All Posts By

Charlotte Duckworth

INTERIORS

Introducing: go to your room!

Squeak! This is quite scary. Today, I officially launched my brand spanking new blog: go to your room! No, not a handy advice site on how to discipline your kids (although if someone else fancies setting that up, you’ve got a keen reader here already). But a blog all about two of my biggest passions: interiors and kids!

(So, yes, just to clear up any confusion: it’s a blog all about kids’ interiors.)

Some of you may not know that I’ve spent most of my working life writing about interiors for magazines and websites. I’ve always loved poking about in people’s homes, seeing how they choose to furnish and decorate them. This blog used to have a few interiors-y bits on it, but to be honest, it was never a dedicated interiors blog, because I wanted to write about my life more than I wanted to write about design (because I was doing that every day as my day job anyway). But when I had Daphne, I really struggled to find much out there on children’s interiors. I certainly couldn’t find any blogs that ‘spoke’ to me (ugh, kill me now) full of fun, functional design-led products that both Daphne and I could enjoy.

So yes. Go to your room is my new venture. The name is tongue in cheek, obviously, but will hopefully stick in your mind! Please head on over there now and have a look – tell me what you think! There’s even a very cool shopping section, where you can buy some of my favourite pieces directly without having to leave the blog. I want to focus on highlighting independent brands as much as possible – especially those set up by parents, so if that’s you, please do give me a shout and share your story.

And of course, if there’s anything you’re searching for in particular, but you just can’t find, then do ping me a tweet or leave me a comment, and I’ll do my utmost to hunt down some suggestions for you.

Of course, you can also follow the blog on Instagram (I have like literally no followers on there at the moment, so please do come and join me!), Pinterest and Facebook.

Eeek! Hope you like!

BABY ON BOARD

Review: Tiddler Toddler Tracker

One of the best pieces of advice I (stupidly) ignored as a new mum was to keep track of your little one’s sleeping and feeding times, to help you establish a routine that didn’t result in them becoming overtired/hungry at night. I did it a bit, to begin with when Daph was tiny and seemingly drinking eighteen bottles of milk a day, but then as she got older I didn’t keep up with it. I had an app, which I never really got the hang of using (the breastfeeding ones in particular, with their built in timers, were just way too much faff for me!), and a paper chart the midwife gave me, but that soon got covered in milk/vomit.

So when I heard about the Tiddler Tracker (I saw a post about it from someone I follow on Facebook) I was pretty impressed, and really wished I’d had one in those early days, as it would have been much easier to keep on top of everything with a proper physical book. The Tiddler Tracker is a Moleskine-esq book filled with useful charts and pages for you to fill in, to track all aspects of your baby’s day. And it’s not just for babies, as there’s also the Tiddler Toddler Tracker for older kids, such as Daph, designed to be more relevant for them.

As a stationery fan, I just loved the idea straight away. I was also amazed that no one had thought of it before. I pinged off a tweet about them, and the company kindly got in touch and offered me a Toddler Tracker for review. Its arrival was very timely as we have recently been trying to keep a log of Daphne’s nap times to get on top of this early waking issue – it’s been SO helpful as we’ve realised that she actually needs to go to bed earlier than we thought if we want her to sleep in a bit later. It’s all to do with how long she’s awake for between waking up from her nap and going to bed for the night – any more than six hours, and she’s overtired and will wake in the night (and then, inevitably, wake for the day super early and grumpy).

There are several designs available to choose from, so you can find one that works for you, and the books are handily sized, so they’re not so small you’re squinting to read the pages, but they’d fit in your changing bag easily so you can take them out and about with you. Best of all the folk behind the company are parents and have really thought about the product, designing it based on personal experience of what works and what you need to keep a record of (they had a son with reflux, so understood the importance of tracking things carefully).

We’ve been using the Toddler Tracker for a week now, and we love it. Daphne’s also keen and enjoys watching us write things down in ‘her book’. I actually think the Tiddler Tracker would be a perfect present for new parents – something most people might not think of, but that would undoubtedly become an essential bit of kit for anyone coping with those crazy first months.

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

18 month baby update

Eeek! It’s my last baby update for a while! I think I’ll do another one when Daphne turns two – it’ll be amazing to look back and compare how much she changes in six months, rather than one. But first up, my little madam is finally a year and a half old, and I know I keep saying this, but this really is the BEST age so far. She’s so bloody cute at the moment. She definitely went through a weird mental leap thing (her last ever Wonder Week – wow!) and changed a lot afterwards. The main thing I noticed is that she now doesn’t do things just because you ask her to. Ha! Before, if I said ‘Daph, go and get your shoes’ or something similar, she’d trot off like an obedient dog and bring them back to me. But now, she looks at me, thinks about my request and (usually) decides that she’d rather do something else instead. It’s actually amazing, and it fits right in with what they’re supposed to have learnt in the last leap – that they have free will, basically, and don’t have to do what they’re told. Of course, this means a LOT more frustration on both our parts, but it’s also amazing to think of her as this sentient little being with her own thoughts about things.

Another change – and the loveliest by far – is that she’s suddenly got super cuddly. She’s always giving me cuddles now – coming up to me and when I pick her up she throws her arms around me and buries her head against my shoulder and it’s soooo sweet, because she was never a cuddly baby at all. She’s also finally started sitting still a bit with me to watch television (yes I know this is terrible, but she’s always on the go and sometimes I wish she’d just have some quiet time and chill out because she wears herself out). The only thing she’ll watch at the moment is Little Baby Bum, the most random nursery rhyme cartoon thing on Netflix, but even so, it’s been lovely to have her snuggle up against me and watch it – we even ate some popcorn in front of the telly together yesterday and finally, I was living the parenthood dream. Ha.

Other developments – she is finally walking, but only with her push along walker dog. I know this isn’t a big deal for people with babies who’ve been walking from 10 months, but for us, this has been a bit mindblowing, and she looks so pleased with herself as she trots along behind him. She’s also taken a few steps towards me if there’s a gap between me and whatever she’s standing against – it’s almost as though she CAN walk, but she’s just too scared to do it, in case she falls over. Because she does it without thinking sometimes (admittedly only a few steps, like I say) which proves she IS capable. She just overthinks things. She’s got until the end of the month if she wants to beat me as I walked at 18 months, and I’m not sure if she’ll get there, but we’ll see… She’s standing really well now, too, finally!

Sleep has been another big big change this month. We’ve finally transitioned to one nap. Which has been SO brilliant, as usually it’s at least an hour, so we get a decent ish amount of time to get stuff done during the day finally. I know some babies sleep for two or even three hours a day, but that’s just not going to be Daph, I don’t think. She much prefers a shorter nap and an early bedtime, and is still going to bed around 6.30pm (but it has been 5.30 when her nap has been too short). Wake up times have been all over the shop, but that’s because she’s been ill the last week or two, so she seems to be waking in the night with a sore throat about 3am, and then going back to sleep quickly (a miracle in itself) until past six. This morning was 6.40am, which is the latest we’ve had in absolutely ages, but then I was awake at 1.30am myself coughing, as well as going in to her at 3 with milk, so we didn’t really feel much benefit! Typical! I’m hoping once the sickness subsides, we’ll get some kind of firm routine in place that we can stick to for the next year or so. That would just be amazing. Currently she’s sleeping from 11.30am to around 1pm, which is quite good as it means we have a decent length of time in the afternoon to do things – in fact today, we had a Sunday roast at my parents, which we haven’t been able to do for months.

Another big thing that’s happened this month is that Daphne started at the childminder. The childminder is like an angel sent from heaven – she’s absolutely wonderful, and Daphne has settled in really well. It’s changed my thoughts about childcare so much, actually – I thought it was all about the parents having time to work, but in fact, it’s Daph who seems to be benefiting the most, as she’s getting to interact with other kids, play with different toys, and generally have a whole day focused on her development and needs, rather than fitting in at home with whatever (not) exciting things we’re doing that day. We’re actually going to go up to two days at the childminder’s in March, and it makes me so happy to see how happy she is when I pick her up on Thursday evenings – she’s always really chatty and excited, almost a different child. Also, the childminder has taught her to drink out of a beaker on her own. FINALLY.

Speech wise, there haven’t been any noticeable changes this month. I think Daph has added to her repertoire of ‘b’ words – she can pretty much say anything beginning with B if you say it first. But other than that, not much to note. Still obsessed with the cat (is this normal?!) and still can’t say Mummy. The cutest thing in the world though is every morning when Oli goes in to get her hearing her excitedly squeak ‘Daddy’ when she sees him.

The best thing about this age is seeing the development of Daph’s personality. She’s really becoming a little person. Loves the cat, loves giving things to people (will crawl over to any grown up and hand them a piece of Duplo within minutes of meeting them), loves Duplo, is very cuddly and affectionate, will wave at anyone, loves other kids – especially bigger kids… Doesn’t have any patience for Peppa Pig, is SO OVER the Teletubbies now, likes to dance to music (shake her head and wave her arms around), can’t go to sleep without clutching one or more muslin cloths, is still obsessed with milk and only drinks milk from bottles, loves her baths, hates being in the pushchair, thinks soft play is a load of crap, only likes pop up books… I could go on and on forever. I’m so proud of her.

LIFE

Oh so quiet…

LOOK HOW HAPPY SHE IS ASLEEP. WHY DOESN’T SHE DO IT MORE. WHY WHY WHY *weeps*

Things that aren’t oh so quiet:

Daphne at 4.30 in the morning.

The sound of my current cough.

The cat deciding to join in as soon as it hears ANY KIND OF NOISE during the night.

Things that are oh so quiet:

This blog.

Yes, hello hello out there. I am sorry I have been neglecting you. The truth is, I’ve been working on something else, something a bit secret at the moment but that I hope to be able to reveal to you shortly (and no, it’s nothing to do with the novel, aren’t you relieved, FINALLY SHE’S STOPPED BANGING ON ABOUT THE NOVEL – although I am still working on that too – HA). But yes, new Secret Project (how annoying and wanky am I, you are welcome to hate me) has been taking up all my naptimes (Daph’s, not mine, although how I wish I could work while napping myself) and Life by Lotte has been left trailing in its wake.

Having said that, it feels like a bit of a natural time to wind down this blog anyway, actually. As I said in my last baby update, I don’t particularly want to chronicle Daph’s monthly developments forever more, especially not once she’s old enough to work out that I’m sharing all her personal info with a load of (very lovely, admittedly) strangers online. I’ll definitely be back for her 18 month baby update, but after that I think I’ll put LBL into a mini hibernation while I try to get the other project off the ground.

So yes, back soon, I promise, with more of my ramblings, but in a different guise. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it just as much as this one. That’s the plan anyway.

Laters alligators and may all your nights’ sleeps be restful and undisturbed, and may your mornings not start at 4.45am with a poo, as mine did today. Daphne’s poo, not mine, I hasten to add…

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: New skincare faves

Right, I promise today to not talk about babies or toddlers or anything mummy related. Instead, I thought I’d do a quick post on my two favourite things from my wonderful Liberty beauty advent calendar. And a quick note about that too: it was flipping expensive but really it was worth every penny, I LOVED opening it each day and best of all getting to try lots of different products that I would never normally even know about. So totally worth treating yourself if you can spare the dosh. This year, I think I’ll try the Lookfantastic one, as I’ve heard good things about that too, and it seems to have more make-up in it (the Liberty one was quite skincare heavy). But I’m getting ahead of myself…

There were some real gems in the Liberty advent calendar. And only a few duds – as I said on Twitter I’m fairly sure that Night Brow Balm is a solution looking for a problem, and as for the two tubes of mini toothpaste – fancy they may be but still, meh.

But there are two products I’ve repurchased – here they are and here’s why…

Eve Lom Cleanser

I know tons has been written about this already and it’s also a bit controversial because it has mineral oil (Vaseline to you and me) in it, but it’s literally THE BEST CLEANSER I HAVE EVER USED. It has truly transformed by skin. I was using Clinique’s Take The Day Off before and while it did the job it also dried my skin out quite a bit. But the Eve Lom stuff seems to both exfoliate and leave my skin super baby soft, not a hint of tightness or dryness. It also comes with the best muslin cloth I have ever used (if you don’t fancy the cleanser, maybe treat yourself to some of these instead – you can buy them in packs of three). Now, it’s ridiculously expensive, and I used the entire advent-calendar pot up before buying it as I wanted to be sure sure sure before I splashed out that kind of dough, but no regrets. It means I need less moisturiser after and I’ve also given up my Alpha H Liquid Gold (which was great but did freak me out a bit with the burning sensation) because it seems to exfoliate so beautifully I don’t need it. Hurrah. It’s a bit smelly (I quite like the smell myself, clove oil I think!) so it’s definitely worth testing before taking the plunge, but I’m a real convert and heartily recommend.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Moisturiser

This is a super boring looking bottle and a very underwhelming product to use. It has no discernible smell and the texture is quite thin. But it’s amazing! It leaves my skin soft and happy without being shiny at all (no need for loads of powder throughout the day) and it hasn’t clogged up my pores or broken me out. Also quite pricey, but another one I really recommend – it’s apparently great for sensitive skin too. A bit of an obscure brand (and I wish they could have put a BIT more effort into the packaging because it’s THIRTY NINE BLOODY QUID AND I WANT SOMETHING PRETTY FOR THAT) but totally worth checking out if you want something non-perfumed and kind to your skin that does the job.

Both of these are available at Space NK so I am sure you can get samples if you fancy testing them out. I also loved the Aurelia Refine & Polish Miracle Balm, but it’s just stupid money, and the Laura Mercier hydrating primer, which really does help your foundation stick around.