Monday, 19 January 2015

Motherhood Mondays - Apps

Hi guys!
First of all, I'd like to wish you all a belated happy new year; 2014 was a life changing year for me with the birth of my son; it's amazing how fast a tiny human grows, he'll almost be a year in March!

I've always been the type to take motherhood very seriously and like a lifelong project; I wanted to become an educational psychologist as a teenager but fell in love with Nutrition at college and pursued that at university (with the odd psychology module of course).
Being the most important and influential person in a child's life is a massive responsibility in my eyes and though it's never easy, watching them learn new things every day and form their own personality traits is so beautiful.. I can't help but wonder what my little bubba will be like when he's in school, when he's a teenager and one day a man! 

Seeing as time flies, I've been noting his developments through his health book, apps and occasionally on my social media pages (#frootibaby).. It's always nice to look back at photo albums and see how much you've changed, so I hope to do this for little man too.

I thought I'd write this post recommending some of the apps I use to note developments and also for general helpful information that may be useful to check out.

Emma's Diary (free)
Initially in my pregnancy I had a few apps I would read on a daily basis to check the development of the tiny foetus growing inside me; I was fascinated by the scientific side of what was developing and at what apparent equivalent size my baby was (a kidney bean, an apple, a watermelon etc); if you are a longterm follower of mine on twitter you now know why I tweeted a weekly vegetable or fruit coupled with an emoticon haha!
I loved that the Emma's Diary app also allowed you to keep a diary of all you're feeling (another great idea to read back to your child one day) as well as read "Emma"'s diary and see if you're feeling the same.

My Baby Today | BabyCenter (free)
After baby was born, the BabyCenter "My Pregnancy Today" app prompted me to download the "My Baby Today" app, which consistently follows on from the pregnancy app but is baby development related. I now use this app and like that it gives supportive, handy advice on yours and baby's life, as well as activities to do and "weekly giggles" based on your baby's age timeline.

Baby Tracker (free)
At the beginning of baby's life, you'll have constant midwife and health visitor appointments, so I liked to keep track of feeds and lengths of feeds etc and have this information to hand if needed. There are plenty of Baby Feed Tracker apps, and most allow you to record lengths of feeds (if breastfeeding) or amounts of feeds if bottle feeding, as well as wet and dirty nappies and sleep times. 

Also handy to have is a growth tracker app that you can note down baby's height, weight and more, for those appointments with the health visitors.

For those who love checking out what stage your child is at cognitively, physically and emotionally, this app explains the fussy moments in relation to brain developments (or "leaps").
I like that this app has a personalised chart too, so you can see approximately where your child is - and also predict when they're next going to be Cranky, Crying or Clingy (the 3 C's).

The wonderful world of weaning is next; I've had a few people ask me what kind of recipes I recommend and haven't got round to replying, but from a Nutrition point of view, I like this app because it's got UK based recipes/measurements.
This app actually has many other points I like about it too:

  • The recipes are easy to make (a lot with simple ingredients that I use for myself too) which is great for when bubba starts having "mummy's food".
  • You can choose to follow the app "Week-By-Week" based on the weeks you start weaning (not age) or you can choose your own "Meal Planner" where you add the recipes you/your bubba will like to the days of the week
  • Ingredients from a recipe can be added to a shopping list within the app
  • You can add recipes to your/your babies favourites
  • There are articles and tips to read within the app as well as "Help from Heinz" 
Of course there are other apps you can go for like the Annabel Karmel app (£4.49), but for a free app, this pretty much has the same concept (if not more features). 

Baby Sign And Learn (free for lite/£1.49 full)
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post a picture of my bubba's certificate for attending Baby Sign Class (which I wholly recommend). I love that learning sign can help a baby communicate with you more effectively, even though they can't say proper words yet (so far my little man gets excited/impatient when I sign for "drink milk"!).
If you don't have a sign class that you can go to, this app is pretty helpful and teaches words that you would use on an every day basis in your routine with baby (drink, eat, nappy etc), which is always handy if it helps calm (or excite) baby.

Lifecake - Baby Photo Journal and Slideshows (free)
Last but certainly not least, is the Lifecake app; this app is one I've recommended to friends and family who've also recently had babies (of course we all want to see how each baby is developing so we can swap mum stories!).
I like that this app automatically puts any pictures uploaded into age/date order (from the date the picture is taken).
The pictures, videos and notes can be thus sorted in date or age order; or if your timeline has more than one kid on it, then just date order. 
Privacy is important and the pictures uploaded to the app are private (unless you choose to share the timeline with a member of family/friend), and if they have an account it doesn't automatically mean you see their pictures, they have to invite you.
You can upload up until 1GB (I think there's a premium version thereafter). And yes you can order a photo book too, which I certainly plan to do as a keepsake =)
Best of all, every so often, Lifecake email you a "flashback" to see how your bubba has changed (e.g. a picture at 4 months next to a picture at 8 months) and it's amazing because you don't see it when you're with them every day but you can see it when they're put together!

So here are some of my favourite apps that I'd recommend; of course there's a plethora of baby apps that you can download to even entertain and engage your baby, but for now I thought I'd share the ones that would interest the parents out there =)

Let me know which ones you'd recommend or really love and why; it's always lovely to discover new apps seeing as there are so many!

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Monday, 8 December 2014

Motherhood Mondays - Breastfeeding Tips

Hello my lovelies!

I have to say I haven't been able to blog about Baby/Parent/Mummy things as much as I'd like to and the last couple posts have been a welcome break for me to enjoy makeup and reviewing again, seeing as I'm just getting on with the actual motherhood bit haha!

But I've had a couple requests for more baby related posts and I thought I'd feature a Motherhood Mondays post as much as possible, even if it means simply posting a picture.

Since my last post was about Caesarean Staples, I thought I'd follow in chronological order of what I'd blog about next (even though my bubba is now 9 months old!)

Probably the first and most important thing for me after giving birth was breastfeeding; I am so pro breastfeeding, not only after the antenatal classes but especially after studying Human Nutrition and the human body; the benefits are endless and I knew I wanted to breastfeed no matter what.

For those who think its a simple process and comes "naturally", I'd say the reality can be far from it and it takes a lot of work!  
Here are 10 tips/things I learned (some, the hard way):

1) Latching on  
Initial latching on can be painful; no matter how many midwives you confirm with, it's better to see an actual breastfeeding specialist in a class (if available to you) as they are a lot more supportive and helpful. Trying different positions helps and I found using cushions very helpful!

2) Creams & Pads  
Lansinoh was my favourite brand for nipple cream as well as breast pads; I tried a few other branded breast pads but these were by far the best! Can be bought from Boots, John Lewis, Mothercare.
[The best prices I found for the cream is £6.66 and for the breast pads £3.66 for reference].

3) Determination / Mentor
Breastfeeding requires determination, so I would say if you want to breastfeed, buddy up with someone who can push you when you feel like stopping (and believe me, there's so many times you feel like giving up).
I was lucky enough to have a family member to lean on at all sorts of hours who had recent experience herself and I would recommend the same for anyone else as it's still fresh in their heads (mums/aunts/grandmothers may have forgotten the struggle).

4) Eating/Drinking Well  
You have to keep your own nutrition up, but also bear in mind you have to be careful what you're eating as it affects the little one's stomach; you don't want to eat something too acidic or gassy or spicy for instance, but at the same time, you're pretty much using energy to turn food into milk, so you need to eat as many calories as you can and of course a lot of milk ideally. I found chocolate milkshakes did the trick for me and also somehow kept me awake for the many night time feeds!

5) Immunity  
Seeing as your chest is out a lot whilst feeding and your immunity is low, you can expect to get ill fairly frequently; so continue taking Pregnacare/pregnancy vitamins to try and keep on top of your vitamins and minerals.

6) Midwives
Some can be awesome, so ask as many questions as you can, but some can make you feel like giving up and formula feeding. Whilst I have nothing against formula feeding, I do think that it's worth pushing breastfeeding exclusively as much as you physically can, for as long as possible, purely because the health benefits for your baby supersede formula feeding massively.. I could write a post or even a book on breastfeeding benefits alone!

7) Expressing 
I started hand expressing but would wholeheartedly recommend an electric pump as it saved time and felt a lot more comfortable/no pain.
I used the Medela Swing, bought from John Lewis (also available at Boots and Mothercare) and it was probably the best breastfeeding product for me.
It can be disheartening expressing sometimes, because unfortunately it's not an accurate estimate of what your baby is drinking, but expressing is a great way to top up for night feeds rather than formula, or to give yourself a break at night time (and breastmilk lasts longer than formula).

8) Bottles 
The only ones I can recommend in conjunction with breastfeeding are the ones that require baby to suck as they do with breastfeeding. I came across the Haberman Suckle Feeder bottles at a baby show and was so impressed, I never bothered to try any other bottle (aside from Mam for feeding water).
Every bottle claims they're "anti colic" but I swear this one actually works as the filter works to get rid of air bubbles, as well as the fact that it allows the baby to control it's own drinking flow without any overflow or spluttering. It was tricky to get my bubs to understand the bottle at first but I'm glad I persevered because he's able to switch from bottle to breast and vice versa.

9) Breastfeeding Cover
When you're out an about, the last thing you want is a hungry screaming baby, so I would definitely recommend the Bebe Au Lait breastfeeding covers (also available at John Lewis, Boots and Mothercare. You can of course use a large muslin cloth or scarf (or express) but the reason why I think the Bebe Au Lait is worth it is because the neckline has a curved semi rigid band in it so you can see directly down at baby (and them up at you) as well as letting air in, but without anyone seeing from any angle. It also has a bit of towelling on the corners and a pocket which are cute and handy features. 

10) Relax
Finally, the best tip that I could give (and try to still give myself) is - relax! Stressing in any form is not helpful at all for milk production (not to mention the stress hormones affect baby), so it's best to just switch off as much as possible and enjoy baby-mummy time, especially as exclusively breastfeeding is only around 6 months! <3

I know I probably haven't covered half as many things as I could have regarding breastfeeding, but feel free to email me if you have any questions or comment below if you have any tips of your own!
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Friday, 28 November 2014

FFF: Illamasqua Facets Makeup Look

I'm treating my followers to yet another week of blogging (making up for lost time clearly!)
I got to play around with the Facets Semblance Palette again this week (review here), and managed to get a quick makeup look done. I also used a few shades from my new Makeup Revolution Essential Mattes palette as it's great for blending <3

Products used:
• UDPP - Eden

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade - Ebony
• Illamasqua Semblance palette
• Makeup Revolution Essential Mattes palette

• NYX Two Timer eyeliner

• Illamasqua Vow Colouring Eye pencil
• Eldora lashes: H151
• Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara
• Illamasqua Skinbase foundation in SB10
• Skinbase Lift in Medium 1
• Illamasqua sculpting duo: Nefertiti

Makeup Revolution Face Contour Kit
• Urban Decay Naked lip liner

Illamasqua lipsticks- Bare

1) Prime the eyelids with UDPP Eden and fill in brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony.
2) With a blending brush I added a matte brown eyeshadow from the MUR Essential Mattes palette to just above the crease blending upwards and downwards. I also added a beigey flesh toned colour above this and a lighter matte colour on the brow bone with a bit of Slink (Semblance).
3) I then patted on Obsidian (matte black - Semblance palette) to the whole eyelid except for a small part on the middle of the eyelid.
4) I added Slink and a tiny bit of Tango to the middle of the eyelid, blending back and forth.

5) I lined the bottom waterline with Vow Colouring Eye Pencil and shaded the outer bottom lashline with Obsidian and a bit of Slink.
6) For the eyeliner I used the NYX Two Timer eyeliner- the felt side for the top liner detail and the kohl side to tightline the inner top eye.
7) I coated the lashes with Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara, followed by Eldora False Lashes in H151 (need to restock soon!).

Face & Lips

1) I concealed under the eyes using the Illamasqua Skinbase Lift in Medium 1 and used Illamasqua Skinbase foundation in SB10 all over the face.
2) I then lightly contoured the face using the Illamasqua Sculpting Duo, but only using Nefertiti in the hollows of the cheeks. I then used MUR Face Contour Kit (part of a Christmas Gift Set); using the matte contour shade to blend in with Nefertiti and then the blush and highlight above the cheeks.
3) I lined the lips using Urban Decay Naked lip liner, followed by Illamasqua Bare lipstick.

And voila! 
Here's a collage of the eyes and half my face: 

This look is very similar in technique to the Motives Brown-Copper makeup look that I taught in my last masterclass, and also the Purple-Pink glittery look here.

Do you like this look? Let me know what you'd like to see next!

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sunday Swatches: Makeup Revolution Essential Mattes

Hello my dears, hope you've all been well.

This instalment of Sunday Swatches features an affordable "drugstore" brand which is fairly new - Makeup Revolution.
I posted a pic of my mini haul on Instagram (below), taking advantage of the Superdrug 3 for 2 promotion of course! (I bought two of the new Undress Your Skin highlighters).
I have to say Superdrug are churning out affordable brands that actually have great quality products and I'm impressed even though I'm a bit of a makeup snob at times.

I checked out a Makeup Revolution stand by swatching away in true beauty blogger style and was pretty impressed at the softness of the texture, but more importantly the colour payoff. 
I was drawn to the "Essential Mattes" palette for 2 reasons 
1) The palette boasts a range of neutral colours
2) They were all matte! 

For those of you who know me, follow my makeup posts or have attended my masterclass, you will know how much I'm a fan of neutral matte colours as they play a huge part in blending eyeshadow.

So when I saw that not only were they pigmented and soft, but there were 12 shadows and for ONLY £4, it was a no brainer.

Colour & Pigmentation: The neutral shades should pretty much suit every skintone. Pigmentation was more prominent in the darker matte shades but the lighter ones were satisfactory too in colour pay off.
Texture: Silky and soft
Packaging: No fuss, standard packaging, possibly breakable if it fell from a height. I like that it has a window at the front so you can see the palette shades at a glance (handy in case I buy more palettes)!
Longevity: I found the shadows to be of average lasting power, however I always wear UDPP under eyeshadows so can't comment without!
Price: At £4 for 12 shades it works out to about 33p per eyeshadow.. insane!

FrootiFactor: This is my first encounter with the brand and I'm impressed!
I'd give this product a 4.5 out of 5, because I'm sure the packaging wont last in a kit or under pressure, but for £4 I really wouldn't be breaking the bank to buy another!

The Essential Mattes palette can be bought from the Makeup Revolution website or from Superdrug, who are still holding the 3 for 2 promotion

Have you tried anything from Makeup Revolution? What would you recommend? 
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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sunday Swatches - Illamasqua 2014 Releases - Summary Post

[picture and text heavy post!]
Following my last post, I thought I'd run through some of the recent Illamasqua releases that I've had the chance to play around with and use in the time I haven't blogged.

As you may well know, Illamasqua is a brand close to my heart; I love that they push boundaries and cater for all skintones.
Lately, Illamasqua have been releasing more neutral and toned down products compared to their previous collections with more daring colours (as in the Paranormal and Human Fundamentalism collections).
I like that they are producing more everyday-friendly products however the artistic streak in me hopes they pull a wild card soon and make something eye catching again.

This post will feature a round up of my favourites from the recent releases, hope you enjoy!

Nude Glamore Lipsticks 
Since the release of the Glamore Satin Finish Lipsticks in February this year (blog post here), I have to say I was really impressed with the formula and longevity and was looking forward to the release of any new shades.
July 2014 brought the release of 7 Nude Glamore Lipsticks in the same formulation as the original Glamore with a range of shades for all skintones, including rose, earthy rose and nude corals
I picked the nude coral in "Cherub" (above) as I tend to wear MAC Crosswires almost every other day, which is definitely my go-to lip colour. Below I swatched Cherub and Crosswires together to see the difference and you can see Cherub is a slightly less-pink coral.

International Season Collection
August saw the release of the International Season Collection, exclusively in Selfridges.
It consisted of the above items; a new Sculpting Duo shade ("Illuminate & Nefertiti) and a new Gleam/highlighter ("Mirage"), a Brow Gel ("Strike") and a nude-pink lipstick in "Bare".
I have to say I loved every single item in this collection. 

If you remember my blog post from the Holiday 2013 Collection, you would remember me gushing about my love for contouring products and how I wished Illamasqua would release more shades. Well they did and this particular Sculpting Duo's contouring shade (Nefertiti) suits my skintone gorgeously, so much so that I use it every day for a subtle contour rather than a darker, heavier one. I do prefer a lighter highlighting colour so I tend to use the "Lumos" highlighter from the previous Sculpting Duo as "Illuminate" was quite golden and warmer than I am used to (see swatches below).
Illamasqua need to now make an even darker Sculpting Duo shade and my contour collection will be set; chiselled perfect face here I come!

My next favourite product had to be the Precision Brow Gel; up until now I've been using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony and I wanted to use a lighter colour so I thought this Brow Gel in "Strike" would work perfectly for a less darker brow.
Weirdly, the shade looked darker than I anticipated and in fact can be used really lightly for lighter coloured brows or heavier for darker brows; amazing!

The lipstick in Bare added to this collection was also a pretty nude-y shade that I love; I do have to wear it with a lip liner as my lips are dark but I must say I love this rosey nude shade for my NC30/35 skintone.

Finally, the Gleam highlighter is a gorgeous addition to the collection, however I found it too dark for my skintone to use as a highlighter and instead found it useful as a bronzer or used on the d├ęcolletage for a subtle glow.

Autumn/Fall - Once Collection
The Once collection released at the end of August really captured the tone of Autumn/Fall with the antique-y hues and gold shimmer running through the products.
I have to say the packaging on the new Vintage Metallix Cream Eyeshadows stole the show for me; rose gold just exudes elegance and luxury.
The formulation of the Vintage Metallix Cream Eyeshadows blends smoothly when applied but once the product sets it won't budge which is always a plus for me. I loved this moss green shade "Bibelot" but now have my eye on the brown shade "Embellish".
The sheer lipgloss in "Exquisite" would look good on top of a colour lipstick for me as alone it would be too light. The teal/gold nail varnish in "Melange" is such a pretty two toned colour, perfect for Autumn days. 

Holiday 2014 - Facets Collection
And last but certainly not least, the Facets Collection released for Christmas 2014 features 2 multitasking (or multi faceted) palettes in "Semblance" and "Aura", 2 lipsticks (Salacious and Starkers), a brush set and a makeup bag and an eye trio gift set.
I was surprised to see the packaging wasn't in the iconic Illamasqua shape, but in an ordinary square shape but aside from that, I have to say I love multitasking palettes like this; they make condensing a makeup bag or even my makeup kit so much more easier, meaning less space taken up by unnecessary packaging; perfect for holidays too.
"Semblance" palette swatches
I do already own a few of the shades in this "Semblance" palette; I actually own the blush "Hussy" twice already (one single blush, one part of the Hussy/Lover duo palette) and now this one; the Gleam in "Mirage" is also mentioned in the above International Season collection and I own the black eyeshadow "Obsidian" because I needed the Illamasqua Neutral palette in my life of course!
I would have loved to see limited edition/new shades in an exclusive palette, however seeing as I already have a few of these shades in the palette, it just means I don't have to carry half as much makeup and can just pop this palette in my makeup bag.

If I'm correct, I'd say the Aura palette is aimed at fairer skintones and the Semblance palette aimed at slightly deeper tones, but this judgement is based on the Gleam Creams - the Aura palette has the Gleam Cream in a lighter shade "Aurora". 

I'm now looking at the rest of the Facets collection and definitely have the "Embellish Eye Trio" gift set on my wishlist; it has the Precision Brow Gel and Gel Eye liner as well as the Embellish Vintage Metallix in it, and all in a limited edition rose gold packaging... love!

All Illamasqua products (aside from the Selfridges exclusive products) are available to buy in store or online at Illamasqua or Debenhams.

Which of these collections caught your eye this year? Did you buy any products from any of the collections?
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