My Morning Routine – Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow

So, in the interests of getting to know one another a little better, I thought it might be fun to take you through what an average morning looks like in Casa Rhoades! I have learned over the years that starting my day hungry and in a rush does not make for a productive (or happy) day. In fact, I know if I leap out of bed, into the shower and out of the door (or straight onto the laptop as is more often the case), I’m pretty much setting myself up for failure. So here’s a little insight into how I try to get the most from my mornings with a baby in tow.

Let’s Eat

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it’s drummed into us on what feels like a daily basis. So, it always astounds me the number of people who don’t eat before they start their day. Excuses range from ‘im just not hungry in the mornings’ to, ‘I don’t have time in the mornings’ or even, ‘I feel sick in the mornings’! Well, personally I’m pretty darn starving in the mornings! I’m not talking a little bit peckish here, I’m talking full on, stomach growling in protest hunger! So, (after Luna has her water and her nappy changed) food is my number one priority. I can quite honestly say that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day so I really go to town with a big bowl of warming porridge topped with lashings of fresh fruit, nuts and a generous drizzle of honey. Also tea…a big, unsophisticated, mug of tea!

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

Keeping Up With Them Fitness Goals

If you’ve read my posts regarding postpartum fitness, (check them out HERE) you’ll know that I have a bit of a love hate (actually it’s more of a hate hate) relationship with exercise. I am never going to be that girl who loves getting down and dirty in the gym – I’ve waited 30+ years, tried every regime going – it ain’t gonna happen! That being said, being on the wrong side of 30 and having (fairly) recently had a baby, I am in no way prepared to rest on my laurels! So, it’s at this point in the morning that I’m usually to be found having a stern word with myself as the devil on my shoulder systematically delivers today’s excuse as to why I can’t work out. I’m not going to lie – sometimes the devil wins out but more often than not, I suck it up and endure each and every painful minute. Personally, I find that it actually helps to have some level of accountability where fitness is concerned and the fact that I’m paying actual money to do it gives me one less reason to quit.

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

Making Plans

As a self-respecting Virgo, I love a good to do list and find it quite therapeutic to at least plan for productivity. The sleep situation is pretty dire in our house so I already feel a bit like I’m starting the day on the back foot so to speak. If I can make a rough itinerary of work to be done, housework that needs to be addressed and meals I intend to eat, then I feel as though I’m giving myself a bit of a leg up for the day to come (though inevitably, with a baby, things do veer off course more often than not).

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

Baby Comes First

Everything revolves around Luna – as it should. I can organise and make lists until my heart’s content but if she has other plans then those are the ones we’ll be going with. As she’s not a big sleeper I try to leave the jobs that require the most brain capacity for the half hour she deigns to have a nap (although there are plenty of occasions where the lure of a peaceful shower is too tempting to ignore). If things are going to plan then by mid morning Luna should be ready for a nap and I should be ready to make a start on my to do list.

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

Top Tips For A Productive Morning

  1. Buy a playpen. This has pretty much changed my life. No exaggeration. As soon as Luna started to move things became ten times more difficult as I couldn’t simply pop her down on the floor with her toys while I nipped to the loo/put the washing on. It may look a little draconian – putting your baby in what is essentially a cage – but the peace of mind it gives you when you need to leave the room for a moment is beyond priceless!
  2. Lists. I touched on this earlier but I find it so helpful to get everything that’s swirling around my head down on paper. That way I can organise my jobs and commitments in order of precedence and I know I’m giving myself the best possible shot at actually getting them done.
  3. Make a routine. Obviously, not every day will be the same but I think it can be really helpful particularly with a young baby to have a routine to fall back on so you both essentially know what you’re supposed to be doing and when. It certainly helps to keep my mind clear and allows me to move from one activity to the next without getting into that mind fog of ‘what comes next’.
  4. Create a happy space. In terms of getting work done I find if I’m wearing something comfortable have a nice hot drink and perhaps a lovely scented candle on the go then I feel so much more productive and inclined to knuckle down and get things done – for me, if I’m feeling uncomfortable or if I’m in a messy space then I really struggle to get my mind focused on the job at hand.
  5. Sleep. I know, I know, no-one is getting enough sleep and there is absolutely zero most of us can do about it! If getting more sleep just isn’t an option then I have a few ideas to keep you moving forward when you feel like your wading against the tide.
  • Drink a large glass of water. It’s amazing the effect knocking back a pint of water (or liquid life as I like to call it) can have when you’re just about ready to drop.
  • Get some air. I find getting some fresh air – even if it’s just stepping into the garden for five minutes can really give me a much-needed boost.
  • Exercise. It’s usually the last thing you want to do after a sleepless night but getting straight into a workout, gets the blood circulating and actually helps shake that limp, boneless feeling that becomes all too familiar when you have a baby in tow.
  • Product. A friend bought me the ‘Energy Boosting Kit’ from NEOM when Luna was born and it’s amazing how a little luxury and a zingy scent can really give you a lift.

Can We Talk About Tea?

If all else fails there is always tea. (Tetley, Skimmed Milk, No Sugar FYI). Tea is singlehandedly responsible for my sanity remaining largely in tact. I’m usually at least three cups down by lunch time. Tea is life!

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

My Morning Routine - Top Tips For Staying Productive With A Baby In Tow |

I hope you have found some of these tips helpful. I’m acutely aware that there is definite room for improvement in my own levels of productivity and I would be delighted to hear any tips or tricks you use to stay focused and positive. Leave me a comment – I’d welcome any thoughts or ideas.

My Top 5 Holiday Must-Haves

We have just returned from our first family holiday so I thought it might be a good idea to put together a list of my summer essentials. Now, I started writing this before we actually left and now I’m back I’m of the opinion that the ultimate holiday must-have (when traveling with a 10-month-old) is as many spare pairs of hands as you can possibly get…summer hols with a baby in tow is a whole different ballgame! So, here are my top 5 holiday must-haves (for those moments where you are not sat under an umbrella with Makka Pakka and Iggle Piggle)…

My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves |

The Skin Prep 

When I was a child I would turn purple in the sun. My mum and dad both tanned easily and my brother to this day has the olive complexion of dreams! I, on the other hand, would burn (in patches – I couldn’t even turn lobster pink evenly). Things slowly improved as I got older but the Tan Accelerator by Elemis was the game changer! This product works by stimulating your skin’s natural melanin production and, (shouldn’t matter but does) smells like heaven! I use this without fail before every holiday to ensure that a. I don’t burn and b. I tan safely and evenly!

I’ve mentioned before that I am now super careful when it comes to exposing my skin to the sun and am a real stickler for SPF (check out my review of the TILI Beauty Box HERE). Nothing ages your skin quite like the sun (quite aside from the obvious health implications) and I have found Decleor’s Suncare range to be really quite excellent in prepping and soothing my skin both before and after sun exposure. The ‘Aromessence Solaire Tan Activator Face Serum’ is a beautiful face oil which preps the skin in a similar fashion to the Elemis Tan Accelerator, while the balm just melts into your fingertips on application and feels sublime after a long hard day on the beach! Call it aftersun for the dedicated skincare junkie!

You can find the Decleor Aroma Sun Expert Collection HERE

Skincare Saviours | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves |

The Shades 

We all know that the shades maketh the woman. A well-chosen pair not only adds instant glamour to pretty much any outfit but also, truth be told, hides a multitude of sins. Hangover? Insomniac baby? Headache? If eyes are windows to the soul then all of the above have the power to mist things up pretty quickly! If no eye cream on earth will save those peepers then a killer pair of shades are your best friend! My sunglass collection is actually on a list of things to share with you…there are some real corkers including a very retro heart shaped pair by Chloe! My current favourites are my trusty Rayban aviators (an absolute classic-every girl should have a pair) and a perfect pair of ‘fuck off I don’t want to talk to anyone’ tortoiseshell Prada’s!

Summer Shades | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves |

The Sun Hat 

I adore Panama hats but we have a somewhat troubled relationship. I managed to lose one over the side of a cruise ship and my husband and I fell out spectacularly on arrival at our honeymoon in Mauritius when my hat emerged, let’s just say, a little worse for wear! (I blamed him obviously). That said there a few things that can take an outfit to the next level better than a well-chosen piece of millinery! This season there has been a plethora of designs to choose from. From the classic to the outrageous – I’m in love with the sequin emblazoned floppy sun hats from Lily and Bean and the pom-pom embellished straw fedoras by Yosuzi are just sensational! As I type they have 50% off at Netaporter – I’m hovering perilously close to the buy now button!

Puerto Banus | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves |

The Swag 

Make no mistake, the year of the tassel has arrived. You’d have to have been living under a rock not to notice that any fashionista worth her salt is currently to be found wandering the streets of Santorini/Marbella/Sicily (delete as appropriate) bedecked in layers of drippy beads and bangles. Tribe & Fabel make the most gorgeous pendants and the overseas market stalls are awash with brightly coloured pom-poms, tassels and shells I think the secret here is to mix it up and curate your own summer vibe. If you aren’t already then check out ‘Anna Skoog’s’ Instagram (@annamavridis) and prepare to lust after her perfect Summer Styling!

Summer Swag | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves |

The Sandles

What says ‘summer’ more than a set of prettily pedicured tootsies in a killer pair of strappy sandals? My nail polish of choice veers between hot pink and a juicy coral and the tan is obligatory! I have never enjoyed a pair of flat sandals as much as I enjoy my Jimmy Choo ‘Wyatt’s’! Black with the glitziest of gold hardware, these babies can take a look from boho to glamazon and are perfect when it’s just too hot for heels (and when you are attending a wedding at 7 months pregnant)!

I’m beginning to be of the opinion that if you are going to spend a lot of money on an item then it has to be both wearable and comfortable! As Coco Chanel said “Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it isn’t luxury”! There are so many gorgeous summer flats out there this season! I’m loving the Pom Pom styles by MABU By Maria BK and you just cannot go wrong with a classic espadrille (though as I said, I do like to see a flash of that summer pedi)! Slides are having something of a moment too. The eponymous Givenchy Slides are a no brainer (pretty sure they would be one of those life purchases) but Topshop have a great selection starting at just £19!

Summer Sandals | My Top 5 Holiday Must Haves |

What tops your list of summer essentials? Maybe swimwear is your thing? A prettily embellished kaftan, a straw beach bag or perhaps a fully loaded Kindle and Gin’O’Clock is your idea of heaven! As always, leave me a comment – I’d love to hear from you!


The Anniversary Conundrum

Does anybody else hate buying presents for their other half? Let’s face it, men are (sweeping generalisation alert) quite practical creatures. If they want something, they’ll buy it – end of story. Forgive me if I speak out of turn but men, at least the men in my life, are a complete ball ache to buy for! Unless you’re about to present them with a Ferrari or (in my husbands’ case) a classic Mini Cooper they really couldn’t be less interested. Useful gifts are boring, novelty gifts are met with a polite chuckle and sentimental gifts with a shy smile (before its relegated to a bottomless drawer full of equally useless stuff you have no idea what to do with). So what’s a girl to do when, within the space of 2 weeks you have your husbands birthday, his first fathers day and our second wedding anniversay? (yes that was bad planning on my part)!

Our Wedding Day | The Anniversary Conundrum |

Horseshoe | The Anniversary Conundrum |

Our First Wedding Anniversary

The first wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with the gift of paper. Now I’m quite a traditional girl at heart and so I wanted to honour this custom. He’s not a big reader so any sort of book was out, then I struck gold. I ordered a custom illustration of us on our wedding day which I then framed and presented as a gift. I LOVE it! Unfortunately, this gift came under the ‘sentimental gifts’ header so, after the obligatory shy smile, the picture was left to me to display. If I asked him now I’m pretty sure he won’t recall where that picture came from or indeed that it was intended as a gift for him. This is probably as good as its going to get and I’ve pretty much made my peace with that.

Wedding Illustration | The Anniversary Conundrum |

Check out Custom Portraits by Blanka Illustration HERE

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

The second wedding anniversary is traditionally celebrated with the gift of cotton so I’ve gone full on cheese-central with this years gift…matching Mr & Mrs. Cotton Waffle Bathrobes! I’m not even going to apologise – I’m completely embracing the naffness and can’t wait to cosy up in them, Sangria in hand, on our first family holiday (as you read this we will be living it up in the South of Spain)! Fingers crossed he will actually get some wear out of it (even if he does forget where it came from and why)!

Bathrobes | The Anniversary Conundrum |

Bathrobes | The Anniversary Conundrum |

Custom Bathrobe Available Online HERE

If anyone has any completely brilliant suggestions when it comes to buying for the boys then please do leave a comment below. Yes, this is most definitely a first world problem but I can’t be the only one who finds it impossibly tricky? I have a full year to plan for Anniversary No3 – Leather! That’s one full year to lay a trail of subliminal messaging leading to the Chanel Classic Flap…Hmmmm (insert scratches head emoji)!

All Wedding Photography by the brilliant Claire Penn




20 Facts About Me…

  1. I am mum to Luna Belle and wife to Ilka. My wedding day was the greatest day of life… and then my daughter was born! These 2 humans are my world!
  2. I have a degree in Law but have never practiced.
  3. I worked in the fashion industry for 5 years but am still aspiring to that ‘Carrie Bradshaw wardrobe of dreams. ‘
  4. I am obsessed with history – tales of great lovers and royalty from times past never fail to thrill me.
  5. I am terrified of the telephone. Luckily my husband does not share my phone phobia and will quite happily pick up the phone to make a call – he completes me!
  6. I hate shimmery nail polish but love a short square opaque nail in coral, hot pink, nude or dark burgundy. Uma Thurman’s Chanel Rouge Noir Nails in the film Pulp Fiction are perfection!
  7. I have holidayed in the South of Spain since I was 10 months old – it holds a very special place in my heart.
  8. My family is my life and my best female friends are family members.
  9. My favourite film is the original Clash of the Titans and I once chained myself to a tree and waited to be rescued by a prince on a flying horse (spoiler…it didn’t happen).
  10. I have never met an 80’s power ballad I didn’t love…my husband is a  DJ and despairs of my ‘terrible’ taste in music!
  11. I love nothing more than curling up with a cup of tea and a good book (and by ‘good book’ I mean a trashy historical romance!)
  12. I am practical and reliable to the point of being a bit of a bore!
  13. I hate exercise but dream of being the ‘after’ photo in a ‘fitspo’ Instagram account
  14. I love Victoria Beckham and may or may not have 3 scrapbooks dedicated to her style.
  15. I truly believe Kate Middleton and I could be best friends!
  16. I’m an excellent researcher and a fountain of useless knowledge.
  17. I love a big, blousy bloom – roses, peonies, hydrangea…give me all the pretty!
  18. I always believe people will come through for you and am forever surprised when they don’t!
  19. I believe in the Loch Ness Monster
  20. Monica Gellar and Margo Ledbetter are my sitcom soulmates!

Continue reading “20 Facts About Me…”