16 months old

I had forgotten how busy a 16 month old toddler can be!

N is constantly on the go, chasing the cat is undoubtedly his favourite activity – poor cat. He is fascinated by the cat, and I think this fuels his desire to climb. I am finding myself constantly saying “don’t stand on the table!” or “ah no, not the curtains!” as he attempts to use them to climb up onto the windowsill. It is just possible that one day he will be a great explorer scaling mountains instead of windowsills, and I will look back fondly and sigh. But for now, I find myself having many heart in mouth moments as I grab for him before he brings my curtain rails down.

Toddler Mealtime

Mealtimes are fun, N enjoys his food, but still hasn’t really mastered the idea of using cutlery – preferring instead to use his hands. This means that eating yogurt is a messy process for him, and it’s one of those things I avoid unless we’re at home in the kitchen where at least it will mop up relatively easily. Strangely he really does not like rice, in any form. I think it must be the texture he finds strange. It means that chilli is now being served with wedges while I continue the battle in small amounts.

Sleep is for the weak…

Sleep…he is still waking once a night, but I am hoping that is partly due to teething. He has so many teeth, and is growing up so quickly. I can barely believe that this time last year he was teeny tiny!

Talk to me…

Words… words are coming slowly. So far we have Daddy, Mummy, Cat, Door, RoRo (his biggest brother) and one or two others. I worry whether he has enough words for his age. But I also know he has a lot of understanding – I can ask him to e.g. put the ball into the bag and he will.

Toddler fun

I’m constantly reminded that the best toys are strange things like wooden spoons and a saucepan. He does love playing with cars, but I also feel less is best at this stage, otherwise there are toys everywhere, but he isn’t actually playing with any of them! I wonder with excitement what the next months will bring.

Simple Ways for busy Moms to Take it Easy

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When is the last time you just relaxed? If you’re a mom, you probably have to think about the answer. As much as you love your family, the role of a mother is a stressful one. Being responsible for the lives of your children and providing requires every bit of who you are. It often leaves very little time for you to catch your breath.

Being a parent was never designed to be easy. If you overwork yourself, however, you have nothing left to give your family. That’s why it’s important for moms to take it easy. Despite the busy schedules and a laundry list of responsibilities, you can find small amounts of time throughout your day to relax.

Dig Into a Good Book

You can escape reality even for a few minutes by digging into a good book. Pencil in time throughout the day to read. Whether it be a steamy romance novel, self-help book, or thrilling sci-fi, it takes your mind off of everything and allows you to immerse yourself in another world. You can read before you wake the kids in the morning, during your lunch break, or even after you’ve put everyone to bed.

Sip on a Cup of Tea

Coffee may be the preferred morning beverage, but tea has some very therapeutic benefits. Try drinking one cup of herbal tea in the morning and again before bed. There are many types and each has its own healing properties. For example, peppermint tea is ideal for tummy aches while chamomile can help you get some rest.

Get a Massage

Massage therapy has been long regarded as a luxury designed to help relax the mind and body. Once a month, schedule yourself a massage session. The healing properties from various techniques can improve your mood, relieve tension, lower your blood pressure, and soothe the pain. If your schedule is really tight, however, you can always look for a mobile massage therapist. They have supplies like portable massage tables, essential oils, and candles and can bring the spa experience to your home when it’s most convenient.

Take a Long Hot Bath

Showers are great but every now and then switch things up with a bath. Soaking in a warm bath with your favorite salts, oils, or soap helps to calm the mind and body. You may not be able to do it every day, but try taking a long hot bath at least once a week after you’ve put the kids to bed.

Write in a Journal

As a mom, your mind is always going a mile a minute. It sometimes seems as if the thoughts never stop coming. You can relax your mind by writing things down. Start a journal and write about what’s going on inside your head. Venting is therapeutic and can help to slow those thoughts and improve your mental well-being.

Take a Nap

On the weekends when you put the kids down for a nap, instead of trying to catch up on chores why not rest? Getting good sleep tends to go out the window when you become a parent, so any time you get to shut those eyes for a few minutes – take it. Whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, you’ll feel much more at ease when you wake up.

Sweet Treat

What calms the mind more than sweets? Whatever your craving is, don’t be afraid to indulge every once in a while. Bake some cookies with the kids and nibble on a few after they’ve gone to bed. Go to an ice cream parlor on your lunch break and buy your favorite flavor. Allow yourself at least 10-15 minutes to just enjoy your treat.
Moms are the superheroes of the world. Which means moms are often on the go helping their families to thrive. You love your job, but even superheroes need a break on occasion. The good news is that even with a hectic schedule and tons of responsibilities, you can find a few minutes throughout your day to just – take it easy. 

3 Reasons Why Maternity Dresses Win Every Time

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I am always looking for ways to make the most of the pieces in my closet and maternity clothes can be tricky items of clothing to work into a wardrobe rotation. Obviously, there comes a point in time when you need to purchase them because regular pants and plus size clothing don’t fit anymore! But what kinds of clothes can you buy so that you spend your money well on the pieces that count the most? You will not wear these clothes forever, but they need to be versatile enough to wear them throughout the postpartum period and while breast-feeding.

There are so many maternity clothes options available to women who are pregnant! How do you choose which clothes to purchase in order to maximize your wardrobe? Maternity dresses are a favorite staple in every expectant mum’s wardrobe. Here’s why:

1)      They are comfortable! Have you ever tried to squeeze your cute 7-months-pregnant bump into those paneled shorts or pants? The panel in maternity pants can be quite itchy and uncomfortable. A maternity dress is always breezy and comfortably covers your bump without making you itchy.

2)      They are versatile! How many ways can a maternity dress be styled? A more versatile piece you will not find. With a cute pair of heels? Perfect. Boots for autumn? So chic. A cardigan? Cozy! Sandals? Perfect for warmer weather. The ways a maternity dress can be styled is seemingly endless.

3)      They show off that sweet bump! This time is a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime, 9-month period where your sweet baby is on display on the inside of your body, meaning you are on display too!

Even though you might not want strangers coming up to touch your bump the pregnant mum’s form is beautiful and should be appreciated!

Tell me – what was your must-have, favorite, go-to item of clothing when you were pregnant?    

Nailing Your Family Camping Holiday Experience

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Camping is an amazing activity if you’ve got children (or if you haven’t!). Select a site that’s close to the sea or enveloped in woodland, and you’ll wake up every morning surrounded by natural beauty. It’s the perfect antidote to your stressful daily life back home.

However, it’s important to be prepared when you go camping. Failing to plan can put a dampener on the experience. Here’s a handy guide to help you.

Camping with the family – the basics

Firstly, when you’re choosing a campsite, think carefully about what sort of holiday you want. Popular ‘holiday parks’ have lots of amenities (useful for keeping the children amused), but can be noisy. Remote campsites are likely to be situated amidst stunning scenery, but the facilities might be basic. Consider your specific needs before you book.

Look at what’s around the campsite too. Are there scenic walks you can go on? What about activities for the children? What’s available if the weather takes a turn for the worse? You don’t want to be stranded on a campsite in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain.

What sort of pitch?

Usually, there are two types of pitch – electric and non-electric. The advantage of having an electric pitch is that you can charge your phones in the tent, or plug in a portable heater if the evenings are cold. However, some people feel that this takes away from the experience of being ‘immersed in nature’. It’s a matter of personal preference, and you should select what works for your family.

What budget?

Some campsites are more expensive than others. The most expensive tend to be the holiday parks, particularly in popular locations like Cornwall or Devon. At the other end of the scale are farmer’s fields, which in terms of facilities, might offer a couple of portaloos and that’s it. If you’re feeling really daring, there are areas where you can legally go wild camping, but this can be tricky with kids.

Remember that you’ll be spending money on eating, going out, and keeping the kids entertained too. Factor the costs in before booking your site.

What you’ll need:

It’s useful to know what basics to buy. Here are few useful suggestions.

  • Cooking / eating paraphernalia. If you’re staying away for an extended period of time, it’s wise to take a portable stove with you, as eating out every day can get expensive. Remember to pack plates, mugs, cutlery, and preferably a cloth or drying rack to leave them to drain after you’ve washed them up.
  • ‘Entertainment’ items. Think about what you’ll be doing each day. If you’re planning on hitting the beach, you’ll need sunscreen, towels, buckets and spades, and possibly body-boards and wetsuits too. For the evenings on the campsite, you might want to bring a few easy-to-pack board-games or some playing cards.
  • Sleeping arrangements. If you haven’t got a sleeping bag yet, choose wisely. A good all-rounder will keep you warm in colder nights. As for what to sleep on? Cot-style beds have the advantage of being raised off the floor, but they take up a lot of room. Blow-up beds are a good option, or well-padded roll-up mats.
  • ‘Going out’ items. Camping is generally a casual affair, but there might be times that you want to dress up and hit the nearest town. Remember to take at least one nice outfit, and if needs be, some make-up, jewellery or the latest top men’s perfume. In short, whatever you feel you need; but don’t go overboard. You’ve only got limited space in the car.

Biscuiteers Afternoon tea

A couple of weekends ago, a very good friend and I visited Biscuiteers in Notting Hill for afternoon tea. We had been talking about doing something special, and this seemed the ideal treat – well I do love cake!

Afternoon tea has to be booked in advance, I booked by email and got a prompt reply confirming the booking. They also sent me a reminder of the booking a day or two before – which was a useful reminder!

The Biscuiteers shop is smaller than I’d imagined, and the cafe is at the back of the shop. It’s lovely as you can see the shop, but are tucked away from the hustle and bustle!

The afternoon tea arrived includes Scones with jam and cream, a selection of mini cakes and of course a couple of famous Biscuiteers biscuits!

Biscuiteers Afternoon Tea

I have to say I struggle to pick a favourite, there’s a real selection of flavours! There was a mini cheese cake which I thought was heavenly, and also this mini lemon meringue pie featured below was a firm favourite!

We struggled to finish eating all the cakes, but the staff were fabulous at wrapping the cakes up for us to take away! The Biscuiteers Afternoon Tea costs £30 each, which I think was relatively good value for an extra special tea. It is a lovely experience and I really enjoyed visiting, it’s the perfect venue for tea with a friend!

Happiness journal

I’ve decided to start using a Happiness Planner. I wanted to be a little more focused in my day to day life, and I had heard good things about these planners! Plus, it came in my favourite colour, yes I have this thing with teal (and tiffany blue!).

The planner makes you think about the things which make you happy, and unhappy too. Then can you do more of what makes you happy? And can you change the unhappy stuff? It sounds simple, and it is, but it’s focused. Sometimes it can be hard to focus on what exactly is the problem!

The idea is that each day I will fill in the journal, and at the end of 100 days hopefully I’ll be on my way to where I’d like to be.

As a teenager, I wrote a journal every day. At the start of a new year I’d set goals and would race to achieve them. So, I’m hoping that this structured approach to journaling will work as well now, as it did then! Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.

Plastic-free Kitchen swaps

There’s been lots of talk about going plastic free since Blue Planet. I have to admit that we’ve been trying to reduce our plastic waste for several years, with mixed success. But I thought I’d share some of our simple swaps.

Plastic-free or waste free?!

The first thing I would say is do not go throwing away things to replace them with an eco-alternative! If you already own it, keep it and use it until it can no longer be used – then re-purpose it! When it needs replacing though, think about more eco-friendly options to replace it with – so perhaps stainless steel or bees wax wraps.

We have moved away from clingfilm, and switched re-usable food wraps. Currently we haves Vegan food wraps in use – although I have some beeswax ones to try to (I’m not Vegan – yet). The only problem with re-usable wraps is that you can’t wrap meat in them (not a problem if you are a vegetarian or vegan). But they’re easy to use, and once you get into the routine of using them you forget about clingfilm! For wrapping meat, we now use a pyrex dish with a a plastic lid – yes not strictly plastic free, but we have no intention of throwing it away anytime soon!

Grocery store swaps

Ever thought about the single use plastic you buy at the supermarket? Let’s talk tea and coffee. Ever thought about the plastic you throw away when you buy tea and coffee? I’m not talking about coffee shops, I’m talking about the way your tea and coffee is packaged in the supermarket for you to use at home. Lots of tea bags contain plastic – yes the actual bags. The boxes are also wrapped in a thin plastic which cannot be recycled. There are alternatives, but are they easy to find?! PG Tips sells a loose leaf tea in a cardboard box, with no plastic wrap – so look for that in your local supermarket. If you think loose leaf tea is complicated to make, it really isn’t! We were given a fabulous tea pot with inbuilt tea strainer by a friend, I believe it is from Whittards and I cannot recommend it enough!

Coffee, I love a good cup of coffee! Percol filter coffee is now packaged plastic free – so that’s a great one to look out for! There is also illy coffee, which comes in a tin, but is not Fairtrade, they do however suggest that they do many other things to support growers. I digress, I re-use illy tins for all sorts of things around my home, and they can also be recycled!

It takes about 5 minutes for me to make a “proper” coffee in the morning, that includes 4 minutes brewing time, so I get on with packed lunches while it brews. Filter coffee always looks expensive, but you get a great cup of coffee and when you work out how many coffees you get from one packet it is actually really reasonable!

Things I avoid in the supermarket…

N.B. Using up these cake cases from the back of my cupboard!

One thing I have struggled to find a plastic free alternative too is biscuits and cakes. There are some in the “bakery section” of the supermarket, but very few. Instead I’ve opted to start making our own, and we regularly make biscuits and cakes ourselves. It is so much easier trying to find the ingredients plastic free than ready made cakes and biscuits. This weekend I’m trying out this simple carrot cake recipe, which I’m hoping will survive for after school tea on Monday! I do struggle with an alternative to baking paper, at the moment I just butter then flour the baking tray, but I wonder if there’s a green alternative to baking paper?

Plastic-free Problems.

There are some products I struggle to find plastic free, pasta is one! I’ve started buying a brand which has a mostly cardboard packing with a tiny plastic window. I think it is a better option than the plastic bags of pasta? I should really have a go at making pasta, but I need to investigate how easy it is! And is it cost-effective?

Tips on Treating White Spots on your Teeth



ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MEDIABUZZER.

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If you have noticed small white spots on your teeth, it could be caused by a number of reasons, which include dental fluorosis, a condition that results from consuming too much fluoride. A lack of minerals in the tooth enamel will cause white spots to appear, which is known as hypo calcification, and this is often followed by cavities, as the tooth enamel is considerably weakened by the lack of minerals. Another cause of white spots on the teeth is a sugary diet, and this condition mainly affects children, whose tooth enamel has not yet fully formed, and with that in mind, here are some tips for effective treatment.

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

There is Zoom teeth whitening in Sydney from an established cosmetic dental clinic, and this treatment can make your teeth up to 8 shades whiter in a single session. A powerful whitening agent is applied to the teeth and this is activated by UV light, which helps the gel to break down stains on the teeth.

At Home Teeth Whitening Kits

This is a very effective treatment to eliminate white spots on the teeth, as whitening the teeth will reduce the colour difference, and with a whiter smile, you will feel more self-confident. The first stage of the treatment involves the dentist checking that you are suitable for the treatment, and if this is the case, the dentist would first clean the teeth professionally, which ensures optimum results. The next step is for the dentist to take an impression of the teeth, which is used to create customised trays to use with the whitening solution. The dentist shows you exactly how to apply the treatment, and the take home kit has enough material for at least 15 separate sessions, which should be carried out on a daily basis.

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Enamel Microabrasion

This treatment involves the dentist removing small amounts of tooth enamel and that reduces the contrast between your teeth and the lighter spots. This treatment can be followed up by a teeth whitening treatment, which further evens out the colour of your teeth. If you are at all concerned about white spots on your teeth, you are advised to consult with a dentist who specialises in cosmetic dentistry, and they can examine you and suggest the most effective treatment.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers can be used to eliminate white spots, as the very thin veneer can provide a covering to give the teeth an even colour, and this is something that your dentist might recommend. While it is an expensive treatment, dental veneers can certainly cover up unsightly white spots on the teeth.

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If you have white spots on your teeth, make an appointment to see your dentist, who will examine your teeth and make a suitable recommendation for treatment. As mentioned above, there are numerous treatments that might work, and the dental specialist will make you aware of all the treatment options.

It is important to have a dental check up every year, which would reveal any oral issues, and with the right treatment, your teeth and gums will be healthy and strong.

Getting your garden summer ready!

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If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, I’m sure you will agree there is no where better to enjoy a cuppa on a summers evening! With summer rapidly approaching, and the evenings being lighter, my thoughts have turned to gardening! It’s time to get the garden ready for summer!

Gardening – Maintenance

It is time to get the lawn mower out! May is time to start mowing the lawn again, and that means it becomes a weekly job until Autumn. I also like to try to do some weeding every week – just to keep on top of things, although I confess I’m not very good at remembering to! Getting on with these jobs I do find I need to replace certain garden tools, and Garden Tool Box is a good resource for finding the best garden tools.

Add some colour!

I love to add some colour to my garden using hanging baskets. You can buy them ready planted, but I admit I quite like planting my own! Empty, used hanging baskets seem to regularly turn up on selling groups so it is worth keeping your eyes peeled! It’s fun planting hanging baskets as you can choose exactly the colours you want. This year I’m hoping to find some cast iron garden furniture and paint it in a deep blue – a new colourful feature for my garden! If you don’t need new garden furniture, make sure yours is clean and ready to use – perhaps invest in new cushions for chairs – it’s a great way to cheaply introduce a fresh colour.

gardening in pots

Grow your own!

I have to admit that I don’t grow anywhere near as much fruit and vegetables as I should. If you have a limited garden space, you can still grow your own vegetables – plant them up in pots! Potatoes grow really well in potato sacks, we had a huge crop last year and they were so tasty! I am going to attempt sweetcorn again this year, last year was a disaster – we got nothing more than a narrow plant. I think even growing a few herbs in a small pot really makes a garden wonderful in summer.

Relax

Make sure you find a space in your garden where you can relax. Sometimes it is hard to remember that your garden needs a grown-up space where you can relax with a good book! I love the children being able to play in the garden, but I have reserved a space for grown ups using my table and chairs! I’ve created the area using pots planted of lavender and rosemary which carefully mark out the grown up space. This way we can all enjoy the garden this summer!

NET WORLD SPORTS Rebounder and children’s Cricket Set Review

My children love being outdoors, and they’re very keen on sport. I have to admit I probably don’t encourage them enough.

The older boys have both played cricket at school, and my 8 year old really enjoys it. It’s quite amusing as my only experience with cricket is watching it on television when my Grandpa stayed with us – that’s a long time ago! But my 8 year old in particular seems very keen on cricket, so I guess I’ll be learning about it!

Cricket Set

We were sent the cricket set and a rebounder for review by NetWorldSports.com. I have to admit the cricket set was an instant hit. The boys were straight outside playing together – an hour of play with no fighting I hasten to add!

I like the set as it is brightly coloured so easy not to mislay bits. It’s light enough for them to carry around, but it feels like a proper cricket set. It is definitely a children’s cricket set and not a toy cricket set. The bag to store the set in means we can take the set out to the park or to visit friends – and of course it stores the set neatly!

Rebounder

I had never thought of getting the children a rebounder. But, if you want them to stop bouncing balls off the side of your wall, invest in one now!

The rebounder is great for cricket, tennis, football or rugby practice. The ball hits the elastic net and rebounds towards you, more unpredictable than just hitting a ball against a wall. It almost feels as though the ball is being returned by another player. It’s great as a training aid and doesn’t require another player to play with!

It has been really interesting to watch how much they have used the rebounder. The boys have used it to practice football alot too. My eldest is a keen footballer and he has spent hours kicking the ball from goal to the rebounder and then “saving” it – or trying to! It is double sided, so can be used by two people at once.

The rebounder folds flat so it can be easily stowed or transported, perfect if you have limited space! We love the rebounder and have packed it into the car when we have visited friends. Whether your children are sports mad or just enjoy kicking a ball outside I would thoroughly recommend investing in a rebounder!