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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Bennetts baby skincare products

I hadn't heard of the Bennetts for babies range before, but after a little research I've found out that they were established over 50 years ago and they're the best selling baby care product in South Africa.

I was recently asked if we'd like to try out some items from the range and as I love finding new and unique products for us to use as a family, I jumped at the chance. 
Bennetts baby skincare products selection
The Bennetts packaging is very simple and straight forward. It looks clean and a little clinical, it doesn't look to dissimilar to something you'd find in a hospital. Each product is formulated by a British qualified pharmacist and gently helps protect young, delicate skin. 
Bennetts Aqueous bath drops
Aqueous Bath Drops 
I wasn't too sure what to expect with the bath drops, I did expect them to make the bath quite greasy and possibly leave that awful oily film on your skin but they didn't. They're actually really good! I've been adding a few drops of this to the little mans bath each night and his skin feels even softer than usual. He usually gets a little dry skin on his calves but it's cleared up nicely. 

I've also found this great for using neat on my hands. A little drop rubbed into the skin on my hands feels amazing. It's no secret I have awfully dry hands, they crack and flake and are often sore. I have a minor skin condition exacerbated by the daily use of baby wipes. It drives me mad. Long gone are the days of manicures and glamorous nails, my priority now is usually attempting to prevent my cuticles peeling off or my skin cracking. 
Bennetts baby bum creme
Baby Bum Crème 
Luckily we don't have the need to use nappy cream very often. This one contains Zinc Oxide, Starch and Pure Essential Lavender Oil to help help soothe, heal and protect the skin on a baby's bum. As with most nappy creams it creates a barrier between skin and a wet nappy. The baby bum creme has a much nicer texture than other nappy creams I've used, it spreads easily and isn't a nightmare to wash off at bath time. 
Bennetts Aqueous baby cream
Baby Aqueous Cream
I might have claimed this for myself. It's been fantastic for the dry skin on my hands, so much so I'd say my hands are about 90% better than they were. They still feel a little dry but they're not cracked and certainly not sore. I've been using this after nappy changes and every time my hands get wet and I honestly can't fault it. 

It's fragrance free and really gently. The cream itself is is absorbed quickly and easily into your skin, so no waiting round waiting for it to dry. My skin feels instantly softer when I apply the Aqueous cream, and a 10p sized dollop works nicely on your hands. 
Bennetts baby traveller
Bum Buddy Traveller
The little duo is a great idea for travelling. It'd be perfect for a short plane journey, when you don't really want to lug your entire change bag contents into the cabin with you. The traveller has a section containing 20 wipes and a separate section containing some of their bum creme. I like the traveller pouch, it was ideal for popping in our swimming bag when we went earlier in the week but the wipes are quite small and not very strong, so you'll need to pray for only minor nappy incidents!

I've really enjoyed using the Bennett's range, particularly the bath drops and aqueous cream. They're both made noticeable changes to both mine and the little mans skin. I'll be ordering more when we've used up these ones. 

In the UK the Bennett's range is currently available at independent pharmacies, online from Amazon and have recently been made available in Morrisons. To keep up to date with developments and stockist details check out their website at www.bennettsforbabies.com or on Twitter at @bennettsforbabies

*PR sample

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Ordinary Moments #8

Yesterday both hubby and I were off so we got up and visited Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle and found this huge yawning pig!
Yawning pig

Cow and Gate new Friends food range

Encouraging babies and young children to eat fruit and vegetables can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. Weaning wasn't too difficult for us luckily, but I have occasionally found it quite difficult varying the little mans diet particularly his daily intake of fruit and veg. He will happily munch on things like tomatoes and cucumber but getting him to eat a good variety instead of the same thing over and over can be hard work so I'm always keen to try anything that can help with this. 

From the start of weaning at 6 months old I've used a combination of home made meals and pre prepared baby food, though I am conscious of the brands I choose. I recently heard about the new Cow and Gate's Friends range. Separated into four stages - beginner, discover, explorer and friends forever the range is jam packed with nutritious vegetables and encourages little people to learn to love the taste of vegetables on their own, starting off with individual tastes which aren't disguised by other stronger or sweeter flavours. 

Cow and Gate friends starter packCow and Gate use the phrase Start, Vary, Repeat' as a simple guide for parents starting on the weaning journey with their little people. 

The range starts out with a 'beginners' starter pack, containing four pouches, one each of carrot, broccoli, cauliflower and peas. 

As you little person grows and works their way through the range additional carbohydrates and proteins such as fish are added to the pouch, resulting in tasty but nutritious meals. 

We were sent some of the first stages pouches to try out but they were a little too young for the little man so I popped to Boots and picked up some of the pouches from the later stages of the range. The range is currently on offer 3 for 2 in Boots so you can pick them up for a bit of a bargain at the moment. 
Cow and Gate friends food range on my bench
I wasn't really too sure how the little man would react, as he's a bit hit and miss with pre prepared baby food. Some days he's devour a certain meal and then a week later will have the same thing and point blank refuse to eat it, but it seems The Cow and Gate Friends range has been a big hit with the little man. He's quite happily munched his way through every flavour we've tried so far with his favourite being the Peas, Sole fish and potato which is a massive shock as he usually turns his nose up at any type of fish.

I'm glad the meals come in pouches. I'm really not a fan of glass jars. I hate carrying them round in my change bag, they're heavy and I've dropped and broken a few in the little mans tiny life time. Pouches take up less space and fit much better into the side ;pockets of my change back or the back pocket on the pushchair. 
Baby eating Cow and Gate friends food range
I also really like the fact the range doesn't contain any odd food combinations. Whilst I'd like the little man to eat anything and be happy to try any flavour, I don't necessarily agree with completely random flavours mixed together. He will happily eat chicken dipped in yogurt himself, we don't need it to come in a pouch ready mixed. 
Baby eating Cow and Gate friends food range
I was pleased to hear that all of the pouches are created with steam cooked ingredients with no added salt, sugar or preservatives which means I have no guilty feelings about using pre prepared food rather than cooked from scratch, 

If you're about to start weaning I would definitely recommend the new Cow and Gate Friends range, but even if you're in the later stages like us, you should give the range a go, the meals are clearly tasty and healthy and varied for little tummies. 

*We were sent some of the small pouches free of charge but we bought the rest ourselves*

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Sunday Photo #8

I love this photo. It was taken during a cake smash photoshoot we had done for the little mans first birth. It didn't quite go to plan, he refused to smash or eat the cake and hardly cracked a smile!


Friday, 20 February 2015

Fisher Price Rainforest Spacesaver Jumperoo

One toy the little man has loved since his very first use is his Fisher Price Jumperoo, It's entertained him for hours and been the source of so many fits of giggles and fun times. It's probably one of the best baby related things we bought for the little man and I suspect if he could talk he'd say it was definitely his favourite toy.

It was recommended by so many people before the little man was even born, it seems to be a firm favourite amongst parents. My one concern pre purchase was it's size. There's no getting away from the fact it's massive. It takes up a lot of space in my matchbox/living room and because it's not practical or easy to disassemble between uses it's had to stay put, which has meant waving goodbye to a shelving unit and buying a smaller coffee table.

When the lovely people at Fisher Price got in touch and told me about the new Fisher Price Jumperoo and asked if the little man would like to try it our we were a little bit excited. All the fun of a Jumperoo but the opportunity for me to claim back my living room?! Send it my way!!

After arrival the Jumperoo was quite easy to assemble with only a few parts to clip together, once they're clipped into place the Jumperoo feels sturdy, solid and safe. Instructions are included but to be honest, it's pretty self explanatory, it's quite obvious just from looking at the parts where they need to go.

Instantly noticeable is the fact the Jumperoo is really light and no where near as bulky as the original. It only weighs 5kg so is easy to move around the house, it's perfect for taking up stairs while I have a shower or into the kitchen while I do the dishes.
There are 4 easy to change seat settings which allows the Jumperoo to grow with your little person. As with the original Jumperoo, the toys and seat are fully removable to allow cleaning.
Fisher Price space saver Jumperoo collage
The jumperoo is suitable from approximately 6 months, or when your child can fully support their own head up until they reach the top weight of 25lbs. The little man has a few pounds to go yet, but he is towards the older end of the scale. Despite this, he still seems to enjoy the Jumperoo and he's happy enough to bounce and play so is clearly entertained by the activities.
Fisher Price space saver Jumperoo collage
The space saver Jumperoo has a removable activity arch with brightly coloured rainforest animals which spin round easily. Everything is wipe clean, making it ideal for babies who drool or are prone to sicky outbursts. 
Fisher Price space saver Jumperoo activity
There's a light up keyboard-esque panel on the front of the Jumperoo,  which features a variety of tunes. I quite like the tunes, they're not typical annoying repetitive tunes, so I'm happy enough for him to have them on as long as he's in the Jumperoo.  

Whilst I do like the Jumperoo, there are a couple of little niggles I have with it -
  • I think the keyboard would be much better if the 'keys' could be pressed in to make individual sounds. The first thing the little man tried to do was play the keyboard but the keys can't be used in that way.
  • The arch seems quite a distance away from the seat so I think smaller babies would struggle to reach forward to grab at the animals. 
  • It does fold up, but it's quite hard work doing it alone. I find the button at the bottom which needs to be pressed at both sides really hard to press in alone.
  • It's still quite a bulk piece of equipment when it's folded. As the bottom is curved when it's folded it could do with a stopper or stand at the bottom to prevent it falling when it's stood up. 
The jumperoo is a fun piece of baby kit though. It's easy to use, easier stored than the original Jumperoo but equally as entertaining. It'd make a great gift some a new baby, particularly a family living in a flat or other smaller space, or even just someone who doesn't want children's toys taking over their house!

The Fisher Price Jumperoo is currently on offer on Amazon for £80.55 if you want to pick up a bargain baby buy. 

*Item was sent for review purposes*

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Sleeping Habits around the world

I love sleep!

I miss the days of lie in's, early nights and the opportunity to crawl into bed for an afternoon nap. I definitely took sleep for granted before the little man arrived. Sleep now takes preference over a night out, a shopping expedition and various other things that my hubby knows all about!

Since I had my son I've perfected the art of sleeping anywhere at anytime. Naps are such a treat, and I'll sneak one in wherever possible.

The infographic below has been provided by Mattress Next Day and features some very interesting facts about sleep and naps all around the world.

Which statistic do you fit into?
Sleeping Habits Around The World infographic

Batty over Irish Cuisine

Always a lover of the underdog, when Betfair recently challenged me to create a recipe inspired by one of the 14 teams taking part in the Cricket World Cup I was instantly drawn to Ireland. Ireland's cricket results aren't usually too spectacular but after the result today where they beat the West Indies maybe I'm actually on to a winner!

The recipe I chose is a traditional Irish dish, Dublin Coddle. It's a hearty, warming recipe perfect for the chilly weather we still seem to be having and is really simple to make. You can even make it in a slow cooker if you like, so it's ready and waiting for you after a long day at work. 

Of course, no recipe post would be complete without something sweet and a little bit naughty to follow, so there's a very Irish Guinness and walnut cake recipe further down the page. The cake is perfect whether you're a cricket lover or a cake lover. The question is, what do you prefer cricket or chocolate?

Dublin Coddle
6 medium sized potatoes
2 medium sized onions
Thick pork sausages
Unsmoked bacon
Fresh parsley
Ham stock cubes
500ml of boiling water
Large dish, a Pyrex casserole dish is perfect.
Chop your potatoes and onion into chunks and finely chop the parsley.
Preheat your oven too 160 degrees.
Lightly fry the sausage and bacon so it browns.
Create alternate layers with the potato, onion, sausage and bacon. Sprinkle a little of the chopped parsley amongst the layers too.
Dissolve a ham stock cube into 500ml of boiling water and then pour over the ingredients in the dish.
Use the lid or tin foil to cover your dish and put it in the oven.
Cook it at 160 degrees for 3 hours.
In true Irish style if you wish to add a little Guiness to your recipe, feel free! Around 15 minutes before the Coddle is cooked add a pint/dash of Guiness to the mix, it'll give a rich tangy taste.
It's filing enough to eat alone but if you wish to make it more filling it goes really well with Colcannon, another traditional Irish dish which is very simple to make.

Guinness and Walnut cake
10ozs of dark brown sugar
4 ozs of unsalted butter or margarine
2 eggs
8 ozs of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
8 ozs of Guinness or other dark stout
2 ozs of cocoa powder
walnuts chopped finely
cake tin
Grease your cake tin and beat the eggs in a bowl.
Preheat your own to 150 degrees.
Mix the butter and sugar together and fold in the beaten eggs.
Mix the Guinness and cocoa powder, and chopped walnuts together.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and Guinness mix while mixing (I use a food mixer as I'm rubbish at hand mixing).
When you mixture is smooth transfer to your greased cake tin.
Cook at 150 degrees for 45 minutes, check to make sure the middle is cooked and if not put it back in the oven for 5 minute intervals.
You can do what you please with the topping. I used melted chocolate with a scattering of walnuts but the cake is just as tasty un iced, more like a loaf.
Will you be watching the cricket this year?

I was asked by Betfair to take part in the Cricket World Cup Recipe challenge

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

My introduction to Diet Chef

Since the birth of my little man my weight has spiralled to the point I feel it's pretty much out of control. I'm the heaviest I've ever been, I feel dreadful and looking in the mirror is a traumatic experience. During my pregnancy I had severe SPD which meant any exercise dwindled to nothing and my weight very quickly escalated. 

I think I've finally go to the stage where I feel it's unacceptable to weigh as much as I do, I want to be able to run around with the little man and feel confident and comfortable in my clothes. Faddy diets really don't work for me, It's simple - I like to eat, so although shakes and tiny portions may work as a short term solution, they're never going to work over a longer period of time.  I need a diet that is both sustainable and edible! 

That's where Dief Chef come in. Diet Chef is delivered directly to your door and includes a daily breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack which equates roughly to a daily calorie intake of 1,200. It's suitable for those of us with a BMI of over 24.9, who have weight to loose. Choosing a months supply from their online product range was simple, I could change the quantity and variety with the click of my mouse and the website is extremely easy to navigate and read. It's full of helpful information and details about the plan. 

A months plan will work out at £61.25 a week or £245 for the month. It does work out cheaper to order more, with the 12 week plan costing £46.25 a week or £185 each month.
Diet chef order process
Diet Chef delivery bundle
After I chose my food online I waited in anticipation for the delivery. It arrived in a matter of days without any issue. I was kept updated via phone and email with expected delivery times. And boy, is it a big delivery, the box is huge!

Diet Chef  products are all cooked sous vide which means there's no need for refrigeration. Storage is simple, you can simple bung them in a cupboard or box until you need them. Mine currently live under the dining room table in a cardboard box until I clear some space in a cupbaord. 

Over the next month I'll share my experience of Diet chef with pictures and opinions and the dreaded weekly weigh in. Keep your fingers crossed for a good result.

I have been given the opportunity to try a month on Dief Chef for free in return for my honest opinion

Monday, 16 February 2015

Maid Simple cleaning products

Cleaning is by no means a hobby of mine. Obviously its a necessity but it's never really been something I enjoy. I am always keen to try anything out that may reduce the length of time it takes me to clean, or something that might make cleaning a little less traumatic.

The lovely people at Maid Simple Products sent me some of their product range to try out. They're a family business based in the UK with experience in the cleaning business of over 20 years.
Maid Simple cleaning products
I was sent the Furniture Polish (£4.99), Bathroom Cleaner (£3.99), Glass and Mirror Cleaner (£3.99), Kitchen Cleaner (£3.99) and Shower Cleaner (£3.99).
Maid Simple cleaning products
The products all have quite a vintage girly look too them. The pastel shade bottles are rather eye catching and make a welcome change to the harsh vivid colours of my other cleaning product bottles. 
Maid Simple Cleaning products
Whats rather unique about Maid Simple products is their fantastic scents. They're by no means your traditional cleaning products. There's no synthetic lemon or putrid pine smells here. With scents like Sweet spice and Sherbert fizz amongst the range, I was actually quite excited to give them a go.
Maid Simple cleaning products
The spray action bottles are simple to use, even with wet hands and I've had no issues with leakages or spills while they've been stored in the cupboard between uses.

As there are no harsh smells or headache creating fumes, the products are actually a pleasure to use. They clean well, I particularly like how sparkly the Kitchen cleaner makes my kitchen sink area. The mirror and glass cleaner is another favourite. I've been using it on my kitchen unit fronts which unfortunately are glossy red. They are a nightmare for marks and streaks and I really struggle to keep them shiny and streak free. The mirror and glass cleaner is great, not only do my cupboards smell of sea grass and lotus they are gleaming.
Maid Simple hints and tips
I love the little tips and suggestions on the rear of the product bottles. I enjoyed having a read during the use of each product. I also love the fact that they recommend I have friends round for tea and cake!

I've really enjoyed using the Maid Simple products, they really are quite different to anything else on the market. I love their fun scents and pretty packaging and of course the fact they leave your home gleaming.

Check Maid Simple out, there's also a chance to win £50 of pamper vouchers if your sign up to their newsletter. 

They have a stockist finder on their website too, so you can check locally to see where you can buy the products, my local stockists are all independent stores but you can also buy the range online. 

PR Sample

Sunday, 15 February 2015

My Sunday Photo #7

1st birthday cake and cards
The little man has more or less had a week long birthday. His present pile and cakes have been never ending!

I made a little cake for him myself, it turned out ok, if you ignore the holes in the icing at the bottom! If I'm honest I don't think I'll be venturing into cake making again anytime soon!