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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Big thumbs up for ELF cosmetics

Have you heard of ELF cosmetics (Eyes, lips face)? I hadn't until I read about them on a beauty blog recently.

I ordered a few bits and I am really chuffed with the products and thrilled with the price!!

Their main range is all priced at £1.50 for everything, including make up brushes. Then they have a "studio" range which is said to be higher quality and all of that is £3.50. Still way cheaper than most brands. The stuff doesnt seem cheaply made at all and I have had quite a few compliments on my make up since I had a go!

I have a sick little girl today

Mathilda started being sick at midnight last night and kept going until about 6 this morning. Poor lamb. She hasn't been sick since so fingers crossed its over but she is weak and washed out.

I have got her all tucked up and resting on the sofa and have made an aromatherapy mix of peppermint, tea trea and orange to freshen the house of the sick smell, get rid of any lingering bacteria and freshen the air up for her.

I am loving using aromatherapy oils in place of toxic air fresheners, I just put them on a candle burner or a few drops in a pan simmering on the hob :)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Really fabulous birth photos on this link - check it out!

I could never bore of looking at images of the miracle of birth (<>they make me very broody too!)

Birthing Photos

Biological Nurturing - a recipe for success!

I love the way the information on Biological Nurturing is presented here

In the form of a recipe, highlighting how relaxed and easy breastfeeding can be!

I used the principles of biological nurturing when I was having trouble with latching issues - it can be a very bonding experience - try it!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Colic tips

Cranial Osteopathy - I took Mathilda to a Cranial Osteopath on recommendation from various people - I was pleased with the results. Although it wasn't a quick fix solution her symptoms seemed to definitely lessen after each session. - Please see this website for further information and to find a Cranial Osteopath in your area.

Get that wind up! There are various ways to get wind up from a baby! And even when you think you have got it all up, change position and try again, there is usually a bit more lurking in there somewhere! Experiment with winding part way through a feed.
a) Sitting upright on your knee with his chin held in your hand rubbing the back in a circular motion
b) Leaning over your shoulder holding their bottom in one hand, rubbing their back in a circular motion with the other hand.
c) Lying across your legs on their tummy, rubbing their back in a circular motion with one hand
d) Lying on their back while you cycle their leg
e) Holding your baby sitting upright on your knee and just holding still but verrrrrrrrry gently stretching them up a bit!

Infacol (and other infant colic medications!) - Infacol is supposed to help group all of the tiny air bubbles into one big bubble which helps the baby to get them all up in a big, rewarding burp at the end. Helps for lots of people, suitable from birth.

Alot of people aren't keen but for me I have found a dummy to be very useful. When dealing with colic any respite from the crying is welcome! I found a traditional cherry shaped teat to be the one that all of my babies accepted most readily!

Homeopathic Teething Granules - are a homeopathic remedy for teething pains and colic. Available in small sachets that you tip into the babies mouth. Again, helps some but not others but worth a shot!

White noise is great for blocking out the world to a baby! It also helps to recreate some of the conditions in the womb! I purchased a selection of sound files and experimented with which one had the best effect and made a CD out of them that I have playing on a loop. Of course you dont actually have to purchase white noise ? you could produce your own using a hairdryer, vaccuum cleaner, radio static etc etc Sometimes the white noise needs to be really quite loud, loud enough to drown out the crying and get your babies attention! You can then lower the volume gradually.

The combination of swaddling, white noise, dummy and movement was normally enough to gain some calm on even the worst days!

A sheet, t shirt or blanket that you have been wearing to put in with the baby can help to settle your baby with your comforting smell.

There are devices available that will rock your baby in the pram without you leaving the house (or even having to move). They are devices that you plug in and they provide rhythmic movement that you wheel the pram onto to recreate the motion of going for a walk ? Baby Dream Machine is one of the models available.

Motion - pram walks, car rides, swinging in your arms; motion often soothes.
?Tiger In The Tree? hold - this is where baby lies along your arm with his tummy in your hand and his head in the crook of your elbow! It is a good position for calming babies when they are crying.

Slings - the motion and closeness to you is very soothing to a baby. There are a vast array of slings available, many of them give you the chance to be hands free for a while which is a blessing when dealing with a colicky baby.

Swing - there are loads of swings on the market and for many babies the motion is very soothing.

Swaddling - I am a complete swaddling fanatic. A very firm swaddle can work wonders to help babies to settle off to sleep. It helps to control the Moro "startle" reflex which often prevents babies from settling, or wakes them once they have. It also helps to recreate the feeling of being in the womb which is very comforting. There are various special swaddle blankets on the market (I really like the Miracle Blanket) or of course a good old fashioned sheet. Very, very firm is the key to a successful swaddle! It is worth mentioning that when swaddling, care should be to taken that your baby doesn't overheat.

Colief Drops have been successful for lots of people. The drops are put into the babies feed to help break down the lactose in the milk prior to the baby digesting it!

There tends to be less incidence of colic in breastfed babies

Gripe Water - designed to help bring a good burp up - suitable from 4 weeks

Baby Massage - there are various courses, books and websites that will give information on baby massage techniques. One in particular, massaging around the tummy button can bring relief.

Although infant formulas are all very similar there are some specialist milks available that are apparently "easy to digest" and may make a difference for some babies.

If bottlefeeding, the type of bottle you use may have a big impact on the amount of wind that your baby takes in. There are very many ?anti colic? bottles around ? Dr Browns is one of them and I did find that it made a difference.

Fennel Tea is said to be calming for babies with colic, if breastfeeding YOU drink the tea and if bottle feeding a small amount given to the baby can help.

As colic often occurs at a set time in the day, consider getting some help for this challenging time. Your partner, mother, friend or perhaps Doula can take some of the strain for you so that you can have some respite. It is really important that you take care of yourself at this time. You have just given birth and are now dealing with a difficult baby ? whatever it takes for this short, intense period of time to alleviate things are worth it ? accept ANY and ALL offers of help!
One of the most important things to hold on to is THIS WILL NOT LAST FOREVER and has no bearing on the future personality or temperament of your baby!

New updated website now live! Very excited!

My new website is now up there and live - going to plan the relaunch soon - watch this space!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

What's on at the Museums and Galleries for babies, toddlers and kids in Newcastle

Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge StreetNewcastleNE1 8AG
For pre schoolers - Tuesdays.

Each week we will make things, sing, listen to a story, have juice and biscuits, play and learn lots about things in the gallery and around us.

Get to meet lots of new friends and have lots of fun! There will be a charge of 50p per child for each session. No need to book just come along!

10-11am 11-12pm

Little Artists does not take place during the school holidays (so there will be no session on 16 February).

02 Feb, 09 Feb, 23 Feb, 02 Mar, 09 Mar, 16 Mar, 23 Mar, 30 Mar.

Little Discoverers is Discovery Museum's group for children under five and takes place every Tuesday during term time. Come along and make things, sing songs, listen to stories and learn about the museum and the world around us.

Themes for Little Discoverers sessions:

2 February - Rain: make your own rain shaker
9 February - Valentine's Day: make a card to show someone you love them

23 February - Rainbows: make your own rainbow collage
2 March - Colours: Red - Make your own red collage
9 March - Colours: Green - Design your own mother's day card with green leaves and pretty flowers
16 March - Colours: Blue - Make your own blue car
23 March - Colours: Yellow - Make your own sun mobile
30 March - Make an Easter card with sheep and lambs for someone you love

No booking is required

Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge StreetNewcastleNE1 8AGEvery Saturday, 1.30pm - 3.30pm

Come along and create your own art inspired by the exhibitions and displays at the Laing in these free art and craft sessions. Suitable for all ages and no booking required.

06 Feb, 13 Feb, 20 Feb, 27 Feb, 06 Mar, 13 Mar, 20 Mar, 27 Mar, 03 Apr, 10 Apr, 17 Apr, 24 Apr

Read more:
Netmums - the local parenting network 
Netmums - the local parenting network 

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Scrumptious Knitted Cupcakes!

Before Christmas I asked this very talented lady to make me some knitted cupcakes for [me] my daughter!!

I promised at the time to photograph them as she had forgotten to and 3 months later I have remembered so thought that I would share them on here too :)

Aren't they gorgeous!!!!!!

Dabbling in aromatherapy - made a lovely room spray

After my random charity shop book purchase of an introduction to aromatherapy I have received my oils and started tinkering :)

I have made a lovely refreshing/relaxing bedroom and linen spray to keep everything smelling lovely as naturally as possible.

I mixed 4oz water with 15 drops lavender, 10 drops bergamot and 8 drops peppermint

Smells absolutely lovely up there now!

I want to try a DIY household cleaner next - hopefully leave the house smelling fabulous AND clean!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Website Redesign - Precious Time

Getting my website redesigned for Precious Time

Could you help me decide!

1, 2, 3 or 4! OR 4 but with blue polka dots :) ?

Click on the image to see it bigger and leave a comment here

3D Video illustrating the mechanics of childbirth!

Thought this would be a great resource for me to show doula clients and potential antenatal clients of what is actually going on in there during birth

Interesting article about newborn sleep patterns!

One of the first questions asked to a new mother is often "are you getting much sleep?" "do they sleep through?" "are they good?"

(I particulaly hate the last question, is a newborn good??? is there such a thing as a "bad" one!!)

Sleep consultancy, routine books etc are big business because lets face it being up several times a night is pretty hard going.

This article gives a different spin on it, that the wakings actually play a part in reducing SIDS.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Eyeko - fabulous new kitsch make up find!

I love all things vintage and this transcends into my cosmetics and toiletries!! I love Benefit to bits and more recently have used and enjoyed a few Soap and Glory products. The vintage packaging is what gets me with it, just my style!!

Have just been blog hopping and came across Eyeko, I really like what I see and a quick scout on google reveals I have been in the dark about this brand for quite some time!!! Everyone is raving about this 3 in 1 Beauty Cream and unfortunately it has sold out BOO!!!

I have 4 things in my basket and my finger is hovering over submit, the prices are really not bad but not sure if I actually NEED any of it!! It is stocked in UK Superdrugs so think I might get to one of their shops to check it out.

I have just been informed by my daughter that the eyeko packaging is actually in Manga style and not vintage, she is of course right but it is verry cute!!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Slimming World Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

Seriously yum yum yum and great because it doesn't taste like "diet food" so I can quite happily dish it up for everyone so I don't need to eat seperately!

450g Extra Lean Mince
2 large potatoes
1 sweet potato
1 large carrot grated (my kids prefer it grated, chop if you prefer!)
2 Sticks of celery sliced
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
Handful of garden peas
Handful of sweetcorn
300ml stock made with beef oxo cubes
Glug of passat or half a tin of chopped tomatoes
Splosh of balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to season
Spray Oil
Splash of milk (I used skimmed to keep it really low)
2 cheese triangles (in place of butter to mash potatoes)
42g of reduced fat cheddar 

Preheat the oven to 180c
Chop potatoes (sweet potato in bigger chunks as it cooks more quickly) put in pan with boiling water and simmer

Spray a pan with some spray oil and lightly fry the onion, celery and garlic

Add the carrots, fry further

Add mince and cook until brown
Add thyme, passata/tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and stir
Add stock
Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, add the frozen peas, sweetcorn, season with salt and pepper as required
Pour mince mixture into a casserole dish

Mash the Potatoes with the milk and cheese triangles
Place on top of mince mixture and smooth over with a fork

Bake in oven for approx 45mins -1hr
Top with the cheese approx 15-20 mins before end of cooking time.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Mathilda's Birth Story

I have just come across my birth story of Mathilda. After everything that happened I think I have consciously or subconsciously blocked out a lot of her early months:( I have very little memory of a lot of it, I can't actually imagine what she was like or transport myself back to those memories like I can with Megan and Harvey. If I thought about this too long I could get very upset but in the spirit of positivity I will celebrate what was a fantastic birth, written by me a few days afterwards.

This birth story was written the day after I had her on the 4th January 2008

"The WONDERFUL birth of Mathilda Alice at 01.50am yesterday morning. Weighing a petite 6lb 6oz.

Well....................what can I say? One of the first experiences on my doula journey and training was the debriefing of my first two births. I started to learn why I had the bad experiences I did and yearned to have a chance to do things differently.

I was 41 weeks on Thursday and in my attempt to avoid any threat of induction I went for a sweep. I had been niggling on and off for a few days and wasnt too suprised to hear that I was 2cm and very soft and favourable. Midwife gave me a "very good, thorough sweep" and I left already feeling crampy.

This continued throughout the day but was barely uncomfortable - I went out for lunch with David and kids, did some shopping, some housework (cleaned floors on hands and knees as midwife had mentioned position felt fine but head was possibly slightly posterior) and at 7.30ish I started to feel what I felt were more like isolated contractions as opposed to cramps (I was round at a friends watching the kids play in the snow!).

I found it easy enough to ignore these and didnt dare think that I was going into labour naturally as I didnt want to get my hopes up!!

I made bolognaise sauce, watched a DVD (knocked up funnily enough!) and just kept very active. Looking back I realise that I didnt sit down or lie down for the entire duration - I instinctively stayed upright and just moved freely.

At 10.30pm I was starting to register these contractions as slightly painful and need to concentrate on them when they came - mainly by leaning over birthing ball or doing a hip wiggle!

At midnight they really notched up, it was only at this point I would ever say there were really very painful but when it came it came, I rang the hospital and midwife urged me to come in when she heard me have 3 contractions in the 5 minutes I spoke to her!!

Called in Francesca to come and be with the kids and Nicola, my birth partner arrived. Off we went to hospital, I leaned over the back seat of the car on the way in, repeating the mantra "I can do this, I can do this" with each contraction.

On arrival to hospital I just wanted gas and air!! I was examined at 1.20am and was 5cm dilated and was then moved into the delivery room, I agreed to go on the monitor for a few contractions and the very first one we listened into the heartrate was quite low (early decelerations) straight away talks of transferring to main hospital began. The contractions suddenly changed and I was getting a long painful contraction immediately followed by another peak and what I now realise was a pushing sensation. Midwife had another peak and the head was crowning! I went from 5-10cm in less than the time it took to change rooms and get on the bed! The decels were because the head had descended so quickly.

I barely remember pushing, it has been documented as 5 minutes 2nd stage and I can remember my body doing it all for me, none of this chin on chest stuff I just breathed through the sensation and helped body along. I had a VIVID experience of transition whilst all of this was happening and it was like fireworks going off in my head, all massive intense bright colours!

I looked down and Mathilda sailed out in meconium waters and promptly pooed - I thought it was me until someone pointed out otherwise!

David cut the cord and I popped her on my chest, she rooted and latched herself on within a few minutes and started feeding really well.

The placenta took 15 minutes, 3 times longer than the delivery of baby!!!

Midwife checked me over and announced I just had a graze and no need for stitches!

Within an hour of arriving at hospital I was having my after birth cuppa, gazing at Mathilda and in utter disbelief that I had such a wonderful time.

The difference in how I feel after this birth compared to my other two highly medical inductions is amazing - my "bits" dont feel any different, I dont feel like I have been run over, yes I am tired but also euphoric and so damn PROUD of my body.

My perception of the whole labour and birth is completely positive and looking back I think I was awash with endorphins/oxytocin as I didnt really feel any of it as painful, just very strong.

Anyway, Im sure you have heard quite enough about that, just wanted to get it all down as it really was such an important experience to me.

Thank you to everyone whose input has helped me to finally have the birth experience I have craved xxxx"

How sad, following my own blog!

I only have 1 follower :( Well, 2 now but one of those is me!

I still haven't figured out blogland well enough to know how you actually get anyone to read your blog!

Or maybe people do read but don't comment or follow, if you do please say hello!


My beautiful heart shaped garden!

Last spring I worked my arse off to transform the wilderness that we called the front garden into a lovely rockery complete with white rocks, pink flowers and a heart shaped bamboo feature in the middle! I absolutely loved it!

Now however, I am ashamed to say it is looking almost as bad as it did before I even started - I am DEFINITELY going to get out there and restore it to it's former prettiness as soon as the weather gets a bit better.

Isn't it precious!?

A cheeky charity shop visit

I L.O.V.E charity shops with a capital L! I was driving home from my sister's house today and passed Oxfam in Jesmond and thought oooooooooooooooooooooooooh will just have a quick look.

Came away with three books! All for a mere £3!

The first one is an absolute gem! It is called "Every Womans Luck Book" It is a classic self help book from the 1930's on how to bag a husband.

Has loads of corking information such as looking for your potential husband based on the shape of his jaw!!

I will update with quotes as I get into it!

Then I got Essential Aromatherapy - A beginner's guide to choosing and using essential oils for beauty treatments, massage and health remedies. 

I am really interested in using essential oils more. Would love to be able to understand the different benefits and use them around the home in candles and with massage. 
Lastly, Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much - The bestselling collection of
meditations for women whose lives are too busy. Meditations For Women Who
Do Too Much speaks directly to the hearts and minds of the millions of women
who do too much of everything: work, worry, organize, and take care of
everyone in their lives!except themselves. With wisdom, humour, and insight,
these meditations -- paired with quotations from women of many ages,
cultures, and perspectives -- help women recognize and change their patterns,
slow down, and take the time to
listen to their own needs.
When I read the synopsis on the back cover I was struck by the term
"careaholic" the term used for someone who spends so much time and energy
helping or being involved with others they leave no room for
themselves. I have come to the conclusion recently that this is exactly what
I do
, I think as a distraction technique from tackling my "ishoos" head on.
So, there you go. My name is Rebecca Hills and I am a careaholic! 
I haven't read much of the book yet, but flicking through it looks full of good,
sage advice on slowing the world down and concentrating on the important
things - exactly what I want to do!

Weigh in Tuesday - week 3

I lost 2lbs tonight taking me to 9lbs in 3 weeks :) I am really chuffed with myself but every time I think of just HOW MUCH I need to lose to get me to where I want to be it all feels like too much. So, I'm going to concentrate on this first stone. 5 more pounds to go and I want that off in the next fortnight!

I am at the gym in the morning and I am going to work reaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyy hard!

Monday, 1 February 2010

I really want to make one of these!

I love heart shapes (as you will know if you read the title of the blog and/or know me!)

I'm missing a couple of the garlands I had up at christmas and think these lusciously cute handmade heart garlands might just have to replace them. All for the spirit of valentines day but I cant promise I will take them down when it is over!

I found thise idea on this blog
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

This is my quote of the day!!

Clever bloke that Einstein fella!