#Morning Stories

I live with my heart split in two. I have two lives at the moment. One is a “normal”, day to day existence where I go shopping for clothes with my four year old and we share a bun in a coffee shop. The other one is the world of central lines and chemo treatment and tube feeds. The heart-breaking bit is that they are all for my wee baby who is not even four months old…

Days before Georgie was diagnosed, I signed up for the #MorningStories Challenge. Back then, the challenge would have been to get both kids dressed and ready by 8.45, in time to get Emma to playgroup! Oh, if I could turn back the time…

Now, the challenges are much more complex. I try not to think at the other side of my life while I am with one of the children. Try not to worry about them missing me and me missing essential tidbits of their daily existence. A smile, a gurgle, a picture being painted, a deep thought being expressed, anguish being released…

I have two of everything now. Two sweet children. Two toothbrushes, one home, one in the hospital bag. Two pyjama bottoms. Two hair baubles, one in my bedside table drawer, one in my back pocket. And sometimes, two breakfasts. And sometimes none.

The other day the nurses were too busy prioritising the emergencies and had no time for me and my silly need for cereal and milk. So I was glad I had brought some of the BelVita breakfast biscuits with me, they saw me through the morning until things settled down and I got my milk. The lovely ladies at BritMums also sent me a Costa gift card which I will be putting to good use one of these rainy mornings, while baby is busy with the play therapist.

This post is an entry for the #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at www.facebook.com/belVitaUK.

I am planning a big party once this ordeal is over and my baby home. If I win one of the 10 £100 John Lewis vouchers awarded I will put it towards our celebration of being together again!

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Tommee Tippee Sangenic Plus Nappy Wrapper Tub – A Review

I was over the moon when I was contacted by the lovely folk at BabiesRUs and informed that our application to become a babyologist family has been successful!

The first product we got to try out and review was the Tommee Tippee Sangenic Plus Nappy Wrapper Tub. Bang on, I thought since I had a baby 12 weeks ago and there is definitely a lot of nappies being disposed of at the moment in our household!

 

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The moment we received the product on the post I was a bit surprised to find it so light. As a “nappy disposal system” I expected something sturdier but it was actually a plastic bin with a film inside meant to wrap around and completely isolate the offensive smells emanating from the disposed nappies. I decided to put it to the test immediately. I found the system easy to use, the film is meant to be tied and secured inside so that the nappies don’t actually fall through. Easily done! Once the first dirty nappy was delivered that day, we enthusiastically placed it in the nappy tub and waited for a few hours to see if it does what it claims to be good at: actually isolate the smell! I was a bit disappointed to find my bathroom smelling foul a few hours later when I went to dispose of the next nappy and decided to remove the nappy and put it in the bin outside.

I would recommend the system as a bin where you can dispose of wet nappies mainly. If you live in an apartment and don’t have the easy option to dispose of offensive nappies right away, I would recommend it, on condition that it is emptied at the end of the day/every 24 hours max!

I am sorry that my first review for BabiesRUs hasn’t been as positive as I would have liked. I hope the next product we get to try would be better :-)

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My Trusty Little Sunflower Cream-A review

Sunflower CreamHands up if you have an obsession with hand cream,like I do?

It started when I was a teenager, reading all those glam magazines and realising that my skin needs hydration and that it will continue to look young if I take proper care of it.

It continued in my adulthood when my thyroid started playing up, leaving my skin feeling dry, especially during winter and spring months. And then, my collection of hand creams, body lotions and milks continued to grow, to the point that now, there is always a tube in every bag I own and a pot in every bathroom(we have three in this house), on the kitchen sill and a couple of “emergency” ones in the bathroom cupboard, for the unlikely situation of me ever running out of hand cream :-)

So you can imagine my reaction when I was offered the opportunity to review My Trusty Little Sunflower Cream. I had no hesitation saying yes and was very curious to try it out since it came with high praise.

You see, the cream has been used in the NHS system(more precisely in the Salisbury hospital) for a while now and has been designed specifically with skin patients in mind. It contains sunflower oil(hence the name!), aimed to help replace essential fatty acids and leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft. I have no skin conditions but people with dermatitis swear by its efficacy.

What did I think of it?

I chose the lavender version and was pleasantly impressed with the subtle smell and velvety feel. It did leave my hands feel soft, although be it a bit greasy, so try applying it on the back of your hands rather than on the whole surface, especially if you drive.

At £11.99 per 250 ml dispenser, it would be a bit on the dear side but considering the fact that ALL proceeds go to the NHS, so hopefully, back to our care, it is a fair deal.

If I got your interest and want to give it a go, head to their official website and have a look for yourselves.

 

Dotty Stripes: A Class Eco-Friendly Product Review

032Back in January, the lovely Ania from Dotty Stripes offered us a baby blankie to review. From the moment we started emailing, I could tell she was one of a kind girl, dedicated to do one of a kind things!

My intuition proved right when the blankie arrived. A high quality, fair-sized unique linen creation, which I will sure use to cover and comfort my baby way into his toddler years! Yes, you read right, the blankies are all unique as they are ordered and manually created in Poland in a small enterprise run by her family.

I love the linen used to make them, soft to touch, cool for warm days and toasty for winter nights.

But most of all, I admire Ania’s dedication to product quality, craftsmanship and ingenuity. In a world where all is ready-made and factory-produced, and where everybody’s priority is the price but not necessarily the quality, people like Ania and their commitment to produce high-quality, organic products are rare.

So why don’t you have a look at her brand new site and give her some love (and more importantly, place some orders!) to encourage her on the way?

Sterimar Congestion Relief – Review

Spring usually brings longer and warmer days, tree blossoms but, unfortunately, for our family, it usually means stuffed noses and sniffles…This spring has been no different, with hubby constantly exhausting the tissue box supply and Emma bringing in all sorts of nasties from playgroup. Even as I write this, she is down with an ear infection, bless her!

You can imagine anything that can bring relief  to the situation is highly welcomed, so my excitement was justified when we were offered the chance to review the Sterimar products. I got really excited knowing that of all the congestion relief products available on the market at the moment, Sterimar would do no harm to either my baby nor to my ever-so-health-conscious hubby since it is 100% natural sea water, hence the name!

Hubby was actually over the moon when he realised what Sterimar Congestion Relief was as it reminded him of his home country, Greece and the sea dipping Greek people do when they have a cold, since they believe the salty water clears mucus naturally and relieves congestion. He tried it for a couple of evenings and reported clear airways, a big deal for him when it comes to a good night sleep.

Baby has been sniffling and coughing too these past few days. I have used only Sterimar Baby on him, at the doctor’s recommendation. I love the fact that Sterimar Baby can be used from birth, since it has no chemicals that could harm your baby. A big plus for me is that fact that it has a long and slim tube what can be inserted easily into tiny noses, I remember when Emma was a baby how difficult it was to put drops of any kind into her nose due to cumbersome devices. It is also a spray, which means you can hold your baby upright while using it, reducing the stress and the discomfort of both baby and mother!

You can find both Sterimar Congestion Relief and Sterimar Baby in Boots and most pharmacies across the UK or you can order it online.

For the purpose of this review, we were offered both products free of charge. We highly recommend them!

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Hotel Chocolat: Easter Range Review

So we got very lucky and we were approached by Hotel Chocolat with the request to review some of their Easter range products, to the delight of my Emma, who is an absolute chocolate addict!

If you have lived somewhere in isolation and don’t know much about Hotel Chocolat, let me give you a brief introduction: it is a small enterprise that started 20 years ago out of passion for quality and ethics. Their chocolate is home-grown, so to say, by small producers in Saint-Lucia and Ghana. The business has slowly but steadily expanded to comprise its own unique plantation hotel and restaurant and has reached the States from 2011. Their motto is: “less sugar, more cocoa” which reassures me, as the mother of an avid consumer of chocolate :-)

The Easter range has great options for every taste and budget.

I was seriously tempted by their Easter Pick Me Up Gift Bag as it offers a selection of 6 White Praline Bunnies, 6 Salted Caramel Egglets, 4 Raspberry Zinger Egglets. For a lover of white chocolate and for sharing with friends and family, this would have been ideal!

easter-pick-me-up-2014Another great temptation was the Splat Egg Caramel, as I love caramel as well :-)

the-splat-caramel-chocolate-easter-eggBut in the end, I decided to please Emma and went for the Big City Easter Bunny as it was the most appropriate selection for a child her age. Needless to say, it was devoured in less than half an hour and I had a very pleased little girl int he house for the rest of the afternoon :-)big-city-easter-bunnySo if you are struggling to find a Mothers’ Day or an Easter present for your loved ones, why don’t you head over to Hotel Chocolat‘s website to face the temptation yourself  check out their range?

Princess dreams: A Disney Costume Review

If you were to meet my Emma, you would know within five minutes that she is a girlie girl and that she LOVES Disney princesses and everything remotely connected to the subject. She even has a hierarchy of favourite Disney princesses, it involves, obviously, “Elsa and Anna, then Pocahontas, then Mulan, then Cinderella“, she would tell you.

So it came to no surprise to us when she started asking for a Cinderella dress to complete her collection. I can’t even remember when her imagination was stirred towards a new dress and the pretend play that it entails but I know she had been asking for it for a while when I was contacted by the lovely people at www.joke.co.uk, with the proposal to review one of their fancy dresses. They do have an extensive range, both for grown-ups and children, but you guessed, my mind was made already and the choice was simple: I picked a Cinderella dress for my Disney loving girl within minutes!!

The reason it took us forever to get Emma a Cinderella dress was, to be honest with you, the price and the quality of the products on offer! With the Disney store selling the gowns for a whooping £50 per piece, we were holding on, hoping to get something more reasonable. We tried Tesco’s but the quality was poor and I knew Emma would put a hole through it before the first…ball, so to say :-).

On the other hand, I was very pleased with the quality of the dress we received to review, the stitching seems durable and the Cinderella image not the sort that will wash off the first time I put it in the washing machine. Pricewise, the gowns are reasonable, slightly more expensive than the Tesco’s ones but the £3 difference is definitely justified by the better quality. Definitely, much better value than the Disney store ones, our Cinderella gown sells for only £13.99 on the website! The delivery was prompt and the service excellent, I need to add!

So if you have a bit of Irish blood in your veins and fancy celebrating in style for Saint Patrick’s, why don’t you head over and have a look at their fun and funky range? There is something for everybody and I am sure there will be things to tickle your fancy and catch your eye :-).

Here is a picture of my very happy Cinderella, in her new gown:

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Mini iPad cover review

Finally, new post on the blog, the last week has been a bit rough and I have barely found time to eat, let alone blog. But I do miss it so and I am glad to be back with a couple of cracker products to review!

I was sent TWO mini iPad cases in the last couple of weeks to review. I found both brilliant, easy to use and visually pleasing but they are certainly aimed at a different age group clientele.

The first one was sent to us by Mr Nutcase. We were actually given a voucher code in order to redeem a free mini iPad case of our choice and offered free postage as well. Since it was just before Valentine’s, I decided to go for the Heart Confetti, Mini Ultra Light Weight Slimline Case. The Ultra Light cases retail at £19.95 and as I mentioned above, postage is free. I was impressed with the fact that the order was processed within a few hours and the cover was on its way before the end of the day. I loved the smooth feel and the screen protector that came with it but I was very nervous letting Emma using the iPad since there was no front cover and she could have easily dropped it as she was walking about the house with it. Definitely the case for young professionals, teenagers who look after their stuff and generally, child-free households.

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The second case we were offered, the KUJALI Classic iPad Mini Cover,  is by far my favourite for a score of reasons:

1. It is the sturdiest iPad case I have seen on the market.  All four corners are safely protected by a tough PC shell and an additional layer of silicone to give you the peace of mind,extremely necessary when entrusting your gadgets to small children! The external, stylishly sleek black leather case, with a velvety red interior, will not make you feel awkward when using it out and about as it certainly does not scream “kiddy iPad cover” as you would fear from a child-friendly product. We were actually amazed with my husband by how sturdy the case looks and we were tempted to shock test it. We resisted the temptation, obviously :-)

2. As you maybe remember from previous posts,I have a heart for children in difficulty and children less fortunate than my own and this was one of the reasons I wanted to review the KUJALI case. The founder of the company, Marc Day, thinks within the same charitable lines and has committed that for every case sold, the company will donate a mosquito net or a life-saving treatment to protect a child in Africa from malaria. Now, this is definitely another good reason to buy the case, knowing that your purchase will make a life of a difference to a child in need!

3. The case sells reasonably on Amazon for £26.99, half of its initial retail price, making it, in my opinion, the best deal in terms of quality vs. price mini iPad case on sale.

4. The case is versatile enough to allow both children and grownups to use it safely and stylishly!

Kujali iPad Case

 

 

Neuner’s: teas for new mothers and babies

As a Romanian, I am well aware of the benefits of herbal teas for lactating mothers and colicky babies. My mum actually had on the post for me even before baby was born but I was delighted when I saw another fellow blogger reviewing similar teas, available now to breastfeeding mummies in the UK!

Neuner’s is worthy company which is now distributing 100% natural and organic nursing and baby stomach ease teas.

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Product Review: Jasinski, a shop with a difference

imageGuys and gals, as you may know, I am a stay at home mum since the beginning of the summer. Hubby works extremely hard to not only provide the necessities but to ensure we have above and beyond. For which I am grateful. But also have felt guilty over for ages.

So at the end of this summer I decided to give blogging a real go. I have had this blog for the past two years nearly but I was using it mainly as a form of release. Then, in September, I decided to use it as a source of income. To supplement what hubby brings in. And more importantly, to feel worthy and useful as a partner and mummy.

I was thrilled when, approaching lovely Dorota from the ethical Jasinski for a review opportunity, she agreed to send over a couple of products for the children to try. The excellent service didn’t stop here though. Dorota was in contact several times, giving me an option of organic material, pattern and product.

When the leggings arrived(we received two pairs, one for big sis and one for little man), I was delighted with the soft feel, the quality of the stitching and the colours. Emma wanted to change into hers straight away and made point of wearing them proudly for several days.

I admire people like Dorota, who in the middle of a consumerist and as cheap as you can get society still believe in quality products, work and ethical sourcing.

Please give her some love by visiting her online shop:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/jasinskishop

And do follow her on Twitter @Jasinskishop and support a rare bread of clothes ‘producers who still believe in craftsmanship and quality.

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