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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Mother and baby: Maternity bag essentials


Packing your Hospital bag is one of those points in pregnancy when things start to feel very real, you feel the excitement and nervous trepidation of knowing that soon you will be welcoming another person in to your family, it's exciting but also a little overwhelming. There are lot's of guides online that will give a list of things to take with you so you can be well prepared, I prefer to over pack rather than under pack in these situations and I had a second bag prepared with extra clothes and toiletries in case I ended up staying longer than I had initially hoped, this way Mr Green could just grab the bag and bring it in. Luckily for me I was out in twelve hours after much nagging of the poor midwives. There were a few key things which I found really useful, so I thought I would share those with you!

As I was being induced for medical reasons I was aware that the labour may well be more painful and intense, in fact my consultant had recommended an early epidural on my medical notes. Having had an epidural previously due to a very long and complicated birth with my first I asked the Midwives if I could see how I got on without it and I used breathing and hypnotherapy techniques instead for most of the labour and had a very different birth experience this time. I also used this Restore Aura spray by aromatherapist Michelle Roques O'Neil in between contractions and especially before having my waters broken to mentally prepare. This mist is so light and fresh and the mix of ingredients so beautiful, it really helped me both mentally and physically get through the contractions and feel calmer. I also packed some massage oil but sadly I was hooked up to so many monitors that I was unable to use it, so the spray really did come in very handy. Regardless of whether you want pain relief or not I would recommend having some aromatherapy products on hand as I think they can be very calming and helpful in labour. Towards the end of my labour, for the last twenty minutes or so including the pushing, I had the gas and air to help me through as the contractions were now very intense. The gas and air leaves you with quite dry lips and mouth so luckily I had packed my trusty Herbfarmacy lip conditioner*, which is perfectly hydrating with it's signature herb marshmallow and comes in a practical tube, I was so glad I packed this, never underestimate the power of the humble lip balm.

I packed a very simple and modest toiletries bag, having been there before I knew the last thing I would want to be doing is messing about in the hospital bathroom unless absolutely necessary so I packed these Natracare cleansing wipes* for a quick freshen up. I have to say I never use wipes unless it is a total emergency, but if ever there was a situation where they are justified I think birth is it! Being me, I wasn't going to use any old wipe, these are certified organic by the Soil Association and were absolutely lovely and gentle on my sensitive skin. I would recommend them for festivals and other occasions where you are unlikely to get to a sink. I also packed some miniatures of my favourite Weleda Almond skincare*, perfect for skin that is a little hot and sensitive after giving birth, I popped on a little almond oil and moisturiser and felt much better all round. I also was able to have a shower straight after birth with my favourite Wild Rose creamy body wash*, it was simply put the best shower of my life and if you haven't yet tried these washes, you should, they are in my opinion one of Weleda's star products.

Lastly let's talk feminine hygiene products, not a glamorous subject but an essential one post birth. After giving birth you bleed, there is no getting around it, it is normal but totally unpleasant. This can last weeks, so be prepared with plenty of specific maternity pads as they are designed for post partum use. My pads of choice were from Organyc* and they are specifically designed for the first days after birth. I was sent a pack to try out but knowing how many I would need I bought a few more packs to see me through. They are very soft and comfortable pads, this is greatly appreciated when you have stitches (sorry too much information I know!). Unlike other products on the market they are made from 100% organic cotton and have no plastic, this makes them in my opinion so much more comfortable than anything I had used previously. I am very glad I used these, I got through a total of five packs of twelve in the first few weeks before switching to something more slim lined and I really loved them.

So there you have my hospital bag essentials and a bit about Baby Greens birth. What items did you pack in your hospital bag?

Ana x

*Indicates that samples were generously provided, all thoughts opinions and musings my own.
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The cream of the crop: Moogoo products



Australia is home to some fantastic natural brands and todays brand has been a brilliant and very pleasant discovery. The brand has a quirky and unusual start up story involving a cream originally destined for Cows udders, the founders mother used this concoction that kept the udders supple for her skin condition and he went about adapting it for use in humans. Fast forward to today and the brand has a fantastic selection of products from skincare and body care to make up all made with natural ingredients. MooGoo caters for the whole family, has very affordable prices and they are available worldwide.

MooGoo has one of the best websites I have ever seen, every product has a breakdown of the INCI (International nomenclature of ingredients) in plain easy to understand English for those that what to check all the ingredients or have specific requirements. The variety of products is also impressive, I have my eye on some of the make up items as they have talc free pressed powder options for blushes which look fab as well as vegan lipsticks.  

If you are looking for a very gentle shampoo and conditioner for an irritated scalp then look no further than the Milk Shampoo (£11.90 for 500 mls) and Cream conditioner (£11.90 for 500 mls). Aside from the obvious excellent value for money they products work very nicely for a slightly dry hair or scalp, leaving it soft and very manageable. You may want to pair it with something slightly more cleansing once a week if you are prone to build up or have slightly more greasy hair. Also great for everyday is the Strawberry tinted lip balm (£3.90), carmine free and providing a hint of colour and lot's of hydration, perfect for everyday use. The Fresh Cream deodorant (£5.90) is an aluminium free deodorant that comes in a roller format, it uses milk of magnesia, lemon myrtle and witch hazel to neutralise any odours. This doesn't have a noticeable scent or fragrance which was actually a nice change and perfect if you want something that won't clash with any other scents. The texture is quite wet as it is a clear liquid so it does need a few moments to dry, when applied I found it incredibly effective at keeping odours at bay and at a great price.

MooGoo is a fun and quirky brand that doesn't disappoint in ingredients and performance with lot's of products to explore. Does MooGoo take your fancy?

Ana x

*This post contains PR samples, all thoughts, opinions and beauty musings my own.

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Friday, 20 May 2016

Mother and baby: Bravado nursing bra review


It's been six weeks since Baby Green has been born and it has passed by in a big blur, mostly spent feeding my beautiful new baby, because breastfeeding takes hours and hours each day. When preparing my feeding essentials a good nursing bra was top of my list of things to get, it is really important to be comfortable and whilst nursing bra's are never going to be the most attractive of underwear items, I also want to feel good in what I am wearing. You can see the Feeding Essentials I had prepared for before the birth and today I wanted to talk about my most used item, the Body Silk Seamless nursing bra* (£30) from Bravado.

I have three of these bra's in total, one kindly sent to me by Bravado and two that I purchased after baby was born because it turned out to be my favourite style of the bra's I had. They come in a variety of colours so they work well under most items of clothing that are suitable for breastfeeding. They are extremely comfortable, the material is soft and sturdy and they wash very well indeed.

These bra's have some lovely features that I really enjoy, including removable foam pads which give a great shape and hides the shape of breast pads if you are wearing them. The drop down cups have a sturdy clip that is secure but also easy to undo one handed, this has made feeding when out and about so much easier and has really boosted my confidence to feed whilst out.

 Removable foam cups

Comfortable straps and sturdy clips, easy to open one handed

My favourite feature however is that these bra's come with a custom conversion kit. enabling you to turn them in to a normal bra when you have finished nursing, this means that they will last a long time and gives a green twist on this essential item. I think this is such a clever idea and I have found that the bra's are great quality so hopefully will last well.

Bra conversion kit, to enable you to use as a regular bra once nursing has finished

You can find Bravado's full selection at www.bravadodesigns.eu/uk-en/home, if you are pregnant and planning to breastfeed I highly recommend you take a look, they really have been a great addition to my post birth wardrobe.

Ana x

*Indicates a sample was generously provided, post also includes items I purchased myself, all thoughts and opinions my own.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

New in: Bodhi and Birch Botanic Dew hand and body wash


British eco-luxe brand Bodhi and Birch make some of my favourite skincare and bodycare products and today I have the pleasure of exclusively introducing you to their newest launch, the Botanic dew hand and body wash not yet featured anywhere else. The bath and shower therapies are Bodhi and Birches signature product, in rich layered scents that truly engage the senses and Botanic dew follows in their footsteps and is a fresher, lighter addition to the range.

This multi-purpose plant based cleanser is perfect in your morning shower or as a luxurious hand wash. Packed in to this blend is a whopping nineteen essential oils, as always you get the utmost quality combined with Elijah Choo's talent for combining scents in unique and interesting ways. Designed to invoke "cool crisp, sunny mornings in the garden" this is a perfect spring, summer scent. Featuring peppermint, Palmarosa, Bulgarian Rose Otto, Bourbon geranium and Frankincense the layers of fragrance come through as you use it, starting with the fresh burst of peppermint and palmarosa followed with the richer more earthy scents.

As with all Bodhi and Birch products, a little goes a long way and the soft lather leaves the skin clean, supple, nourished and delicately scented. This wash is free from all Sulphates, parabens and petrochemicals and the cleansers used are derived from coconut oil and fruit sugars. The essential oil blend offers anti-bacterial properties as well as a treat for the senses. All Bodhi and Birch products are handmade ethically in England, they really are a brand to know if you love aromatherapy products with a luxury edge. Botanic Dew Hand and Body wash* retails for £16 for 200 mls at bodhiandbirch.com and is available and is available now.

Do you like the sound of this new Bodhi and Birch product? What are your favourites from the range?

Ana x

*This product contains a PR sample, all thoughts, opinions and beauty musings my own.

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Monday, 16 May 2016

Ingredient Focus: Rosemary


One of my favourite ingredients with it's deep herbal scent and wonderful properties is Rosemary. This unassuming herb that grows in many gardens is versatile and appealing, as well as it's uses in cooking Rosemary is a great cosmetic ingredient too. Rosemary can have a stimulating effect and Rosemary essential oil has been shown in studies to stimulate memory, see this summary of recently conducted studies showing significant improvements of around 60% in participants.

Rosemary is a scent for me that is under appreciated, I find the herbal scent invigorating and comforting as well as being absolutely unmistakeable. I thought I would share some of my favourite products that celebrate this wonderful ingredient:

The Bodhi and Birch Rosemary Chi range, is one that kick started my love of Rosemary. This wonderful trio consisting of a bath and shower therapy, body scrub and body lotion is a true celebration of the benefits of this wonderful herb and my weekend pamper scent of choice. I love to use these in the morning to help me wake up, but used at night they induce a sense of wellbeing and calm. The Rosemary Chi Himalayn detox scrub is something very special indeed, this is a punchy product that really tackles dry skin and makes you feel like you are floating, you will so relaxed!

When it comes to lip balm, I often find that the simpler the formula, the more I enjoy it. This is definitely the case with these gorgeous Flying Wild Lip balms made with organic beeswax and of course rosemary essential oil. The balm feels very smooth on the lips, whilst the rosemary scent is beautifully comforting, making me want to reapply again and again. These are handmade in beautiful Ireland.

For intense nourishment with a beautiful Rosemary scent, I love this thick Body Butter from Green People. With a careful selection of plant oils such as fairly traded and organic palm oil, organic hemp oil and coconut oil with organic rosehip, pomegranate and cranberry oils this is perfect for even the driest of skins. Applied to dry areas after a bath or shower, skin is left super soft and the herbal scent is calming and relaxing.

A new to me product, the Weleda Revitalising hair tonic is a rather interesting herbal blend in a light tonic formula. Lovely for invigorating the scalp and is said to build hair growth. I love to use this in the mornings with a small scalp massage to wake up my hair. The scent is deeply herbal, almost medicinal and as well as rosemary it contains horseradish and stonecrop. A nice product to look in to if you are concerned about your scalp health.

Lastly we have the Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter cleanser which is their cult product, a rich cleansing balm scented with the warmth of rosemary essential oil and that melts away make up and is perfect for cleansing drier skin types. I love this combined with a facial massage in the evenings, it is such a relaxing treat!

Do you have any favourite products containing rosemary?

Ana x

*This post contains gifts, PR samples and products purchased with my own money. Some of the links are affiliates, please see my full disclosure for details.



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