Aldi haul.

I guess eight items isn’t much of a haul (spent well over £100 in the previous baby event) but it’s still an extra bag full of shopping here. Thought I would share my finds anyway! Normally I’d pick up a couple of cloth nappies and some teething chews or pram toys but they didn’t have any this time around. Conveniently they did have some weaning items so they will be useful for next month!

Books – they always have some cute books in the baby event. Wish I’d got the animal one to complete the set. They are hard books with cute rhymes and cut out shapes for baby to feel. Nice and colourful pictures.

Bath toys – these are not age appropriate but there’s always time! May as well start collecting tub junk now.

Sippy cup – not even sure what I’ll put in here but it will be good to teach baby how to drink when the time comes.

Weaning bowls – they both have a suction base which means baby can’t thrown them on the floor. One of them also has a warming base to prevent food from going too cool if baby is taking a while to feed.

Wipes – of course I got the bargain box of baby wipes for use when out and about. They actually come in a box of twelve and each pack contains 64 wipes.

Is anyone else planning to get some baby stuff from the event? It started Thursday 17th August and some of the stuff was already sold out online before the instore release date.

Foodie Edinburgh with a baby.

foodieedinburgh

Edinburgh is awesome. My husband and I have traveled there several times pre-baby and there is no excuse for us not to go post-baby! The city is steeped in history, beautiful old buildings, and has a plethora of independent shops and restaurants (our fave). There are currently four festivals going on in the Scottish city so it will be very busy if you are planning to go in August but I assure you it will  be worth it.

We tend to stay in the same area so my knowledge is limited but thought I’d share a few recommendations with you. Parking can be a bit tough in Bruntsfield and Morningside but we’ve usually been lucky finding spaces. If not, then a short walk along the main street also gives you a nice chance to peer into the local shops (like French deli Karine’s or homewares Acanthus).

The Waiting Room pub – the best chicken burger I’ve ever had. It’s frequented by a fair amount of students but that shouldn’t bother you during the daytime.

La Favorita – you can have pizza delivered or collect on order. If you are planning to collect it, I would advise you to phone beforehand because the wait is pretty long at peak times. The pizza really is very good though! No room to sit in and definitely not enough room for a pram so best idea is to have it delivered to your lodgings.

Salt Cafe – came here not expecting much but the breakfasts we had were delicious. Some might say they are on the pricier end but it’s comparable for the area. Staff were friendly and there is more room at the back of the restaurant.

Montpeliers – this eatery can get very busy so book ahead. There are lots of tables and staff are very cheerful and helpful. This place probably has the biggest menu of all the restaurants on this post and some good coffee and juices to boot.

Honeycomb and Co – a pretty new place that is totally Instagram friendly (beautiful interior!). The salads are so fresh and colourful and the hot food is delicious. Little quirks like adding black pudding to shakshuka make this place a real gem and the staff were great with our baby.

Luca’s – only ever been here for the ice cream. Said to be the best in the city. So much so that they also sell in various outlets. As well as the regular cups or cones, you can also buy tubs to take home (or the hotel). They have a hot food menu but haven’t ever tried it. This is a nice place to stop for something sweet but there are stairs to encounter if you’re planning to sit in.

If you don’t have to steer a pram or have a child that can sit in a chair check out La Barantine (un cafe francais) for tasty pastries, soups, sandwiches, and desserts or Falko (ein deutscher kuchen) for lovely teas, freshly baked breads, and mouthwatering cakes. Both are pretty small and you may need to wait for a table.

(No links are affiliated or sponsored.)

Battle of the cruelty free baby wipes.

I have decided that one of the products I am regularly going to review is baby wipes. They are a staple in any parent’s arsenal. Some people even use them for cleaning. Now, the most earth friendly sort of wipe would be a reusable wipe that you soak in a solution, use, then wash and repeat. This process, however, is not for everyone and I’d say most people would find them inconvenient (and I also say you should give them a try!).

The minimum criterion is that the wipes tested in this series are cruelty free (ie no animal testing involved) but some wipes may also be classed as ‘organic’ or ‘biodegradable’. For the purposes of comparing them all, I will buy the ‘sensitive’ version if available. I haven’t completely decided what I will be comparing apart from cost or ‘wetness’ but I’m sure I will figure that out along the way.

In other news Emery turned 5 months old last week. Time has flown by so quickly! I’m starting to panic that he hasn’t got a fixed sleeping routine or even a daytime routine yet. He began rolling over just before he was 4 months old but he does it so quickly and easily now. He doesn’t enjoy being on his back so much anymore. Emery is also much more alert and curious about the world. He will reach his hands out to touch things (and sometimes pop them into his mouth). He has become a serious dribbler and chewer so it looks like teeth are on their way. He no longer falls asleep on the boob and he will stop feeding and ‘go about his day’. I just hope he has put more weight on at the next weigh in.

What you REALLY need to buy for your hospital baby bag.

buyforhospitalbag

Everyone is going to have different experiences but I found that I packed and bought some unnecessary items. I ended up using a small suitcase as my hospital bag because I packed everything on the ‘suggested’ lists. Not only do you need to bring all the baby items, you need to bring your own things too!

FOR BABY
– 3 x bodysuits (depends how long you will be in hospital)
– 3 x sleepsuits
– small pack of nappies
– pack of baby wipes
– a blanket
– muslin cloths (I personally didn’t use them in hospital)

What isn’t necessary? Gloves or socks!!! Just buy the sleepsuits that come with feet and mitts. Gloves are often too big and fall off anyway. Socks fit better but having them attached to the sleepsuit makes dressing so much easier. All in one suits are available at M&S, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s.

Possibly buy ONE baby hat if it’s going to be cold or your baby may be born early to keep them warm. You will receive lots of hats as presents. Also do you really need a ‘going home’ outfit? If you’re having a big fanfare when you arrive home with lots of family gathering around then maybe but it’s another unnecessary purchase. The outfits you buy are probably going to be cute enough anyway.

FOR MUMMY
– old T-shirt for labour
– loose comfy clothes for after (zips and buttons are good for easy boob access if you’re breastfeeding)
– 1 x nursing bra + 1 x box breast pads
– 1 x maternity pads (and more for use at home)
– old knickers instead of disposable underwear
– slip on shoes for toilet trips
– toiletries and hairbrush for that post-birth shower

I was definitely not in the mood for food during labour. Snacks and drinks are probably more useful for your partner but you will enjoy snacking once the baby has been born. Same for books and magazines. Contractions will probably prevent you from relaxing too much but they are a nice distraction afterwards if baby is sleeping and if you’re not sleeping.

This post is to help you decide what you definitely need to buy. We don’t need more rubbish like disposable knickers accumulating our landfills! Of course we are all different so perhaps you can speak to a family member or friend to see what they brought with them. Sometimes lists produced by companies are to convince you to buy more things from them!

Where to buy cruelty free makeup in the UK.

wheretobuycfmakeup

You might think it is hard to track down cruelty free cosmetics in the UK but they are pretty easy to find. If you’re on a budget, it’s also easier to find more affordable brands on the high street. As always I use Logical Harmony and Cruelty Free Kitty to check the cruelty free status of brands before I make a purchase. All these are correct as of July 2017. No links are sponsored or affiliated, I just want to help make it easier for you to shop cruelty free. (Note, some brands listed below are owned by parent companies that DO test on animals so whether you choose to purchase from them or not is your decision.)

SUPERDRUG
Superdrug is a great place for drugstore price brands: Ardell, B., Barry M, Collection, EcoTools, Elf, Freedom, GOSH, Lottie London, Makeup Revolution, Models Own, MUA, Nip + Fab, Real Techniques, Sleek, Tanya Burr Cosmetics, The Balm.

BOOTS
Boots has a smaller range but still some goodies: Barry M, No 7, Nyx, Real Techniques, Sleek, Smashbox, Soap and Glory.

DEBENHAMS
For higher end makeup: Bare Minerals, Buxom, Illamasqua, Kat Von D, Laura Geller, The Balm, Too Faced, Urban Decay.

MARKS AND SPENCER
Never knew M&S did cosmetics until recently: Barry M, Ciate, Pixi, Pur, Stila.

SPACE NK APOTHECARY
Not available in all locations if you want to test before buying but accessible online: Becca, By Terry, Chantecaille, Kevyn Aucoin, Hourglass.

BEAUTYBAY.COM
If you’re not bothered by shopping online then BB.com has a slew of CF brands covering all price ranges. In fact, there are so many I’m only going to mention a few: Anastasia Beverly Hills, beautyblender, BH Cosmetics, Dose of Colors, Juvia’s Place, LA Girl, Makeup Geek, Milani, Natasha Denona, Ofra, Spectrum, The Ordinary, Violet Voss, Zoeva.

OTHER
Don’t forget to check out The Body Shop and Lush which are on most high streets. Some own brand makeup is also cruelty free such as in H&M or supermarket own.

Just look at all the shopping possibilities for all price ranges if you want to go cruelty free. It seems so unnecessary for other companies to conduct animal testing if all these brands can be successful without it. I may do another post on cruelty free skincare in future as I think they’re harder to track down.

 

5 minute mummy makeup.

5minutemakeup

 

If you’ve had a baby you know one of the things you have less time for is yourself! Sometimes you leave the house without caring how messy your hair is and how patchy your skin looks, but there are days when you want to look like a coping mother and a bit of makeup really helps your cause! I use a few serums and emulsions in my skincare routine so all these layers take long enough to dry without having to layer on makeup too. I have two different go to routines which are very quick for me to do and make it appear as if I’ve had a full night’s sleep if I do not have time to sit and put on a full face.

1. BB cream + glowy blush + lipstick

I use Korean BB creams (although there aren’t many cruelty free brands so I need to start looking at others) because I think they are the best (and original). They give my skin good coverage whilst moisturising, hiding blemishes and providing that all important SPF. Currently I use Dr. Jart ‘Dis-A-Pore’ which claims to also shrink the appearance of pores.

A blush with a sheen gives my face colour and gives me a healthy glow. The shimmer helps me appear awake and flushed with happiness. A lipstick ties off the look and pulls it all together. Using a rosy nude for a ‘your lips but better’ look also makes your makeup look natural.

2. Concealer + eyeliner + tinited lip balm

If you don’t want a full face of makeup then using concealer will diminish those dark circles under your eyes and if you listen to YouTube beauty gurus and use a shade or two lighter than your skin tone, your skin will also look highlighted and brighter. Using concealer to hide any blemishes also helps you look like your baby is sleeping through the night.

For me, using eyeliner and putting a flick at the end of my eye instantly makes me look perkier and the flick opens up my eyes. I seem to squint when I am tired so this is a good trick for me. Again, adding some colour to your lips gives the illusion of a carefree life. I love lip balms with a bit of colour because they moisturise your lips whilst giving a splash of pink or red.

Do any other mothers find that their makeup routine has changed since having a baby? Has your routine changed or do you have any tips to share?

Why cruelty free?

whycrueltyfree

It wasn’t until November 2016 when I decided I would go cruelty free. It started with makeup purchases. When I was in my late teens/early 20’s I loved buying cosmetics but over the years my penchant for that seemed to wane and I concentrated more on skincare. My friend wanted me to attend a makeup class with her so I went along and, to be honest, it wasn’t great, but it got me excited about beauty products again. The tutor mentioned popular products such as The Balm’s ‘Mary Lou Manizer’ and the ‘Beauty Blender’ sponge so I went home and started researching. I’m one of those people who obsessively reads reviews (or watches them on YouTube) before I commit to a purchase.

Anyway, one way or another my research led me to the horrifying facts of animal testing for beauty products. Although animal testing is banned in the UK and EU, there are still big companies that continue to test on animals in sly ways whilst trying to portray they do not. The reason for this is because when a company wants to sell their products in China it legally has to undertake (either themselves or a third party) animal testing to supposedly prove the safety. A lot of companies sneakily try and pass themselves off as being cruelty free by saying something like, “We do not test any of our products on animals except where it is required by law,”  on a website FAQ. The only way a brand can be considered cruelty free is if they do not test on animals at all.

I just think it’s a shame that companies continue to use animal testing when there are ways to prove safety without poisoning and harming animals. There are lots of brands that manage this so why can’t every brand do it? I sort of understand testing from a pharmaceutical point of view (although there is a whole other argument for that) when producing medicines but why should an innocent animal suffer for human vanity? Do you want the blood of an animal on your hands just for a pretty lipstick?

Currently I still have non-cruelty free products in my vanity as it would be wasteful to throw it away but I will make sure not to repurchase from a company that is not cruelty free. I use Logical Harmony and Cruelty Free Kitty as references before buying. You can also look out for the Leaping Bunny logo that certifies a product as being cruelty free. You might think that going cruelty free is expensive but there are actually a lot of reasonable options.

Once I decided my makeup was going to be cruelty free, I also decided that other hygiene items and household products should also be cruelty free. This includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, washing detergent, fabric softener, cleaning sprays, and more. Some things are harder to find than others (like deodorant) but Amazon is a great source and a lot of supermarket own products are cruelty free. It gets even harder when buying groceries. Unilever and P&G have some big name food products and I’m trying to avoid buying these as well.

Obviously I would also want all baby products I use to be cruelty free and I am hoping this blog can persuade others to follow suit. Hopefully my son will grow up loving animals as much as I do. If anyone has a pet, you should also go cruelty free! Can you imagine someone taking your beloved pet and rubbing chemicals into its eyes to test some foundation or a cleaning solution?