Author: Zoe Waite

How to stay motivated to workout and eat healthy

We have all been there when we have had all the good intentions of keeping fit and healthy and struggled to stay on track but, is it easier said than…

We have all been there when we have had all the good intentions of keeping fit and healthy and struggled to stay on track but, is it easier said than done?

The truth is:

keeping motivated to workout

There are actual ways to help you stay on track with your fitness and healthy eating regime and I am going to tell you how.

During my first pregnancy, all aspects of healthy eating and working out went completely out of the window. I made up numerous excuses on “eating for two” so I could ridiculous size portions of whatever food I wanted or “craved“. Post baby I had to work harder than ever to get myself back on track, living a healthier lifestyle. I went from weighing my heaviest at 72kg to 56kg.  Now, during my second pregnancy, I have been able to stick to a healthier lifestyle and I have felt so much better for it.

Motivating tips to working out and eating healthy

Here are my top tips for staying motivated to working out and eating healthy.

  1. Set yourself a reachable goal. I love to set a goal that is small so I can reach it and feel good for reaching it. This can be a goal such as: “for today, I am going to not eat chocolate and only snack on fruit” or “for the next two weeks, I will do 20 minutes stair master at the gym 4 times a week.”  After completing a goal, push yourself further and make your goal more challenging. 
    post partum fitness
  2. Don’t go food shopping hungry. You are more likely to fill up your basket with all of the wrong things shopping on a hungry stomach. By the time you get back to your car you probably have already opened that packet of biscuits or crisps and undone your healthy eating efforts. Go food shopping with a plan. Stick to plenty of vegetables and fruit and if you need to, keep track of your meals in a food diary.
  3. Stop making excuses. This is my biggest one. I always get told “oh I would love to go to the gym but I don’t have time” or “I can’t workout when I have kids.” Sure, it might be difficult to get out of the house to a gym, but what is stopping you from doing a home workout? Some gyms are open 24 hours.  Could you go at another time in the day rather than watching tv? Even excuses relating to your diet. “I am having a chippy tonight as I have been good this week”. Why make an excuse to convince yourself that you can go off track and justify it because you have been healthy throughout the week. Sure treat yourself now and again. But stay conscious that it is very easy to fall off track, as a cheat meal can quickly turn into a cheat day and then the whole “i’ll start my diet on Monday…”excuse.
  4. Add variety to your workouts. Exercise doesn’t just have to be going running. There are so many different activities you can do to keep fit. Try out different classes like boxing or yoga and see which one you prefer. I love to have a workout day focusing on cardio where I will do 10 minutes on the bike, rower and then cross trainer. You may even prefer to workout once a week with a partner.
  5. Reward! Once you have reached your goal you need to reward yourself for all of your hard work. Rewards don’t always have to be naughty treats too. Why not get a new gym top after reaching a 6 week goal or get some new fancy bubble bath to have a long soak and rest your muscles.

    keeping motivated to workout

    30 Weeks Pregnant

  6. Take photos. Taking progress photos do not have to be for the rest of the world to see. They are a great way for you to keep a private track of your weight. Take them weekly, a front, side and back body shot and in a couple of weeks put your newest ones side by side with your first and you should feel so proud at the difference. Physically being able to see the results will help you stay motivated.
  7. Create a playlist. Music is so beneficial during workouts. Stick your headphones on and get your head in the zone. You may find different songs are better for different points of your workout. I love listening to a good podcast during my cardio to help the time go by and listening to an energetic upbeat track during my weight lifting sessions.
  8. Get support. Support from others is essential. Speak to other members of your household about wanting to change up your eating habits and see if they are willing to take on the challenge too. You could go on a clear out and get rid of any foods you are trying to avoid together so you are not tempted. You could always create a social network support group to encourage one another to stay on track.

So get your head completely in the zone. Start thinking of yourself as an athlete, and not a couch potato. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar, and have some fun. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life.

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Toddler Temper Tantrums

Crying, screaming, kicking, breath holding, hitting, kicking and back arching. Do any of those sound familiar in terms of your toddlers behaviour? They do to me! Since Mole has turned…

Crying, screaming, kicking, breath holding, hitting, kicking and back arching. Do any of those sound familiar in terms of your toddlers behaviour? They do to me!

Toddler tantrum help

Since Mole has turned 1, I have noticed a big shift in her behaviour. She will display a temper tantrum more frequently and although this is normal child development behaviour, I do feel like I need to learn and understand how to behave myself in the temper tantrum situation to stop it escalating out of hand.

I have done a lot of research in this and asked for all of your advice on instagram and I have had some incredible tips. I am already starting to see huge improvements in Mole’s behaviour.

So what can we do?

Understanding the temper tantrum

Toddlers display a temper tantrum from the ages of 1 to around 3. They are just as common in boys as they are girls…This has stopped me from using my favourite excuse: “It’s because she is a girl, they are divas compared to boys”.

Some children can display a tantrum more frequently than other children. You may be lucky and your child rarely has one.

The F Word

I have seen this word cropping up a lot whilst I have been doing my research into temper tantrums.

Frustration.

Frustration seems to be key to what this whole temper tantrum malarkey is all about. Toddlers are still developing their language, so they can’t always ask or communicate exactly what they want. This maybe that they want to go into a different room or be in need of a parent. It can also be that they are just over tired or hungry.Toddler tantrum help

“I do it!”

The hardest part is, as a parent, you can sense danger. So when your toddler is walking/crawling where they shouldn’t and you go to stop them from doing so, they don’t understand why and become frustrated that you are stopping them.

There is also the power struggle of wanting their own independence and learning for themselves. When toddlers discover that they actually can’t do everything themselves they may (in Mole’s case always) display a tantrum.

The experience of not being able to communicate can be tough for a toddler. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. As their language skills start to develop and improve, tantrums will start to decrease.

Going Wrong

I have been thinking where I may have been going wrong with the whole tantrum situation. Then it hit me. I have spent far too much time trying to to deal with the tantrum when it is happening and not enough time preventing the tantrum. I just assumed that tantrums are inevitable and there is nothing I can do about it. Which is true to an extent but, still these prevention tips have helped us cut down the number of tantrums.

6 Tips for preventing a tantrum

  1. Distraction. Take your toddler else where into a different room for something new to focus their attention on. Swap whatever they are not allowed to have with something they can have and make it sound really exciting and amazing. Start a different activity with them if they can’t do they activity they currently want to do.
  2. Hands off! I keep any ornaments or valuables completely out of reach now. At first, I wanted Mole to understand that she was not allowed to touch the vase, but realistically, I was asking too much of her and got sick of myself telling her “no” and dealing with the tantrum when all I had to do was just move the vase out of her reach.
  3. Routine. Having a routine helps to understand when your child is going to be hungry and tired. If it is around your child’s usual nap time, don’t expect to take them food shopping and have a pleasant time. Respect their limits.
  4. Responsibility. This one came very useful to me when I was a teacher. The more responsibility I gave to my students the more they respected me and felt like they had control. Offering your toddler a choice will help them to feel they have control and you won’t be confronted by the power struggle. Obviously, choose your choices wisely. Good examples are “Do you want a bath first or to brush your teeth first? Both will still get done, but, they will have more of a sense of controlling the situation rather than being told to do so.
  5. Positive reinforcement. Praise, praise praise. I can not stress this enough. Toddlers understand behaviours and actions they display will result in attention. Be sure to really emphasise on the good attention with them, by really praising their good behaviour and give as little attention as possible to their negative behaviour.
  6. Choose your battles. I noticed that I was becoming Nagging Nancy. It was just too much. Being so strict meant that everything through out the day was becoming a battle with Mole. By choosing my battles I have made more of an impact with her understanding what she is forbidden to do.

5 Tips for what to do when your toddler displays a tantrum

I was mortified when Mole started to display her tantrums one after the other in public. Especially in places that were really quiet and I felt like all eyes were on me to “sort” my child out. Not only that, tensions between my partner and I began to rise. Tantrums can be inevitable and it is all part of growing up, so no matter how much preventing you can do, one will still occur. Here are some tips on what to do when your toddler is having a temper tantrum meltdown.

  1. Stay calm. Easy said than done. I get so stressed out when a tantrum occurs I start to lose my head myself. Your job is to try and calm your toddler down, so you need to remind yourself to stay calm too as hard as that can be. Toddler tantrum help
  2. What is the tantrum really about? Understanding what the real problem is will help you to find a solution quicker. Is it that they are actually tired and need a nap? Or perhaps they are in pain with their teeth?
  3. Different tantrums need different solutions. Does your toddler is want something they are forbidden to have? try to not over explain why and move onto a new activity quickly. If your toddler is wanting attention from their mum or dad, try to ignore them. Is your child is throwing a tantrum because they are in pain? Then comfort them.
  4. Follow through. Mole’s favourite tantrum to have is one where she doesn’t want to complete a task that she has to do, such as eating her dinner. Let them have their tantrum but, ignore them as much as possible, then come back to the task once they are calm and try again. Following through will make them understand that they will not get away with it.
  5. Safety. If their safety is at risk and they are displaying a tantrum because they want to carry on, be firm. Take them away from the situation and use a stronger tone of voice. Never give in on safety. Older toddlers can sit on a time out step for a few minutes.

3 Tips on what to do with your toddler after they have a tantrum

  1. Do not give in. If they display the same behaviour for the same reason, you are going to have to be strong and not undo all the work you have done before. Eventually they will learn but they will 100% test you first.
  2. Make the most out of a bad situation. Try and reward their good behaviour. e.g. “Mole, what a good girl for calming down.” or” Thank you for playing with this toy”.
  3. Love. Once everything is calmed down it is extremely important to show your toddler affection. Give them a cuddle and let them know you love them. They will know they have just been naughty so will be feeling very vulnerable. This will not show that you are giving in to their behaviour.

 

I hope you find this useful and remember, as your child gets older they will begin to grow out of their tantrums.

 

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5 Toddler Summer Holiday Essentials

It is that fantastic time of year again when we are all excited as we probably have a summer holiday planned. Whether you are having a staycation or flying abroad,…

It is that fantastic time of year again when we are all excited as we probably have a summer holiday planned. Whether you are having a staycation or flying abroad, I’m going to share with you my top 5 toddler summer holiday essentials for a stress free holiday.

Toddler Summer Essentials

Toddler Summer Essentials

Cool Soft Baby Blanket

Instantly cooling to the touch, this blanket has been our number one summer holiday must have. It has been so versatile, from lying it in the pram to using it as a beach mat. One of my biggest concerns with going abroad with a toddler was “will the heat be too much?” Mole struggled badly with the UK heat last year as a newborn, so when I laid eyes on this product as a baby show, I had to have it. The cooling mat must have been so refreshing to lie on in the heat. She never showed signs of being too hot once. (It’s also super light weight for your luggage too.

Snooze Shade

Toddler Summer Essentials

This stroller cover was perfect for naps. The shade cover blocks 99% of UV rays and makes the inside of the stroller nice and dark making outdoor naps a whole lot easier. The shade cover has a universal fit for most strollers and prams and only takes a few seconds to apply to the stroller.

Mamas and Papas Stroller

We purchased the: Mamas & Papas Armadillo City² Lightweight Compact Pushchair.

The stroller has a light weight frame making it easy for travelling. When travelling the amount of times you have to fold up and down the stroller is crazy.

My experience from visiting European holiday destinations has been that not all destinations are pram friendly, with having lot’s of steps to access places. Taking our usual heavy two piece pram was not convenient.Toddler Summer Essentials This stroller folds up or down in just a click, you can even do it one handed. 

There is an adjustable seat which was great for naps times as she could lie back and be comfortable and the huge UV protective hood accompanied with the Snooze Shade blocked the sun.

Toddler Travel Plate

If you’re anything like me on holiday, a big part of that time will be spent dining at restaurants. We usually order Mole’s food from the children’s menu, but to keep costs down we also like to share the food myself and Jay orders with her. This super handy travel plate rolled up in her lunch bag and came with us to every restaurant. I didn’t have to worry about her trying to throw it off the table as its made of silicone and has a good grip against the table. We had the rubber duck design of course.Toddler Summer Essentials

Banana Boat SPF

I am extremely fussy when it comes to choosing a good suncream. I can say that I have tried and tested various creams and this one is by far my all time favourite for babies and toddlers.

What I love about this suncream is, the consistency is thick so I feel at ease when I am applying it, like I am really giving her skin protection. I can feel and see exactly where I put it on her body. The cream is non greasy has the sand does not stick to it so I can have the cream fully applied in no time. Mole has very sensitive skin too, this cream has been the only one out of the many we have tried that does not make her break out into rashes.

For her hair, I used the Malibu SPF 50 Scalp Protector. (I also used this on my head too!) its very easy to use, with it being clear, you can directly spray it onto your head and hair for full protection. Toddler Summer Essentials

COMMENT BELOW YOUR TODDLER SUMMER ESSENTIALS!

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Travelling With A One Year Old: Your Questions Answered

Travelling with a one year old is not going to be easy. If your one year old is anything like my little Mole, they will not entertain being strapped in…

Travelling with a one year old is not going to be easy. If your one year old is anything like my little Mole, they will not entertain being strapped in for a long period of time. So whether you are travelling by a car or by a plane you have a challenge on your hands.

travelling with a toddler

What can you do?

Firstly, really have a think about your current one year olds development. All toddlers develop at different rates so one thing that works for one may not work for another.

How do you keep a one year old entertained on a flight?

I had a good think about what Mole currently loves to do. Reading, stickers, dancing and playing with my things like sunglasses. I focused her toys for around that, rather than something like stacking cups or teddies which she is not fully into just yet.

Toys and Books

I went shopping before the trip so specifically to find her some new activity books and toys. Although not cost friendly, this was great as she was fully interested in what the new toy did.

Here is a toy I recommend: Activity Toy

Here is a book I recommend: Three Little Pigs Touch and Feel

We also had a cheap pair of baby sunglasses for her to play with putting them on and off and I wasn’t worried if they got broke (which they did) but so worth it to pass the time.

Downloading TV Programmes

One piece of advice I was told time and time again was to download something for her to watch. We did, but this did not answer our prayers when she was playing up. Mole only watched something for around 6 minutes and then she lost interest. Which to be fair, is exactly what she does when she is watching something at home too. It was great to have the option readily available.

travelling with a toddler

We also entertained her with the “Peppa Pig App”. There is a painting section where you can swipe your fingers all over the phone screen to create pictures. (Easier on a tablet/iPad). This was far more suited for Mole as she was busy moving her hands.

Snack Options

Snacks are another great way to pass the time. Although not the healthiest option, Mole had crisps. I cant actually believe how well they entertained her. She loved trying to take one out of the packet. We did the same with raisins. Basically any snacks that take a while to eat. Avoid chocolate, chocolate gets very messy on a warm plane.

Tips for a child who does not like staying still?

This is Mole all over. On the first flight I felt like I had to be strict with her, making sure she was sat still on my knee, constantly occupied with one of her toys or books. It did not work. In fact, fighting against her wanting to move around just made matters worse. The tantrums were next level and being pregnant with a one year old having a full blown tantrum on my knee was no fun. Here is what I did instead:travelling with a toddler

For the flight home, we travelled early evening instead of mid day. The day of the flight, I let her crawl/walk everywhere. We were in the hotel lobby for some time watching her crawl around. I then made sure she had a nappy. Just a short one to prevent her being over tired. Then I did the same thing at the airport, let her crawl around everywhere (where it was safe and easy to do so). She was absolutely filthy but worn out.

On the flight, she would stand on my knees and peek her head over the top of the chairs to get attention off the other passengers. I let her do it for the sake of three easy hours of no tantrums.

I even let her sit on my seat whilst I sat in the footwell just so she did not feel as restricted.

Being calmer myself, seemed to have a big impact on her. I didn’t fuss over her once like I did going out. I didn’t keep handing her a toy until she really wanted it and the same for her snacks. I think toddlers can play up on your emotions.

What to do for the take off?

travelling with a toddler

I packed a bottle of milk to help reassure her and to help with her ears popping. She actually got really excited when the plane was taking off, turning around and giving the biggest smile ever like she was on the ride of her life.

When the air pressure changed, I tried to give her a dummy but she wasn’t interested so we just stuck with the bottle of milk.

What did you pack in your hand luggage?

I had one hand luggage for the plane which was my straw beach bag. I had nothing for myself except for my phone. Everything was for Mole, her lunchbox with snacks, water cup, milk, Calpol, 3 books (picture, touch and feel, and a sticker book) and any other toys. I also packed her favourite blanket but it was so hot on both flights we didn’t bother getting it out.

You can take as liquid for your child as you need to. At security I just placed all her liquids in a tray and that was that.

Did you take a Stroller to the airport?

Yes we did, this is the Stroller we took with us: Mamas and Papas Stroller

I highly recommend it! Very easy to put up and down, all one piece and light weight. No issues at all using it the whole holiday.

The reason I got a stroller is because our current pram was very expensive, heavy and not as easy to manoeuvre as a stroller. We did take this pram with us on holiday when Mole was a newborn and it was better suited.

What did you do about a car seat travelling abroad?

We took this car seat: Britax Romer Car Seat 

We mainly used the car seat for the taxi in the UK. I wanted to decrease the time Mole spent on my knee when I knew she was going to be on my knee for three hours on the plane.

In Portugal, they had their own safety regulations with car seats and our private transfer wanted to use their own. Some transfers stated that you need to bring a car seat or you can not travel with them

On the shuttle bus to the beach Mole sat on my knee.

What clothes did you take for your toddler on holiday?

I recorded a YouTube Video showing you all the clothes I took for my toddler.

I would recommend planning outfits for day time and evening on each day with a few spares so you know not to over or under pack.

What did you do about taking swim nappies, nappies and formula?

Formula

Mole is on whole cows milk. As I was unsure when the next time I would be able to pick up a fresh bottle, I opted to pack a couple of these ready made formula bottles.

This was super easy for when we arrived as I felt like I didn’t have to race out to find a shop for milk.

When Mole turned one I stopped sterilising her bottles. You can now buy portable sterilisers if you need one.

Swim Nappies

I packed two packs of little swimmers in our suitcase.

Nappies

The duration of our holiday was 7 days. I packed 18 nappies and ran out pretty quickly as she hated wearing a wet swim nappy and the first few days being in a wet swim nappy was making her sore.

If you can pack more in your suitcase or order them to be delivered from Boots in the airport. We ended up having to buy a pack of nappies out there for $25.00 and they may as well have been made out of tissue paper. travelling with a toddler

Final Advice

My final advice will be you can not control to an extent what is going to happen so please do not stress about it. On the flight out Mole was horrendous. She screamed the whole time and she has toys, snacks, Calpol, milk…everything.

You will never see the people on your flight again so if they turn around and give you evils (which we had a lot of) do not care. At the end of the day you can only do your best and toddlers are very strong willed.

The flight home was the opposite. Mole was a dream, giggling the whole way. I was dreading that flight to the point where I was feeling so sick, as the first flight was so bad and now I think back and it was all over nothing as she was fine.

Give yourself plenty of time in getting there and try to take turns with your partner if you can.

Feel free to read my previous blog on flying with a baby when Mole was younger.

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How To Encourage Your One Year Old To Talk

Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will…

Your babies first word is a huge milestone. As soon as you hear the sound of their first word you will gasp, cheer and praise your little one. You will then be wondering how you can encourage your one year old to talk.

encouraging your one year old to talk

One of the biggest questions is: will your baby say “mama” or “dada” first?

In a few more months, around 15 months old, your baby will use simple consonant sounds such as “up” and “more”. When your baby reaches 18 months old, there will be no stopping them as they will begin to pick up several new words a day.

Gestures

One year olds understand a lot more words than you probably think. To encourage them, use gestures such as pointing or waving can really help them. When your one year old points at an object respond with “do you want your cup? Or “Yes, that is a light.” Especially if they are waving, it is easy to incorporate, “Hello”, or “Bye Bye”.

Real words

It is very easy to use words that your one year old can say such as “ba ba”. But, you need to focus on using real words to help their speech. As a parent you need to stay one step ahead of your toddler and not talk down at them. The end result will be helping your toddler expand his/her vocabulary.

 

Take your time

encouraging your one year old to talk

Admittedly I have been here myself, when I have been trying to read Mole a bedtime story, and I rush through the book as quick as possible before she becomes over tired. Change your reading time and take your time with reading to them. Let your one-year-old point as the different pictures in the book and respond to them with what they are pointing at. Pronounce a key word to them several times to let them practice pronouncing it.

Piggybacking

When your child can say one word and understand that word well, you can introduce the piggybacking technique. This is where you will expand their one word into two words like this: instead of “dolly” you can say “baby dolly” or instead of “brush” you can say “hair brush”. Doing this will again help them to expand their vocabulary, without overwhelming them with too many new words.

Pitch

encouraging your one year old to talkYou may already do this without realising. Changing your tone of voice when speaking to your toddler really helps to keep them interested. Mole was very curious of our pet turtle. So for a good 10 minutes whilst we were playing with him, the only word I used was “turtle” but in many different voices. In the end, Mole was able to say “turtle” and understand that was our pet.

If your little one shows interest in something, spend time with them talking about that object. You can show them what it does and repeat what it is called. That way, if they already have an interest in the object, you have already grasped their attention to start learning.

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Maxi-Cosi Jade lie-flat car seat/carrycot review

When I first heard about a carrycot style car seat I was rather skeptical. How could this possibly be safe? How does this work? My vision was so wrong. I’m…

When I first heard about a carrycot style car seat I was rather skeptical.

How could this possibly be safe? How does this work?

My vision was so wrong. I’m almost ashamed of how daft my preconceived idea of this was. Especially after doing more research and finding out it is actually safer than most car seats on the market today.

Maxi-Cosi Jade Carrycot Carseat

The Maxi-Cosi Jade is the first lie-flat car carrycot certified to the new i-Size car seat law.

maxi cosi jade

Is the Maxi-Cosi Jade Carrycot Car Seat safe?

I’m jumping in straight to the safety regulations. I feel thats the most important part of a car seat.

Installing

maxi cosi jade

The Jade offers proved head and neck protection and slide impact protection. There is a unique Slide & Go installation on the ISOFIX base. This makes it easy to install the Jade car carrycot correctly and safely as it does not rely on guiding seatbelts.

You can see and hear the confirmation that you have installed the Jade car carrycot correctly too as there is light and sound feedback.

Your baby will also be secure inside the carrycot as there is padding and straps to fasten your little one in safely.

Position

The car seats position will be facing sideways across your back seat, so your baby’s head will be closest to the middle. This way, your baby will have greater protection against side-impact crashes.

Unboxing

Unboxing the Jade I was pleased to see I was not going to be building anything. The quality of the product is amazing. Squishing my hands down inside to test the comfort I was happy to find that it was so comfortable and soft to touch, with an extra inlay added for even more comfort.

I wanted to climb in myself and go for a nap!

There is a hood attached too which provides sun protection and is great to have down when baby is sleeping.

maxi cosi jade

What is best for newborn babies?

In your standard car seats, babies sit in an upright position or on a slight tilt. Because of this, it is recommended that babies can not be in their car seat for longer than two hours at a time because their breathing might be compromised.

You may be thinking “I won’t be in a car for two hours”, but this rule also stands for babies in car seats attached to their pram.

The Jade lie-flat carrycot car seat avoids your baby’s air flow from being restricted as they can lie flat and are not sitting upright trying to sleep scrunched.

So, if you’re travelling for longer than two hours or plan to use the car seat attached to the pram, this may be for you. I plan to use my Maxi-Cosi Lila pram.

Newborn babies need a lot of sleep. The carrycot car seat will be a comfortable sleep for them and as the car seat can be attached to a pram as a travel system, your baby will not be disturbed and can stay soundly asleep.maxi cosi jade

Price

  • The Jade costs £199
  • Maxi-Cosi 3WayFix Base costs £199

The car seat will need to be changed when your baby reaches 9kg.

Additional Features

  • Safe and easy ISOFIX installation in the car
  • Slide & Go installation to the base
  • Washable cover Comfort
  • Comfortable soft touch newborn inlay for added comfort
  • Sun protection
  • Soft mattress for supreme comfort for baby Safety
  • R129 safety
  • Impact absorbing material
  • 3-point safety harness General
  • In car repositioning
  • Long-lasting value with 3wayFix base

Find out more about the Maxi-Cosi Jade here: https://www.maxi-cosi.co.uk/car-seats/jade

 

Product was gifted. All opinions are completely honest and my own.

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Smyths Toy Story Party

Can you remember the excitement as a child, when you visited the toy store? Butterflies in your stomach, eyes hungry for whats inside, the gasps at every latest toy! I…

Can you remember the excitement as a child, when you visited the toy store?

Butterflies in your stomach, eyes hungry for whats inside, the gasps at every latest toy!

Smyths Toy Superstore

I really want that experience for Mole. Visiting Smyths Toy Store bought back so many happy memories, of what it was like to be that excited child again. I think it is easy to get caught up in the online world, getting delivered toys, that you can miss out on fun experiences with your child and what it is like to visit the toy store.

No attention should be put on age when one thinks of toys. There’s something about toys that nurtures happiness in people.

 

Smyths Toy Superstore have gone the extra mile to ensure that your toy store experience is rememberable!

Smyths Toy Superstore

Toy Story Party at Smyths

They are hosting a Toy Story party at every local Smyths Toys Superstore, in celebration of the new Toy Story 4 coming to cinemas in June! There will be FREE face painting, DJ’s and a FREE Toy Story 4 minis, stickers and posters given away. You even have the chance to win a £50 voucher on the hour, every hour from 9am to 1pm!

When is the event?

Saturday 25th May from 9:00am

Where is the event?

Every Local Smyths Toy Superstore

Find out more and other event details here.

Smyths Toy Superstore

 

 

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Maxi-Cosi Lila Pushchair (with Duo Kit) First Impressions Review

I wasn’t expecting to have been on the hunt for a new pushchair a year later after having Molly, but, with the new addition to our family arriving in September,…

I wasn’t expecting to have been on the hunt for a new pushchair a year later after having Molly, but, with the new addition to our family arriving in September, we have had to find a new pushchair that works with our expanding family.

Maxi Cosi lila Duo Kit

Maxi Cosi Lila

What makes the Maxi-Cosi Lila the Pushchair for you? That depends on your particular needs but, what caught my eye and sold me was this:

The next best place after your arms

Maxi Cosi Lila

My goal was to find a pushchair that can easily transform from a newborn to a toddler whilst also having the option for a second child. That way, my newborn baby will have a comfortable ride and so will my one year old. The Lila pushchair has an optional Duo Kit attachment; therefore I can either have the pushchair set up for both my children, just my new born or just my toddler, saving my lot’s of pennies in the long run.

Easy to use?

Budget aside for the moment, my biggest question to myself was, how easy is the pram to use? Especially with the added duo kit? As the thought of having two children under the age of two fills me with the instant thought of chaos, I need everything in my life to be simple and stress free as possible.

When the pushchair arrived I was pleased to see it was all easy enough to assemble myself. If there were any extra pieces, it was a simple click on. E.g. the wheels simply click into place. I was able to complete the full pushchair and duo kit set up whilst Mole was having her nap. Win.

The duo kit is a separate stroller that clicks onto the frame of the Lila pushchair without any force. I couldn’t actually believe how easy it was.

The Lila Pushchair is a one handed fold down, which folds down completely flat, allowing it to be inserted into my boot without taking up too much room. I have the Audi Q3 and there is enough room for the Lila pushchair and the stroller/carrycot attachment on top (plus a few bags of shopping).

maxi cosi lila

The pushchair has options to either face me or be forwards facing. Mole prefers to be forward facing

as there is more for her to look at but I can’t wait to have my newborn facing me for that added bonding time.

An extra bonus is that the Maxi-Cosi Jade Car Seat attaches onto the Lila too, so I wouldn’t have to wake my baby up if he is still sleeping.

Maxi-Cosi Lila Cost

Lila Pushchair: £549

Duo Kit (Sold Separately): £199

Maxi-Cosi Lila Features

  • Transformable seat with multiple recline positions for use from birth
  • Reversible seat
  • Reversible, thermo-regulated mattress: breathable mesh for summer time; soft warm fleece for winter time
  • Integrated nap keeper to create additional shade
  • Big UPF 50+ canopy with peek-a-boo window
  • Rain cover and bumper bar included
  • Maxi-Cosi genuine 5-point harness
  • 4 shock-absorbing suspensions
  • Light reflectors on the canopy
  • Fast one-hand folding
  • Automatic lock
  • SmoothRide long-lasting wheels: new bi-material wheels for greater durability
  • Front wheels can be locked for more manoeuvrability
  • Removable shopping basket for easy access without excessive bending
  • Easy-braking system
  • Transforms into duo stroller for children close in age (sold separately)

 

 

Maxi-Cosi Lila has been kindly gifted. All opinions are real and honest.

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Don’t Suffer | Get Help With Debt

Take control of your finances and get back on track. Today there is more help than ever to stop your debts spiralling out of control. It is frightening enough having…

Take control of your finances and get back on track. Today there is more help than ever to stop your debts spiralling out of control. It is frightening enough having debt without it getting worse.

With this advice, you will gain confidence and an understanding on the starting point to getting your debt back on track.debt help pink mole

Where to start?

Many people will bury their head in the sand at the first sign of debt. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing to do as this will not solve your financial problems. You need to admit to yourself that you are in debt. Admitting to yourself is one of the most important steps.

One of my favourite methods is to start by writing down everything you currently owe on loans, credit cards etc. That way, you will know exactly how much debt you are in.debt help pink mole

Prioritise payments that need to be paid off first and payments that are actually manageable. Having order to your financial situation will stop you feel like you are drowning in your problems.

If you are in a relationship, talk to your partner about your current financial situation. Off loading the pressure and working as a team on how to get back on track will give you more support.

Debt Solutions

Here are some more debt solutions on offer:

Professional help

You may have tried to speak to your creditors about your debt struggles and nothing has come from it. Seek professional help.

There are many charities out there today that want to help you. They will provide free help and advice to getting your finances under control.

You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for a manageable repayment plan and they help you discuss your situation with your creditors.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a formal agreement between an individual and the unsecured creditors. An insolvency practitioner or debt advisor administers it.debt help pink mole

Why? Well, if you are struggling to sort out an arrangement to clear your current owed payments gradually through a debt repayment plan, an IVA is something to consider.

IVAs last for five years. During this time, you will pay an agreed amount to your creditors. Once that period of time ends, any remaining debt will be wiped out.

Do I Qualify For An IVA?

To obtain an IVA, you must fit within the criteria.

  • A minimum debt level of £5000
  • A minimum of 2 credit lines e.g. 1 credit card and 1 loan.
  • A regular income
  • The ability to pay a minimum of £90 per month into the IVA
  • An IVA should offer a higher return for your creditors than bankruptcy
  • You must live in England, Wales or N.Ireland.

You will not be able to borrow again during your IVA.

Bankruptcy

If you cannot clear your debts any other way then this option is a last resort.debt help pink mole

You can either be forced into bankruptcy by your creditors or apply for bankruptcy yourself.

If you owe £750 or more, a company can apply for you to be declared bankrupt. It is however, only recommended to those with unsecured debts of £50,000 or more.

When you declare yourself as bankrupt, other assets such as your home or your car, can be used to pay the people you owe money to.

Bankruptcy lasts for around one year. The bankruptcy will be noted on your credit file for six years. Meaning you will not be able to apply for any further credit and you will be unable to get a current account that offers an over draft. Any accounts you have, your bank will freeze them and as you may not be able to open any new accounts, you will struggle make or receive payments.

This may seem daunting. But, for some people this method has been their last resort to get out of debt.

 

Remember to always seek professional advice before proceeding with an IVA or bankruptcy.

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5 Maternity Rights You Need To Know

Do you know the 5 things your Employer is forbidden from doing while you are on Maternity leave? Knowing your own rights whilst planning and going on maternity leave is…

Do you know the 5 things your Employer is forbidden from doing while you are on Maternity leave?

maternity work leave rights

Knowing your own rights whilst planning and going on maternity leave is critical. I’m not saying that employers try to catch you out on purpose for their own benefit. Sometimes they can make a simple, honest mistakes. But, not knowing your legal rights on maternity leave could cost you.

To put that to a close, whether your employer deliberately or unintentionally makes one of these mistakes whilst you are on maternity leave, they are breaking the law.

1. You have to tell your employer as soon as you know you are pregnant or else you will not get full maternity pay.

Wrong. You are only required to inform your employer at least 15 weeks before your due date.

Your employer is allowed to ask for your maternity leave in writing which I believe is acceptable and a good reference for you later down the line. Please do not feel you have to inform work as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed by the doctor.

 

2. Redundancymaternity work leave rights

Making you redundant in attempt to avoid maternity pay is wrong. You are entitled to statutory maternity pay if:

You have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the completion of the 15th week your before your baby is due.

You were employed for part or all of the qualifying week (15th week before the baby is due)

You earn at least an average of £116 in the two months prior to the end of the qualifying week.

 

3. Give you less than 52 weeks of maternity leave

You are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave.

Considering that you are not classed as self-employed or a worker. The length of time you have worked for your employer should not be considered.

The 52 weeks of maternity leave is made up of the 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave (OML), and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave (AML).

 

4. Deny you changing your return to work date.

You have to give your employer at least 8 weeks notice. You are allowed to change your return to work date. In some cases this cannot be helped as you may be refused nursery placements or other child care plans could fail leaving you no choice. So it is important to remember to have everything in place 8 weeks before returning.

 

5.Refuse to provide you with flexible working arrangementsmaternity work leave rights

If you opt to return to work at the end of your maternity leave your employer must make effort to accommodate you after you return to work. E.G. You may want to go back on part time hours, or have one day a week where you can work from home.

If returning to work is a struggle, having a chat with your employer may help as they may find hours to accommodate you.

 

Being Smart

Employers nowadays are aware of the laws and they do comply with them. A lot of employers want you to talk to them about your maternity leave concerns so you can both be in a position of understanding where you both are at.

Unfortunately there are also bad employers that don’t’ follow the laws.

Use the information above to protect your rights.

If you need more information on your maternity leave rights, there is personalised guidance published by the GOV.UK website. You can find it here.

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