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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.

5 Ways to protect your home and your pocket

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A house is the building we create our home inside of, and sometimes a house can disrupt our home. Small accidents and home emergencies can have big financial repercussions for any family, as well as coming with inconveniences like no hot water or electricity. There are steps we can take to protect our home from these disasters, and make sure they don’t leave a hole in our pocket. Here are five ideas you can use to save yourself money and worry.

Get the Right Home Insurance Cover

Many people don’t have the right home insurance cover or no cover at all. Some insurance may be included with a mortgage or rental agreement, but this will often not have enough cover for your contents or valuables, or for unpredictable but inevitable problems like boiler repairs and burst pipes. It is worth checking any cover you have and seeing if it offers you enough protection.

Get Some Boiler Cover

Getting separate boiler cover for boiler repairs is becoming increasingly popular. It gives great peace of mind to know that in an emergency, the details of the boiler repair become someone else’s problem and you can concentrate on keeping warm and tending to family members. If you want to ensure you’re covered against multiple home emergencies, the company Certi offer packages that also insure your pipes and drains and all kinds of home emergencies as well as boiler maintenance. This type of package is highly recommended as you know your home will e fully protected.

Consider Insuring Specific Valuables

Some general home and contents insurance will not be enough to cover some of your most precious valuables. It is worth looking for specific insurance for these kinds of items. There are policies that are aimed at high-tech equipment, for example, that you can use to protect your computers and smartphones from theft or damage. Claiming for these on your standard home insurance can push your premiums up or come at a higher excess charge than is reasonable.

Install Home Security

Having your own CCTV system or home alarm is easier and cheaper than you may at first think. Thanks to advancements in technology and home wireless networks, it is possible to install a high-quality system yourself without wires covering the house. Modern systems even integrate your smartphone with an app allowing you to check on your home from anywhere in the world. This feature is very popular with the parents of teenagers.

Take Some Precautions for Emergencies

Having a box or bag with some emergency supplies kept in a handy spot may seem like you’re being overly cautious, but you won’t think that when you need it. It doesn’t have to contain emergency rations and bottles of water unless you want it to, but having a first aid kit and some candles or torches for home emergencies isn’t a bad idea. You could even add a USB power pack to charge phones.

Taking some precautions to protect you from home emergencies and the cost of boiler maintenance can save you money and stress at difficult times, so don’t let a natural disaster become a financial one.

Which 8 man family tent?

Last year after a single holiday, the decision was made to sell it on. It was a fabulous tent, loads of living space, but the sleeping pods were small. It just didn’t work for us. We have taken our tents camping in Europe for several years, so our tent is an investment!

I had chatted to various camping friends about their recommendations, and there were varying opinions on air-beam tents. They always came up as part of the conversation, but people seemed to have differing opinions on whether you could buy a reasonably priced air-beam tent.

The benefit of an air-beam is quite clear – no poles to fight with, and in theory therefore easier to put the tent up – especially if you’re a lone adult trying to put up a family tent. The main problem with air-beam, in my view is the weight of the tent bag! The air beams are weighty!

I’m looking for an 8 man tent to ensure we have plenty of space, but I want room in the sleeping pods to be able to stand up. This may sound silly, but many of the cheaper tents have low ceilings in the sleeping pods and I’m tall. So, bluntly I fear I may put my head straight through the pod in the middle of the night.

Decathlon offers two 8 man tents, thankfully it is the cheaper one which has more height in the sleeping pods (160cm). The 8 man Arpenaz 8.4XL is a traditional tent, but most reviews suggest it is quick to pitch. Priced at £399.99 it appears to offer good value.

I’ve always been a fan of Vango, and the Longleat Air 800XL is a serious contender. It boasts a 10 minute pitch – so even if I’m slow surely that means 20 minutes and it’ll be ready? The height in the sleeping pods is 190cm. The price – it’s on offer at £599.99. But it is an air-beam – so no fighting with poles!

I’ve also looked at an Outwell Middleton 8A, this has a RRP of £1439.99. It doesn’t work for me as the sleeping pods are too low (150cm tall). This does have the benefit of extra living space – ideal if we’re camping in the UK.

Currently I think it’s a choice between the Decathlon tent which offers great value, and the Vango which offers ease. £200 between the price makes it a tough choice as that could pay for a weeks pitch fees!

A Parent’s Guide to Summer Holidays at Disneyland Paris in 2019

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The kids have been begging to go on holiday to Disneyland Paris for what seems like years now. This year you finally have decided on a summer holiday in Paris with Disneyland being the main focus. Of course, as parents, you want a bit of adult time as well. Here is a brief guide on how to give everyone a little of something they all want when visiting Disneyland Paris in 2019.

Travel Arrangements Are First

Once you have decided to take that trip to Disneyland Paris just across the channel, you’ve decided that leaving the car behind is a much easier and quicker option. You know when your holiday leave has been approved so you start making air travel arrangements from the UK to Charles de Gaulle to Disneyland Paris. It makes the most sense to arrange not only for air travel but also for a private transfer to and from the airport Paris as well as for transport to and from the hotel you reserve for the holiday. Because you can book all of that in one service with companies like Easy Go Shuttle, you can narrow down your itinerary almost by the hour. Easy Go Shuttle have a 5* rating on Trip Advisor and are the recommended choice amongst many parents, as they provide complimentary child seats and will assist you with all of your luggage – no matter how much you have with you!

But first, even though you know that the chauffeur driven taxi can pick you up and take you all around Paris for other attractions, you need to know where to have them pick you up! It’s time to choose a hotel!

Booking Accommodation Comes Next

Before going any further, it’s best to get those accommodations reserved. Most parents find that staying as close as possible to Disneyland makes the most sense. Transport times to and from the theme park can take time away from enjoying all the attractions the kids love most.

Did you know that Easy Go Shuttle not only offers transfer from Charles de Gaulle to Disneyland Paris but can also pick you up for travelling to other attractions around the capital as well? This is something else to consider when choosing a hotel once you know those dates of travel and have made the flight arrangements to Paris from your nearest airport in the UK.

Parents’ Night Out in Paris – From Dream to Reality

Of course, you want to give the kids a holiday to remember always, but you also want a bit of much needed alone time with the love of your life, your spouse. Don’t forget to check out hotels at Disneyland Paris with babysitting services! With professional childminders, you can plan one or more nights out and about together as a couple. What better way is there to keep the romance alive than an evening or two of dinner and dancing with the wife?

If you know when you are going and where you are staying, Disneyland Paris airport transfers are easy to book. You only need to know the dates of arrival and departure as well as things to do on holiday in Paris 2019. Just think. There is nothing to worry about on holiday because you’ve planned for everything from transport to tickets to accommodation, all at the very same time. All you’ve left to do is pack, go and enjoy. Now, that’s something to be excited about!

Cottage Pie topped with sweet potato

This is an entry to #MeatMatters Challenge Sponsored by Simply Beef & Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here.

When I first accepted this challenge, I had intended to make a macaroni pie. But I’m trying to eat healthy, and I’ve yet to find a recipe which is low fat high flavour for Macaroni Pie!

Instead I went for a healthy cottage pie. I say healthy as I used lean steak mince. Beef is naturally high in protein, and contains 8 essential vitamins and minerals* that support health and well-being. It’s a really easy recipe and you can pack it with vegetables – perfect for the reluctant veggie eater.

Dice an onion and a garlic clove and fry them until they are lightly browned, then add the mince – I usually use 250g to feed 6 (2 adults 4 children). Add a teaspoon of marmite, teaspoon of Bovril and let the mince brown. Add one grated carrot. Add a tin of tomatoes – I like plum tomatoes but any will work! Add 100ml of water and cook until the liquid is mostly gone.

Cook 500g of sweet potatoes – they seem to take around 15minutes to boil. Once they’re cooked mash them well!

Add the cooked mince to an oven proof dish and top with the sweet potato mash. Pop into a pre-heated oven (180c) for 20 – 30minutes or until the top has browned. You could add grated cheese before you put it into the oven, but if you’re trying to watch your calories don’t!

Serve with boiled vegetables.

*Niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, plus iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus

The cost of being a Single Parent

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Being a parent is expensive! A day out or trip to the cinema quickly add up. Tickets, drinks, snacks and that’s not including the cost of travelling to get there! With the Easter holidays coming up, many parents may be beginning to make plans on how to spend the holidays.

There are some offers available for family tickets, which offer a discount. Some of these you do need to book in advance, so it is worth checking online in advance of visiting. But, many family tickets are aimed at two parent families. So, if you’re a single parent family, you miss out on a discounted ticket. Which doesn’t seem very fair! Payplan have created an info-graphic which shows some of the financial pitfalls of being a single parent;

It shouldn’t be so difficult to participate in family deals just because you’re a single parent family. While some savings on family tickets may seem small, it is still the cost of a loaf of bread – and this may make the difference between a day out being viable or not.

Happy Skin with Bepanthen #AD

This post is my entry into #BepanthenProtects Challenge sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more about how to protect babies sensitive skin on https://www.bepanthen.co.uk/

As the mother of a very busy 14 month old, I am used to doing things on the move! Nothing frustrates my son more than having to sit still while he wants to play or explore. So if super fast nappy changes were an Olympic sport, I’m fairly sure I’d be in a medal position!

If you’re a parent of a small child, you will have probably experienced nappy rash at some point or another. Baby skin is super delicate. My son suffers with nappy rash every time he’s teething. Apparently that’s something to do with the extra saliva he produces when there’s teeth coming through. He already has 8 teeth and there are more on the way, so I’m keen to do anything I can to avoid any sore skin!

Bepanthen Skin Protection ointment is an easily absorbed cream which can be applied at every nappy change. It isn’t for nappy rash, it is to help protect babies skin. We’ve been using it for a while, and it is easy to apply – even to a wriggling toddler. It absorbs into skin and keeps skin in nice condition.

Happy skin, happy toddler! Adding applying Bepanthen to our nappy change routine may have added seconds to our nappy changes, but if i means happy skin we’ll keep on applying it!

Things you might not know about baby skin;

  • A newborn baby’s skin is 40% thinner and also softer than adults, which makes it more sensitive to irritants, like those in wee and poo which can cause nappy rash when in contact with the skin. This is made worse by a tight nappy which both rubs and stops the air circulating.
  • Bepanthen has a kind-to-skin formulation: No fragrances; No colours; No preservatives; No parabens; No antiseptics)
  • Contains Provitamin B5 to help skin to repair its natural protective barrier
  • Bepanthen is clinically proven: It forms a transparent, breathable layer, helping to protect your baby’s skin from the irritants and rubbing that can cause nappy rash
  • Nappy rash affects 1 in 3 babies at some point , so protecting your baby’s bottom from getting red makes perfect sense, instead of waiting for your little one to suffer from a sore bottom.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping?

What do you do with wrapping paper once you have unwrapped the gift? A couple of years ago I would have proudly answered that I put it in the recycling bin. But, then I learnt that much wrapping paper cannot actually be recycled. As a family we try to recycle as much of our waste as we can, so that’s why I’ve put a ban on traditional wrapping paper.

How can you tell if your wrapping paper can be recycled?

The scrunch test! If it scrunches and stays scrunched, you can probably recycle it. Remember to remove the sticky tape!

What are the alternatives to wrapping paper?

When it comes to wrapping gifts, I try to avoid wrapping paper altogether. Instead I like wrapping gifts in pretty scarves I buy from charity shops. I also love to give a gift packaged in a box. A cardboard box can easily be recycled, and decorating it can be lots of fun – especially for the children!

My 4 year old daughter decorated this box to wrap a present for her friend’s birthday party. I got a quiet hour while she sat decorating the box, and I think it added a lovely personal touch to the gift.

I confess, I keep bits of ribbon which come on gifts or packaging and re-purpose them. They always make a gift look special, and then the ribbons are never wasted!

Wrapping Gifts in Fabric

I really love wrapping gifts in scarves! Fabric scarves – not the wool ones you might wear in winter! I buy them at charity shops throughout the year, and so I’ve always got a small supply in the cupboard. Japanese Fabric Wrapping or Furoshiki is such a stylish way to wrap. It takes a little practice, but once I had worked out how to do it I wondered why I had wrapped in any other way! It also has the added benefit that the scarf can be re-used by the recipient.