Sunday, 24 February 2013

One for the mums!

I recently started to think about my favourite time saving beauty buys since becoming a mum. Obviously there is no need to change your whole beauty regime, but sometimes when time is tight you need a few key products you can rely on to keep you feeling and looking good when you dash out of the door! Here are a few of my recommendations:

Batiste Dry Shampoo - this is a lifesaver when you don't have enough time to wash and dry your hair before going out. Just spray it on, give it a rub into the roots and brush it through. This is definitely my second day hair saviour! Around £3 from supermarkets, Boots or Superdrug.

Boots No.7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Gel and Day Cream - having previously bought my skincare product from one of the premium brands, I decided to give No.7 a try when I received a money off voucher at Boots. I was really impressed - the cleansing gel removes makeup brilliantly and left my skin feeling clean and soft. Followed up with the Day Cream, I only need these 2 steps to look after my skin. Boots are always doing £5 off skincare vouchers or 3 for 2 on No.7 products, so if you time it right you can grab yourself a bargain. At full price the cleansing gel is £9 and the day cream £12.50. The range includes products for normal/oily, normal/dry and very dry skin, so there is something for every skin type.

Tinted Moisturiser or BB cream - these are great for slapping on without too much effort, and give you a healthy glow. One product I love is Estée Lauder Sheer Tint Release Advanced Multi Protection Anti Oxidant Moisturiser SPF15 (bit of a mouthful!). However it is £36, so definitely one for Mother's Day/birthday/Christmas. It gives light coverage and makes you look like you've just had a lovely holiday in the sunshine! Alternatively I find the BB creams from L'Oreal and Maybelline are also good, and under £10.

Aldi Under Eye Concealer - surely the must have product for all mums who aren't getting enough sleep! I really like Aldi's Lacura concealer pen which is light reflecting and covers fine lines and wrinkles. A bargain at £3.59! I have tried expensive concealers in the past, but this does a great job without the high price tag.

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush - a dab of this gives you that healthy glow if you are feeling a bit washed out. I really like the berry and apricot shades, which are £6.49 each. Maybelline is often on 3 for 2 (currently on at Boots) so you can treat yourself without feeling guilty!

Clinique Chubby Sticks - great for putting on in a rush, these sticks are a cross between lip balm and lipstick. They give your lips a bit of colour without making you look too 'done'! They cost £16 so not cheap but I think they are worth it.

Neutrogena Hand Cream - my hands are looking terrible at the moment from the amount of time my hands spend in water, whether washing hands from changing nappies or washing up from baby J's meals. I tried this hand cream a few days ago and it has really helped - my hands are a lot softer and much less dry. I bought it for £2.50 from Boots, reduced from the usual £3.

Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Polish (around £3.69) I tried this for the first time last week and was very impressed! I had pretty much given up on painting my nails as I never seemed to have time to wait ages for them to dry. As all mums know, there is always something you feel you should be doing rather than sitting down and relaxing! Then a friend suggested fast drying nail varnish so I gave it a go. I picked a bright red shade called Ready, Aim, Paint, which instantly glams up your nails for a night out. It does take a bit longer than 60 seconds to dry, but after a few minutes I could get on with my jobs or playing with Baby J without fear of smudges! It only lasts for a couple of days without chipping, but this is without a top coat or base coat which would probably prolong your manicure.

I would always put mascara on my 'must wear' beauty list, but I am still hunting for the perfect one. If anyone has any recommendations then it would be great to hear them!


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Early weeks

For my first post, I thought I should go back and start at the beginning...

Before Baby J was born, I felt I should get organised and buy everything I would need well in advance. I panicked that after he was born, I wouldn't have time or the inclination to do any shopping! Afterwards I realised that this was wrong - you don't actually need that much stuff in advance and the shops will still be there when you have the time and energy to venture out with your new baby. Online shopping has been invaluable for me as I can shop from the comfort of my sofa and compare prices to make sure my money is going as far as possible. Here are my useful items that helped me in the first few weeks/months as a mum:

Baby sleeping bags - once Baby J reached the required weight for these, they were really helpful in keeping him cosy and providing peace of mind for me. When I was using blankets/sheets, he would kick them off and I would worry about him getting cold, the blankets going over his face etc! I found the Gro Bag branded sleeping bags good, and you can often find these for half price in TK Maxx. You can also buy cheaper versions in the supermarkets, they usually start from as little as £10.

Gro Egg Room Thermometer - this looks good in any nursery, and at a glance you know if the temperature of the room is ok for your baby. It changes colour to let you know whether the room is too hot/too cold/just right so you can dress your baby accordingly and add or remove layers when putting them to bed. You can now buy Gro Egg shells for a few pounds so your Gro Egg has an identity such as a penguin, owl or monkey. My husband did think I was slightly crazy when I bought the monkey shell a few weeks ago but I have to say it does look cute!

Playgym - these are perfect for keeping your baby entertained from a very young age. I bought the Baby Einstein play gym for Baby J and he still loves it now at nearly 8 months old. It has lights and classical music which keeps him entertained. It costs around £50 new, but I
picked mine up on ebay for around a third of the price. Obviously there are lots of other options available - a few friends have the Fisher Price Rainforest play gym (again around £50) which I also hear good things about.

Cot mobile - this became part of baby J's bedtime routine, as it would be switched on every night when we took him into his nursery to put him in his cot. We chose the Fisher Price Rainforest Mobile (around £45), as it had classical tunes and soothing rainforest sounds. This has been great as the rainforest sounds settle him, and he associates these with sleep time. There are lots of different mobiles to choose from to co-ordinate with your nursery - I have also read good reviews of the Tiny Love Classic Mobile which costs around £30.

Baby Monitor - for a lot of parents this is one of the most important purchases as it provides peace of mind. There are a multitude of options to choose from, starting from a basic model up to an all
singing, all dancing movement and video monitor. We went for one of the Which best buys, an Avent Eco Dect model and this has been perfect for our needs. The sound quality is excellent, it has an intercom so you can talk to your baby (or tell your partner to get the dinner ready for when you finish the last feed!) and has a nightlight and lullabies. We were also lent an Angelcare movement monitor but I could never get it to work! However I know a lot of friends highly rate the movement and video monitors which obviously tend to be at the top of the price range for baby monitors.

Baby bath - I found it much easier to use one of these rather than putting Baby J in the big bath. In fact we like it so much that he is still in it, although we need to make the move to the big bath so he has more space to kick! The Tippitoes Mini Bath (around £14) was comfortable and supportive, so It was easy to bath Baby J even if I was on my own.

Muslin cloths - boring but essential! These are a staple for most mums, as they can be used for wiping up milk dribbles/baby sick, can be used as a cover up when breastfeeding, or as a comforter for your baby. Baby J loves to have his with him whenever he has a nap which has proved to be a cheap and easy way of settling him, with the bonus that I never have to worry about losing one as it can be quickly replaced! I bought packs from Asda and John Lewis for a few pounds and I think this is one item where quality does not matter so much.

None of these things are essential, but they were great for me in the first few weeks and months. Would love to hear what anyone else would recommend to help other mums!