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

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

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

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

Skincare and self care

I’ve never really had a strict skincare regime but have always followed the basic rules of cleansing, toning and moisturising my skin twice a day. Now that I’m a mum looking after my skin is still important and I really want to give it my best.

In January I got some Wildseed Botanicals skin care products and I have to say that they are the best products I’ve used on my skin in a long long time. I’ve tried both high end and high street brands and I can honestly say the results from these have been impressive. I’ll take you through what I got and how I use it.

Pink Grapefruit Energising Body Polish

I find this product so luxurious and it has become a staple product that I use without fail every week. Once I’ve showered I smother this all over my skin and rinse away. I then pay away any excess water and I’m done! There’s no need to moisturise my body after that. It leaves my skin with an undeniable glow that lasts all day. My skin just feels so nourished, silky and soft. It really gives you a glow that isn’t greasy looking but just looks healthy and well looked after, I love this stuff!

Green Smoothie Vitamin and Mineral Rich Clay Mask

I use a spatula to scoop a little of this into the palm of my hand and add a little water and mix into a paste. Using my fingers I glide the clay mask all over my face, giving full coverage and avoiding the eye area. I leave it on to harden then remove with a warm soft cloth. I saw results after just one use of this mask. It’s pretty much the most revitalising mask I’ve used. I have used other clay masks that just draw out all the goodness from your skin and leave your skin super dry but this left my skin looking bright and cleansed. It really gave me a deep clean. I also use this product once a week.

Asase Aba Radiance Body Oil

I mix this oil with my moisturising lotion and apply daily to give my body that soft glow. It’s also great for this season when the air is still a bit dry, keeping my skin nice and hydrated throughout the day. This oil isn’t heavy. It’s beautifully light. What I love about all these products is they are all full of ingredients that are good for your skin and they are all natural! You can find a full list of the ingredients and some of the benefits on the Wildseed Botanicals website.

Rānā Regenerative Facial Serum

I’ve saved my favourite product in my collection till last. I’ve been using this day and night for almost 2 months now and I have noticed a real change in my skin. A little of this product does go a long way, so once I’ve cleansed, toned and moisturised I just place 3-4 drops in the palm of my hand, spread and gently press it into my skin ensuring full coverage. I just love the way it makes my skin feel, I feel like I’m feeding it good food haha! My skin has become clearer and feels really moisturised.

These products have really helped me to care for my skin in the way that I should and makes my ‘me time’ just that bit more special. I can’t recommend these products enough. There are others in the range so please do check them out too. You can check out the website here I am really enjoying using these products and just had to wrote a blog post and share.

Thank you for reading! X

My 5 top tips for new parents

I truly believe that becoming a parent makes you an expert in YOUR  OWN child. If you pay enough attention and spend enough time with them, you and your partner get to know them better than anyone else. There are some things that I have realised in my 8 and a bit months of parenting that I would like to share. Here they are:

  1. Observe your child and watch for any patterns that develop with their feeding, nappy changes and baths. This may not be possible within the first 8 or so weeks but you will eventually recognise when they respond well to nappy changes and baths. You’ll be able to spot signs for hunger, tiredness or even trapped wind.
  2. Help your baby to feel secure in your arms. You are doing an amazing job and are the best person to be your child’s parent. Babies can sense insecurity, uncertainty and fear. Speak to them in a loving and assuring way, even if they are crying, try your best to remain calm and not get worked up.
  3. Take lots of pictures of your baby as they grow and change because its true what they say- time does really fly and they’ll be a toddler before you know it.
  4. Staying organised will help you to spend more quality time talking to and engaging with your baby. Simply putting a few things in place during the evening for the following day will help you start the day in a more relaxed way. This could be setting up for the morning bath, running a wash through the night or making sure bottles are cleaned/sterilised will all help.
  5. SELF-CARE – this is so so important mums. Take some time out for you! It could be a work-out, going on a short walk alone, having your nails done, a bubble bath. Whatever it may be try and get some time to look after yourself. You need to be in a good place to give your child your best. Agree with your partner a set day or a little time each week to do something yourself, you’ll feel refreshed.

Thank you for reading x

First trimester

I had so many pre-conceived ideas about what my pregnancy would be like and as my husband and I had begun planning about starting our own family I developed all of these ideas about how my body would change and what the birth would be like. For the most part my pregnancy was a smooth one for which I am grateful but there were so many other factors that did take me by complete surprise.

I found out that I was expecting at 4 weeks and for the first 3 weeks or so I was absolutely fine. No sickness. I felt so relieved that I had escaped morning sickness, the nausea and vomiting and couldn’t be happier to be honest.

Then week 8 came…and morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt like I was living on a ship on rocky seas. It’s the only way that I can describe it really lol. It was just awful. Keeping anything down including water was a triumph and I lost weight. I’m so thankful that I had some medication which massively helped me to eat and drink normally.

Tiredness was also another symptom I experienced, feeling low on energy mostly in the mornings before breakfast and feeling tired by about 7pm!

This lasted well into my 2nd trimester. I remember whilst experiencing this it felt like forever!! Yet when it passed eventually it felt like a distant memory.

At a wedding during my first trimester

My first trimester also meant everything I ate made me feel incredibly bloated but that also went away in the 2nd trimester and was replaced by what felt like an insatiable appetite, this lasted very much up until our baby was born.

I started to adjust my wardrobe in anticipation of my growing bump although I didn’t start to really show until much later on. I downloaded a ton of apps, reading each week what was happening and how our precious baby was developing. It was amazing to think that even in the weeks when big changes were happening, I wouldn’t feel a thing, my body functioned as normal while this human was being perfectly created inside of me. It’s truly amazing.

dsc_0931

My husband and I decided to wait until the 12 week scan to tell our family and friends which was tough because we were attending 2 weddings in that time and I was so sure that news would slip out some point. I’m glad we waited, it was so lovely to finally share and to see everyones excitement!

Thank you for reading x

Return from Sabbatical

I guess I should call it a sabbatical as it has been an incredibly long time since I last posted on my blog. There have been various reasons why I haven’t been posting, one of them being that I’ve been thinking about the direction that I wanted to take the blog in and whether it was something that I wanted to continue doing. Having seen that I’ve had visitors to the site throughout my absence has been encouraging and has motivated me to get typing again. Also, Ive had friends encourage me to get back into it, so thank you to all of you xx

If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that I recently had a baby (well its been a whole 8 months now! Gosh 8 months already?!!) and becoming a mother has taught me so much about myself, what I’m capable of and how much actually goes into raising another human. It is an incredible journey which is completely different for everyone.

So, over the next few weeks I’m going to share my pregnancy journey and motherhood so far, I hope you enjoy reading!

Have a great remainder of the week x