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Dear Daisy, It is your first day at school...

Childs Farm - The Cure for Eczema?

Eczema is a pain. A real pain, quite literally in some instances. As a mother of 2 this is the second time I have come across it, strangely this second time around it is my eldest and she has suddenly been hit by it at the age of 4, so odd but I don't think it cares who it hits! Thankfully I have been here and done this with my littlest who had it from very early on. I should say his was very mild and easily controlled.

cure for eczema

I also have struggled in the past and it has kind of been a bit trial and error to see what works for me. I have only ever had it on my hands in the winter thankfully, but from steroid creams to emollient moisturisers, those with eczema will know how difficult it is to find a cream that works for them.

Daisy's doesn't appear to be causing her too much trouble but it isn't all that pretty to look at and looks as if it could get a lot worse very quickly if not controlled. With Alex we had prescription creams and they seemed to do the trick but I also wiped out all perfumed bath products etc at the same time too and stuck to the prescriptions and some natural oat bath additives.

childs farm a cure for excema?

I have used Childs Farm before for the bath, the tangerine smell is absolutely divine and it still creates bubbles which is a big win in this household. I thought I would give you a Childs Farm review in case you too are struggling with what products to be using with your little children with skin conditions or maybe you just want to step closer to more natural, gentle products?

I did a review on this back at the start of last year but wanted to do an updated version as a lot may have changed since then.  I was recommended Childs Farm by a few people when I had Daisy and I have actually tried it before when Daisy was a baby. I remember liking it but thinking was it really worth the hefty price tag back then. As a bit of perspective Daisy has always had skin with no complaints so sticking to the usual every day named brands wasn't an issue. Where as now the likes of a Johnson's bubble bath just won't work for either of my children, leaving them scaly and itchy.

So now I am not censoring all of the products that Alex has to use but this has moved on to Daisy now. Both of my children LOVE bubbles and you can see the disappointment on their faces when they have to have perhaps a "milky" bath rather than a bubbly one if for example I use an oat based bath milk or god forbid just a natural water bath with no additives. This product really is what we need to use.

We were lent the moisturizer by a friend to try out before going ahead and purchasing it ourselves and it really has done the trick in clearing up most of Daisy's rash. It does still appear if she swims for example of is in contact with something harsher like perhaps a bath bomb but this really does clear it up fairly quickly. This is really pleasing as the less I have to use prescribed medicines/ creams for Daisy the better. It is fairly expensive in comparison to some other alternative products out there but in mind it is 100% worth it.

I would love to give some of the other products a go but for now I am on my no spend January - perhaps later in the year you will hear more.

childs farm review

Hayley x

A Girls Day in Liverpool *Collaborative Post

Liverpool is one of my favourite cities to visit, especially with the girls. Firstly it isn't very far away from us, just over an hour and there is always something to do there.

I thought I would share with you my top things to do whilst there!

(1) Shopping. I don't really need to say much more about this I am sure but there are plenty of shopping spots to head to but make sure you start with Liverpool ONE. Not only are there loads of shops to get stuck into but lots of coffee shops, bars and restaurants to keep you going. The good thing about here is that it is so central, you don't have to go far and you are close to the docks. It is a good base to start from or meet up later in if you are in a big group for a proper day out. There is also plenty of accommodation based all around it if you were looking for somewhere to stay.

(2) Ghetto Golf - it is what it says on the tin. A great activity to take part in with your friends, family or work colleagues, slightly crazy but hey who doesn't love crazy golf? Worth noting though that this is adults only so don't be trying to take the kids there for an afternoon out!

(3) Break Out Liverpool. You will find them in most cities now as they seem to be pretty popular at the moment, basically you have 60 minutes to escape from a locked room. Some peoples worst nightmare but it is pretty good fun with a group of friends.

(4) There are bars everywhere here and the evening atmosphere is always a good laugh where pretty much anything goes in terms of dress etc. A must visit is Alma De Cuba which is an old 18th-century church lit by candles and pretty lights, it really is beautiful and at night has a great atmosphere. It gets busy so if you want to eat there then I would suggest booking a table. But always stay until around 10pm when the latin dancers come out and the entertainment starts!

(5) Eat! There are loads of restaurants here in Liverpool and all variations. If you want fast food there is loads of choice or something fancier then you could try somewhere like Spire or the Art School Restaurant. There is almost too much choice.

(6) The docks are lovely to walk around. There are some beautiful little shops and restaurants as well as some of the bigger chains. You could almost spend the whole day there if you chose to and wanted to visit the museums such as the Beatles museum, The Cavern club etc.

(6) And how we try to end our day if we can is to go and see a show. The Echo often has shows on and always something for everyone. Again it is pretty central so you will have no trouble finding it.

*This post is collaborative but all opinions are my own

Why you won't be seeing Daisy over on YouTube

Daisy has now started school and since then it has been playing on my mind a little about sharing so much of her life online. If you watch my YouTube channel you will have noticed that at the back end of last years family style videos all but stopped and they were focused more around parenting as a whole, tips, tricks, naming videos etc and not so many vlogs. I will be honest and put it out there that I just didn't feel so comfortable sharing so much of her when it is possible that anyone could stumble across them and it could be mentioned at school and actually she may be none the wiser about the content that is out there.

It was also becoming more difficult to hide things such as school details as uniform is thrown about all over the place, correspondence from school and of course she is now at an age where she talks, and doesn't stop. I didn't want to miss editing something out of a video for it to catch up with us and to be in a situation where I embarrass her or worse still, put her at any risk.

You will still see her appear in videos when we are travelling because I want her to talk about those things, share her experiences and what she been up to and learnt but day to day vlogs will be very minimal. You will also still see her appear on my Instagram and Facebook in some way but perhaps not as much as she previously has been. We shall see.

What are your thoughts about bloggers and their children? There surely has to be a line where once crossed it is breaching their privacy? I don't know, I am in a strange place at the moment considering where my content will lead this year and how I will still ensure she is represented (for my memories not anybody elses and so she still feels included!) in some way. So watch this space!

If you have any ideas, creativity or practicality then please do share. I am always open to ideas and always open for a discussion...

New year, New Me... #SCRAPTHAT

So, how has it been a year already since I last did this annual post that I do? Absolutely mental.

Resolutions... I am all for them. Controversial I know, It isn't that I want to change myself, build a new me or anything drastic, I just want to tweak certain aspects. I guess you could say I don't set myself resolutions as such, more mind sets and fresh, positive ways of thinking.

New years resolutions

A big part of my 2018 years goals was: Plan to plan. Make plans. Simple. Fill the diary with travel, breaks, coffee dates. And in some aspects I did and in some I really didn't. I went a bit out there and spontaneously booked a girls trip to New York for this spring which was the biggest plan of the year I am sure and a big step to do something for myself. But generally week to week I am really bad at planning. I don't see friends for months on end or try to arrange plans really last minute and then wonder why they never come to fruition.

This year I really want to make more plans with my husband, Ben. Breakfast dates, dinner dates, what ever it may be. Cinema maybe? Just time the two of us to get away even for an hour from the home and the children, just to be us for a short amount of time.

The next thing I need to focus on is personal. And I am a little ashamed to talk about it but I like to be honest. I want to stop with the shouting. The anger and frustration. I want to be able to get up and walk out of a room and go and make myself a cup of tea rather than yelling back at Alex when he flips out because he can't get his drill bit into his toy drill, or when Daisy is chopsing at me for something ridiculous! I am struggling with this at the moment and I am not sure what the turning point was but I find myself yelling and shouting and that isn't the mum I want to be. I do it and then feel sad and guilty about it, my children are my babies and to have them shouted at is my absolute nightmare yet there I am raising my voice? I know we are forced into reactions at times but I want to stamp out this behaviour in the house. It isn't too regular of a thing but still. This is probably my biggest resolution for the year.

The next is a step on from something I have been working on for a while and that is to take care of myself.  You can't pour from an empty cup, or apparently so anyway! I take time out, away from social media, away from my iphone and have just 30 minutes in the bath in an evening or read a book. Time to just stop and breathe, think and not be chasing my tail or thinking about what is next. I find myself to become all consumed in ridiculous things. Social media is the absolute worst for this way of being and I find myself getting stuck down rabbit holes without knowing how I got there, in an endless whirl of profiles, statuses, tweets and squares. I love social media and think it has so many plus points but I find I need a step away and doing this helps me relax and just stop for a while. SO I guess that us 2 in 2 really, one part to just look after me, spend time pampering myself, listening to myself and the other to step away from the tie that is social media from time to time. Be more present in life.

There is still a lot of other things I want to work on and a lot of that will carry on from last years want to work on my photography and creative side, help my mum grow her business, be present, get fitter, you know the drill...

Putting Together Your Perfect Winter Wardrobe in 2018 |AD

It is still getting colder and colder, it tends to get a bit milder and then drop again. If you have not already done so, now, is a good time to finish off putting together your winter wardrobe, or in my case start!!!

As you can see, when you click here, there is plenty of choice out there. So, I thought I would come up with a few suggestions to help you to narrow down the options a little bit.

A practical and great looking coat

Top of the list has to be a good quality coat. This year, many of the classics are back in style. Trench coats in particular. These are great for keeping you dry when it rains, but they can be a bit too thin for wearing on really cold days. Fortunately, traditional wool fabrics are also back on trend. Old-school patterns and cuts look stylish and will definitely keep you lovely and warm.

Stylish boots

I highly recommend that you treat yourself to a new pair of boots, said no ones husband ever! Biker and cowboy boots are far more popular than they have been for a while which is great because a chunky boot has to be my most favourite type. They look fantastic with casual clothes, especially jeans.

A special dress

Dressing up a bit over Christmas will always make your celebrations feel even more special, it is one of the times of year where I do like to get a bit more dressed up.
For me, you cannot go wrong with a little black dress, especially the beautiful detailed ones that are around. But, you do not have to restrict yourself to wearing black. As you can see here, there are some truly stunning coloured dresses in the shops, this year. For a party, or other type of special occasion a shimmery emerald or ruby dress would be a stunning choice.

Warm trousers and jeans

Winter is always a good time to treat yourself to a new pair of jeans. For 2018, looser fitting more comfortable trousers and jeans are becoming more widely available. Yes to mum jeans!!!!

If you have enjoyed this fashion related article and want to read some of the others that I have written, you can do so by clicking here.

*This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own

Aldi Dupes | Is it acceptable?

Even if you haven't bought into it I am pretty sure you'll have heard all about the Aldi dupes for products such as Liz Earles Cleanse and Polish. Aldi's version being Hot Cloth cleanser and well a quarter of the price at least. I have bought into it and I have mixed feelings, I will be really honest.

One part of me absolutely loves the product for what it is. To me it does a good job for the price and my skin appears to really like it. It is gentle enough for me and leaves me feeling cleansed and well, polished. I also love the consistency and the smell is very spa like which is a scent I like. It is filled with rosemary, chamomile, cocoa butter, white tea and eucalyptus oil which are all scents I enjoy. It isn't floral or over powering, it just smells clean and fresh.

Aldi Hot cloth cleanser

But let's be real here. It is a complete rip off of the cult Liz Earle product that has been a staple in many peoples cleansing routine for a long time and for a good reason. In one way I think Aldi (Lacura) have made a bold step even attempting to come close to such a brand and surely it can't compare?

I am not a long time user of the L.E Cleanser, as much as I would love to it sadly is purchased as a gift and I can't sustain the price tag as my usual go to product, as much as I would love to. So to compare the two wouldn't be fair. So I looked at the ingredients.

First let's look at Aldi’s Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser. Firstly it looks like a great pick for your skin. It’s got no harsh cleansers such as SLS and 2 of its top listed ingredients are coconut oil  and cocoa seed butter. Good right? Pretty much the same pattern you'll see emerging from L.E Ingredients list. Of course you can see which of the ingredients is a top ingredient by seeing how far up the list it is but you can't necessarily see exactly how much is in either of the products to truly compare.

Either L.E has a lot more of the active ingredients in them to warrant the price tag or they are using their brand name and trust to reflect the price tag.

Image Source: Look Magazine

For me I like the Lacura product, I just wish they had marketed it slightly differently. Why make a deliberate copy of that famous cult product? But then you have to ask yourself would the likes of you and I have picked it up if it wasn't?

There are some more dupes that have been released this last few weeks and as much as I want to try them I do feel this tie to the original cult brands. Watch this space!

Stop Rushing Me

time saving with kids
Come on, in to the bath...

Out you Jump quickly!

Eat up faster!

Come on tidy up, we need to go...

Stop rushing me.

Do you feel like you’re always in a hurry and rushing your kids around?  Or is it just me?

It is is difficult as a parent not to add this time pressure to our little ones, especially when we have school to get to on time, work to start and jobs to do before a certain time. But just lately I have been feeling the guilt when I have spent the afternoon rushing them about, especially Daisy who has been at school all day. She obviously just wants to spend the time doing things at her own pace once she is home, enjoying her bath and playing with the toys she has missed whilst at school all day. I am not sure why it has suddenly dawned on me how often I actually do this and truth be told how to try and make it that bit easier for her.

At the weekends I make a conscious effort to allow the day to be slower. If she doesn't get dressed util 11am then so be it. If we are spending the day at home then why not? If she wants to dilly dally over her lunch and be the worlds most painfully slow eater then fine. But how do I bring more of this into the time she has after school? How do I change my mindset that everything has to be done in a rush?

I know rushing about makes me feel on edge, especially when there is hold ups and she wants just "2 more minutes" in the bath at least 3 times before actually getting out! But why is it that I let it bother me? Because really, does it matter if it takes that 10 more minutes to do our bedtime routine?

When I stop and see other people with my children just absorbing the moments and letting them explore I feel a pang of jealousy. Not because I wish it was me but because sometimes life and routine just feels like it doesn't let me very often. Should we be letting out children stop and think a little more, take things in and then act. Sometimes ‘slowing down’ is easier said than done and obviously some things we can't help but rush and some times we really do need to be somewhere at a specific time, I.e - School!

My commitment (I have to now I have noted it here) is to try and remove things from the never ending job list. For example they really don't need  baths/ showers every single night, why not spend longer choosing the bedtime story that I often hurry along. Why not let Daisy doodle away whilst having her tea and let her spend extra 10 minutes eating if she enjoying herself? And do you know what, yes she has to read at home for school, but will one evening a week less really made a massive difference to her education at this age? I think not.

Just a bit of thought for you on this dreary, frosty day...

Garden Activities For Kids: Ideas To Improve Your Lawn and Plants With Little Helping Hands* AD

Those of you that have followed us for a while will know that we have recently been renovating our home. This means our garden has taken a bit of a hit and so we really need to start focusing on that now!

Free activities for kids

Keeping your garden in a reasonable-looking state is a year-round task though. Whether you live in the city and have a man-made patch of greenery or in the countryside, there is always room for improvement and odd jobs that can be done. So, why not get the kids involved? Garden activities for kids are a great way to keep your kiddies happy but keep your garden in tip-top shape at the same time. Of course, there are some jobs that the kids can’t get involved in, like using machinery or sharp tools, but little odd jobs can all add up to improve the overall look and health of your lawn and general outdoor areas.

1. Planting!

Whatever the weather, there is potential to get outside in the garden and plant some seeds. You may think that now winter has arrived there is no hope for any sort of flower, vegetable or shrubbery to thrive but that is not the case. Taking kids shopping for seeds is an activity they will no doubt enjoy, or you can even use food scraps to reduce waste and grow your own veg for free! Some hardy trees, plants and vegetables that can survive even in freezing temperatures are evergreen trees, shrubs, grass, berry bushes, kale, spinach, beetroot, carrots, cauliflower and much more.

An important aspect of every garden (well, most) is the lawn, so why not get the kids involved in preparing the lawn for winter. Of course, using lawn mowers is not an option but you could get inventive and have a leaf collecting competition to see who can pick up the most or who can find the biggest or most colourful. Ideas like this might seem simple but are a free and easy way to keep your kids busy for hours, whilst also keeping your lawn in good health. Aerating your lawn by spiking small holes on its surface is another way you could all have a go, but with the kids using toy rakes which can be found in most kids gardening sets.

However, if you think your lawn might need a slightly heavier helping hand to get it through winter, you could get the professionals in. Greensleeves offer a range of year-round and affordable lawn care services, with guaranteed results. There’s nothing to say you couldn’t get the job started off with a seasonal winter lawn treatment from Greensleeves, then add little finishing touches with some garden activities for kids, as all their services are completely child-friendly.

2. Crafts and DIY!

The good thing about getting creative and doing some child-safe DIY, is that it doesn’t need to be done outdoors. There’s plenty of things that can be made indoors to add some colour or even functionality to your garden – lawn, plants and all.

You could create shelters or mini houses for animals, whether these be for birds, hedgehogs, toads, bugs or worms. Winter months are the perfect time to recycle some of your household waste, such as coffee cans, paint cans, old containers etc. and your kids can get messy and crafty (which of course they’ll love) whilst giving some lucky animals a place to hide from the cold! As well as keeping the kids happy while they’re making the shelters, they’ll no doubt be kept occupied for the weeks following too to check if their shelters are being used.

A really good idea which would help improve the quality of your garden and lawn, whilst also creating something that the kids can monitor and check up on, is a worm farm. Worms, although they may seem gross, play a super important role in your garden. To create a worm farm, use a cardboard box lined with a bin bag and soil. Then add a few worms, which should multiply if you give your children the fun responsibility of putting kitchen scraps in the soil regularly. Once your worm farm is alive and kicking you can even use the soil as compost to help the growth of your lawn or plants.

3. Planning!

Although this post has hopefully shown so far that there are plenty of garden activities for kids to be done no matter the season… sometimes it really is just too cold to take your kids outside without wrapping them in a thousand layers. All mums will know that getting a coat on a child is a struggle! Despite this, there is nothing saying that you can’t sit down with your kids and plan your future garden activities, for example, you could create a fun wish-list for your kids to tick off. As the famous saying goes… failing to prepare, is preparing to fail. You could book in some lawn care treatments, for example, at the start of each season, alongside seasonal garden activities for kids to keep your lawn in good health but with lots of colourful creations to compliment it!

If reading this post has inspired you to get creative in the garden with the kids but you like the idea of getting a professional treatment too, Greensleeves offer affordable lawn treatment services across the whole of the UK. Visit their website for a quick quote or to book in your own personal lawn assessment.

*Collaborative Post, all opinions are my own.

Finding that Perfect Dress for the Winter Party Season* Collaborative Post

The festive season is coming up fast, far too fast if I am honest! I was just starting to relish the autumnal colours and before I knew it the word "Christmas" was being thrown about!

 Usually Christmas comes with lots of parties and celebratory dinners. For these events you will want to dress up and get into the spirit of the occasion or at least have a go if you're anything like me sat with your mum bun! So, more of than not that means going online scouring the web for somewhere like Simply Be and putting together a great outfit that you can wear to several parties.

The fact that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are on the 23rd and 26th of November gives us the perfect opportunity to buy what you need at a bargain price, any chance of a bargain and I am there! Plus, if you do it now you will not be left running around frantically at the last minute (that old habit I have!). To get you started, I have had a quick look around and identified some great trends that you can tap into to quickly find your perfect winter party dress.

Choose a classic dress

Sticking with the classics is a particularly good approach, they don't go out of fashion and can hang about in your wardrobe for a while. These cuts look good on most women and the fact that they are timeless means you can easily wear them again and again.

Fortunately, these cuts are really easy to find this year. Most retailers have plenty of A-line, maxi, pencil and wrap dresses in their collections. If you are unsure of what the classic cuts are, just click here to find out and decide whether they are right for you or not.

Opt for a luxury fabric

Nothing says special better than a luxury fabric. If you wear a dress that is made from lace, velvet, silk or a nice shiny, metallic fabric people know that you have spent a bit of money on your outfit. Or, at least they think that you have. Although these days, it is relatively easy to pick up a nice lace, velvet or metallic dress for not much more than you would pay for an everyday one but it definitely makes you feel that little bit fancier!

The great thing about these dresses is that they hang really well. The fact that the fabric is relatively heavy is the reason for this. It also means that they are great for covering up any little bulges.

Choose a dress that is easy to accessorise

When shopping for your dress, choose one that you can easily accessorise. Doing this will enable you to create different looks and let you get plenty of wear out of your outfit.  It should also make it easier for you to wear it on an everyday basis once the parties are over instead of it simply sitting in your wardrobe gathering dust.

*This post is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own