Sunday, 26 August 2012

Silent Sunday

Shoes for Comfort and Style

The advice often given to the expectant mum is to take the weight off her feet as often as possible, especially towards the end of pregnancy.  That just goes to show how important comfortable shoes are when you’re a mum-to-be, not only for everyday and leisure wear, but also for those more formal occasions.  The traditional image of maternity wear and shoes tended to be on the frumpy side, but the good news is with today’s range of fashion footwear, there’s something for everyone, not least the pregnant mum.
One of the more unexpected physical changes  that women notice during their pregnancy is that legs and feet can swell, especially in the heat, and of course back and leg aches are often an issue.  While there are specialist ranges of shoes for expectant mums, it’s not necessary to go out and buy a pair of pregnancy shoes to make sure that you are comfortable, and that you have good support for your feet and for the rest of your body as your waistline expands.  What you do need to ensure is a good fit, with room for your feet to expand, and make sure that the shoes are made from a breathable material.  You can look stylish and be comfortable, and browsing through the range of womens shoes from Next UK will provide you with some great ideas on how to team up fashion shoes with your favourite maternity wear.
The general recommendation is to avoid heels once you are heavily pregnant, as they won’t give you the support that you need, and the fact that your balance is thrown forward is likely to cause backache.  Instead, buy that pair of glamour stilettos to celebrate once the baby is born!   Instead investigate the variety of styles in flatties this season, from ballerinas and slip-ons for everyday, to glitter-strewn slippers for those special occasions.  The new Davina Collection is designed to provide additional mid-sole support, whilst being trendy and colourful.  Final tip – as part of your programme to look after yourself during pregnancy, consider having a weekly foot massage, which many mums-to-be find really relaxing, and it also helps to improve circulation, and tone and care for your feet.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Potty Training - Top Products

Little E is turning 2 this week but already we are a good few weeks in to introducing her to potty training. Last time around with Mister A, we hung on a little longer. At this age he just wasn't ready but it's well known that boys usually take longer to get in to the swing of things. Mister A was eventually nappy free at two and a half.

Little E with her BABY born Potty Training Time doll

Most children potty train between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. This time things to be a lot easier - I believe down to the fact that Little E wants to copy everything that her big brother does. For a couple of months she's started to show early signs of readiness:
  • recognising the words and understanding the meaning of weeing and pooing
  • showing an interest in other family members going to the loo
  • leaving the room or going in to a corner to poo - this shows your little one is aware of when she 'needs to go'
  • feeling uncomfortable and signalling when they are wet or soiled
Knowing the process takes time, I decided to put a call out for any potty related products that might need reviewing. A few people came back to me and I am pleased to say that every single one is really helping us on our journey. 

Here's some top items to help you on your way:

BABY born Boy Potty Training Time

When potty training Mister A, a doll wasn't something we ever considered. I was rather sceptical about the doll being a potty training aid but as soon as it arrived Little E fell in love with it. The doll can be given water through the bottle, he gurgles as he drinks and then a few moments later you remove his nappy, sit him on the potty and he does a 'wee-wee'.

This doll has actually proven to be a great help in helping Little E understand how the potty works and I can certainly recommend it if your child doesn't really 'get' the whole potty malarkey. Little E played with the doll for a couple of weeks, giggling away every time baby did a wee on the potty. By the time we were ready to get the potty out and give it a go Little E knew exactly what she needed to do. The doll comes with 2 nappies too, so if there's an 'accident' and baby doesn't make the potty you can dry one nappy and use one to play. Oh and for those of you that are worrying that this is a boy doll - there are no offensive protrusions for your children to pick up on and start asking awkward questions!

Nature Babycare Pull On PantsOnce Little E knew exactly what the potty was all about we decided to move her on to training nappies. These particular pants are fab - they're 100% chlorine free, made from biodegradable materials and they're 100% GM free - so you needed worry about harsh chemicals or landfill issues.

Little E loved the fact that she was wearing pull up pants - I think she felt she was like everyone else. It was quite difficult for her to get used to pulling them up and down at first and we would ofter here "Stuck, Mummy, stuck!" as she attempted it by herself but eventually it got easier. At first Little E wore them as a nappy and I'm happy to say that they kept everything in just like a nappy - the only downside being that as you tear the pants off when changing a dirty nappy, there are no sticky sides to keep everything contained so always make sure you still have nappy bags on hand! Little E also slept in these on a couple of occasions and they did the job.

Princess Potty Training Pants
After a couple of weeks with the training nappies Little E was comfortable with the idea of pulling them up and down herself so we have now moved on to these fabulous princess cotton pants. They are great and Little E seems very comfortable with the elasticated waist and legs. The pants have a 3 layer system with a terry lining in the gusset and below that a waterproof lining.

The great thing about this stage is that Little E is learning when she is wet but rather than have the messy clear up that you get with knickers - these keep the wetness inside.

I really love these and the princesses crown design is so adorable. There are lots of other designs too so if you have a boy there's lots of funky designs for them too.

My Carry Potty 

I had heard a lot about the Carry Potty before it arrived but I was sceptical about whether it was worth the extra money vs 'normal' potties. However, as soon as it arrived Little E felt the need to parade around the house with it over her arm which was a great point in our training - I personally believe it's important for your child to have a sense of ownership of the potty and that helps them in their wanting to use it.

Little E see's the carry potty as 'mine' which means she loves to show off using it and essentially boasting to  Mister A that it's hers and he can't use it.

Obviously one of the great things about this potty is that you can take it with you on your travels. Whether it's a long car journey or a trip to Grandma's house - your little one will feel comfortable knowing that she's using her special potty from home.
It's lightweight, leak-proof and completely bag-free. It's designed with a unique lid that provides a completely watertight seal.

We've only used the potty once so far whilst we've been on the go but I'm pleased to say that it contained all the 'nasties' without any leaks or odours! Fab product!

Green People - Sticky Hand Sanitiser

Finally, the one thing we all need when we have children is a hand santiser. We carry a couple of bottles with us at all times but generally the children are only allowed to use them in emergency cases. I worry about the chemicals and thier senstive skin. Luckily we were sent a couple of nottles of this and we have been using this lovely citrus hand foam for a few weeks now.

It's meant for children but it's great for us mums too and if your little one drops thier toy or thier high chair needs a wipe - you can use it there too.

Best bit for us is that we don't have to use the dryers now in the loo - Mister A has really senstive ears and so most trips to the loo leave him in tears as soon as hand drying time arrives. Thanks Green People!

So that's our potty training journey so far. We've had lots of potty sitting, a couple of puddles next to the potty and we've all got clean hands but best of all - no tears yet! Wish us well for potty training success.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Amazing Smoothie Recipes

In the lead up to the Olympics, Aldi worked with leading nutritionist Angela Dowden to create a range of energy enhancing and nourishing drinks recipes, perfect to help any athlete claim the top prize this Summer.

Prior to the start of the games Angela, Aldi’s Consultant Nutritionist, said: “The nation is rooting for Tom and the rest of the team, so we came up with the idea to create the range of refreshing yet healthy shakes to show our support. As well all the Healthy Hydrator, we also have The Wonder Woman Shake, The Age Defier and The ’Mo’tivator. So whether you need a quick boost or that extra lift of nourishment, Aldi has the perfect shake to lend a helping hand this summer.

“I would encourage aspiring sports stars to think twice before they reach for a bottled sports drink in the shops. There is far more nutritional value in shakes like the ones I have developed that are made from fresh produce – and they’re much cheaper, too. Remember that these recipes also contribute to your five a day.”

Aldi very kindly sent us a voucher to try out a couple of the recipes ourselves our smoothie is the one at the top of the post! - I know, it' looks good doesn't it – and it was so easy to make! Try one yourself….

Tom’s Healthy Hydrator

89 cals, 1.9g protein, 19.3g carbohydrate, 0.6g fat, 2.9g fibre
Cost per portion: approx. 46p

100g kiwi flesh (approx one and a half kiwis)
(Kiwi Fruit - 89p, pack of six 80g
2 inch measure of cucumber
(Cucumber - 49p each)
40g seedless red grapes
(Seedless Red Grapes - £1.39, 500g)

It has the same carbohydrate concentration as a commercial isotonic drink designed to deliver optimum fluid and energy - but it’s healthier as it’s also packed with vitamin C and two and a half fruit/veg portions. The potassium it contains will enable fluid to empty quickly from the stomach and promote fluid absorption from the intestine, helping with the overall goal of staying hydrated.

The ‘Mo’tivater

139 cals, 3g protein, 31.3g carbohydrate, 0.4g fat, 6.4g fibre.
Cost per portion: approx. 77p

100ml orange juice
(Del Rivo Orange Juice - £1.29, 1 litre
2 fresh or tinned pineapple rings
(Pineapple Slices - 47p, 225g)
130g strawberries or raspberries
(Strawberries - £1.49, 400g or Raspberries – 99p, 150g)
¼ of a banana •
                                       (Bananas – 68p per kg)

Rich in natural sugars. If you haven’t eaten for a couple of hours, it’s the perfect energy top up for drinking shortly before your workout or run. It contains antioxidant-rich berries and citrus, which also help zap the extra free radicals you produce when you do aerobic exercise. A good source of fibre which slows stomach-emptying. So though you’ll get some immediate energy, it’ll carry through too.

The Relay Wonder Woman Shake 

193 cals, 5.9g protein, 30.4g carbohydrate, 5.6g fat, 2.9g fibre
Cost per portion: 83p

100g mango flesh (approx half a mango)
(Mango – 89p each)
75ml skimmed milk
(Skimmed Milk – 79p, 2 pints)
75ml orange juice
(Del Rivo Orange Juice - £1.29, 1 litre)
25g spinach leaves
(Spinach – 79p, 200g)
                                        10g natural cashew nuts
                                        (Cashew nuts – 99p)
                                        150g Juice of half a lime
                                        (Limes – 69p each)

This one is a good source of iron required for keeping the body energised – over a fifth of women aged 19-64 have intakes of iron below the lower reference nutrient intake - defined as the amount insufficient for all but 3% of the population. It also boosts intake of calcium for healthy bones, and antioxidants for healthy skin and immune system. Team with a pot of yogurt or cereal bar to double as a light meal for women who are weight-watching.

The Age Defier

229 cals, 6.8g protein, 29.7g carbohydrate, 9.2g fat, 2.7g fibre
Cost per portion: approx. 76p

125ml pomegranate juice drink
(Pomegranate Juice Drink – 79p, 1 litre)
100g blueberries
(Blueberries – 69p, 150g)
75g (3 heaped tablespoons) low fat Greek style yogurt
(Low Fat Greek Style Yoghurt – 79p)
500g 10g walnuts
(Walnut Pieces- £1.79, 200g)

Blueberries and pomegranates are packed with antioxidants that play a role in keeping cells healthy as we age. One study showed that drinking a lot of pomegranate juice increased levels of testosterone which can enhance physical performance. The walnuts provide omega-3 fats for keeping inflamation at bay and joints healthy. Why not try one for breakfast if you’re working out mid morning, or as a recovery drink.

Disclosure: Aldi sent us a £10 voucher to enable to try out the recipes for ourselves.