“There’s too many Mum Bloggers!”

“There’s too many Mum Bloggers!”

The internet is saturated with Mummy Bloggers. It was indeed daunting starting up my own, Dear Reader; as I sifted through post after post and thought to myself “all the good post titles have surely been taken now!” and pondered as to where I could even fit myself in the mix.

There are so many funny Mummies (who’s antics have my sides splitting at the parenting fails, reasons to drink wine/gin/other alcoholic beverage and refreshing accounts of how hard being a Mummy truly is!), Slummy Mummies, Unicorn Mummies (who are imperfect but bossing Motherhood in their own way), Luxe Mummies (looking perfectly preened, doing yoga, strutting their stuff about the City in only the most premium brands), “Winging it” Mummies (learning the ropes along the way! I guess most of us Mummies adopt this parenting stupid at some point along the way!), Eco Mummies (saving the planet with one reusable nappy at a time & buying in organic and fair trade items), Mum-Trepreneures (running their own businesses from home in between school runs and after bedtime) and Mummies to a Tribe of 4 maybe 5 Wildings!

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Is what I have to say worthy? Will my advice be useful considering I am no expert in the Mum Arena?

Regardless, I took the advice of many of the incredible women’s blogs I had poured over throughout my pregnancy and early moments of Motherhood; judging my ability to Mum against these anecdotes,and jumped in, trusting enough in myself that I could make my own little piece of cyber space work!

Yes there are A LOT of Mum Blogs… but not too many. I think it is only a positive thing because blogs are written by experts in the field and it is encouraging that so many of us “just Mums” feel that we can be so much more than that and have so much pride in the prefix adjectives that describe our style! After all Mum’s make this world go round. We do our best and there are still topics to add our voice to because each experience is unique.

I think it is encouraging that Mummy Bloggers exist to empower other new mums, or even “old hat” mums and doesn’t it mean that our children as a collective are in good hands if more and more mums are writing about their expertise?!!

I think so.

I welcome every new Mummy Blogger.

I am thankful that there is scope to help more and have our voices heard. Not just heard, in fact; but sought out and applied as a means of virtual assistance. Like a warm cyber hug that nurtures the next Mum and reminds her that she is enough and is doing a great job!

Now that’s the kind of positivity and love that we should be spreading. Am I right?!

In a world where there is so much “bad” news, fake news, hatred and attempts to polarise global citizens, I think it’s a welcome breath of fresh air that Mun’s are giving little pieces of themselves to the wider community and bringing a little love and light.

I say… Keep blogging Mamma.

Your experience is valid. Your experience brings comfort on the darker days. Your honesty is refreshing. The love you have to give is a beacon of light.

None of us, yet all of us are pro at this Mothering Thing; an oxymoron yes! But the truth none the less. Blogging starts out for ourselves. A means to vent. To unleash our wildest thoughts. Our passions. But it goes beyond that and you soon find cries of “me too!” It is so important not to feel alienated and to love parenting. Mummy Blogging allows you to do this! If you love it… do it! Simple as!

Yes I am “another Mum Blogger” but if my advice helps just one bleary eyed mum, struggling through a night feed, feeling like she just can’t and one of my friendly reminders empowers her then that is a good thing!

I for one welcome new voices. I love to read, I love to write and I love to Mum! There’s no competition in Motherhood and when we realise this the world will be a better place… so maybe we can start in the virtual world and stand by one another and support each of our messages. We are stronger together and a Mum Collective is what the world didn’t ask for… but certainly needs!

What Mummy Blogs have you been reading? Do you label yourself as a particular ‘type’ of Mum?

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#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy x

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Mommy Self Care & Review: Willow Organic- Sorbet Glow Range.

Mommy Self Care & Review: Willow Organic- Sorbet Glow Range.

In another life before back to back pregnancy I would “treat” myself to a luxurious bath after stressful days at the office (these tended to increase whilst pregnant with Mylo) and if I felt a little bit extravagant I would light a few tea lights and chuck in a Bomb Cosmetics bath bomb because I couldn’t always afford LUSH ones and would keep them ‘for best’; whatever that means!  (As it is nearly Christmas… yes it is… there is no point in denying it now! Here is a rather jolly festive version of Bomb’s bath goodies. A lovely little gingerbread fellow!)

I think this perfectly illustrates the woman I was, Dear Reader. I have never been someone that has looked after myself as number one and I think this must have taken an emotional toll on me at the very least. Post childloss I have stopped (or are trying to daily) giving a heck about peripheral people and focus on being the best Mummy I can be to Bea. Afterall, how can you pour from a cup that is itself empty? It’s most pivotal that I am not an empty vessel, and these days I give sparingly to those people who come out of the woodwork when they want something!

But often as a Mum, and I am sure all the #MumArmy will attest to this: I forget about myself still. It’s all very well that works of Self Help or magazine ‘psychologists’ advise to act with intent and put yourself first, but like the most adept chess players in the world; a Mum has to attempt to plan at least 8 moves ahead of the child and account for a million scenarios that could play out, so with all the best will in the world it is not really an option to enforce structure. You just have to find those delicious pockets that pop up in the day where you’re can enjoy a hot cup of tea, read a chapter in the “new” book you started skimming 2 months ago or blow dry your hair. (I am sure it gets easier… I have seen light at the end of the tunnel when I see the updates of Mummies who are Parenting 3/4 year olds… but I do not want to wish away my NOW with Bea, so instead I will look a hot mess and take a hit on the consumption of anything hot and wear mushed carrots as a badge of honour!)

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Mums tend to operate in a world of Damned-if-we-do-Damned-if-we-don’t and I think we foster the wrong sort of connection to ourselves. That pesky “Mum Guilt” which is damaging and as much as comparison; a thief of our potential happiness. But where do we even start if we are absent from our own To-Do lists? We have 500 things to do a day, probably don’t get through half of it, promise ourselves we will try again tomorrow. But crucially, we neglect Self Care and I personally believe this is the key to a better balance of commitment to Motherhood and Selfhood.

I have found Motherhood has offered an opportunity for me to enjoy my writing again (hence this blog that I somehow manage to dedicate a few hours a week to!) so I have found joy in my hobby and being able to connect (if only through a phone or computer screen) with other women. I have certainly found myself evolving in taking up the mantel of Mumma Bear and my intentions have certainly taken  a change of direction. I feel lucky to be a person who was happy to throw myself into a career pre children but now it is Motherhood that sets my soul on fire. And that, is “enough” for me. If I could just sort this #MomBod I would feel a lot better in myself too. Our inner most passions keep us joyful and fully alive. I am not one of these mums that will ever say that “I lost my identity when I had a child” because for me personally, becoming a Mum made me! I wouldn’t even swap the Poonami’s, teething woes, sleep deprivation and feeling like a Mombie most days for a pair of sky high heels & nights out.

Hello Mombie! *waves*

One thing I have “gifted” myself though is the time for a skincare routine in the morning and evening. This is a ritual that marks the start and end of my pretty full on days. Its terrible to admit, but I wasn’t even moisturising this nearly 30 year old skin until a few months ago. So I was excited to try out Willow Organic’s new range of face goodies called Sorbet Glow. If you are just salivating at the name just wait until your senses are involved- the products are aesthetically pleasing, sound great when squirted from their reciprocals, smell incredible, feel sumptuous on the skin… but please don’t eat them!

The range harnesses the power of the natural world in the delicious and perfect combination of fruits, botanicals and other powerful ingredients such as Gatuline®Expression that sets the brand apart.

-This small plant, which blossoms all year long, has a broad geographical footprint, covering the whole tropical zone in South America, Africa and Asia.
Originating from Peru and Brazil, Acmella oleracea is a cultivated non-endangered species, known and used for a very long time in Madagascar and La Réunion.

The extract has scientifically proven myorelaxing properties. However, these myorelaxing properties are totally reversible in 24hours making it perfectly safe. 

In vitro & In vivo tests have medically proven that the use of Gatuline® Expression reduces the appearance of crows feet within 24hrs – 83% of participants agreed.

Source: Botanical Glossary.

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The collection consists of:

Daily Cleansing Wash, Radiance Day Cream, Cell Renewing Cleansing Mask, Vitamin Facial Oil, Super Firming eye Treatment, Nightly Rejuvenation Balm and a Vitamin Lip Oil.

All of which this exhausted Mummy got her paws on to see if these products could become my Go-To skincare saviour. The brand boasts certification of true Organic status by both Cosmos and The Soil Association. This means that the products are not just organic content (some brands represent themselves as organic and it is very misleading as their products may only contain 5% organic matter for example!) Terminology does not often reflect the true nature of the product. I don’t know about you but I would rather not be using a product that is labelled as “95% natural” when it contains methylisothiazolinone, a preservative which is also found in window and floor cleaners and air fresheners *cough* Nivea *cough*! That is just fooling the consumer so the advice that I have gleaned from this is to spend out a little more on the certified products if you want the fully organic experience.

Obviously if you just want an affordable product (I totally get it because that’s how I used to shop!) then you are sacrificing the quality of the goods. Willow Organic is certified having gone through its rigorous review by The Soil Association (one of the UK’s most reputable certified bodies) which has meant every ingredient contained is tested to confirm they are Non-GM and have never been subjected to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or any other artificial processing. All farms from which the ingredients are produced must have been cleared of any chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a minimum of 3 years!

As if this wasn’t a stringent enough requirement, in addition to this factor each product must satisfy a minimum content of 70% organic and Willow Organic have delivered products that meet then exceed this expectation with each product being 75% organic at least!

Scientist I am not, but to me that sounds like a high level of care for the body to me and when you are slathering products in to your skin (the bodies largest organ) you may not be benefiting your body. Skincare products inevitably end up being filtered by our liver so it will pay to be mindful of what we are essentially putting INTO our bodies. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warned pregnant women from using unnecessary amounts of products with chemicals in on their skin, saying the effects on unborn babies is not yet know but there could be detrimental effects.

“The ingredients for our entire range have been carefully selected to provide effective, hard working skin care for you. We do not test on animals, we do not use parabens, microbeads, sodium laurel sulphates, palm oil or any mineral oils in our products.”

source: Willow Organic website.

Another plus is that all of the beautiful packaging is 100% recyclable (but with my slight Hoarder Mentality I am struggling to part with the beautiful boxes!) This Brand truly has thought about every aspect including their philosophy, sustainability, ethical compatibility and look. It is luxurious yet soulful. It is organic but hardworking. It is not the cheapest on the market for sure but I would be happy to splurge on my favourites of the range because the brand will not compromise its values and that has got to count for something in this world of business that is just chasing another fast transaction but not necessarily ensuring the future of their customer. Willow’s approach is refreshing and my skin has certainly felt the benefits of this glorious. Sorbet rainbow. I mean, just look how fabulous they look all lined up in their full glory!

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So let’s get into it!

These seem like bold statements that I have made above, but the superior quality speaks for itself. When my Mother came to visit me she mentioned my “healthy glow” and thought I had been on a cocktail of vitamins! Being a busy mum, I rarely have time to apply a full face of makeup any more but I have confidently ditched the foundation and concealer (opting just for a light swoop of bronzer) because my skin has been noticeably fuller & more a-glow-glow which has allowed me to shine through the day with very little upkeep and maintenance. I feel confident in my skin (literally) which is one battle won. As Mothers we are very aware of which battles to pick and you can feel like you have one aspect of your life under control so you can just throw your hair up into a Mum Bun and go!

Below I will directly pull from the website the description of the product then a few word review, verdict and star rating for each product used.


Daily Cleansing Wash-

(With Gatuline Expression® & Acai oil.) 72CE53A5-99A4-46E8-90CC-F74851249A7D

“From the new Sorbet Glow range, a gentle yet effective daily cleansing wash which will cleanse and gently exfoliate your skin.

It contains Acai oil and Chamomile oil which have calming and anti-bacterial properties. Finely ground bamboo makes a wonderful natural exfoliant, is rich in skin-protective anti-oxidants and anti-irritants to protect as it exfoliates. Bamboo also has astringent qualities which help to clear oily or blemished skin. Acai is rich in vitamins to leave skin glowing.”

I personally love this product and do see myself investing in this as part of my future skin care regime. It was easy to absorb into my skin and I could feel the difference instantly. About three days in I noticed a change in the properties of my skin. I can tend towards a pinker hue and get rather ‘attractive’ blotches at times (curse this sensitive/combination skin *shakes fist*!) but this was slightly remedied by the daily use.

I coupled this cleanser with my Simple toner and Olay moisturiser. It was easy to slot into the routine and I got used to adding the extra steps of the addition of the eye cream and facial oil. This was a new concept to me. Who knew the daily skincare regime had so many steps to complete?! Well I certainly didn’t but my skin has since thanked me!

I didn’t find the smell to be overpowering but it was certainly fresh. The consistency was full yet easy to absorb and I liked the feel of it on both my hands and face. (Sometimes I can be a bit funny about products being unnecessarily sticky which could be one of the reasons I have previously avoided a full skincare routine!)

As previously mentioned, Willow truly consider their customer and the cleanser comes with a beautiful organic Muslin cloth which just adds to the full experience. I am a sucker for “pretty things” and if there are little extras that company has my heart and loyalty! Freebies go a long way, so this was a nice additional touch.

Verdict– My skin feels great. The pores are well and truly unclogged. There was no residue left on my skin and it was quite happily rinsed with lukewarm water. As an aside: I also used this cleanser to give my makeup brushes a good clean as I had not taken the time to do so since Bea’s arrival (yes I know that is skanky but it’s just something that is not at the forefront of your mind whilst Daily Mumming!)

Rating– 9/10. Does what is claims! No fuss. Easy to adopt as part of daily routine.

 

 

 

Radiance Day Cream-

(B50F5D9D-392F-42F6-9F86-6784462107E7With Gatuline Expression® and Pomegranate.)

“Age-preventative hydrating day cream from the Sorbet Glow range, with soothing Shea Butter and collagen rich Pomegranate which helps smooth and firm your skin by promoting collagen and elastin production. Pomegranate has also been proven to help prevent hyperpigmentation through its natural compounds which protect against free radicals and environmental damage. Pomegrante helps oily skin combat breakouts, can reduce scarring and soothe minor irritations.

The Radiance Day Cream also contains Cranberry seed oil which helps improve the skin’s elasticity and encourages cell regeneration.”

This little beauty smells divine. It is thick and luxurious in texture. I didn’t use this every day but I loved how it made my skin feel afterwards.DE797962-C43A-4726-9940-E0443E5C620B

Verdict– I am unsure as to whether it was this product that stopped my skin getting oily particularly on my T-Zone as I was using all the products at one time, but I have noticed that my skin seems more normal by description and there have been zero breakouts over my 2 week intensive testing period.

Rating– 7/10 – smells dreamy but I wouldn’t necessarily use it every day personally so the value is not in it for me. I would use the daily cleanser over this.

 

 

Cell Renewing Cleansing Mask-

(with Gatuline Expression®  & Coconut extract.)
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“This dual action mask from the Sorbet Glow range is designed to cleanse the skin whilst providing deep nourishment, removing impurities and brightening your complexion.

Coconut oil extract is valued for its hydrating properties; it is highly absorbent and nourishing, enabling moisture to get into the layers of dermis fast. With anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities, it is effective in the fight against a number of bacterial infections, soothing inflammation, fighting acne and pilliates red dry skin which can cause acne.

Coconut extract also gently helps to remove the surface layer of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother and helps prevent premature aging.”

I think we are all aware by now of the amazing benefits of coconut oil… Bad Skin Day: Rub in coconut oil… Bad Hair Day: wash it in coconut oil… Bad Husband Day: Wipe coconut oil all over him…!! But in all seriousness coconut oil is the Don of all things body care.

Verdict– I have gone #CocoLoco for this mask and it was one of the products I would use on a more regular basis. Everything about it is great. It came out in a very satisfying blob.

I do think my skin has a more youthful glow after using these products and seems to have tightened under my double chin! I feel that incorporating these products into a daily skincare routine really will improve the appearance of your skin even to the level of not ever having to consider cosmetic surgery such as Botox.

Rating- 9/10 – just delicious in use and results!

 

Super Firming Eye Treatment-

(With Gatuline Expression® and Cacay Oil.)

6BF3F38F-83B4-44E6-A532-B25588AFC1EB“Sorbet Glow eye treatment gel, formulated with a combination of Evening Primrose oil and Cacay Oil to soothe the eye area whilst targeting fine lines and wrinkles.

Amma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is found in Evening Primrose oil is known to have a multitude of skin benefits including smoothing wrinkles, whilst Cacay oil (sustainably sourced) is one of the Amazon’s best-kept secrets with high percentages of naturally occurring Vitamin E and Retinol making it a perfect moisturiser and age-prevetative treatment. Reducing wrinkles and replenishing depleted skin cells.”

This is the winning product for me personally. Never do you feel more permanently exhausted than when you are full time Mumming. I NEVER used to get bags under my eyes and heck I feel like I have ages substantially especially around my eyes so I was super excited to use a product that contains miracle ingredients!

Verdict- Even the gel itself glows like gold. It is a very pleasant consistency and is easily applied to the eye area. I always worry about my sensitive skin but it was as though the gel was made for me personally. No nasty side effects like other treatments I have used on the past.

I did see results in just two days of application (I wish I had captured a before and after shot but I have wanted to hide from the camera rather than point out all my flaws!) but trust me when I say that these are the most obvious results, so if you buy just one item from the Sorbet Range go with this pocket pocket. Only downside: 30ml is not enough!!!

Rating- 10/10- Dream product for looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. My star buy of the bunch. Real results and fast!!!

 

 

 

Vitamin Facial Oil-

(With Gatuline Expression® and Rosehip.)

“From the new Sorbet Glow range, a potent Facial Oil loaded with vitamins A, E, C & F. Formulated to hydrate, protect and nourish.151F6A69-2AA7-4DC0-88E0-5DBF93F482C8

With healing Rosehip and super-hydrating Jojoba. Rosehip naturally contains Retinol, Omega 3, Omega 6 plus anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids which has be known to help to correct dark spot pigmentation and hydrate dry skin, leaving it soft and smooth to touch.

Vitamin C is an incredible multi-beneficial ingredient that works to build collagen and even skin tone.”

Verdict– This is not my favourites of the range and I could have quite happily left this out if my skincare routine. I don’t think I was particularly keen on the Rosehip/jojoba combo. Maybe it was too aggressive for me. But something did not click with this product. That’s not to say it didn’t boast results as with the other products but I did not personally enjoy using this. I think it did help even my skin tone, but not sure if this was due to the combination of products I was using.

Rating- 6/10 – to be used for results not the pleasure of using it. It just seemed an unnecessary step between cleansing and moisturising! In my personal opinion I would not spend the money on that- I would double up on the firming eye treatment!

 

Nightly Rejuvunation Balm-

(With Gatuline Expression® and Acai Berry oil.)

“An age-preventative rich and creamy rejuvenating night balm from the Sorbet Glow range, formulated with vitamin rich Acai oil to deeply hydrate, and Gatuline Expression to plump out fine lines while you sleep.C500CDF4-D159-4AD3-B94A-F30D9DF257FF

Açai oil, a powerful emollient which is easily absorbed and effectively relieves dry, cracked skin. Acai berry oil also contains concentrated, nutritious fatty acids, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and is full of anti-oxidants.

The Nighly Balm also contains Cranberry Seed oil which helps to improve skin’s elasticity and encourages regeneration, and Rhododendron Flower extract to soothe inflammation.”

As previously mentioned, I didn’t have any routine when it came to skincare, or even really “Me Time” (which was thrown out the window in full force when Bea decided to make her surprise appearance seven weeks early!) so it was quite the novelty having a specific product for night time! I really enjoyed my ritual face massage I gave myself each evening (the only kind of massage I have received  of late) – Top Tip: smooth circular motions to be employed when using these products rather than any scrubbing kind of motion. The trick is to be soft.

Verdict- I am going to be honest now #RealTalk: I used to think that night creams were just a way for cosmetic companies to squeeze more money out of our pockets. I thought it was just down to marketing but this night balm has been a godsend to my skin in this colder weather! This balm was a beautiful texture (much thicker than its day time counterparts!) and it left me waking up with a dewy glow every morning.

Rating- 9/10 – a must buy if you are hoping to boost your blood circulation and wake up looking and feeling fresh!

 

 

Vitamin Lip Oil-2D7C3AFB-F518-418E-A959-969F6906373C

(With Gatuline Expression and Mango Butter.)

“An amazingly soothing, vitamin rich lip oil with Vitamin E, extracts of Raspberry to provide natural UV filter, Mango Butter which is rich in anti-oxidants, Vitamin A to moisturise without being greasy, and Vitamin C to encourage collagen production for beautifully hydrated and gorgeous lips.

Blended with Orange, Chamomile and Jasmine oils.”

I think this was the nicest smelling products but I am biased towards the exotic breakfast fruit, which also makes a nice sorbet ingredient too. I guess this is why it is included as part of this beautifully, fruity range.

Verdict- I didn’t mind the oil consistency of this product as it was less greasy feeling than the vitamin  facial oil (maybe as it is spread on a smaller area.) It certainly made my lips feel kissable and well plumped. It was very hard not to lick my lips.

Rating- 7/10 – Fruity fun and soft lips followed. Perfect for smooching my baby girl!

 

 

Overall the range is of a high quality and I felt the difference in the organic content. There is something to be said for organic products (I hope it doesn’t turn me into an Organic Products Snob now but in all honesty I would now opt for these kinds of products and will keep Willow Organics daily cleansing wash and super firming eye treatment in my Self Care routine.)  The claims made are substantiated. I noticed results in just 2-3 applications of most of the products. As I mentioned previously, I can not confirm if each product did exactly what it said on the tin so to speak because I used them in combination and didn’t isolated each product for a period of time. Regardless, my skin has bounced back after some seriously tough months (4 month sleep regression was a killer) and I personally think I look much more alert again and not as though I have been exhausted since 2010- those bags were not designer…

I wouldn’t say the range is necessarily affordable, but for the results you get it is not expensive either; but I would certainly have to save up a little to buy the products that I would want to use in conjunction with one another. I would personally say that for my personal useage the vitamin facial oil wasn’t worth the possible expense of it. Obviously it was not out of my pocket because the lovely folks at Willow Organic gifted me the full set as part of an Instagram competition win.

The whole set is valued at £270 which is much less expensive than Botox injections at between £150-£300 a pop! These require top ups and the full effects may not be noticeable for 2 weeks whereas my results from the Sorbet Range were noticeable from Day 3! I still have a good amount of the products left so will continue my routine as best as possible. I had lots of fun using these products and learned a lot about skincare along the way so now I feel like I could justify why Organic products are best for us!

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Check out Willow Organics social media pages:

INSTAGRAM: @willoworganic
FACEBOOK: @willowbeautyproducts
TWITTER: @willoworganic

One of their tag lines is “Feel skin confident at any age with Willow” and I truly got the boost I needed! Before writing about these gorgeous products I never realised September was International Organic Month. Willow Organic write a comprehensive blog about all things organic! Here is a handy little guide to the fruity & botanical ingredients used in the Sorbet Range.

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Please excuse the poor quality pic that my phone took of the Willow Organic pamphlet!

 

Here are some more lovely Willow Organic beauty products you may also enjoy:

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Radiant Energy Body Balm – £32
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Radiant Energy Collection – £24

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is difficult to put yourself back at the centre if your world when your baby becomes the whole of it but I think it is a powerful message to illustrate to your child that self care is very important and should be practiced to ensure a happy and healthy balanced lifestyle. For example; you wouldn’t allow your child to miss a healthcare appointment so why should we let our health fall by the wayside. I personally want to be the best version of myself to be the best Mummy I can be so the bottom line is that we should schedule in those annual appointments, cervical screenings, flu shots, mammograms, sight tests and dental checkups.

As Parents (and particularly Momma Bears) we are always on the go, but we shouldn’t be burning ourselves out. Yes raising a tiny human being is exhausted but it shouldn’t be what defines us. We need to stay positive and invigorated. I love this piece at Motherly   that reminds us that small acts can keep us a little bit more sane. If the mood strikes you here are a few self care “presents” you could treat yourself to.

  1. Book of Minfulness.
  2. Facemask.
  3. Scented Candle.
  4. De-stress Tea.
  5. Snuggly thick knit blanket!
  6. Exercise Mat. (No I would never use that one either!!!)
  7. Adult Colouring Book.

How do you ensure that you also remain a priority in your life? What’s your self care tip? Do you have a skincare routine and do you buy Organic?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

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I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme whereby I may earn commission on any of the above links you may use to buy a product, at no extra cost to you. This will allow me to keep my blog relevant and have access to the products you may want to see a review for.

I won the Willow Organic Sorbet Range as part of an Instagram competition when the range launched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is Coming! But you don’t have to be S.A.D about it (Lumie Review & Giveaway.)

Winter is Coming! But you don’t have to be S.A.D about it (Lumie Review & Giveaway.)

It’s swiftly heading towards “that time of year” again… I must admit that despite my  ability to spring up and at em in the morning for the majority of the year, I find Winter Mornings more testing and there could be good reason for that!

I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that most of us (to some degree at least) suffer with typical Winter Depressive symptoms of fatigue, hypersomnia, lowered levels of motivation and sociability, and an increase in irritability (Winter= “I am not a morning person!”) and eating for a small army! I readily accept some causal link between my declining mood and the change in season. I am forever saying things like “The weather/cold is really affecting me!” or “I am struggling to do anything because of the Winter Days”.

Obviously, as with most syndromes or “illnesses” there is a continuum of severity which can range from a little lethargy (the most common side effect of SAD) to functional disability. Luckily if you are on the lesser end of the spectrum a few well placed Self Help Books may be all you need to negotiate the Winter Months more cheerfully and energetically!1DA76715-968D-4D6A-85D8-99E7F2F09A40

I recently started reading around the premise of HYGGE (there must be a reason our Scandi European cousins consistently stand out in studies as an overall happier nation!) The Danish people spend a lot of time in the Winter Season so really embrace an active solution to their potential Winter “blues” by fully embracing this ethos (which is not directly translatable into an English word but is more about capturing a feeling of ‘cosiness’ and embracing the colder months!) Just type Hygge into Pinterest and you will be bombarded with boards of glorious roaring fires, cosy toes in thick knitted socks, huge drinking receptacles filled with warming goodness from tea, to hot chocolate to a cheeky tipple and living rooms lit with candles! This is the most basic level and in my opinion a very inviting premise to explore further.

Really it’s great success comes in the positive mindset to find that warmth and intimacy in every day life when it becomes more difficult to remember in the Winter months. Worldwide there is clearly a need to embrace this pro activity  towards finding a passion for all things Winter because 4-6% of people experience clinical depression related to Winter and a further 10-20% may additionally experience mild symptoms of SAD over the Winter Months. So this is a very real problem.

In this post I have included a few ideas on how best to manage your potential symptoms of SAD from easy home hygge to the introduction of Light Therapy in the form of the Lumie Zest that I have been testing out over the last few weeks. As always the opinions in the review section are my own and I have not been compensated by Lumie.

(This post is not officially sponsored by Lumie but I will be including affiliate links whereby I will gain commission on any purchases made from my links on this post.

This post also includes a Giveaway hosted by Bea and Me [see full terms and conditions at end of post.] )

The charming thing is that Hygge can take any form and there is no set template so it is really about opening yourself up to an inner creative process. So launch yourself into a E274C10A-CFEE-49EE-8A7D-048F7589627Dnew way of being which will not only see you through the Winter Months but also benefit further aspects of your life. I took the following lessons from “The Little Book of Hygge” that one of my lovely Mummy friends passed on to me last year when my work had started getting me down in the dumps!

I have distilled my own version of Hygge into the below points but by no means is this an exhaustive list. There are so many options to Live Hygge so start living your best life.

 

1) Get Mindful!

A great starting point is to be in the present and put a little distance between yourself and the world of social media. Hygge doesn’t ban electronic devices but it certainly shows that it is worth putting your phone down to foster genuine connections with people and your true self again.

The calm acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations moment by moment is a way to improve your overall mental wellbeing & this can certainly be applied to Winter. We can accept that Winter has arrived and look at ways to enjoy it, rather than count down to Spring!

2) Get Soft!

Who isn’t partial to a good snuggle?! Personally I am a very tactile person and Hygge is very much not just about an aesthetic but how things FEEL. So in my home I have selected fabrics and interior furnishings that are cosy, homely and soft to the touch. It has been about almost creating a womb-like experience of warmth and comfort, so throws, blankets & rugs are a must. I guess it is about transforming your space into your own little nook of goodness!

3) Slow Down!

Alongside the mindfulness component a big part of Hygge is to eat cosy! Love your kitchen and find the joy in waiting for your food. The longer something takes to cook the more Hygge it is but it’s also about simplicity so no need to worry about julienating veggies & complex glazes… it could be as simple as a nice, warming soup. Slowing down to eat and drink and perform processes such as searing foods allows you to appreciate food not just because it sustains your energy, but because it makes you feel whole.

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4) Do Good!

There is undoubtedly a link between your levels of happiness and helping others. It’s worth getting out there and spending time on social initiatives that increase the feeling of “togetherness”. An isolationist mindset that Winter can bring is damaging to our mental health. So try to increase your human interaction (no matter how difficult it starts to get!) What better way to remember the true goodness of humanity than being part of groups of people that have a passion for people and changing someone’s day for the better?!

5) Put the Kettle On!

We Brit’s are no strangers to a good cup of tea solving (most of) life’s problems! 85% of Danes equate Hygge to enjoying a hot drink of some description (Meik Wiking found this is his research for his book “The Little Book of Hygge”.) It is such a simple way to evoke a happy and cosy feeling. I love adding seasonal flavours to my drinks as I associate certain flavours with winter.

6) Light Up The Room!

I am personally obsessed with Yankee Candles and love nothing more than treating myself to a new scent each season. I particularly love the winter varieties. Currently we are burning a rather delicious limited addition candle called “Frosty Gingerbread” and it fills up the room with such a beautiful aroma like Christmas baking!!

The Danes purchase more candles collectively than any other European Country and are a key component in any Hygge Nook! What’s great about Hygge is that the expensive scented varieties are not essential as all flames are equal! “Hygge is about enjoying the simple pleasures in life and can be achieved on a shoestring budget.” So buy bulk of cheap little tealights because a little candlelight enhances any space!

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7) Get Outside!

Its difficult to pry yourself out of your sofa fort in the winter, I get it! There is certainly an Amber Shaped crevice in my sofa around this time of year and it makes me feel bad because I know I am missing out on this he majesty of nature. It is rude not to get out and about living in stunning Devon as we are sandwiched between moorland & coast so opportunities aplenty to explore incredible scenery.

Even mustering one purposeful walk a day means you can practice your mindfulness daily so grab some comfy boots and go experience the outside world. You can really live the value of moment-by-moment then afterwards treat yourself to a fat, warming hot chocolate & slice of cake because, Dear Reader… What’s more Hygge than that?!

Happiness is about simplicity and in a world that is always on the go, with consumerism, technology, capitalism and the next fad we are often exhausting ourselves trying to keep up and live a life that is not our own; often just a set of tick boxes. Our achievements and dreams are not our own. We are told what to strive for… no wonder we are often miserable. We are moving too fast, not cocooning ourselves both physically and metaphorically in enough softness and barely giving ourselves enough time to connect to the world on a truly meaningful level!

I wanted to Think Myself Happy this Winter. I have found that it certainly helps being on maternity leave. I returned to work just last week to complete a Kit Day (Keeping In Touch) and I completed my decreased hours that I agreed before Maternity Leave and it left me frazzled. I tried to maintain my breathing techniques that I have implemented since being at home, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was drowning in other peoples problems… yes I guess that is what you should expect from working in customer care, but all I could think about was being with my Little Bea; crunching through leaves, getting read noses and then having big cuddles under our fluffy blanket!

I think getting up for work would have been EVEN harder had I not started training myself into a morning wake up routine with my Lumie Zest for the week before heading back to the grind.

Science has proven that just 30 minutes a day exposed to natural light (with at least 2000 lux – a measure of it’s brightness) can be enough to stimulate feel good hormone and keep your body cycle in check!

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The Lumie Zest is a dedicated “SAD Lamp” and is a certified medical device. Lumie have been pioneers in the light therapy arena and it’s not hard to see why as the Zest practically punches you in the face with light in the morning. Other reviews had warned of this so I was ready to face the glow… by having the Zest positioned on my bedroom floor rather than on my bedside table! Even from below; the 2000 Lux of light is a very effective wake up call (most other SAD lights output is only between 100 & 300 Lux) so the Zest truly is the Don of lamps! It pushes out 10 times as much light as most other SAD Lamps on the market so I found that I was feeling refreshed as I woke up to the lamp each morning!

I was skeptical before I set the Zest up to sort out my rather broken body clock. The  Zest is simple to set up and it doesn’t have some of the features other lamps now have such as radio or nature sounds, but as a purist that really doesn’t matter to me. I like simple designs with proven results so the Zest perfectly complimented my lifestyle and personality.

So what’s the scientific bit?

The Lumie Zest can be utilised as a 2-in-1 device: SAD Lamp & Waking Up Lamp.

The brightening light brings you more gently out of sleep, prompting your body to reduce the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin, while increasing the levels of hormones like cortisol that help you get up and go.

This provides a fantastic start to the day for sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the winter blues, and helps anyone who is not naturally a morning person to feel brighter and more energetic first thing.

It’s not just a nicer way to wake up. Waking to natural light every day resets your sleep/wake cycle and has been shown to boost your mood, productivity and energy levels throughout the day. Our physiological body clocks are aligned by sunrise and sunset.

As most of us experience a mix of early starts, late nights, weekend lie-ins and sometimes travel disruption, our internal sleep rhythms are thrown into disarray. We feel tired and stressed trying to wake up for work, school or sports training.

A dawn simulator device re-sets your body clock to run in time with your day, helping you feel more awake during the day and more ready for sleep at night.

Source: Lumie Website.

Would I recommend the Zest?

Compact, easy to use, no fuss and fast results. I found by Day 4 my body was back into a useful rhythm and my sleep was better. I did accompany the use of the Zest with other techniques that promote better sleep such as unplugging from the digital world an hour before my bedtime and I used Feather & Down Pillow Spray. Clearly the combination worked for me as I was consistently getting 7/8 hours of sleep (only being woken by Bea) but my mornings did in fact feel a lot easier to combat and my feelings of dread were noticeably low level (I wouldn’t say that the morning struggle has fully been rectified) but exposing myself to more light has had noticeable benefits. No SAD symptoms currently so I will continue using the Zest for a brighter future (literally!)B1F7F19B-2920-486F-B733-E69BA90BFC6B (1)

Due to the obvious positive changes to my sleeping/waking/wellness experience I have also purchased a Lumie Bug for Bea for when she makes it into her own room in the next few weeks. I can only assume that as she still shares the room with us she has also benefited from the use of my Zest as she has been sleeping better through the night again! I will be reviewing the rather adorable bug when Bea is in her nursery. (Wish us luck for that change!!!)

Now having experienced happier mornings I would love to spread love and light by running a competition to win a Lumie Vitamin L light (worth £90) It is slim & about the size of a tablet so it is easy to transport from room to room or between home and the office. It can be positioned both landscape or portrait. It is proven to treat symptoms of SAD.

Enter below to win (competition running until 20th November & winner will be contacted within 48 hours directly and posted on site thereafter.) Here are the full terms and conditions.

 

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CLICK HERE TO HEAD TO MY RAFFLECOPTER COMP PAGE!

 

How will you be fighting symptoms of SAD this winter? What’s your favourite Hygge tip?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

 

 

I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK programme and may gain small commission on any purchases made via my links at no extra cost to you.

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How to be an organised Mummy (and why I am still not quite there yet!) + Pacapod Changing Bag Review.

How to be an organised Mummy (and why I am still not quite there yet!) + Pacapod Changing Bag Review.

(Please read this in light of my tongue in cheeky satire. I would never profess to being a font of knowledge. I think we are all just trying to do the best job that we can to help our little ones thrive… there are many, many, in-exhaustive paths to Mummy Nivarna! But if there is advice along the way I try to exert as less energy and stress as possible by utilising tried and tested methods. This is not to say every way will work for your little person as they are an individual but if trial and error is involved it may be worth considering tips and tricks that you may not have thought of yet!)

This blog post includes affiliate links so if you chose to purchase one of the ace products I am talking about (and independently fully endorse) at no extra cost to yourself I can earn commission to keep bringing you the best content!

 

I think one of the biggest shocks (not including things directly linked to all things Baby: including my premature labour, the first poo’splotion and that time Bea had an anal prolapse!) of Motherhood was the significant drop in income from regular working wage, to 90% of wage (which was but a dip of the toe into the money management struggles to follow), down to Statutory Maternity Pay which is, as we can all agree; peanuts!

When under £800 is coming into your account (not including Child Benefit payment), you realise that you are going to have to cut your cloth accordingly. Part of my organisation has been pushed by the very real and noticeable money plummet! It wasn’t as if I was the most extravagant spender pre baby, but the Hubster and I would indulged in a weekly  meal out (of some description) and if there was money to spare I was a “Treat Yo’Self” kinda gal…

But… Baby Times have forced me to very quickly learn to budget. It was actually terrifying the first time I sat down to draft our budget with my meagre Mummy Money in the mix. However, the key to better living is full, transparent honesty. It certainly made me re evaluate my priorities (I have not had my eyebrows waxed at a beauty place since Bea’s arrival and have had but one salon haircut!)

On paper, after all bills were paid it looked as though we would have £380 left to play with but that didn’t seem to work out with a new baby in tow and the fact that Daddy G is a car salesman so his pay fluctuates month by month. I think it has certainly helped paying our bills by direct debit. We have recently just had our Smart Metre fitted so I hope this will make a positive different to the outgoings as it has certainly made me acutely aware of not wasting as much energy in the day by switching off plugs at the wall. It’s a mixture of both amazement and dread that this little box is recording our energy useage and you literally see the money leaving your pocket! #GameChanger!

Its all about cutting costs where you can and changing your materialistic mindset. Yes it’s nice to have Netflix/Amazon/Now TV but do you NEED all these paid services? (I would love to follow my own advice here as we have only been able to let go of Now TV as we keep rationalising keeping Netflix and Amazon! Here is the first reason that I am not organised or thrifty for that matter. Though dropping one out of three for me is a good starting point!) I think that having less to binge watch would force me into finding alternatives to occupy spare time which could include more time planning, tackling the ever present laundry piles or getting crafty to save money!

With revised budget came a new Food Shopping spend and a revision to weekly as oppose to monthly shop which has saved approximately £30 overall! In all honesty, most shops I have been “winging it” to pick up as close to my budget as possible and sometimes it is hard not to be swayed off course by attractive looking ‘deals’, so my next goal is to write & STICK to a weekly meal plan!

I have learnt that batch cooking is a Momma’s best friend! Forget diamonds… after a full day of childcare it is nice to know that you have still managed to “Wife” and have food to fill the Hubsters belly. It’s great to do it the lazy way! I pick out our favourite dinners and cook up quantities to feed 6 that I then divvy our into freezable bags. In the microwave they go and that is one less chore to consider. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to do the batch cook initially and it does require a certain level of organisation but the output is certainly greater than just one day a week having to plan the babba’s  naps around your cooking as best as possible.

I found that in the early days if I didn’t get myself up and at em the whole day ahead was a no go. To get organised I would highly recommend that you start the day by getting yourself ready first. If you set an alarm half an hour before your little one is due to get up then you can at least have a shower and try to present yourself.

I am pretty sure in the blur of attempting to Mum there was an almost five day period that I enveloped my hair in another layer of dry shampoo each day and maybe only brushed my teeth twice where Bea decided to get herself comfy in a routine of 6am breastfeed/bottle, then we would dress her for the day ahead, play with her then she would go back to sleep ON me so I was held hostage from 8am anywhere up to 11am! This was not conducive to getting anything done!

I have since revised this routine to ensure that we make it downstairs to start the day. Bea is what I would describe as a somewhat “needy baby”- I am sure she would prefer to be held at all times if that was an option. So many people said that I was “going to make a rod for my back” with the way I would allow her to sleep on me. I guess they were right. It is hard to be organised when you have a tiny human being clinging to you. We found that the only way to get things done was to babywear so about eight weeks into the parenting journey we finally started utilising the Hana wrap that allowed for  some kind of semblance of order to the day. I could strap Bea in and wash the dishes and put the washing on the line.

Talking of washing, don’t put it off! The best washing policy is to do it as a daily task. I never realised quite how much washing such a tiny person could go through! Also a top tip is to get a washing basket for each member of the family as it makes it so much easier for drying then sorting. In all honesty I started out dividing the piles and attempting to do washes for each of us, but because I am still not an organised Mummy I ended up reverting to the bung & load method again where I would just grab whatever was closest to hand, like an arcade claw, indiscriminate and only successful perhaps one in one hundred attempts! This “method” does not make for happy sorting so do as I say….not as I do (hopefully this will not be a parenting mantra I settle on…) and for your own sanity keep on top of the washing and have enough self respect that you maybe take fifteen minutes longer before the task to save the heartache and utter annoyance the other side!

I feel as though the key is balance and routine, you can have everything if you put the steps in that achieve the goal of organisation. Real talk: I am probably too lazy to be an organised mum and I maybe don’t herald organisation as “up there” in

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Grab your Hartland today!

my own personal Mom Priorities. I should probably revise this… but the Un Routined Routine seems to be working just fine for Bea and I.

I don’t believe you can ever fully control the world around you, and certainly not a mini person. Ultimately they dictate the course of the day. I guess there are pockets you can influence through your own action for that illusion of control! But I quite like to be surprised on the daily- “let’s see what today brings!” There is certainly value in organisation (for other Moms!) I have started changing habits that cultivate success and promote order. But they are baby steps, which is why organised is not an adjective that would appear in a Top 20 list to describe my parenting style! From the outside other Mummy friends have said it looks like we have our shit together (but does any Mummy though?!!) I think a big part of that is making the effort to look as good as you make your baby look. You may not feel like it, but a lick of mascara and tinted lip balm can go a long way to making you look more “put together”. That is why I have found having a Pacapod changing bag is a nice (stylish and functional) stepping stone into organisation.

I was lucky enough to win the Pacapod Hartland Pewter Acorn on a competition hosted by Mummy and Little Me. To say I was thrilled was an understatement as I have followed the #MyPacapod hashtag on Instagram since my first pregnancy. I was, however, always sat on the fence as to whether it was just marketing magic that had me on board and was the cost of the bag outweighed by the utility or vice versa? The miser in me felt like I would need some solid reviews from people I knew in order to invest the quite costly price tag, in my humble opinion.

So upon my win, I could be that person I knew to put the bag through rigorous testing! Would it’s design improve my organisation? Is it worth the hype? Most recently the brand has been winning awards again (gold in the Made For Mums Awards 2018) and there are more designs than you can shake a stick at for all kinds of Mummy Bears. What’s a real plus about the brand is that every design works but doesn’t compromise the “looking good” aspect. Because the Pacapod has been designed by a mum for other mums the bags offer a slick transition between work and home if you are a working mother, because let’s face it… who wants to spend any extra time packing seperate bags for you and the LO?!!

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I love the comfort of a backpack style changing bag – perfect for days out.

When I received my bag the first thing I did notice was the superior quality of the bag compared to other brands that I have personally used. Amazingly each bag is handcrafted out of 257 individual pieces! This quantity blew my mind. This is why 1) the cost may seem higher than other brands but 2) the longevity of the bag far exceeds other makes and accompanies you and your child on your journey for a longer time!

The creator behind the Pacapod Jacqueline Waggett used to design for a well known outdoor lifestyle company, and her love of travel is evident in the designs of the bags and more specifically in my Hartland: the limited edition world map print of the Feeder Pod! I love the whimsical print, it reminds me of my pre Momma zest for jet setting! Now that I mention travel, the Hartland bag would be just perfect as a cabin bag! It is compact (42cmx31cmx18cm with a 36 litre capacity at just 1.03kgs!) and allows you to go handsfree with the backpack design. It is also super easy to transform it into a messenger bag. I love its multi 56016BF4-FBE1-4B14-8066-E9F2B334BF8Afunctionality and with the ingenious 3-in-1 organisation system, it has increased the time (I would actually guess three fold) of accessing the baby bits and bobs you need to hand.

I am a big fan of the collapsible pods for easy wipe-down cleaning and storage and each “pod” can be used independently, as they can be clipped onto your pram handle. The attention to detail is everything. The new map print is also utilised on the mini dummy pouch. I just love the continuity aspect and that no design feature is half baked. Everything has its purpose and it’s place.

You can use both pods, one pod or no pods at all! The main bag can be used for just “Mum Things” and can easily transport a laptop. It really paves the way for you finding your own best practice for organisation. The Hartland comes from the new Travel Light range and on the Pacapod website it is described as:

“the travel seekers ultimate baby bag”

and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

We live in sunny Devon so I couldn’t wait to get the Hartland out and about. So I prepped two bottles for the feeding pod (cool bag) which perfectly insulated the milk and kept it at a Bea-Approved warm temperature. We went for a walk on Dartmoor, managed to feed Bea then comfortably change her back at the car on the padded changing mat for maximum comfort and utility because for a luxurious looking mat it also follows closely the lightweight credentials of the Hartland and its pods! (Excuse the windswept and “interesting” look of the photos… we seemed to pick the windiest day in Devon for our outdoor adventures!)

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I liked the fun acorn print. The more serious MumReviewer seems to opt for the tan version…. but the quirky design piqued my interest and I felt it was the perfect representation of what “Bea & Me” is about as a team and direction of our blog style!

I have used the bag daily and it has improved my organisation to a degree, though I am not going to lie… I am still guilty of throwing a nappy or two in the main compartment! One step at a time…

Hey Pacapod!… if you ever fancy gifting me a new design to review please do not hesitate to get in contact and I will happily spend time with Bea and your bag!

How have you ensured that you are an organised Mummy? Have you also used a Pacapod changing bag and did you find that it improved your organisation too?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy

 

I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme, as such I may get commission on the links to products that I list in my reviews. My reviews are honest and my own and I will only link products that I have used/have found useful.

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