Our Baby Led Weaning essentials

Friday, 11 August 2017

As you'll know if you've read my blog over the past few months, we've ventured into the world of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and with that comes the need for a few essential items. I thought it'd be good to share with you what our must have items have been in the past 5 months; maybe if you're planning on doing BLW you might want to add them to your shopping list.

One of the benefits of BLW is that you really don't need to prepare food specially for the baby; they eat what you eat. In my opinion (and BLW guidelines) there's no need for pureeing machines, net feeders, pouches and all the other gadgets companies have designed to make you think you need them. But, that being said.. there are some handy items that make meal times a little easier (and less messy!)

Plates and utensils

Nuby suction plates- We've got two of these plates and they work wonders! The suction is tough enough to keep Aria from throwing her plate across the floor and they are a good size to hold a full meal. The only down side is that they do keep the food warm in them so I usually cool her food down on a normal plate then transfer to this once its okay for little hands to get stuck into.

Ikea Borja spoon set- Although spoon use is still rare the shorter spoon in this pack is perfect for little hands; Aria practices using it with her yogurt and is kind of getting there.. but thats to be expected as she's only 11 months!

Ikea Kalas children bowls- We find these bowls handy to have in the kitchen for heating food up in the microwave,serving up yogurt and fruit in and we sometimes use them for finger painting too. Cheap, easy to clean and just the right size for her.

Kitchen prep bits

Lolly moulds- We always have lollies made up in the freezer for quick puddings; I make ours with greek yogurt and any fruit we have in the house at the time. Usually strawberries and blueberries. Aria tends to get frustrated trying to break bits off the lolly so I cut the frozen yogurt off the mould and she then picks up the pieces instead of licking it.

Muffin moulds- Perfect for making mini egg muffins in to take out for snacks. I find the silicone ones best as I don't need to grease them before hand and the muffins pop out without any chance of them sticking to the tray like they do when I use normal muffin tins.

Ikea Kladdig bib- Cheap and does the job.. but we found that the Ikea bibs did get a bit smelly after about a month or so of being washed and wiped down so we tend to use this one just for when we are eating out as it means it doesn't get used as much.
Close pop in cover all bib- We bought this recently and as well as it being pretty it keeps her clothes clean, stays on well with poppers rather than tie ups and is easy to wipe off. It also washes well and we're yet to notice it smelling iffy like the Ikea ones do.


Ikea Antilop- I joined a BLW Facebook group and everyone was raving about the ikea highchair so thought we should get one..although we love that it has the tray and can be dismantled easily for trips away we find it a bit of a faff to clean so we bought a second highchair for using at home; the Roba Sit up III.

I like the Roba Sit Up as it has a footrest, pulls right up to the table and has the second level down so if Aria drops her beloved watermelon its usually caught on this bit and I can rescue it for her!

Cleaning stuff

Vital Baby sanitising water- This stuff is perfect for the messy clean up's after each meal.. its basically water with an added natural acid that is completely safe to use on skin from birth. I usually spray a bit of this on a cloth or baby wipe and then go in for the cleaning attack. Aria HATES getting cleaned up after each meal and cries every time but using this water helps to speed the process up a bit and get the ordeal over and done with! The sanitising water can also be used to clean toys too.. when I get round to it.

Vax Blade Cordless vaccuum cleaner  - I was sent this vacuum cleaner a few months ago to do an independent review for a website... it came just at the right time really as it means we can quickly clean up after dinner without having to haul the big hoover out of the cupboard. Its wireless making it easy to manoeuvre around the highchair and under the table and it keeps its charge for around 45 minutes so if I have the chance during the day I run it around the kitchen floor after cooking too.

Method anti-bac spray- I mainly use this to clean the table before and after each meal time so Aria can eat bits off the table if she decides to fling her plate on the floor.  Method products are formulated from naturally derived ingredients and although a little more expensive than the usual big brands you see in supermarkets they seem to last a lot longer.

Bio-D laundry clothing bleach- A must have in my opinion.. I quite often fear an outfit is ruined after dinner only to put it in the wash with our non bio tablet and 2 teaspoons of this powder and the stains disappear. One box of this powder has lasted us about 5 months and its only £2.50 per box.

Aldi Mamia Fragrance free wipes- We tend to use wipes to clean Aria up after mealtimes so we do get through a lot of these each month. But they are cheap, fragrance free and gentle on her skin so they work for us. I'm trying to move more towards producing less rubbish from our household though so although I've put these as an essential you could just use a cloth instead.


Tommee Tippee sippy cups- Aria has been using these sip cups since 6 months and finds them easy to handle and we find them handy for taking in pack lunch boxes as you can fold the spout down. The only downside is that she loves turning them upside down for her own little bit of water play at the table and quite often soaks herself! The sippy cups are cheap (around £2.50) easy to clean and suitable from 6 months.
Munchkin Miracle 360 cup- We use this cup mainly when we are out with the pram as it means she can't chuck water all over herself like she does when using the Tommee Tippee ones.

Lunch boxes

A couple of times a week we'll either head out to the park or go to friends houses and take snacks or sandwiches along with us; I find it really handy having a small cool bag with an icepack ( we got this Fit-Fresh bag from Tk Maxx) and lunch box to pack up with fruit and snacks for the babe. I like this Sistema box we picked up in TK Maxx a couple of months ago as it has different sections; in the large compartment at the bottom I put sarnies then in the smaller sections on the top I put watermelon, breadsticks and grated carrot.

So, there you have it.. not a ton of stuff but some great products that have helped us get through mealtimes without tears and too much mess. I'm sure as time goes by I'll be able to add to our essentials list and hopefully the clean up process will get easier too!

What are your top BLW essentials?


Our child-free bedroom

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Aria is nearly a whole year old.. that went quick didn't it?! The little babe outgrew our lovely SnuzPod co-sleeper when she was 6 months old and she's now sleeping in her full size cot in her own room. It took a while to get used to her not being next to me but now I've got a bit of space I'm enjoying it and I want to give our bedroom a bit of a makeover. No baby stuff allowed!

So, firstly lets have a look at what we are working with at the moment....
Whilst I was pregnant I insisted that we got a kingsize bed.. I needed the extra space for my bump and in the early days of Aria being here she quite often ended up in our bed anyway so I'm glad we invested in one. This is the John Lewis Divan bed base in pebble grey  with a John Lewis Memory foam mattress.  To go either side of the bed we chose these cute turquoise Ikea bedside tables.. they don't seem to be on the website anymore but I'm sure I saw them last time we visited. 
Of course when investing a new bed its always nice to have some new bedding too- I was recently given the opportunity to choose a new duvet cover and pillows from Rooi; they specialise in luxury living accessories. 

After browsing through their bedding range I picked out this Belledorm Darius duvet cover and pillow set.  Rooi also sent a pair of Belledorm pillow cases in black to match the bedding set. I really like this duvet set as its seemed to wash well, has clever hand holes up at the top so you can make sure you get the corners of your duvet in fully and the design is reversible. 
Over the other side of the room is my wardrobe, chest of draws and makeup station. The chest of draws is old, battered and pretty much an unused piece of furniture at the moment. The draws stick and the top surface is covered in some sticky back marble paper to cover the makeup stains! I'm on the look out for something a lot more useful for this space; I've got my eye on this beautiful copper large Stow unit from Made and this Hoxton Multi Chest from Next.
Above the  chest of draws are some built in shelves..which also don't look to great at the moment but come in handy when storing books I want to read and beauty products I use occasionally. 
It's easy enough for me to pick out the products I need each morning but urgh.. the clutter makes me shudder. I could just declutter but that would be too painful for me; I find it so hard to part with beauty bits and pieces. You never know, I might need it one day! Any ideas of how I could make this space look more presentable?
We've also got this chair and footstool in our room at the moment; it was meant for the nursery but I've still got the floor bed in there just incase Aria wont settle in her cot during the night and I want to cosleep with her. The chair is the Momo from Habitat (£250) and the footstool was a bargain find at Aldi for around £25 (similar ones here). 

Ideally I'd like to have some more storage space once the chair has gone back into the nusery so thought it would be a good idea to utilise the space underneath the window; I was thinking it could also double up as a window seat so I've got my eye on the Kallax unit from Ikea turned on its side plus some storage baskets. 

I don't want to spend too much cash on bits for our room as we've recently decided that we're moving from this house at the beginning of next year but until then I want to make it as nice as possible; I'm thinking a big rug, a better way to store my beauty bits and a headboard for our bed. 

What's your favourite website to buy furniture from?

If you had to choose your most loved section of your bedroom what would it be?


Our top tips for saving money with a kid

Thursday, 3 August 2017

1. Get a piggy bank & open a bank account

We were given a piggy bank at my baby shower which was swiftly added to the nursery so that I could empty my change into it whenever I had some rattling around at the bottom of my bag. Soon after Aria arrived my parents made it a tradition that whenever they come up to visit they put a few quid in it! After a few months I emptied it out and we'd saved up £35 without really trying!

Once we'd registered Aria's birth we headed to the bank to set up a children's account for her; although we don't pay into it regularly we've had family pay money in occasionally; at Christmas for example when we didn't really need anything for a three month old baby! In the future I'm hoping to set up a direct debit to pay in each month..even if its just a tenner.

There's lots of information on Junior ISA's and children's saving accounts over at Money SuperMarket


The amount of money we've saved because I've managed to breastfeed for nearly a year is insane! I did some research and a few rough calculations and found that I've saved us around £900; this includes the cost of formula, bottles and equipment like bottle preparation machines which I'm sure I would have had if I'd not breastfed.

I've had to buy clothes that allow me to have easy access to my boobs but I always hunt for sale bargains mainly in the Topshop, New Look and ASOS maternity and nursing sections.

3. Find local Facebook selling groups

My boyfriend can vouch for the fact I'm somewhat obsessed with Facebook selling groups; on a weekly basis I'm either selling stuff Aria has grown out of or picking up new items of clothing or toys.

The two main groups I buy from are local to Sheffield; one being just for mum's who sling their babies and the other is just a general local selling group for furniture, baby clothes, toys and whatever else people have to sell on.

I wish I'd kept track of how much I'd spent and compared it to the money I'd have spent should I have bought it all new.. at a guess I must have saved around £500 buying second hand.

The selling sites are really hand too if your looking for something in particular and want to see whether anyone has it to sell on before you buy brand new; I quite often post ISO (In search of) posts and save so much money; for example I spotted a Joules outfit I wanted for Aria that retails new at £32 and decided to post ISO; within minutes a lady got in touch and offered it to me for £8. Yeah its second hand but as long as it's in good condition then I'm happy to save myself £24! Knowing Aria and her eating habits I'm sure within a few weeks it'll be covered in stains anyway.

4. Use loyalty schemes

I mentioned this in a post I did back last year about saving money when preparing for your new arrival and it's totally worth doing even once the little bundle arrives.

We use our M&S Sparks card alot so I get priority access to the sales 24 hours before non Sparks card holders do. Also, on a monthly basis I get 20% off baby clothes so when I want to buy new sleep suits or vests it works out a lot cheaper for us.

We've also found our Boots Advantage card really handy when buying baby related items; we get money of vouchers sent to us every couple of months to cover items.

5. Find local free or cheap baby groups

I'm a bit of a tight wad when it comes to paying out for baby classes; we went to a few in the first few months of Aria being here but in all honesty I didn't think they were worth the money (and time getting ready to leave the house!) so now I tend to seek out the free groups or ones that allow you to pay per session rather than parting with £60+ per term upfront.

Our local libraries have some fantastic baby time sessions on each week where they combine reading time with singing and playing musical instruments- these sessions are totally free and you don't get charged if you return children's books late.

We also find playgroups based at churches nice; although we aren't religious at all I find the groups really friendly, welcoming and well equip with clean toys. Plus their story time always teaches good morals. The ones we go to are only £1 which includes tea and cake...perfect!

It's also worth checking out local museums and art galleries too as most of them have a baby/toddler session on during term time and then tons of activities over the summer holidays.

Check out your local shopping centre website, you'll probably find they have toddler or baby sessions on too; this week we're heading up to Meadowhall shopping centre for their baby group which is totally free!

Because I save money by going to cheap/free groups it means when I find a class I think Aria would like that does require upfront payment I'm in the financial position to be able to pay for it...we love going to Music Bugs which we pay per term for!

6.  Take weekly trips to the second hand shops

Totally a favourite weekday activity of mine; I actually plan a day per week to tour round all the local charity shops in the hope of finding a bargain.. quite often I'll find next to new clothes for as little as 50p!  Charity shops are a great place to buy cheap children's toys and books too.

The charity shops around our area are so busy they seem to put new stock out each day so I could actually do a daily tour but I'm not sure the little one would enjoy that so much. 

7. Try Baby Led Weaning and meal plan

As well as baby led weaning being super fun it's helped us avoid spending money unnecessarily on pre-made baby food.

Our food bills haven't really increased a lot; each week we spend between £40-50 on fresh ingredients for some rather delicious meals (check out my post on BLW if you haven't already) and it also saves me so much time just cooking one meal for us all. We plan our weekly meals in advance so we don't waste food and it means I don't have to stress about what I'm going to cook for dinner in the evening.

8. Always check the reduced sections

When out in town picking up baby essentials I always head to the reduced section first.  Here's a few examples of items we've picked up in the reduced sections-

Boots-A couple of weeks ago I managed to pick up 5 bottles of Earth Friendly Baby Lavender Bubble Bath for 25p per bottle! They are normally £5.25 each so that would be £26.25 but I got them all for £1.25. They were still in date and in perfect condition so not sure why they were reduced but I wasn't going to question it!

Boots- When Aria was only a few weeks old I was browsing and found some Medela feeding shields for £1; they are usually £8.99. I haven't had to use them but I've added them to my breastfeeding kit incase I need them when we have our next baby.

Tesco-  We picked up a Nuby Teether from the reduced section for 50p a couple of weeks ago; they are normally £3.39!

Having kids can be expensive if you let it...but if you take your time to shop around, hunt out bargains and don't buy on impulse it really doesn't have to cost a fortune.  New parents sometimes worry about needing lots of gadgets but really all your baby needs is loving parents, a few outfits and lots of cuddles! 

How have you saved money when buying things for your children? Are there any tips you want to pass on to me for saving with the baby?


Mum Moan #1

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Taking inspiration from Out of Depth Dad and my frequent moan sessions on an evening I thought I'd share with you some of the highlights of ridiculous questions or comments people say to me when I'm out and about with Aria.

Thinking back to the first few weeks of Aria being around I can pinpoint the exact first comment that made me think WHAT THE HECK are you talking about... someone (and now that I feel normal again I know it was just out of kindness really) commented on a photo of mine saying "Enjoy the bliss of the first few weeks hunni". At the time I remember thinking "Bliss, what sodding bliss? I haven't slept more than two hours in a row, I can't remember the last time I showered and I've not got a blinding clue what I'm meant to be doing with this small human that's constantly attached to my boob."

Going through the first ten months of motherhood has made me so much more aware of how I speak to new mums, the questions I ask and generally when to just bite my tongue whilst nodding and smiling.

Here are some of the corkers I've experienced and how I'd really like to respond:

1. "Is she sleeping through yet?" you sleep through the night? Do you need to get up and piss at 3am?Do you get hot/cold and need to adjust the temperature? Well then, stop asking about her sleeping habits and just continue to coo over how sodding cute she is please. But, whilst you're at it.. please don't touch her cheek like she's a baby goat at a petting farm.

2. "Is she a good baby?"

Well actually no she isn't. She's teamed up with the devil himself to strategically plot against me... of course she's a good baby.. she doesn't know the concept of 'misbehaving' so please just back the F up and carry on with your weekly shop.

3. "Are you enjoying it?"

Am I enjoying raising my offspring? Yes of course I sodding am; I wouldn't have got myself into this situation unless I thought some enjoyment might come of it.

4. "Is her dad helpful?"

Helpful? What you actually should be asking is whether he's taking on his half of the responsibility as she is his too. No, he doesn't babysit whilst I go out to the pub with friends.. he looks after his child whilst I sip a glass of pinot with the gal pals.

5. "Ohhh she's a messy eater isn't she?"

Whoops sorry I must have missed the sign on the door to the restaurant that stipulates a condition of children eating here is that not one crumb must fall below the highchair. You've got a sodding children's menu, maybe you should add the a small dog to come out with the main course as a side order?

6. "Have you decided if you're going back to work?"

Well I was considering it but if you'd like to pay me the equivalent of my salary each month for the next 10 years I'd happily accept a cheque right now? YES i'm going back to work, now stop being so nosey and let me drink my Costa in peace whilst she naps.

7. "Its so relaxing being on maternity leave isn't it?"

If you call doing two loads of washing per day, sweeping up food you've taken hours to prepare off the floor, waking up at 6am most mornings, taking 5 minute showers, having the tune of the sodding learning farm in your head 24/7 relaxing then yes, its a year long holiday. You either don't have children or just don't remember how much hard work it can be day to day.

8. Are you ready for another baby?

Woah, I've literally just got my head around this one, give me a chance please love!!

I know people sometimes just want to make conversation and most of the time they mean well but people should really choose their words wisely when talking to a sleep deprived day I might actually come out with one of these responses. HAHA...awkward.

Have you experienced any of these questions from strangers? 
Do you give them an honest answer or let your mum wrath loose?


Our weaning journey so far...

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Before entering the world of parenthood I'd never really thought about how to introduce solid foods to a baby... I knew it all began at six months and that it would be a messy affair but really, I didn't have a clue. In the last few months its totally taken over my life!

Gone are the days of simply popping the baby on my boob and being able to dress her in pretty outfits expecting them to be relatively clean by 5pm. We've officially become 'those' people who make an utter mess when we go to a restaurant and whilst at it we go through ridiculous amounts of baby wipes and yogurt.

I thought as its been a huge part of my life over the past few months it's only right that I document what we've been up to on my blog; hopefully it'll inspire other parents out there to experiment with food and really enjoy mealtimes with kiddies!

The start

The NHS recommended time to begin weaning is 6 months but I felt Aria was ready just a little bit early and we gave it a go at 5 months and 3 weeks. I knew from the outset that I wanted to try my best to avoid using pouches of baby food; yeah pouches are quick to prepare and easy for when out and about but my personal rule for weaning is if I wouldn't eat it then why should my daughter? 

We started Aria off on a few simple homemade purees; sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower and potato and although she seemed to enjoy the flavours the texture just wasn't cutting it for her. Of course they were easy and quick to prepare but honestly, I wouldn't want to eat pureed stuff for each of my meals so why would Aria? I quickly moved away from feeling like we should go with the 'norm' of feeding the baby this type of food and started looking into Baby Led Weaning (BLW).

BLWis essentially offering your baby the same food you eat; eating together as a family,letting them explore textures and choose foods they like rather than spoon feeding them. In reality, its actually the most normal way for a baby to eat but over many years we've been conditioned to think that babies are meant to be fed purees from jars and pouches.

Just to note, my post isn't meant to cause offence to anyone and if you choose to use pouches then fair enough thats your decision as a family. I just knew from pretty early on that Aria that she was a pro at this feeding malarky and we wanted to try out BLW to see how she got on.. as a family we love cooking and trying out new foods so to limit Aria to a small selection of packaged products just didn't feel right.

So, once we realised that purees weren't the route we wanted to take I started to read up on BLW and once she reached six months instead of pureeing vegetables up we just started to steam them and offer them to her whole. Of course to begin with she was slightly dubious about it all but within a few days she was chomping down on sweet potato wedges, carrot sticks, cucumber, grated cheese, spinach, mini pasta dishes and shredded chicken breast.

But, after a couple of weeks I realised I still wasn't following 'proper' BLW guidelines as I was still cooking separate meals for her, making dinner times very busy and sometimes quite stressful as all she wanted to do was take bits off my dinner plate to try.

I knew something had to change so I headed to Waterstones and picked up two books- River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook and Gill Rapley's The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook.  On reflection, these two books have totally changed our weaning journey; reading through the books filled me with ideas, confidence and the knowledge to just go for it.

 I also joined a few BLW Facebook groups and quickly started to build up a bank of recipe ideas and meal plans which we use each week to plan meals for us all to eat. One piece of knowledge I picked up from the Facebook groups is there are actually only two types of weaning; BLW or traditional weaning with finger foods. Some of the Facebook groups can be quite strict; if you feed your baby anything on a spoon then its not classed as BLW and some groups delete you from having access to the information (not quite the approach I'd take but I can kind of see their point..)

So, armed with the knowledge, recipes, first aid training incase of choking and the motivation to get my daughter into food we started to just offer her our normal evening meals. Taking the pressure off of having to cook separate meals meant was a huge relief; I've gained an hour each day to just sit and play with her rather than preparing two different meals. It's also meant that our family meals have become healthier as you need to be aware of salt levels in food for babies and of course ready meals are out of the question!

Day by day my confidence grew with cooking and watching her eat; of course at first it was a bit nerve wracking when she occasionally gagged on bits of food... but because I'd spent time reading up on the mechanisms of how babies sort through their food and learn to eat with no teeth I knew she was totally capable of doing it all herself.  The worst thing you can do is try and intervene by sticking your finger in their mouth!

So, at 10 months old I can officially say we have a baby who adores mealtimes... she loves snacking throughout the day too and is most happy when she's chomping away on a breadstick. The downsides to BLW like the mess and the food waste are completely outweighed by the fun of offering her different flavours and textures to try out and getting to know what her favourite foods are.

What does Aria eat?


Whilst I'm still on maternity leave we have the opportunity to spend time preparing yummy breakfasts like scotch pancakes, fruit salads, scrambled eggs, avocado on toast, overnight oats and omelettes. I'm sure when I'm back at work breakfast might not be quite as adventurous but we'll just enjoy it for now and see what happens in the future. Most breakfast times include yogurt so its normally the most messiest meal of the day requiring a full strip down and wash afterwards. Thats fine though, after brekkie we get her dressed for the day and down for her nap.


Lunchtime meals vary day to day; sometimes we just have simple cheese sarnies or if I've been organised I cook snacks; chickpea fritters, sweet potato fritters, pizza pinwheels and homemade quiches. Its great that she gets such variety and it also means I eat lunch myself, which in the earlier months of being a mother I quite often skipped lunch as I couldn't find the time to cook anything.


Every Sunday me and the Mr spend an hour looking through the BLW books and our regular cook books finding dishes we want to try out that week for dinner. We then write out our shopping list and decide which dishes to have on each day; if its a complicated dish I usually plan in for us to have it on a day the Mr either finishes early or has the day off just to make it easy for us all. Just to give you a taste of the types of dishes we have heres this weeks menu-

Monday- Jacket potato with cheese and tuna- simple and quick perfect Monday night meal that requires very little preparation!

Tuesday- Moroccan lamb with minted feta cous cous- a firm favourite in our house at the moment; this dish is one we discovered in a Gousto box last year (recipe here)

Wednesday- Pizza with sweet potato wedges- the Mr and I just have M&S pizza bases but for the babe I make her base out of self raising flour and greek yogurt (recipe here)

Thursday- Coconut and lime chicken stir fry- store bought meal kit from M&S- I checked the salt content on the sauce and its fine for her to have.

Friday- Slow cooker chicken korma- ideal as I can start it off during her morning nap and leave it for 6 hours so its ready for dinner time!

I'm so passionate about food at the moment I could go on and on about our meal times so if you'd like to see more of our meal plans and snack ideas let me know and I'll quite happily start a weekly post on it all.

I honestly never imagined feeding a baby could be so fun and I hope to inspire other parents out there to branch out and try BLW.

Have you got any tasty recipes we could add to our plan?
What's your little ones favourite snack?


Getting back into yoga

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Back in 2016 whilst I was pregnant I decided to take up yoga; I needed some time out of my busy week to just focus on my body, forget all the day to day stresses and keep myself off the sofa for even just one evening a week.

I utterly loved my yoga classes at Yoga At The Reach in Sheffield; I got to mingle with other pregnant ladies, learn some breathing techniques to use during birth, stretched out my body like i'd not done in months and most importantly for me, spent an hour or so connecting with my unborn baby... thinking about how she was positioned in my tummy and focusing on the love I had for her even before she was here! As you can see from the photo at the top of this post (by Grace Wong Photography) our pregnancy yoga classes were just so relaxing!

When the baby arrived my life turned upside down and even thinking about taking an hour out to continue yoga once a week was a no-go for me; I was getting to grips with life as a mother and looking after my own body came way down in my list of priorities.

Many places, including Yoga At The Reach, do mummy and baby yoga but that wasn't what I was after. I longed to go back to yoga classes for the calm, for the opportunity to connect again with my body and to help me build up my body confidence again. But, being time poor in the early days I just forgot about it for a while.

Now, 9 months on, we're getting more into the flow of things in the evenings. Baby in bed by 7pm (apart from tonight of course....) and I'm free to spend time thinking about the things I want to achieve for myself.  My brain conjures up lists of things to do but after a day of baby care I quite often end up retreating to the sofa to watch a film.. but I think this is where yoga could fit in quite nicely; helping me relax, keeping me away from screens, stretching out my achey body from the constant bending over and giving me that hour back to focus on me.

Of course, now that I'm thinking of starting up yoga I've been browsing through some of the yoga wear out there.

First up, a good pair of yoga pants are essential...whilst I was pregnant I opted to wear just some cheapy black leggings and on a weekly basis I regretted it; they constantly slipped down and I was always slightly worried you could see my knickers through them! Although yoga pants can be more expensive its a investment worth making as they are bound to feel a lot more comfortable and longer lasting than leggings. Here's some of my favourite pairs I've come across whilst browsing-

(From left to right)
Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity run leggings - £90
Fabletics Salar Capri Pants- $64.95 ($22.47 with discount)
Ivy Park Topshop Full Length Leggings - £25
Victoria's Secret Ultimate High Waisted Leggings -£59.05

To go with some snazzy new leggings I'm in desperate need of some workout tops; again, when pregnant I just wore a cheap t-shirt from Primark so I think its about time I spent a bit more money on something actually designed for yoga wearing. As much as I'd love to wear a yoga bralette I'm not confident enough with my body (yet) to brave it so I'm on the look out for loose fitting tops-

(From left to right)
Fabletics Sandy 2-in-1 Tank -$54.95 ($19.97 with discount)
Victoria's Secret Campus Open Back Tee- £34.50
Sweaty Betty Medina Drape Back Top- £55

Last up I think its about time I bought a yoga mat so that when I'm practicing at home I've got the right kit. Here's a few I've found whilst browsing-

(From top left clockwise)
Manuka Life Linen Yoga Mat - £38
H&M Patterned Yoga Mat- £15.99 
Fabletics Jade Yoga Mat- $34.95 ($12.47 with discount)

So, there you have it; the bits I'm currently lusting over.. ranging from high street brands to the more specialised brands like Fabletics (Who's co-founder is Kate Hudson!) and Sweaty Betty.

Although having a fancy kit isn't essential of course but I find that if I invest in the kit then I'm more likely to carry on with the activity to make sure I get my moneys worth!

Do you do yoga? 

Which items do you like best from my wishlist?


*This post is in collaboration with Fabletics; as usual, all words and thoughts are my own!

Family-Friendly Floors

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Having children is a big step, this is undeniable..they have such a huge impact on everything and there are a number of things that you didn’t realise mattered until a baby arrives! For some it could be the simple thing such as not appreciating what sleep actually once was, or how messy mealtimes become when you start your weaning journey at 6 months. When we started with baby led weaning I had no idea how thankful I'd be of the laminate flooring in our dining room and also how much of an absolute life saver it is now she's starting to crawl around the place. 

What is laminate flooring made of?

Laminate flooring is constructed of 4 layers, with the bottom layer known as the ‘backing’ which acts as a sort of barrier against moisture to prevent the floor from warping and becoming damaged. Next up from that is the ‘inner core’ which is made from something called fibreboard (an engineered wood made from wood chips, plants fibres, sawdust and other recycled materials) this layer helps to provide the stability and durability that laminate is renowned for. The third layer is called the ‘design layer’, this is the layer that gives laminate the look of real wood which is created using a high-resolution photograph being pressed on to the material and then a clear layer (the ‘wear layer’) is applied on top of this to ensure that stains and fading are kept to a minimal.

The benefits of laminate flooring

For me, laminate is the perfect kind of floor to have. It’s surprising how much mess a little person can make so I need something that’s easy to keep on top of and won't take up too much of my time. I also don’t have to worry about any damage, my floor seems to be able to withstand anything at the moment and long may this continue.

Laminate is often described as a ‘cheaper’ option for your home, although it is a bit more budget-friendly, it is by no means less appealing in looks, in fact there are some pieces of laminate flooring that could be mistaken for real wood! 

How can I protect my floor?

Over time your floor will have the usual wear and tear, unfortunately this is something that’s unavoidable, but you can put things in place to reduce the damage over time. Here are a few handy tips from the gang at Luxury Flooring:

   Lay down rugs/runners as an assigned spot for your children to play with their toys to protect your floor. We tend to just chuck down a large blanket as its quick to pack away come dinner time and means no food ends up getting trodden into it.
   Clean up any spillages/mess as soon as it occurs (or as soon as you’re aware of it - I know too well how much work is involved around mealtimes and sometimes cleaning up is the last thing on your mind!)
   For families with older kids make sure your little ones remove their shoes - of course this doesn’t apply to tiny little baby feet, we know they don’t pose too much of a threat and, really, who's baby actually manages to keep shoes on for more than 5 minutes?!
   If you’re thinking of placing a highchair or child's table and chair on the floor consider using felt pads on the legs, this will help protect your floor from scratches when the furniture is dragged along at clean up time. 

What’s the best way to keep my floor clean?

As mentioned earlier, laminate floors are incredibly easy to maintain which contributes to why they’re such a popular choice in the family home. Unlike carpets they don’t need to be vacuumed on a daily basis, in fact you would only need to vacuum on a weekly basis, it just depends how messy the floors get. When mess does occur then all you need is a soft bristle (indoor) brush, or dustpan and brush to get rid of it. If it’s more than a few crumbs then a deeper clean will only require a warm damp cloth and hey presto! Just make sure that if any liquids are spilt on the floor, its important to clean it up as soon as possible to avoid any damage to the floor itself.

So there you have it, a bit of an insight as to why I love my laminate floor so much! Do you have laminate flooring in your dining room?

*This post is in collaboration with Luxury Flooring and Furnishings  but, as always, all views are my own. 
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