Mellow Mummy: May 2016 : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Puressentiel Natural Running Remedies

I hadn't heard of Puressentiel before becoming a runner and , to be honest, other than massage relief, I hadn't really thought that hard about using essential oils for running remedies but the Puressentiel range offers a set of natural products based on aromatherapy oils designed to help aid muscle and joint pain, but also to relief allergies - something I really struggle with when running at this time of year.  Puressentiel make several other ranges of health and beauty products but for the time being, I've been trying out a few special remedies suitable for runners.

As I mentioned, I'm really suffering with hayfever at present and when I'm out running in the evening I can feel it on my eyes but mostly at the back of my nose. Hayfever makes me cough and it makes me bungled (that's a technical term) but it never gets that bad and I just sort of put up with it throughout the day but it starts to get me down.  Puressentiel hypertonic nasal spray is recommended for winter ailments (ie colds) but I'm using it for hayfever and it really helps to clear my nose before and after a run; simply press down and it sprays a very fine spray up your nose.  Even when I don't feel that blocked up, the difference I feel after use goes to show I am!

I've been taking my running very gently since my injury in February and so after each run I use a foam roller and also massage my lower legs.  I really LOVE this muscle and joints soothing balm which is a rick balm packed full of strong-scented arometherapy oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint and juniper as well as natural camphor and menthol which make the air really come alive when you use it.  The balm is made from natural ingredients and is really thick but melts into your skin and makes it tingle - the perfect pick me up for tired legs.  Now all I need is a full time sports massage therapist to come and live with me and give me a massage with this Puressentiel balm after every run!

For aches such as tired feet or sore patches where your shoes or clothes rub, a similar set of essential oils does the trick but this time as a small tube of Puressentiel Muscles and Joints Gel designed for applying in small quantities.  I've actually found this gel perfect for my feet which I have to take a lot of care of since my injury; its a white cream which disappears into your skin and soothes and eases with nutmeg, marjoram and chamomile as well as peppermint and juniper.  Gosh, I love combining my love of running with my love of natural skincare!

Also look out for Puressentiel heated patches which can be cut down to size and which stay heated for upto 8 hours while releasing relaxing essential oils.

Puressentiel have their own page on the website where you can buy from most of their different natural health and beauty ranges.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Orchard Toys Mini Games - Build a Beetle

This weekend the girls went for a sleepover withe Grandma and Grandpa - they were incredibly excited about it and spent much of the afternoon packing and prepping for their adventure.  The girls each packed an overnight bag with one cuddly toy but they also wanted to take a book to read and a game to play; mini games from Orchard Toys are the perfect type of game to pack when travelling away from home because they are so compact and are suitable for family members of all ages.

Build a Beetle is a mini game from Orchard Toys in which you take it in turns to spin a number - for each unique number you spin, you get to choose another body part for your beetle.  Once you've collected all six body parts your beetle is complete.  It is a fun game for Holly who is proud when she recognises her numbers correctly but is is also fun for all of us because of the element of chance - your beetle's completeness is governed by the spinner.

Each beetle has a fun friendly face and a totally different costume.  The parts are identified by colour.

The box for Build a Beetle is so small that it could fit into the front pocket of Holly's rucksack which she took as an overnight bag. For a week's holiday you could take a few mini games with you and not have to worry about filling up your suitcases.  In the mini games range you'll also find dominoes, snap, lotto, snakes and ladders and matching pairs all suitable for upto 4 players; they each cost £4.99.

Thursday 19 May 2016

Re-wire your wire! #PlaytexIdealBeauty

To celebrate the launch of the new Ideal Beauty bra by Playtex , I was challenged to create a masterpiece by putting the uncomfortable wire that many bras use to a far better use.

The Playtex Ideal Beauty bra provides the support and lift you'd expect from an under-wired bra but because it is wire-free, it boasts great comfort levels and it is really light.

Despite never having attempted making my own jewellery, I was ready to take on the Ideal Beauty challenge.  I spent a couple of very relaxing afternoons in the sunshine bending and moulding and winding and threading.  It was surprisingly difficult because wire really wants to go where it wants...not where you want it to.

I was surprisingly impressed by the results, despite my struggles.  This wrap-around bracelet is a simple string of beads threaded onto a wire that has been curled at the end.

Alongside the bracelet, I also made the girls a little wired ring each. Thick wire, thin wire, coloured wire... who knew wire could be so pretty?!

Lets keep the wire in the jewellery where it can be pretty AND useful - give an unwired bra a chance!

Sunday 15 May 2016

Princess Twilight Sparkle

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is back on DVD with the first volume of the fourth series now available on DVD and digital download - Princess Twilight Sparkle.  Lara and Holly both enjoy My Little Pony Friendship is Magic now and while Holly is a fan of Apple JAck and Rainbow Dash, Lara has always had a soft spot for Twilight Sparkle so she has enjoyed watching as Twilight Sparkle has to learn what it takes to become a princess; shiny new wings, a crown and important decisions to make!

The DVD has 6 episodes of My Little Pony friendship is magic and the first two full episodes are about Princess Twilight Sparkle who, newly crowned, has to save Equestria from a giant plant!  Also in this volume you'll find a tale about a haunted castle, an adventure where the pony's are transported into a comic book, a story about the pony's favourite author (as far as I can tell, a reference to J.K. Rowling) and finally, a build up to the Equestria Games.

AS predicted, the girls most enjoyed the stories centred around Twilight Sparkle's princess-ness but Holly didn't like the evil vine and got a bit upset!  Despite the DVD being centred around Twilight Sparkle, all of the mane size ponies get plenty of air time in this DVD so everyone is happy!

My girls enjoy the tales of Equestria in the Friendship is Magic series and this is a fab DVD for us to play one episode of every evening before dinner.

Princess Twilight Sparkle is available NOW to own on DVD or digital download.

Friday 13 May 2016

Mustela Baby Suncare

Until they are three years old, babies and young children haven't fully developed their skin's ability to defend against some of the effects of the sun's rays so they need special protection from the sun. Even once they are a little older, children's skin is highly vulnerable to sun damage and needs an extra boost to those natural defences. Mustela's range of baby and infant suncare products are gentle, very high protection sun screen products which have been designed specifically with baby's sensitive skin in mind.

Last weekend we had a roastingly hot couple of days in the sun - Holly enjoyed every moment of it (I think she has got this from me) and, having been taught from a very early age that wearing sun screen is the best thing to do, she was more than happy to give the Mustela very high protection sun lotion a try.  The lotion is incredibly light (surprising for such a high tolerance SPF 50+ protection factor), it is totally fragrance free (doesn't even smell of generic base sunscreen product!) and alcohol free and is deemed suitable for children to use on face and body from birth.  It is made from 86% naturally derived ingredients and I was genuinely impressed - no stickiness, no thick gloopiness but instead a light, almost refreshing lotion that was easy to apply to Holly with no complaints.

Mustela also make this handy pocket-sized bottle of lotion suitable for use on the face.  It comes in a handy pump so that you can dispense just a teeny tiny amount for use on your baby's face. I think this is the sort of product that I'll keep in my bag more or less all the time for when we are out and about. It has the same SPF 50+ protection and offers both UVA and UVB protection.

After a hot day in the sun, I ALWAYS love to apply after sun cream as I can almost hear my skin crying out for moisture. Mustela make a great after sun spray for children which is lightly scented but still 88% naturally derived. It comes in a spray bottle which works whatever angle you are at so its ideal for using on a wiggly baby. The after sun lotion is light, instantly absorbed and provided relief for Holly who always suffers from irritated skin.  Active moisturing ingredients include Jojoba oil and CupuaƧu butter designed to help your body restore its hydration levels after sun exposure.

Obviously, young babies and children under 3 years old shouldn't be exposed to direct sunlight but where sun exposure is unavoidable Mustela recommend applying a very high protection suncream at least 20 minute before exposure and to top it up with a re-application every two hours or after your child has been swimming.

When you're out in the sun, dress your baby in loose-fitting cotton clothing to filter out UV rays and make sure they have a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses too.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Dinosaur Roar! - Book Review

Dinosaur Roar was not a picture book I has come across before and yet it was originally published back in 1994; the book is now available in a new paperback and board book versions endorsed by the Natural History Museum.

With our recent visit to the Lost Kingdom, both girls are very much into dinosaurs at present and so they enjoyed reading this story with me.  Holly is just starting to want to try and read herself so she had a go at some of the words - she certainly recognises the word "ROAR"!

Dinosaur Roar is written by Henrietta Stickland and illustrated by Paul Stickland and is a fun rhyming picture book that features some interesting opposites.  Not just your normal big/small thinfat type of opposites but also slightly more unusual opposites that made the girls ask questions such as fierce/meek or spiky/lumpy.

Both of the girls giggled when we got to the end of the story and all of the dinosaurs were munching their lunches.

The new edition of Dinosaur Roar! features brightly coloured illustrations and a special pull-out poster of all the featured dinosaurs that you can put on your wall and talk to as you read; it's a great opportunity to get the girls thinking about what they are listening to by asking them questions where they need to find the dinosaur answers on the poster.

I thought Dinosaur Roar! was a great rhyming story book with a gentle but fun rhythm that has huge appeal.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Outdoor Look

This week Lara wore her new walking boots for their first adventure - a hike through the bluebell woods near school with her Beaver pack.  Lara has really taken to Beavers and enjoys all of the challenges that they take on; I've really seen her come out of her shell since starting Beavers and I love the fact that they get out and about to explore the local area and take part in lots of different activities.

Outdoor Look sent Lara a new pair of children's walking boots to put through their paces.  As outdoor clothing and kit specialists, they know how important it is to have the right footwear when exploring woodlands.  We have a walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales planned with the girls this summer and we know from experience that you need the support and protection of a strong pair of hard-wearing boots, even on tiny feet.

These Regatta Holcombe waterproof breathable walking boots cost just under £30 and they are absolutely perfect for Lara.  The boots come in a variety of different colour ways for boys or girls to choose their own style.  Lara is a real fiend when it comes to rubbing the toes of her shoes so one of the best things about these boots is that the toes and heels are rubberised to prevent them from damage.  Inside the shoe has a soft bootee which is warm and comfy but deceptive because actually the shoe fabric is designed to be breathable and keep the feet cool and dry.

Lara was very warm and sweaty in her Jumper and coat after her hike this week but her feet were just right!

The Regatta kids boots lace all the way up to the top which is great for when walking on uneven ground as it allows the boots to support the ankles.  It could do with a hook for the laces as Lara struggled to pull them tight at the top and needs a bit of help.  Lara's boots got squelchy and wet on her rainy evening walk with Beavers and they coped well with the uneven ground through the woods - much better than a pair of wellies.

I can' think of a better place for these boots to make their first outing than the woods near our home and school on a slightly muddy and damp spring evening.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Peter Rabbit DVD - The Tale of the Great Breakout

My little Peter Rabbit fan enjoys the classic tales and the new animated adventures; Holly is always a little wary of Mr. Fox when she watches Peter Rabbit on the television but she has thoroughly enjoyed the latest installment of Peter Rabbit's adventures which is out now on DVD - The Tale of The Great Breakout.

One of the things that Holly enjoys about Peter Rabbit is the recognisable characters and storylines - in the first episode on the DVD Peter has to save a group of squirrel Nutkin's friends from Mr. McGregor and this really brings back memories of the original tale of Peter Rabbit; Peter has to help the squirrels escape from Mr. McGregor's garden with the help of his friends.  Holly enjoys seeing Benjamin Bunny and Lily the rabbit too as the three of them normally get into scrapes together!

Other episodes on this new DVD include:-
The Tale of the Mystery Plum Thief
The Tale of Benjamin's Strawberry Raid
The Tale of the Downhill Escape
The Tale of the Unguarded Garden (in which naughty Peter tries to take advantage of Mr. McGregor's absence to raid his garden for radishes!)
The Tale of the Cat and The Rat

The DVD from Abbey Home Media features over 70 minutes of Peter Rabbit adventures and also comes with a free height chart which Holly thought was excellent fun (she feels better knowing that her big sister is taller than Mr. Fox).  Since watching this DVD, Holly has shown a particular interest in eating radishes...I wonder why?!

We've enjoyed watching Peter Rabbit and his friends in The Tale of the Great Breakout and I expect this DVD to join us on a few of our holiday travels this summer too.

Monday 9 May 2016

Paultons Park - The Lost Kingdom

This weekend we were treated to a preview of The Lost Kingdom, the new dinosaur themed area of Paultons Park in Hampshire.  We had an absolutely AMAZING day at the theme park and Lara and Holly were both so taken with the Lost Kingdom that they couldn't wait to go into school and nursery this morning to tell everyone about it.

If you have a dino-mad child in your family then the Lost Kingdom is definitely for you; it opens to the public on the 17th May and it's a perfect place for a fun family day out suitable for little people right through to adults.  In this dedicated area of the park you'll find prehistoric themed rides, eateries and models galore. Life-size dinosaur models are dotted around the park and they are incredibly real - some move, some make noises.  If you keep your eyes peeled you may even get a chance to "meet" a live Tyrannosaurus.

The highlights of the Lost Kingdom are two great family rides for thrillseekers big and small.  Lara and Holly are both now tall enough to ride on pretty much all of the rides at Paultons Park although they are still a bit too extreme for Holly.  But Lara, who isn't yet 7 years old, couldn't get enough of the dangling rollercoaster - the Pterasaur, or the exhilerating Velociraptor ride, both of which were more than thrilling enough for me and Mr. B!

Holly enjoyed the far more tame Dinosaur chase which is a mini rollercoaster designers for slightly less intrepid explorers.  She also spent a lot of time enjoying the playground which has a gorgeous soft bouncy flooring, lots of space to run around in, and a covered sandpit where you can dig for fossils.

As a family we took a ride with the Dino Tour Company through displays of dinosaurs, some of whom squirted water at us.  Lara thought it was hilarious... Holly thought it was terrifying (although she talks fondly of it now).  On the tour Holly earned her Rangers License and got a lanyard to wear it; one of many photo opportunities in the Lost Kingdom and throughout the park.

Of course, Paultons Park is also home to Peppa Pig world where toddlers can enjoy rides with Grandpa Pig, George's dinosaur, Grandad Dog's cars and lots more.  But today Lara and Holly were much more keen to explore the slightly more grown up rides on offer at the Lost Kingdom.

I have a funny feeling that this area of Paultons Park could be even more popular than Peppa Pig world.  It really does make the park appealling for children of all ages which makes it a fabulous day out and definitely worth the money as everyone gets to ride on more or less everything.  The only thing Paultons still need to work on is their food and drink, even in this new area of the park I felt the food was a bit of a let down in terms of quality and choice.  Thankfully the park includes a lot of beautiful manicured gardens in the shade where you can enjoy a family picnic together.

At the end of a thrilling day the girls chose to cool down with a trip to the water park where they both got absolutely drenched!  If you visit on a sunny day, don't forget to take swimmers with you so that you can cool down in the water.

Thursday 5 May 2016

Puppy In My Pocket Review

Puppy in My Pocket is back and soon to be followed this summer by Kitty in My Pocket!  Since the 1990s Puppy in My Pocket soft miniature puppies have been highly collectable and now my girls have started their own collection too.

Lara and Holly were sent a Puppy in My Pocket Dog Park Playset to review which includes two puppies to get the collection started as well as a whole host of fun for the puppies to play including a swing, slide and play house as well as a series of obstacles for an agility race and of course a few puppy treats for when they're finished.  Lara and Holly have enjoyed using all the puppies from their collection to host competitive dog shows where the puppies have to complete the agility course (including jumping the fence, climbing into the playhouse and sliding down the slide) all against the clock!  The Dog Park Playset costs £19.99 and is a great way of letting the imagination run wild with the little collectable puppies.

If you want to build your collection of Puppy in My Pocket then the best way to do so is with one of the clip on pouch sets which are available in three different colours and comes with 5 puppies in the set - at £9.99 this is the best value way to really boost your collection.  Each puppy is just over an inch tall - they are flocked with a soft material and each has a distinct character.  While we LOVED this collector set, I was a bit disappointed with the clip on pouch as the clip attachment came off the pouch within 5 minutes of opening it.  Thankfully, because the puppies are pocket-sized (hence the name), if you really want to take them out and about with you, they are small enough to carry in a pocket, purse or bag.  I think my favourite pup of the collection is a little husky on a sledge!

If you're on the lookout for additions to your Puppy in My Pocket collection then you can buy single puppies in little blind packs for about £2.49 each.  Inside every pack is a puppy surprise and a collector's sheet so you can tick off which puppies you have in your collection - this really adds to the interest for Lara as she is just at the age when she wants to collect and show off her toys to friends and share the fun with others.  With over 100 puppies to collect, I'm sure she will be looking for more of these and trying to find swaps with her friends!  There are loads of different breeds of dog and several really rare puppies to collect including glitter puppies which I'm sure are highly sought after.  

Now Lara is hooked on Puppy in My Pocket I'm really looking forward to seeing kitties to collect too!

You can find Puppy in My Pocket play sets, collector sets and jewellery sets at Smyths Toys.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

The Peter Rabbit Birthday Cake

This past weekend Holly turned 4. She had a very busy long weekend; we spent a day shopping and eating ice cream, a day at the local May fair and lunch with Grandma and Grandpa; and an afternoon of cake and traditional party games with her friends from nursery.

Holly requested a Peter Rabbit birthday cake some time ago and even drew me a design of what she wanted it to look like.  Ever since visiting the Lake District last autumn, and seeing the Peter Rabbit museum with her Grandparents, Holly has loved Peter Rabbit and his friends. 

I made Holly this single-tier birthday cake from half-chocolate, half-vanilla sponge filled with buttercream and then iced with baby blue fondant icing.  The vegetables and fence and flowers are all made from fondant too.  Peter Rabbit himself is a ceramic ornament but the cake stands up to his weight well.

To match the cake (and to make sure the girls had something sweet to nibble on during the party) I made some matching cupcakes with the left-over icing.  I happened to have some very cook Beatrix Potter cupcake cases and cake toppers so I simply added a few fondant leaves and flowers to finish them off.

Holly absolutely loved her birthday cake.  Holly mainly likes to eat the icing; I mainly like to eat the cake so we have a good arrangement together!

Lara has now put in her birthday cake request.  She is having a trampoline party so guess what she wants her cake to be?!

Holly had an excellent weekend.  I don't think she's fully recovered from it yet but this is the start of a new year for her which will bring big changes when she starts school.  She's my monkey but she's growing up fast.

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