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Helping an anxious child ease back into school routine

That’s a mouthful of a title, I know but I did feel it was important I wrote about the things that have helped Emma with her return to school anxiety.

Of course, first of all, an open and honest relationship with us, her parents is the most important. I have always encouraged Emma to speak about her worries and together we try to find solutions to what concerns her, be it a new teacher, playground squabbles or being on time in school but sometimes, I found that talking is the first step and extra assistance is needed.


So these are the things I have noticed that have helped in the last week and I thought I would share.

  1. Keeping busy before school with calming activities.

Emma was sent last week a beautiful parcel from Eat Sleep Doodle containing two pillow cases and a mini iPad case to colour in and have fun with. If you are new to the concept, these are high quality cotton products that come with wash out fabric pens, encouraging children to be creative and never worry about making a mistake while colouring in.

Emma has loved colouring in her seven wonders of the world pillow case each morning after breakfast and chatting to us about continents, special buildings and animals and I did find her much more relaxed going into school after a session of colouring in and nattering to us.

 There are many exciting items  that would appeal to children at Eat Sleep Doodle, I love the look of their doodle backpacks, aprons, placemats and especially the table cloth, how fun is that as a concept:



With prices starting at £10 for an iPad mini doodle case, the range is accessible to everyone and would be a very appreciated gift for all creative children out there!

                                                        2. Doing children’s yoga after school!

I was raised in church and for some reason, yoga had a bad name throughout my childhood and young adulthood and I never challenged those beliefs. But since losing Georgie, many of those beliefs got shifted and eliminated and since yoga had been mentioned by many grieving parents as a way to heal and release emotions, I decided to give it a go!

I joined in a yoga challenge at the beginning of the month and Emma showed a lot of interest in my exercises and seemed very keen to be part of it so when the following day, the new Cosmic Kids Yoga books landed in for a review, I took it as a positive sign.

Our review books @cosmickidsyoga

A photo posted by Mama's Haven (@mamashaven) on


Emma did two workouts since, following Jaime’s sensational videos on YouTube and loved every moment! I did sit with Emma and watched the programs myself and I loved how yoga poses have been adjusted and made into games by Jaime. Her two new books address important issues like finding one’s self-confidence and standing up to bullies but the workouts are perfectly adjusted to suit children’s physical abilities and emotional needs.

Emma loved her Frozen workout yesterday, fully recommend it to any fans of the movie! More importantly, she felt rejuvenated and relaxed afterwards, no afternoon slump nor any typical moodiness, amazing to see her coming into her own in such a way!

The workouts can be found on YouTube and are amazing! I admire Jaime’s passion and am grateful to her for such a great tool in growing children’s body strength and self-confidence.

The new books mentioned above will be released mid-September and will cost £8.99 on Amazon. They can be pre-ordered from now. I would recommend them as a parent and child workout, as some moves need modeled first and the story which goes with the exercise routine is better read by a grown up. Of course, for older children, they can be done individually, at one’s personal pace.

3. Worry Monsters: writing worries down before bedtime

I had heard about Worry Monsters from various sources, both from other fellow bloggers and from a local charity, called Angel Wishes, which works with children which have been affected by cancer, either personally or in a sibling.


The idea is quite simple: the child writes his or her worries on a piece of paper and places it into the monster’s mouth. The worry “disappears” overnight, as the parent removed the paper, and relieves the child of carrying the burden of that worry alone.

Emma got her Worry Monster as a gift from Angel Wishes last weekend and she did make use of it almost immediately. It was reassuring to see her pour her little heart out on paper and seeing her little face in the morning, when she discovered that the paper was no longer there and that she no longer had to worry about being late for school and so on.

The Worry Monsters sell on Amazon from £7.99 and are a great addition to the family.

Disclosure: we were gifted the books from Cosmic Kids Yoga and the items from Eat Sleep Doodle for the purpose of a review. The opinions expressed are truthful and entirely my own.



Luxury Autumn Items (for Mums, for once!)

I have literally just dropped Emma off to school and I think the most appropriate way to pass the first morning without her around (instead of missing her like crazy!) is to write about some of the lovely items I was sent to review, all appropriate for the cooler season approaching.

The first one I will mention here is my beautiful BKLYN fur bobble hat!

Part of their new Autumn-Winter collection 16/17, the hat oozes style and comfort from the word go. To the touch, it feels soft and the bobble, well, the bobble is simply addictive to touch! I am sat at my desk wearing it as I am writing this and it feel so cosy and snug, I simply wish it was winter already so I can wear it out in public!

Here are some nitty but anything but gritty details about the quality of the BKLYN hats:

Luxury Italian merino wool bobble hat, created from the finest quality wool and made and hand finished in England. Its softness and timeless elegance are just two characteristics that make this fabric so unique. Merino fibres are extremely fine, enabling them to bend far more than traditional, coarser wool fibres. This makes Merino wool feel soft and luxuriously gentle next to your skin and kind to your hair.

Last but not least thing I need to mention here is the little leather accessory on the front, how cute is that? This hat will definitely be an essential wardrobe sample for me this cold season and it makes the approach of cold days exciting!

I am also keeping my eyes peeled for the bag accessories the company is promising to release next week and I do hope to get a matching bobble to style my ride fully and completely this winter :-)!

So excited about my new luxury @bklynconcepts hat! Review coming up on the blog next week.

A photo posted by Mama's Haven (@mamashaven) on

The next product we have had the joy to road test these past few weeks are the Moccis. Okay, I am cheating on this one slightly, it was Emma who got a pair but they do come in mummy sizes and I am planning to get a pair for myself once the weather cools off.


If we were to go by the number of A-list celebrities (Victoria Beckham, Rita Ora, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer, Jamie Oliver) who have already fallen for the Moccis, then we would know we were onto something with these special slippers.

But don’t take only their word for it!

According to the website, the Moccis are, most importantly, podiatrist approved. Then, secondly, comes the reassurance of their ethical manufacture in Sweden; the highest quality wool being used ensures durability and them being hand-sewn gives them that all important human touch and unique detail.


But the most reliable perspective should be that of the product tester and well, Emma simply loves them! She is not one to wear slippers much and she has had a few nasty near falls down the steps due to slippery socks but the Moccis are different! She puts them on without any convincing on my side and, most importantly, keep them on until the evening! They are so comfy and ensure such a good grip that she actually forgets she has them on and can go out to play in the back garden in them.



 The last product I’ll be wearing proudly this coming season is my “Good Enough Mama” tote bag, from KemiKids.

KemiKids is the brain child of Yvonne, a brave mama whose blog evolved beyond the usual lamentations and ramblings of a stay at home mum,  into a wonderful support community for mothers everywhere and more recently, an online shop as well!

Yvonne’s tote bags are from suppliers who are members of the Fair Wear Foundation and The Global Organic Textile Standard.  Yvonne is passionate about giving mothers their salf-confidence back, through the strong messages on her bags. The money raised goes also to support the charity Yvonne holds close to heart, Reverse Rett.

The bags are beautiful, come in various colours and encouraging messages and are a totally affordable luxury at only £10!

Such a beautiful reminder to carry along with me in the form of a tote bag. Thank you @kemikids

A photo posted by Mama's Haven (@mamashaven) on

Disclaimer: we were sent the products above for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are truthful and entirely our own.

Caribbean Food Week 2016

Caribbean Food Week 2016

As you may know, we are a multicultural family: I am Romanian, Alex is Greek and Emma, well, she was born and is being raised in Northern Ireland.

We eat a large variety of foods, which include not only Romanian, Irish and Greek dishes but also Thai, Italian and many more.

We love trying new things so when Grace Foods UK approaches us about the Caribbean Food Week, offering us a food hamper to sample, we had to say yes!


This was the first time I cooked Caribbean food so I did a bit of research once the hamper arrived. Caribbean food is all about flavour, I found out! It is about slowly marinating your meat in jerk sauce, a wonderfully tangy mixture of herbs, spices, lime juice and soya sauce. It is about heart warming sides, like the rice and peas (actually black beans) I cooked, which had thyme, coconut milk and all spice in it, a delight on a plate, if you ask me! And Caribbean food is all about spices! My sweet potato and bean (I know, so nutritious!) curry had me in floods of tears but begging for more, nevertheless! My recipes came from the BBC Good Food website and were simple to follow and most importantly, relatively quick to make.

I enjoyed my food with cool from the fridge Jamaican ginger beer, which pleasantly offset the spiciness of the meal with its flavour. As I said, Caribbean food and drink is indeed, all about the taste!


Our hamper still has tonnes of treasures to be discovered in the weeks to come. There is the cock soup, which I will maybe use it as thick sauce for another Caribbean inspired curry. There is the tinned Callaloo, which is an equivalent to spinach and which would make a beautiful side dish to any marinated meat meal. And, of course, I am hoping that the good weather will last so we can have a BBQ and use the rich and flavoursome Jerk BBQ sauce. To diversity to Emma’s chicken nuggets, which have become a sample in our kitchen, I will maybe use a bit of the chicken fry mix for really crunchy chicken bites!

Have you tried Caribbean food before? Which dish is your favourite?

Disclosure: we were sent the food hamper for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own and truthful.

Back to school essentials

The summer has flown by, it seems and Emma is due back to school next Monday. This has been the first year when I have truly enjoyed the summer with her, she is a young girl now, no longer a baby who needs entertainment and attending to 24/7. She has come in leaps and bounds this summer, not only physically but also in her own self: more caring and understanding but also more confident and inquisitive about the world around her, which has been an absolute delight to see.


She will be going into Primary 3 (year 2 in England) and this year, unlike the summer before, I have been super prepared,  and bought her whole uniform from M&S at the end of June, taking advantage of their 20% off offer at the time.

I even got her shoes using the same offer, risky since her feet usually grow during the summer months more than at any other time, but it has proved a good move and they do fit nicely for now.

Last year, I loved our My Nametags uniform stickers and they did the job perfectly, so when the company approached us again about their new Mr Men and Little Miss range, we gladly agreed to another collaboration. I do recommend them, once again, despite their pricing. They do a stellar job, stick on easily and stay put for the whole year, never losing grip or colour. I used them on Emma’s school clothing, shoes, pencils and Twistables and I simply love the quality and designs.


Now, you would have thought that my job was done with all the above bought and neatly stored away, but when House of Fraser contacted me about back to school bags and accessories, I did realise we were still missing a few bits and bobs!

Again, I had managed to purchase Emma’s school bag in sales in June, it is a beautiful Joules one, with a matching lunch box, very much like the ones available on the House of Fraser website:

I_244969751_00_20160712I_245227966_00_20160712What I hadn’t thought about were the PE bag, which I wanted to be as stylish as her school bag, a pencil case for her Twistables and a new set of plastic lunch boxes to fit into her new Joules bag.

I had no trouble finding what I was looking for on the website. House of Fraser stocks up many of my favourite brands and in no time, I had exactly what I was looking for. Aren’t they simply gorgeous?


As always, communication and delivery were prompt and top quality. My items came at a bit more than £30, reasonable given both the practical and the cuteness factor! As with my every collaboration with House of Fraser, I never worry about the quality of my products either, since they do always tend to stock up reputable companies, with long established names, which provide excellent value for money.

Are your children starting school as soon as my Emma? Are you all ready for them going back?

Disclosure: we were offered the products mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and truthful.

Imaginary Adventures with Storytime Magazine

We are back from our travels but our adventures are far from being over for Emma.

In June, we were kindly offered the opportunity to review the Storytime children’s magazine and were sent several printed issues which we took with us to Greece.


I did not know if Emma would take to them since she has never shown a great interest in stories and myths before but I was so wrong!

The magazine offers a compact yet amazingly varied array of popular fairy and around the world tales, ancient myths and legends and fables along with short poems and rhymes and activities related to the magazine’s content.

If you think that is not enough, every month the magazine includes a short sample from a popular children’s book, we really enjoyed July’s The BFG and it really triggered Emma’s curiosity about the book and the new movie that had only been released. Emma is at the stage where her confidence as a reader is growing with almost new every page and book she reads and I believe it will not be long before she will be ready to tackle Roald Dahl’s book on her own and all thanks to the beautiful introduction to the book she had with Storytime!


Emma enjoyed the most reading the myths and legends section, especially since all the editions we had received had each a short Greek legend and it made her immediately connect with the country we were visiting and her Greek roots.

The Lost City of Atlantis tale lead to countless discussions with her daddy about Greek gods, the Mount Olympus, located so close to Thessaloniki, where we were located and hypotheses about the Bermuda triangle as the place where Atlantis could be located! To see Emma, who is only six, blossom in her inquisitiveness and interest in the past made us realise what a wealthy resource the magazine can be!

(I am also totally impressed, and I speak now with my teacher’s hat on, with their online teaching resources section and wish I was teaching currently so I can use all those amazing resources with a class!)

But the best adventure we had thanks to the magazine was the visit to the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio. Unlike other children who at 6 would have found a visit to a historical place boring, Emma insisted on a visit and got extremely excited upon arrival.


She begged her daddy to read all the info that was available and asked numerous questions about the temple, its design and structure.


I am so excited to have reached this stage with her when she can appreciate the beauty of a place and its rich history. I look forward to more Storytime magazines and all the adventures they will lead us to, be them imaginary or real!


Disclosure: we have received a year’s subscription with Storytime. This review is the true reflection of the quality of the magazine and we warmly recommend it to anyone with school aged children.

P.S. – the magazine has a special offer at the moment, of four issues at half price and only £8 for the lot. What a wonderful incentive to get reading with your little ones!