Five minutes with … Emma Forbes

Emma ForbesWe’re loving Forbes Style, a new website created by TV and radio presenter Emma Forbes. Based in London and mum to Lily, 13, and Sam, 11, Emma’s site has inspiring yet practical ideas aplenty, from a failsafe cupcake recipe to making fab, vintage-looking cushion covers using scarves from Top Shop; organising the perfect (i.e. non-embarrassing) birthday party at home for teen girls and alternatives for the boys (an “I’m an 11 year old, get me outta here” theme for her son, featuring a challenge to dive into a bucket of plastic snakes and spiders, plus “bug”-covered cakes – genius) to coping with fear of flying and lots more.

Nonstopmama caught up with Emma about Forbes Style and life as a juggling mama.

How did you come to be a TV and radio presenter?

I sort of fell in to telly presenting – I had originally wanted to be a dancer, but gave it up due to injuries and because I wasn’t Darcy Bussell! The TV world was very exciting, with all the new channels, and I started to have a real passion for it. So I just wrote and wrote to people and the BBC were the people to give me a ‘break’, cooking on kids’ telly!

How do you manage the family/home/work juggle?

What helps me manage the ‘juggle’ of kids and work is a massive ‘to do’ list! I have been known to wake up in the night and add to it and I have endless Post-It notes with things to do on them –  I can’t say it’s a hugely organised list, but it’s ongoing! I think, like all things, the juggle works sometimes and other times, if one child is sick or the slightest thing goes wrong, then it can all go pear-shaped very easily!

Food-wise, what helps you keep your energy levels up?

Nutritionally, I am a bit of a health food junkie – always the first to experiment with any new health food that comes out,  flax seeds, you name it. I try to do healthy snacking or grazing – fruit, nuts and so on -but the odd Starbucks on route helps too, with a caffeine fix! I always, always eat breakfast – granola (I love Lizi’s organic granola), with flax seeds, blueberries and skimmed milk and roobosh tea. I always feel if I have eaten that it gives me the kick I need to get started. If I don’t eat breakfast, I would be crying by 11am …

What are your sneaky food weaknesses?

Carbs – ideally I would live off carbs –  bread, pasta …  I sometimes sneak in the odd cupcake (life’s too short without cupcakes). And chocolate I love, too. I feel if I eat Green and Blacks organic chocolate, it is somehow healthier for me!

Do you enjoy cooking?

I love cooking – I find it de-stressing. I know that sounds weird, but it helps me focus my thoughts, unwind and think about stuff. I guess I just don’t stress about it. I am a haphazard family cook – I tend to have little plan, buy what I like the look of and sort of hurl it together and hope it comes out ok! I get so tired of ‘fussy eaters’ – mine are great at eating, but they have friends over who tend to eat such limited food . So, as a quick and easy – but fun – thing for kids, I do what they call my ‘pasta bar’: I just boil up a huge bowl of some kind of pasta and then put out all sorts of little bowls with all different things in it – parmesan, chopped mozarella, olives, chopped carrots, tomatoes, chopped cooked bacon, you name it – and then they can add and make their own variation! A bit of olive oil and there you have it! There is always something in there that someone likes!

What about exercise?

Fitness-wise, I hate the gym. I have to be honest and say I would prefer it if I didn’t have to exercise, but I know I have to! I do yoga – more for relaxation and stretching than the exercise, and I power walk. I gets me outside and I stomp around a park and it feels good! I would love to try all sorts of things but have a bad back ,which means I can’t do things like spinning or Power Plate …

How would you describe your fashion style?

My fashion style is hard to pinpoint. I guess I am sort of classic with a modern twist! I don’t suit high fashion stuff, classic shapes tend to suit me better. I have my staples of endless black jackets – in different shapes! – t-shirts and jeans in varying styles. Day to day, that tends to be the look.

Any go-to favourites that always make you feel good

I have a couple of things that are my feel good clothes – they are normally always something that my husband has bought me, as he has great taste and chooses me the clothes that last. I have a fab black coat I love  and two dresses that I know even on a day when I feel fat and ugly will make me feel human!

What helps you stay on top of things at home – are you a neatnik or more relaxed about the chaos of family living?

Around the home, I am a bit of a neat freak – or a ‘faffer’ as someone named me. I love ‘faffing’ – sorting things out, drawers, you name it. I don’t mind chaos, but I like it then cleared away and get quite a lot of satisfaction from doing it. My kids, by and large, are pretty neat too – my rule is if you leave it on the floor tossed away, then you clearly don’t want it and I will give it to charity. It may sound harsh, but trust me, it works!! They are both pretty good at keeping things neat! Chaos is good, but I couldn’t sleep with chaos …

Emma ForbesWhat are your get-glowing beauty tricks?

When it comes to beauty steadfasts, I am never far away from a tube of Eight Hour Cream, or Carmex for the lips and I love moisturiser. I would never go to bed without slapping on huge amounts of moisturiser – particularly as I get older. I try to be really careful in the sun, too. I always have factor 30 on my face and wonder why I come back from holidays so pale!

How do you unwind at the end of the day?

What helps me unwind is just chilling out with my family. I find that childrens’ laughter, tales of school and all the general stories make me laugh and take away from the mayhem and madness of the media career! I love watching a good movie – ideally a chick flick that makes me laugh and cry – good food, good friends and a hot bath and bed!

You can check out Emma’s new website at, or follow her on twitter  @EmmaForbes.

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Lash fantastic

Tweezerman's Pro Lash CurlerSo, the UK beauty pack is buzzing about the impending, hotly awaited arrival of the Tweezerman Pro Lash Curler (pictured left) next month. Already a huge hit in the US, the eyelash curlers – launching exclusively at Harrods in July – promise to be as popular as the must-have tweezers (nonstopmama relies on the fab, butterfingers-friendly Wide Grip Tweezer - below right – for staying on top of stragglers and looking half awake).

Tweezerman Wide Grip TweezerAs we’ve yet to meet a make-up artist who doesn’t stand by the “curl your lashes before applying mascara” rule – and given that so many pros swear by Tweezerman for plucking perfect arches – the new, high-spec curler, featuring expertly contoured finger loops and a precision-designed “top bar”, is one to check out. Until it becomes more widely available, you will be able to buy online (from July) at The Wide Grip Tweezer, meanwhile, is widely available at stockists nationwide and online at sites including amazon.

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Charming idea

Kit Heath's new Beachcomber 'Destination' braceletCharm bracelet fever continues and they’re a great, sure-to-be-loved gift idea (as long as you choose a charm that’s actually compatible with the recipient’s bracelet, as we recently learned to our embarrassment – ah).

One name to check out is Kit Heath, an award-winning silver jeweller whose new Beachcomber collection features ‘pebble’ charm beads, inspired by surfside colours and textures. Meanwhile, the company’s Kids by Kit Heath range features some sweet ideas for special occasions.

Better still, Kit Heath is running a Jewellery Amnesty, in association with Save The Children. You can donate any silver which is no longer wanted, tarnished or broken (never fixed knick knacks and totally tangled chains, anyone?) to be sold for scrap, with all money raised going to the charity. What better excuse to have a bit of a clear-out? For more info on the Jewellery Amnesty and to buy Kit Heath pieces online, click here.

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Five minutes with … Charlotte Pearl

Charlotte Pearl of Pink LiningWe’ve long been fans of the Pink Lining range of gorgeous, oh-so-distinctive bags – the ‘Yummy Mummy’ changing bag and carry-all has become a modern classic – and accessories for mamas on-the-go (we featured the fab Christmas stockings, with all profits going to the NSPCC, last winter). So, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with Charlotte Pearl, the label’s London-based founder and a nonstopmama of three.

Here, Charlotte shares her tips for feeling pulled-together fast, packing for a family outing and staying on top of clutter at home.

Dress Creatively

•  ‘I think it’s much better to be quite spontaneous,’ says Charlotte. ‘What I wear often depends on my mood that morning, mixing and matching prints or fabrics is far more fun than something more traditional.’

•  ‘Your clothes are an expression of your personality but, so saying, I do a lot of walking in between school runs, the office and the playground. So as much as I love high heels, I live in flats during the day.  At the moment, I love my brogues which I’ve pepped up by replacing the laces with peppermint green ribbons – functional footwear, with a quirky twist!’

•  ‘When stuck for ideas, I think the classic French combination of a navy skirt/trousers with a Breton striped top, lifted with a bright scarf, is always a chic option.’

Express beauty

•  ‘My make-up is very minimal but I always carry rose tinted Vaseline to moisturise lips and accent cheekbones,’ says Charlotte. ‘Although quite expensive, Dior nude skin, a compact complete with mirror, is a great quick cover-up to achieve a more polished look.’

•  ‘Spraying a little of my favourite perfume – Creed – through the air and quickly walking through it before I leave home ensures I’m subtly ensconced in my favourite scent and immediately uplifts me.’

Breakfast to-go

•  ‘Jordans quick porridge sachets take a few minutes to cook on the stove – they can also be microwaved – and are a healthy, filling breakfast – especially with chopped bananas,’ says Charlotte.


Get packing

•  ‘I have designed our changing bags with ease of packing in mind,’ she explains. ‘I tend to use every one of the pockets inside for Mother’s essentials, such as my mobile and blackberry. I zip valuables into the inside pocket. I can pack nappies and wipes into the pouch pockets, milk bottles into the insulated inbuilt bottle holders (I fill these with water and keep the milk powder in a separate container). I always pack snacks for the children (and me!) such as dried fruit, raisins, cereal bars and chocolate for emergencies!  The children always have their mini Pink Lining rucksacks (which are lightweight and small enough that they don’t mind carrying them themselves), into which they pack some little toys, pencils and colouring paper.’

Pink Lining's Yummy Mummy BagWhat’s in store

•  ‘I find storage at home is always quite challenging – with all the usual home paraphernalia, as well as my designs etc., I like finding alternative storage ideas. For example, instead of a bookcase, I have an old wooden dresser in the drawing room – the shelves are great for books and the cupboards underneath for DVDs and so on, then Pink Lining toy bags for all the toys. I have just found a great company that provides coloured metal school lockers I am going to order, to file away my work.’.

For more info and to buy Pink Lining products online, go to

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In the picture

Its Your StorySince personalised gifts always go down well with children (from named mugs to photo jigsaws et al), we were keen to check out the It’s Your Story range of books which star the recipient with their name and photo (both feature throughout).

The result is a real treat and done very well. Other special details are woven into the story, such as the child’s favourite food, colour and so on, along with a personal message from you on the first page.It's Your Story

There are 16 books to take your pick from (the Zoo Adventure is being promoted right now as a fun, fresh idea for children to give Dads for Father’s Day – coming up on Sunday, 20 June –  so Dad appears in the pictures and goes on an adventure with the child in the story). Very cute.

A special offer for readers of nonstopmama, It’s Your Story are offering a 10 % discount on all orders placed online until 31 August 2010. Simply enter the code “NONSTOPMAMA10″ at checkout.

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