Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Me and Mine Project - August 2016

I have been desperate for it to be the end of the month so that I can show you the beautiful family pictures that we had taken this month. 

We were lucky enough to have a photo shoot with Donna at Sweet Whimsy Photography. We went to a local field and Donna captured us playing together. They are the most beautiful collection of photographs. I cried when I saw them all. She has managed capture the true essence of our family. There are so many to choose from our house will be filled with stunning shots of us.











I will be doing a full blog post about all the photos which will be live over the next few days, so make sure you pop back to see them.

As a family this month we've tried to focus on just enjoying ourselves before Eva starts nursery in school next week. It'll be so strange to have her in school everyday even if it's only for half a day.

We've been out for dinner a couple of times. We went to one of our local pubs which has sweeping views of Cardiff for dinner one evening and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset. It was a spontaneous decision to go which worked out perfectly as the food was lovely and we relaxed and enjoyed each others company. 



Over the bank holiday weekend we went camping in Tenby with some of our friends. Again this was a last minute decision but I think sometimes the best decisions are on the spot ones. It was the first time we've been away with another family and we loved it. It's something we will be doing more of as Eva had a fantastic time. She played with her friend and even slept in the same tent as her which blew her mind. 

We've honestly had a great month. The simple things in life have brought us together as a family and we have really enjoyed it.

Together this month we've loved:
The great outdoors
Walks
Camping
The Sun
Teaching Ophelia to clap hands and give a high five
The Beach 
The Sun
BBQ Food

Next month will be very different for us with our new routine. Make sure you pop back to see how we get on.


The Me and Mine Project
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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Ways To Make Sure Your Toddler Stays Active

I have a confession to make. I honestly don't think I do enough to make sure my children are as active as they can be. Perhaps it's laziness on my behalf. Don't get me wrong I do go out and do things with them but probably not as much as I should do. Eva loves to read, paint and do arts and crafts which are all good things for her to be doing, however, fresh air and active play are so beneficial.

Not only are they beneficial for the girls but they are also beneficial for me too. I am constantly moaning that I don't do enough exercise and when I actually think about it the girls and I can enjoy exercise together without even realising it.

In 1990, The Commission On Ending Obesity found that 4.8% of children under the age of 5 were either obese or overweight. The figure in 2014 was 6.1% which shows that it is becoming more of a problem as the years progress. I do not want my girls to fall into this category so i've come up with some ideas to help us and other families to be an active family.

Walking:
This is the easiest way of keeping active. We even have a dog so there should be no excuses for us not to enjoy walking him together. 



Walks don't have to be boring. You can make them fun by turning them into treasure hunts. You can use your imagination to find fairies etc. How about picking up some bits of nature that you find and then enjoying some craft activities later on?


Riding a bike:
Eva loves to ride her bike. When she was younger we used to push her in a smartrike which I'm sure has helped fuel her passion for cycling. She's actually pretty good at it. Ophelia is now 9 months old so she can go in the smartrike and Eva can ride her bike. It's great exercise for me too with all the chasing after them I have to do.


Encouraging sport and PE in schools:
The government gives all schools a PE and sports premium which they can use to purchase additional indoor sports equipment, school trips, outdoor playground equipment, sports coaches and more.

Education, Sport and Play (ESP) are the UK's leading provider in school play equipment. This is things such as climbing frames (remember those?) and playground markings (I used to spend so much time playing hopscotch when I was in primary school).

ESP commissioned independent research which showed that 68% of a child's PE lesson is stationary. I have to admit I remember sitting around, waiting my turn for most of the lessons when I was in school. As a result of the research and ESP taking action, there has now been a 19% increase in physical activity.

Gymnastics:
Eva attends a gymnastics class once a week. This is perfect for her as it develops her core and other body muscles. She loves it. When Ophelia is old enough, I will definitely be putting her in for the same class. 

There are plenty of other classes you could take your children to such as toddler netball, football and rugby, baby yoga, tumble tots etc. 

Dancing:
If there's one thing both my girls love to do, it's dancing. Eva attends a dance class which she adores but she also loves busting a move at home. She especially enjoys it when I join in. More often than not we put the radio on and all 3 of us dance around the house. It's great for keeping active and keeping a smile on their faces.


I do worry that I am not keeping them active enough but I also think the buck starts with me. I need to keep myself active to encourage them to do the same. Is childhood obesity something you worry about? Do you like to keep active with your children? What activities do they enjoy doing?


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Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl

I'm trying to eat a lot healthier and enjoy more nutritious meals which need to start at breakfast time. I tend to stick to the same breakfast which is either poached eggs and salmon or greek yogurt so I decided to have a go at making a smoothie bowl.



I made a mixed berry smoothie bowl with bananas, blueberries and seeds on the top. It was super quick to make in my Babymoov Nutribaby as it was literally just throwing everything in and mixing it up. 

I was so surprised at how filling it actually was. So much so that I only managed half the bowl and my daughter ate the other half. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mixed frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup of avocado 
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 table spoons of plain greek yogurt
  • Half a banana
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of mixed seeds
Recipe:

1) Add your mixed berries, avocado, milk and yogurt to a blender/food processor and blitz into a thick consistency. You could substitute the milk for coconut or almond milk or even coconut water.



2) Spoon the smoothie mix into a bowl. Add a line of blueberries, bananas and seeds and that's it. Then marvel at how pretty it looks!



How easy is that?! You can play about with flavours to your liking. Maybe try adding a little bit of honey to taste during the blending process.






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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tips for keeping your kids cool in summer

As parents, seeing the sunshine during our summer months is in many ways a dream come true. When the sun is shining it’s easier for kids to play outside, day trips don’t become a wash out and the increased amount of washing that seems to mount over the holidays is simpler to handle too.
However, for all of the benefits a heatwave brings there are equally niggling problems. The hot weather can cause children to become overheated, tired and stroppy.
While consistently warm weather hasn’t always been a familiar factor in UK summers, experts predict it is something we may have to start coming to terms with thanks to global climate change. So, let’s take a little look at ways you can tackle rising temperatures to quell any tantrums.


Home Design
It’s not just modern compact homes that can become heat traps in hot weather, old style homes can also suffer from a lack of ventilation that can cause rooms to heat up fast. When you are out and about you can keep curtains closed so that rooms don’t heat up but this isn’t so easily done when you have kids on the premises to entertain.
If you’re in the house or moving between it and your outside space, your best bet is to create a breeze. You could try putting windows on the latch, opening doors for air to pass through or for the ultimate in airy indulgence, fold back your bi-fold doors. It’s not just aesthetics that have driven sales of bi-folds in recent years, it’s also practicality. When hot weather descends it’s lovely to be able to peel back windows the full length of your wall and invite the fresh air in.  If your home features traditional rather than modern styling hunt out wood bi-folds like these from Creative Doors Direct.
Don’t live somewhere where opening windows and doors is an option? If you’re on the fifth floor and need to consider safety or are in close proximity to neighbours, you may be considering splashing out on air conditioning. Rather than fitting a system throughout your home you could buy a more budget-friendly standalone unit, which can then be moved with you to whichever room you’re in at the time. If you’re suddenly overcome with heat but don’t want to make a long-term investment, you could also consider hiring an air con unit.
How often do you walk passed your TV or computer and feel a little heat radiating from the screen? Leaving gadgets on standby can produce heat, so while you may be turning on fans and other air cooling devices make sure you are turning other electrics off where possible. This is something we are not very good at in our house. 
What to wear and what to eat
Wearing a hat will help to keep kids cool and can help guard against heat stroke. Where possible, keep them covered up in lightweight cotton clothing that’s breathable and choose light colours to reflect the heat.  
When it comes to cooling treats, ice cream is nice but thanks to the fat and sugar content it isn’t the best way to cool them down every day.
You can try low sugar ice lollies to keep them hydrated or serve them up bowls of frozen pineapple or mango that have been allowed to defrost a little. The latter are widely available in supermarkets and are a really affordable way to keep them topped up with vitamins too. A frozen banana is another healthy alternative to ice cream, is easy for smaller hands to hold and is a great use for slightly too ripe fruit. Simply peel, wrap in cling film and freeze. Just don’t forget to allow it to soften a little rather than eating fresh out of the freezer.
In summer we often tend to subconsciously adopt a grazing attitude to food – eating smaller snacks more often. Eating large meals, particularly those rich in protein, can cause your temperature to rise as your body works harder to metabolise your meal. With this in mind you may want to plan smaller more regular meals. 
You could consider including some curries in your weekly meal plan too because spicy food has been shown to cool you down. Luckily for us both our girls love curry as much as we do. Whatever you do, try not to let kids wash meals down with too much cola as caffeine will warm them up.
To help them sleep
One of the reasons warmer weather can become a time of sibling arguments and toddler tantrums is lack of sleep. We Brits simply aren’t used to trying to sleep in hot temperatures. 
Give little ones a helping hand by ensuring you have summer linen on their beds – perhaps adding a single cotton sheet cover they can opt to sleep under instead of a duvet. You could also try freezing bed sheets folded in freezer bags before popping them on the bed. Gel pillows are a wonderful invention too. Simply chill the inserts in the fridge and slip inside your pillow covers to help them drift off.
Simply imagining yourself in a cooler environment can help persuade your body that you’re more comfortable than you really are, so if you can bear to watch it again, it may be time to start watching the Frozen DVD as a family before bedtime!

Have you got any top tips for keeping cool in the summer?


*This is a collaborative post*



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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Introducing Koochi A/W16

Koochi is a brand who I have recently been introduced to. I was unaware of them before hand but I am now in love with their prints and patterns. Koochi sell pushchairs, travel systems and car seats. 

They have a very similar philosophy to their brand as we do to our family life. They love babies and they love adventures. A winning combination in my opinion. If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will know that we are a wanderlust family and we like to find adventure in every day. Having children has never stopped us travelling the world and enjoying exploring together. This is exactly what Koochi represent and therefore we are a match made in heaven.

They currently have 4 collections which are Tokyo and Brooklyn and the brand new autumn/winter 16 designs Bali and Havana. I love the names of the collections, so dreamy and perfect for the prints they are representing.

First up is the bright Bali collection. The print reminds me of a chilled holiday. The pinks and turquoise transport you to the beach. The best bit about this design is that it has one of my favourite quotes on it, 'adventure is out there,'.




The car seat on the left is the child car seat which is suitable from 9kg to 36kg which is approximately 9 months old to 12 years. It's brilliant as you just adapt it to suit your growing child with no need to buy future booster seats etc. I love the fact that it has the 5 point harness for stage 1. Eva constantly manages to wriggle her arms out of ours so this would be perfect for her. This one costs £100.

The second car seat is the toddler car seat which is suitable from 9kg to 18kg which is approximately 9 months old to 4 years. It has a reclinable feature. How comfortable is that for your little one? As with the child car seat this also has the 5 point safety harness and it comes with removable seat liner, tummy and chest pads. It costs £120.

You can remove the seat covers on both car seats for washing.


Next up is my favourite item from the collection. It's the Pushmatic Bali. It's a 3 wheeled pushchair which allows for a smooth and easy drive whether you are adventuring in an urban city or strolling along your dream holiday destination. Every-time I look at this one it transports me to a tropical island. 
It's suitable from birth to approximately 15kg. The frame is lightweight. One thing that is perfect for little one's is that it can recline. I can just see Ophelia laid back, snoozing with the sound of the waves next to her. A girl can dream. Failing that she can be snoozing under the raincover to the sounds of the raindrops in our wonderful British weather.
It includes chest pads, head-hugger, fleece-lined footmuff (perfect for winter), a cup holder and a matching change bag. It costs £180.


This is the Speedstar Bali which costs £160. It comes with all the same features as above but is a different design and has 4 wheels.





Last up in the Bali collection is the Sneaker. This is a lightweight, umbrella fold stroller that simply pops up and folds down. It's perfect for travel and the warmer days here. It's suitable from birth to approximately 15kg. The hood is removable and it comes with a raincover. This one costs £110.


The Havana products are the same as the Bali collection just in a different print. The deep turquoise colours and patterns of this range will have you and your family dreaming of sandy toes and salty kisses. 





Koochi are so proud of what they make and their safety and reliability that every product you buy comes with a 4 year guarantee.


I also wanted to show you the Litestar Brooklyn AM travel system. It's perfect for our shopping adventures.

I am so pleased we've been introduced to this brand. I love bold patterns on baby products and anything that stands out from the crowd. 

That concludes the introduction to their new collection. What print is your favourite Bali or Havana?
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Monday, 22 August 2016

Mama Style - Look 1

You may or may not now that before I started this blog I wrote a fashion blog. That's where my passion for blogging began. Since having children, it was left in the shadows. I'm not really sure why but I think the fact that any money I now have, I seem to spend on clothes for the kids and that I haven't really felt very body and mentally confident.

I'm slowly starting to feel mentally better and i'm trying to do things for myself again. Top of my list is exercise. I've decided to resurrect my passion for fashion and fashion blogging and bring it to this blog in a series called Mama Style. 

My first look is very representative of myself and style right now. It shows my mama personality and is very cute.




The tee is from the amazing FMLY STORE which is the Selfish Mother shop. I'd been lusting after something from here for a long time and seeing as I was starting to feel happy, strong and in control again, it seemed like the perfect treat. 



I chose the black Mother supersoft tee which was the very first one they designed. £10 from the sale of this top goes to the charity Women for Women International which help women in 8 war torn countries by helping them rebuild their lives. I love the fact that every purchase from the store donates some money to charity. It's a treat for you whilst helping others.




This tee is exactly what is says on the tin, supersoft. It's very comfortable to wear and provides a relaxed, loose fit. I've worn vests underneath for breastfeeding and not felt too hot at all. If you follow me on social media you will notice that I don't take this off. Its become my favourite thing to wear. It's so versatile that I can wear it with anything. I honestly have a very long wishlist from the FMLY STORE so i'm hoping santa is going to help me out with that one.


Here i've teamed it with a skirt I bought from Tu Clothing at Sainsbury's. I spotted this whilst on a recent food shop. The colour is a beautiful pastel pink. There are lots of these style skirts about at the moment and they are perfect for transitioning from summer to winter. This one can be worn with flip flops or sandals to see in the end of our so called summer and then with boots for the upcoming winter.


It's a lovely fit and hides all my mama tum area which is always a bonus. The colour contrasts lovely against greys, black and white so the mother tee was a great pairing for it. 

I've tried to find it online but it doesn't appear to be on there so you'll have to check your local store to see if they stock it.

I'm also wearing my stunning Olivia Burton watch. I was never a watch person until I had kids but if i don't have one on, I am lost. They have the most beautiful collection of watches. I genuinely could have every single one on the website. They are so pretty and feminine. You can also get some of them personalised making them unique and extra special.


So there you have it. My first mama style look. I'm looking forward to showing you more of this side of me very soon.

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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Why we're embracing mess is best whilst weaning

I'll be completely honest with you and say that when I weaned my eldest daughter I hated it. I found the whole thing completely stressful. All the hours spent batch cooking things to find she didn't like what i'd made or the endless cleaning up from all the mess.

I was also one of those mums that cleaned up as soon as there was one ounce of mess on her face, the highchair or the floor. I was always feeding armed with a wet wipe. She'd take a few spoonfuls and i'd be there cleaning it up. I would totally freak out. It didn't make for an enjoyable experience for either of us. 

Ophelia is now 9 months old so we have been weaning for a while. She loves her food. With the help of my Babymoov weaning team, we are having a much better experience than the first time.


This time around we are embracing mess is best. We are allowing Ophelia to get as messy as she likes. We are encouraging her to hold her own food and play about with it. This is also great for sensory development. Eating with her fingers allows her to discover the different textures. She seems to be really enjoying how relaxed we are about everything and how we are all giggling around mealtimes.

I've surprised myself at how relaxed I am. Whenever there is food on the floor or bits of spaghetti in her hair, I am not rushing to clean it up. Instead I am waiting until the end of mealtime to deal with it. This is a new me. Even my hubby is surprised at how chilled out I am. 

I'm not saying my house now has pasta sauce climbing the kitchen walls or bits of food all over the floor. I of course try and maintain mess is best with the help of a few products to keep the weaning journey stress free.

My Babymoov High Chair is fab as it's very easy to clean. We used to have the Ikea high chair which was good but when it came to pasta sauce or a curry sauce, it left a horrible stain which we were never able to bring up sparkling. Our new high chair cleans so easily. 




We also use a Messy Me Splash Mat. It is designed to be placed underneath your high chair to catch all the food mess dropped on the floor. It's ideal as it's wipe clean. Once again making my parenting duties super easy. We've used this mat for so many other things as-well such as indoor and outdoor picnics and for painting. 




One thing that has been very helpful during weaning is our Bibetta Bib. I can't tell you how many clothes I lost to Spaghetti Bolognese before we got this. It actually covers almost all of Ophelia except the bottom of her legs. It also doesn't seem to allow any of the food to sneak through under the neck like lots of other bibs. 



The bib has a fold out pocket which most of the time catches any food that she drops. She can then retrieve these herself. 




What tips have you got for embracing messy weaning? 

If you are on instagram and twitter keep an eye out for the hashtag #messisbest to see some fab weaning pics and ideas



*As part of our weaning ambassador role for Babymoov, we have been gifted with the highchair, mat and bib featured in this post. All views and opinions are my own*
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