A Littlelondoner | A Little Londoner

The Sun Has Got His Hat On….. Kids Holiday Clothes With Marks and Spencer

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I've ditched the socks and boots and so very close to doing the same with the kids, but it's that inbetween time is'nt it? One day it's all suncream and sundresses, straw hats and sandals, the next the socks, cardigans and closed shoes have to be taken out from the back of the wardrobe again….but we can still get ourselves ready, for what is meant to be a long hot summer (don't they say that very year??) So the holiday shopping for summer clothes has begun….always great to have that glass half full and stay optomistic.

Whether you are having a staycation or travelling abroad this summer for the school holidays, the kids will need some new clothes, especially if they are like mine, and all the items you kept from last summer, now look like they will only fit their teddies and dolls. This year, I've started early, I want to try to buy just a few items, that I can mix and match, dress up for those nights out and be also everyday wear, lets be all cool and call it a kids capsule wardobe! Packing for a family of four can be stressful at the best of times….and 9 /10 left up to the nurse/cook/cleaner/teacher/nappy changer…..thats me, MUM! So, buying a few items that can be mixed and matched together, saves space, saves money on baggage when flying and saves one giant headache for that said nurse/cook/cleaner/teacher/nappy changer.

Marks and Spencer Kids Holiday Essentials are now all in store and up on their website. They recently asked us to pick our favourites from this seasons collection, and having bought from them before and know the quality of their clothing…..sure it would have been rude to have said "no".

My style for both kids is simple and classic and Marks and Spencers do just that, making choosing my items a hard job. Sun hats were at the top of my list, my kids are pale, very pale and protecting their heads and faces is my priority and their stylish straw hats are perfect.

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The Things I wish I’d Known – Dear 18 Year Old Me

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Dear 18 year old me,

I know you love babies, I know you can't wait to be a mum some day, but have you thought about life after baby, your body changing and theres things people never talk about, so you wont have the information.

Lets talk aout sex baby.Let’s talk about you and me.  Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be… Okay, those are obviously Salt-n-Pepa lyrics, but I have found postpartum sex to be one of the least talked about (and trickiest!) parts about returning to life as you knew it after a baby.  If you feel uncomfortable talking about sex, or if it’s just an unsavory topic to you, please stop reading! It’s totally fine. 

Sex After Baby is a topic that most mums, especially first time mums don't think about very much for those 9/10 months of pregnancy.  Then, baby arrives, the sleepless nights, the sleeping in seperaate bedrooms, just so someone can get a few hours solid sleep, add other children to the mix, and well…..suddenly the topic of another baby is coming up (from other people) and you are thinking, how will that even happen??

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Being Mummy ~ Does It Define Me?

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I recently saw a picture Eimear Varian Barry had tagged on her Instagram page of another mums' post Susie Verril who said that "she was happy to let motherhood define who she was". It's something I had a little think about. Before being "mummy" I was Triona, then I became a nurse and I was "nurse", it was who I was, then I met my husband and became his wife, often being referred to as "Pauls wife or being introduced as Paul's wife.I've never had an issue with any of these titles or it defining who I was, because, I worked hard to become the best nurse I could be, so being defined as nurse was something I was proud of. Meeting my husband and getting married was something I had dreamed of all my life, I wanted the happily ever after, so again I was totally fine and proud to be called and defined as his wife, I didn't feel I'd lost my identity, I had just gained another part of who I was! Now I'm a mother, mum,mom,mommy,mummy, Mammy whatever you call it,and it 100% defines who I am right now in my life. And that's absolutely ok. I love it, I love that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to gain that title and I'm happy that it's who people see me as when I'm with my children. When at work, my patients just see me as the nurse looking after them, once I get talking to them, I always let them know about my two smallies….because it's actually who I really am.Their mum, Pauls wife, the ED nurse that looks after you and then Triona.

 

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Joie Trillo 2/3 Ix Car Seat Age 4 – 12 years ~ Review

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A few weeks ago we moved Amelia from her "toddler car seat" which she was in since her 1st birthday to a "big girl" booster seat. I was aprehensive about her wearing just a seat belt, rather than a 5 point harness, and worried that she would open it while on the move, but its been great. She loves that she is the same as Mummy and Daddy and I think we probably should have moved her sooner, she looks far more comfortable now. We chose the Joie Trillo 2/3 Ix Car Seat in Inkwell is designed for children from four to 12 years old, or 15kg to 36kg. It's installed using the seat belt, and Isofix connectors help keep the seat in place when it's not in use. The LX features 'head-to-hips side-impact protection' plus air pockets for 'extra protection'.Joie is a UK company that makes car seats, travel system, pushchairs, high chairs and travel cots. The company, a “group of friends and parents” claims to make products that are, “better, safer and sronger". We have previously worked with Joie, and have two of their car seats in our second car and cannot fault them. The Joie Stages Group 0+ 1-2 Car Seat (suitable from 0 – 7 years) and the Joie Spin 360 Car Seat –( Birth to 4 Years)

 

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Cinderella Tea Party ~ Rathwood

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Yesterday we ventured off to the Carlow/Wicklow border, a short 35 minute drive from Kilkenny to the beautiful Rathwood Home and Garden World. We had been invited to Rathwood to experience their Cinderella Tea Party.

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Rathwood have being hosting children's events for many years and there's an adventure for children of all ages and adults alike. The popular Rathwood events are filled with fun and entertainment for all the family to enjoy all year round, with the seasonal holiday events being very poplular on board the Rathwood Express Train. Experience the magic of Christmas, the spooky fun of Halloween (we did this last year, both kids loved picking their own pumpkin and carving it afterwards), or"egg"citing Easter adventure (next on our list, who doesn't love an Easter egg hunt). In the summer period they host a Teddy Bear's Picnic and I think it's something that needs to be added to the bucket list of "things to do" this coming summer. What child wouldn't love to join Goldilocks and the three bears for a day.

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Our Favourite Pancake Recipes

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Pancake Tuesday, finally the day where you can eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not have to make excuses! Remember going into school after Pancake Tuesday and the competition as to who had eaten the most pancakes 😂. Not sure about you, but pancakes were much more simple then, and to be honest they are still my favourite ones, a bit of sugar and lemon and I'm happy! I also always remember my mum making the batter the night before, why was that?

Anyway, here are some of our favourite pancakes to make in this house, it doesn't need to be Pancake Tuesday to whip out the pan and rustle up some pancakes, we probably have them once a week, and use lots of different fillings, I always go for the sweet/fruit filling option, but you can always have a savoury pankcake too!

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How We Managed The Dreaded Chicken Pox

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Last week, 9 days ago exactly (to give you a timeframe to work by) Amelia was getting undressed for her bath and said "look at my spots mummy". There was maybe 3/4 little red spots on her chest and a couple more on her back. She wasn't scratching, had not been unwell in the days leading up to the spots appearing or behaving out of the norm, I'm saying this, because some kids may be unwell with cold like symptoms/fatigue/crying/loss of appetite in the days leading up to the spots appearing.

 

I'm writing this post as I didn't know if they were Chicken Pox or not, and spent a lot of time asking other parents how they treated their kids to ease the symptoms. I hope that this collection of advice that I took on board from parents that have been through it before will guide you in those first few days when they are unwell and itchy, how many days she symptomatic and how we treated her.

 

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*Sugar Free* Banana, Coconut and Oat Biscuits

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Banana,Coconut and Oat Biscuits

*Sugar Free

*Dairy Free

4 minutes to prepare and cooked in the same length of time it took me to go upstairs and dress Harry.

*Raisins tend to burn if on top, so half way through cover with some tin foil to prevent burning!

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No Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars

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"True happiness is a cookie in each hand"

 

Want something to make with the kids tomorrow or over the weekend?

I stupidly told Amelia today we would make Rice Krispie cakes, to try and get her and Harry in out of the prain….I think 1.5hrs was more than enough, we had to get out in the fresh air for a while, their wet gear and wellies were my best purchase last year!

So we got home…and no chocolate! There was no way I was going out again, so put my thinking cap on! DRINKING CHOCOLATE saved the day. It was a risk that worked.A simple 55g, 55g,55g recipe and they taste delicious!

 

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First Aid For Children & Infants

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Nobody wants to think about their baby or a child they care for becoming unwell. Of course if in any doubt always bring your child to the GP or nearest Emergency Department. Unfortunately sometimes, you may have to perform first aid at home. I would highly recommend all parents do a first aid course, if anything it gives piece of mind. (more…)

Listening To Your Children, Their Words & Emotions……

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Dancing With The Feet Is One Thing, Dancing With The Heart Is Another 💖

 

As an ex-dancer there could never be a truer word said. It's in your heart, you dance at every opportunity, you sing the ryt and dance steps in your head. Unfortunately this love of dancing bug hasn't quite bitten my daughter yet. We tried and she is just not into it. Term 2, there are still tears, anxiety and stress.Ballet is just not for her. The ballet shoes have been hung up and maybe someday she will want to wear them again. It took me a while, but after weeks of hearing her, I eventually listened. Do you listen or just hear your children? It's something that has got me thinking. I know I for one hear my children far more than actually sitting down to listen. We all do it, we get caught up in the daily humdrum, the chaos of Monday -Friday, the fighting between siblings, the struggle of the juggle of work/home life balance and so on.

 

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Have You Vaccinated Your Children Against Meningitis B?

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MenB (meningococcal B) vaccine

 

  • In the UK from September 2015 babies born on or after 1 July 2015 are being offered the MenB (meningococcal group B) vaccine as part of the routine immunisation schedule and babies born on or after 1 May are being offered the vaccine as part of a one off catch-up campaign. 
  • In Ireland, from December 2016 babies will be offered the MenB vaccine as part of the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule.
  • The vaccine is available free of charge to people in the UK and Ireland with medical conditions that increase their risk of the disease. 
  • The vaccine can be purchased privately in the UK and Ireland, so people who are not currently eligible for the vaccine on the HSE or  NHS can get it if they pay for it.

What Is Meningitis B?

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by different bacteria and viruses, although bacterial infections are usually more serious.

One of the bacteria which causes meningitis is called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as the meningococcus.

How do people get meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal bacteria can live at the back of the throat or in the nose.  Most people, who carry these bacteria (carriers), remain well but they can spread the bacteria to others through coughing, sneezing, or kissing.  Close personal contact with a carrier sometimes leads to infection.  You need many hours of close personal contact to become infected as the bacteria do not survive long outside the body.

 The disease is devastating if it gets into the blood or spinal fluid. There are different types of this bacteria and the most common is known as type B – what is often referred to as “meningitis B”, or MenB.

MenB most commonly affects children under the age of one, causing symptoms including fever, poor feeding, vomiting and lethargy. It can also cause septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can lead to the telltale purple rash.

In children over the age of four the disease is rare, but there’s a second peak of the disease in adolescents(although it is not as common then as it is in infants). Babies are at high risk because they do not have immune protection from antibodies – these are passed from mothers to babies which protect them for the first few months of life, but after that they are susceptible. They gradually build up immunity as they are exposed to similar bacteria in the environment. Teenagers are more likely to carry the bacteria in their throats than other age groups, which is why there is this second, smaller, peak of disease in that age group.

With early diagnosis and antibiotics, most people will make a full recovery.  

Meningococcal disease is a very serious life threatening illness.

Of the people who get meningococcal disease:

  • 1 in 20 will die
  • 1 in 10 people who recover will have a major disability such as deafness, brain damage, learning disabilities, epilepsy or loss of fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms or legs.

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MAKING BIG DECISIONS AS PARENTS – IS OUR CHILD READY FOR SCHOOL?

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Oh Crap, We Are The Parents……Big Girl Decisions. Last week I think we finally realised that we are grown ups, parents and decision makers when it comes to the kids. Amelia is almost 4, (end of March) and to be honest we have really just winged it along in the last 4 years (Now let's be clear here when I talk about winging it, it's far from being a breeze or walk in the park, there's been lots of struggles, wanting to pull our hair out and as we come close to being parents for four years, sometimes we look back and feel as though we have barely had the chance to come up for air in those 4 years, and can't quite believe that we are at the stage of making "Adult" decisions for our little girl).We have never been in a position where we have had to seriously sit down and talk about her future, that our decisions could shape her life, the weaning, toilet training, choosing a nursery, teaching her rules, they just came along naturally and we found our way, but this week we had to make a big decision. What am I taking about? SCHOOL or BIG SCHOOL as Amelia calls it. The acceptance letters to Primary Schools in Ireland will be out in the next few weeks and any parent with a 4-6 year old is no doubt questioning….Is My Child Ready For School?

 

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52 Week Money Challenge ~ Are You In?

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Last year I had seen a few posts on the '52 Week Money Challenge'. I'm not a great saver, but I'm good for throwing coins into a jar and keeping them there! So I thought this would be a great challenge and make me save without realising I was actually doing so. The point of the '52 Week Challenge' is that by the 52nd week of the year, you will have saved almost €/£1400.

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When You Tire Of London, You Tire Of Life ~A Little London Trip

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When You Tire Of London, You Tire Of Life ~ Samuel Johnson

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The Christmas Eve Box

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For children around the world, Christmas Eve is perhaps the most exciting night of the year. They sleep with one eye open, and they wait in anticipation for Santa to arrive with his sack stuffed full of presents.

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The Perfect Gift For New Parents| The Birth Poster

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If you’re like me and have spent the last 10 years or so buying baby gifts, whether it's for new parents, a godchild, niece or nephew, you will know that sometimes it's incredibly difficult to find something that's completely unique. For many parents that are on #2,3 or 4 chances are they have all the newborn toys, teethers and a mountain of soft toys, as well as an abundance of clothes. I have found the perfect gift and not only a gift for others, it would make a really beautiful keepsake for yourself and your child as they get older. Unique and timeless. Let me introduce you to The Birth Poster

 

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Christmas Gift Ideas For Little Girls & Toddler Boys

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There are so many amazing gift guides out there at the minute, I love reading them on blogs, IG Stories and Snapchat. My favourite defiantly has been my friend Emma's over on IG stories…..cheers Emma, the overdraft is in full drive since watching your snaps 😂 Check her out here.

So rather than have another gift guide, I thought I'd share with you exactly what our two kids are getting from a combination of the big man in red, grandparents and family. We have tried to have been as practical as possible this year and got the kids combination gifts that they will both use and play with together and eliminate as much of the fantastic plastic that we can! There are two Frozen Microphones….because I couldn't be dealing with the arguments! 

Its a very real gift guide, and hopefully if you are still wondering what to get your little ones (because you can't find that "must have toy" they have asked for 1,000 times) or you have other smallies in your family to buy for, this will hopefully help you along the way.

For those that are new here, Amelia is 3.5 (going on 13) and my tractor obsessed little boy Harry, who is 20 months. 

 

 

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How We Finally Said Goodbye To 5am Wake Up Calls

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What Amelia is great at, is eating, when it comes to sleep, it’s always been a battle. We get months of her being a great sleeper and then she starts sliding down the slippery slope, taking us all with her and the early morning wakenings get early and early. Now firstly, I have to add, we have never had a problem with Amelia going to sleep. We have a set routine of bath (every other night), teeth brushed, into her pj’s, story and asleep by 7pm. She is always happy to go to bed,and never comes back downstairs. Her problem is that she is ready to take on the world before the birds have even woken, meaning the whole house is awake, and many times Mummy and daddy loosing their shit in the hallway with her at 5am…..trying to whisper in order not to wake Harry, while her “No,no, no’s” get louder and louder as we take her back to her room. If Amelia was to come into our bed and ACTUALLY go back to sleep, I’d quite happily welcome her in for a cuddle, but she was looking for an apple and a movie every morning! (more…)

Annabel Karmel Feeding Our Kids For 25 Years

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From the very first day of Weaning Amelia I have been using Annabel Karmel cookbooks, I reckon I have about 10 in my collection at this stage. Her books were recommended by friends and I have continued to use the recipes past the Weaning stages and adapt for our our family. (more…)

Top 10 Christmas Dresses For Toddler Girls

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Have you started your shopping yet? Are the Santa presents hiding in the attic, boot of the car or Granny's house (that's where ours are hiding safely, safe out of the reach of little hands.

Dressing the kids for the festive holidays is next on the list, once Santa has been covered. I've put together a list of my top 10 favourite dresses for Toddler Girls for this Christmas. Velvet is as popular with kids clothing as adults and many of the dresses I've picked are beautiful soft velvet.Happy Shopping!

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Winter Clothing Wish List ~ Mama and Kids

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Now that winter is most definitely here, well in Ireland it is, I've spent the dark nights thrawling through the shops online (it's the only way to shop with two smallies), and filling up my virtual baskets with everything I can't afford, something we all do right? I've bought a few bits from the list below….and the rest, well sure I can dream….champagne lifestyle with lemonade money and all that! 

To be fair, I think the most expensive thing in my basket is €79, but it all adds up. I'm loving greys, blacks and dusky punks this season.  I've picked out my favourite bits, and while I love these colours on the kids, I still do veer to the brighter colours as well, Mothercare and M&S have some gorgeous bits. You can see a recent post here on my picks from M&S for the kids. I love COS for simple colours, the Little bird range from Mothercare for Amelia, and H&M for boys clothes. I don't find the quality of the girls clothes in H&M any different from Primark/Penneys and its more expensive.

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Child Not Wearing Helmet V’s Acquired Brain Injury

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The family that cycle together stay together….or it goes something like that!

You may have noticed over the last few months, especially over the summer we have been out on our bikes A LOT. My husband and I took advantage of the Cycle To Work Scheme and invested in two bikes, a bike trailer for the kids that comes with a rain and bug shield and helmets for us all, which we purchased through Halfords. It's been a free form of entertainment and we have had lovely days out on various bike trails, taking a picnic with us. I'm a huge advocate for Road and bike safety, and I'll not lie, when I see kids on scooters and bikes without their helmets (and adults)….I want to go over and tell them or more importantly their parents, to "put that helmet on, protect your little brain and don't be be another statistic of having an Acquired Brain Injury".

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Harry At 18 Months

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When I first went to write this, I went into my  search engine to have a read of Amelia's 18 month update….you know, to do what we do best and compare! While she was babbling away and calling her daddy by his name, she still was bare foot, and didn't walk for another month. While I've slowed down with the blog, and find Instagram another great way to document our update, I'm so glad I had that post to read back over, and the rest. I ended up reading back through them all!

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Winter Salad ~ Butternut Squash With Feta and Sticky Pecans

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Just after I had Harry we all went out for  lunch one day. I had a butternut squash salad with sticky pecans and it was so good, I still think about it! It's not on the menu anymore and last week I decided I would attempt to make it myself . Now I'm hooked again! I think this is something I'll be making A LOT over the next few months. Once you have your stash of sticky pecans made up and a jar of balsamic onion in the fridge, it takes no time to put this salad together.

Autumn and winter can have us turning for the comfort food, and salads are reserved for summer. This salad is healthy, tasty and crunchy with balance of sweet (sticky pecans) and tart (balsamic red onion). It's great as a lunch alone or side salad. I even think on Christmas Day for those who don't like the usual vegetables it's a lovely colourful salad to have on the table.

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Slugs, Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails….An Autumn Wardrobe That Will Last Through Toddler Play

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While my two kids are not yet in school and I don't have to go on the hunt for school  uniforms, they are in Montessori (Amelia 5 mornings per week) and Nursery (Harry 2 mornings per week), meaning A LOT of clothes are worn and washed, and while I would love to have a separate wardrobe of "School Clothes" "Good Clothes", I don't have the funds to stretch to that (who does?). Even on the days Harry is not in nursery, we could still have two outfit changes a day, because, you know, he is a boy and  "What are little boys made of? Slugs and snails, And puppy-dogs' tails."That's what little boys are made of" Never a truer word for my boy. If there's dirt he will find it. If he can make a mess, it will end up on his clothes. If he can smash it, he is right there with it in his hand. If he can draw on it, yes, the pen is in his hand. 

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Surviving as a Working Mum in London

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Do you ever have to bite your tongue when you hear someone without kids complaining that they are too busy or they don’t have time for things like they used to, because of work? It’s difficult to resist sharing your own situation as a working parent and comparing just how little time you have in a day to get everything done. As tempting as it is, don’t do it! Give yourself a pat on the back- because it’s really hard work! But don’t start resenting those around you who seem to have it easier- the chances are they don’t. Here are some tips on how to perfect being a working mum, without wanting to pull your hair out (at least not all the time!)

 

1- Finding the right job-

An important factor to uniting your family life with your career, is finding a job that allows you flexibility. Finding an employer who understands your home situation is key. Part-time or flexible work is out there, and you should know your rights regarding hours you have to work. Start by making sure the jobs you look for are right for you. You can go online and find a position that suits you regarding distance from home, hours or work- there are plenty of jobs in London that can work alongside a balanced life. Just relax and take it step by step, and remember that your priorities must be kept in mind.

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Everything You Need For The Ultimate Pamper Night

As any busy mother will know, it is often difficult to find the time to pamper yourself. Having children can often make you much more selfless than you were before being a mum, and you may not think that pampering is even necessary anymore. But now is the time to stop being so hard on yourself. Everyone deserves a treat every now and again, and even if you don't have the budget to check yourself into a luxury spa, there are plenty of ways you can create a relaxing spa experience right in the comfort of your own home. Once the kids are in bed, make the decision to spend some time on yourself – that work can wait until tomorrow! Ready to commit to some serious me-time? Read on for the ultimate pamper night guide.

 

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Set the mood

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Eczema and Your Child

Working as a nurse has meant that over the years, I have seen some truly severe cases of eczema in babies and young children. Because of that, I know just how hard it is to cope with. Luckily for me, Amelia or Harry, do not suffer from eczema, but I know other children who do.

I have a few mummy friends whose little ones do suffer from eczema, and I have seen how hard they struggle to cope with it. That’s why I thought I would put together this handy guide for dealing with eczema in babies and toddlers.

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A Guide To Buying A New Home

So you are thinking of buying a home? There are a lot of considerations; it is a pretty big step after all. It can be a lengthy and pricey process, so bear this in mind and be prepared. The outcome is worth it, though; a home to call your own and put your stamp on.

 

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Dirt Cheap: Why Gardening’s Better Than Therapy!

 

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No one likes to feel down so if you’re sitting indoors wondering about how you can feel better why not get out into the garden? Your mind will be focused on something else, you’ll be enjoying plenty of free, fresh air instead of munching on calorie-laden chocolate and you’ll also feel a major sense of accomplishment when you’ve planted a whole row of carrots!

 

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MyTop 5 Money Saving Tips

All of us look at ways to save money around the home, right? Every penny counts these days, and as the price of living rises most people will be looking for clever things to do around the home that will cost us less. So, I thought I would offer you some tips on some small changes that you can make that can have a significant impact. Here are five of the best money-saving tips I have picked up over the years.

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4 Tips to Help You Balance Your Work and Your Life

Dealing with the stress of life can be a pain especially when you also have to balance your children and your work. With so many responsibilities, it can easily become overwhelming and before you know it, you’ll lose control of the situation, spiral into debt and depression, and it will be hard trying to pull you out from those lonely depths.

 

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Focus on Achieving Your Goals With These Distraction-Busting Tips

Everyone has something they want to achieve in life. It could be a humble goal such a starting a family and providing for your children, or it could be something a lot more involved such as making your first million, creating a company for your children to take over, or featuring yourself in a magazine. Whatever your goals are, distractions can be your worst enemy, so here are a few ways to knock them out of your life and regain control of your life.

 

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Innovative Ways To Take Your Family On Holiday

For many families across the country and indeed, the whole world, the prospect of a yearly holiday is what keeps them going. Okay, so maybe yearly is a little ambitious for many of us. But getting away from it all in a nice hot country, kids in the pool and cocktail is hand is a pretty great way to break up the year, right? Unfortunately, in order to get into that position, we first need to save up for said dream vacation; something that is often easier said than done. Holidays don't come cheap, especially as hotel and flight companies are notorious for shooting the prices up the second the school holidays start. But there are ways around it, and ways you can be proactive throughout the year so you have more than enough money to do your dream holiday on. Here are just a few of those tips. 

 

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