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The Unexpected Joys of Motherhood

April 23, 2016

I recently became a first time mother, which has taken me on a wild and amazing rollercoaster ride. Despite going to antenatal classes, listening to endless advice and reading the recommended books, I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for how much your life will change when you have a baby. The baby industry is booming and there is so much information widely available that it can be a bit overwhelming when you want to have a better sense of what to expect – and what not to expect- when you are expecting. I felt so frustrated when people would tell me that old fashioned advice “rest up now before the baby arrives” because anyone who has been pregnant knows it’s almost impossible to sleep well – especially in the third trimester – when you feel like a beached whale. If you’re expecting a little one or plan on having children one day then listen up (!) because here are some surprises I’ve learned first hand about having a baby and being a new mom. I’m still learning something new from my son every day, but these are some tips I wish I had heard before joining the motherhood club:

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Investing in Quality Loungewear

There are going to be days when you won’t leave the house and you will wear your pyjamas all day long. Yes, I am very serious! And no, you’re not going to look nearly as glamorous as this model- it will be a miracle if you even wash your hair in the early days. I wish I had invested in really good loungewear before my son arrived because going to busy shops once you have a new baby in tow seems completely impossible. So, treat yourself in advance while you can and get super soft pyjamas that you really love as you will be wearing them A LOT! The comfortable but super stylish PJ sets from YolkeOlivia Von Halle and Mama Moosh will make you feel like a million bucks and will justify not getting dressed or leaving the house.

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Changes To Your Body

It’s no secret that your body changes once you have a baby but did you know that it’s really common for new mums to lose their hair and even teeth (!!) post baby? I waited my entire pregnancy for thick voluminous Black Lively hair as so many expecting moms suddenly get much more thick and shiny hair thanks to prenatal hormones. I’m afraid I’m still waiting for those extra thick luscious locks to kick in but after hearing from fellow mothers that their hair started to thin and then fall out once they stopped breastfeeding I really panicked! I’ve spent so much money on highlights over the years that the idea of the investment on my head falling out was just not something I wanted to risk. The amazing team at Danilo Hair Boutique in Chelsea recommended Kerastase’s Densifique Hair Density Programme, which I now call “hair crack” as I can really vouch for this leave-in serum. It’s not cheap but it really does make your hair more thick, glossy and healthy.

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My dentist made me feel better about my oral hygiene when he told me that it was very common at one point for women in the UK to lose their teeth after having a baby. How British is that?! I looked into this and apparently if you have poor tooth enamel you can indeed lose a pearly white or two after having a baby as babies get majority of mom’s nutrients (especially iron) from breastfeeding. The NHS offers new moms complimentary dental check ups for the first year post baby to help you hang on to your gnashers. So ladies, if you don’t lose your hair or your teeth after having a baby then you’re really  excelling!  IMG_3327

Becoming Your Child’s PA

I’ve always considered myself a relatively organised person but when you have a baby you are forced to step it up and be above-and-beyond organised 24/7 as the repercussions (screaming unhappy little person) just aren’t worth it. When you aren’t sterilising bottles, putting in yet another load of laundry or changing your baby into their 6th outfit of the day you are accompanying them to their various appointments and researching what to expect next in their development. Hilariously, I thought my days on maternity leave would include lunchtime cocktails, manicures, reading books, personal trainers and dressing my son in adorable outfits. Basically I thought motherhood kind of looked like this:

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Oh, how wrong I was! If I were able to go back in time I would tell my pregnant self that I would soon be becoming a mother but also taking on arguably the hardest job yet-a personal assistant who works all day every day without any days off. Yes, as my son’s PA I now work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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You Don’t Need Everything

The baby industry can be a very scary place when you are buying the essentials for your first baby. My mom and I couldn’t stop laughing when we saw a travel size grape cutter at BabiesRUs for the mom on the go. Then the other day I saw this pregnant belly cast kit at Peter Jones with a girlfriend…no words needed! There are so many baby products on the market that your mommy friends will swear by, so it is easy to get carried away and think you need it all to survive all the challenges of your first baby. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping for children’s stuff but you really don’t need as many things as you think you do. I have been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity, presents, and the baby kit that I have borrowed from friends and family for my son. In hindsight, my friends and family have been hands down the most valuable asset during a life-changing time. Why did it take having a baby to really realise that?!

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And the plus about being British American like me is you get to celebrate Mother’s Day twice! American readers, don’t forget to spoil your mom on Mother’s Day this year – coming up soon on 8th May.

Lifestyle, London

A Sneak Peek At London’s South Kensington Club

June 19, 2015

London is home to some of the oldest and most exclusive private members’ clubs in the world. I was fortunate enough recently to visit the newest club in town, South Kensington Club. Offering something a little bit different than your average private club – SKC will be catering to members with an interest in culture, health and fitness, exotic travel and culinary experiences once it officially opens this month on 25th June.IMG_4734 (1)

I met one of my oldest friends and fellow Cali native, Britt, for dinner at SKC during the ‘soft launch’ phase for a taster of what is still yet to come. If this is the club’s pre-opening period then I can only imagine how spectacular the official opening will be. Far from stuffy and pretentious, the staff were friendly with meticulously attentive service from the second I walked in through the imposing black front door. I was personally escorted to the Club’s restaurant, but had to stop and quickly admire the long elegant staircase leading upstairs to the juice bar, gym and terrace. Can’t you just imagine the uniformed von Trapp children marching down these steps in perfect unison?!
Original stairway at SKC

Located a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of South Kensington and Hyde Park on Harrington Road, SKC is steeped in British history. The Club’s bathhouse extends into Queensberry Mews, which was once Francis Bacon’s first London home and studio. IMG_4714The 25,000 sq ft building was also the former home to the original Pineapple Dance Studios and Ronnie Wood’s Harrington Club, where the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart graced the stage. Whilst the interiors of the Club are modern in style, there’s a homely atmosphere and you can’t help but feel the artistic spirit of the previous residents. 
Restaurant at SKC

The Club’s Restaurant has a nice laid-back and welcoming vibe, so you won’t feel out of place if you don’t dress to impress. The Restaurant serves healthy Mediterranean cuisine with an infusion of traditional artesian Sicilian flare from breakfast to dinner with an inspiring wine and cocktail menu to match.IMG_4688

We mulled over the menu sipping on a refreshing Aperol Spritz in true Italian spirit and were served the most delicious kamut bread with tomato spread, anchovies and capers to nibble on. I had never tried kamut before, which is apparently an ancient wheat that is incredibly healthy and easier to digest than modern day wheat. I could have easily feasted on this healthy bread basket all night, but Britt insisted that we slow down on the kamut and put our order in pronto before we started to fill up. IMG_4687

There is a wide selection to choose from off the Mediterranean menu, but we decided to share the following dishes:IMG_4696Fresh crabmeat with burrata, grilled pickle & cherry tomato
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Raw artichoke, roasted granola & quinoa saladIMG_4698

Kamut pizza, pomodoro e fior di latte mozzarellaIMG_4704

Grilled fillet of beef, white asparagus & rosemary
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Following our delicious and filling dinner, we walked up the staircase to have a wander around and plopped ourselves down in the Club Sitting Room Bar, which is the perfect spot for a night cap. The bar has a cosy and informal vibe with mid-century American interiors that reminded me of a New England yacht club. 
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We left the Club Sitting Room Bar to the sounds of the bartender shaking an iced martini, and had a look around The Voyager Club Lounge, which will be home to the Club’s Voyager Programme at South Kensington Club. Offering members an interesting program that pays tribute to the Club’s ethos of “inspiring its members to explore through reading, listening and travelling on journeys of discovery.”Voyager Room at SKC

The Voyager Club Lounge is where monthly lectures and international speakers will take place along with the opportunity to join tailor-made expeditions around the globe, such as trekking in the North Pole, foraging for food in Sweden or even piloting a helicopter! You can physically prep and train for all such adventures with the fitness instructors in the Club’s gorgeous gym.
Gym at SKC

I typically prefer to run outside rather than indoors on a treadmill, but this gym is beautifully designed with lots of natural light coming through the floor-to-ceiling windows. I loved the historic touches of the building in the spacious fitness area- it’s not every day you train with a kettle ball next to stained-glass windows!IMG_4719

The Club has three studios where yoga (heated and regular), barrecore, pilates and dance cardio classes are available in addition to private training. There are also several treatment rooms and a Turkish Hammam where you can soothe tired muscles post workout. What’s not to love about your own private spa?
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Officially opening in less than a week, South Kensington Club is a refreshing and unique London private members’ club, which is now accepting new membership. Whether you’re interested in far-flung travels, al fresco fine dining, or challenging fitness classes and pampering spa treatments, SKC have members’ every need covered.

www.southkensingtonclub.com

+44 203 006 6868