Lifestyle, Motherhood, Reviews

Mental Health Awareness – Keep Being You

Charity, Dorset Mind, kindly gifted me a ‘Keep Being You’ box, to help promote the importance of Mental Health. Something very close to my heart.

Keep Being You - Dorset Mind Mental Health Awareness
I absolutely love my ‘Keep Being You’ box from Dorset Mind

Local Charity, Dorset Mind and their charity partner The Stable launched their ‘Keep Being You’ campaign back in January. They started gifting ‘Keep Being You’ boxes throughout Dorset to give locals a boost and to support better wellbeing  within ourselves and those around us too.

I was delighted to be given one of these boxes, as mental health is a subject very close to my heart. In the past I have suffered from depression and I feel it is so important to speak to the people you love and let them know how you feel. This campaign is so impactful as it also promotes how we need to take time out for ourselves and to love who we are. You don’t have to change to fit in. You are you, and you are great!

It is always lovely receiving a gift and so I couldn’t wait to see what was inside my gift box, each one hand-packed by a member of Dorset Mind and The Stable. After opening the tissue paper, I slowly took out each item in turn and I immediately felt better. The box, hand-packed with care by Rob, contained a lovely recycled candle, a motivational calendar and Dorset Tea to enjoy with a friend or loved-one – a great way to encourage people to speak up and connect with people around us. One of my favourite items were the affirmations. Little cards with motivational statements such as ‘Make Today Ridiculously Amazing’, ‘Reach For The Stars. Believe in Yourself. You Can Do It’ and ‘It’s OK Not To Be OK. But Please Reach Out and Tell Someone.’ I will put these affirmations on my desk and whenever I am feeling low I will say them out loud. It may sound silly, but when you say things out loud and hear yourself saying them, it really does ignite something within you and make you feel better. I encourage you to try it. It works.

I am a new mum to my now 15 month old and it hasn’t been plain sailing. Motherhood is absolutely amazing and the best thing I have ever done but it is also the hardest. There have been times when my husband came home and found me crying. There have been times I have questioned whether I am a good mum to my son and why things don’t come naturally to me. I am lucky that I have a good support network – great friends and family and an extremely caring husband, who have got me through the tough times. My advice to anyone feeling down is to talk. Whether you pick up the phone, send a text, or speak to a charity like Dorset Mind. A problem shared really is a problem halved and no one will think any less of you for speaking up and expressing how you’re feeling. Also don’t doubt yourself. It’s human nature to compare yourself to others, whether it’s to other mums, colleagues, friends or people on social media. But you are unique. You are special. There is no-one else like you, so please don’t change and ‘Keep Being You’, because you are awesome!

These ‘Keep Being You’ boxes are a lovely way of bringing the Dorset community together. Small acts of kindness go a long way and so does positive thinking. I hope that all receivers of a box get as much out of them as I have mine. My box has lifted my spirits and I wouldn’t be writing this now if it hadn’t made an impact. So thank you, Dorset Mind and The Stable.

#KeepBeingYou

Lifestyle

O Christmas Tree!

I was lucky enough to be invited to Pines and Needles in Bournemouth to pick a real Christmas Tree – such a lovely experience!

Family Christmas Tree
Festive family selfie with our Pines and Needles real Christmas Tree!

On Sunday 1st December, the first day of Advent, I was invited to Pines and Needles on Old Christchurch Road in Bournemouth to pick one of their real Christmas Trees.

My husband is the biggest Christmas fan EVER and he was so excited when we got there and saw the fantastic selection of Christmas Tress they had on display, ranging from small 2ft trees (from £24), all the way up to 12ft (£93)!

The company has been running since 1995 and hit the headlines in 2016 when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were spotted buying a 6ft tree from their Battersea branch in London. The company has grown and they now have over 20 stores operating in London and across the South, including Bournemouth – lucky us!

The trees are grown in sustainable plantations in Scotland and are hand pruned to create the ideal shape. When we arrived, the staff (very festive in Santa hats), were absolutely lovely and talked us through the different options available. We were looking at 6ft trees, but my husband was rather taken with a beautiful 7ft Nordmann Fir, which really did smell like Christmas! What’s great about the trees is the fact they are non-drop. We have a very inquisitive one-year-old and miniature dachshund, so not having to worry about needles on the floor and potentially in mouths is a real plus!

Now I had never seen a Christmas Tree Netting Machine before and I was most impressed! They simply pass the tree through a funnel made of galvanised steel and voila, you have one neatly wrapped and ready to go Christmas Tree, making it really easy to transport. Luckily our 7ft Nordmann fitted in our Honda, or my husband would have had a very long walk home!

You can also buy stands to go with your tree (prices start from £13 for a medium, up to £33 for extra large) and they also sell lights and wreaths.

We had such a lovely time picking our tree and it really is a lovely thing to do as a family, as it really does get you into the Christmas spirit. However, if you don’t wish to pick your own tree you can order it online at www.pinesandneedles.com.

We’ve put the tree in our dining room and it looks beautiful! We were advised to water the tree daily and keep it away from direct heat or air conditioning. Well cared for the tree will still fresh for up to 4 weeks so fingers crossed ours lasts until Christmas Day!

If you haven’t bought your Christmas Tree yet, I would highly recommend Pines and Needles – their staff are super-friendly and they know their stuff!

You’ll find them at 704-708 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth BH7 6BY.

Lifestyle, Motherhood

Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Little Ones

Christmas is just around the corner (yikes), so it’s time to start thinking about what to buy your little one for Christmas. Stuck for ideas?! Here are my top 10 gift ideas for babies and toddlers.

My little boy Jack’s first Christmas,
December 2018

Jack was only just over a month old last Christmas and it was all a bit of a blur to be honest! Now my cheeky little boy is almost one, I can’t wait for Christmas and seeing his reactions as he opens his presents and laughing as he tries to eat all the wrapping paper!

I want to try and be organised this year (I had a good excuse not to be last year with a newborn baby)! The earlier you start, the more chance you have of finding a bargain as many companies do special offers in the lead-up to Christmas, including one of the biggest shopping events of the year – Black Friday, which is on the 29th November 2019.

It can be really hard thinking of what to buy for babies and toddlers, so here’s my top 10 gift ideas, five for babies and five for toddlers, to help you get your Christmas shopping all wrapped up!

Babies

1. A cosy sleeping bag
A sleeping bag is a lovely gift for newborn babies, providing warmth and comfort in the cold winter months. More importantly, they also provide safety, keeping babies at a constant temperature, reducing the risk of them overheating. I work for a fantastic company called Slumbersac, who sell baby sleeping bags in a range of gorgeous designs and togs for baby boys and girls. You can also choose to have their name embroidered on the sleeping bag, for a truly unique present. You can enjoy 10% off any Slumbersac sleeping bag with my exclusive promo code COASTALMUM.

Baby Sleeping Bag

2. A cuddly toy
A cuddly toy makes the perfect gift for a baby’s first Christmas. They are soft, snuggly and give the best cuddles. My Nan bought Jack a gorgeous Peter Rabbit cuddly toy for his first Christmas last year and he loves it!

Baby and Peter Rabbit Toy

3. A super-cute Christmas outfit
You have to buy a festive outfit for your baby’s first Christmas. I ended up buying a few for Jack because they are just too cute! You can even buy matching ones for all the family – think of the photo opportunities!

Baby Christmas Outfit

4. A baby comforter
Baby Comforters, as the name suggests, provide comfort for your baby during the night, but they are also fun for daytime play! Jack loves his ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ baby comforter from his Aunty.

Baby Comforter

5. A beautiful baby mobile
Baby mobiles are ideal for entertaining and soothing babies. Lots of mobiles play white noise, which can help your baby sleep. I have also found they are a great distraction if you need five minutes to have a shower or pop to the loo!

Baby Mobile

For Toddlers:

Now your baby is a little older you need to up your game and think of gift ideas that will keep them entertained for more than five minutes! A cardboard box probably won’t cut the mustard any more!

Here are my top 5 gift ideas for toddlers…

1. A sleeping bag with feet
Now Jack is crawling and learning to walk, sleeping bags with feet are great! I can get him ready for bed nice and early and he can still play until bedtime. Slumbersac sleeping bags with feet now feature fold-over non-slip soles, keeping his toes cosy and safe. Don’t forget you can get 10% off with my exclusive code COASTALMUM.

Baby Sleeping Bag with Feet

2. A teepee
My brother has just bought Jack an awesome teepee tent. They are a fantastic gift idea for babies and children, and after a day of play, they are also a wonderful storage solution for toys! Teepees are a perfect place for little ones to play, read and discover. Some companies also give you the option of personalising them with your child’s name.

Children's Teepee Tent

3. A personalised book
Jack got a gorgeous personalised story book from my parents last Christmas. Personalised books nurture children’s imagination, build confidence and love of reading. I love reading to Jack and as he understands books more as he grows older, I know storytime will be one of my favourite pastimes.

4. A baby balance bike or scooter
Baby balance bikes and scooters are ideal for helping children to learn how to maintain their balance and take their first steps towards learning how to ride a bike. They have no pedals or chains, so your little one can propel it along with their feet, improving their coordination. They come in a range of super-cool designs too. I can’t wait to buy Jack his first scooter!

5. A mini kitchen
I have been considering buying one of these for Jack for Christmas but I am not sure we have the space. I know a play kitchen will provide him with hours of role play fun! They are also a lovely way of getting children interested in food, not to mention a great way of keeping your little chef away from the real oven, so you can concentrate on not burning the Christmas dinner!

I hope my top 10 Christmas gift ideas has given you some inspiration! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas!