The Perfect Capsule wardrobe

2 x basic tailored trousers in black, grey or brown

1 x pencil skirt in black (dress this up or down)

1 x pair of good fitting jeans

1 x jacket (short style)

1 x winter coat in black, camel, navy, charcoal or red

1 x rain mac in standard beige, camel or statement colour

1 x pair of leather gloves

1 x hat in statement colour of the season

1 x scarf in statement colour of the season

1 x pair of boots black

1 x pair of heels in black

1 x pair of flat shoes in black or brown

1 x pattern shirt/top according to latest trend

1 x cardigan long style in statement colour or black

1 x shirt top long sleeve in black

1 x shirt top long sleeve in white

1 x pattern dress in statement seasonal colour

1 x plain shift style dress in black

1 x pair of leggings

2 x jumpers in seasonal colours (polo, scoop, crew, cowl or round neck)

1 x woollen shawl in seasonal colour or black ( a great alternative to a coat and this look can be very stylish and sophisticated)

2 x tops in seasonal styles and colours

1 x basic white tailored blouse

1 x skinny belt in black

1 x wider belt in statement colour

1 x hand bag (larger style for day wear) in black

1 x clutch bag for evening in black, silver, pewter bronze or gold

Optional extras

Neck scarves in a variety of colours (these help you to co-ordinate your outfit and complete your look)

Statement trend jewellery (don’t be scared to be bold)

Opaque tights (come in a variety of colours these days and look fabulous with heels or boots)

General Travel Tips

1. Pack a Ziploc bag for any and all purposes.
2. Bring a nightlight so you don’t stub your toe in dark, unfamiliar hotel rooms.
3. Pack old clothes so you can throw them away on vacation and fill the newly empty space in your suitcase with souvenirs. (although this is not particularly environmentally friendly)
4. Keep a scanned electronic copy of your passport and other important documents on an e-reader, laptop, or smartphone. (I use Dropbox and find this to be a very good tool for this).
5. Print and bring along a chart to remind you of foreign exchange rate.
6. Split your family’s clothing evenly between multiple suitcases—if one bag gets lost, someone isn’t left completely without clothes.
7. Bring an empty water bottle through airport security and refill at a water fountain.
8. A steamy shower works just as well as ironing.
9. Don’t forget to bring along a roll of quarters for tolls and parking meters (if going to the US and driving).
10. Always take a picture of your rental car before you leave the car park to record any pre-existing damage (If you are hiring a car).

Traveling with your baby – Part 2

Changing

If your bag doesn’t have a compact changing mat, buy a travel version or disposable ones. . If you’re going to Europe, nappy sizes are the same as in the UK, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding suitable ones.

Bathtime

There’s no need to take all your equipment away with you – a favourite toy and a fold-away or inflatable baby bath will do the job. It’s wise to pack baby-friendly toiletries as you may not be able to find the ones you normally use. If a bath is part of your bedtime routine, try to stick to it – but don’t worry if things change while you’re away, just enjoy it. Your little one will soon slot back into her normal routine once you’re home.

Bedtime

A travel cost is a must for overnight stays. All models fold down for storage and come with a carry case and handle. Many hotels and holiday cottages provide cots, so check before you go. Baby sleeping bags save on bedding and are ideal for travel. They’re available in a range of weights, so buy a light one if your going somewhere warm. And think about packing a portable safety gate if you’re staying in a holiday house or cottage.

Useful tips for trouble-free travel

  • Pack twice the amount of clothes you think your baby will need – to cope with any leaks or travel sickness.
  • If you’re going on a long motorway journey, try to plan to travel at your baby’s nap time and allow for feeding stops.
  • Allow longer for your journey and build unscheduled stops into your itinerary. Make sure you’ve got time to cope with any additional feeds and nappy changes.
  • If your baby has a comforter or uses a soother, take it with you and pack a spare one in case you lose it en route!
  • You don’t need to take all the toys you use to entertain your baby at home. When you’re on holiday, she’ll be stimulated by the change of scene, pace and family all being together.

Traveling with your baby – Part 1

Travel Medicine Cabinet

When you travel with your little one it’s best to travel with a few medical essentials, especially if you’re heading overseas. Don’t leave home without:
  • Your baby’s red book – essential if you have to call a doctor or take your baby to hospital
  • Liquid paracetamol such as calpol. Calpol do sachets which you can buy from Boots.
  • Teething gel, such as calgel
  • Thermometer
  • antiseptic wipes – ideal for cuts and for quickly sanitising a changing mat
  • Antiseptic barrier cream such as sudocrem – soothes everything from nappy rash, insect bites to eczema and heat rash. Bounty’s free family packs have trial pots which are perfect for traveling with

Bottlefeeding

If you’re going abroad, take enough formula for the duration of your trip (you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to buy the one you use). For the journey, take ready-mixed cartons of formula. If you’re flying, check the restrictions on carrying baby forumla/liquids in the Air Travel Section of www.direct.gov.uk. If you don’t have a travel steriliser, you can get microwave of cold water ones.

  • Mothercare microwave and cold water steriliser – £4.99
  • Mothercare travel bottle and food warmer – £9.99
  • Tommee Tippee single bottle microwave and cold water steriliser £9.99

Travel

From around three to six months your baby can recline in a lightweight stroller that folds down more compactly than a traditional pushchair.  A large basket is handy for travel, too. For short hops and city breaks, you may find a baby carrier or sling useful, leaving your hands-free.

You’ll need for traveling – Babies 0-6 months

  • A travel cot
  • Sleeping bag or sheets and blankets
  • baby monitor may be useful
  • pushchair, parasol and raincover
  • baby carrier/sling
  • sun blinds
  • travel changing mat – pampers do disposable changing mat’s – not very ethically minded but very helpful!
  • plenty of clothes
  • travel toys
  • enough nappies and wipes for a few days
  • breast pump, if expressing
  • travel steriliser, bottles, formula and insulated bottle bag (if bottlefeeding)
  • medical essentials (see above)
  • travel wash
 

Group offers aid for vulnerable mums in Basingstoke

VULNERABLE mums in Basingstoke are being offered support through a group set up especially for them by charity Home-Start.

Women with a variety of problems, including post-natal depression, stress, illness and isolation, are taking advantage of the group, who meet every Wednesday between 10am and midday at All Saints Church Hall.

Organiser Sue Bailey, family group lead worker at Home-Start North West Hampshire, said:

“We help mums of all ages with a variety of issues. The groups offer people somewhere to socialise and often gives mums the push to get out there and meet new people.

We currently have eight |regular members who we support, and everyone is welcome. Most of the people we support come through referrals from health workers and GPs, but people can also self-refer.

All of our volunteers at the group are mums themselves and understand many of the difficulties people can face.

The group was started at Easter and meets every Wednesday in term times. Mums of any age can join.

Home-Start is a national charity that works with families, offering support, advice and also offering practical help with looking after children.

For more information about the group or about all the |services Home-Start offer, call 01256 812333, or visit www.home-start.org.uk.

Taken from Basingstoke Gazette Tuesday 5th July 2011

What is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby Led Weaning (BLW) means letting your baby feed themselves (also known as self-feed) from the start by offering foods that your baby can manage – mainly finger foods. There’s no need for baby food, purees or baby rice. If you want to try:

  • Start of with pieces of everyday food that fit their hand – a largish chip-size piece is a good shape to grip
  • For first foods, steam carrots or sweet potato, cut up broccoli or cauliflower, make toast fingers or cut bits of banana
  • With BLW forget about the idea of three meals – it’s not about amount, it’s about taste
  • If your baby gags, don’t panic, it’s simply a baby’s natural reflex to stop them from choking on food they can’t swallow

 

Before you Go Abroad…

  • Organise your baby’s passport here in plenty of time
  • Apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) here for each member of your family
  • Take out adequate travel and health insurance – family and annual policies are often the best value
  • Find out about required travel vaccinations here.
  • Ask your airline about fluids allowed in cabin baggage
  • Find out whether your baby is required to stay in a bassinet during take-off and landing and whether airline staff will warm up baby food
  • Stock up with sun protection including sun hats and shades

Taken from NCT Matters Summer 2011

Returning to Work – Maternity Allowance

If you are returning to work within 9 months of your maternity leave start date, you are entitled to include the 10 days “Keeping in Touch” days before your maternity allowance stops (this assumes that you haven’t worked any “keeping in touch days” during your maternity leave).

For example, if you are returning to work full time on the 1st of August your maternity allowance will only stop once you have worked those 10 days, so your maternity allowance will stop on the 15th of August (the day after 10 days have been worked). Please note that any Bank Holiday’s or annual leave are NOT counted as a work day.

If you want to check that this applies to you if you claim Maternity Allowance, please ring 0800 055 6688 and have your National Insurance number with you.

I would imagine that this would also apply for Statutory Maternity Allowance but I don’t have the details for this. If anyone does, please can you share by adding them into a comment below.

https://www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance/how-to-claim

£6m Sure Start cuts to go ahead (in Hampshire)

A LAST-DITCH bid to force a rethink of £6million cuts to Sure Start children’s centres in Hampshire failed as the ruling Conservatives rallied to back the county council’s controversial plans.

Liberal Democrat opposition councillors called in the plans to merge a third of 81 centres and put them all out to tender in clusters for third parties to run.

The move followed a petition signed by more than 20,000 people protesting against the cost-cutting plans.

The centres provide services for young families such as health checks, play groups and family support workers.

Speaking at a scrutiny committee last Tuesday, New Forest Liberal Democrat councillor Brian Dash slammed the council for “dismantling a highly valued service.”

He said: “The council has a huge budget and we can, if we want to, find the money.

“We want the best for Hampshire’s children, not least because the early years are the most important of a child’s life.”

But Hampshire’s director of children’s services John Coughlan defended the radical overhaul, saying: “I am convinced this model works.”

He described the slimmed-down management structure as “sustainable.”

The council, which is having to tackle a £55million funding gap, aims to save £3m in head office costs and £3m from children’s centre budgets.

Mr Coughlan said: “The local authority remains responsible for the quality of provision of children’s centres. We will be accountable for what they do.”

Cllr Jackie Porter, opposition spokesman for children’s services, made a plea for schools and local charities to be able to continue to run children’s centres.

She said: “Some centres are doing an excellent job with good staff. We don’t want to lose that continuity.”

County chiefs said sub-contracting would be possible and schools would be encouraged to join together to bid to manage clusters of children’s centres.

The scrutiny committee did not have the power to overturn the plans but could have recommended changes.

Tory councillor David Drew said it was important to remember the council was still planning to spend £11m on children’s centres and there were no plans to close any of them.

Conservative councillors, who outnumber Liberal Democrats on the committee, supported the plans approved by Cllr Roy Perry, executive member for children’s services, in May. The proposal for a review was defeated by nine votes to seven.

After the meeting, Save Our Children’s Centre Hampshire campaigners said they were dismayed a last chance to make changes had been missed.

Co-founder and mum-of-two Catherine Ovenden said: “Once again, councillors seem to have voted along party lines. The plans will now go ahead and all we can do is keep a very close eye on exactly what happens on the ground.

“However, I really hope they realise the impact that their decision today could have on young lives across Hampshire. I fear that they are making a huge mistake.”

Taken from Basingstoke Gazette Tues 21st June 2011