Thursday, 28 July 2016

One about weeds

In my first garden related blog post which you can see here!, I spoke about my battle with ground elder in my own garden and earlier I was having the same battle in my customers garden so I thought I'd share some thoughts.

Firstly here's a photo of a plant that I dug up.
You can see the long root which makes ground elder the pest it is. There's no good just pulling it out because all of the roots need to be removed and there's an awful lot of them! You'll never get 100% of it the first time no ones perfect but if you can get 90% the first time a 90% of what left the second time and so on in a reasonably short period of time the problem can be managed if not completely eradicated.
I wouldn't bother with weed killer it will kill the leaves but the plant will simply retreat to its roots.

The second weed I encountered is not really a 'weed' I'm sure some consider it a plant but I find it a nuisance. It is a large grass plant with sharp leaves. It will become very large and seed prolifically around the garden meaning before long you will be overrun with it.

So my advice get is to get rid when they are small because if they are big you'll need a pick axe. If you like grass plants well I've got a few suggestions that will look nicer and not take over. Firstly if you have a large garden go for stipa gigantea or m&s anthias zebrinus (the stripey one) interestingly [I hope] the stripes are caused by a virus, don't worry it doesn't damage the plant or spread.

If you have a smaller garden try hakonechloa aurea or stipa tenuissima which is very tactile.

But most importantly dig them both out before they take over.

Michael

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bed time routine featuring Denman

Just before we moved house we were sent two hair brushes for the children, they've been using them ever since they arrived and still love them. I just have been rubbish at blogging so it's taken me a while to get around to telling anyone we have them! [sorry]... The whole house move thing was a bit of a shock and I'm rubbish at coping with change. Moving on...

It's a little embarrassing that in 6 years of having Oliver I had just used my hair brush for him when/if needed.... to be fair to me, he never really had much hair! Now he doesn't need to share mine because he has his very own super cool one which has fitted into our bedtime routine perfectly. Gone are the days he woke up with terrible bed hair because it's been beautifully brushed the night before. Both my children hate hair dryers so we rub their hair dry with a towel and then brush it through. His little sister was sent one too which was very handy because they always want what the other one has, don't they? luckily they're blue and pink so there's no fighting over he's got my one!


So when they arrived we were just on our way out but the children were so excited they wanted to take them with us and they brushed their hair for probably, the entire car journey. Which kept them entertained.
 
We were sent two different designs - one is blue with cars on called Vroom Vroom and one is pink with a fairy/castle which is called fairytale. Both brushes retail for £8.50 each - at first I thought this was a lot (please remember that I've never actually purchased one so had no idea on prices apart from my own hairbrush which is rubbish and I think cost me about £3....!) But having looked around at different hair brushes after and using one that Isabelle was giving as a present in a little set, to which she screamed at because it hurt her... I've realised that the price is £8.50 because it does exactly what it's name says! They're called the tangle tamer brushes and they really do work without upsetting the child = easier life = happier parent. Neither child has moaned that they hurt whilst sorting out those irritating tangles.

Oliver also had a really sore scalp when we started using this, he has special shampoo from the doctor which has now cleared it up beautifully but I was a little worried that this tangle tamer would hurt his scalp - it didn't it was absolutely fine.

I'd recommend this brush to any children probably age 1 upwards, when they really get some hair.

It's very useful for those pig tails that Isabelle now wants to have and without it, I hold my hands up and admit that she would look very silly with her hair everywhere!


I've also put their hair brushes to the test on my own hair and I love them! My hair is long and if I didn't brush it straight away it would be a little difficult to get a brush all the way through it easily. I definitely want to get a Denman brush of my own so I'll put that on my 'to get' list - do all mums have those?
Our bedtime routine has had to change a bit since we moved as now we have both children sharing a bedroom but denman brushes have fitted in perfectly and made life easier.
Thank you Denman they're very happy with their beautifully brushed hair before bedtime.

you can find denman range of brushes here - www.denmanbrush.com
Mary-Kate, x

*Please note that we were sent these brushes for the purpose of this review.



Tuesday, 26 July 2016

#scarsuncovered with Bio Oil & giveaway too!

Bio-Oil is a brand I'm delighted to be working with on this post, I've heard amazing things about them and I'm looking forward to seeing the effect it has on my scars, I've also been chosen to have the video of the campaign here on my blog to share with you as well as being able to offer not one but three bottles each 60ml to give away - that's 3 different winners so make sure you pop over to my facebook page to enter - Mummy Memories Facebook Page. Bio-Oil have launched a new campaign to support women on their journey to scar acceptance. Their mission is to help people with scars feel like that don't have to hide away.

According to a new study, almost two thirds of women say that their scar has affected their body confidence, which I can completely understand as it doesn't just leave a physical impression upon their skin but also affects them emotionally which can cause a real impact on their day to day life. Bio oil's new research found that 40.7% of people with scarring wanted to feel like that don't need to hide.

"A scar can serve as a reminder of an often traumatic experience and accepting a scar is an important part of coming to terms with this experience. If a scar is affecting someone mentally then their instinctive reaction can be to cover it up, when it's out of sight it's out of mind. But in order to move on, it's important to acknowledge scars rather than simply hide them away." explains psychologist Jo Hemmings.

If you haven't heard of Bio-Oil before then it's unique formulation has been clinically proven to help improve the appearance of new and old scars whether from surgery, accidents, burns, insect bites scratches or chicken pox. Trials have shown that after 8 weeks of using Bio-Oil 92% saw an improved appearance of scars.



You've got stretchmarks? Oh it's because you had a baby..
no. Wrong!

Actually I've had stretch marks for as long as I can remember, I think I was probably about 13 with my earliest memory of them. I guess I'm just unlucky and my skin is the type that will get stretch marks - I wish I'd of had some bio oil back then who knows it could have been different!

When I was in my early teens, my body shape suddenly changed rather quickly and these small white 'shiny' wobbly lines started to appear mainly on my hips. I thought something was seriously wrong to begin with but my mum assured me it was only stretch marks and "everyone gets them" ... that's not true is it, not everyone gets them and the other teenagers were sometimes hurtful when they noticed them at school. They probably didn't intend to be mean actually, sitting here thinking about it as an adult for the first time, they were only asking me questions about why I had them and what they actually were but at the time I genuinely thought I was the only person who had to cover up because she had curvy hips that decided to stretch my skin creating marks on me.
As a teenager in the photo above, I thought I was fat and I think that was partly because I had stretch marks - I thought only obese people had them but that's not true at all. My adult eyes now realise that everyone has something they don't like about their body, a scar from an injury or a scar from an operation, birth marks, cellulite or stretch marks - more young girls need to realise that you are not required to be a magazine perfect model, that's not life and it's not their life either. It is photo shop. Photo shop is an amazing thing but to edit away someone's individual scars is not real life, lets learn to be happy in our own skins and teach our children to be happy with who they are. I covered up when I was younger, (I still do now to be honest, I wear swim shorts with a tankini top because that's what makes me more comfortable). Using Bio-Oil can improve your scars, therefore improving your confidence too so it's definitely worth a try.
When I was pregnant with Oliver they appeared on my tummy too, all over it covering the entire thing - not just a small amount either, I literally had a print of the entire London underground map upon my tummy in stretch marks. These were different, they were red or purple in colour and they looked sore! They looked angry. Being huge, not tiny it made me feel everyone could see them from miles away and there was no missing these but you know what? So what. I created life inside my tummy within the space of 9 months (and 4 days....) an actual little person grew inside me and I am so proud of the fact my body can do this. I feel lucky that I can do this so what does it matter if my skin changed? My whole life changed along with it! Obviously now I've had Isabelle too, I've got even more stretch marks. I had some photos done at Hoss photography when I was heavily pregnant with Isabelle and I actually asked him to photoshop out my stretch marks. Why? They are me so why did I feel the need for that to be done?. you can slightly see them in this photo below but now, I'd be interested to see what my tummy looked like with all them at the time.

I've also got a scar from my emergency C-section but not once has that bothered me. It was a life saving operation for Isabelle and it was worth the scar. I feel thankful the doctors could do that and that I've got my beautiful little lady. I'm interested to see what affect Bio-Oil has on both my stretch marks and my C-section scar. I'll definitely update here when I've used it for a few months.
A scar doesn't define who you are. Don't let it control what you wear or where you go. Let's all make an aim for this year to get #scarsuncovered .... I'll start, I'm going to wear a swim suit or a tankini without mens swim shorts when we go away for a few days after our wedding.
 
What is your aim?
Tweet them to me at
@mummymemories #scarsuncovered with
 
You can find Bio-Oil on social media - Facebook = www.facebook.com/biooiluk
Twitter = @BioOilUK
 
You can find Bio-Oil on amazon, in primark, Tesco, sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose, asda, boots, superdrug, savers and wilkinsons. For a 60ml it's £8.95. Remember to pop over to my facebook page for your chance to win. Mummy Memories Facebook.
 



Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Childrens sensitive skin? - I've got the brand you need to meet!

Both my children - Oliver age 6 and Isabelle age 2 have sensitive skin. (They probably get it from me... sorry about that!) and it's made getting suitable creams and bath products for their skin really difficult that's why I love Child's farm products.....
 
 They're safe and they make the children happy = me happy!
We were really kindly sent some more bits and bobs to try out and to add to our quickly growing favourite list of products by Child's Farm. We've fallen totally in love with the hand wash - it's got our stubborn 6 year old actually washing his hands...instead of just dipping the tips of his fingers under the water, yuck!

Oliver loves to shower himself now he's a bit bigger, I'm still in the room but we close the shower door and let him wash himself. [kinda a parenting win though isn't it because we have a shower and then a separate bath tub in the room I can get both children sorted at the same time!] He loves the child's farm hair and body wash, in his words because "I only has to use one thing and I can just wahhhhhh *weird hands thrown around* put it everywhere!". (lazy huh!) I've also noticed that he doesn't drop the bottle like he does other bottles in the shower, so it's a good shape bottle too, he is very clumsy anyway (Sorry that's from your mum again mate... it'll probably stay forever I'm always walking into things, breaking things or just dropping something... once I actually left a bath running when I was a teenager and it didn't end well. I'll say no more on that!) He loves to use the product.

Mentioning baths... Isabelle however is not so keen on showers - imagine if you will, a little girl screaming (SCREAMING!) "I don't like showers" on repeat, for the entire shower. Fun. So her favourite would have to be the bubble bath. You only have to use a little (and shake your hands in the water) to make lots and lots of glorious bubbles appear. Caution - the children will fight over who gets the end with the most bubbles if you're saving time and doing bath times together.

Both children adore the moisturiser and actually I do too (guilty of using some the other day) it leaves their skin feeling really soft, no reactions or rashes to be seen after using this product. Considering Isabelle reacts to a lot of the creams her doctor has given her on prescription before that's a massive thumbs up from us Child's farm!  

All of the products smell gorgeous but our favourite ones have to be ....

Orange and tangerine bubble bath
Organic sweet orange hair & body wash
I can officially say that this list of products by child farm have never caused any reaction, any cries of "it's in my eyes" or any issue at all... I'd buy them all again and again.

Hand wash
Moisturiser
Hair and body wash
Shampoo
Bubble Bath

Oliver reacts to every sunlotion we have tried so I would love to see how he got on with childs farm's sun cream.

The packaging - in all honesty it's lovely to be able to let the children have something that looks as if it's for children! Their prescription items are always so plain and boring so having something that looks cool is a) going to make them want to use it and b) make them feel special. Everyone likes a treat don't they?

Every child deserves to have the option to have a bath full of glorious bubbles to play with. Pretend you've got a beard or to cover themselves in the bubbles, even just to blow them around... without Child farm my children wouldn't be able to enjoy their bath times as much unless it was going to be irritating their skins. The only issue is that they don't want to get out of the bath and then go into complete meltdown because their skin on their fingers and toes have gone all wrinkly.

I love how honest Child's Farm are about what is in their products.

They all smell lovely.

If your child has sensitive skin then you definitely should try these products, buy the hair and body wash first and see how you get on with that and then move onto something else. Why? Because you can test it on their hair and their body first before buying two separate products (shampoo and bubble bath) - it's expensive being a parent as we all know, so you need to save those pennies when and where you can!


Thank you Child's Farm for letting us put your products to the test! I remember when I joined twitter and first saw your products thinking they looked really posh and now *giggles* my bath room is filled with them. And don't change your ingredients - they work on the most delicate of skins now so they've already reached perfection. Don't change perfection.

A little bit from the childs farm website -

Our Happy skin promise™ is a promise from me to you that we have done our very best for your little ones, and that every bottle we sell is designed especially for them.
✓  Dermatologically tested and approved
✓  Paediatrician approved
✓  Suitable for newborns and upwards
✓  Suitable for children with sensitive and eczema prone skin
✓  98% naturally derived ingredients
✓  Made with organic essential oils
✓  Free from parabens, SLSs, mineral oils and artificial colours
✓  Never tested on animals, only on people
✓  Tested and approved by my little ones for you to use on yours


You can find Childs farm on social media too - They're a friendly bunch so make sure you say hello and ask any questions you may have...

Twitter @Childsfarm
Facebook - Childs farm!

Website is www.childsfarm.com

*please not that we were sent some items in exchange for our honest opinions on them*

Monday, 18 July 2016

Our garden - a transformation

I thought we would start my garden blog posts about our garden. A picture speaks a thousand words so here is a photo of what the garden looked like when we first moved in a few months ago.
It's a very narrow garden, about 11ft wide but with the over growing shrubs and trees taking up so much of the garden, it looked even smaller.

First job was to remove the shrubs. Just doing this made the garden feel much wider and let light back into the garden.
Two big problems remained - the poor condition of the lawn due to the shading caused by the shrubs and lack of previous maintenance and the presence of the very invasive ground elder, which spreads by underground runners its very difficult to get rid of all of them so it'll be an on going battle.

The first job was to dig over the areas affected by ground elder in an effort to remove as much as possible.
Now to start on the lawn. I removed the old stepping stones because they didn't seem safe for the kids. Then the hard work begins I dug up the lawn using a pick axe which is surprisingly the best tool for the job (more on the many uses of the pick axe later).
Once the grass had been removed it was time for the whole lawn to be dug over to loosen the soil, then hoed to break up clods of soil and finally raked to make a nice level surface.
The correct preparation of the ground is essential but the quality of turf is equally important.
When you're buying turf always find out when it was cut! The turf I used was cut on Thursday, delivered to the nursery on Friday and laid on the Saturday so it was very fresh. The turf stacked outside places like Homebase for days on end however is not and therefore the chances of a successful lawn are reduced.

I laid the turf so it is staggered like a brick wall and with the edges butting up against each other but not overlapping and the edges cut to size with an old bread knife.

Isn't it typical that I've laid this lawn on the weekend that summer has finally started to arrive! That means Mary-Kate will be left with strict instructions to water it a lot during the day using the sprinkler attachment.

We are really happy now that the lawn is laid, the overhanging fruit trees cut back and a few perennial planted in the borders and the garden is looking bigger, lighter and is much more usable an child friendly. Now we can get started on making the end of the garden nicer. Mary-Kate has started painting the fences at either end of the garden in a blue shade - called forget me not from Homebase

Make sure you follow us on twitter for more garden updates @mummymemories


Michael (Mary-Kate told me to put my name at the end...)

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Milestone wedding cards

Wedding planning is exciting, stressful (and expensive) all rolled into one meaning it can be easy to forget those little memories it would be nice to remember! It bugs me looking at photos unable to remember when it was... if you've posted it that day on facebook then great it'll remind you but if like a lot of people you don't then it's so easy to forget. One little wedding thing is that I have been so shocked at prices people pay for things, I know some people dream of the perfect things and they can afford to do so but to us as a family spending a massive amount on one day it's just not something we would like to do (or can afford to do either...) we want to have a cute wedding surrounded by people we love, make memories together, seeing smiles on peoples faces and still be able to afford to feed our family afterwards so on my blog I'll be sharing lots of bargains I've found along the way - probably alot more after so we keep some secret from our guests should anyone I know actually read my blog hehe. I am loving planning little bits and bobs now, some people have annoyed me with their opinions but I'm going to be stubborn and have what we want now because at the end of the day it's our day. Hopefully it'll be just once right Michael??

On Saturday something really very cute arrived in the post, they fit in with the idea of a cute wedding (They also fit in perfectly with the idea of a huge wedding too) you may have seen me post a photo of them over on Instagram - Milestone cards! You've most probably seen the baby milestone cards which are super sweet, we had some for Isabelle but move over baby cards because now there's brand new Milestone wedding cards on the block and if you're planning your wedding then they are something you should purchase! They arrived just in time - about half an hour before we left to visit the florist and book our wedding flowers which I'll be blogging about soon. So I got to use my very first card before I had even had a proper look at them.

In the box you'll find 30 cards marking different milestones in your wedding planning which have been designed by fashion illustrator Danielle Kroll. They are decorated very cutely in a pastel, whimsical and timeless fashion. There's a place to write the date on each of the cards if you want to so that you can remember the exact date that it was taken which is a lovely little feature.

There's meeting with the florist, I said yes to the dress, deciding on the menu, the location is booked to name just a few and also some countdown ones which are a lovely way to share the countdown to your wedding in photos. Mine will probably be an excited face at 1 week before and then the night before the wedding will be a scared face!

They are definitely going to be very popular with brides-to-be so they can capture every special moment from YES! to I do. Wedding planning can be so fun and these cards mean you can share the fun on social media too. I have already started posting photos of them on instagram.

There's a poster included so you can tick off which you've done (I have added a little photo further down so you can see what that looks like) - a good way of remembering to complete them all as it's so often easy to forget.
There's also a few others included such as special cards for you to write what you like most about your future wife/husband. Hmmm I wonder what Michael will say about me!

I plan to share photos with you of the cards along the way in separate posts so I'll keep reminding readers where I got the cards but as we have been engaged for some time now (we are getting married in March) there are a few that I've already done and can't really work them into their own post so I'll share a photo of those with you here now. (The newly found Instagram love in me is thinking if only they were around before and Michael got me some with the ring..... haha! Good idea though hey?!) 


Aren't they really cute?! I am delighted with them and think they are a fantastic idea. I would definitely suggest them to a friend. I'll be posting more about Milestone Wedding Cards over the coming months in the wedding planning.

They cost £12.99 and you can find them here on their website -   click here! or on Amazon too click here!

Make sure you follow @1twoandSophieUK and pop over to their facebook page too. https://www.facebook.com/1twoandSophieUK/

You can find me on social media by clicking the following links...
Facebook

Twitter - @mummymemories

Instagram

Please note that I was kindly sent these for free for the purpose of this review but all of the opinions are my own.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Moving house with children

Well that was easy - said no one ever to move with children!

My blog suddenly went silent - I do that every now and then. It's lovely to come back to see actually I've had some page views whilst I've been silent, I don't really check the page views or tots100 or any blog ranking thing because it kinda makes me feel like I'm back at school not being popular and sometimes I'd rather not know! I would love to be one of those bloggers that can keep writing through anything that life throws at them but unfortunately I'm just not so I'm not going to pretend to be. I love writing on here and speaking to people because of it especially allergy mums meaning we can help each other with safe food ideas (I know, not very 'cool').


So the reason for our silence this time? Well, we privately rent unlike a lot of the bloggers that I follow we didn't have this amazing house that we owned, we weren't getting an extension or anything and we didn't have an amazing bathroom to post photos of to make others jealous that we were going to be having this glorious bubble bath with candles and bits... perhaps I follow these bloggers because I love their Instagram photos of gorgeous houses? instead we had a privately rented house which was mouldy! Yep... mouldy.

We have lost count of how many hours we spent cleaning mould off the ceilings in all of the bedrooms, downstairs toilet and bathroom. It was a lot! To be honest, when the landlord said he was selling the house it was a bit of a relief however finding somewhere else was going to be hard because there was nothing advertised in the area that would of fit us all in, luckily after posting a desperate plea on a local facebook page someone replied and that someone is now my next door neighbour! His neighbour was looking for a tenant and it hadn't been listed on the market yet = lucky.

The landlord gave us 2 months to leave - we gave him our 1 months notice which was a risk but luckily we found somewhere else in time! It was a rushed move.

So now, we have finally moved. To a smaller house but it's a lovely house. Isabelle and Oliver now share a bedroom which actually has gone as good as it could of done. They were incredibly unsettled to begin with but now their behaviour is slowly improving - however, Isabelle has started terrible 2s I'm sure!!!! That's something for another post. We have beautiful fire places and rooms!!! Actual doors that separate living areas instead of open plan like last time. We have a loft that is now acting as a playroom and we have the cutest bath! The shower is amazing - I love washing my hair, it's long and with the old shower would take AGES to get the shampoo out... now my excuse for taking so long to get ready is simply that I LOVE THAT SHOWER! Oliver even requests to have a shower?!
Our kitchen. I love.... the sink... the oven.... everything.

We have a garden!! It needs some work - luckily I happen to know a gardener! Hehe.

It may be smaller but it's big enough for us! I am now proud to share Instagram photos of our home.

If you're about to move with children - it's hard, they tantrum and make everything difficult but it's a huge change and they will settle down.. eventually.