Monday, 30 March 2015

Review: Exante diet meal replacement packs

Few weeks back when I have received Exante Diet packs I was enjoying a little bit of "freedom" whilst L was napping and was ready to try something new and different which can help me lose few pounds.
I started using treadmill for the first time in 9 months and I felt extremely good and motivated, but I needed that boost which I assumed Exante Diet packs can give.

Whether you have 2 pounds or 10 stone to lose, Exante Diet has a range of flexible, easy-to-follow, weight-management and weight-loss plans to suit you.

I have received:
breakfast eggs
sweet & sour noodless
blueberry & raspberry flavour pancakes
maple syrup flavour pancakes
pasta, ham & mushroom soup
gooey chocolate pudding
hazelnut flavour milkshake
strawberry flavour milkshake
chocolate flavour milkshake
velvety chocolate shake &go

All packs have: how to use instructions, ingredients, allergies and nutritional information, . 

Prior to consuming Exante Diet products I was advised that the amount of packs I have received would ideally suit 5:2 diet plan, which meant that I can "eat" the packs in a random order and would need to use 3 or 4 of the packs for "fasting" days. 

I'm not a big fan of fasting days as from my previous dieting experience I can fast one day and then the next day for 2. This time round I didn't chose fasting because I'm still breastfeeding. Therefore I have decided to combine the packs with the "normal" food I eat every day. 

I have to say straight away that I didn't manage to lose any weight in fact I am so used big portions or being served on a big plate that every time I cooked Exante Diet pack I had to have even more food after.

Please not I'm not a cook and sometimes I can ruin a ready made meal, therefore the pictures don't really reflect how it should look and for that I apologise in advance. 

On the first day of testing Exante Diet packs I have started with breakfast eggs
Very easy to cook- empty the pack into the bowl, add water, stir well and add the mixture to the pan. I have opted not to add any seasoning and it was the right decision as the omelette I made was a little bit too salty for my liking, but overall it tasted really nice.

Sweet & sour noodles- if you are a big fan of Chinese cuisine this pack is up your street. 
Unfortunately for me it most the least favourite, it tasted of beef and noodles in a sweet and sour sauce. Once again very easy to cook- empty the pack into the bowl, add water, cook in a microwave.

Blueberry & raspberry flavour pancakes and maple syrup flavour pancakes-  cooking method is very similar to "normal" pancakes. 
Out of 1 pack I could make 2 or 3 large pancakes or 5 small ones. I am a big fan of maple syrup therefore I really enjoyed eating them. Having said that both flavours were too strong for my liking.

Pasta, ham & mushroom soup- this is my favourite pack.
Absolutely delicious and reminds me of a quality Italian pasta.

Gooey chocolate pudding- a rich chocolate flavour desert.
I have slightly overcooked it in the microwave, but nonetheless tasted nice.

Hazelnut flavour milkshake/ Strawberry flavour milkshake/ Chocolate flavour milkshake- easy preparation which required just to add water and stir well.

I liked them but as a drink not a food replacement as after having one I was still hungry.

Velvety chocolate shake & go- that was a very interesting vegetable milkshake. 
It didn't taste too bad, just a little bit weird. I liked that it comes in a bottle as it makes it easier to mix with water and easy to use on the go.

Overall, it was an interesting experience, would be great to taste some main meals as only after tasting the variety of packs starting from breakfast to desert I can decide if I can stick with dieting.

If you fancy trying Exante Diet, visit their offers page to get the best dial.

Disclaimer: I was sent the above items for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Little L's favourite outfit- Next

When I saw this top online I wasn't sure if I like it, but it was worth taking a punt in the end. The cute pink "3D" bunny is so soft and fluffy and is made of yarn loops. The material itself is quite thick and after the washing looks like new. 
And these plain pink leggings finish off the look nicely. Both top and leggings cost £6 each, which is a great price for Next.

Yay or nay?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

#BabiesWhoLunch together are more likely to try new foods

Holly Bell, finalist in the Great British Bake Off and author of Recipes from a Normal Mum, launches the ‘Babies Who Lunch’ campaign with Organix, the baby and toddler food brand. The campaign encourages parents to get together and share their weaning experiences.

I think it's a great idea, but I'm sure some of us who struggle to find new mum-friends will find the idea of socialising whilst eating a little bizarre. I'm yet to find friends with kids the same age but when I do it would be interesting to see them interact whilst eating.

To support families on their baby’s food journey, the ‘Babies Who Lunch’ campaign looks at the benefits of sharing experiences and getting together at mealtimes with other parents and their little ones. Both psychologists and parents say social experiences have had a positive impact on their little ones being more open to trying new foods.

With Holly Bell, who is currently weaning her third son Lawrence, and a group of her friends who are weaning their little ones, Organix has made a ‘Babies Who Lunch’ short film to show their experiences of weaning together, you can find the video here.

Top tips shared at lunch:

1. Better together - it’s great for babies to be sociable and eat together, and for parents to share experiences and ideas with each other. Eating with your little one allows baby to copy how you eat and seeing other babies eating makes them curious and interested in what they are enjoying.
2. Trust your instincts - every baby is different and your experience will be your own, you’ll know what’s right for your baby.
3. Try lots of different tastes and textures – prepare and share food in different ways. It can take between 10 and 15 times before a baby accepts a new taste or flavour, so don’t be afraid to try, try and try again!
4. Play games and get messy - encourage little ones to lick, mash, squash and squeeze the food so they get used to different shapes, textures and tastes – playing with food is fun!
5. Let baby have some control – try giving them a spoon, or some soft finger foods that they can pick up or start to dip into their puree.

Anna Rosier, Managing Director at Organix, says, “We love helping little ones grow their love of good food, and weaning is a great time to start your little ones off on the path to healthy, no junk food habits. Meal times are all about being sociable and sharing good food, and weaning together with other parents is the perfect opportunity to share ideas and experiences and try lots of new foods.”

According to the Organix survey:

· 75% believe that eating together with their baby makes a difference to their interest in food.

· 91% say their baby loves to watch them eating and enjoys the time together.

· 81% say they regularly try to sit down and eat together as a family.

Holly Bell says, “We’ve found support and encouragement through meeting and eating with other mums and their little ones. Spending a day together over lunch, we shared advice and tips with each other, and our babies were trying new foods together in a way they just would not do at home.

“I love it when we eat as a family, it’s a real shared experience and we make sure Lawrence is part of mealtimes by pulling his high chair up to the table, so we can enjoy food together, talk, laugh and have fun with him.”

Social Weaning - Psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin explains why it’s good for weaning to be a shared and social experience.

Psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin says, “Food is a strong social glue, and eating together as a family or in the company of friends is strongly associated with healthier eating and an adventurous attitude towards food. Food can be fun and eating together and sharing creates a positive experience from a young age.”

It’s good for little ones to eat with other little ones:

- Eating together is one of the most important social skills we teach children – weaning is primarily about introducing a variety of foods but learning to sit and eat with others is also important.

- Children learn by watching others – it’s a good idea to create lots of opportunities for learning and imitating other people.

- Peer influence - watching peers will make it more likely that your child will try new food or behave in a different way - you will be surprised by what they will try out when they would not at home.

- Eating together is great fun - and babies can learn eating and social skills from one another.

It’s good to sit down to eat with your little one, and to eat as a family, and try food together:

- It shows your baby that they’re important and that eating and mealtimes are important.

- As your baby eats they learn about a whole new world of sensory and social experiences and they’ll be more relaxed with mum or dad by their side and so more likely to try new foods.

- If you have a bit of a wriggler it will be even more beneficial to sit with them, chat and have a little fun while they eat.

It’s good to wean together and share experiences with other parents:

- Talking, chatting, laughing and trying new foods in a social environment turns weaning into a really positive experience for parents and makes it an exciting and fun time for little ones too.

- Being a parent can be hard work at times, just as children learn from other children parents can learn from each other too.

- Talking about your experiences and sharing tips is great for encouragement, it can give you more confidence and give you new ideas to try.

- You may be surprised to find your little one is prepared to try things with others that they wouldn’t try with you!

Disclamer: the above information was provided by Organix.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Review: Babasac multi tog sleeping bag

Babasac® is a brand new range of sleeping bags for babies - with inner layers that easily zip out, creating a 2-in-1 multi tog baby sleeping bag.
When I first saw BabaSac my attention swayed to this lovely presented baby sleeping bag straightaway. I have picked Pink Heart design for 6-18 months, £38.99.
The design on the outer sleeping bag is very girlie, with a cream base colour and cute pink hearts which really do make the sac aesthetically appealing.

It is quite an impressive sleeping bag with the ability to separate the togs from 2.5 tog to 1.0 tog, simply by removing the velcro lining and unzipping the internal panel. 

As you can imagine an overheated baby is not the best idea, so removing layers without the need for a major removal process, makes the Babasac wonderful.

The Babasac has the traditional buttons on the shoulder straps which means easy to fasten without any major hassle, underarm poppers and the zipped sides which open at the bottom make changing your babies nappy a stress free process.
Even though I'm not used to opening the zip at the bottom  as I do not tend to change L at night anymore it is a useful feature for mums with smaller babies. 
The sleeping bag is fairly light weight, made from cotton and polyester, and looks like a long-lasting product.

The only minor point- Babasac is a little bit too long and buttons/option to fold lower half of it to make it less long would be ideal.

I have been online recently and noticed that few new designs were added, grey cloud with yellow trim looks super funky and trendy.
Overall, Babasac is a great product and I can certainly recommend it to mums and dads.

Disclaimer: I was sent the above item for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Little L's favourite outfit- Tu at Sainsbury's

This outfit I bought today for 2 reasons it was reduced from £8 to £4 and it looks extremely cute!

As you can see it is too big for L, even though it's 6-9 months (68-74cm, 100% cotton).
I like settle pink and cream colour. I think it could be a great outfit for every day and going out?

Would you buy it?!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

When I've had enough..

As any mum I went through not knowing what to do, lack of sleep, baby's constant crying (still at this stage when teething strikes) and problems with breastfeeding. 8 months down the line all seems to be forgotten and only on days like yesterday it all seems a little bit too much.

I was told before by both my relatives and in-laws that L is very active but I don't think about it, I just get on with it.
When L has her moments I try not to think how annoying it could be I entertain her, make her happy and calm. 
On days like these I feel as if all my energy has been drained and only when L is asleep I'm glad that tomorrow will be a new, different day!

Would love to hear on your methods of coping with baby's crying?! 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Review: Ava Nursing Top by Mama Milk

When I was pregnant I didn't give much thought to breastfeeding clothes until I've realised that sometimes it is more convenient to have an easy access to the breast rather than to lift jumpers or tops and freeze my back.

I did a small research and found out that there are 2 types of clothing shops for breastfeeding mums: expensive ones and those who sell small sizes (max size 14 or 16). How disappointing right?! 

Thankfully I found Bella Mama who kindly offered to review Ava nursing top (£22). 

Bella Mama is a small, busy boutique specialising in chic, contemporary breastfeeding clothing and transitional maternity wear for new mamas, blending fabulous style with amazing comfort. To complement this, we also offer a lovely range of beautiful baby bags,swaddling blankets, nursing necklaces, nursing covers, changing mats and indulgent skincare.

  • Beautiful everyday wrap front breastfeeding top, with soft stretchy cotton modal mix fabric to fit and flatter your figure
  • The double layer at the front, and shaping at the waist is also wonderful at minimizing the appearance of the tummy.
  • Nursing Access: Easily feed baby by pulling aside the neckline to access the nursing openings.
    The Ava nursing top in black (comes in amethyst colour as well) is a very practical, smart looking and flattering. I wanted to feel comfortable whilst breastfeeding and the Ava top certainly gives me this feeling. It doesn't look like a typical baggy top, you can wear Ava for an occasion as well. 
    I was a little bit worried about "love handles" and big-ish arms but Ava top complements my figure and it's soft fabric seems to hide those lumps and bumps I didn't want to be on show as well as it is very easy to clean if you had a little bit of baby sick or baby food on just use wet wipes and it will look as good as new.

    Most importantly it is very easy to feed in by using the holes in the under layer, which looks quite discreet. Having said that I always use nursing cover when out and about as it is more convenient for me to have an extra layer covering myself and my baby.

    Disclaimer: I was sent the above item for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

    Friday, 13 March 2015

    Breakfast in Bed with the Roberts Bakery

    Every mum deserves a little bit of "me" time every now and then! Why not treat your mother to a delicious breakfast in bed?

    L is a little bit too small but with a help from her daddy and Roberts Bakery I'm hoping to enjoy my breakfast this Mothering Sunday.

    Here is how I see it:

    If you fancy trying something different for example a classic- boiled eggs and buttery toasted soldiers, here is a Roberts Bakery checklist for you to follow:

    Disclamer: I was provided with the breakfast in bed hamper for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are honest and my own.

    Wednesday, 11 March 2015

    L's list of baby essentials

    L wasn't a typical baby who sleeps during the day and awake at night, she was awake pretty much most of the time and also needed moisturing every few hours due to baby eczema and peeling skin.

    Here is the list of our mush-haves for baby:

    L was born with long-ish nails and we were told in the hospital that they will fall off, well they didn't and within first hours of her life scratched her face.

    This is an obvious one as any baby needs baby vest, sleepsuits, blankets and maybe a cardigan if it's a little bit chilly.

    Nappies: you would need lots of them. We bought 10 packs in size 1 which lasted us 4 weeks.

    The swing was my saviour for the day and evening, when I needed a break from L as she was sleeping on me all the time I could pop her in a swing and she would eventually fall asleep.

    The carrier we could use only in a forward facing position as L wanted to see the world when during evening walks and it seems that she cried less when I was wearing her.

    I was against dummy for the first 4 weeks as I was worried about nipple confusion but now looking back I would offer her dummy straight away as without it we had non-stop crying 24/7.

    Bath/Bath support:
    For the first few months baby bath and bath support was a table centrepiece in our kitchen it was easy to use as I didn't have to lean to much plus having a bath support meant that I can place L inside the bath and have my hands free.

    Digital Video Monitor:
    Certainly a must-have as you can have guests in a living room or just do your own thing whilst your baby is asleep with a small camera watching over her/him.

    Play mat:
    It took a while for L to understand what she needs to do and it is so interesting to watch that with every baby change in development they do different things with the toys on a play mat.

    Nappy rash cream/Moisturiser/Olive oil:
    L had an awfully dry, red skin for the first few weeks as she was born 10 days later. We were told it is normal for an overdue baby and were advised to use olive oil, but as my husband suffers from eczema we went to see the GP who prescribed Ultrabase which we have been using every day. 
    Nappy rash cream or nappy rash prevention cream/ointment is another must-have if you are not so keen or forget about nappy-free time or when baby is teething. 

    Soft, small toys/loud rattles, musical toys: L liked a shabby blue dog teddy and a butterfly rattle which could be quite loud when you shake it. The louder you shake the calmer baby gets. And for bath times we had a musical teddy called Cheburashka who entertained L and stopped her from crying during bathing.

    What would you add to the list?

    Tuesday, 10 March 2015

    Review: Scrabble duck egg rose mum card from Made With Love

    I would like to start with thanking the guys at Made With Love for the opportunity to review the Scrabble duck egg rose MUM card (£3.50), as I am sure that my mother in law is going to appreciate it on the special day.

    Made With Love is an online boutique, specialising in couture wedding and events stationery, unique hand crafted greetings cards & fabulous gifts & furniture. 

    My first impressions: the card was packaged well and I particularly liked the tissue paper wrapping sleeve, in which the card sits within.

    "Scrabble - A cool Floral print Mothers Day card with a vintage floral print and scrabble letter tile wording. A mix of cool & vintage. The print is a scanned wooden scrabble letters & a fabulous vintage fabric print that gives a great effect when combined with the retro look of the letter tile piece Love print".

    The card pattern is also very floral (which is very much to my "mom's" taste). I also love the idea of having 'MUM' spelt out in scrabble letters, which I think is a very original concept. For additional £2 the card can also be personalised with a message inside.
    The texture of the card is very nice to the touch, with a white/pearl matt card finish. The inside insert is an super glossy ivory paper segment which allows for the message to be written (which is traditional in handmade cards).
    My only issue, is the quality of the scanned front design- all of the floral and scrabble detailing is blurry/patchy which can't be seen from the picture but is visible when you look at the card.

    All in all quality card, the image is original and the pattern is lovely with a minor negative of the scan quality which means the card could be improved.

    To say thank you Made With Love Designs offer 30% off their website in the run up to Mothers Day just use the code MYLITTLEL30. The code will expire on Friday 13th March, customers can still order for Mothers Day delivery until midday on this day.

    Disclaimer: I was sent the above item for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

    Friday, 6 March 2015

    My first Mother's Day Wishlist

    I was already told that I will get what I'm given as I'm not my husband's mother and L is too little to buy a gift, having said that I still tried to give few hints. I just hope that it will be something creative with a little help from L.

    Here is what I would like to receive:

    Do you fancy anything from my wishlist?

    Wednesday, 4 March 2015

    Little L is 8 months

    My little baby girl is 8 months, only for 4 months until she is 1!! It is crazy, how to stop the time?!

    Last month we were tackling sleeping/napping in a cot, I was so happy about how L slept in the evening and jinxed it. She has a minor sniffles and was teething hence wasn't in the mood to follow any routines, since then it will take her ages to nod of in the evening, so we are back to square one!

    L is not into jumperoo anymore, but she would stay for quite some time in a travel cot and in her activity room. Yes L has her own activity room, as now we have a spare dining room, which we never used and living room is incredibly small I thought that L needs lots of space to play and hopefully crawl. Last week I have moved few bits, put few boxes in a garage to make some space, ordered large play mats and even with a little mess on a table it looks lovely ans spacious!

    I don't think L wants to crawl, she is trying to reach for toys but would go backwards and not forward. She is making more and more attempts to stand on me, in a cot, on a floor if I'm holding her, I am seriously thinking about investing in a walker!

    My darling daughter keeps saying "mama-mama", "nana", "baba", "da" all depends on a day or her mood. Last weekend she surprised me a lot when started singing/repeating after daddy, it was only for few seconds but she was 100% in tune!

    Clapping is another milestone, she is not advanced at it, but she would try to clap when playing, happy or sees daddy.

    I have read 8 months updates of other blogger's babies who say that they can see their babies have toddler personality. I don't see this in L, she is still tiny and behaving like a baby, she is stubborn though, will have a tantrum if I'm not letting her play with adult toys (laptop, wires), but she is still my little baby girl!

    Tuesday, 3 March 2015

    Lamaze rainbow rings review

    I have tried to stop our relatives from buying unwanted presents for L's first Christmas (each household had an individual wishlist), but as you can imagine it was impossible. My sister bought these cuties along with other toys from the First Christmas wishlist and all of them are very much loved by L.

    Lamaze Rainbow Rings (6 months+, £11.99)
    - Problem solving skills are fostered as baby figures out how to stack rings on the post
    - Gripping and stacking the soft rings strengthens hand-eye coordination
    - Full of different textures, the soft rings invite baby to explore- stimulating tactile senses
    - Crinkly rings awaken baby's auditory awareness
    - Bright, bold colors and patterns invite baby to focus, stimulating vision

    It is very easy to recognise a Lamaze toy even without looking at the label. They are well made, soft and are made to help baby's development.

    This was bought when L was 6 months and she was fascinated straight away with it's colours and different textures.

    Each ring is a different colour, made of a different material/textures and each ring crinkles in different places (side, top, bottom). 
    The pole itself is black and white (contrasting colours) and has coloured ribbon tags at the top, it also comes with a little surprise inside- jingle bells which are sewn inside the pole.

    They are very easy to hold, very light, squishable, won't harm your baby and keep them occupied/entertained for a while!
    Now she is 8 months and she tries to put them in her mouth, throw them, take them off the pole, shake the pole, reach for the rings.

    I'm hoping that as she grows older she learns the trick of assembling, dissembling and maybe using them as an accessory- bangle. 
    Definitely well worth buying!!