How can I make screen time with my toddler productive?

This is an honest question that I’ve asked myself as I got to a point where I wondered whether all of this time in front of a tablet was doing her any good.

I’ll share some of my observations and tips for navigating this sometimes taboo subject

1. For me I feel that a lot can be learnt through the many educational and interactive apps and videos available on a tablet. My daughter has learnt so much through some of the educational videos and also enjoys the games in the apps too.

2. As an adult vetting what your child is watching is paramount. If you allow your child to watch video streaming sites such as YouTube please please ensure that you restrict the videos that you deem inappropriate. There’s a lot of content on there that can be scary for children, especially the Halloween themed content. Create an account and block any videos or channels that don’t look right to you.

3. If you’re not sure about the video streaming sites here are some apps that are great for children aged 2-5: Highlights Shapes, Build a Truck by Duck Duck Moose, ABC Fruit Alphabet App, ABC Kids tracing and phonics, NumberBlocks, Hey Duggee, NumberBlocks- Hide and Seek, Lego – Airplane Adventures

4. If you can, stay with your child whilst they are on the tablet. Ask them questions about what is happening. Ask him or her to describe what they can see. This avoids the passive consumption that can happen on the tablet.

5. Limit the time that they use the app. Plan other activities for them to do that doesn’t involve a screen. I typically don’t allow my daughters usage to exceed one hour in a day.

6. Where do they watch their tablet? Encourage the right posture by allowing them to watch setting in a chair with good back support where their neck isn’t strained and the tablet isn’t too close to their eyes.

Thank you for reading and let me know if you’ve found any of this useful x

I do not own the image used in this blog. Source: phys.org

Motherhood, social restrictions and faith

As I think back at how life has changed since January 2020, it’s amazing the opportunities it has also presented. The greatest one for me is having my husband working from home.

I say this a lot but these times are unprecedented. When I fell pregnant in September 2019, the world was pretty much a normal place. Yet, I spent my entire last trimester going to my baby scans alone, staying indoors to stay safe and popping out just for the necessary walks.

Recently I watched a documentary that talked about the strange blessings of Covid. How it’s bought people together, families looking out for one another more than ever. Friends and communities helping each other out, posting care packages or simply being a listening ear.

Having less outdoor activities with the kids forced me to pull out all the creativity I had in me lol. It was fun, as it created additional opportunities to teach and to bond with the kids.

Of course I did wonder when things would get better. What implications this pandemic would have on their experiences? When would they get to meet their family. Will they be able to make friends in the same way? When will play dates be a safe thing to do again? There were so many questions and as I type this I still wonder about these things. However, faith gives me peace in the midst of uncertainty and I have seen that although things are evolving, time is still moving forward and therefore life still has to be lived in a slightly different way.

Faith has played a role in me being able to remain calm whilst being cautious in these strange times. As parents our children look up to us and although they may not know exactly what’s happening they may get a sense that something is going on. Recently my two year old asked me why she isn’t wearing a mask when mummy and daddy are wearing one.

Faith to me looks like resting in the knowledge that whatever happens God is in full and absolute control. This means that I follow all rules of distancing and mask wearing but I’m not fearful. It also means that I trust and am hopeful that there will be better days, things won’t always be like this. Lastly it means that regardless of the circumstances I rejoice because the one who made the whole world has us all in the palm of His hand, how amazing is that?! 🙂

Thank you for reading, have a lovely weekend x

The holiday travel checklist for families with children under the age of 3

As we look towards sunnier days some maybe thinking about a family holiday. If like me you like to get organised early and book the perfect place. There’s a lot to think about when travelling with babies so here are some tips to help your trip run as smoothly as possible!

1. Give yourself time to prepare and plan for your trip. Check that passports are in date and that your baby is up to date with their vaccinations.

2. Read reviews on the hotel where you’ll be staying. Ensuring that your accommodation caters for families and can provide amenities like a baby cot and baby bath. Read reviews left by families especially. Booking.com usually show you if a review has been left by a family. Check the hotel pictures left by customers to get a real feel of the place.

3. Check if the airline your flying with provide meals for children. Some short flights do offer separate meals for babies and children.

4. Most airlines offer additional allowance without charge for you to check in your car or booster seat, collapsible buggy, travel cot and baby back carrier. Some airlines are specific about the type of stroller you can take to the door of the plane. Once checked in you should specify whether you want to pick up the stroller from the door of the plane or from the conveyor belt. Either way it’s best to have your baby carrier with you just incase baby is asleep when you land for example.

5. Baby food and water for your baby is allowed on the plane but will be screened by security. You can get more information from your airports website.

6. Pack snacks like fruit and sandwiches for the kids. It’s always good to have some to hand incase there are any delays to the flight.

7. Nappies and wipes although light can be bulky in a suitcase. Pack enough for the first night and second day of your stay. Use maps to check the local area for the nearest supermarket or pharmacy so you know where to go to pick some up.

8. Will you be hiring a car? Some providers offer car or booster seats. If your planning lots of trips whilst away it may be worth hiring a car seat instead of bringing the one you have. Call your car hire company and find out.

9. Most airports have a family check-in area, take advantage of these as they have specific tags for bulky check in items like pushchairs and buggies and are usually less busy than the normal check-in desks.

Credit: Getty images

10. Check your children’s baggage allowance. Some airlines don’t offer children under a certain age any baggage and some do. Always check beforehand to avoid any surprises at the airport.

I hope you’ve found this useful. Let me know in the comments section if you have any other top tips for travelling with babies. Thank you for reading x

5 things that potty training my daughter has taught me

Hello hello! It’s been a while and I’ve missed blogging. Parenting two young kids has been a big adjustment and the adjusting is still taking place lol.

It’s been a few weeks now since I started potty training my daughter and I wanted to share some real life lessons that I’ve taken away from it.

1. Patience when trying to reach your goals is key. When your patient you’re less likely to become frustrated and give up. Patience helps you to see the bigger picture and keep the end goal in mind. I’ve learnt to understand that I’m steering my daughter into a new way of thinking and also negotiating with someone who is very independent lol!

2. It’s okay to change strategy. Changing your mind and being innovative keeps the challenge fresh and less laborious. I’ve asked for lots of advice from mums and I’ve implemented them at different times to help reach the end goal.

3. Stay positive. Even when my daughter has an ‘accident’ I assure her that she’s going to get there. I never make her feel bad for what she has done, make a scene about it and I most certainly don’t tell her off. Positivity and a smile goes a long way and will actually help in progressing with the training. The way we talk to ourselves and the thoughts we entertain are important, say good things about your plans and ideas, use scripture if you’re a believer.

4. Celebrate the small wins. There has been more dancing’s between singing in our home these past few weeks than ever before as we celebrate each successful use of the potty and the same can be said about life too. Don’t demote something to mediocre when actually it should be celebrated. It gives you motivation to continue and reminds you that progress is being made.

5. Stay the course. It would be easy to give in and put a nappy on but we are so determined to stay the course and finally have a potty trained child. The reward at the end far outweighs giving in now into what’s more comfortable and familiar for her. The same goes for any other goal you have, put in the work and the results will be something you’ll be so so proud of.

Thank you for reading x

Happy new year?

As I write this all the things that have happened around the world in the past 7 days are whizzing around in my head. Are we making long term plans this year? Do we simply carry on despite the uncertainties? I for one would love a holiday this year, whether or not it will happen is another thing.

There is a lot that is going on around us that can’t be controlled right now but what we can control is what goes on on the inside of us. How we react to news, how we feel about now and the future and how we also think about the future.

Plans can fall through at any time but it creates opportunities for something else to happen. Not being able to eat out at our favourite restaurant could be an opportunity to learn how to cook something new.

Not being able to go on holiday could mean access to funds to start a new project or side hustle from home. The list goes on. 2020 has taught me that time is of the essence. It seemed as though time stood still with all of these restrictions but actually time passed by incredibly quickly and here we are on the 7th day of 2021.

Is it a happy new year? Yes, absolutely! Looking at the year with positivity is the best option out of a list that contains fear, hesitation and possible pessimism.

Who knows when things will be ‘normal’, can we really afford to sit and wait for that time to come? My question to you (and me) today is – What is stopping you from taking the leap and acting on that idea in 2021?

As always thank you for reading and happy new year xx

The deeper conversation about natural hair

Channel 4 recently aired a documentary as part of its black history month programming called Hair Power: Me and my Afro. It was an insightful look into a few people’s experiences growing up and having natural Afro hair in the UK. It was really interesting, if you haven’t seen it I encourage you to check it out.

It got me thinking about my own hair, how I view it and if there is a deeper meaning to how I’ve chosen to wear my hair.

My hair has been relaxed since I was 4 years old, so for as long as I can remember my mum has been relaxing my hair and I’ve never had any issues with it. I love how manageable it is for me. I’ve learnt how to style it, treat it, trim it, deep condition it. The fact that I can wash, dry and straighten in under an hour really appeals to me.

However, after watching this documentary I do question whether I am in someway not being true to the hair that God gave me. Should I be rocking my gloriously curly mane regardless of how long the maintenance of it may be?

Does my natural hair give my daughter (whose hair is natural) the wrong idea about the value of her natural hair?

Am I conforming to the ideals set by society or diluting my blackness by wearing my hair in a way that I feel may help me be accepted by other races?

Yep deep questions right? Lol. I’ll be honest, even as I write this I’m undecided. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about whether or not I should have natural hair and it also won’t be the first time I’ve considered going natural.

My argument so far has been that relaxed hair doesn’t make me any less of an african after all I have far more prominent features that are telling of my heritage – for example the rounded contours of my nose, the warm hue of my skin- is that not enough?

What if I grow out my natural hair and because of time restraints or otherwise end up wearing wigs? Does that not defeat the purpose? Are wigs not relaxed hair in synthetic form? Are lacefronts, closures and the alike all a nod towards the European standard of hair beauty? Just thinking aloud here…

Maybe that’s not a strong enough reason, maybe I should proudly rock the hair that God gave me, regardless of the time it takes to maintain. Wear my tightly wound curls with love and pride and show my daughter that my hair is just like hers and it’s beautiful.

Even at the end of this I’m still undecided, relaxed hair I feel has become a part of my style and I really enjoy wearing my hair in this way but maybe just maybe it’s time for a change…

The Fenty Skin review – Facial cleanser, fat water toner, hydra vizor moisturiser

As soon as I saw these new products I just HAD to try it. I have been so impressed with the fenty make up range that for me it was a no brainer. So let’s jump straight into the review 🙂

image source: fentybeauty.com

As far as cleansers go, this really does do what it says on the tin. It’s delicate enough to not irritate my skin yet tough enough on even the most oily of foundations and concealers. I love the creamy consistency and it smells amazing. I’m really enjoying using this on my skin and my skin loves it too. The twist to open device means you don’t waste any product. A little goes a long way with this cleanser so I squeeze just a little and it’s enough for my face and neck. I probably wouldn’t buy again simply because there are other cleansers that are equally as effective such as the La Roche Posay purifying foaming gel

image source: fentybeauty.com

I was unsure about this toner when I first started using it. As the name suggests, I was expecting a gel like consistency but it’s actually. I’m used to using cotton wool to apply my toner and I wasn’t sure initially that it was really making any difference to my skin. But after a week of using this morning and evening I started to notice that my pores were much smaller, my skin looked smooth and it didn’t leave my skin feeling tight. I let it sit for a while before applying the moisturiser. This toner is so gentle on the skin. I squeeze a little onto my middle finger, spread across three fingers and apply all over my face.

image source: fentybeauty.com
image source: fentybeauty.com

This is my favourite of the trio. A moisturiser that leaves my skin feeling and looking beautifully dewy. When I first apply it the cream seems to just sit on the skin and it looks like I’ve just put lots of sunscreen on but then its absorbed by the skin, leaving it looking juicy and supple. This does also contain spf30 which means I’m protect from harmful rays and I like that. It’s hard to find a cream that does that whilst keeping your skin moisturised.To me it smells of vanilla and roses- just delightful :). All three of these products work beautifully together. It’s evident that a lot of research, care and attention has gone into this and it shows.

Have you tried any of these products? How have you found them?

As always thank you for reading xx

Staycation toddler and baby essentials

As we’ve all been adjusting to a new normal way of life, we’ve also had to change our holiday plans slightly. Many of us are now vacationing within our own countries and exploring different places for the first time. If road trips are something your family are used to or whether you plan to venture into travelling by road for the first time it’s best to be well prepared, especially if there’s a toddler or baby with you.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the essentials that you may need for a slightly stress free family staycation.

Firstly, think about your destination, if your staying with friends or relatives, in a town near shops or somewhere remote that will affect the items your packing. If you’re concerned about social distancing in shops it’s best to take everything you’ll need for the kids to avoid any non-essential trips to the shops.

How many nappies?

As neither of my kids are potty trained (2 1/2 year old and 4 months) I pack enough nappies for our stay. I estimate that we go through 5 nappies a day per child, I add extra nappies in the nappy bag for the stroller. Although light, nappies can be bulky and take up space in the car so buy at destination if you can. Breastfeeding on demand means that nappy changes can vary for a baby so I always make sure I have enough.

Toiletries

In their toiletry bag I include their bath sponges, tooth brushes and toothpaste, shower gel, skin cream, hair oil and comb. I also have in there their vitamin d drops and some medicine in the unlikely event of a fever. Cotton buds and cotton wool are also added. For my daughter I have small travel containers I put her hair cream and styling custard in, just to save space if we aren’t going away for very long.

Snacks and food

Lots of snacks! If your travelling to your destination by car, snacks are a must for hungry toddlers I pack a mixture of chopped up fruit and packs of rice cakes, oat bars that my eldest can munch on. As I’m breastfeeding I usually only take my breast pump and two mam bottles which can be sterilised in the microwave- they are great. However if your baby drinks formula milk best to pack all you’ll need to make their feed at a stop off on the way and during your stay.

Skincare

I also pack sunscreen and swimwear, open spaces like beaches are great for kids to run around in and expel some energy!

Sunglasses and hats can come in really handy to protect the little ones from the sun. It can be scorching hot if you happen to be out when the suns at its hottest so don’t forget to protect their skin.

Clothing and shoes

I tend to pack for the kids based on two things- the weather and the activity. I always also pack something warm as the evenings can be cold for kids and you never know when you’ll end up staying out a little later. I pack one ‘going out’ outfit for each day and for a 4 day stay for example I’ll pack 3 staying at home outfits should plans change and we end up staying indoors. Vests I pack enough for the number of days for my eldest and 2 extra than normal for the baby. Same with pyjamas, if it’s a summer vacation it’s likely vests won’t be needed everyday anyway.

I try to keep footwear to a minimum and only take 2 pairs of shoes each max to save space. Socks are always good for keeping warm in the evening or just to keep their feet safe on non-slip surfaces, so these I pack one for each day.

A light jacket or cardigan, as mentioned previously sometimes the early mornings and evenings can be nippy so taking an extra layer on top of that t-shirt or blouse will help keep the kids warm.

Toys

Toys and activities- you don’t have to be on a long drive to know that kids get bored of activities/games really quickly lol. I don’t want to get into the habit of always buying new games for trips but I do pick toys that they may not have played with for a while. Colouring activities, interactive books, puzzles that are easy to use in the car work well. new toys do work well as there is something different and exciting for them to explore.

Take their own plate/bowl and cutlery. I think this adds some familiarity to mealtimes in a new environment. These are often light and don’t take up much space when packing.

Wipes, wipes and lots of wipes oh and hand sanitiser of course. When you’re on the move in the car this is a good way to ensure that little hands are kept clean especially when they are snacking. Of course there is no substitute for hands being washed under clean running water but in between that time sanitiser and wipes do a fairly good job.

Lastly…

Try and get enough rest, car journeys can be tiring especially if there are delays on the roads. Providing entertainment, feeding little ones and possibly helping with navigation is all part of the fun of a staycation so relax and make great memories!

As always thank you for reading and I hope you have found this useful x

What I’ve learnt about breastfeeding so far

I haven’t posted since April 29th, in those 8 weeks things have been pretty busy. I’ve had some major realigning to do as I get to grips with raising a toddler and a new born but I’ll save the in’s and out’s of that for another post! What I wanted to talk about today is breastfeeding as its something I had always thought came naturally to every woman without any required effort on my part which isn’t really the case. So here goes my list, I’d like to say before starting that the breastfeeding experience is completely different for everyone and how your baby is fed has no baring on the type of mother you are.

1. If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. Yes in the famous words of Aaliyah if you don’t quite get the hang of it try again. My first attempt to breastfeed my first born was a long tale of tears, sore nipples, frustration and basically not really getting the hang of it. By the time I did get the hang of it, it was too late. May daughter by then had developed a preference to formula milk and I only fed her breastmilk in the mornings and evenings for about 10 months before stopping completely. Second time around? A totally different story, I had milk from the very beginning and have had no issues whatsoever with feeding.

2. Be prepared for an increase in appetite. No one told me about this and I was surprised to find how ravenous I became when feeding the little one. I have noticed that the hunger levels are increased when I haven’t had sufficient sleep. It makes sense as the body is making milk plus breastfeeding itself takes up about 500 calories too so the body needs a lot of fuel.

3. I’ve found it harder to loose weight. Breastfeeding has increased my appetite coupled with looking after two young kids and interrupted sleep the motivation to work out has been pretty low. My midwife says the body sometimes actually reserves some fat during breastfeeding which can also make weight loss pretty difficult, so I guess it’s time to embrace these love handles a little longer lol!

4. My let-down responds to baby’s nap times. I found it interesting that around the time that my baby is about to wake up I feel my let down. It feels like a heavy prickling moving from my chest down towards the nipples and can feel a little uncomfortable until he begins to feed.

5. Breastfeeding tea has been a big help in keeping my supply up. The main ingredient in the tea is fennel which you can also buy as seeds and pop into some hot water and drink just the fluid.

6. 3 litres of water a day keeps me hydrated. I feel so dehydrated after a feed and as breast milk is almost 80% water I need to keep my body topped up. I keep a 1.6litre bottle of water with me at all times to ensure my body is getting what it needs.

7. My body makes more milk when I get some rest. As hard as it can be to fit in having a mini nap or a little rest helps me to produce more milk. I find that when I am stressed or rushing around I still make milk but it’s less than usual.

I really did feel that breastfeeding the first time around was a minefield. Even after all the help I had at the hospital from breastfeeding consultants I couldn’t quite get it right. After navigating sore nipples, working out my water and food intake I’m pleased to have mastered it second time around. If you’re on your breastfeeding journey some of these tips might be familiar to you too. Either way I hope it’s been an interesting read.

Until next time, have a lovely weekend xx

My birth story

Having had a planned c-section with my first child the entire experience of having braxton hicks let alone contractions was totally new to me. To prepare myself for what was to come I watched videos (some rather graphic 🙈) and read up as much as I could. Little did I know that this wouldn’t really do much for preparing me for the pain lol.

In the latter stages of my pregnancy and during the birth I was aware that there was a pandemic going on but chose not to dwell on it. I only stepped out for my compulsory walks and appointments and focused on preparing for the baby’s arrival. I felt like either way the baby was still going to come and I was at peace trusting in God’s protection during this season.

Anyway fast forward to 21st April, my due date was the 22nd and my hospital bag was packed. I was ready for the arrival of our baby boy. We had an appointment for me to be assessed at 10:15 in the morning and a decision would be made whether I’d be induced or not. I had a nervous excited feeling in my stomach that I probably wouldn’t make that appointment. I had been having pretty strong braxton hicks for about 2 weeks prior to this day and were always really regular in the evening.

Air balloons in the room to keep me calm during delivery

I prepped my clothes the night before and went to bed. At exactly 2:45 am on Wednesday 22nd April I had a contraction that woke me up out of my sleep. I’d never had one before but at that moment I just knew. The pain went from my back reached around my waist and hardened my bump in a way I’d never felt before. I grabbed my phone and started timing the duration and frequency. After an hour of contractions I woke up my husband and told him to get ready, it was time.

At this point my contractions were not too strong, I was able to have a warm shower and get ready to go to the hospital. I was smiling and laughing with hubby and thinking about how I’d finally be seeing my baby after 40 weeks! As I waddled to the car it crossed my mind that we still hadn’t decided on a name and I started to run through the shortlist we had picked in my mind.

Upon arrival at the hospital we were taken into one of the assessment rooms where the baby’s heart rate was monitored for an hour or so. My contractions continued but were okay enough for me to not need the medicine they were offering for the pain. As the contractions weren’t getting closer together we chose to go home. By this time it was 7am and I was feeling both hungry and tired having been up since almost 3am.

We got home and I had a lovely breakfast (this was a bad idea) the breakfast actually made me nauseated as I was in the early stages of labour. At around 7:30am that morning I had a contraction that caused me to loose my mucus plug but my contractions were still not getting closer together but they were getting more painful.

By 7pm the contractions were so painful that I couldn’t speak whilst they were happening. I’d get on all fours and breath in as deeply as I could till the minute had passed. As the contractions grew stronger it became harder to practice these breathing techniques and I just wanted to scream to be honest lol. My daughter kept looking at me and saying “mummy is sooo tired” ha ha! She was right, I was exhausted and I thought to myself if this baby comes tonight will I even have the energy to push?

We left for the hospital that evening around 8 and I was given some painkillers via transfusion which helped me to sleep a little and numb the pain of the contractions. This soon however wore off and I was left to remember my breathing techniques again. As soon as I woke up from my nap my waters broke and I felt a small sense of relief that my labour was progressing and these painful contractions would soon be a distant memory.

Looking at how my stomach made all of these distorted shapes during contractions and marvelled at how the body was doing all it could to get the baby out. I was still feeling very nauseated so was given another medication via infusion for this and it went almost immediately.

At this point it had been 13 hours since my contractions had started and I was 5cm dilated. I decided to get into the water bath and see if that bought any relief. It did for about 30 minutes but I then began to feel so hot and uncomfortable.

The water bath in the delivery room

As time progressed my contractions finally began to be closer together and were so intense I wanted to cry. I was checked to see how dilated I was and the midwife told me I was still 5cm! I felt so deflated. After all this time I didn’t get why my labour wasn’t progressing and there was now talk of having a c-section. I was fed up and felt as though I had come so far only to now go through a c-section.

When the midwife left the room hubby and I prayed. We prayed that the Lords will would be done and that He would be with us. As soon as we had finished praying our midwife came back into the room with her colleague. She told us that she wanted to get a second opinion on how far along I was. The second midwife checked me and said “no, you are actually 9cm dilated!” I was in shock and thanked God for the second opinion of this midwife.

I couldn’t believe it, if this midwife had gone with her first opinion I would have had a c-section when I didn’t need to! God is so faithful and I’m so glad he turned this situation around within minutes and completely changed the outcome of this birth.

By now it was around 9am and I had had an epidural but could still feel each contraction. I started to feel the need to push at this point. I was advised to breath in deeply through my mouth and hold my breath, lower my chin deep into my chest and push as hard as I could as though doing a number 2.

It was so encouraging to have hubby and a well informed midwife in the room, they both motivated me all along the way. At just before midday )and after much pushing) our baby boy was born and I felt so many emotions, relief being the biggest of all. I was also excited, tired, proud and just so so happy. All tiredness seemed to leave my body as I had this precious boy in my arms.

As always thank you for reading xx

Skincare and self care

I never knew these two went hand in hand until I started taking my skincare regime seriously somewhere around November 2019. Not only have I noticed a difference in my skin but it’s time I carve out for myself and do something for me. Which as a stay at home mum is important to have.

Prior to this I’ll be honest that I have used whatever cleanser I’ve had available including bar soap which isn’t really recommended for the skin on your face. Having a good skincare regime some day will save you money in the long run. Having a regime now could prevent deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and keeps skin healthy and moist.

Before starting my regime I did some research into what I wanted for my skin, what I wanted to achieve and did an assessment of the type of skin I have, which is combination oily but has changed a bit during pregnancy.

Getting good products is key but so is being consistent with your routine. I’ve seen a difference in my skin because I’ve been committed as much as possible to cleansing, toning and moisturising even when I’m at my most tired (which can sometimes take a bit of motivation!)

Here are the products that I use:

I start with this Caudalie cleansing oil which gets rid of the tougher make-up like gel liners and mascara plus oil based make-up like foundation and concealers. After this I use Simple moisturising facial wash for an even deeper cleanse.
I then follow with a cleanser on my face and neck, I have a few but this one is my favourite to use at the moment from Clarins.
This toner is great, it’s so gentle on the skin and I’m loving the results. Again I use this on my face and neck.
This serum is great and I use it during the day if I’m not wearing makeup and every evening after my toner. It’s got such a lovely smell and a few drops goes a long way.
I finish off with a gel moisturiser in the evenings. I prefer using a gel moisturiser because of how quickly they absorb into the skin.

I haven’t perfected this regime yet as I do need to add a daily moisturiser that contains an SPF so would love to know your recommendations. What other kind of products do you use on your skin?

With all that’s going on at the moment please do make the most of the time you have with family and check on your friends and relatives too. Have a great week! Xx

Third trimester fashion

So as my pregnancy develops and my baby bump becomes bigger I’m having to adjust my wardrobe quite a bit. Finding what is comfortable and also looks nice can be a bit of a challenge.

They say everyone carries differently in pregnancy which is indeed true even for one person your bump can be different from one pregnancy to another.

Top – Zara, Skirt – H&M

The biggest change I’ve noticed is how soon I was showing with this pregnancy. Having an elongated bump means opting for longer tops that cover my bump in its entirety. This also meant going for over the bump maternity jeans and midi-length dresses.

Jumper – Weekday, Skirt – H&M

As I don’t have much longer to go I won’t be adding any new pieces to my wardrobe but I have started thinking about my wardrobe post baby. Especially the weeks/months following the birth which I remember were filled with lots of breastfeeding! Being a nursing mum means ensuring that I’m wearing items I can easily feed in whether I’m at home or out and about. For me tops that button up are the most convenient. I’m not a fan of having to hoist up my t-shirt in order to feed my child so having to just undo a couple of buttons to allow baby to quickly latch on worked best for me.

Here are some ‘breastfeeding friendly’ dresses that I quite like:

Zara
Zara
And Other Stories
Hugo
Espirit
Isabel Marant

As always thank you for reading and I hope you found this useful if you’re an expecting mum x

Purpose Beyond Motherhood

I knew once I got the hang of what I was doing that I was going to absolutely love motherhood and I honestly believe that (by Gods grace) I am doing a good job. The rewards that come with nurturing a little one are absolutely priceless but this doesn’t take away from wanting to achieve more and to be more. Besides the fact that children grow up incredibly quickly, there was a purpose and a drive inside of me long before children, meaning that there are still things that I am passionate about and projects and ideas that God has laid on my heart to (by His grace) bring to fruition.

This of course doesn’t take away from those who are solely stay-at-home mums, its not an easy job and is one that takes up all day and some! Especially if you have more than one child.

I know that first time around I definitely became swallowed up by all that motherhood required of me and delved into this role with everything leaving very little time for any of my own interests. Finding the balance can be hard especially when each stage of your babies growth requires you to adapt just when you feel as though you’re getting the hang of things.

If you’re like me and believe that actually the passions, interests, desires you had pre-children are still very much there I encourage you to dedicate a little time to it everyday. Whatever it may be. It could be 10 minutes of research or a good 40 minutes of brainstorming/planning a few times a week. I believe there is more fulfilment to be found in nurturing the gifts that we have and balancing home, family and personal interests.

As always thank you for reading, please share this with someone that you think will enjoy reading this too.

 

Have a great week! xx

Holiday Maternity fashion

I had to plan my outfits for our holiday quite strategically as I knew that my bump would grow during that time and I had to be mindful that we were going to a hot country and that above all I would need to be comfortable in what I was wearing too. For this pregnancy I wanted to avoid buying maternity wear specifically but instead go for things that I could still wear in the summer after the baby was born. So my criteria was trousers would need to be beneath the bump or elasticated in the waist. I also opted for stretchy dresses and skirts and loose fitting dresses.

Here are some of the outfits I wore whilst away…

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Dress made in Ghana. Shoes – ASOS

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Top – Massimo Dutti. Skirt and Bag – Zara. Shoes – Topshop

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Dress and Sunglasses – Mango. Bag – Michael Kors. Sandals – Mint Velvet

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Shirt and Bandeau – ASOS. Skirt – H&M. Shoes – Zara

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Top, Vest, Trousers, Heels and Earrings – Zara

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Dress – And Other Stories

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Dress and Fascinator both made in Ghana

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Blouse, Trousers and Mules – Zara. Bag – Michael Kors

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Shirt and Sandals – Zara. Cycling Shorts – ASOS

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Headband and T-shirt – Zara. Jeans – ASOS Maternity. Shoes – Topshop

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Dress – H&M. Mules – Zara

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Dress and Fascinator both made in Ghana

Travelling to Ghana with a 1 year old

Okay so now that we are back, unpacked and settled I thought I’d do a blog post on some of the things that I did to prepare ourselves to travelling to Ghana with our little one. The main reason we decided to ship the items that you’ll see below is because we were staying with family. We would have had to plan things a little differently if we were staying in a rented apartment or hotel. I hope you find this useful if you’re planning on going away with young children.

Vaccination

I wouldn’t say I was worried about going on this trip with my little one but I definitely wanted to make sure that I took all the precautions necessary and covered almost all eventualities. I began ensuring that she had her vaccinations, being the yellow fever vaccination, we were advised by the doctor that she needed it and I actually regretted it because she didn’t react well to it and her paediatrician later said that it wasn’t actually necessary and she was still too young to have it. That was a big lesson learned because the fever and symptoms lasted a week but was glad that I had done the vaccinations knowing she was well protected and has also done so well before our departure date, so she was back to normal for the flight.

Medicines

I had a pretty extensive first aid bag in our suitcase lol which included everything from medicines to treat stomach aches, colds, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. As well as plasters and other first aid bits. Thankfully we didn’t need to use any of these but it was good to know that we had all of these to hand should they be required.

The flight

I wasn’t sure how things would pan out on the flight given it was an afternoon flight so ensured that I packed enough entertainment in the form of books, colouring in material and toys. None of this was used in the end as she found it far more entertaining to play with another baby who was sitting on our row lol. I packed food for her for the flight which was just as well as our airline provided none whatsoever to our surprise!

Baby furniture

In terms of the day to day things that my daughter would need we decided to ship these in advance. These included all of her snacks, car seat, travel cot, foldable high chair, nappies and wipes. This was a great idea and really made it a smooth transition for her as she had all of her home comforts, which made feed times and sleeping much much easier. The travel cot and highchair were not bought new as we only used it for 3 weeks and we knew we wouldn’t be bringing it back with us. Our foldable stroller came with us and was most useful for travelling through the airport we only used it on a couple of occasions during the trip, we also got a mosquito net for the  buggy but never needed to use it.

Clothing and shoes

When packing her clothes I took into consideration that she wouldn’t be going everywhere with us, as she’s only one there would be few tourist attractions that would be of interest to her. I also knew that hubby and I would take the opportunity to have some date days/nights seeing as we had my parents around and help at home too.

With regards to what I packed I of course kept all outfits as light as possible so 80% of her clothes were light cotton dresses (many of which I was able to pick up from John Lewis during their end of summer sale) with some knee-length leggings and vest tops for staying at home (I bought these from Primark)

For footwear, we wanted something that would cover her feet well but were still breathable. So we packed 3 sandals, one pair that were waterproof and suitable for the pool or beach, one full shoe and one pair of trainers.

I did also pack cardigans in the event that we would be somewhere air conditioned that was a bit cold for her and I did end up using it on some evenings. Things such as hats and sunglasses are also a must and came in handy on those hot afternoons.

Food

I had packed some berries in my hand luggage that I thought would be hard to find in Ghana such as blueberries and she was able to have these as part of her breakfast for the first 5 days but thankfully she took so well to all of the delicious fruits available in Ghana such as the mango, pineapples, banana’s and oranges. I also packed her cereals for breakfast and took some long life milk with us too.

Protection

Both hubby and I always ensured that whether we were going out in the day or in the evening we all had our repellent spray on and were fully covered. If we went out with our daughter we made sure that we were home or were heading home by sunset as there are more mosquitoes around in the evenings. We found the spray on repellents particularly effective and there are ones that are made specifically for children which is great. I also picked up a children’s hand santizer from Boots which was great for when we are out and about, especially with a one year old.

Seems like a lot of prep right? Yes it was lol and was something that I had started to plan months in advance especially in terms of finding summer wear I knew it would be difficult if I left everything until December. All in all we had a lovely relaxing trip, it was great to see family and enjoy a bit of sun during the winter months.

Thank you for reading xx

Am I making the most of my time as a mum?

Being a stay at home mum means that I sometimes feel as though I’m not being productive, even though I’m maintaining a home and raising a child my efforts can sometimes feel as though they aren’t really bring forth any tangible benefits.

This is when I must remind myself that I am investing in my children’s future and what I am doing now will put them in good steed for the future.

I must also remember that this is just a season and one that I must embrace and enjoy because it will pass and it will be before I know it, my daughter will be much older and independent not needing my help in many day to day things.

Remembering this also helps me to relax and doesn’t give me the feeling that I’m in some way ‘missing out’ by not being at work. I must say that after you’ve cleaned up food off the floor for what feels like the 55th time in one day, being in an office does sound very very appealing 🙂

Having worked since my teenage years this new season has taken some adjusting to but watching my little grow and blossom has been so so rewarding, it’s such a honour. I’ve gained a new perspective on life and I’m thankful for that.

Thank you for reading x

Hair care for my little one

Hey everyone! It’s been a while and why not kick off my return with an easy haircare routine.

I’d like to point out that What I’m going to share with you has been based on trial and error and me studying my daughters hair pattern and how it reacts to different products. I hope you find it useful for your little girl/boys delicate tresses 🙂

– Firstly, I wash my daughters hair once a week. I do this because her curly hair locks in moisture very well and doesn’t get dirty that quickly. I wash her hair using Cantu Care for kids tear-free nourishing shampoo

– I then finish this off with Cantu Care for kids leave in conditioner. I use this rather sparingly and work it through the hair with my fingers, I don’t comb her hair at this stage. I then put a shower cap in her (if allowed lol) to let the leave-in really do it’s work

– I also have the Cantu Care for kids Conditioner, I use this after the shampoo every other week because for me I feel like it does a very similar job to the leave-in conditioner with the only difference being that I rinse out the conditioner. The consistency and smell seem identical to me but that could just be me.

– After leaving the shower cap on for 10 minutes or so, I remove and pat dry any excess leave-in and style her hair. I begin with the Cantu conditioning creamy hair lotion. This is the adult one so I use very little.

– I follow this with some Castor oil, I bought this one on amazon and it’s pretty good, with its nice thick consistency, you wouldn’t need much.

– Then finally I use Cantu Care for kids curling cream to define her curls. Again you don’t need to much of this but can always adjust quantity depending on the thickness and length of your child’s hair. I’m really impressed with this product, it leaves my daughters hair so shiny and the curls stay defined for most of the day.

– For creating styles that require hold like cornrows or putting the hair into bunches I use the Cantu Care for kids styling custard. I really like how it holds the hair and there is no residue what’s so ever, no bits in the hair, the hair doesn’t become hard, it’s still soft and nourished. This is my favourite product out of the range.

– For day to day care I do not use a comb on her hair, I tease out any knots with my fingers and run my hands through the hair gently, even if I’m putting it into bunches I don’t come it, I just tease it out with my fingers then gather it into a hold. For slicker styles I do use a very soft brush.

– I gently message the scalp concentrating on the hairline with castor oil to keep her scalp moisturised and promote growth, I do this daily.

– I was putting a silk headscarf on her head at night but that didn’t last long lool! May be when she’s a bit older. The cotton bedding really dries out the hair and saps the oil out, but will keep moisturising her hair daily to combat that.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any questions please leave it in the comments or drop me an email 🙂

Thank you for reading xx

Lugano and Lake Como

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I posted on here because well…#mumlife things have been pretty busy around here so it was so nice to have a couple of days off to relax and unwind with the family in Lugano (the Italian side of Switzerland) and Lake Como in Italy. They are really close to each other so we were able to cover both places in 3 days by car.

Lugano has to be one of the most beautifully picturesque places I’ve been too. The region is shielded by these huge mountains covered in greenery that seem to be everywhere you look. Having such a mountainous country has meant that only the very bottom of these mountains are habitable.

Our first evening in Lugano we dined at Baja a nice restaurant right at the edge of the lake where we ate some pretty impressive seafood. The customer service was soo good even though they were super busy hosting a party that evening.

The following day we visited Lugano town, from the train station we were able to take a tram ride down the hill. This was super quick and cost just 1.30 one way. This was the only option for us because there were lots of stairs otherwise and we had our baby and the buggy.

After about 2 hours site seeing in Lugano we decided to check out the designer outlet which was a short drive on the motorway Fox town outlet we got a few nice things here. There are lots of shops spread out across 4 floors and is a great place to shop for a bargain! The website has a full list of all the brands you can find there. It’s a pretty big place and the layout of the shops isn’t very clear so you’ll need to allocate a good amount of time if you’d like to visit.

In the evening we dined at Osteria Lanterna this restaurant was soooo good! Everything from the ambience to the service to the food! I’m gutted that I didn’t save any of the pictures I took of the food because it looked and tasted amazing. I only have one picture (which isn’t the best quality) of my husbands desert – a panna cotta with berries.

The following day we headed into Italy, the drive was some what memorable as we drove up and down narrow and seriously winding roads along the mountain whilst taking in breath taking views of the land below.

We used the car ferry (roughly 23 euros one way for 3 adults in a car) to cross the lake in Italy and found parking nearby. In preparation for our trip I had booked a 1 hour private boat ride around lake Como to see the sights as I’d read this mode of transport was the easiest way to see everything. It was super cool and so relaxing my daughter fell asleep half way through lol!

There are lots of ‘taxi boats’ as they are called that run tours of Lake Como but you can also take the ferry that takes more people and I assume cost less too. We used a company called Taxi Boat Varenna it was so easy to book and pay on their site. We booked a 1 hour boat ride which was enough to see all the best bits and was totally worth it!

We finished off the afternoon with a late lunch at on of the cafe’s close to where the boat dropped us off, it was called Cafe Varenna I had a delicious rocket and tuna pasta with a nice chilled glass of Aperol Spritz. It really was the perfect end to what had been a lovely lovely trip. You’ve got to check out Lugano and Como if you’re looking for a nice place in Europe to go to. There’s so much to see, beautiful weather, nice people and the food is incredible!

Thanks for reading! Xx