Sunday, 27 September 2009
Available from http://www.blisslondon.co.uk/
2. bliss 'lemon + sage soapy sap' shower gel & bubbling bath
This is a serious treat - step in to a bath filled with 'soapy sap' and you will be transported in to a lemon grove on a warm summers day. It's so zesty and fresh it makes for the perfect pick me up. New mums will really appreciate this as a gift as it is so hard to try and be perky when you are sleep deprived, use this gel and it instantly refreshes all your senses. This is perfect for those mornings when you are awoken at silly o'clock.
Available from http://www.blisslondon.co.uk/
3. Soap and Glory 'Calm one, Calm All' body soak.
The packaging on this bubble bath was enough to tempt me - I absolutely adore it! It looks really retro and reminiscent of the 50's.
Children in bed, I set about running a nice warm bubble bath. It was heaven. Far from being just a bubble bath, when I stepped out I was as soft as could be. Why was this I hear you ask? It's due to the fact that it contains lemon balm, mallow extracts and moisture magnetising skin conditioners. The smell of the bubble bath was delicate and soothing and I stepped in to bed and promptly fell asleep. So it certainly calmed me.
Available from http://www.boots.com
As you know, I am a huuuuuuuuuugggggggeeeeee fan of Yankee Candles. As I have said before, the sense of smell is the closest sense associated with memory. Give a new mum these ideal gifts.
The 'baby powder' candle is just glorious. It conjures up images of cute little babies in bath robes, freshly powdered up. Then sinking back to inhale the smell of their skin whilst you enjoy plenty of cuddles. A house filled with the smell of this candle would make the ultimate cosy baby environment. If you love the smell of a baby then this is the closest thing to encasing the smell in a jar. It is a really novel and yet beautiful smell.
An option to the candle is the reeds. Place the reeds in the fragrance oil and let the reeds soak up the scent. Then you have a constant aroma filling the air. Plus you have the bonus of them looking really attractive.
The other candle which I really recommend is 'Blueberry scone.' If you want to appear a domestic goddess then this is the candle for you. Burn this one before any friends or family arrive and make it appear as if you have been doing some baking. It is an intense blueberry smell and is enough to make your mouth water. I have this candle placed in my kitchen and immediately you walk in you have to take in a deep breath to inhale the gorgeous smell. If I received this as a present I would be over the moon. Besides the delicious smell they come in wonderfully decorative jars which look wonderful in any home.
Available from http://www.yankeecandle.co.uk/
5. Morgan perfume set
Morgan de Toi fragrance pen gift set. Everybody loves to be spoilt with perfume. These stunning floral blend perfumes include Morgan De Toi Light My Heart, Love Love de Toi, Sweet Paradise and Morgan de Toi Femme. Containing notes of Blueberry blossom, pink pepper and blackcurrant buds. With top notes of pink pepper and blackcurrant buds, middle notes of hibiscus flowers and butterfly orchid and base note of musk, sandalwood and frangipani flowers. When out and about these are a really handy size to carry in a handbag and spritz.
Available from http://www.fragrancedirect.co.uk/
Saturday, 26 September 2009
I found the perfect answer after roaming the net - it's a baby bouquet. In case you haven't heard of a baby bouquet it's a bouquet which is composed of baby clothing items and silk foliage. For a small bouquet you can expect it to be made up of 5 pairs of socks, 1 pair of scratch mittens and a reversible hat. There were a few companies selling 'baby bouquets' but I chose a company called www.babyblooms.co.uk. I ordered it at around 1pm and awaited with baited breath to see whether it would live up to my expectations.
The very next morning it arrived and I was absolutely thrilled opening the box - It's just a shame I don't get to keep it.
Lid opened and the excitement builds as a layer of luxurious pink crepe paper covers the box.
You get to another box with a clear lid, you are then treated to the visual delight of seeing the bouquet. Instantly you want to ooh and ah and it is much more breathtaking in reality than it even appears on the 'Baby Blooms' website.
What would your reaction be getting a box like this? I think I would be jumping up and down if someone gave me such a delightful surprise as this. A card is included so you can include your message of congratulations.
And at last here it is in all its glory interspersed with silk foliage, velvet leaves and silk roses and freesias. The pink crepe which surrounds the flowers really emphasises the carefully selected colours in the bouquet. It's a million times better than buying someone a bunch of flowers as little babies are so sensitive to pollen and adults too for that matter. This bouquet has a really funky and modern twist to it and would look great in a little girls bedroom. In fact you could just keep this bouquet as a keepsake, I don't know whether I could bring myself to unravel it all as it is just so beautiful. Now I just have to sit back and contain my excitement until the baby arrives. I don't know what I am more excited about the baby or giving the gorgeous bouquet!!
Available at www.babyblooms.co.uk
Pampers are currently running a ‘Golden Sleep’ campaign to highlight the importance of sleep and the detrimental effect that lack of sleep can have on a family. So here are my thoughts on the matter….
Here are the guidelines which sleep expert Professor Gregory Stores encourages:
1. Establish a consistent 24 hour routine for your baby. A bedtime routine is particularly important.
2. Some babies benefit from being given a ‘top-up feed’ at the same time late in the evening to prevent them from waking up hungry in the middle of the night.
3. Night time feeds should not be continued longer than is necessary,
4. Help your baby fall asleep alone. You can do this by putting your baby into his cot when awake or drowsy, kissing him goodnight and then leave him to go to sleep alone. If he cries, wait a few minutes rather than responding immediately because some babies cry as they are falling asleep.
5. It helps your baby to go to sleep if the circumstances he falls asleep in are the same as he experiences when he wakes at night.
6. Co-sleeping is not advisable because it interferes with him becoming self soothing and risks his breathing becoming obstructed when he is asleep.
7. Establish a clear difference between day and night to help your baby’s body clock to develop.
8. Your baby’s sleeping environment should be overall conducive to sleep. It should be the right temperature, quiet and dark.
9. It is important for your baby to be comfortable during the night, so make sure they have a clean nappy to go to bed.
10. Be sure that your baby is able to breath properly when asleep. Safeguards include placing your baby on his back, using a good quality, firm mattress which will not compress or mould his face. Co-sleeping dangers are increased of either parent is on medication or taken alcohol or other substances.
11. If you have taken notice of these tips but your baby is still sleeping badly then medical causes should be considered.
12. You can teach your baby to sleep well from an early age.
Professor Stores, sleep expert on the Pampers Village Parenting Panel says “Sleep is vital to a baby’s development, but it is also essential for the parents too, as insufficient sleep, especially over a prolonged period, can affect their relationship with their baby and each other, as well as other aspects of life including performance at work, general well-being and overall quality of life.”
Sleep is worth its weight in gold – my positive experience with Pampers.
I think Pampers are doing a fantastic job of raising awareness of how detrimental lack of sleep can be to parents. I come at this campaign from a slightly different angle as I am a breastfeeding, co-sleeping mother. The first few weeks breastfeeding were a real hardship and the best strategy I found to achieve my goal of successfully nursing my baby was to co-sleep.
However, I feel it is important to emphasise the fact that we are a non-smoking household. Other important factors are never to go to bed after drinking alcohol or on strong medication.
It was tough persevering with the breastfeeding as I had just spent four nights in a torture camp (I mean hospital), with preeclampsia on a labour ward with women screaming loudly in the throes of labour whilst I awaited my torture (I mean birth). So it was such a relief that my baby always seemed much more comfortable and slept more soundly when wearing Pampers as opposed to other nappies where he seemed irritable because his skin would flare up on his bottom. Because of the fact that he was happier it gave me more determination to carry on with the breastfeeding. Nine months later and we’re still going strong with the breastfeeding…..
Look out for the Pampers Golden Sleep logo in store now, which is featured on packs of Pampers Baby-Dry nappies, Pampers Active Fit nappies and Pampers Easy Up pants. The Golden Sleep logo symbolises the outstanding dryness performance of Pampers; offering up to 12 hours of dryness overnight to help your baby enjoy up to 12 hours of Golden Sleep, so you can get some rest as well – and be ready to embrace the next day together.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Here in the land of 'Sweet Craftiness' we've been experimenting with art. We have found a product which combines art with messiness which is always a combination that children will love. I absolutely love Alex Toys as they always provide great craft projects with fantastic craft materials included - so no need to spend lots of money buying all the bits and pieces needed to become creative.
The paints are all tipped in to the bottom and the balls are positioned. Paper in place and ready for some pinball action! Look at the expression of concentration on Corey's face. Push down the buttons and here we go!
Here's Corey's first attempt - the blue paint being very dominant. This was such a fun art project and even I enjoyed myself, it was great for relieving any stress of the day. Corey thoroughly enjoyed flicking the ball across the page and creating havoc with the paper! This is the type of project you would usually love to attempt but don't because of the mess it makes. Fear not though as this kit comes with a splash guard so you and your clothes remain clean.
At this point Corey really gets stuck in and tries out some new techniques. He finds that by tilting the container backwards and forwards it creates some new artistic media.
The 'Fire' picture.
We're planning on getting hold of some black paper to go in the container to produce some firework pictures a bit closer to Bonfire Night.
Here's more artwork by the very creative Corey.
Corey finds yet another artistic technique - whilst the paint is still wet, he scribes into the paint with a blunt pencil to create images.
Monday, 21 September 2009
I always like to have a neat and tidy house but there are a few jobs that I always have to put off due to the fact that the products I use cause me to suffer with terrible migraines. Anyone who suffers with migraines will understand the torture that makes you fearful of anything that might trigger one. I just accepted that these would be jobs that I could never do but as I was browsing the supermarket aisles the other day I spotted the new range from Ecover and decided I would partake in a little experiment.
EXPERIMENT: To test the effectiveness of ecological brands against conventional brands.
This experiment was spurred on by:
- suffering with migraines when using conventional products and wanting to find an alternative.
- overpowering smell of conventional products
- wanting to be kinder to environment (after all we spend enough time talking to our children about recycling, global warming etc).
against the ecological brand.
To do this experiment I tested:
- Ecover power cleaner against Cillit Bang
- Ecover window & glass cleaner against Mr Muscle window and glass cleaner
- Ecover multi surface cleaner against Flash multi surface
- Ecover all purpose cleaner against Flash all purpose cleaner
To start the experiment I sprayed one window pane with the Ecover and one with the Mr Muscle. To be fair I couldn't see much difference as they both provided sparkling clean windows, however the Mr Muscle had a much more overpowering smell and I felt that I had not only sprayed some very harsh chemicals on my window panes but also in to the air.
RESULT: Ecover wins for sparkling results AND providing me with a nice non-toxic household.
Next, I tested the Ecover power cleaner against the Cillit Bang on my cooker hood and inside my oven. This is always a job I put off doing as whenever I have cleaned out the oven with conventional cleaners, when I next put on the oven all I can smell is the cleaner. I then worry whether this is polluting the food. I rinse it off time and time again but the smell remains for some time. I tested the Cillit Bang inside the top oven and the Ecover inside the bottom oven.
RESULT: Ecover wins for totally degreasing the oven but leaving no overpowering toxic smells.
Worktops and windowsills needed cleaning next so I used the Ecover multi-surface against the Flash All Surface. This is becoming a recurrent theme but in my opinion they both cleaned as efficiently as each other but the Ecover had a much lighter smell.
RESULT: Ecover wins for sparkling worktops and for leaving a very natural smell behind that disappeared quite soon after using.
Lastly, I tested the Ecover All Purpose cleaner against the Flash All Surface cleaner. Both provided gleaming floors but (I think you know what I am going to say) was much less overpowering to the nostrils.
RESULT: Ecover wins.
VERDICT: Initially I had my doubts that anything based on plants and minerals could clean the greasy grime from my house, but it has and so I thought I should find out a little out about how the products actually work. After visiting www.ecover.com I found out some interesting facts. The pioneering ingredients are actually made with fully renewable plant based-ingredients. The ingredients being rapeseed oil, yeast and glucose, they are produced using a biochemical process - a process similar to brewing beer. This is excellent as many of the conventional products use a chemical process.
If you are keen to care for the environment and set a good example - here's an interesting fact for you: all the ingredients Ecover use are sourced in Europe so it takes half the CO2 to transport the ingredients.
Because of the fact that Ecover only uses plant and mineral based ingredients you don't have to worry about leaving behind nasty chemicals when you clean. I must be particularly sensitive to the chemicals as they always leave me with migraines but after using the Ecover products I am really satisfied that they aren't at all detrimental to my health and unfortunately has proven that perhaps I should pick up my mop and bucket a little more often - hmmph maybe I should have stuck with the chemical products! No more excuses. Ha ha!
OVERALL RESULT: Ecover's the winner!!
Friday, 18 September 2009
It's-a-me Mario - if you know that catchphrase you can come in and read my blog. Welcome to Mario Mania! In my house I have the worlds biggest 'Super Mario Fan.' Corey begun his admiration of Mario at about three years of age. He adored Mario and so we tried to create a Mario bedroom for him. But this resulted in us having to embark on a quest to find any Mario related merchandise out there. It wasn't an easy task however and most of our Mario finds were very retro - dating back to the 1980's which we purchased from Ebay. After hours of searching off and on for a few months I finally managed to get hold of a Super Mario duvet and Super Mario curtains. The next find was a Super Mario alarm clock but after we got our walls painted a very boring magnolia we needed something to turn the room in to a 'Mario room'.
After hours of searching and googling 'Mario rooms' I finally found a company called Supernice www.supernice.co.uk who sold wall art stickers. Now, I will let you see the results for yourselves.......
There's the toys!
And now even Bailey has become taken over with Mario fever!
In fact we have found that the best Super Mario toys come from Recreation Plc. They are well made and high quality. A lot of the items are proclaimed to be collectors items and after seeing an old holey Mario duvet go up to £70 on Ebay - I believe them.
Corey obtained the DS holder for his birthday and he was over the moon with it. In fact, so over the moon he made a video about it....
The Super Mario DS holder is 12 inches tall and is made of high quality vinyl. The figure is an official Nintendo product and will definitely become a collectors piece. It's highly detailed and according to Corey it's 'very realistic and better than all of his other Mario toys.' The head moves and best of all it looks great sat in his room clutching the DS.
Here's Mario on the eve of Corey's birthday awaiting the start to his long life as a ds holder! He seems to be very happy with his job role by that smile on his face.
All that's left to say is that this Mario DS Holder is absolutely brilliant - it's become a focal point in Corey's room and all the kids love it!
Mario DS Holder available from:
Monday, 14 September 2009
I'm sitting here inhaling the smell of Christmas. The smell of Christmas that will uplift anyone who enters my house. I am pleased to announce the arrival of two very special items. I'll give you a clue as to what they are - dreamy, seductive, memorable, indulgent, perfect, scene-setting, tempting, oh I could go on........... You should know what I am raving about by now - yes it is 'Yankee Candles'.
Two of my favourites, ones which I feel should be made compulsory at Christmas time as they are so stunning. They are 'Christmas Cookie' and 'Christmas Eve.' I have given myself a little treat; I decided to burn them for a little while to put me in a Christmassy mood. I'm sitting with a cup of hot chocolate and basking in the glorious smell filling my house. I am hoping that by burning these candles over the next few weeks I will become a super organised mum and have my entire Christmas shopping and card list done before December this year.
I decided these candles were a must this year in providing the perfect aroma to a family home. I am trying my best to make this Christmas the closest thing to perfect as I possibly can and these fitted the bill. Last year, I had to be induced two weeks early as I suffered with severe pre-eclampsia and when my bouncing baby boy was born I was too ill to fully enjoy him. It seemed a mammoth task when I was allowed out just two days before Christmas to be able to get out of bed and watch Corey open his presents.
So why do Yankee Candles appeal to me so much? What's not to love? It's a well known fact that smell is the closest sense linked to memory and so I want to fill my children with lots of lovely memories associated with lovely smells. In years to come, I want them to pick up a candle and say "oh, that reminds me of that Christmas when Santa left us a letter and then I quizzed Mum on the fact that Santa must have had a printer." (True story - only it was the tooth fairy)!
Yankee Candles are simply gorgeous; they recreate the smell 100% of what it says on the jar. For example with 'Christmas Cookie' you would be forgiven for checking the cooling tray to see where the freshly baked cookie smell was coming from. They are described my Yankee Candle as a calming candle and I agree as if you close your eyes you can almost imagine you are a little child again with your mother busy baking for you. The smell is sweet and buttery and good enough to eat but for now it will have to be good enough just to smell as I don't believe eating wax is considered beneficial.
The 'Christmas Eve' candle is described as 'a magical sugared plum fragrance' and it most definitely is magical. The smell brings back childhood memories of visiting Santa's grotto and the excitement that that brought. You really have to experience the smell of Yankee Candles to believe how wonderful they are.
My plan for these two candles is to burn them over the next few months, to give the ultimate build-up to Christmas. I think my children will be bouncing with the excitement by Christmas Eve and I hope that these candles will have played quite a big part in creating some fantastic memories for them.
The amazing thing about Yankee Candles is that they are the only candle I have ever found that delivers constant and consistent fragrance. Even the box they arrived in still smells delicious - and it's about a week since they arrived. Apart from the fragrance there's the lovely design of the jars they come in, you could use these purely for the decorative content. The illustrations used on the jars will delight everybody. They remind me of old-fashioned sweet jars and they create a real ambiance in the household. No candle holders are needed, just light up and the delicate flame will flicker within the jar. Perfection!!!
Yankee Candles use top-secret exclusive fragrance oils to create their range and so no other candle ever smells like a Yankee Candle.
There are two more things I love about these Yankee Candles - apart from the amazing smell, they are safer than any other candle because they are contained in a glass jar and I can use the jars for craft projects afterwards as when the candles have been all used up, you can wash the jar and reuse! I'm really happy now - as I have my version of Christmas in a jar.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
It's that dreaded time of the year again when children and parents get that sinking feeling of 'back to school/work blues'. Parents rushing around madly to make sure last minute uniform alterations are made, searching out those elusive wide-fitting shoes and worrying madly how their child will react to a new teacher and classmates. Children becoming subdued after the summer holidays rolled out endlessly for them. And now a snap of the fingers come and far from being able to do whatever they desired they find that now routine and reams of homework are back on the agenda. So how could I put a happier slant on going back to school?
Well after much searching on the internet I came across a delightful company called 'The Biscuiteers'. After taking a look at the wonderful array of biscuits they sold I could honestly say I felt like a child in a sweetshop. So many delicate and amazing biscuits to choose from. The biscuits looked like they belonged in 'The Mad Hatters Tea Party' in Alice in Wonderland. I sat by my computer and devoured mentally all the detail, colours and themes. There were tons of designs to choose from but I had narrowed it down to three particular designs which had taken my fancy:
- Creepy crawlies
- Bag lady
- Teachers Pet
I only had to wait until the next day as the parcel was sent out on next day special delivery. Upon opening the package I instantly realised this was no mistake on my behalf, this was a gloriously luxurious buy - one which made me feel 'a million dollars.' The outer box was a gift in itself - with a glamorous feel about it. The box was pink and white and looked like a miniature shop sitting on my worktop. It's the type of box that you just want to leave laying about to impress people.
Established in 2007 - Biscuiteers are really the way forward. The best thing being that each biscuit is made of the best locally sourced ingredients and is infused with passion as each biscuit is individually hand iced.
After admiring the outer box I was eager to see the contents and I was not disappointed.As you can see they were luxuriously packaged up and the feeling was something akin to opening a present on Christmas morning. I thought I would take a peek before I gave them to Corey just to quell my own excitement. I peeled off the Biscuiteers logo carefully, not wanting to rip any of the delicate tissue.
The first thing you see upon opening are these little cards. 'Why send flowers when you can send biscuits instead?' and it makes sense doesn't it? People get flowers all the time, half of the time not a lot of thought goes in to giving flowers. But biscuits - everybody loves biscuits! Especially themed biscuits! How delightful are these biscuits?????? I loved the blackboard. So much detail. I couldn't wait to see Corey's face when I gave him these. And so, do you want to see it? Do you? Do you? Oh, all right then...............
Look how happy he is! And this was the morning of his first day back at school. Hee Hee - so my evil plan worked (evil laugh)! I can't tell you how lovely it was to see how bright and breezy he was - it made it worth every penny that I spent on the biscuits!
Corey thought it was even more amazing that the second sheet added up to his age!Corey thought this was one of the best ways to start a school year ever!!!!
Any friends and family who visited us commented on the box and so we obliged their curiousness by giving them a biscuit - there was plenty to share around in each box. They all said the same thing - delicious.
So when Corey came home from school and said how kind and lovely his teacher was and allayed all my worries, I suggested to him that we give her a very special gift. Yes, you've guessed it! He couldn't wait to get in the next day to give it to her. We chose the blackboard one - how unique is that!! And that really is the beauty of this tin, you can keep them all for yourself or you can share the joy! We wrapped the blackboard up in orange crepe tissue and it looked amazing! I just wish I had captured the teachers face on camera for you, all I know was Corey came home pupil of the day...........................
The biscuits cost £37.50 and are worth every penny - yum!!!
Available from www.biscuiteers.com
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Wet-wipes or cotton wool?? It's never been much of a decision for me previously as since Bailey has been born he has suffered terribly with eczema. His face and bottom were so bad that they became infected and started badly weeping. I'd never realised how hard it was trying to stop a baby touching his face until we endured the ordeal. For two whole days until the weeping sore on his cheek healed and dried up, I almost had to sit with him constantly otherwise he was gauging at it with his fingernails. I think it was one of the most stressful experiences I have been through with him. So mainstream highly perfumed baby products have always been a no-no for him.
It's also made a bit of an issue of when we take him out anywhere on a journey as if he requires a nappy change then the only option is wet-wipes, which inevitably brings him out in nappy rash. The way we change him at home is solely with cotton wool and water and this is something we thought we just had to put up. However...................
Surfing the net- I found that a company producing something known as 'Water Wipes' were wanting people with babies to test them and give feedback. I emailed the lady and offered to review. It was just a few nights previously I was thinking to myself why can't there be a product that is just soaked in water, but then I thought there must be some hygiene issue to this as there was none currently on the market. Lo and behold two nights later and I see this product online. Eager to see whether this product was any good I got stuck in to testing.
Before I tested on Bailey I wanted to do the 'Sarah Test' on them first. I say the 'Sarah Test' because I have exceptionally sensitive skin and the slightest thing brings me out in a rash. So arriving out of the shower with panda eyes and remnants of make-up left on I set about using the wipes on my face. I was very pleasantly surprised - I know these aren't targeted as facial wipes but maybe I have found a secondary use for them. They were so soft and thicker than normal wipes that it made it really easy to wipe make-up off.
If there was one thing initially that would have put me off this product it would have been the price. £4.49 for a pack of 72 wipes. But after seeing how much thicker and kinder to skin they are, that's two added bonuses right there. The fact that they are thicker means you only need to use one wipe which makes them in fact more economical than normal wipes besides having the glorious texture which is great factor.
So after testing them on my own face, I waited until Bailey had done his worst in his nappy before trying them out on him. I'm happy to report that these wipes worked perfectly on him. One wipe was large enough and thick enough to clean up his whole bum. Unlike other wipes I didn't feel my fingers were about to slip through the wipe either. They're great because they are made up of 99.9% water and they remain moist because they have a special mechanism on them called a 'Keep-Moist Dispenser' which locks out any air.
So why else am I raving about this product??
- As they are so mild and non-irritating they significantly reduce the risk of allergic reaction in the skin.
- They are suitable from birth
- They are preservative-free
- They are non-irritant
- They avoid nappy rash
- Amazing soft texture
- They stay moist
Better still - there was no reaction on Baileys bum! This is a huge weight off my mind as I can now leave the house with baby in tow with the knowledge that I have a little wonder in my bag - the convenience of wet wipes but the purity of cotton wool and water! So everything is peachy (literally) and we will definitely be buying these wipes in future!