Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Winter Skin Care

So back to the main purpose of this blog, which was to help all us mummy's be simultaneously yummy.  It's not an easy task at this time of year, when the heating systems are turned on, windows are closed and the falling temperatures outside strip our skin of moisture.  So it's moisture we need, and lots of it.

For the face, I swear by Clarin's Extra Firming Day Cream (and the matching night cream!)  50ml will set you back £46 (

But I have been somewhat ensnared by Clarins products having tried their great samples (Just pop into Boots and ask if you can try out a couple of products. Our local store is usually very accommodating, and they certainly get enough sales from me as a result!)

For other great products at more sensible prices try one of these great offers.  These are products I have in my trusty bathroom cabinet and love, many of which are currently reduced.

For Body:  

For Hands:  I swear by - 
For Lips:

I get all of my beauty gear from either Boots or the local Pharmacy, Lloyds, so those are the suppliers I've linked to here.

Please note that I am completely independent in my recommendations of goods, services and suppliers, and am not paid to recommend highly any particular product, service or supplier.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Christmas Assembly Confusion! You need to take 'what?' to school?

My eldest girl (5 yrs) came home with instructions yesterday.  
Mummy.. she said in that slightly irritating whiny way that 5 year olds have perfected and which you know will precede a question that involves you doing something, or that presents you with a new complicated job to do.

Mummy…….. I need a costume for school for the Christmas assembly

OK luv, what do you need? I say overly cheerily to suppress the groan that is threatening.

I need a quilt, mummy

A quilt?  I frown.

Yes she says seeing the doubt in my eyes and nodding her little head furiously.   A quilt.  Obviously I am doubtful.  I have an image in my head of a small child swamped with her winter quilt, over her head, wrapped around her like Marys shawl in the nativity, a large belt strapping it all together Ahhhh... I think I may be on to something.

Is it to dress up as Mary?  Or a Shepherd?  I ask thinking Ive worked it out But shes not at all happy with that suggestion and I can see very quickly that she is disgusted with my apparent stupidity.

NO Mummy   At one point I think shes going to tut at me and she says very slowly and slightly loudly. We have to dress up like the Countries. 


Yes Mummy. I can tell shes getting exasperated now.  So I need a quilt.  Like they wear in bonny Scotland…………

And so it transpires that the children have been learning about the Olympics and are doing a Christmas assembly on this subject, in which my daughter is supporting Scotland.  I am not sure which made my laugh more in the next 10 minutes until I finally came up for air, the quilt or the fact that my daughter had used the word bonny.  A word we have never used in any context previously before!

Thinking about it though; itll be harder to get hold of a kilt for this assembly than it would be to supply a quilt, so maybe shes on to something!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas budgets: How much 'should' you spend?

I've been thinking alot about spending recently.  This is to be expected in the run up to Christmas, especially in the current financial climate.*   My hubby and I have set ourselves strict budgets, as we did last year, and although I feel somewhat cruel monitoring our spend so closely, it is unfortunately the way it has to be to ensure we don't end up in debt.

But, through casual conversations with other mums, I have realised that everyone has 'completely ridiculous different' ideas as to how much they should spend on their children.

So it got me to thinking.  What is an appropriate total spend per child for this magical day?

*Translation:  cash-strapped, debt-ridden nation, that spent far more than we could afford and are now having to pay for it.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Great Gift for New Dads

I have just discovered a great gift for new dads.  The Daddy Diaper Changing Toolbox!  It's from America, but they do free shipping to the UK.  The inventors, Valrico residents Chris Hatzfield and Julie Etzkom, came up with the idea at their third baby shower, where Chris noticed that all the focus was on showering the new mum with gifts.  What about Dad?

I agree, and with baby showers taking off in the UK, it's a great idea to shower both new mum and dad in helpful gifts in preparation for their new arrival.

The kit includes; among other things, a mask ("toxic fume filter"), goggles, a poop poncho, tongs, ear/nose plugs, pacifier (dummy, or "scream plug"), baby wipes, diaper, bio hazard bag and rubber gloves, among other things.  Check out the link above for full details.

I have to say though..... nose plugs?  Are we saying that dad's are really that wimpy!?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Today's Lesson Learnt..

It's not a good idea to walk to school if you haven't left extra time to put on the required coats, hats, scarfs and gloves.  My eldest arrived at school a good five minutes late this morning to an empty playground.  The secretary did a marvellous job of not looking too disapproving and I scuttled off like the failure of a mum I must be.

My excuse (if needed) and reason for feeling more smug than embarrassed is this:-  we walked.  A greener, healthier method than driving.  Less stressful too...IF you leave enough time!

Note to self: - when it snows sleep in coat, hat and scarf or leave house before 8am!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Thinking of trying out ZUMBA?

This week I decided I needed to supplement my one hour's worth of exercise per week (Tap class) with something a little more aerobic.  And since Zumba appears to be where it is at these days, then Zumba it was.

Frankly it didn't matter which days of the week I could fit it in, nor where I lived.  There are Zumba classes at four different locations within a mile radius of my house.  Where ever there's a sports centre, leisure centre, village hall, school hall, dance school or gym, you will find a Zumba class.

After a quick Internet trawl of the website I found local instructor Lucy Perry's profile. This looked like an instructor I could get along with.  She's an ex-contemporary dancer (as am I), and a quick phone call later, which turned into a 10 minutes chat, concluded that we would indeed get along.  So off I trotted.

Zumba is a 70% Latin based workout, 30% dance based (at the discretion of the instructor) workout.  We did a bit of an Irish jig for that section.  I couldn't stop smiling!

If you are looking for an effective aerobic fitness programme that is a lot of fun, then Zumba is definitely for you.  But be careful not to take the claims at face value and be realistic!  Some sites claim that you can burn 1000 calories a class.  That's as maybe, if you leap about with the same enthusiasm and energy as the instructor.  More likely you will find yourself in a class of 'marchers' who step instead of jog, waft their arms out instead of punching, and skip instead of jump.  These people may well become very disillusioned at the success of the class if they are searching to loose weight, because they are too busy being self conscious to really let themselves go.

Me?  Well I'm a realist and not at all worried about what I look like in class.  I gave it my all, came out with a face as red as a tomato, my hair plastered against my neck, panting heavily.  It was great fun and my aim is to get fit and have fun, so I will definitely be returning!

Another great more detailed review of Zumba can be found at

Click here to find your local class! and to read more about it.

Have fun!

How to: change a nappy!

There are many many things that no-one tells you before you give birth to your first child.  There are many more things that no-one shows you before you give birth.  Mostly because those who have given birth forget what it was that they didn't know beforehand!  It's such a fast learning curve.

I do remember not having the first clue how to change a nappy (diaper- for you folk across the pond) and having to actually ask the nurse in the hospital what to do.  So, with the help of a dolly that is unfortunately covered in face paint, (and that's a dolly, not a baby.  I do so hate it when women refer to dollies as babies, and it can be dangerously confusing for young children with new siblings), so with the help of a dolly, a dolly-size nappy (for ease of demonstration) and a baby size nappy (so show you how the elastic on them works), here it goes..

1.  Be Prepared

Ensure you have got everything ready.  If you are using disposable nappies with wipes, then you need a couple of clean nappies within arms reach (sometimes one isn't enough - I'll get to that in a minute!) You also need your packet of wipes open already, with one wipe already sticking up ready to grab (it's not as easy to get those things out of the packet one handed, especially if it's a new packet).  Finally you need your nappy bag/sack ready and "open", so that the used nappy can be dropped straight into it.  (A nappy bag/sack looks much like a sandwich bag, but is generally scented and degrades faster than other plastic bags making it a good plan to keep odours at bay in the short term and to protect the environment in the long term.)  Make sure the bag is within your reach, but out of reach of the baby!

Those of you sticking with the washable reusable nappies will need a couple of clean nappies ready and a safe place to keep the dirty nappy until the washing machine is next turned on.

If you are avoiding wipes and prefer cotton wool and water, then you'll need a bowl of water and some cotton wool balls within arms reach.

All of you will need a changing mat on a flat surface.  Changing tables are good to start with, but be wary of them after a few weeks.  You can't step away from them at all, as you can guarantee that the day you do will be the day your baby decides to roll over for the first time ever.  You don't want them rolling off.

2.  Establish the Damage!

The first job is the disposal of the old nappy.  With your baby lying flat on their back on a changing mat, release the sticky tabs on either side of the nappy one at a time.  Whilst you do the second one, ensure to hold the front of the nappy still.  You don't want to release it until you are absolutely ready.  This is because, both boys and girls have an early tendency to wee the second the air gets to their bottoms.  In the case of boys this is often straight up into the air, right where your head is!  The best plan is to lift the front of the nappy gently upwards, peeking under to establish what damage you are facing, but keeping good protection between the two of you.  Lifting the nappy slightly in this way will, as I said, often cause a further wee.  So I often used to wait in this position for a moment, talking to my baby and letting her kick her legs a little.

3.  Disposal

After a minute or so, holding the babies ankles with one hand, use the other hand to gently wipe the front of the nappy down the bottom (from front to back), pushing the front piece of the nappy against the back piece.

This 'folds' the nappy, keeps any contents covered up and out of reach of any loose kicking feet, and provides continued protection under baby in case of further toileting! 

You then need to wipe the area clean.  I did this, at least to start with, with the old nappy still in it's folded position.  This enabled me to slot any used wipes into the edge of the nappy.  Wipe gently and carefully (with either wipes, or warm dampened cotton wool balls (not hot!)).  You should always wipe from front through to back.  This is particularly important for girls, who could get infections if poo is wiped into their 'front bottom' (to use my 5 year old daughter's terminology!)

Once you are happy the area is clean, remove the nappy entirely and place into the nappy bag/sack or nappy bin for washing.

Many disposal nappies now have a handy tab on the back of them.  I didn't know what this was for for ages!  If you pull the tab it releases a strip of sticky tape that you can use to wrap around the nappy holding it closed.  It's very useful!

Finally wipe clean any other area you may have previously missed.  If your child has done a poo, ideally the poo should be deposited into the toilet before you then put the nappy itself into the nappy sack. (I appreciate this won't always happen, particularly if you are nowhere near a toilet at the time!)

This is a good time, if you can bear it, to leave you baby without a nappy on for a few minutes.  The air will reduce the risk of nappy rash, and baby will enjoy a good kick unhampered by a nappy.


4.  Round 2

The difficult bit is putting a new nappy on in such a way that it a) doesn't fall off the second you pick baby up, and b) doesn't leak.

Leaking nappies are caused by three things.  Either the nappy is too big for baby, and therefore you can't get a snug enough fit to avoid leaks.  The nappy hasn't been put on correctly and therefore doesn't have a snug enough fit to avoid leaks.  Or the nappy is too small for the volume that baby is now producing, meaning no matter how snug the fit is, it will still leak.

The answer is fairly straight forward.

If you look carefully at the disposable nappy design you will notice that there are two elasticated sections.  Just like pants, the elasticated section on the inside (that I am pinching in this picture) is supposed to fit snugly around the top of babies legs without it being folded over or crumpled.  To check this, simply slid your finger around the nappy at the top of the leg to ensure the elastic is placed correctly.  For washable nappies, it's a case of practising with your folds to ensure a snug fit.  I haven't used washables myself, so if anyone has any pictures to help demonstrate the folding, please send them in!

And finally, those sticky tabs or safety pins!  I've seen babies nappies done up so tight the poor baby has cried from tummy ache.  In my experience the sticky tabs may touch each other in the first few weeks for newborns, but generally speaking, after that, there's usually a gap between each tab of approximately a finger width.  You can check the tightness in the same way to check is a skirt fit you correctly.  Again, simply run your finger around waist between tummy and nappy.  You should be able to do this comfortably, yet snugly.  You'll then learn, throughout the day, if you did it too loosely or not!

And there you have it.  Do that 10 times a day for a couple of weeks and an expert you will be!

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