Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday 13th: My 13 Superstitions

So today is one of two Friday 13th of 2017, the next one is in October.
With this day deemed the most unlucky day I've compiled a list of my 13 superstitions.
Many of which you may even have as your own.

So here we go:

1) Money in a new purse/ money box - when giving as a gift. Its something my mum does and I've taken on board especially when I brought my daughter her first money box for her 1st birthday.

2) Walking over 3 drain covers - this one in more of a safety thing than it being bad luck. The middle cover in my eyes just doesn't feel safe.

3) Salt over Shoulder - I never really spilt salt until I worked in a restaurant, but recently the entire lid came off our salt shaker all over uncooked salt. Needless to say I wasn't happy, it went everywhere.

4) Walking under a ladder

5) New shoes on a table - this again I learnt from my mum.

6) Magpies - I love magpies when I see them in groups. Counting one for sorrow, two for joy, etc. I dislike seeing a single one.

7) Umbrellas opened indoors

8) Touching Wood (or my forehead) - when not tempting fate.

9) Horseshoe - I used to go horse riding as a child and we had a old worn horseshoe outside our family home. Always open for luck.

10) Breaking a Mirror - because who wants 7 years bad luck. Even if its true or not.

11) Bringing a new pram/ moses basket into your home for your unborn child -I heard this superstition many times when I was pregnant. I did purchase a moses basket and stand, had it delivered and kept it wrapped up unopened. I doubt this had something to do with her being 5 weeks premature: though it is debatable.

12) Pulling out grey/white hairs - apparently 10 more grow back in its place

13) Feeling a chill run up your back - someone is walking over your grave. This is quite morbid for a superstition as I have experienced this many times.

Other things that I believe give luck are finding a finding a penny with the Queens head up, will bring me luck for the rest of the day. Find a four leaf clover, though these are hard to come by. And seeing a white feather falling is a sign that someone in heaven is saying hello.

Do you have any that I haven't listed? 

Monday, 9 January 2017

I've gone blonde...

When I fell pregnant with my daughter I was in the process of having to grow out my bleached-dyed-pink-but-faded-out hair. Back then the salon I picked literally just wanted my money in their till. They didn't strand test my hair so when my roots lighten quicker than my previously dyed ends...its a long story. My hair felt goodish for about a month then it was spliting, felt dry and was a nightmare to style. I'd ruined my hair.

Back in the summer I decided that I'd had enough of being so naturally dark.
I'd been flicking through my instagram when someone I follow had posted a new photo of their hair – from dark to snow white with rainbow colours underneath is hidden when her hair is down. She tagged that her salon had used a brand called Olaplex.

After googling Olaplex for nearly an hour, I called my new salon to book a full head of highlights with my regular trim. I was advised that I needed a skin test 48 hours prior or they wouldn't be able to do any colour services. They also don't use Olaplex but were introducing a similar product from L'Oréal called SmartBond.

I purchased Olaplex N°3 from another salon, its usually used with N°1 and N°2 in Salon but can also be used on its own. The bottle itself is tiny compared to my usual conditioners. To use apply generous amount from roots to ends on unwashed towel-dried hair in sections and once all hair is covered, comb once and leave for 10 minutes or more depending on damage (many sites say half an hour is best). Then shampoo and condition as usual. Due to the 100ml size of the bottle I only got 2 uses out of it as my hair is just above half my back. If I'm honest I was a little bored of the process*.
First set of full head highlights / Olaplex

So when my roots started to show I booked my appointment and requested SmartBond. This is also a three salon step process. First is added to my bleach and highlift. The second is the shampoo. And the third is the conditioner which I also purchase to home.
L'Oréal SmartBond take home Conditioner

This bottle is the same size as a standard bottle as my usual conditioner. It lasts me right up to my next appointment. I personally apply a small amount, instead of rinsing after combing I'd clip my hair up and go do some housework or make a cuppa before rinsing off. While washing my hair I can feel the difference already.

I knew that going from a natural 4 to a 8 would be a big move, that it would take months and months to achieve and my hair could be left seriously damaged as before.
L'Oréal SmartBond has allowed me to achieve my colour goal in two sessions! My hair feels lovely and strong – not brittle or damaged. I’m now approaching my 4th colour appointment with SmartBond and I can't wait for some me time!
My natural hair before and my hair now

For anyone looking for a colour change – dramatic like me or more subtle, ask your hairdresser about L'Oréal SmartBond. It is well worth it and I would recommend it to all.

*Please note: While Olaplex wasn't for me, I know many people that love this brand, and get on really well with it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Our #brightFuture

Before I had my daughter, I had a relatively happy, settled lifestyle. Going to work, cleaning my flat, meeting up with friends - the usual cycle. 

Shortly after her very early arrival my mind went into overdrive, I wanted everything extra clean, the right items for day to day living and a routine. 
I already set my heart on going back to college for a career change as soon as I found the right course and my daughter had a suitable childcare arrangement. Sitting at home all day just wasn't for me.

Like 83% of British parents, I felt I needed to change some aspect of my new family life for the better. 9 out of 10 parents and 8 out of 10 children agree that if everyone does small things to improve the environment, "together we can make the world a better place"

The changes and household rules we live by are:
• we put everything possible in our recycling bin or saved in our craft cupboard.
• reduce waste by either cooking what we will finish or freezing leftovers for later in the week.
• selling /giving away items we no longer need.
• nothing is on standby.
• I walk everywhere in all weathers and reluctantly get a bus of I've overloaded the pushchair.

Unilever sent me 4 products -  all brands I currently use.

Domestos keeps my toilet room and bathroom sanitised and hygienic especially as my daughter is in that exploring stage before potty training. 

Persil Non Bio is perfect for removing my daughters outside learning and exploring clothing stains. It works on lower tempertures and on a quick wash so I'm using less water. My daughter loves to help load and unload the washing machine.

And then there is two Dove products: deeply nourishing body wash and derma spa body lotion. I love these as they both smell lovely. 

The Dove Self-Esteem Project has worked closely with leading psychologists, academics and experts to create materials, making a positive impact on 19 million young lives. Plus equipping our children with confidence.

For my daughter, and any future children I may bring into this world, I want a strong, bright, happy and healthy future and if small steps at home is taken on board to shape her adult life then I'd be so proud.

Most parents believe that, compared with themselves, their children will live longer, have a better education and better job prospects. Will enjoy life more, even if they have to work harder to reap the rewards.

This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever 

What changes have you made to benefit your children?

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

First Time getting Gel Nails: The Beauty Studio Hastings

One Friday night I was searching for a beauty studio local to me that does threading, when I stumbled across The Beauty Studio Hastings Facebook page.

I noticed a post saying there were a few appointment spaces left for the next day. I messaged the page directly that night and Sarah, the studio owner, replied early Saturday morning  (before she was open) with a range of time slots available.

The Beauty Studio is situated in St Andrews Mews Shops by the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in Hastings, East Sussex. It's bright and easy to spot too.

I had to bring my daughter with me to my appointment, so fitting her pushchair in the small studio was a squeeze but no problem at all. My daughter kept saying I was sleeping!

Sarah's threading technique was completely different to where I used to go. My eyes still watered, though there wasn't any "pain" during or soreness after. Even the aloe Vera was so soothing and I didn't walk out with a seriously red face.

There is a manicure and pedicure gel nail offer on until the end of October 2016 for £30.00.
I've never had professional gel nails done before and this offer was something I couldn't leave without booking.

I took my appointment over two sessions. Firstly, my manicure, Sarah has such a range of colours to choose from - I was spoilt for choice, but I had in mind that I wanted a nude shade.

The whole treatment was so relaxing, as Sarah is lovely to talk to and has an eye for detail. We did my fingers first as she explained the light won't reach around my thumbs when my hands are flat. With two light boxes, one on each side of me, the process was very fluid and quick but not rushed in any way. 

My pedicure was a similar experience. I had the first appointment of the day, and when I arrived Sarah was promptly set up and ready for me. She had made a note of the colour we used from my manicure as I wanted the same for my toes. Again her skills are amazing, I felt so relaxed and chilled. She explained that due to the oils being used, she does the gel polish first.
The massage was unbelievable, felt like years of stress and tension were melting away. My feet are so lovely and lightweight - I had a little spring in my step when I left.

The Beauty Studio do other services too from facials to waxing, eye lashes and spray tans. 

There's as a loyalty card which is stamped when you spend over £5, which gives £5 off a service once full.

If you would like to find out more visit click here.

You can also find The Beauty Studio on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Eating better Lunches #FloraLunchBox

Since our daughter has been in nursery full time for the past month, I have been astonished everytime I pick her up as to what the meals were and how well she did.

Going back to before this new chapter in our lives, she would only chew fruit then spit it out and wouldn’t give a banana the time of day. Its got to be down to other children’s influence.

When Flora’s Lunchbox ideas came along I welcomed the new ideas to improve our family’s eating habits.

I’m a strong believer that we eat with our eyes, if its not appealing we tend to switch off and choose something else – in my household its usually unhealthy snacks.

The pocket sized guide is packed full of ideas, some of which I want to try.
It’s simple to follow main, snack and two items from fruit and veg – remember a drink too.

It’s so easy to make the same quick, “I-know-they’ll-eat-it” lunches without much thought behind it. Since having the guide pinned to my fridge it’s easy to plan weekend (or school holiday) lunches and add them to our weekly food shopping list.

A recent study conducted by Flora shows that only 1.6% of packed lunchboxes in primary schools in England are meeting food based standards for school meals. And shockingly only 1 in 5 (17%) lunchboxes contains any vegetables or salad!

Our lunchtimes are now nutritious, healthy and lots more fun. Our daughter even said one Saturday that it was ‘delicious’. I didn’t even know she knew that word!
She was so excited about her lunch that she wanted the carrot sticks and banana slices before I got to snap a photo

Flora is on a mission through a landmark £12.5 million initiative ‘Powered by Plants’ to educate children and families on where their food comes from. 100% of the oils in Flora are from plants and are rich in omega 3 and 6, plus lower in saturated fat than butter.


This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here

On the Go Adventures: #MamiaDaysOut

A huge wicker hamper arrived one Friday which my neighbours took in for me – filled with Aldi’s Mamia range of organic food and drinks. The range is suitable from weaning age to two year olds.

The items we received were:
Stage 1:
Organic Mango, Apple & Banana Purée
Organic Strawberry & Apple Purée
Organic Apple, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash & Blueberry Purée
Organic Strawberries & Apple Pouch
Organic Bananas & Apples Pouch
Organic Carrots, Apples & Parsnips Pouch

Stage 2
Organic Chicken & Vegetable Casserole Pouch
Organic Beef Casserole with Vegetables Pouch

Stage 2 Organic Apple & Blackcurrant Spring Water
Stage 1 Organic Apple & Pear  Fruit Pots
Junior Mini Rice Cakes: Apple & Raspberry Flavour
There is also a £5 voucher for me to purchase the right size nappies (and wipes – but we only use a particular brand as she had adverse reactions to others when newborn).

The morning after our hamper arrived we were off to the Baby and Toddler Show for the morning and to visit family after. The wicker basket fitted perfectly on the back seat next to our daughter, with a selection of Aldi’s Mamia range inside plus food for us and our large picnic blanket.

Arriving at her grandparents house, our daughter announces that she’s hungry and there’s a picnic in the box. Unlucky for us the garden was too wet to eat and play outside, so we enjoyed a indoor picnic.

The range is so useful when out and about. The pouches are good for learning to self feed or even poured on to a spoon. The fruit pots are great from room temperature or chilled – these are our daughters favourite as she can see what it is and for me its they’re great as I like to alternate between yogurts. The spring water must be lovely too as our daughter drank half a bottle in one hit, plus its a good size to carry under the pushchair. She wasn’t too keen on the rice cakes but she’s never been a fan really, though her daddy loves them – I’ve even purchased more just for him!

I recently took a trip to our local Aldi to check out more of the range, and to spend our voucher on some nappies, and I was blow away by the prices. The Aldi Mamia organic food range starts from 59p! And a bottle of spring water is 85p.
She just loves to sit and play in this wicket basket

Aldi Mamia was recently awarded the Loved By Parents top Platinum award for best organic food range.
 For the fourth year running Aldi was named as Best Supermarket by Loved By Parents Awards 2016.

This post is an entry for BritMums #MamiaDaysOut Linky Challenge, sponsored by Aldi Mamia

Monday, 3 October 2016

Our bedtime routine with #BepanthenBedtimeChallenge

With both my partner and I now working full time Monday to Friday having a strict routine is key. Especially when it comes to bed time as anything out of the ordinary and my 2 year old isn't settling until gone 9pm. Leaving me stressed out!

We started using Bepanthen when she was a few weeks old. I had a sample from a pregnancy pack and kept it in my baby bag. We'd been to visit family and she wasn't herself, not showing the usual telltale signs of becoming unwell either. It was when I changed her I noticed mild redness and reached for the cream.

I used it throughout her teething stages as I noticed that when she was about to cut another tooth her nappies showed the first sign. 

We still use it today as she's far from really to be potty trained.

Our weekday bedtime routine is:
6:15pm (ish): Shower. We have a good scrub and sing song

6:25pm: She knows to lie down for “some cream” which is ever other day baby body cream and Bepanthen nightly.

6:30pm: Rough dry her hair with my hairdryer on a slow settling

6:40pm: We have storytime: her favourite book this week is The Smart Giant In Town

6:45pm She's in bed. Settling herself if she doesn't go to sleep straightaway. Ready for the day ahead.

After I've had a quick tidy up it’s my time before my partner comes home from work.
We keep to this routine now, my daughter loves to choose a different book for the week every Saturday. She knows when I turn the TV off at 4pm it’s time to wind down. Toys go away, dinner comes out and we have extra stories.
Bath, Book Bed routine is perfect for us. No distractions.

I swear by using Bepanthen every night as it’s the only time she is wearing a nappy for a long period of time. We also use it before long car journeys. I guess we've been lucky really as she's never really had a bad rash or soreness last longer than 24 hours.

Bepanthen offers additional comfort to baby and toddlers as it’s non sticky, with a quick absorbing formulation. Applying a thin layer on clean, dry skin as part of the bedtime routine before bed helps both your little one and you have a good night’s sleep. 
Nappy rash will be one less thing to worry about.

9 fun facts about Bepanthen:
• is clinically proven for babies delicate skin
• enhances the natural protection of the skin
• maintains optimum moisture levels
• no unnecessary ingredients
• contains ingredients with documented safety & benefit 
• is free from potentially toxic ingredients 
• is free from potential sensitisers such as fragrances 
• contains no antiseptics / preservatives
• is pleasant to use
Always store Bepanthen in a dry place and out of site of children.

This post is an entry for #BepanthenBedtimeChallenge, sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more at Bepanthen on Facebook or click here