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

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