Laura Davidson, travel editor, columnist and journalist, is mum to three-year-old Hannah and 18-month-old Lucy.
Juggling work with a turbo-charged toddler and an energetic pre-schooler isn’t always easy but she’s still determined to look more yummy mummy than slummy mummy. Here’s how she’s been getting on this month…
This time last week I was sipping a margarita and sunning myself on a beach in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
This week I’m mainlining caffeine and tackling a mountain of post-holiday laundry that would have Pauline Fowler turning in her grave.
What a difference seven days makes, eh? The beach towels have been packed away for the forseeable and I’m back to juggling deadlines while trying to keep my domestic goddess apron in place.
Still, even if normal service has resumed, that two-week break in the States made me feel like a new woman.
Little Lucy turned two while we were in America and it wasn’t just a milestone for her, it marked a massive turning point for me too.
Having two kids in the space of two years knocked me for six, I can tell you. Talk about a shock to the system? There were times when I felt like I’d been battered about the head with a double Bugaboo.
But now that my baby can no longer be classed as a baby, I’m pleased to say that life, at long last, is getting easier. She’s showing the same independence as her sister, making her that little bit less dependent on me. And the headspace that’s giving me is like oxygen.
Best of all, our break in Florida gave me hope that I’m not destined to only spend family holidays in destinations that require a cagoule and wellies. Travelling long-haul with my little ones wasn’t the nightmare I feared it might be. Thanks, mostly, to a great direct route from Glasgow to Orlando with Virgin Atlantic, cutting the need for a stressful stopover in London.
There were blue skies, there were beaches, there was amazing food and memories made at the Disney parks that will last a lifetime. All in all, not a bad way to see out my 30s before I’m hit with the big 4-0 sledgehammer later this month.
Our pretty impressive baggage allowance meant there was even room for me to pack some of my fave beauty treats.
For my face, I wouldn’t be without Clinique’s Face Cream SPF 30 (£17 for 50mls) www.clinique.co.uk.
It gives high level protection, which I’m now paranoid about, having overdone it a bit with the sun exposure when I was younger. Applied every two hours it keeps the ageing effects of both UVA and UVB rays at bay. Best of all, it’s oil free so doesn’t look like you’ve a big slick of cream on your face or make the complexion look overly shiny.
Bearing in mind that excess sun-bathing I was talking about in my 20s, I now reckon the ideal mix is to get a little bit of ‘real’ colour on my hols, but enhance it with some faux tan as well.
Clarins’ Delicious Self Tanning Cream (£23 for 125mls, www.clarins.co.uk) is the best self-tanner I’ve tried this year. Like many similar products, it has a ‘guide colour’ to help you see where you’re applying it but unlike many of its competitors, this one doesn’t leave you looking as though you’ve gone a bit mad and smeared your body with Bourbon Creams. Clarins’ guide colour leaves the skin with a lovely natural caramelly glow.
I’d say you need to apply once a day for about three to four days to see a nice natural-looking tan develop and the good news is that it’s suitable for face and body so it’s a one-stop-shop product. With Cocoa Butter to moisturise and a creamy texture enriched with Aloe Vera, the cream glides on easily and, most importantly, doesn’t streak. Make it a must for your holiday bag.
Finally, to balance out any uneven skintone issues as you tan, a good lightweight foundation is a must for the summer months and Smashbox’s Liquid Halo HD Foundation (£27.50 for 30mls, www.smashbox.co.uk) is just the job. Available in 10 shades, there’s a colour to suit every skintone and its light-reflecting properties truly make the complexion glow.
During summer I need just a small dab on my cheeks to blend away any sign of redness and I’m good to go. It glides on like silk and, honestly, leaves your skin feeling ‘naked’ but with just the right amount of coverage to hide any flaws. Love love love it.
Turning my attention to my hair before I went on holiday, I’m now sporting an easier-to-manage shorter do and keeping it in tip-top condition with Ojon’s Rare Blend Hair Oil (£30 for 45mls, www.ojon.co.uk).
This product was a godsend while in humid Florida. One drop massaged into damp hair before blow-drying kept the frizz at bay and prevented me being mistaken for a member of the Hair Bear Bunch.
Containing exotic natural oils from around the world, this multi-tasking wonder smoothes down hair follicles and protects from heat styling while boosting shine. It’s a small bottle that packs a seriously big punch.
Lastly, for those days when you’re being a bit of a lazybones with your beauty regime (and, on holiday, let’s face it, we’re allowed), make sure you’ve got some Batiste Dry Shampoo (£2.99 for 200mls in Boots, Superdrug, Asda and Sainsburys) in your bathroom cabinet.
I’ve been a fan of this wonder product since my teens when it was only available in one original formulation. Now there are loads of styling options and scents to choose from and I haven’t tried a single variation that I don’t like.
Pop princess Pixie Lott has been named as the official face of the 2014 range and it’s easy to see why she’s a fan.
The scent that’s been named after her for summer has fruity notes mixed with exotic bergamot and cedarwood. Although the fragrance is new, the concept is just the same as always – shake, spray at the roots and brush out for hair that’s just-washed gorgeous and totally stylicious.
See you next month on the other side of the 40th milestone…