'So Divine' Sensual Kegal Balls - Gifted Review

For those of you reading this who have had children you'll agree with me that things definitely change once you've given birth. For me it affected my pelvic floor and whilst doing some research I came across Kegal Ball training kits and decided to give it a go. What have I got to lose, right?

If you aren't familiar with what 'Kegal Balls' are, this is the description of the 'So Divine' Kegal Balls - 'These discrete Kegel Balls will help strengthen your pelvic floor. Made from silicone and easy to insert, choose from three interchangeable weights to get warmed up and ready to go'

You can read the full item description here



Before I started researching the benefits of these items I thought they simply helped strengthen your pelvic floor but I was wrong - they do so much more! They help strengthen and tighten PC muscles, Increase blood flow to pelvic region, Prevent urinary incontinent, Helps recover from physical stress such as childbirth and help improve sexual response and function. 

The Kegal Ball Training Set from So Divine Includes3 Individually weighted kegel balls: 36g, 62g, 96g, Exercises & tones pelvic floor muscles, Premium silky soft silicone, Latex & phthalate free, Discreet internal workout, Use with a water-based lube, 'How to guide' included and a Luxury storage bag.


So do they actually work? The answer is yes... I have been using my training kit for just over two weeks now and I am definitely noticing a difference as always I will continue testing this product and post an update in a few weeks time but I have already noticed a positive difference. Obviously everyone is different but for me they are helping. These sets also aren't just for those of you who have had children it is important for all women to give your pelvic floor muscles a 'workout' now and then! 

All packaging which arrives from 'So Divine' is discreet, so no need to worry!

I will post a further update up on my Instagram in a few weeks to let you all know how I am getting on with this brilliant product!


As stated this is a gifted product review, all opinions are those of Storms Blog.

Until next time,
Storm



What I've learnt from my first year of parenting

Maci recently turned one meaning I have been a parent for an entire year and gosh have I learnt a lot in that time. I've learnt so many things I couldn't even list them all for you but I decided it would be a good idea to share with you all the 'biggest' things that I have learnt throughout my first year of parenting.


Everyone has an opinion (it doesn't matter...)
Whether it's about how you feed your baby, how you clothe your baby or even how you gave birth. Everyone has an opinion on EVERYTHING! This is one thing that took me a while to learn and now I know that everyone has an opinion but the only person who knows what's best for their child is you, their parents. Despite the fact I say that other people's opinions don't matter sometimes opinions can be helpful so don't instantly dismiss them.

When you get the hang of one thing, it's time to change (formula to weaning etc)
Just when you get use to how to sterilize bottles and get into a routine its the time to introduce food. Then weaning is a whole new ball game, working out what foods your baby likes, what they're actually able to chew and what brands of foods to give them. Parenthood is one big 'trial and error' and eventually you will work it out... (eventually!)


Newborns do not need fancy outfits.
Before Maci was born I did that thing every first time parent does. I hoarded outfits mainly pretty little dresses. She wore hardly any of them, Maci was 8lbs 11oz when she was born meaning she instantly went into 3-6 month clothes so she never wore 'newborn' sizes. So yes, newborns do not need 'fancy' outfits. All they need are some babygrows, vests, bibs and scratch mitts.

The first six weeks are an absolute blur. 
I remember being told about the dreaded first six weeks and how they will be the toughest of your life as a parent and oh my they were right. I barely remember the first six weeks of Maci's life, it was a muddle of keeping a newborn alive, working out how to make a bottle, change a nappy, dealing with no sleep and crazy hormones! But I promise, it does get easier. Once you establish a routine and workout (roughly) what you're doing it does become easier.


You will end up with 'plastic crap' toys everywhere.
Whilst I was pregnant I remember looking at 'aesthetically pleasing' baby toys. I didn't want anything brightly coloured and definitely no noisy toys. Oh how I was wrong... babies need bright coloured toys to help with their development. Unfortunately pastel wooden toys don't cut it.

Every baby is different (sleep, eating etc)
I soon realised that I had a baby that doesn't like sleep and it took me a while to actually accept that. I couldnt work out why other peoples babies were sleeping and why mine wasn't. Surely I must be doing something wrong? I got myself so worked up because I felt like a failure but the truth is every baby is different. Some babies sleep through, some don't.


Parenthood is tough, every day is a learning curve and that is the main thing I have learnt from the first year of parenting.

Until next time,
Storm
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What does my dog do whilst I'm not home? - Furbo #AD

Fancy knowing what your furry friends are up to whilst you're not at home? I know I certainly do. 

The Furbo allows me to go out and leave my furry friends at home without having to constantly worry if they're ok. Not only is it the first ever 'treat tossing' pet camera but it also has two way audio (which alerts you if your pet is barking) and a 160 degree HD night vision camera which you can record at the touch of a button. 

The Furbo also fits perfectly with my home decor, its only 22.5cm high and is topped with a fashionable bamboo wood cover, it sits perfectly in the corner of my lounge and I always get comments about it from friends and family.


When I first received my Furbo I was worried that I wouldn't be 'tech savvy' enough to set it up myself but it was extremely easy. The light on the front of the camera indicates the status of the unit and it only took around three minutes after installing the free Furbo app to my iphone. 


The Furbo has allowed me to now go out and not constantly worry about what my pets are up to because now by pressing a few buttons I can see exactly what they're doing and throw them a treat to engage with me through the camera.

The Furbo would also make a great gift for a pet lover! Perhaps if you're stuck on what to purchase someone for an upcoming birthday (or even Christmas) why not treat them to a Furbo? It truly is the gift that keeps giving.


I have been lucky enough to work with Furbo on this post meaning I am able to offer you all an exclusive discount code so you can keep an eye on your pets whilst you're not home! By using this link it will allow you to have £20 off the final price of the Furbo - https://bit.ly/2XxPWnz 
The code is valid in the following countries: UK, Spain, Italy and France (In the countries with Euro prices -20€ off)

(This item was a gifted product, this post is also an AD)

I would love to see what your pets get up to whilst you're out, please tag me in them over on Instagram.

Until next time,
Storm

A whole year of Maci.

13th June, what a significant date. The date I became a mother, one whole year ago.

I've had many mixed feelings about Maci's first birthday, i've felt excited, nervous, anxious and extremely proud. Proud of her for turning one, she has achieved so much in her 365 days of life earthside but I also feel proud of myself for reaching this milestone as a parent.

We celebrated Maci's birthday with a trip out to 'soft play' on her actual birthday and then the following weekend we hosted a Picnic Party with all of her little friends that we have met by going to various different baby groups/classes, safe to say I think we were definitely more excited about all her birthday 'happenings' than what she was.

I managed to snap a few photos of the party before the other little ones arrived... safe to say the party hats didn't stay that organised very long! We had a lovely afternoon, we had lots of laughs and ate all the cakes.

All the decorations were from various high street stores.



This milestone banner was purchased from a brilliant ebayer and the photos were printed via FreePrints.


So for those of you who are parents, enjoy every minute because they do honestly grow up too quickly and I can't believe we now have a beautiful one year old.


We were also very kindly gifted a Cake smash photoshoot from the lovely Zoe - If you're in the Southampton area I highly suggest having a look at her page as shes incredibly talented and made us feel very relaxed Zoe Louise Photography 

I will also be posting various photos from this shoot on my Instagram


The last year has been a whirlwind of emotions, parenthood is definitely the hardest 'hood' I've ever been too. But I wouldn't change it for the world, everyday we are growing together and experiencing new things. All the poo explosions, puke covered tops and sleepless nights (many...) are worth it.

It's a pleasure to be your mummy Maci, here's to the next year my love.



Formula feeding - Essential items and tips!

Hello!

Formula feeding can seem a very confusing and daunting thing but it really isn't. Once you get into a routine with cleaning, sterilizing and preparing bottles it's fairly straight forward. This post is going to contain my top Formula Feeding essentials and any tips i've learned along the way. I never did breastfeed, no medical reasons as to why I didn't,  just simply didn't want too and that's ok!

Everything in this post is from my own experience, I am not a professional.

My Top Formula Feeding Essentials and tips - 

Which Brand Of Bottles? - Every newborn is different although with Maci we started off using the regular Tommee Tippee Bottles although when she was a few weeks old we realised that she had colic and silent reflux meaning then we swapped her onto the Tommee Tippee Anti-Colic Bottles and they were great. Once Maci was eating more solids (around 6 months) we swapped her from the Anti-colic bottles back onto the regular bottles and we had no further issues. If you think your baby may be suffering from Colic or silent reflux it is best to contact your health visitor or GP and they can provide you with any advice you may need. I also ended up buying a couple of the MAM Anti-Colic bottles too although I had a few issues with these, I found they leaked quite a lot due to the fact the bottom of the bottle unscrews so that they're easy to sterilize.
Tommee Tippee Prep Machine - If you've read some of my other posts you will already know my love for the prep machines. They allow you to make bottles in an instant at the perfect temperature without having to boil a kettle and wait around for it to cool down (which isn't fun at 3am with a screaming newborn!) I have recently only just sold mine as Maci no longer drinks warm milk often so it wasn't needed anymore and it does take up quite a lot of room. One thing you need to know before you make the decision to purchase one of these is that they need filters which are around £9 and need changing every couple of months or so.


 How it works - You select the ounces you're needing to make on the dial, the first time you press the button it will do a 'shot' of hot water into the bottle, the second time you press the button will complete the bottle with cold water. This creates the perfect temperature bottle but always check before feeding your baby.

Milk Powder Dispenser - One of the most frequently asked questions is how I prepare bottles whilst I am out and about. As I said above I always have bottles filled with sterilized water so when I go out they're ready. I measure 8 oz (what Maci drinks now) of formula (so 8 whole scoops) into each section of her milk dispenser meaning when I am out I can simply pour 8 scoops of powder easily into a bottle of sterilized water. You can buy these containers from any local supermarket or online and they're definitely a necessity.
How to clean bottles and sterilize them - There are quite a few different ways as to how people clean their bottles although I find the best way is to allow them to soak in Fairy Washing Up Liquid as it is an antibacterial formula too and then rinse them and clean them with a Bottle cleaning brush. Once I have done this I then place them into my Tommee Tippee Steam Steriliser along with the right amount of water in the bottom of the sterilizer. Once the bottles have been sterilized and removed, wash the bottom of the sterilizer out and it is ready to use again. Every now and then you will need to remove any limescale build up from inside it (there are different methods to do this, I use the milton sterilizing liquid and allow to soak and wash out)













What Formula Brand? - This is a big question for any expecting parent... I remember spending hours researching the benefits of each 'brand' and what they contained etc. For us we chose 'Cow & Gate' formula, simply because it is easily accessible from local shops, contains all the nutrients needed and it is what hospitals provide if you need it whilst you're there. Which in my mind means its been researched and tested enough and I am happy with that! Cow & Gate have different formula combinations for each age for example they have; 0-6 months, 6-12 months (follow on milk) and it continues. This is because after 6 months usually babies have began weaning and the milk goes alongside a weaning diet.

If you're wanting to bottle feed and wondering how you go about starting once your baby is born, you can purchase 'Cow & Gate' starter kits from supermarkets which contain 6 pre-made bottles in each box, perfect for your hospital bag!


How To Make A Bottle - Believe it or not, when I brought Maci home I had no idea how to actually make a bottle and yes, I resulted to the internet.. So this is my contribution to anyone who may be holding a newborn wondering how to feed them!


Newborns usually drink warm milk meaning you either need a prep machine to make instantly warm bottles or boil a kettle a while before the water is needed. Allowing the kettle to cool is difficult because newborn drink milk very, very regularly
The number of ounces is the same as the number of scoops of formula. For example if you're making a 4oz bottle you will need 4 whole scoops of formula powder.

Now Maci is older I boil the kettle and fill her bottles and leave them on the side and put the formula in as and when she is hungry. I always have filled bottles with water in them so I am ready!

I hope I have covered everything in this post - I am aware it can seem very daunting and like you've got a lot to learn but honestly once you get into a routine it all becomes second nature. If you have any questions please leave them below and I will be happy to answer them! 

Until next time,
Storm

Baby Playgroups - Don't knock it till you try it!

Hi, how are you?

I'm guessing you're here to read about my slightly controversial opinions on the benefits of baby playgroups and classes.



Since Maci was three weeks old we've been regularly attending local playgroups and classes. The point of this post is to hopefully address some of the misinterpretations of what playgroups are actually like... It is not to make anyone to feel guilty for not attending groups, that is the last thing I want. I am actually hoping that by reading this post it may actually give you the confidence to go to a group near you and see what im talking about first hand and then form your opinion about them. 

The most frustrating thing for me is when I recieve messages or comments about how other parents don't like groups/classes but have only ever been to one, there are many different types and it may take a while to find one that you're comfortable with. But every group you go to that you may not go to again, provides your baby with new experiences which are teaching them new things.


(Tiny Maci!)

 First of all I would like to say that these groups/classes are not always as expensive as one may think. A big reason I hear mums use for not taking there little ones' to groups is that they're 'too expensive' well most of them are free!

 Myself and Maci go to three playgroups a week, one of which costs £1.50 for two hours of playtime (including a hot drink for the parents, drink and snack for the children) and the other two are entirely free because they are at local libraries. When Maci was younger we did attend a few more groups, we went to a fabulous one ran by Adventure Babies which was a weekly sensory class and cost around £40 a term (this was the most expensive group/class we've ever gone too) but this group was ran by a lovely lady and had more structure than the 'playgroups' we attend now. 


Since Maci was very little she has always been advanced (professional opinion also, not just a crazy mummy!) and she gets bored very easily. I find it very hard staying at home all day and entertaining her and to be honest I don't want her to be cooped up, I want her to experience new things! At Maci's 8-12 month check she was asked to do numerous tasks which tested her social and emotional developmental skills and once again she was advanced. Maci knows how to interact with other children, share toys, pick toys up using her whole grasp or fingers, points at toys and can say words. I genuinely believe that these skills have been excelled by attending playgroups and having playdates too. 


Another misinterpretation of playgroups/classes is that the mums are extremely 'clicky' - This is not the case at all! I have only ever had one negative experience at a playgroup and even then I went back the following week to see if the atmosphere was different but it wasn't, so we didn't go again. I also find being a 'young mum' I am more likely to receive an unfriendly welcome at groups but I don't! 

One thing you have to remember is that most of the parents there are in exactly the same position as you, they're learning about their baby every single day and they're likely just as anxious as you about walking through those doors into the group. I can honestly say I have met some fabulous people through attending groups and now call them my good friends. You all have something in common, your beautiful babies - so conversation rarely 'dries' up! 


I ask for some questions on Instagram on this topic, here they are! 

What groups/classes would you recommend for different ages?

I think that babies (0-1 year) really benefit from a 'sensory' based class. As I mentioned about we attended our local Adventure Babies classes but there are different ones all over the country. Not only do these classes help your baby to develop but it also helps improve your bond as parent/s and baby. Experiencing new things with your baby is truly magical. 

I cant speak for babies older than 10 months currently but I always find a typical 'playgroup' session is a big hit with Maci. There's always a big array of clean toys to stimulate her brain and teach her new skills, it also means you don't waste lots of money buying toys that they won't like. You can find what they like at groups and then purchase them for your home. 

Anything you dislike?

The only thing I can think of is that there simply isn't enough groups/classes around. I'm not sure if this is just my area but there isn't a massive choice. 

What do you find useful?

Once again I find not having to buy lots of toys that Maci doesn't like is a great thing, meeting new friends with children is also great as you already have something in common. I find just getting out the house useful, it gives Maci and I something to do instead of driving each other crazy at home and getting bored.


At the end of the day we all want what's best for our children, the thing with playgroups/classes is that you shouldn't knock them till you try it! 

I really do hope this post has inspired some of you to see what groups/classes you have near you. I would love to hear from you if you do decided to attend a group alternatively if you're still a little worried please feel free to pop me a message via Instagram. 

I find this app (HOOP) very helpful to find groups/classes near me (your local libraries should also be running FREE baby playtime and rhyme time sessions weekly!) 

Until next time,

Storm 

Maci's Baby Shower (Rustic, Floral Theme)


Hello!

You may be wondering why you're only just seeing this post and that is because I simply forgot to write it at the time (terrible I know!) some details may be slightly inaccurate but I shall try my best to recreate the day of my baby shower back last year. I was lucky enough that this baby shower was organised by a family member who is also an event planner hence the extravagant event, I hope it may inspire some of you in the future! This post is mainly an excuse to relive the day through photos...


For any expectant mum a Baby Shower is a big deal, it's a celebration of how far you've come in your pregnancy journey so far and a celebration of what's to come in the next few weeks/months. As we found out Maci's gender at 16 weeks of course the theme was pink! Gender Reveal Post


My Baby Shower was hosted in a 16th century rustic barn which added a beautiful rustic theme to the day, the barn also has large gardens in which we had picnic tables and live music. It was a truly unforgettable day. We had pink lemonade on tap, pink glitter cupcakes, confetti balloons and cake pops, what more could you want?!


The ceiling was covered in fairy lights and other decorations.



I knew for this I didn't want lots of trivial games because to be honest at the time I could barely stand without wanting to be sick and I just wasn't in the mood for silly party games and I don't regret it at all! I handed out some little 'guessing sheets' for my guests to fill in and I then kept them all in a book to show Maci when she's older. They included things like 'guess the name, weight, length, birthday etc' and I really enjoy looking back at them now!


One feature that made this day extra special was that we had a polaroid camera, I waddled around taking photos of my guests and then I also stuck them into an album with little handwritten notes next to them too.


I remember at the time I was concerned about what to wear. I brought numerous dresses which I remember crying once I tried on due to the fact that I was almost 31 weeks pregnant. In the end I decided to go for comfort over anything else and I am so happy I did. I wore a white blouse with a black and baby pink pattern and leggings. No fancy dresses here! 


I am extremely privileged to of had such a luxurious Baby Shower but you don't need all of this to have a truly priceless and memorable day. All you need is your friends and family with you to celebrate how far you have come in your Pregnancy journey so far and to celebrate the miracle/s that will be coming into the world in the upcoming weeks/months. 



If you are currently looking for inspiration for your own shower i'd like to take a moment to say Congratulations and enjoy every second. 

(I am extremely sorry that this post has taken me a year to publish...)

Until next time,

Storm




Everyday Makeup - Mummy Life

Since becoming a mummy wearing makeup has gone from being an everyday necessity to a rarity (hence the lack of beauty related content) When I do manage to put some makeup on my face I keep the products to a minimum meaning the products I do choose to use have been carefully selected!

(Contains Gifted Products - Includes only my honest opinions)


Nowadays the 'pregnancy' glow is definitely lacking so I always apply MAC's Strobe Cream in first of all. This product is one that is more expensive than ones I would usually buy but it lasts so it's worth it. 


When I'm in a rush (every day) I don't tend to apply a full face of foundation but instead I will apply the Naked Weightless Concealer to my T-Zone and to any blemishes I may have. Another issue since having Maci is that I now have very dry skin in areas but this concealer doesn't 'stick' to those problem areas at all. I use the shade 'Fair Neutral' which matches my pale skin perfectly unlike some other brands.


For me contour is a big part of my makeup routine and it's taken me years to find a product that doesn't look 'muddy' (If you know, you know!) I  always use the incredible Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow Duo Palette - The duo also includes a beautiful, subtle highlighter and mirror.
(Gifted)


Brows... they're challenging things are they. It's also taken me years to find what I consider to be a brilliant brow product. I stumbled across this one by accident and I was shook at how fabulous it is! It's also an absolute bargain. One end is a spooly brush and the other is the wax product.



My absolute favourite mascara is the Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes which is also cruelty free. This mascara is a 5-in-1 product, giving your lashes a lovely full look.
(Gifted)



And last but no means least, my go to lippy! Once again it's a show stopping product from Charlotte Tilbury, it's the Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade 'Pillowtalk'. The product isn't drying at all despite it being matte and it withstands lots of baby kisses! 
(Gifted)


I would love to know what your favourite products are below in the comments! I have really enjoyed writing some beauty based content once again. 

Until next time,
Storm

Weaning - The Essentials, Favourite Snacks and Q&A

Hello!

I can't believe I am sat here writing a 'weaning' post, it seems like only a few weeks ago I was writing my post introducing you all to Maci but that was actually just over 7 whole months ago. We started weaning Maci at around four/five months ago due to the fact she was a large baby and we as her parent felt it was the right time. She absolutely loves her food although she isn't a big fan of purees. She prefers 'finger foods' and is obsessed with Cucumber at the moment. This is my guide to starting weaning, my favourite items and my top recipes. All babies are different so what may work for us may not work for everyone.


Weaning for us started with what highchair/seat to purchase, we looked around and couldn't find one small enough to fit in our current home but we finally purchased the 'Ingenuity Baby Booster Feeding Seat' which you can either put on the floor or strap it onto a chair if needed, it also has a detachable tray which is very easy to wipe down and clean. The lining on the chair is also dishwasher proof so is easily cleaned also. This chair is perfect for what we need and it doesn't take up a lot of room like usual highchairs. 


Being a first time parent I wasn't confident in the temperature of foods so when I discovered the Munchkin White Hot Bowls  in Boots I had to have them! I use the Nuby Weaning Spoons to feed Maci, we do a combination of baby led weaning and spoonfed.


Pureeing food is a messy business and can be very time consuming if you don't have very good items to help you, the blender which we use is the Tommee Tippee Baby Food Blender and its incredible. It has two different speed settings and it is easy to wash! It is also not too large so if you need to you can put it away in a cupboard if you don't want it in sight all the time. The blender also has measurements on the side so you're aware of how much puree you are blending.



How to Puree - Before blending I chop the sweet potato, carrot and mixed veg into small pieces, boil it until its 'soft', allow it to cool and put it into the blender. Once I have blended it and i'm happy with the texture of the puree I then pour each puree combination into containers with the date and ingredients in it.

Our top puree combinations are; Sweet potato and carrot, banana and mixed veg.

Another aspect of weaning is attempting to get Maci to use a 'sippy cup' - I shopped around and discovered that there are in fact hundreds of different designs and brands (who knew!) The Cup I decided to purchase was the Munchkin Miracle 360 cup which is still a working progress but it is very easy to use and I would definitely recommend.



Snacks are a big part of weaning for us, Maci enjoys 'finger foods/snacks' a lot more than she does puree at the moment. Due to the fact of her only being seven months old there is a small amount of 'store bought' snacks she can eat although we have managed to find a few which she loves. Always check the age on every snack!

Ella's Kitchen - Tomato and Leek Melty Puffs
Ella's Kitchen - Sweet Corn and Carrot Melty Sticks 
Ella's Kitchen - Carrot and Parsnip Melty Puffs
Kiddylicious - Banana Wafers 
Kiddylicious - Blueberry Wafer
Farley's Rusks Original


I asked for some 'weaning related' questions on my Instagram that some of you are wanting to know.

'What was the first thing you gave Maci?'  
The first thing I gave her was just plain 'Baby Rice' which you just mix with milk formula or water. I remember reading that you aren't supposed to introduce 'sweet' flavoured things for a while so I barely give Maci anything sweet apart from fruit even now at seven months old.

How did you work up the confidence to begin weaning?

Weaning never really made me nervous as such, occasionally Maci will struggle to eat something but I never leave her side when she is eating meaning I am able to help her when this happens. Also Maci has eight teeth so she doesn't tend to struggle eating many things. I know some people are very wary of weaning so I would definitely advise speaking to a Health Visitor to get reassurance. There's no harm at all in asking for help, most of us are experiencing this for the first time!

How do you know when Maci likes something?

This is a very good question and I must be honest sometimes I can't tell! Although you can usually tell by her facial expressions although I heard it can take a baby almost thirty times trying a flavor before they actually decide if they like it or not. When I feed Maci I always make a big deal when she eats her Puree (she probably thinks i'm crazy!) but I have found this makes a difference in the amount of puree she is eating. So how do I know when she likes something? I guess, I don't!


I hope this post may of helped some of you out who have either began weaning or are thinking about it soon, I am not a professional just a mum who is doing this for the first time and this is my experience so far. 

Until next time,
Storm