a special menu for little ones too, all served in the classic, open-plan surroundings of the Hunter 486 restaurant.
    £35 per person, 12pm to 10pm, thearchlondon.com

    Words: Danielle Wilkins


      To mark the film’s release in UK cinemas last week, kids’  casting agency Looks Like Me has recreated the movie posters with children, and the results are totally inspiring 

      Looks Like Me launched its passion project Hero In Us All with portraits of young children paying homage to the characters in Marvel’s new superhero film, Black Panther. Selma Nicholls, the agency’s founder, launched the aspirational project after being inspired by the film and the heritage and ancestral legacy of African people. The mini models not only pay tribute to the actors – including Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Chadwick Boseman – but it also raises the profile of underrepresented groups, showing kids of colour that they, too, can be superheroes.



      “Someone had to do this project – present the connection between our children and these phenomenal characters – and I am proud to use my creativity, passion determination, platform and personal funds to represent the future generation of culture, pride and the hero in us all,” says Selma. “Let’s continue to be the change we want to see.”


      The models who took part in 'Hero In Us All'
      The models who took part in ‘Hero In Us All’

      Selma worked with a number of talented people, including London-based photographer Asiko; Basma Khalifa, a fashion stylist and brand consultant; and NyGlorious Face Arts, a face and body painting company based in the capital. The images have been praised on social media, and the photographs were exhibited at the British Film Institute and the Black Cultural Archive this month.

      Find out more about the project and see more of the images here


        The latest kids’  fashion campaign from the high street giant has been praised for including child models with disabilities

        In a bid to reveal a more inclusive side to fashion as it marks its 30th anniversary this year, River Island‘s positive new campaign, #LABELSAREFORCLOTHES includes six children from the UK, aged between three and 10, who have been diagnosed with a range of conditions, including Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and hearing and eyesight issues.


        The youngsters include Teddy Berriman, five, who has cerebral palsy, six-year-old Cora Bishop, who has Down’s syndrome, and Miley Major, four, who was born with two lazy eyes, alongside a whole host of other child models aged between two and 11 years.



        “The models were selected for the campaign to reflect the diversity of our customers and to celebrate an ethos that rings true in society as it does in our wardrobes – that being different is more than OK,” said a spokesperson for River Island. “We launched the kids’ campaign on 12 February with a carefully curated cast of kids who all share their desire to have fun, which you can see through their unique personalities.”

        Here’s to more great strides in the fashion industry…


          Behind the profile of LA-based model and mother Amanda Booth and her three-year-old son, Micah

          After sharing that, at four months, their son had been diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, the new normal for model Amanda and her husband, Mike, became about spreading awareness and acceptance of the condition. With his beautiful mass of blond hair and warm smile, Micah has since accumulated more than 59,000 followers in his three years.

          Why do you think Life With Micah has gained such a following?
          It wasn’t until Micah was a few months old that he was officially diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. It was at that point, Mike and I decided to utilise the social media account we had built for Micah to be public about the condition. We really strive to keep it authentic – to show the world just how incredible his little life is, just like other parents do. I think people gravitate toward that, and are excited to be a part of our mission to include people of all abilities in the media, and in all aspects of our world. It also helps that he has the most beautiful luscious locks and pouty lips…


          Have you found the Instagram community to be generally quite supportive?
          Instagram has been very uplifting and a major source of strength for us.  Our personal circle in the Down’s syndrome world is still growing, so the new relationships we are making with other families are so powerful. We have been able to ask questions about Micah’s future, and have been able to provide answers for other families. The stories we hear and connections we make are invaluable. I’m very thankful.


          Who inspires you?
          Michelle Sie Whitten who created the Global Down Syndrome Foundation with her parents, John and Ana. The medical research they are doing is absolutely groundbreaking. I’m also inspired by all of the Down’s syndrome parents who came before us, who stuck up for their children when it was far more difficult to do so. And I’m inspired by any woman mothering more than one child. I literally don’t know how they do it!


          What motherhood essentials have proven invaluable so far?
          Friendships! I’ve gotten much closer with the friends in my life that are attending to the same things I am. Having strong women around has proven invaluable. Also, my True Botanicals face oils and my Clé De Peau under-eye concealer, which make me appear far less tired than I am. Plus, a beautiful cup of coffee and an ice cold glass of wine… Too obvious?


          Where do you like to shop?
          I love Zara for us both! We’ve had the opportunity to meet so many cool kids’ brands through social media too. We have found great pieces at @hipkinkids, @childrenofthetribe, and a local brand called @blackiBoys.

          Do you ever come to London much?
          I have spent quite a bit of time in London – it’s one of my favourite cities! I usually stay in Stoke Newington with my friend – I really enjoy the vibe on the East Side.


            The luxury Spanish brand brings its designs to the capital’s Ledbury Road for 2018

            Nestled in the hub of West London, La Coqueta’s second store is the sister of its flagship store in Hampstead Village and will boast high quality pieces for boys and girls aged up to 10 years. The brand is a reported favourite of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with both Prince George and Princess Charlotte being previously spotted wearing the label’s garments over the last few years.


            Founded in 2013 by mother of five Celia Munoz, the brand channels a Spanish vintage aesthetic and craftsmanship into modern, wearable designs for little ones. For more details, visit lacoquetakids.com or pop into the store at 61 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AA.


              A luxurious city break for families with mini travellers in tow is now easier than ever, thanks to The Wellesley’s new Little Explorers package. Danielle Wilkins checks in

              With a prestigious London location, brilliant views of Hyde Park and a restaurant that offers up some of the best Italian fare in the capital, I already knew we were in for a treat when we visited The Wellesley. But what I hadn’t realised before was just how much the five-star Knightsbridge hotel welcomed families – with plush two-bedroom suites and a new package to make even the youngest of guests feel at home.


              And ‘at home’ is the only way to describe the feeling, as you sink into the sofa in the spacious lounge area of your park-view suite. The finishing touches – like the generous fruit platter, stocked mini bar and piles of magazines – and the cosy, art deco interior are enough to leave you ready to hole up inside for the weekend and leave the hustle and bustle of the city firmly on the pavement outside.


              There are 36 rooms in total. The vibe is elegant and opulent, with 1920s-inspired artwork on the walls and an ample, Italian marble bathroom complete with Hermès toiletries, but it’s also a space that you and the kids can relax in, particularly when they discover the child-sized plush robes and slippers that have been thoughtfully left on the bed for them, alongside a selection of Burt’s Bees kids’  bathroom goodies. Your very own twinkly-eyed butler is there to cater for your family’s needs 24/7, and there are complimentary movies on demand. There’s no doubt, The Wellesley has all the luxury of a grand art deco hotel, but the comfort and cosiness of a family guest house. It exudes class and charm, without a single ounce of pretension.

              Enjoy dessert or a nightcap in the adjoining Jazz Lounge

              With Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Gardens and the sights and sounds of Knightsbridge all within easy reach, The Wellesley is perfectly placed for exploring London with the children on foot, or by using the hotel’s complimentary Rolls-Royce drop-off service. But if you’re checking in for date night, you can’t go wrong with dinner and a glass of something chilled and fizzy at the hotel’s intimate Oval Restaurant, before ending with a nightcap in the Jazz Lounge or Cigar Terrace. Follow that with a full English and continental buffet with the kids back in the restaurant the following morning, and you’ll be ready to take on the capital all over again.

              The Little Explorers package is priced £1,395 per night for two adults and two children. Visit thewellesley.co.uk

                The turkey’s ordered, the tree is up, the Christmas shopping is almost done… It’s time to cut yourself some slack already. Georgie Blaskey shares her top tips for time-poor parents during the festive season

                Laundry panic button
                Between dropping off the kids at school, working your high-pressure job, buying last-minute presents and stocking the house for Christmas, the last thing you want to do after a busy day is tackle that pile of laundry! ihateironing, the UK’s first on-demand dry cleaning and laundry service, has the perfect solution. The company is launching a ‘laundry on demand’ button, which when pressed, signals a driver to pick up the whole family’s laundry and return it cleaned and beautifully pressed in 24 hours. Place your order by the evening of 22 December for freshly cleaned clothes back the next day, ready to pack or fold away.

                Eyelash enhancement
                No one wants to greet their house guests looking washed out with puffy eyes, and while lash extensions can be amazing, they can also look a bit OTT over a dawn o’clock cup of char with your father-in-law. Thankfully, the Mylash lift treatment creates the illusion of longer, thicker lashes without the need for extensions. The effect lasts for six weeks, so well in to New Year you’ll look awake and bright-eyed even when you don’t feel it. Call Queens Beauty (SW11) on 07506 876745 for the perfect flutter.

                Oven fresh
                When it comes to feeding — a crowd, some friends, even just yourself — nearly homemade is more than good enough. By all means make like Nigella and whip up a feast on Christmas Day, but for the days in between, stock up the freezer, put the oven on, sit back and watch the Michael McIntyre Christmas special instead. cookfood.net

                Peace be with you
                If your Christmas break involves a certain amount of time with family, it can be intense. Be honest with yourself and upfront about who pushes your buttons about what and how you are going to cope. If there are hot spots, discuss them with your partner first so you can stick together and support one another. Areas it’s wise to avoid (especially if alcohol is freely flowing) are politics, child-rearing, and money. May the force be with you!

                Wrappers delight
                Amazon has long been a household favourite, then we discovered Amazon Prime and our shopping deadline dreams came true. Now there’s yet another string to the online department store’s bow. Wrapping. As in, they wrap for you! Normally in a pale gold, unisex, tasteful paper with a gorgeous bright red bow. Who knew a brown cardboard box could hold the key to our hearts?

                Christmas cards you don’t need to write
                It starts around card 10 with a small finger pain from gripping the pen too tightly, but by number 25, arm ache has set in good and strong. Visit Moo for an amazing selection of groovy graphic designs and have your inside message printed. Now all you need to do is write the envelopes. If you have older children, what about paying them 5p per envelope written? So you can put your feet up and open that bottle of nicely chilled prosecco?

                Get your glow back
                Within days of school breaking up, your skin starts creasing as it slowly dehydrates from central heating, unusually high alcohol consumption, too many salty canapés, lack of sleep and harsh cold weather. Invest in a facial oil to see you through. We love Rosalena face oils because they’re packed with powerful antioxidants to revitalise and brighten your skin at a great price. “Best of all, you can layer them with your existing skincare routine or even dab a bit on your cheeks — over your foundation — for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up,” says founder Helena Chapman.

                Podcast blast
                Let’s be honest, all the extra household chores are just so boring. But why not use the extra time to listen to some brilliant podcasts to pass the time? Plug in your ear phones and the bed-stripping and mince-pie making will fly past. For a blast of brain food we love Freakonomics, for fashion fun, The PanDolly Podcast, for inspiration, Ted talks, and for comedy Go Super Ego.

                Good hair day, every day
                Knock them out with a great hair day every day over the festive break and invest in a clip-on hair piece. Put your preconceptions on hold — fake hair has come a long way. An instant, sleek ponytail made from true-to-life, realistic faux hair fibre measuring 20 inches in length, the piece from Hair Rehab London is an easy-to-use design applied within minutes using a simple wrap-around motion of the attached strip of hair to the ponytail hairpiece.


                  We know little ones can get very excited in the run up to Christmas – here’s how to make sure they actually sleep the night before the big day

                  From leaving midnight snacks out for Santa and his reindeer to late-night carol singing, there are lots of reasons why bedtime routines might fall into disarray on Christmas Eve. Getting children to go to bed (and stay there) can be challenging at the best of times, without all the excitement of the following day. With that in mind, sleep expert and co-founder of Sleepio, professor Colin Espie from the University of Oxford, shares his tips for getting the little ones off to sleep before Santa arrives.

                  1. Be active during the day
                  There is plenty of evidence to suggest that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night, and for children that is no exception. “One Australian study found that every hour a child spends inactive adds three minutes to the time taken to nod off,” says Espie. “Take a break from Christmas movies and head to the park to help expend excess energy in good time before bed.”

                  2. Stick to bedtime routines and rituals 
                  A consistent bedtime routine before lights out will signal that it’s time to go to sleep: “If you’re staying away from home, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual,” says Espie. “Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug) will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are. Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them relax and feel secure away from home.”

                  3. Act before they get overtired
                  Young children are often reluctant to admit they are tired – even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. “Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to be overtired, which is often the driver for ‘hyper’ behaviour,” says Espie. “Try to start the bedtime routine at a consistent time. If they really don’t feel tired, they can play quietly in their bed with the lights low. If you notice your child is often overtired at night, experiment by shifting the whole bedtime routine forward by 15-30 minutes.”

                  4. Give plenty of notice
                  Let them know in advance when bedtime is coming up – then stick to what you’ve said, for example, ‘In 10 minutes the cartoon will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for two books.’ A timer which rings when playtime runs out could be a useful signal that it’s time for bed, too.
                  “If your child refuses to stay in bed, try to avoid giving extra attention for bad behaviour,” says Espie. “Be as neutral and uninterested as you can as you return your child to bed, even if you have to do this a few times. Consistency is key – even at Christmas – to help the whole family sleep well.”

                  5. And if all else fails…blame Santa
                  “With a house full of guests, your little one may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going to bed. If you still find you have a stubborn and weary young one – hanging onto the bannisters in protest – the suggestion that Father Christmas only leaves presents for children who are asleep might just be enough of an incentive to encourage lights-out. At least that’s what the elves told me…”

                    Festive fashion for your dancefloor divas


                    (From left) Ella wears top, £9.99, Zara. Skirt, £63, Stella McCartney Kids at Childrensalon. Kayla-Mae wears pinafore dress, £40, Peacheyboo. Hooded top, £30, Kingdom of Origin.


                    Roman wears shirt, £76, and sweater vest, £65, both Paul Smith Junior at Childrensalon. Jeans, £65, Vingino. Trainers, £43, Converse. Kayla-Mae wears sweater, £69, Abercrombie & Fitch. Skirt, £59, Stella McCartney Kids at Childrensalon. Socks, £3.99, Next. Trainers, £30, Chika 10.


                    Ella wears sweater, £54, Noé & Zoë. Pinafore dress, £65, Kingdom of Origin. Tights, £5.99, Next. Boots, £51.99, Little Diva.


                    Kayla-Mae wears coat, £39.99, Zara. T-shirt, £35.80, Someday Soon. Leggings, £36, Noé & Zoë. Shoes, £45, Enrico Coveri. Roman wears blazer, £25, H&M. T-shirt, £89, Moschino at Childrensalon. Jeans, £75, John Galliano at Childrensalon.


                    Kayla-Mae wears top, £91, Givenchy at Childrensalon. Skirt, £45, Agatha Ruiz De La Prada at Childrensalon.


                    Clothes all as before.

                    Photography: Amber Eggleden
                    Styling: Alicia Aparicio
                    Hair and make-up: Kylie McClelland using Aveda and Jurlique
                    Models: Ella at Kids London; Kayla-Mae and Roman at Grace and Galor


                      We round up some of our favourite places to unwind with the kids this festive season

                      Photography: Instagram/@peggyporschenofficial
                      Photography: Instagram/@peggyporschenofficial

                      Best for: Meeting Father Christmas 
                      Belgravia – and in particular Elizabeth Street – is always beautifully lit up around the festive period, and this year it is launching its very first Father Christmas in Residence, in partnership with award-winning cake designer Peggy Porschen. Father Christmas’s newest residence promises to be an authentic adaptation of his North Pole abode, with a gloriously nostalgic living room complete with roaring log fire, lavish sofas and an opulent Victorian Christmas tree. Families can kick back as Father Christmas reads one of his favourite Christmas tales, and enjoy festive treats from Peggy Porschen, plus a surprise to take home. And don’t forget to have your photo with the big man himself! There will also be plenty of free goings-on happening on Elizabeth Street from Sunday 3 December, including craft stalls, children’s entertainment, choirs, brass bands and seasonal food and drink.
                      Father Christmas in Residence from Saturday 9 to Wednesday 20 December; £5 per child and accompanying adult. All proceeds will be donated to the national children’s literacy charity Beanstalk. Visit 141 Ebury Street, London SW1W 9QW


                      Best for: Crafts and carols 
                      Christmas by the River in London Bridge City will not only showcase a brilliant festive market this month, but there’s a schedule of themed workshops happening, too. Jumpers For Joy will be hosted by Brixton fashion boutique Make Do and Mend, giving you the chance to jazz up your sweater with a range of materials and a sleigh full of tools. Families can also join the pro musical improv team from The Nursery Theatre to write their very own Christmas carol. Talk about finishing your day on a high note…
                      Jumpers For Joy, Friday 15 December at 1pm. Christmas Carol Writing, Wednesday 20 December, 1pm. Both workshops are free, simply sign up online. Visit The Pier event space, London Bridge City SE1 2DB


                      Best for: Rooftop views
                      Enjoy a family weekend skate while taking in the sights at Skylight at Tobacco Dock. As well as the brilliant ice rink, there’s ice hockey, delicious cheese and chocolate fondue, seasonal cocktails, areas to cosy up in for lunch, and a whole lot more.
                      Open for families 12pm to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. Skating from £10 each. Visit Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street Entrance, Wapping, London E1W 2SF


                      Best for: Those with a sweet tooth  
                      London’s iconic hotels are a dream to visit at Christmas time, and The Savoy is no exception as it’s transformed into a festive wonderland for December. Begin your visit by spotting its extravagant Christmas tree decorated by British perfume house Penhaligon’s, and the standout gingerbread hut created by pastry chef Ludwig Hely. Then take a trip to the hotel’s in-house gourmet coffee counter Melba for a mouthwatering selection of decadent hot chocolates and sumptuous toppings, including crushed macaron, cookie dough and crunchy chocolate pearls. Drinks can be finished off with a drizzle of chocolate or salted caramel sauce. And if you can manage one of its éclairs (ahem…we’re sure you can), check out the new sherry trifle and dark chocolate, and mulled wine flavours.
                      Melba is open daily until 7pm, excluding Sundays. Visit The Savoy, Strand, London WC2R 0EU


                      Best for: A eclectic grotto 
                      For a ‘parallel’ world where Christmas has been cancelled and St Nicky is leading the revolution, head over to the Imaginarium – a pop-up arts space in an old Victorian warehouse on Southwark Street. Embrace the anarchy with creative collage fun at the topsy-turvy world of St Nicky’s Drawing Centre, have a go at beeswax candle making and shop the festive market for quirky gifts, such as neon signs, hand-drawn illustrations and ceramics. There will also be immersive theatre, live jazz and blues music for adults.
                      St Nicky’s Drawing Centre workshop, Saturday 9 December, 1pm to 3pm. Candle-making workshop, Saturday 2 and Sunday 10 December, 12pm to 1pm. Visit 32 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TU

                      Photography: Alexander Mourant

                      Best for: Date night
                      Back to Christmas by the River in the capital’s London Bridge City now, and Eis Haus brings its ski-inspired ice bar to the banks of the Thames for five weeks. The urban alpine resort will showcase everything from whimsically lit-up ice carvings to live DJs, gondolas and a full programme of events, all wrapped around a sub-zero bar. Recline on the ice throne while you sip drinks from frozen glasses, warm up outdoors with a hot toddy, and take in the festive sights, sounds and smells of the free Christmas market around you. A super-cool nightspot that adventure-seeking couples will love.
                      Open daily, 12pm to 10pm. Experience tickets from £15 each; the Apres Ski Bar and entertainment are free. Visit London Bridge City, 2A More London Riverside, London SE1 2DB

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