Before I had Henry I was a make-up and skincare product junkie, I used to waste hours upon hours reading and watching reviews and tutorials online – oh the days when I had time to spare *sigh*. Being pregnant obviously meant the opportunity to try out new products all in the name of stretch mark prevention. My favourite stretch mark fighting discovery was Mustela so when they got in touch and asked if I wanted to review their baby care products I was intrigued.

I suffer with ezcema so I’m quite particular about what I use to wash Henry. In the last few months we’ve tried a few things that have brought out some dry patches and so they’ve been quickly abandoned. The Mustela Nourishing Cleansing Gel I have to say is a revelation and was my favourite of the three products we tested. Despite being a gel it has quite a thick and creamy formulation and smells INCREDIBLE – like a proper BABY smell, a bit like talc if y’all know what I mean?! Now normally I’m not a fan of a two in one product but this is also a hair wash, which in the case of a baby I’ve found is handy not to have to fumble around for more products when your child seems intent on taking the bath underwater when he’s not supposed to be getting his eyes wet after his recent squint surgery. It’s also paraben free, comes with a pump dispenser which also helps when you only have one free hand and there’s an avocado on the front. What’s not to love?!

Mustela also very kindly sent me their 123 Vitamin Barrier Cream. Henry doesn’t get nappy rash very often, but when he does I’ve always been a Metanium kinda gal. While the Mustela offering helped to clear it up, I found it had to be applied quite liberally and the tube isn’t very big. I don’t apply a nappy cream unless there’s a need to but if you do it would probably a better preventative, used in small amounts than as a treatment.

I also tested the Mustela Nourishing Lotion which I have to confess I used mainly on myself. Trying to cream up a child who’s only got eyes for his milk once he’s out of the bath isn’t my idea of a good time. It has the same delightful scent as the Cleansing Gel which I’m more than ok with slathering all over my limbs. If you’re into baby massage – or at the very least you have a child who has the patience for it, I think it would be a lovely formula as it’s quite rich but soaks nicely into the skin without that sticky, lotioned up feeling.

Mustela is available to buy from Escentual & Amazon.

If you’re still reading, have I got a treat for you….I’ve managed to wangle one of each of the products mentioned to GIVEAWAY to one lucky reader. All you have to do is  hit the rafflecopter link below to follow me on Twitter and Facebook! Good Luck!
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Disclaimer – these products were sent to me for review purposes. All thoughts my own.

Diary of an imperfect mum
Mummuddlingthrough
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Pictures of family cook booksI love to say that I’m the kind of gal who can rustle up a culinary delight with just a few ingredients, rather than reaching for the takeaway menu or visiting the Colonel when the fridge is looking a bit sparse. But I’m not. I love to cook healthy food from scratch but for the most part I’m a recipe planner. I also love nothing more than a good cookbook. My happy place is flicking through my faves with a cup of tea, comfortable in the knowledge that I’ve become quite boring easy to please.

So I thought I’d share with you my favourites, all of which are packed with healthy recipes the whole family can enjoy. I can tell I love a book when all the pages are stuck together…steady… I mean with food splashes.

Everyday Superfood – Jamie Oliver

So I had to resist the temptation to call this post ‘I love Jamie Oliver’ and a list of all his recipe books as I have ALOT. I just don’t think I’ve ever been let down by a Jamie recipe. Anyway, there are some real treats in this book. It’s healthy food that doesn’t taste healthy and the fish tacos are incredible, as is the kedgeree and the butternut squash lasagne. It’s easy to follow, nothing takes forever to make and Henry started eating recipes from here as soon as he started eating solids.

Ready Steady Glow – Madeleine Shaw

Oh-em-gee I just love Madeleine. I discovered her beautiful blog when I was trying to eat foods that would help my skin in preparation for my wedding and so I was quick to pre-order her first book – Get the Glow when it came out in 2015. She followed it up with Ready Steady Glow last year and while both are incredible I think the healthier chocolate chip cookies tip the scales in second book favour. She’s gorgeous, she oozes positivity and she’s recently announced she’s pregnant so I’m excited to follow her baby journey as well as her foodie journey. I’ve also met her and she’s just as lovely in real life – I just had to get that in there.

Superfood for Superchildren – Tim Noakes, Jonno Proudfoot and Bridget Surtees

This is my favourite book for lunch ideas that aren’t sandwiches. I’ve made cheese muffins, cauliflower tots and dips which have gone down a storm with both me and Henry. There’s not a focus on carbs in this book and while it’s an interesting read I’m not into excluding food groups altogether so I like to litter some recipes from here into our weekly menu to try and make sure we’re eating a diet as varied as possible. There’s sections on first foods, foods for teenagers, packed lunch ideas and breakfasts but we’ve eaten from every chapter regardless of what it’s aimed at.

Superfood Family Classics – Jamie Oliver

After eating out of Everyday Superfood every week for about six months I just had to add this to my collection after my friend Hannah made us the fish pie. It’s my most used at the moment and my go to when I’m planning what we’ll eat. The section on pasta and risotto has some corkers and there’s even a healthy take on doughnuts for breakfast which I can’t wait to try.

Deliciously Ella – Ella Woodward

So I know this isn’t really aimed at families, but I’ve been a Deliciously Ella fan for a while and there’s a few really good recipes in here that we all really enjoy. We have a few meat free days a week to keep costs down and Ella is vegan so it’s a good book to get some recipes from. The bean chilli is my favourite. It’s quick to make, delicious, healthy and has minimal fresh ingredients so a good one to throw together when the ‘big shop’ day is looming. As all of her recipes are free from refined sugars, I often whip up a batch of something sweet to nibble on which I’m happy for Henry to eat too.

I’ve included Jamie’s Fifteen Minute Meals in the picture as I love the recipes but have a little bit of an issue with that they don’t take fifteen minutes for me to make them – I need to work on my chopping skills!

I hope you enjoyed my list. I have a bit of a cook book addiction so I’d love to hear any recommendations.

Cookbooks for all the family http://nowmynameismummy.com/?p=957&preview=true

 

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A picture of a footIn year 9 P.E I suffered severe psychological damage which I believe has impacted upon my relationship with exercise; I was hit in the face with a rounders ball.

Since then, I’ve never really had what you might describe as a friendly relationship with exercise. We’re much like acquaintances who meet up so infrequently that we never build a proper, lasting friendship and ultimately drift apart, only to reunite a few months later and repeat the whole stop and start process again.

Pre-baby it wasn’t all that difficult to stay slim but now my skin has been stretched to the mother of all limits it’s another story all together and it’s about time I got my sorry arse in gear and got a little more active. Last summer I started, and subsequently abandoned Couch to 5k when it turned a little cooler -I’m not about that running in the rain malarky. So when Flex TV* asked if I was interested in reviewing their online classes I shrugged off my usual excuses, dusted off my trainers and signed up.

I’ve tried a couple of fitness DVD’s over the past year, but one of two things has always happened:

  1. I’ve quickly become bored of the repetitiveness of doing the same routine everytime you put the DVD on.
  2. *Someone* – not mentioning any names but rhymes with MARL – thinks that since it’s a DVD and can be paused, it’s ok to interrupt in the event of a number two nappy.

With Flex TV I didn’t have these issues. Once you’ve joined, you’re able to select types of exercise you’re interested in and the times you’d prefer to do a class and classes will be recommended to you, or you can browse what’s on using the menu.  There’s loads to chose from including barre, pilates, HIIT, yoga,  and dance…Then you just stream the live class using any device connected to the internet – If you use your phone don’t do what I did and forget to switch it to ‘do not disturb’ because it’s really annoying when you have to interrupt your amateur plié to deal with your ringing phone.

Because you’re actually ‘booking’ a class, even though you’re doing it at home I think it’s more of a commitment that can’t be interrupted, almost like having an exercise buddy who you don’t want to let down. You can also invite friends to join the class too, so you’re working out together but from your own homes. And since no one can actually see you, you can do it in your pyjamas. Heck you could do it completely starkers if you so wished. All the classes I did were about 30 minutes long, which is perfect for me to fit into even the shortest naps.

The first class I tried was a post-natal core workout which left me aching for days. But despite my complete lack of core strength it felt do-able and the ache was strangely satisfying. The instructor was great at explaining how to ensure you’re getting the most out of the workout, offering options for different levels. I also tried Barre and Pilates, both of which were enjoyable, and the perfect length at 30 minutes so I could squeeze them into a naptime, although there are classes ranging between 10 and 60 minutes.

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and how good it felt to get moving. Sometimes the gym can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re trying something completely new like barre was to me. I’m so uncoordinated that I’d never have dared go to an actual class but with Flex TV I’ve found a way to exercise that I don’t just not hate, I actually like, which after 29 years is a pretty good result.

The only problem I experienced was that any thing that involves jumping or banging around isn’t really a go-er for me when I’m doing it during a nap, because my house is tiny and my child is the worlds lightest sleeper. But since most people don’t have this problem don’t let that put you off! I’ve been picking up the pace with my walks a little to try and get my heart rate up, or walking with Henry in the carrier to add a little weight and once the mornings are a little lighter I plan on trying the couch to 5k again, running before Carl goes to work.

Flex TV is a great option for Mama’s because it allows even the most reluctant of us to get back into exercise without having to worry about childcare. Going out to do a gym class would probably take almost double the time of the actual class when travel is factored in. With Flex, you just sign up to a class and get on with it, leaving more time for changing nappies, prevention of electrocution by sticking fingers in plug sockets, saving the pug from being run over by the V-Tech Train and everything else I fit into a day. Flex TV are currently offering a 30 free trial which you can sign up to here.

*In collaboration with Flex TV – all thoughts my own.

Finding time to work out as a mum http://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2017/02/22/overcoming-fear-exercise/

 

Diary of an imperfect mum
Mummuddlingthrough
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Henry running down the drive

    Clearly feeling much better, chasing the dog down the drive.

So I know just the other day I said I’m no longer a worrier. But… no sooner had the keyboard cooled from my from my frantic ‘write everything quick before naptime ends’ type-fest, did I start worrying about the thing that I’ve known was happening for a while but put to the back of my mind to avoid bursting into tears because last Tuesday Henry had surgery to correct his squint.

Everyone around me was so calm about it, it’s a common procedure, you’re home the same day and you’d probably be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know of someone who’s had squint surgery. His doctor – who’s incredible – was so blase about it, although I’m not sure I’d want any other attitude as there’s no way I’d let anyone with an inch of doubt as to his capabilities anywhere near my baby’s eyes with a sharp object. Nevertheless my heart actually hurt everytime I thought about it.

Despite having fasted, Henry was in such good spirits before the surgery, playing in the waiting room blissfully unaware of what was to come which made his pain when he woke up all the more heartbreaking. He’d been relieved of his hanger when he drifted of to sleep, alarmingly quickly and I left the theatre in tears to wait out the longest 90 minutes of my life. He woke up with closed, swollen eyes covered in ointment and his tears were blood stained, crying hunger, confusion and pain. We gave him his milk, having to restrain his arms from rubbing his eyes – let me tell you, preventing a child from rubbing their eyes is up there with trying to cut their toenails; nigh on impossible.

The rest of the day was a blur, we went home he spent most of the day asleep, or trying to open his eyes and immediately crying. Although he ate a chicken dinner with his eyes closed which I thought was pretty impressive, clearly it’ll take a bit more then strabismus surgery to put Henners off his food.

Watching my baby in pain was the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far as his Mama. I felt guilty that I’d chosen for him to be where he was. I’d chosen for him to be put to sleep and I’d chosen for him to wake up sore and confused. We could’ve chosen to wait until he was a little older, when we could’ve explained what was happening to him. But we’d decided to do it now, when he’d not understand why he’d gone to sleep and woken up uncomfortable, in hope that he won’t remember anything when he’s older.

It wasn’t just the surgery we want him to forget, we’d chosen to operate earlier to avoid Henry hearing comments we’ve heard about his eyes. A few weeks ago we were in a coffee shop with my mum and she overheard two fully grown women whispering about Henry’s squint as we were leaving. When she told me, after the initial mother-bear-protecting-her-cub style rage, I felt a little more confident we’d made the right decision for our little boy. It wasn’t the first time, and it’s only a matter of time before Henry hears comments, whispers and stares. He’s a growing into a happy, sociable and outgoing toddler and I can’t bear the thought of his confidence being knocked before he’s even found his feet in the world.

So I hope that when he’s older Henry feels we’ve made the right choice for him. We had a tough few days but by Saturday he was back to his usual cheeky self, terrorising the feral pug and generally making himself very busy running up and down, doing his best to dodge his four-times-daily eye drops. He was quite happy revisiting the hospital for his check up on Friday so I’m hopeful that he’s already forgotten the experience and it’s not one that he’ll have to go through again, although we’ll have to wait until his check up in a few months to see.

I’ve never spoken about it here before, I’m not really sure why. I think it’s because I know that it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what some families are going through and I’m conscious of that. But I found the experience tough and I’ve not seen alot in the blogosphere about squint surgery, despite how common it is so thought I’d share my thoughts just on the off chance that my ramblings might be of help to someone else.

Has your little one ever had squint surgery? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Squint Surgery - a toughhttp://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2017/02/19/tough-mothering-day/

 

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Tammymum

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Offspring; the apple of your eye, your sweet little darlings, sponges of love, thieves of sleep and all round controllers of life. They give you joy you’ve never experienced and love you’ve never known. But that doesn’t mean they’re not bloody hard work, their moods can change completely at the mere wake of a nap – or lack thereof – taking the day in a completely different, frazzled direction.

I’m a natural worrier, but I want Henry to look back on his childhood and remember me laughing and smiling rather than with an expression of stress etched across my face. So far this year I’ve been pretty successful in embracing a new-found laid-back persona, so much so that I actually think I’ve always been relaxed and carefree, and started masquerading as a highly strung worry wart around 2011 when I had the job from hell. So here are a few tips I’ve found to leave me feeling chirpy, because happy big = happy little:

Take each day at a time…

I used to panic at the prospect of a week without plans, worry about the future, in particular –  returning to work. It turns out that I’m not going back to work and the decision was largely out of my control so I spent far too many hours wasted worrying. I’ve learned to take each day as it come and it ultimately means I’m living more in the present, enjoying moments as they happen and not having them tainted by fretting about what may or may not happen the next day, week, month or year.

…But that’s not to say don’t have goals intentions*.

While I like to take each day at a time I also like to keep one eye on the future, keeping in mind where I want to be and focusing on the steps I intend to take to get there one at a time, rather than worrying about how I’ll get there. Having children is actually a great time to evaluate what you want in life and even a great time for a career change. I enrolled in a college course which I attend two evenings a week and I intend to work towards a new career which I can work around and adapt to my family. *I recently read a great post about the power of mindfulness, and using terminology to make things feel more achievable. Having intentions, rather than goals doesn’t come with the connotations of failure and is therefore much more positive.

Do something for yourself everyday.

Whether you’re on maternity leave, a stay-at-home-mum or a working mum it’s hard work. Have a little bit of time everyday to do something you enjoy – reading, having a bath, watching Corrie – to keep you sane. If you can’t do it solo that day, walk to the park via the coffee shop, bake a cake, arrange some flowers. There’s loads of grown-up activities that the tiny’s can get involved in too and so everyone’s a winner.

Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air & a smile…

If you’re stuck in the house and everyone’s miserable, it’s amazing how going for a walk can be a game-changer. Smiling is also infectious, be the weirdo who smiles at strangers. You might brighten their day too.

…And don’t overestimate what you see on social media.

People only show what they want you to see. What you see is a beautiful picture of a well-turned-out toddler.  What you don’t see is that ten minutes after the picture was taken, said toddler poured the dogs water down his front. True story. Appreciate a nice picture for what it is, but don’t think the person behind it doesnt share similar problems to you. They probably do.

Choose laughter.

Where you can, when something frustrating happens try to see the funny side rather than how inconvenient it is. Probably best to delay or stifle a giggle when your child is flinging yoghurt at the dog – I like to think of myself as a reasonably responsible parent – but losing your temper over it achieves nothing and it’s probably best to take it in your stride. Embracing a bit of silliness livens up the day. I dance and sing for Henry to distract him from his hunger while I’m making breakfast and he finds it hilarious. His little giggle is contagious so I’ll do (almost) anything for such an appreciative audience.

So there you go, do you have any tips to share?

 

How to be a happy mum http://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2017/02/12/how-to-be-a-happier-mama/

My Petit Canard
The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum
Tammymum
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