The End Of An Era – Paying Homage to Milky Breasts

I’ve been lucky enough to provide my wonderful daughter with breast milk for a whole year. Despite starting back at work just after she turned 5 months old along with all the ups and downs of breastfeeding, I managed to keep it going.

Orginaly I planned to feed for 3 months which then turned to 6, and then once I got the hang of expressing enough milk to cover the hours I was working, i thought ‘what the heck, let’s go for the year milstone’. I have to say, I am pretty chuffed with myself. ¬†There is a part of me that wants to keep going but I know it’s the right time now since we’ve got down to one feed a day, and little ba really doesn’t seem to care if it’s come from mummy or cow.

Tonight, on the night of my (not so) little one’s first birthday, I layed beside her feeding her a much appreciated ¬†bottle of warmed cows milk. To say the least I couldn’t help but feel a little bit gutted, it was like the end of an era.. ‘The Great Teat of Life’ – April ¬†2016 – 2017. Rip my lovely milky boobies.

Of course breast feeding was so much more than the nurishment it provided. Health benefits aside, it was mine and baby’s little thing, it was what bonded us and made baby (and me) trust my parental insticts. I suppose now I feel like a bit of a safety net has been taken away. Now I have to rely on alternative nurishments alone to do the job of keeping growing baby fit and well. We still have lots of cuddles though, especially at the ‘would have been’ breastfeeding times.

On the one hand I can drink once again, my partner can feed her more, giving me a bit more of a break and we could actually spend the night away alone, which actually seems like something we haven’t done in a lifetime (though she would still be terribly missed). Yet at the same time I think about how fast this year has flown and how this is the first of many things I’ll have to let go of as my baby grows up and needs her mummy less and less.

I have loved every minute of being a mum. I am embracing the present yet forever worrying about the future. Though I must be doing something right as when it comes to parenting I have no regrets. The past year has painted beautiful memories full of peace, love and happiness.

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All Done & Dusted For Another Year

Whilst popping out to the shops on a blustery boxing day morning, I couldn’t help but think to myself, ‘wooahh, it’s as if the whole world is hungover.’ The almost empty streets whistled as the cold winds rushed through alleyways and crooks. The dreary few who managed to pull themselves out of bed, floated through the streets like lost soles wandering a dystopian world.

It got me thinking.. isn’t Christmas day one heck of an expensive, over planned anticlimax. Like a great big slap in the face. You spend a fortune and the best part of your month (if not longer) planning for one single day and then just like that, it’s all over with. Was it half as fabulous as you’d anticipated?… Didn’t think so!

Then, to add insult to injury, the very next day all Xmas products prices drop dramatically! I’m not being funny or anything, and please do mind my french… but are they taking the piss?? Whats that? You could have bought the exact same rubbish for half the price, if you hadn’t insisted on giving everyone their presents on the 25th of December.

I mean what’s wrong with the 26th of December? It’s a nice day, and everything’s cheaper.. forget about that Jesus blokes birthday, I’m sure he doesn’t mind if it means saving yourself a small fortune, and from where I’m standing it’s not as if anyone gives that much of a toss about him anymore anyway. And we still bloody fall for it every single year. Hmmmm don’t forget to go out and buy as much left over tack as possible in the January sales, you’ll save yourself a fortune!

So by this point you might have just about gotten over the Christmas blues. And is it any wonder we all feel a little down once the big day is over with. I for one can say that every year it never meets my expectations, yet every year without fail I say to myself ‘this one’s gunna be a good one!’

Even though this was my daughters first Christmas I’d still only rate the day as being ‘alright.’ I thought she was going to love it and would be excited and giddy and happy… but she is only 8 and a half months old, so therefore when all said and done, she didn’t really give a toss! Maybe next year ehh.

So apart from expressing my opinions and grievances on the matter, my purpose in writing all this is to send a message to those who also get a feeling of dispair and disappointment after Christmas day. Don’t set your expectations too high! Maybe next Xmas spend the day watching the joy and happiness of others around you.

I want to leave you with one final suggestion that might help take the edge off the Christmas blues next year. Try and find just one person who is happy to accept their gift at the beginning of January, likewise tell one person that you would want to receive your gift in January too. That way you can take some satisfaction and comfort in the knowledge that you and your friend saved yourself a good bit of money on that particular gift. You never know, maybe it will catch on and we can all save ourselves a whole load of dosh in the future!

Finding Fantastic Freebies & Bargains

We all love a good bargain, better yet, who doesn’t love a cheeky goody or freebie. It’s not always easy finding a good deal once the summer offers have ended, and who wants to wait until January for their next sale shopping fix. As for free gifts, they can be even rarer to come across.

I’ve put together what is hopefully a helpful list of websites and places were anyone can find Bargains, samples and free stuff, to keep you going until the next big sale event. What’s not to love? Enjoy! X

All Beauty

All Beauty formally known as Cheap Smells ( I totally get why they renamed it) is one of my favourite online discount beauty retailers. It’s perfect for if your looking to grab a bargain. They pretty much sell any mainstream beauty brand you can think of at a discount price. Not only that, but they’ll do a price match on any product you find cheaper elsewhere and there is a free gifts section of the website too.

Bounty club

One for all my fellow mamma bears out there. Having a baby can be expensive so most of us will take any help we can get in terms of free stuff. If you haven’t already heard of bounty you can register online to receive free bounty packs full off goodies, information and parenting guides.

There’s also an online community, expert advise, competitions and exclusive, personalised offers and savings of up to 70% off. If your expecting, ask your midwife and she might already have a free bounty pack for you without having to sign up. Similar clubs include Emma’s Diary, Boots baby club and Your Baby Club UK.

Everything Five Pound

If you really want to spend as little as possible on your wardrobe then this is the site for you. everythingfivepounds.com has so much to offer and is well worth a browse if your looking for a new cheap and cheerful outfit. There’s items for men, women, kids and the home.

As the name suggests, everything on the site costs five pound, but don’t let that put you off in terms of product quality. I actually bought a lovely grey maxi dress from here and when I received it, it had originally come from boohoo.com a very well known and trusted fashion retailer.

Freebie Websites

There are tons of freebie websites out there but you should always do your research and be careful about what information you are giving out, especially if a website looks suspicious. These websites do tend to generate a lot of spam so I suggest using an old email address or creating a brand new one specifically for using with these sites.

Two freebie sites that are definitely worth looking into are Magic Freebies and Latest Free Stuff. On both these websites you will find freebies, samples, competitions and more, promoting all sorts products and companies.

Beauty Counters

Makeup and beauty counters are another great place to source free samples whilst your out and about shopping. Usually you only receive them once you’ve purchased something from the counter, but if you get chatty with the shop assistant and are generally interested in a product, your sure to get a sample to test before buying.

So hopefully these suggestions will come of use to anyone looking to save money or grab a freebie. Any more advice on finding great deals and free goodies would be greatly appreciated, leave your comments. Happy bargain hunting people!

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

This summer I was so pleased when I saw this image (see above) repeatedly posted around on my social media feed, it was most humbling to see how many people agreed with the above statement and felt the need to share how important it is to be kind to one another.

I really do believe that when we are negative to someone els, it is a true reflection of our own insecurities. My advice to anyone who has suffered from verbal abuse or unprovoked negativity from someone els, is that what they are saying has more to do with themselves than it actually does you.

Whatever your shape, size or look, be proud of who you are and feel confident in yourself. You should not have to change the way you look or view your body as a project. Live your life the way YOU want to live it.

We are ruled by a media that profits from our insecurities and makes us think we need to be a certain way. Don’t let someone els tell you what is admirable and what is not! Beauty comes in so many different forms and means something different to everybody..it is in the eye of the beholder.

Also remember that fashion and beauty are two separate things. Beauty is timeless where as fashion is ever changing. At one time it was fashionable for women to be pleasingly plump, then it changed to having a more slender physic. At another time, it was fashionable to have a slim waist, broad hips and a flat bottom however that was replaced by the trend of having voluptuous breasts and a full rounded bum. There was also once a time that women didn’t have any noticeable muscle definition yet increasingly muscularity in women is gaining more and more acceptance. Fashion constantly changes!

That’s not to say we can’t look at these images of fashion and appreciate their interpretation of beauty, it’s just important to remember that they are not the only versions of beauty that exist…beauty comes in so many different forms.

So If there’s one thing I would like you to take away from reading this post, its this – remember to always be kind, and if you do find yourself in a situation where you are being negative or critical of somebody els, take a step back a really assess how you feel and the reasons why you might be doing it. Change your outlook and be a better person.

My Top Ten Lush Favourites

As a lover of all things Lush I could literally write post after post, reviewing all the products I’ve used and loved over the years however to save time, I’ve picked my top ten favourites and wrote a couple of sentences explaining why I like the product. I hope you enjoy reading and learning about some great skincare, hair care and beauty treats!

10. Limelight Toothy Tabs – I’ve actually tried a few of Lush’s tooth care products and I have to say I do really like them. Limelight toothy tabs do make your teeth and whole mouth feel really clean however they have quite a strong taste. I like to use them in the morning as they help freshen my breath. I prefer to mix them with a regular fluoride toothpaste for safe measure but they can be used on their own.

9. All Things Good Solid Perfume – All things good perfume is really nice if your looking for something a little bit different and unusual compared to regular perfumes. I wasn’t so keen on the smell to begin with but over time it really started to grow on me, lots of people seem to notice and compliment the scent too. It’s smells sort of like smokey candy floss which sounds a bit bazaar but it really is a lovely unique fragrance.

8. Full of Grace face serum – Great for if you have dry skin! Although it’s meant for the face, this baby is the perfect size to rub on dry elbows or knees. It melts at body temperature so it’s probably wise to keep it in a tin or tub, to avoid making a melted mess!

7. Charity pot – The Charity Pot body lotion is so moisturising, it takes a little while for the skin to absorb it but once it does, it leaves your body feeling beautifully silky and soft. This stuff also smells fantastic, very sweet and honey like. As well as all this, profits made from this product go to charity, hence the name Charity Pot. Now what’s not to love about that?

6. Lush Makeup Range – I had to bunch a few products together for number 6 as I value them all equally, plus you can’t really have one without the other when it comes to makeup. Lush makeup is perfect for if your conscious of putting harsh products on your face, such as perfumed foundations; it’s a great alternative.

So my lush beauty routine involves Feeling Younger face cream (the perfect primer), Light Pink Colour Supplement, Emotional Brilliance translucent powder, Independent (black shade) eye liner ( brilliant for straight lines and flicks) and Eyes Right mascara.

5. Don’t rain on my parade – In my opinion one of Lush’s best smelling shower gels! This one smells like Palmer violets and the scent lasts for ages, even after its all been washed off!

4. 9 to 5 face cleanser – This stuff is very gentle on the skin and leaves it feeling beautifully soft. Since using this, my skin does feel a lot more healthier and I look a lot less tired and puffy. It’s also great for washing makeup off your face, especially if you have sensitive skin that usually reacts to normal soaps & cleansers.

3. Ros Argon Body Conditioner – The Rose Jam scent is my absolute favourite lush fragrance, so when I first smelt this body conditioner I fell in love with it instantly. Like most Lush products, it takes a little while for my skin to absorb the oils but once it does, I’m left with a beautiful silky smooth feeling and the fabulous scent lingers for ages!

2. Roots hair mask – This marvellous minty mask is perfect for fine hair. I’m sure my hair has started to grow faster and thicker since I began using this stuff. It really tingles the scalp as you massage it on and leaves your hair feeling soft and nourished afterwards.

1.Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo & Veganese Conditioner – I have repeatedly bought these two time and time again as they have made my hair so so healthy. I couldn’t decide between them, so I had to bunch them together as my number one fave lush products, after all shampoo & conditioner do go hand in hand.

The shampoo leaves hair incredibly clean, I’ve gone from washing my hair every night, to washing it every couple of days or so which is far better for it. It smells lovely and leaves my hair looking shinier than ever. I think this shampoo might also be helping to strengthen my hair as I’ve had a lot less breakage since I began using it.

Veganese Conditioner is really great for my hair type as its very light, yet I don’t need to use a lot as spreads all over the hair really easily. It has a gentle lemony fragrance that lingers even after you’ve washed it all out. It’s also vegan friendly which is always a bonus.

A Helping Hand in Calming Baby

Well I’ve been a mamma for almost three months now and of the baby products I’ve come across so far, Johnson’s Baby Bed Time Cream has to be my favourite. Of course the essentials like nappies, wipes and fragranced sacks are any parents favourites for obvious reasons, I mean, where would we be without them? But in terms of baby products that might not be considered necessities, the bed time cream gets a high rating from me.

To begin with the smell is absolutely lovely. It’s amazing how many people tell me my baby smells wonderful but they’re not lying, she really does! It has a really sweet, mellow fragrance and is in keeping with that generic soothing baby scent that most Johnson’s products have. To tell you the truth I’ve actually used the stuff myself a couple of times and tried to claim It as my own ‘natural fragrance.’ – ‘oh yeah that… That’s just what I smell like.’

I think the bed time cream is most effective after bath time. Though I do like to use it as a general moisturiser too.

My little one does love having baths, but is most displeased when it’s time to get out and boy does she let me (and half the street) know it. One things for sure my girl has a cracking pair of lungs! Once she’s dry and warm I like to rub the cream all over her tummy and then massage her legs with it. It really does calm her down, there’s been times were we’ve even gone from screams to smiles within seconds.

I give this product top ratings, it does seem to help my little one sleep better too if I use it just before bed time. So if your having troubles calming your child or just want to have a beautiful smelling baby, give this stuff a go!

My Beauty Saviours From Breastfeeding Induced Dehydration

I know, this post sure does have one great mouthful of a title. In fact ‘great mouthful’ is exactly the phrase that springs to mind when I reflect on my life over the past three months…. I have the greediest child ever!!

There are many perks to breastfeeding your little one. There’s no need to faff around with bottles, the milk is ready and accessible whenever you need it ( very handy at 3 o’clock in the morning, wen baby decides it’s dinner time) and of course it’s a great method for bonding with your new born. I know what you’re thinking… ‘Hurray for boobies!’ I mean, the list goes on and on, let’s not forget the many other charming delights to be experienced with breastfeeding, such as sore nipples, swollen breasts, leakage (admittedly does have its comedic values), constant drained energy ( also a symptom of general parenthood ) and chronic dehydration. So yeah, breastfeeding does come with its challenges.

Throughout the day I drink so much water to stop my body feeling like the Sahara desert, but it’s still never enough to prevent that irritating crusty dry feeling I get when waking up for night time feeds. Luckily I have found some superb products, from my favourite beauty store Lush, which help me to cope with this issue.

If there’s one thing that goes hand in hand with dehydration, it’s dry lips. A common problem many of us experience, both breastfeeders and non breastfeeders. Now I love a good lip balm, but I always seem to find myself re-applying and re-applying the stuff, until it seems to be having no effect whatsoever. Alas I have finally found a balm that agrees with my lips. I literally only have to use Lush’s Key Lime Pie lip balm once and it lasts for hours. Of course Lush do a few more flavours of lip balm but the Key Lime Pie, in my opinion, is definitely the best smelling… It’s positively scrumptious!

If you need a quick blast of refreshing water to wake you up in the morning (or during the night), then I would definitely suggest Breath of Fresh Air toner water. The bottle describes it as ‘ a sea breeze captured in a bottle’ and I can really see why. It really helps to wash away that crusty dry sleepy feeling and is a fantastic pick-me-up. I also like to use Lush’s Eau Roma Water toner as it hydrates the skin and has a lovely calming effect.

I would definitely recommend these products as a quick fix for if you don’t have time to hop in the shower or don’t have a large glass of water to hand. Perfect for tiredness, skin dehydration, dryness and other symptoms of breastfeeding.

A Brief Moment

So I haven’t done any writing for quite a while and thought it was about time I got my creative juices flowing once more… Towards the end of my pregnancy I pretty much gave up on life, my motivation levels dropped to zero. I couldn’t be bothered to write, I couldn’t be bothers to do my yoga, I barely left the house and I had the sex drive of an eighty year old panda! In fact I spent the majority of my time lounging around in the bath, like a great big whale.

Understandably, since giving birth I have had no time to sit and write… Even now as I write this I have my little one in one arm suckling away. Tapping away at a laptop with one finger takes great patience but (as most mums will know) patients is somethings you need buckets of when looking after a new born, so something as trivial as this bares no challenge.

My beautiful baby girl is now eleven weeks and as the days go by my confidence grows and grows. I literally can not remember what it’s like to not be a mum and I often find myself thinking ‘what the hell did I use to do with all that spare time I had.’ One things for sure, there’s no more lounging around in the bath for hours on end for me, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I do feel much less prune-like these days.

I have never been so happy to be in a sleep deprived state, with greasy hair and covered in sick. At the moment I just love life and would not have things any other way. Some say that becoming a parent is hard ‘hard’, personally I would use the phrase ‘ wonderfully challenging’ to describe it.

It’s not that the tasks involved in looking after a little one are hard, it’s just a whole new experience. Things can seem repetitive, tiring and at times frustrating, there is always something new to learn around the corner but throughout it all I always feel an overwhelming sense of love in my heart. I would definitely recommend parenthood to others, especially those who describe their lives as ‘boring’.

Thank you world for giving me the greatest gift of all.

Yankee Candles & Mood Lighting 

Creating a calming and relaxed atmosphere in my home is something that has recently become very important to me. There’s nothing more lovely than winding down, (especially during the evening) in my living room and feeling content and peaceful.

I actually rent my house so it’s important for me to make it feel like it’s my own as much as I possibly can. I’ve rented a couple of houses in the past and struggled to feel ‘at home’. My last house was shared accommodation, so that felt the least homely.

One of my favourite ways to indulge my visual senses and promote a calmed atmosphere is low lighting. My living room lighting consists of fairy lights, my lava lamp, my static light (the big ball that you can touch to make the light shoot to your finger tip…very cool, in the past it’s kept me amused for hours!), my fibre optic lamp and my little lamp (of the normal kind.)

When I switch all of these on in the evening, with the curtains closed, it creates a lovely warm vibe and really helps me to settle. They are also cheaper to run than my living rooms main lighting, which is an added bonus. I am a massive fan of fairy lights and have them in pretty much every room of the house…I think they look great!

Another of my favourite homely atmosphere treasures is candles and incense! I’m a lover of the well known brand Yankee¬†when it comes to candles. They may be a little on the pricey side but they have such a fabulous array of scents that really fill the room, plus they seem to last for ages. Definitely worth splashing out on. My favourite at the moment is Black Cherry,¬†it’s gorgeous. I’m also a sucker for the Yankee Wax Melts, their fragrance might not fill the room as much as the candles, but they last for a really long time. I’ve been using the same melt In my oil burner for the last 3 months and there’s still a ton left!

Woodwick¬†candles are another brand of candle I’ve recently fallen in love with. They have some really interesting flavours including their Trilogy¬†range which combines three different scents in one candle. As their name suggests, they feature a wooden wick which is quite a unique element; something I have never come across in other candle brands before. It makes a soothing crackle effect as it burns, creating a calm and content atmosphere.

Aside from these two candle brands, my homely atmosphere collection consists of lavender incense (great for relaxation), lemonade incense, tea lights, my lucky Buddha candle holder and my Himalayan rock salt tea light holder (which glows so beautifully bright). All help to create a lovely environment in my home.

Bath Time Lush Haul

The only real problem I have with Lush bath bombs and oils is deciding which one to use first! They are all so lovely in their own special way.

In the past I have been a little dubious of bath bombs and smellies as I have quite sensitive skin. I have always loved and used other lush products though, such as shampoos, conditioners and body gels and never had any issues.

This year for Christmas I received the Intergalactic ¬†and Tisty-tosty¬†bath bombs but I was still unsure about using them. They both looked and smelt amazing especially the intergalactic which was so colourful and sparkly! Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t bear to waste them, so I took a chance and threw half of the Intergalactic into a warm relaxing bath.

Luckily it was fine and had no effect on my sensitive skin, which was a little surprising to say how much colour, glitter and oil was in the product but it made my bath look and feel amazing. I still only use half a bomb at a time just to be on the safe side plus that way it lasts longer. I shared the Tisty-tosty with my partner (who shouted ‘it’s got spiders in it’ when it released its flower petals into the water) and again I had no issues.

Then after that it started… My obsession with lush bath products. I had already become addicted to having regular baths due to my pregnancy, so my new found love for bath bombs seemed to go hand in hand with this obsession.

So far from the products in the image I have used the bubble bars, Rose Jam¬†and Milky Bath.¬†I was a little sceptical about the Milky bath wen I saw it online, for some reason I thought it would smell like sour milk (which was a bit of a silly thing to think really) but once I smelt it in store I realised how wrong I was, it smells great and even contains a small amount of glitter which is always a bonus. Unfortunately when I used it, it did make me feel a little itchy afterwards but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, there was no redness or spots like what I have experienced in the past with other bath products.

Rose jam on the other hand, was amazing I had no skin problems whatsoever and I could definitely feel the softening effect it had on the water. It also smells fabulous. After I had my bath I kept popping my head into the bathroom every time I passed so I could take a big sniff of its lasting aroma. It’s beautiful scent had filled the room. The Yuzu and Cocoa¬†is also a nice bubble bar to use, it looks like a yellow/ orange version of Rose Jam and it makes your bath smell incredibly sweet.

I haven’t tried any of the luxury bath oils yet, I bought them as I wanted something to soften my skin. The Melting Marshmallow Oil ¬†smells delicious –¬†very much looking forward to using it. I really recognise the scent and am sure it’s been used in another of lush’s products. If anyone knows what els it’s been used in, please let me know. I’m thinking it might be one of the shower jellies.

I am also really looking forward to trying out some of the bath bombs I’ve recently bought too. One of my favourites, which I couldn’t find online anymore, is the Ikle Baby Bot. I do hope it hasn’t been discontinued. I’ve bought it a few times as it’s ideal for children (over the age of six months) so I knew it would be fine for me to use. It also has relaxing properties and is great to use just before bedtime. I think it might be a nice one to buy once my little one has arrived and is old enough to use bath bombs. (Get them started whilst they’re young ehhy!)

All in all I have to give lush bath products a ‘big thumbs up.’ Their scent is unique and I love the idea of each product being hand made. If you are looking for the perfect bath time treat, I would definitely recommend lush. But beware… Once you’ve bought one product, you will want to try them all…and that’s how the addiction begins!