Tips For Getting Back Into Shape After Having A Baby

Getting back into shape after having a baby is possible. If you’re wondering whether your body will ever return to normal, take a look around you at all the other mums that have managed it. Your body will do a lot of the restoration itself. However, you’re also going to need to put in a little extra work and effort if you want a postpartum body to die for. Before you take any drastic measures it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by your doctor. Once you’ve got the all clear you can get things underway with the following tips.

Try to do Things as Naturally as Possible
It is possible to regain some of your figure naturally, although you will need to be patient as it won’t happen overnight. Your body will have undergone a lot of changes in the last nine months, and it will take a while for it to recover. Your uterus, for example, takes around six to eight weeks to get back to normal, and it takes more than a month to rid your body of the excess water. Try and get into a sleep routine with your baby and develop a regular sleeping habit, so you’re not so tired and tempted to reach for high sugar and high calorific snacks when you need an energy boost.

Exercise Whenever Possible
Exercising may be the last thing on your mind after having a baby, but don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about it. Your body’s not going to be ready for serious exercise anyway until at least six weeks after giving birth. One thing to note is that incontinence after birth can occur due to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Start slow, therefore, with pelvic floor exercises. These are vital but do not panic if you find that you need to rely on incontinence underwear. Adult underwear is nothing to be embarrassed about, and with adult pull-ups readily available, you can find the best pullups for you in the days following the birth if this is something you require.

Eat Healthy, Well-Balanced Meals
There is a secret formula, and it’s one that will see you through the rest of your life if you want it to. You should eat well-balanced meals that include protein, carbohydrates and a little-unsaturated fat. It should include vegetables, fruit, and whole-grain products. Keep sweet and salty snacks to a minimum and avoid eating large amounts of cheese and fat-marbled meats.

Breastfeeding your baby 
If you can, try to breastfeed your baby as it can burn a staggering 500 to 700 calories a day. For many women, this means they will be able to increase their calorie intake and still lose weight. Just remember that when the breastfeeding stops or becomes less frequent, you will need to adjust your calorie intake accordingly. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself piling on the pounds.
It is possible to regain your figure after giving birth. The important thing to remember is not to be too hard on yourself. Those extra pounds and tired and worn out muscles are going to need time to disappear and recover. Push yourself too hard, and you’ll be doing more harm than good. Encourage your partner to get in tip-top shape with you, as you’ll be more likely to stick with the healthier habits if you do it together.

- This is a PR collaboration.


Back To School Fun With Learning Resources - Review & Giveaway

Noah starts school in just a matter of days and I still can't seem to get my head around it! It's such a huge milestone in his childhood and I suppose I can no longer call him my baby? He's totally ready for school now, although he's still a little nervous about it. Thankfully, a lot of wonderful brands have wanted to collaborate with us on numerous back to school campaigns, which I think has helped to keep him busy him and has made him so much more excited about it too.

Learning Resources were the latest brand that wanted to work with us in the run-up to back to school, which of course delighted us as they are already a much-loved name in our house. Having worked with them in the past and having bought their toys, I can say that their products are one of a kind, and amazing! We're always excited to see what they'll release next.

We were sent two products from a selection they recommended, as they are perfect for children who are about to start school. The first product being the AlphaBee, which allows children to play and learn both at home and on the go! 

AlphaBee contains 40 different tiles (26 letter tiles, ten number tiles and 4 shape tiles) and 3 double-sided activity cards. The letter tiles feature uppercase on one side and lowercase on the other. The activity cards encourage different ways to play and learn. The plastic case itself features spaces for tiles to fit into to avoid movement when travelling and keeps everything in an orderly fashion. The case features an easy to open and close latch and a carry handle which is just the right size for little hands.

Alphabee is a great way to encourage a variety of key early learning skills such as; the alphabet, letter recognition, basic spelling, counting, number recognition, shape recognition and more. Noah isn't one to sit and learn the traditional way and prefer to learn through play so products like the AlphaBee are perfect for him. He's enjoyed spelling out his name, with correct casing and likes to sound out each letter as he goes. AlphaBee is suitable for children between the age of 2-6 and retails at £18.00.

The Pretend & Play Original School Set is just the ticket for getting prepared for school. It's a great way for children to gain a little confidence and familiarity before school through role play. It also helps develop early speech and language skills and letter and number recognition.

The Pretend & Play Original School Set folds up into a handy case, perfect for classrooms on the go! It features a double-sided map of the UK and Europe, a calendar, a whiteboard, school clock, stickers, pupil scoreboards, certificates, note paper and various worksheets. Also included is a dry wipe pen, whiteboard eraser, mini classroom bell and two pencils. It really does contain everything you need for being a teacher or student.

I'd have loved this as a child as I was always playing teachers, although my classroom and equipment was make-believe! Noah loves it too and has been playing teacher whilst myself, Daddy and Ava are the children! It's been wonderful to incorporate this set into everyday play, right before he starts school himself. The Pretend & Play Original School Set is suitable for children aged 3-7, with an RRP of £32.50.

Learning Resources have kindly agreed to let me give away one of these wonderful set's here on the blog. How would you like to win either AlphaBee or the School Set? To enter simply use the Gleam form below! Good luck and don't forget to enter my other blog competitions!

AlphaBee or The Pretend & Play Original School Set

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will choose one of the prizes mentioned above.
2. Winners details sent to the PR to arrange the prize. 
3. Competition ends 30/09/18.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only


Activities To Try With Your Kids During The Summer Holidays

Keeping kids entertained can often seem like a tough task, and often, it is! Depending on their attention span and areas of interest, it sometimes can be difficult to keep them occupied. However, being the super parent that you are, you’re likely always on the prowl for opportunities to wow them as well as things that they can get up to. The good thing is that if you’re ready to do a little research and look outside of conventional activities, there are so many things that kids can do which are both entertaining and educational. On that note, you’re going to find three activities that you should try with your kids below.

Attend a Sports Event
One of the first activities worth trying with your kids is attending a sports event. Although not every child has an athletic bone, many enjoy bright lights, high-energy and lots of excitement, so it’s something they might enjoy. You should, therefore, think about what sports event they would most enjoy whether it be a basketball game, a game of football, or even tennis. You can then visit ticketsales.com and see if they have any upcoming games happening in your area. Don’t forget to pack enough snacks along with you or set aside a budget to buy food at the game to keep their mouths busy.

Another activity that you could think about doing with the kids is volunteering at a charity or for a cause. It is a great activity for kids to partake in as they can begin to learn the importance of giving back to society from a young age. It can also be fun as you can choose a cause that interests them so that it’s something they’ll be more enthusiastic about. If, for instance, you know that they love animals, then perhaps get them to volunteer at an animal charity. Some benefits of volunteering include helping your health and wellbeing, improving confidence, and equipping them with life skills that they can use later on.

Create Something
It may sound vague but making something new with your kids is another activity to try. Doing something you’ve never done before is a way of gaining a new experience as well as helping develop their skills. For instance, you could consider building a rocket from scratch with the kids because that should be pretty fun! There are different ones that you could choose from which include a matchbox rocket, water bottle rocket, sugar rocket as well as a baking soda and vinegar rocket. In addition to this, you could also make a new dish, create a box for loose items, or customise a picture book.

As a parent, one of the most rewarding things that you can do is introduce your kids to new environments and hold their hand through new experiences. You should, therefore, make it a priority to get out of your comfort zone and look for ways to ensure they’re exploring and exposed to something new every so often. By doing so, you should see that their minds are expanding, and so is their view of the world around them.

- This is a PR collaboration.


Our Family Sleepover With Room To Grow

Can you believe it, Noah starts school next week! It's something I've written about a lot over the past couple of weeks and for good reason too. He's been showing a newfound interest in learning lately, trying to read and telling the time in particular, which I've been encouraging over the holidays. He's also really missing his friends from nursery and can't wait to be reunited with them when he starts school. School is such a big milestone in his childhood, one which I think he's ready for now.

We've packed so much into the summer holidays, it's been non-stop, but as September draws nearer we've begun to relax and take it easy. That doesn't mean the fun has to stop there as we received a very exciting parcel last week. To celebrate the long summer nights before school, Room to Grow sent Noah a box of goodies, perfect for a sleepover or two before the big day!

In his parcel was lots of items for him to enjoy during his sleepover; a big bag of popcorn, a share bag of Haribo, a space torch, an Orchard Toys mini-game and a DVD to watch! Noah was delighted to see what was inside and everything was a big hit with him, especially the sweets and mini-game! 

The Grey Star Original Snuggle Sac from Room to Grow was, of course, the key piece in the bundle, the perfect product to ensure a cosy and comfortable sleepover. Not only is it ideal for sleepovers, it's also great for camping, for holidays, for nightly use on your child's bed and for snuggling up with on the sofa with too. It's unbelievably soft, so much so that both kids insist on getting in it, no matter the time of day! The Snuggle Sac comes in a handy carry case and is machine washable. It's available in an array of different colours and patterns and retails at £50.00.

The kids loved our movie and game night, followed by a little sleepover! It was the perfect opportunity to have some quality family time and to relax after a very busy six weeks, right before school begins. 

- We were sent these products for the purpose of this post.

How To Decorate Your Babies Nursery

When you have a new baby on the way, you might want to get started with nesting by starting to decorate your nursery. There are a lot of things that you need to consider like the cot that you are going to use, the colour scheme and the feeding station. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the things that you should think about when you are decorating your nursery. Keep reading to find out more.

The Colour Scheme
This is often the thing that people stress about the most when it comes to decorating the nursery. If you already know the gender of your baby, then you might have a colour scheme picked out already. If you are waiting until the birth to find out, then you might have a bit of a harder job. Of course, the colour is not as important as you might think but if you want to stay neutral then you could paint the room yellow or green.

The Feeding Station
Another important consideration that you need to make is about the feeding station that you are going to have in your nursery. Whether you are planning on breastfeeding or feeding from a bottle, you should have somewhere comfortable to sit while you are doing so. Think about getting yourself a rocking chair or a comfortable seat. This will make spending time in the nursery a lot more enjoyable for you.

If you want to be able to relax while you are feeding or looking after your new baby, then you should think about making the room as relaxing as possible. To do this, you should add some art like the prints available from Fine Art America's nursery collection. These will keep you relaxed and give you something to look at when your baby is asleep in your arms. You will love your new piece of art and your baby might even when they are a bit older.

The Ceiling
Ever wonder what your baby is going to do when it is lying on its back all the time? Why not decorate your ceiling in the nursery in order to give your baby something to look at. A lot of people choose to get a baby mobile, but you can get creative with this one and add some stars or something arty to your ceiling. Your baby will love lying there looking at it as they fall asleep.

Get A Wardrobe
Your baby might only be a small person, but they are going to have a lot of clothes. This is why you need to get a wardrobe or some sort of clothing system for them. They are going to go through a lot of clothes and you will need to be able to find the ones that fit them and be able to put aside those that don’t. If you get a system in place sooner rather than later, it will help you out a lot.

- This is a PR collaboration.


Home Décor Trends That We Really Need to Forget

Just like fashion, interior design trends come and go. And just like fashion, some of the trends we can look back on and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’ So which home décor trends should never see the light again?

Creating a stylish, comfortable home is something we strive to achieve. But there are times when the home décor trends seemed like a good idea at the time. Thankfully, there are some trends and timeless pieces such as Sloane and Sons tub chairs that never date nor does they cast an embarrassing shadow over your choices of the past. What should you avoid? And what home décor trends could you tweak to enjoy once again. Take a walk down memory lane with this decade by decade tour.

The end of the first World War saw designers and homeowners reaching for colour and anything sparkly. It was a time of unfettered glamour, a chance to mask the horrors of what had just past and a chance to mask those that were yet to come. Thing an overly busy patterned living room at Grandma’s and you have a taste of the overly-flower-horror that was the 1920s.

The recession bit hard in America and Britain started to feel the effects too. Thus, the less flowery and glamourous a home was styled, the better. The name of the game was utilitarian thus, the black and white tiled bathroom, brought inside for the first time in the majority of homes was born. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Vary the pile pattern and size and you have a bathroom that is stylish and modern, but just remember as you laze in the tub that this style was born in the 1930s. It was also the decade flat-pack furniture and mass-produced items really came to the fore too. Although this meant many ‘ordinary’ people could afford items, it also gave rise to anonymity when it came to style.

With the Second World War leaving its mark on the population and its psyche, we once again turned to colour. Thankfully, the blousy baroque feel of the 1920s didn’t return but gave us cheap, bright, colourful gingham instead. And patterned, brightly coloured linoleum which was everywhere – the floor, upholstered stools, worktops, table tops, you name it…
This carried on into the next decade by all accounts with the horrendous Formica dining sets gracing every kitchen across the land. However, it was the decade that gave us mid-century modern, a design that is still in vogue today.

The decade of free love gave us a design howler in the shape of wood cladding on every wall, ceiling and surface that it could be fixed to. Left in its natural wood state, the result was even in an open plan living space, a sense of claustrophobia for most of us. Thankfully, it was balanced by the rather chic appearance of bold, psychedelic colour acting as an accent.

In the 21st Century, we have developed an addiction to everything avocado although this is more about dips and spreading on toast. Back in the decade of the super-wide flared trouser, the love affair with avocado extended to everything avocado coloured. This included the bathroom furniture – we have all seen the green bath with matching basin and loo – along with kitchen cupboard doors. The only thing that balanced it out – if you can call it that – was the start of our love affair with wicker furniture, including those lovely fan backed chairs.

It was a decade that gave us floral wallpaper, the likes we have seen again recently, with swirls of flowery branches hiding birds and gilded cages. But, there was a downside in the shape of dark (very dark) glossy (very glossy) wood. Dark wood dining tables graced most dining room, with the darkness emphasised and compounded by sideboards and bookcases.

Beige, beige and yet more beige, the 1990s cast off every colour other than a light shade of ream. Which was fine but boring, especially when this neutral palette was everywhere, in every room. The remaining trends weren’t that much more exciting, although the minimalist style was a welcome change to the floral patterns of the previous decade.

21st Century
So far we’ve had the industrial look – now considered passé although some people are sticking with it – chevron patterns with lighting shaped like Edison bulbs. What other faux pas could this century bring? But what iconic style could it leave us with?

- Wrote in collaboration with Sloane & Sons who believe in bringing the best styles to their customers when it comes to seating, with timeless designs that fit every home.


Back To School With Ju-Ju-Be - Giveaway

If you read the blog or know us personally then you will know that Noah starts school in September. It's such a huge milestone and one that neither of us was ready for at the start of Summer. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we feel totally different and are both so excited for the new chapter in our lives. We went to buy his school uniform and school shoes this weekend and it's made everything feel more real! There are just two weeks until my little Noah starts school! To mark the occasion I'm teaming up with Ju-Ju-Be to give away a fab back to school bundle! 

Ju-Ju-Be create the most gorgeous bags, for every occasion, there are nappy bags through to clutch bags to choose from. Not only are they possibly the most stunning bag's you'll ever come across but they are also so functional too. I was sent the 
B.F.F changing bag earlier this year and I've used it every day since! It's been abroad with me, taken for trips out to the beach, everywhere and it still looks brand new! I think this speaks volumes when it comes to the brand.

So, how would you like to win everything you see in the photo above? The prize includes; a Mini Be backpack, a set of Be Snacky bags and the Be Set, all in the fantastic World of Warcraft, March of the Murlocs design! This bundle is worth a whopping £108 and is perfect for back to school. 
To enter simply use the Gleam form below. Good luck and don't forget to enter my other blog competitions!

Ju-Ju-Be Bag Bundle worth over £100

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will the prize mentioned above.
2. Winners details sent to the PR to arrange the prize. 
3. Competition ends 23/09/18.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only


Top Family Destinations To Visit While Your Kids Are Young

Children grow up far too quickly; before you know it, they’re planning their own holidays with their friends! While they’re young enough to still want to go on holiday with you, you’re going to want to make the most of the experience. Here in the UK, that’s never been easier, and if you’re struggling to think of places where you can keep the kids entertained while having a good time yourself as well, then these top picks might just be perfect. Take the children here before they get too old, and you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

Get bewildered in Bewilderwood
Just on the outskirts of Wroxham, Norfolk, this 50 acres of woodland is the perfect solution for those looking for a holiday destination that isn’t all theme parks and heavy spending. There might not be any rides in Bewilderwood, but what there is, is a lot of outdoor fun! Your little ones can be off climbing trees, building dens, traversing across rope bridges, and relaxing in specially built treehouses. If you get the timings right, you could even visit during one of the seasonal events, with both Halloween and Easter being the perfect time to visit Bewilderwood. Perfect for children of all ages, the younger ones will enjoy the puppet shows and storytelling programs, while your teens might prefer the treetop adventures or the range of zip wires.

See the World in Cornwall
Cornwall is a great destination at the best of times, but if you want to entertain and educate your children, then it’s worth checking out the Eden Project. With its unique design which makes it appear to be some futuristic alien landing site, the interior is full of flora and fauna from around the world. You and your children can stroll through a tropical rainforest one minute, before experiencing the Mediterranean heat as you walk by vineyards. With activities and tours for children of every age, the Eden Project has something for everyone. If any of your family are adventurous enough to brave the zip line, then remember that you do have to pay extra for this. Travelling to Cornwall can be very slow if you’re using public transport, so it’s worth looking at cheap car rentals before you start buying train tickets. You can reduce your travel time even more by staying at the onsite hostel and campsite, making the experience even more rewarding.

Getting wet in Northumberland
It feels like the largest adventure playground in the world, and it’s not too far off being exactly that! The Kielder Water and Forest Park have Europe’s largest human-made lake, and it’s surrounded by a stunning 250 square miles of natural forest. This means that you will certainly not run out of things to do, and your children are going to be overwhelmed by the options. Water skiing and mountain biking are popular favourites, but with horse riding and miles of hiking as well, the list of things to do will make it easy to keep everyone entertained. Don’t try and cram everything into one day, and make sure that on the evening you check out the Kielder Observatory, where you can stun your little ones with the sights of the universe.

If you’re limiting your family holiday plans to the nearest theme park, then you’re missing out on some of the most fun things there are to do in the UK. Tailor your holiday to the ages of your children, and they might have such a good time that they never want to go on holiday without you!

- This is a collaborative post.


Living Arrows #6 - Jumping In Muddy Puddles

How strange is it, going back to dreary weather after months of warmth and sunshine? It's now back to jeans, fluffy coats and winter hats and the heatwave already feels like a distant memory! I took this week's Living Arrow photo's on a quick walk one evening before bed. Ava wasn't suited and booted for jumping in muddy puddles (those shoes and trousers took a lot of scrubbing afterwards) but as soon as she spotted that puddle it just had to be jumped in! I couldn't say no to her because let's face it, puddle jumping is a right of passage for little ones! They cannot resist a puddle!

Living Arrows


Tips To Help You Through Pregnancy

So, you’ve found out that you’re pregnant and are starting to get ready for your new life as a parent. This is an exciting time that you will remember for the rest of your life as you prepare to bring a whole new life into the world. During this time, there are lots of things to think about for your baby, but you need to make sure you take care of yourself too as, after all, your body in your baby’s new home. In this article, you will learn some helpful tips for staying healthy and safe during your pregnancy so you can keep both you and your baby in tip-top condition.

Keeping healthy
Now that your body is also the home to your new child, you will need to make sure you are getting all the additional nutrients needed, and finding the right food to eat when you're pregnant is a must. Your body will need between 350 to 500 extra calories a day to take care of the two of you and you need to find a healthy and manageable way to do this. A food group you should really investigate is Legumes, which include foods like lentils and chickpeas. This food group gives you extra protein, fibre, and calcium which are essential to have when carrying your baby. Another food you should consider is sweet potatoes as these are packed with beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A in your body. A great way to get motivated is to look up what foods you need to eat and then find recipes that make them tasty treats.

How to get active when pregnant
When you are pregnant, it can be hard to exercise or stay active in general because movement can become painful as your pregnancy progresses and the weight you are carrying gets heavier and more of a strain on you. There are, however, lots of ideas on how to work out while carrying your baby that won’t overwork you and can specifically target problem areas. For example, if you have shoulder and neck pain, an easy exercise is to do is a thoracic stretch and you can find many solutions to the pain problems of pregnancy online.

Dealing with the doctors
When you’re in the hospital, be it having a check-up or going into labour, you are putting all your trust and hopes into the hands of the doctors that are helping you. It is something you hopefully won’t have to face but there is always a possibility that a case of medical negligence can occur which is especially bad when it is not only you that is affected but also your baby. The Medical Negligence Experts can help you find justice should such an event occur so you can have some peace of mind no matter what happens.

Having a baby is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to you and now you know how to get through pregnancy, you can get on with planning your new life as a family.

- This is a collaborative post.


Vampirina Bootastic Backpack & Spooky Scooter Set - Review

I still can't get my head around the fact that Noah starts school in September! I honestly don't know where the past four and a half years have gone and I'll admit that I'm in denial about the whole thing! Noah's a little nervous about starting school so I decided not to bleat on about it during the holidays, but instead, read books and play games which are in connection to starting school. With that plan in action, you can imagine that I was delighted when we were sent the Vampirina Bootastic Backpack and Spooky Scooter Set to review.

Noah is a huge fan of Vampirina, so am I actually! It's a delightful show, one which has great family values and kind messages throughout, which I think is hard to find these days. He also loves figures, so he was very excited to open the Spooky Scooter Set. There are two Spooky Scooter sets to collect, Vampirina and Gregoria and Poppy and Wolfie. We received the Poppy set which we were really pleased about as we already have a Vampirina figure from a past reviewBoth sets come with a figure, scooter, attachable skateboard and a spooky friend. 

Poppy and Wolfie look just like they do in the cartoon, They are made of a 
sturdy and durable plastic, which I just know will stand the test of time. Noah couldn't wait to play with them. The Poppy figure is decent sized and articulated, which makes the figure engaging and great for role play both on and off the scooter. Noah likes pushing Poppy around on the scooter, watching Wolfie follow right behind on the skateboard. With the figures being removable the kids also like to play as standalone figures too. The Spooky Scooter Sets are suitable from 3 years old and retail at the very reasonable price of £11.99. 

Next, we have the Bootastic Backpack set which is just the ticket to practice for back to school. Eight pieces are included with this set; the backpack, light and sound pendant, sunglasses, a pair of bat wing hair clips, keyring and 2 sheets of stickers. 

Noah was the most excited about the backpack itself and couldn't wait to open it up and to keep all his Vampirina goodies safe and sound inside. I have to admit, it's a winner with me too because it keeps everything nice and tidy! It looks just like Vampirina's rucksack and the accessories really help children to play the part.

The light up pendant necklace is very popular with the kids. They both love to wear it, then like to press it to see it light up and replay Vee's popular quotes. It is quite fiddly to put on though, Noah is 4 but needs me to help him with it. The bat wing hair clips are a nice addition for when they want to look like Vampirina, but wouldn't stay in either Noah or Ava's hair. I think it would've been a better idea to have them on a headband instead to avoid this issue. The sunglasses and keyring are awesome and are currently stashed away nicely in the Bootastic Backpack with the rest of the accessories. The Bootastic Backpack is suitable from 3 years and retails at £24.99.

I think these new Vampirina toys from Flair are fantastic and a welcome addition to their existing range. They'd make great back to school gifts for either your child or others. The Bootastic Backpack, in particular, would be an icebreaker, as it would catch the eye other Vampirina fans in the class, a lovely way to encourage friendship - just like in the TV show! Both toys are available now, online and in leading toy stores such as Smyths Toys.

- We were sent these products for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.