Askamum love my blog, ooo-errr how exciting!
I’ve always thought using all natural products is a lovely idea but never really delved much deeper than that and it wasn’t until the week before last when Jimmy and I visited the Weleda Institute in Ilkeston that I really understood why we should be using natural products, not just on our babies but on ourselves too! I had no idea about skin care products and what goes into them. I had presumed that if something said it was natural/organic then, well, it would be but it seems that with skin care, including that for our babies, unlike with food the standards are entirely different and they can be called natural and can be classed organic just if they have one product in them that is! The rest of course can just be utter pap! I also never realised that as a substitute for dearer oils paraffins are often used and really and truly, aside from acting as a barrier on the skin, they do nothing much else… A synthetic oil which sits on the skin is not moisturising or healing in any way. It’s just greasy! If you are wanting to stop an area from getting wet then it does the job well and can be used for treatments to provide that result but if you are after something to moisturise and heal or prevent then you really need a proper moisturiser with natural oils and shea butter or coco butter etc. You’d be surprised at the most famous brands of baby creams and what goes into them!
I had no idea that so many products, products I have reviewed and are specifically designed for babies or pregnant bumps contain things which you just really wouldn’t want on your child or your bump. I simply hadn’t paid any attention to that side whatsoever! When I reviewed Weleda’s stretch mark oil I said I thought it was a product which worked exceptionally well but I dwelled on the price which is higher than most on the market and it was because I didn’t understand why. Having been to the institute and visited the gardens where they grow, in house, most of their own products and spoken with their team of pharmacists, gardeners and management I can now see why this product is more expensive. Who else grows the natural ingredients themselves, refuses to buy any extra they may need from the open market because they won’t compromise their philosophy and practise what they preach? Who else, when reading the inky print on their packaging can honestly say that what they advertise is 100% what you get? Well let me tell you, not many!
I had an idea of what Weleda was in my head and it was all skewed. I thought it was a big international company and they certainly had some ethics but were probably like most other companies and nothing special. I hadn’t really put two and two together and realised that the herbal Arnica tablets my Doctor recommended for my terrible tear and infection after giving birth to Jimmy were made by the same company that made my stretch mark oil. I mean, I know he said Weleda and my friend bought me Weleda ones but I just didn’t think about it. I realised that the Arnica tablets helped. No end actually! They reduced the swelling for sure but I just didn’t think about who had made them and why they had worked so well. Having visited the institute, I know the reasons now. Weleda make things which work, are ethical, natural and which are researched by their team of scientists to within an inch. When they say something helps for hair loss, I don’t now think ‘really, bet it doesn’t’! I think, ‘yes, ok, what is it?’ The ingredients have been grown by John, the head gardener who retires at the end of next month but who has been with Weleda for 30 years and his small team of four. He showed me round his garden and I think I may now have a love of gardening (bit of a shame with no garden eh)! The meadows, the pond, the bees, fields, trees… He has a story and a reason behind each plant growing from nettles (which are essential for any garden) to the most well known of natural remedy plants (Echinacea, Camomile, Calendula etc). He explained how everything is harvested, what they do with them and why. It was simply fascinating.
Right now in the Weleda garden, the Calendula is ready for the picking (did you know one flower is not just one flower but hundreds of flowers?) and John showed me how to harvest before taking me back to the institute and teaching me how to make it into a tincture. I did this by hand, something which they do in the factory too when small batches are needed, it’s not all about machinery you know! Chopped and with organic alcohol applied it was then ready for making into a cream, well if we’d had time to leave it 10 days it would have been but luckily they had some they’d made earlier and one of their pharmacists to show me how! So, what’s added? I chose the natural oil of almond and shea butter. Other ingredients are also required, something to make it all bind together but everything they use is natural and there are no compromises with Weleda!
So, Weleda is a big international company, they have sister branches all round the world and they do share sometimes. Some things are only produced in certain countries for instance but if you buy Weleda in this country, chances are it will be a product which has been UK produced from start to finish. Check the packaging and see what the address says. You will always know when buying Weleda that it is the best possible product you could be buying and they are not just ethical with their products but with their whole company too which as a buyer makes it all the more appealing. Stepping into Weleda is like stepping back in time when companies cared about their employees and provided them with an environment which made them want to go back to work every day. Staff turnover is minimal and it’s easy to see why. They have an in house cook who prepares (knowing everyone’s dietary requirements) home cooked food daily and this is subsidised heavily by Weleda for each employee (they often use ingredients grown by the gardeners too). Everyone, regardless of position in the company, sits together in a big garden room overlooking beautiful grounds and eats lunch. The day I was there we had home made blue cheese quiche, stuffed mushrooms and salads followed by a giant home made Victoria sponge and cherry scones… It’s a wonder the staff aren’t all the size of houses! They all looked happy, they were all smiling and who wouldn’t be with weekly access to an on sight masseur and the option to see a Doctor with herbalist training when required? I came away having started my Weleda journey and wishing I could work with them all and I urge everyone to start their journey with Weleda too. (By the way, I’m currently using the Camomile teething granules and they are superb, calm Jimmy instantly and definitely help him with his gums)!
The stunning Weleda gardens!
Breastfeeding Jimmy in the sling while picking Calendula, how ‘earth mummy’ am I?!
Doesn’t this look like a lovely place to work!
Head gardener John guides me while I make my own Calendula tincture!
And it’s made into a cream by a Pharmacist!
Donkey is a Beatle (Not a Zebra)!
My husband is a musician, has always been a big Beatles fan and when Florence was born and his music room began it’s journey into nursery with the removal of Jonny’s equipment slowly happening every few months as and when life with children dictated it he deliberately always left his framed picture of the fab four hanging on the wall. The room is now all but handed over to the babies but that picture hangs firmly in its place as a reminder that once upon a time the room belonged to music! Florence recently began asking who those boys are? And after trying to explain to her that those boys are actually now older than Granddad and Grandpa it seemed more appropriate to play her some of the songs. She actually loves them, probably not as much as Daddy but every day she says ‘Let’s have some of those Beatles boys music on the radio’. How sweet she is! Anyway, Le Donk also sometimes gets in on the action and has a little dance with us so we thought we’d take him up to Abbey Road and let him meet the zebra made famous on the front of the Abbey Road album cover! Well, zebra’s no donkey but I think Le Donk had a little love heart in his eye when he met and walked all over her!
See what we got up to on our mammoth journey using trains, tubes and buses to get to Abbey Road! We travelled mainly on the over ground in London which although the actual trains are absolutely sorted for the likes of Le Donk and easy to get on and park up, getting to the plat form in the first place can be a bit of a mission unless there’s two of you. If my Mum hadn’t been travelling with me then I would have opted for buses but we got a great groove on the two of us. I simply popped Jimmy’s bassinet off as soon as we got to steps and my Mum carried that with him inside it up the stairs while holding Florence’s hand who walked. I then bumped Le Donk up and down them accordingly. Not a great fiasco or faff but in this day and age it does leave me wondering why transport in London is not more wheel friendly. What on earth do people in wheel chairs do? I mean The Bugaboo buggies, including the Donkey are light and easy to carry but I have friends with other buggies, especially those doubles where one seat is underneath the other and they’re SO heavy! Thank goodness I have a Bugaboo and can still manage eh!
The famous zebra crossing at Abbey Road, we made several journeys across, Le Donk was quite keen on her!
This is Le Donk with us outside the Abbey Road recording studios where the fab four made the Abbey Road album!
We had loads of fun showing off Le Donk at Abbey Road!
Travelling on the over ground was easy once on the platform but loads of steps up, still with two of us it was easy enough!
For more information on the ‘Donkey’ and all other ‘Bugaboo’ products please see their website www.bugaboo.com. It’s also worth noting that ‘When you choose a ‘Bugaboo’ product (now available in more than 50 countries) you are choosing a company which is a proud (PRODUCT) RED™ partner. ‘Bugaboo’ contributes a portion of its profits across all products – to the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa, with the goal of ending mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015.
Keeping Florence entertained when at home is hard enough these days let alone when on a car journey; we are always doing some sort of activity at home be it craft work, baking or something else, she is just not a child who wants to sit and just be. She also plays great games with her toys and is absolutely fantastic at it, she has such an imagination and I just adore watching her acting out scenarios with her HappyLand characters and baby dolls. She is always busy, her mind always on the go and so when we travel the journeys are becoming increasingly harder and harder because she is simply bored! And who can blame her, being expected to sit and wait is an extremely tall order for a tiny tot of two and we decided a while ago that we needed a solution. I think I’ve found it.
Florence is very much a modern toddler, a girl of the times if you will and likes nothing more than playing around on Jonny’s phone. She likes to look at the pictures we’ve taken and somehow, as if by instinct she just knows exactly what to do and how to use it? We’re very much BlackBerry people in this house, I couldn’t imagine how my days would function without mine? My BlackBerry Curve is my phone, where I pick up and send my texts and emails from, control my diary, how I keep up to date with FaceBook and Twitter and when I’m out on the go I take hundreds of pictures using the camera. If I didn’t have my BlackBerry, I would be lost! After seeing mine, Jonny quickly converted and he too now relies on the trusty berry, although he has a much more up to date one than me. I keep meaning to use my upgrade but never have the time and this very much entertains Florence and Jonny as they think it’s very funny that Mummy’s phone doesn’t have a touch screen. Modern toddler Florence often says ‘you’re phone’s not working Mummy’, as she tries to scroll on to the next picture by stroking the screen to no effect!
Knowing how much entertainment Florence gets from our phones means I have recently been looking at tablets. Whenever we have been to events where tablets have been available to play with or to a friend’s house that has one, Florence has been mesmerised and I just knew it was going to be the way forward. I knew for travelling and holidays she would get great benefits from one. Last year for our hols we took a portable DVD player for instance and it was fantastic but bulky and we obviously had to then take a load of DVD’s too, a tablet would be awesome because she could watch her fave programmes while away and some, for they do far more than that! Now I hadn’t realised until recently that BlackBerry make their own tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook! Well, being the BlackBerry girl that I am it seemed a no brainer to look into one of those and I’m so glad I did for we are not disappointed, not disappointed at all! Did you know for instance that they can do everything other tablets can do but actually quite a bit more as well?! With the PlayBook you can download the photographs you take, a feature trait not shared with some of the other well known tablets but one I really like because I take loads of pictures! They’re also a fraction of the price of some tablets so frankly, after having used one; I can’t see why you’d pay more for less with another brand? I’m going to talk about our PlayBook in my blog every week, I’ll bring you an initial review next week and then reviews of various apps and updates on how we’re getting on after that but so far, all I can say is that it’s revolutionised our car journeys… And Florence (who thinks it’s her own personal PlayBook) is gleeful! See you back here next week to find out exactly what we like about it!
Florence uses the ‘BlackBerry PlayBook’ in the car recently!
For more information on the BlackBerry PlayBook and all BlackBerry products please see http://uk.blackberry.com/
Countdown to Lollibob!
2 weeks to go!
With the sunshine out there’s no better time to plan a day in the park and why just a day in the park when it could be a day in Regent’s Park over the LOLLIBOP weekend! I’ve said it many times but I’ll always say it again, Lollibop was one of the best days out we had last year and we’d be mad to miss it again this summer! Florence is beyond excited about it and truth be told so am I! Now that we’ve become acquainted for the first time with Moshi Monsters we’re really keen to join in the Moshi Mash Up tournament which will be taking place every day from 10.30am with the final each day at 4.30pm where finalists can compete for a trophy! Every one who enters gets a free pack of Mash Up cards and if you already have some there will be the opportunity to trade with others on the day so make sure you bring your collection with you on the day!
For more information and how to book tickets please see www.lollibopfestival.co.uk.
Now you might remember from previous posts that I’m just a little bit into cleaning! I love my house when it’s tidy and clean and even if I’ve spent all day making it shine and am completely exhausted it’s a great feeling! Jonny is very good really and he does his bit too (he might even be a bit more fanatical than me at times) but he doesn’t always do things to my specifications! It could be clean but he often leaves smeary marks on the oven door where he’s wiped it but not polished and I can’t stand that! It’s the same with the kitchen floor, I like there to be no marks whatsoever when it’s clean, even water ones from cleaning it drive me berserk! On wooden floors I often find myself lying on my tummy picking up stray pieces of fluff and shining small marks after I’ve already hovered and washed them! (I know, I’m a bit mental probably)! I’m also forever on my hands and knees sniffing the carpet to ensure there are no whiffs from previous Florence spillages! I’ve no idea why we chose pale carpets but we did and keeping them looking great is a main household priority for me! The day Florence had dog poo on her shoes and Jonny didn’t notice before she’d trailed it round sticks in my head and makes me shudder every time I think of it! I am mega delighted then that we now have a Vax Bare Floor Pro S2ST because it has made cleaning floors and refreshing carpets soooooo much easier and what’s more, it does it to MY specifications!
When it arrived I took a quick look at it and thought I was going to have to get Jonny to put it together but after a brief flick through the manual I thought I’d give it a go myself and actually I found it extremely simple to assemble with the components clicking into place easily. Using it was no different and after following the instructions I found it to be a breeze from the word go! The twin tank technology means the floor can be cleaned with steam and detergent giving good results, if you can find a place to stand and admire the floor after cleaning which has sunshine directly on it then you’ll notice absolutely no smears! Seriously! My Mum (I let her have a go too as she was so impressed with my results) has a laminate tiled kitchen floor which has a tendency to go streaky when cleaned by mop or hand if you don’t buff it after its dry. We found her kitchen took 5 minutes to clean using the mop and dried in a few minutes even and gleaming. It comes with a coral pad which is intended for textured surfaces and my stone bathroom floor also looked beautiful afterwards. General cleaning with it involves little effort which is fab as I am so used to ‘really having to go for it’ with the floor; one or two brief passes produces perfect results! Stubborn marks require just that little bit of extra time passing the cleaning head over them but nothing like getting on your hands and knees scrubbing, nothing at all! There are also two smoother cleaning pads provided for smooth floors like my Mum’s kitchen. I am very impressed and I know I sound like an advert but I really do love this product as it really does work this well!. This is an effortless way to clean hard floors quickly with the bonus that they are also rendered germ free (what could be better with small children?) There is also glider provided which makes it possible to freshen a carpet or rug, again this is easy to do and fab with little ones!
For more information on the Vax Bare Floor Pro S2ST(£99.99) please see the website www.vax.co.uk
MY LIFE WITH 2! WEEK 13!
This week I’m cheering Florence on with a big hurrah because she is and entirely of her own decision really, dry! She’s not worn nappies in the day time for over a week and we’ve only had ONE accident. It all started when my Mum started giving her a penny for her purse every time she spent one on the big girl’s toilet. That was the week before last and she was still in nappies but asking to go so we removed it for her when she did. Then back home I said to her that if she did a poo on the toilet she could have a little treat. We put a box together of little presents which she chooses one of every time she has a toilet victory and it just seemed to work! A couple of days after that she said ‘no nappy please Mummy, I’d like my Dora the Explorer knickers on today’ and it’s been like that ever since! I’m stupidly proud of her, she’s been amazing! We were in a shop the other day and she said she needed a wee, we had to wait for the toilet to be unlocked and it took about 5 minutes but she held on! She’s totally brilliant and I’m chuffed to bits! (It saves lots of money too and also means she can go to nursery in January as they wouldn’t have taken her if she was still in nappies)!
Some of the little gifts we’ve been giving her are the Olympic products from Adsa which she loves (she’s a massive jubilympic fan and LOVES the Union Jack, although she thinks it’s called a ‘Jubilee’!! Asda are selling lots of official Team GB merchandise for the Olympics which are perfect as little treats for Florence and means we are supporting the team at the same time! Last week she had the duck I talked about which is super cute and this week she’s chosen from her box, a magnetic snow storm (£3) which is now on our fridge sticking a picture of her and I to it, a black taxi with a Union Jack on the roof and a Union Jack racing car! (cars are from £2).
Some of the Asda Team GB merchandise and Florence with her taxi!
Jimmy is also being a little amazing lovely, sleeping brilliantly (as per usual) and he’s now rolling over! Florence rolled over at about this age so it doesn’t surprise me but I knew she was early to do so and had expected, especially as he is a boy that he may do things a bit later (they seem to don’t they?) but he’s done it and the look of determination on his face is brilliant! He’s also doing proper giggling now which is fantastic and just brings a smile to my own face! I love to watch his personality grow and to hear someone laugh, properly laugh brings such character to them don’t you think?
He also went swimming for the first time this week which was lovely to watch. I was lucky and had a friend on hand to help with the both of them plus the instructor in the pool lent a hand. It really wore both of them out, which is just great! My ‘Must Have of the Week’ is actually Jimmy’s swim nappy which is made by Bambino Mio It’s fantastic and we love it! It has a cotton lining for softness on baby skin, is light weight and comfortable with an elasticated waist band and leg cuffs to ensure no leakage. It comes in sizes which range from 11lb to 34lb and there are loads of colours and prints to choose from. I think this is a brilliant product because not only does it do the job but it’s a two in one; this is Jimmy’s swim nappy and his trunks and frankly saves lots of money by being so! I remember with Florence paying nearly £6 for a pack of about 8 swim nappies and then they just go straight in the bin after the swim which with a tiny one doesn’t really last long? Madness and just throwing money away really, especially when you can buy one of these from Bambino Mio! I love the fact that the waist band has a draw string which can be tightened or loosened accordingly and feel this nappy will last Jimmy quite a while! It also dries really quickly I noticed which is great for when we go on holiday in September. I’m not even going to get him a second costume as he really won’t need one!
Jimmy excited and giggling pre first swim. He’s wearing his ‘Bambino Mio’ swim nappy in ‘Blue Spot’.
For more information see http://uk.bambinomio.com/uk.
Aside from swimming and potty training it’s been a busy summer week and we’ve been absolutely LOVING the sunshine! I’m not sure what it’s like round the rest of the country but with the Olympics and the sunshine it’s felt like we’re on holiday in London this week. The atmosphere here is super and living so close to Stratford like we do means we’re right in the thick of things! True there’s helicopters flying at all hours, the parking restrictions are a little infuriating and public transport is a nightmare but hey, this is once in a lifetime right! I’m still hoping to get tickets for something but even if we don’t there’s always BT London Live which is being held in parks in London. We went to Victoria Park at the weekend where as well as seeing the sporting events on giant screens there’s loads to do and a stage with live music! We went to see Rasta Mouse play which was awesome. He and Da Easy Crew have a new album out soon and we’re a bit devoted in this house so will be following him round his gigs this summer if we can! We really enjoyed our day at BT London Live and there is lots going on there for free, children especially are catered for. With an interactive sports science exhibit and Discover (our good old Stratford favourite story centre) providing crafting activities for children it was much fun. We played tennis, watched music and had fun dodging the rain showers. It’s even FREE to get in, the only annoying thing being that you can’t take food and drinks in with you, not even water (baby food and drink excepted)! Food and drink in there is also massively over priced and well out of our price range so that does put me off a bit… But we had a lovely afternoon, it felt like a festival and we’re very glad we went!
Trying our hand at tennis at ‘BT London Live’ in Victoria Park!
Getting creative by making Olympic medals and torches in the ‘Discover’ tent!
Live action on the big screen!
Jimmy and Jonny waiting to go into ‘The Zone’ the interactive sports and science exhibit which was really fun!
Bit of building!
Bit of dancing!
Bit of excitement building for Rasta Mouse!
And… There’s a mouse in this house and someone can’t take her eyes away!
WIN tickets to The Baby Show Manchester
The must go to event for parents and parents to be
The UK’s leading baby and parenting show is coming to Manchester this August and to celebrate, The Baby Show is teaming up with Rocknrollerbaby to offer you the chance to win tickets to this essential event on 31st August – 2nd September at EventCity, Manchester.
The Baby Show in association with Made for Mums and sponsored by Fisher-Price is the perfect place to visit for all parents and parents-to-be who want to find the latest maternity and nursery products on the market – all from the very best UK and international brands! The show will feature 200 must-have brands including Fisher-Price, Babies R Us, Mamas & Papas, and Mothercare, as well asniche and designer products. Visitors will be able to enjoy special offers, great entertainment and hear from baby care experts all in one place. What’s more, EventCity, Manchester offers first class first facilities and has over 3000 FREE car parking spaces.
The Baby Show also boasts expert speakers on hand to give support, guidance and advice to all visitors, including midwives from Channel 4’s award-winning show ‘One Born Every Minute’ and baby food and nutrition expert Annabel Karmel. The Baby Show has become an essential event in all parents’ calendars and has also attracted a celebrity following with stars including Una Healy, Stacey Solomon and Chantelle Houghton spotted searching for the best products at earlier shows this year!
With everything in one place and with the added bonus of exclusive offers and expert advice, you’ll find everything you need without the stress of the high street!
For more information and to buy tickets please visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk
For the chance to get your hands on FREE tickets for The Baby Show in Manchester, simply enter by emailing me at [email protected] with Manchester Baby Show in the title and your name and address in the email by Wednesday 8th August.
So, that’s it for this week! You may have noticed that I’ve moved from Live Journal to WordPress! I’m going to do my best to make my blog look awesome in the coming weeks but I’m not terribly technical so please do bear with me…
In the meantime follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby
(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)