mum life, Mum's finds

Birchbox advent calendar: week one

First week of Advent calendar goodies!

Now the first week of Advent calendar madness is over, we have a toddler that I think has gained about a stone (he has FOUR advent calendars. Much to my dismay!). But we also have a collection of great new beauty products, thanks to my Birchbox advent calendar.

I always have good things to say about Birchbox, and their advent calendar is no exception. I previously missed out on these as they always sell out so quickly, but I was well prepared this year! I can’t comment on previous years but this year’s has definitely impressed me so far. Here are the first week’s treats:

Benefit roller lash
One of the many reasons I love Birchbox is that they regularly send out Benefit products. I’m a big fan of their mascaras so was delighted to find roller lash behind drawer number 1. Not only this, birchbox also tucked a little discount card inside the drawer offering 10% off any full sized products found in the calendar.

Pure papayacare papaya lips
Who doesn’t need a good lip balm at this time of year? Birchbox have got it spot on with their product choice, as it’s something I’ll use all month, thanks to the change in weather. It’s a really good lip balm, totally nourishing, and of course comes with the added bonus of smelling like papaya. Good job papayacare!

Rituals – the ritual of ayurveda hand balm
Again, I couldn’t think of a better choice of product for the current climate. The skin on my hands had actually started to break and bleed in November with the minus temperatures (I have since located my gloves thank goodness!) so it’s fair to say I was in desperate need of a good hand cream. The fragrance is Indian rose and almond oil which means the scent into too in your face, and the ingredients are also actually really soothing.

Birchbox-advent-calendar-2018

LOC – creamy eyeshadow stick
Now we’re getting onto some of the more fun items (not that the others aren’t fun, they are just more practical!) The eyeshadow stick is great for a daytime look and is easy to top up throughout the day. The shadeitwelf is also pretty neutral so I can see it working with a lot of different skin tones.

Caudalie – SOS thirst quenching serum
I personally always rely on the same moisturiser all year round, but am always keen to know of any other products which can work for my skin, especially in winter. I’m not normally one for seems but this is just the treat my face needs in this weather.

Chella – ivory lace highlighter
Everybody loves a good highlighter, no more so than at Christmas when everything is shimmering and sparkling. This handy highlighter stick is perfect for popping in your bag and taking along on that Christmas party night out.

Jiinju- exfoliating face pad
And last but not least, week 1 was rounded off with this beauty. What is the one essential we all need, no matter the makeup we use? That’s right, cleanser and makeup remover! I’m all for reusable cleansers, exfoliators etc, so this exfoliating pad is right up my street. Grab this little Korean beauty miracle and take it in the shower if you’re short on time.

Mum's finds, Parenting

How to Make the Most of a Baby Event

With regular baby events throughout the year, it can be difficult to navigate your way through them, whether you’re a first time parent or have experienced the events before. With online and in-store events, exhibitions and shows, there’s no doubt all the information and products available can be a little overwhelming. Speaking from experience – and with a lot of hindsight in mind – I’ve come up with a few tips to follow to ensure you make the most of a baby event.

Make a list before you go
The best way to make the most out of the day is to make a list of the things you need or want from the day. Are you still looking for big items like cribs and car seats? Or are you looking for travel items, everyday essentials, or feeding equipment? Perhaps you’re looking for something specific like a Sophie La Giraffe or Ewan the Dream Sheep that your friends have told you that you simply can’t live without? Either way, it makes the shopping and navigating much more efficient if you know before you go. Plus you’re less likely to miss anything than if you go in aimlessly without having specific ideas in mind.

Know what you need
Similar to tip one, know exactly what you need and what you don’t. This helps to avoid getting suckered by any so-called deals on offer. If there’s a steriliser that’s half-price, but not suitable for your needs, for instance if it’s a microwave steriliser or perhaps just too big for your kitchen, or indeed microwave, then actually the deal isn’t worth it at all. Similarly, there are always great deals on clothes at in-store baby events, with promotions at bigger shows too, so you can get distracted by pretty patterns when actually you have everything you need in that size, and really should be buying clothes in 6 months or above, if at all at this point! Maybe this point should be called “know what you don’t need” as this is probably a better way of looking at things. If you know you don’t need a 3 in 1 changing system, or state of the art changing rucksack before you go, chances are you won’t then be talked into buying one.

Be open minded, but not gullible
On the flip side of this, I would say that you have to be open minded when going into baby shows. There may be products or services which solve problems you hadn’t thought of, or which may be more useful further down the line as your baby starts to grow. It can be useful to go and collect business cards or leaflets to keep just in case (again, only for things you may be interested in, rather than collecting cards from every stand at an exhibition).

I would be open-minded but cautious to any “new to market” products. There are only so many times you can reinvent the wheel to make it better, so it’s worth being harsh and really questioning whether the new products serve any purpose.  Or do the products you already have, serve those purposes just as well? For instance, are wet wipe warmers necessary (yes they are a thing)? Do you need a Gro Egg if you have a room thermometer, nightlight and/or cot mobile already?

Stock up on essentials
This is probably the best tip I can give for in-store baby events at the likes of Boots, Mothercare or any supermarkets. By essentials, I mean the things you know you will get use of regardless of the size/weight/stage your baby is at. For example, Craig and I thought we were doing well by stocking up on loads of on-offer nappies before the wee man arrived. However what we didn’t bank on is that he would grow so rapidly that we would end up giving half those nappies away. So while yes it is good to get a pile of nappies organise pre-baby arrival, don’t go mad at baby events for these. Instead look at things like baby wipes, cotton wool, barrier creams, feeding equipment, long-life foods and things like bibs and muslin squares which have either very long shelf life or no expiry (lest your child’s neck outgrows the bibs!).

Question offers available

Quite often at in-store baby events, there will be promotions such as 3 for 2, BOGOF etc. Like with supermarket deals, these might not always be the great offers they initially seem. For instance, do you really need 3 of something when you were just after the one? Often, with things like wipes and baby toiletries, these offers can be useful. But you may only be saving pennies; say for example that wipes cost 60p, but you get 3 packs for £1.50, you are really only saving 30p, so its worth checking if that’s the best deal on offer. It’s also good practice as it means you won’t fill your boot or pram with unnecessary things on offer, leaving room for the things you came to the event for. Similarly, whether you’re at an exhibition or in-store event, it’s worth checking whether these kinds of offers are available online, meaning you don’t have to humph too much around – a godsend when you’ve got the littlies with you. Also question any 10% discounts or similar offers – like with black Friday, some sellers inflate their prices before baby events and then sell them at “discount” during the event, when realistically you aren’t saving that much (if anything) at all. Having said that, most discounts are genuine and it’s worth asking if they are available exclusively at the event, or can be applied either online or until a specified later date.

 

If there are any other baby event tips you can think of, please let me know below, I’d love to hear them!

Gyros-babs-glasgow
mum life, Mum's finds, Reviews

Baby friendly restaurants: Babs

The first time I took the little one to Glasgow it was to visit my workplace, and I packed up about half the house in the car to take with me. Nowadays, we seem to have nailed the organisation of the changing bag and feeds, so going to Glasgow for a shop or catch up with friends is becoming an easier and more regular occurrence.

That being said, there are still some considerations to be made, such as baby-friendly places to feed and change the wee one. For instance, having not being a frequenter of baby-change facilities until recently, I had no idea of what to look out for and/or expect. In most instances, baby-change is shoved into the disabled toilet, to maximise on space and possibly to avoid the presumption that only mums would be changing nappies. Some places offer this with a convenient route to the loos which can be navigated toward with a pram, others have thought the layout through a little less which can be a problem generally, not just in terms of nappy changing time!

So, I’ve decided to start making it my mission to take note of baby-friendly restaurants, coffee houses etc, mostly for my own reference as baby brain has rotted my short-term memory, but also in case others might find it useful. The first place I took notice of in Glasgow was Babs.

Babs is, as you can imagine, a kebab restaurant. Not to be confused with a kebab takeaway joint you’d find yourself slevering your order out at 2am, this place is fresh, quaint and focuses on more traditional Turkish and Greek kebabs. I was keen to give it a try, particularly for Gyros which I haven’t eaten since a holiday to Greece in about 2005.

Gyros-babs-glasgowAnyone into interior decor, or ambience of restaurants would be charmed by this place, with its painted tiles with blues and teracotta colour palettes, and choice Greek and Turkish style ornaments. But let’s be honest, that’s not why we were there. Even if the wee fella was obsessed with the intricate tile pattern on the wall. To cut an incredibly boring story short, the food was delicious. The chicken gyros was exactly as I hoped it would be – juicy chicken with crisp salad and refreshing tzaziki. I would definitely go back to this restaurant for food even without baby.

The staff couldn’t have been more accommodating when it came to finding us a suitable table and making sure we were ok. We ended up sitting right at the window (another plus for the wee man as he is the nosiest boy around), which is on ground level, as opposed to the booth areas which are all up a couple of steps. The changing facilities were also close to the entrance, and where we were sitting, so we didn’t have to go trekking with a pram or bumping into people with changing bags as I carried Travis to the loo. The waitresses were taken with the wee man, chatting away to him as he charmed them with smiles and flutters of those long eyelashes of his. They couldn’t do enough to help us, and happily helped when we needed a means of cooling down his bottle.

We visited Babs on a Thursday at lunchtime just as a walk-in, so I’m not sure if you’d need to book in advance for evenings or weekends. However I’d definitely recommend Babs as a nice lunch spot for those with little ones. It’s handy as it’s right in the city centre, not too far from any shops, and is conveniently placed between both Queen Street and Central stations so it’s not too far to trek with the pram.

 

mum life, Mum's finds

A Thortful Valentine’s Day

When it comes to Valentine’s day, or any occasion in fact, I love giving a good card. Whether it be punny, sentimental or an in-joke, I like to give a card with meaning to it.

This is why I love online card sites which offer the chance to personalise cards, and can usually offer something better than the average high street store. When I was looking for a Valentine’s card this year for my other half, I came across the site Thortful. Friends had used it before and raved about it, so I decided to give their selection a try.

Self-proclaimed home of up and coming creatives, Thortful is different from your average card website as it contains collections from independent artists, businesses and general creatives. I’m all for supporting individual talent and creativity, and like to know that I’m getting something a bit more individual, with more heart in it than mass produced, samey rubbish from supermarkets and the like.

There are loads of collections on Thortful for pretty much any occasion, and I immediately came across a range I knew my other half would love. I would show you it, but it’s not Valentine’s day yet and I don’t want to ruin the surprise! Here’s a picture of the sturdy (and not so love-like) grey envelope though. The card I chose was by JG Artwork, run by mother and entrepreneur Jodie Gaul.

Another great positive about this site is that the card I ordered arrived literally the next day via Royal Mail, when had only purchased the card in the middle of the afternoon. Automatic next day delivery is ideal for me as I can’t always usually guarantee that I’ll be able to get out to get a card, or even remember a birthday until the last minute thanks to baby brain!

If you’re now intrigued by Thortful, why not have a look for yourself? If you buy anything via this link, you’ll also get 30% off. It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t a sponsored post, and I don’t receive my commission for this. It’s merely an incentive offered to all customers after purchase. Friends can get 30% off via a certain link, whilst the customer gets a discount on their next order. It’s handy, because I for one will definitely be going back to them for another card in the near future!