Chillax is a term I love. A crossover of chilling out and relaxing, what could be better? As adults in a stressful grown-up world, it's something we all crave. One thing I have learned as a parent over the last 12 years is that it's something we should strive to help our children with, too.
Eva Levinson runs And Chillax, she is both a mobile therapist for fantastic treatments to send us adults floating off into an ethereal relaxed state and a fully qualified baby and paediatric massage therapist, too. This is what I want to talk about today.
Something most of us will have heard about is baby massage. The benefits of knowing how to massage your baby safely and correctly are huge. As well as helping new-borns adjust to their brand new world with gentle guiding and comforting touches, it is also a fantastic aid helping with generic baby blues and the serious matter of Post Natal Depression, by alleviating stress hormones which contribute to depressive feelings.
Bonding with your baby through touch not only helps them, it helps you and your relationship with your baby. Settling bouts of crying will become easier, you will learn to look out for your baby's subtle cues for feeding and comfort and you will become confident in your ability to parent gently and empathetically to your little ones needs. Eva is professionally trained and experienced as a mum of two herself and has extensive knowledge to lead you through your journey in her classes. They are great fun too! For more information on this, please take a look here.
Going back to the beginning of my blog post, I strongly believe children should be supported through massage, too. It's something that is not spoken of as much as baby massage but it should be! Eva is a certified Paediatric Massage Therapist, teaching parents to be able to massage their own children.
Teaching paediatric massage techniques is something Eva has felt passionate for a very long time. She trained with Tina Allen, a leading Paediatric Massage Master Teacher, who founded Liddle Kids, the premier organisation for infant and paediatric massage professionals worldwide. Please take a look at their website here for more information about what they do.
So why massage for youngsters? Well, they need to chillax too! Life for children can often be a stressful place. Finding their footing socially, working hard mentally, night terrors, coping with illness, family changes and in some cases, disabilities too. Massage can help alleviate some of those strains and again, as with baby massage, can really strengthen and nurture the bond between parent and child. A true sensory experience is explored using textures, puppets, stories and gentle touch.
As adults, we often wish to escape the gnawing stress of every day life for half an hour or so, children are no different in that respect. Quiet, one on one time with your child is also a thing to be nurtured, which paediatric massage supports. Once clued up, it would be an easy slot into any night time routine for parent and child.
As I mentioned before, children who are not only living with everyday life stresses but disabilities too could really benefit from having massage in their lives. Children with ADHD, Autism, Asthma, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, Anxiety & other visual impairments in particular have been proven to respond brilliantly to the sensory exploration of paediatric massage and having that one on one down time. These tactile therapies are being used in US hospitals with great effect and I do hope that the UK starts to follow suit. You can find out more information on Eva's child massage classes here.
Massage has helped me massively with my fight against autoimmune disease and chronic illness so I'm a big advocate of it. Eva is a brilliantly empathetic therapist who truly understands each and every one of her clients. She is passionate about her work and loves what she does. It really shows. I urge those of you with new-borns (or soon-to-be born!) and children of any age to think about booking a session with Eva.
Here's to a summer of chillaxing!
All thoughts and opinions are my own, I have received no payment for this blog post.
It's International Thyroid Awareness Week, so I thought what better time to share with you my own personal story.
2 years ago, I'd not really heard of Thyroid function. I knew you could have underactive or overactive thyroid, which affected weight loss and that was about the extent of my knowledge. How things were about to change.
Back in October '12 I started feeling poorly. REALLY poorly. I was continuously freezing or overheated. My energy levels were past exhausted, I couldn't sleep at night yet would nod off in the middle of a conversation. I had piled on weight after Sully's birth at an extreme rate, my hair was coming out in handfuls, my skin flaking off, I couldn't think clearly or sometimes even at all (which is terrifying, if you've ever experienced a true loss of thought). I was permanently ill with a cold/flu/bug/open wounds. Worst though, was my throat. I would wake up choking. I could barely swallow, my inside neck felt dislocated with a consistent huge painful lump every time I tried to swallow. It was a struggle to lay down or turn my head at all.
I've always been one for not going to the doctors (the irony, now!) unless it was a real hardcore emergency. My last visit for treatment before then and the pregnancy was back in 2007, so it was difficult for me to make the decision to go and ask for help but after crying in a heap in the loo at 3am *again*, I decided to make an appointment.
I was checked over and told it was more than likely Globus Hystericus. An anxiety-based problem due to stress and worry, bringing a lump to my throat and making my already diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder worse... because I was panicked about the lump feeling, it got worse etc. such is the condition. She told me to chill out and come back in a few weeks if I was still experiencing symptoms. I felt terrible. The name globus hystericus didn't help, making me feel silly. With the heart palpitations and pre-fainting increasing, I felt I was losing control of the anxiety disorder even more, losing control of my own body. I ached all over. I have always had joint pain and random swellings since I was a child but everything was increasing. I couldn't take it and went back under the two week time frame to see my GP. As a side note, my GP is fantastic. She just had no idea of the rare situation at the time and had no real need to check me out fully at that first appointment.
So on going back a second time, I had bloods taken. Within 48 hours they had gotten back to me with the news that they thought I had something wrong with my Thyroid. I had to have some more bloods and an ultrasound scan to check Thyroid function and the words no one ever wants to hear, Thyroid Cancer. They rushed me through pretty quickly but even so, the 10 or so day wait we had for the tests and then the wait for diagnosis was really hard. I was scared, I had been feeling like my body was attacking me, it 'felt' like Cancer, I was convinced I had it. My GP rang the morning of my test results and asked to see me within the hour. This made me even more petrified, I took stock of my life at that exact point and decided to kick butt with whatever was wrong with me.
It wasn't Cancer. I was overwhelmed. And I felt so lucky. And scared. So many crazy emotions. I was then diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease which makes the body's natural defences (white blood cells and immune system) attack the Thyroid believing it is a foreign body. This breaks down the Thyroid gland limiting its function, which in turn makes it have to work harder to release the correct amount of hormone. In doing that, it gets swollen, scarred and covered in nodules. Every flare up I have, my body kills a little bit of my Thyroid Gland and it has to work harder and harder until eventually, it can give no more. To counter balance this, I am on medication for life, a Thyroid hormone replacement so that even though my immune system is killing my Thyroid, it can kind of die slowly and with dignity - meaning the swelling and nodules calm down and I can start getting my life back together.
Having Hashimoto's and being on full time medication was hard to cope with at first. It was amazing having a diagnosis, not having Cancer, I wasn't being 'cured'... but certainly being helped back on track. However it was still a shock to the system. I wasn't used to even seeing a GP and suddenly I'm thrown in to a world of waiting rooms, Endocrine specialists, blood tests, multiple daily pills, levels, side effects, symptoms - for life. I am now, nearly 2 years down the line, forever grateful for the medical attention I received and continue to receive. Especially from my GP and as mentioned earlier, the Endocrine team. Without my Endocrinologist Dr Lulsegged and his keen eye for problems, I wouldn't be where I am now.
Loosely related to the Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, are my two other chronic illnesses. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I have had these two things for as long as I can remember, we just didn't know about it. However, post-partum Hashimoto's disease brought them to the forefront of my life. The heart palpitations and pre-fainting weren't down to anxiety, my joint pain and swelling wasn't just a thing from my childhood. As my Hashimoto's became manageable it became clear that other things were wrong and had been elevated in my body by this massive change. Dr Lulsegged spotted my heart problem and connective tissue disorder when no one else had reason to. I won't go into these problems here, as this is a Thyroid awareness post but it brings the point back that if I had never gotten checked, diagnosed and started treatment for Hashimoto's, I would be in an even worse place now with other conditions.
I mentioned at the beginning one of the symptoms I knew about was weight gain in underactive thyroid. Mine had been underactive for a long time, hence putting on the weight so easily. No matter what I did, it wouldn't shift - until I became under Dr Lulsegged's care and started treatment. The medication and balancing of my Thyroid started to help but Dr Lulsegged suggested a short stint on a 'Very Low Calorie Diet' to give me a kick-start. Most of you reading this know it was really successful in helping me on my weight loss journey. I started in mid November vowing never to go back to the size and weight I was. I did the very low calorie plan for just over 3 weeks, made it over Christmas (the hardest time, ever!) and then slowly started to re-introduce more normal foods/breakfast and lunch into my diet. I now don't follow a diet as such but try to eat as healthy as possible, with reduced carbs and sugar. I haven't been exercising until this past week (as I had to see my heart specialist first), so everything so far has been diet alone. So here are some pics, as this post has been long and text heavy! My weight loss so far of 48lbs!
I am planning to lose another 14lbs and see how I feel when I reach that. I have gone from a UK size 20 (20+ in some shops) to an easily comfortable 14. I'm currently wearing a size 10 t-shirt now actually, which I have to say, feels bl**dy amazing!
Remember, if you're feeling unwell, relentlessly ill, struggling with your weight... just ask for a blood test. Ask your GP to check your Thyroid function AND Thyroid anti-body levels, don't leave it like I did. If you have a Thyroid related story to share, or a story of your own weight loss journey, I'd love to hear it.
As some of you may be aware, it's Mental Health Awareness Week. This year, the focus is on raising awareness of anxiety.
Anxiety is a weird one. I tend to find there are three categories that most people fit in to with their opinions towards it. I don't like putting people in boxes generally but for the purpose of this post let's roll with it for now.
Type 1: 'Anxiety is made up. Pull yourself together, man!' (...or woman, child, dog) It's the whole stiff upper lip thing. The type of people who fall into this category are usually ignorant of other people's feelings or to a lesser extent, genuinely unaware. I don't like to think of humans being closed-minded, un-empathetic souls but unfortunately there are quite a few of them out there, especially when involving mental health. These people tend to think that someone suffering with anxiety is weak-willed, silly, less worthy of a place on this earth than someone of a 'stronger stature' and they usually have no qualms letting everyone know this. I would like to hope that Mental Health Awareness Week can help people who are open-minded but unaware of the situation become more familiar with the signs of anxiety (either with themselves or those around them), I would also like to hope that it can help lessen the resentment and taboo that is held by people unwilling to see that anxiety is a bonafide mental health condition, not just someone hamming stuff up for a bit of attention.
Type 2: 'I have that, I'm like, so crayzee!' The boaster. Again it's not something I'm happy to talk about really but we're being honest, it needs to be addressed that there are a certain amount of people out there who identify with having mental health issues, yet seem to revel in the fact, even contradicting their own problems along with it. In my years talking about mental health, I can remember so many conversations (or having a cheeky earwigging session) listening to people having OCD stand-offs, 'funny' panic attack stories, this weird one-upmanship of 'Oh you think that's crazy? Well, I have to check my door 10 times before I leave the house, it's hilarious!' 'Only 10, well I do it 20! Hahah!' Ok, ok I'm getting cynical. Of course one of the most important things about mental health is being able to have a healthy dose of humour along with it but this is different and I hope that's coming across. I love a laugh at my quirks and I do try to embrace them especially with close friends but the Type 2 I am talking about are on another level. I also know that anxiety can make people chronic over-sharers/talkers but again this is something quite different.
Type 3: People who know the score. Thankfully there are a lot of this type of people out there! Whether this be anxiety sufferers themselves or people who empathise/understand the complexities of it. These people are usually quietly going about their lives, coping as best they can with what their brain throws at them on a daily basis. They are kind towards loved ones in bad times, offering a shoulder to cry on or a nest to hang out in. They know when to give space and don't ridicule over tasks that seem easy to anyone outside of the anxiety bubble (eating, leaving the house, sleeping, going on public transport, taking medication...). Understanding that, yes, some of the stuff we do is funny and we can laugh about it but alongside that, realising that the core of anxiety isn't some circus show of hand-washing and paranoia, it can be utterly debillitating. Type 3 people aren't saints, we all get it wrong sometimes but it's the willingess and understanding that is fundamentally part of their heart and mind that makes the difference.
I hope that didn't sound too preachy. It's something I feel passionate about and always have done, since being diagnosed 10 years ago with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. After going through huge life changes, my brain went through some of it's own. It decided to make me unable to sleep, panic about being in social situations, imagine terrible scenarios happening to my loved ones and towards the latter end of my diagnosis, have obsessional thoughts about things beyond my control (the worst one being finding an abandoned baby in a bin/by a bus stop and being unable to help them). Now statistically this was obviously almost never going to actually happen around me but it felt SO REAL. My heart would pound out of my chest going over what would happen if it did. Could I leave the house today in case I saw something? What about my own baby? Would someone try and bomb the bus I was on? Poison my drink? Would I have a huge panic attack and no one would help? I took a leap on the advice of my beautiful best friend who was going through a similar journey herself and went to my doctor. The last doctor I visited a few years back when I had just started having difficulties sleeping and leaving the house told me to take up swimming and wear brighter clothes, so putting myself back into the firing ring of the 'uncaring GP' was a big step for me, to say the least. With my best friend's support, i wrote down everything and went to my appointment.
My story is mostly positive from here on. I got brilliant help from my new GP with talking one on one and medication, which I understand is not a route everyone wants to take but it helped me. I researched, talked with people openly and tried to get to know and accept the 'new me'. It's still a work in progress 10 years later and will always be, I think... but this is where you'll find most Type 3's. Trying to accept themselves, accepting others, sharing their stories when needed, trying to raise awareness and break taboos, laughing at out coping mechanisms but realising the depth of the situations we're in, too.
The point of this post was to raise awareness of anxiety and especially in my case, to show that it is an actual recognised mental health issue, rather than just a bit of drama. Do you have anything you would like to share? Perhaps your own journey with anxiety or a realisation that you could offer something to someone going through hard times? If so, let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear about it.
Hopefully you've all seen my most recent review on the wonderful local business Memory Makers (if you haven't, take a peek here). Well, Tracy has generously asked me to give away one of her beautiful jars to one of you! How fab!
If you are picked as the winner, you get to build your very own bespoke jar. You chose the theme, ribbon, words printed etc. Everything just how you want. This is a fantastic opportunity to start making your own magical memories or indeed to gift to family or friends if you have a special occasion coming up. Don't forget the end of term teacher gift, too!
All you have to do to win a jar of your very own, is enter via the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is running from Sunday 11th May 8:00pm to Sunday 1st June 8:00pm GMT and available to UK entrants only.
I have received no payment for this blog post, all opinions are my own and all photos are property of Memory Makers.
I met a lovely new person on Twitter a few months ago, called Tracy Griffin. We got talking about diet and lifestyle stuff, she too is an avid supporter of the local hashtag #BeckBromFL bringing local business and personal accounts in the Bromley borough (and surrounding areas) together. Tracy's business Memory Makers is what I want to talk about today! Tracy generously sent me a Memory Maker jar to review for you all. (photo by Memory Makers)
From the get go, it's clear Memory Makers was born out of love. The business grew from a beautiful idea Tracy and her family had about keeping track of those special moments throughout the year, in a pretty jar, ready to open a year on from the start date. After posting about this lovely tradition on her social media page on New Years Eve, Tracy woke up on New Years day to heaps of positive comments about her idea. It was then she realised she could spread the love and enable family, friends, colleagues... everyone... to start making and keeping their own memories in this unique way. (photo by Memory Makers)
I have a chronic illness that affects my memory terribly. I mean, to
ridiculous levels. This is another reason why the Memory Makers idea feels so great to me. What better way to help ourselves remember those little funny, cute, special moments that we might have otherwise forgotten in the hustle and bustle of every day life? As well as actually helping improve memory by jogging us back to those stolen moments in time, it's also very good for mental health; recording and then looking back on positive experiences throughout the year is a brilliant thing. As someone who had a pretty rubbish year last year, this would have really benefitted my family and I.
So how do you get a Memory Makers jar? It couldn't be simpler! Tracy's site not only looks gorgeous, it navigates easily too. The menu gives great examples of the types of jar you can make, from wedding gifts, to the school teacher's summer thank you gift. A newborn present or 60th birthday offering, there's so much choice. (photo by Memory Makers)
Each jar is personalised with a tag, with details supplied by you. There are
also a plethora of decorative ribbons to chose from. As an added detail, Tracy supplies you with a little pencil and quality paper matching your ribbon choice, gently tied together with a beautiful bow. Such a pretty way to start creating those memories! When you write a memory on the supplied paper, you simply fold it and place it in the jar. Once the memories start filling up your empty jar space, it starts to look even more eye-catching, bursting with cleverly matched colour.
These options are all picked via the 'how to order' form on the website. After filling it in myself (yes, I have already bought one for a friend!), I can
personally vouch for it being an extremely user-friendly way of ordering a
lovely bespoke gift. Tracy is always on hand via the website, social media and email if anything needs going over, there is also an option to leave your phone number in case of any problems or queries with your order. A nice touch that makes you as the buyer feel very secure.
So, on to the goodies. My Memory Maker dispatch note was sent via email and the jar arrived safely in a box with plenty of warning stickers for the over-zealous postie. It was carefully packaged in bubble wrap
and wrapped again in a deep purple coloured tissue paper. Very exciting to open!
Now, I'll let the images do the talking. I will say that the jar was larger,
heavier and more beautiful than I had imagined from the images. You can really tell both by touch and visually that this is a great quality product.
I asked Tracy to have both the boys on my label, so they can create a years worth of memories to look back on together in 2015, when Sully will be much more able to understand the concept of memories making you feel good. I'm really glad I'm getting the chance to document both my toddler's journey into pre-school and my eldest son's transition into secondary school, as well as our first ever family holiday later on this year. We haven't even started filling it yet and I'm already excited to open it next year!
I really liked the concept of Memory Makers but when I got my hands on one, I fell in love with it. Thanks Tracy for giving me the opportunity to review such a lovely unique product. To find out more, pop over to the Memory Makers website.
You can also find Memory Makers:
Go and show them some love! Don't forget to check back here soon, as you'll get the chance to win your very own Memory Makers jar!
I have received no payment for this review, only the jar and contents shown here. All views are my own, as are all pictures unless otherwise stated.
You may have ready my blog post about the wonderful clothing and body care company me&i? (If you haven't, go take a peek!) Well, local rep Mari has generously donated a gorgeous skincare package for me to give away to you! Prize consists of:
Alongside this fab giveaway, any person who choses to book a me&i party with Mari and mentions this blog will receive a free gift (e.g a bodylotion) on the day of their party.
So, to win the fresh, moisturising, paraben free package above, all you need to do is follow the simple Rafflecopter instructions below. There will be one lucky winner, drawn on Sunday 4th May at 8:00pm GMT.
As my years as a parent grow, I tirelessly and heroically spend many hours documenting my offspring's every move. Having been through the toddler stage once already and now re-running that again (oh joy), I was blasted back into the reality of toddler photography.
Gone are the placid lumps of baba-flesh you could place on the floor and fake sneeze at to produce an almighty toothless grin. Beautifully artistic shots with baby draped over fluffy cushions, snuggled in baskets and basically just being calm are firmly in the past. An ethereal mother Earth pose whilst cuddling the sweet fruit of your womb? You'll be lucky.
So after much research and practice, i bring you the 7 pitfalls of toddler
1) Wearing something funny but refusing to show it.
We all like to force our children into wearing stuff we find hilarious so we can point and laugh at them, then show our friends who will also point and laugh at them. Unfortunately in most cases, the toddler refuses to go
along with this amazing idea and instead ruins every attempt of a photo
opportunity by removing said item or distracting the photographer with wails of 'DON'T LIKE IT!'. How inconsiderate.
2) Looking cute but gross with dirt.
Don't get this confused with uber cute photos of babies covered head to toe in homemade pasta sauce or smeared with their first try of yoghurt. I'm talking about the toddler who has been avoiding the mummy wet wipe attack for a few hours and just looks a bit, well, rank.
3) Refusing to look anywhere near the camera.
So you're in a gorgeous photogenic setting, toddler is happy, you're all charged up... you just want a smile to the camera..? Nope. Ok, an acknowledgement? A whiff of interest in what you're trying to do? Not a chance. It's incomprehensible to understand why the toddler won't take their eyes off of the gorgeous leaves surrounding them, or the party of older kids playing football, or the snow they've never ever seen before and just LOOK at the camera. What's up with that?!
4) The blur.
Remember the time you'd put your baby on a mat on the floor and they'd stay there for, like, an hour? I mean they might try and roll over or spew up a little but they'd pretty much be stationary until they decide it's booby/bottle time or just fancy a bit of a snuggle. Not so with the toddler. You spend months willing the baba-flesh to rock, crawl and eventually walk yet when they do, the days of posed photos disappear like Mr Tumble's Spotty Bag, in their place a hazed ghostly image of fuzzy frenzy. Not so great for the A3 canvas.
5) The incredible sulk.
A part of parenting is showing other parents how happy your kids are compared to everyone else's. It's also about showing how enriched your life is with these amazing creatures of happiness and pure wonder in it. In front of the camera, they have other ideas. Distain, Indifference and full on dislike of any situation are emotions that come easy for the toddler caught on film. C'mon kids, ready? 1, 2, 3, SMILE?!
6) So hung over.
This one comes with a smattering of fear for what the future holds. Babies sleeping look angelic. Weeny little souls drifting in and out of
dreams about shapes, colours and love. Now look at your toddler sleeping. It's a mini version of yourself after that office party and Doner Kebab (no salad, chili sauce) on the way home a few years back. Remember? When you found your pants in the... yeah. We won't go there.
7) Looking a bit ugly.
We all know our kids are the most beautiful things to have walked the Earth. They came from us, so they must have super awesome genes,
right? Gazing into your baby's slightly wrinkled face, big wide eyes and dribbly smile is one of the best things in the world. So easy to capture every gorgeous expression, every new smile fills your heart with love. By the time the toddler comes around, things change. Sometimes, just sometimes, they can look a tiny bit ugly. Totally not all the time, though. It's a bit like when you open your phone camera to snap a photo and you're unexpectedly on rear-facing cam. Ain't no one wanting to see THAT.
As well as all of the above, toddler photography also has one more point. Brilliance.
All of these things being captured are starting to build up their little personalities, which will shape them into the wonderful people they become. Placid lumps of baba-flesh are easier to grab a striking image from but toddlers are bloomin' amazing, and they show it in every way. My tongue is firmly wedged in my cheek writing this post of course, we do need to put the cameras and social media updates away a little but it's also great fun to capture all of these moments too. Plus, out of the many 1-7 pitfall photos you snap of your wonderful, crazy, manic, emotional toddlers, there will always be the ones that are pure gold.
Just a little admin post, setting up some stuff to get my blog out and about, seen a bit more, shared and loved! If you're on bloglovin,
Whilst browsing my favourite local Twitter hashtag #BeckBromFL I came across a brand I had never heard of, through local rep Mari. The brand is me&i, a Swedish based clothing company founded by mums, for mums (and everything in between!) I don't usually do fashion blogging but I love writing about companies who are individual and trying to make a difference, which me&i are definitely doing.
So, a little about them before we get to the pretties! me&i was started in 2004 by Susan Engvall and Helene Nyrell in their kitchen at Barsebäck, Southern Sweden. The great ethics of the company are deeply run
through all aspects of the brand, from production and factory conditions through to materials and ingredients used. Here is where we find out the first part of what makes me&i different. Their clothes are produced in Turkey and Portugal in closely monitored factories which adhere to their specific guidelines for working and production conditions.
"We only use factories that apply our Code of Conduct which specifies
Most of their clothes are Oeko-Tex certified. Please click the link for more information about how this certification is keeping harmful or un-tested substances out of clothes production, something which is very important to think about when purchasing children's clothes especially - we all know how little ones like to chew on their sleeves.
Obviously to have guidelines and standards of this kind of quality, alongside items being made of organic cotton and beautifully soft combed cotton, then the price per item is a little more than your average high street store but you do get what you pay for. On top of being a brand with a conscience, they like to make clothes which have durability and are long lasting. On to some photo examples!
The colours and prints are bold, bright, individual and hardwearing.
Colours are picked for each season but match between old and new seasons too, this creates a weath of outfit opportunities.
On the above items, you can see the double layer material over the knee on the leggings for added durability. On the skirt, the waistband is tailored to be rolled up or down to change length, making it suitable for littlies and bigguns and most importantly, able to grow with your children.
Here is another example of innovative design, the vest below has foldable sleeve cuffs which match the external pattern perfectly, enabling you to buy bigger and roll the sleeves up - making the whole item last a lot longer and again grow with your children. Plus, who could resist a hat that cute?!
I am a huge fan personally of individual and quirky items for my kids and I. Below, is another amazingly cute set which caught my attention, soft to the touch, squidgy AND adorably cute. The trousers and leggings are actually cut very generously around the bottom, making them a perfect fit for cloth nappy wearers, too. Again you can see the detailing on the cuffs and adjustable waist enabling your purchases to last a lot longer. Sheeeeeeeeep!
The children's range of clothing at me&i is New-born to fifteen. I took my
eleven year old along with me when meeting Mari to get his opinion about the designs. He is quite fashion conscious now and loves purchasing items for himself. He really loved the individual and slightly alternative look of the clothes produced and was very impressed. It takes a lot to impress him at the moment, so that says something! Skulls were a firm favourite with him (and me, I have to say) but he also loved these tracksuits below in particular. I would love to have one of these for each of my boys (11 and 2), what a cool way to match.
Another more grown up look is the jean and t-shirt casual style, which is always in fashion. Fantastic adjustable waist here again and adjustable length in the leg too. Again you can see how the colours can be easily interchanged for a different look, throughout the styles. The other big thing I love about the colours and prints is that the majority of items are unisex.
The last clothing image I have to show you is my favourite. These are items from last season's release but I just love how you can match mother and child in such a fashionable and cool way. I adore stripes and skulls - so really this combo is perfection in my eyes (note the little skull detailing on the mama top!) I wish I had a better way of conveying to you how soft and flattering the materials and combed cotton is in real life. I literally couldn't stop stroking the clothes.
me&i also make clothes for women, I was a little dubious about this at
the start as I've never been one to treat myself with clothes or even look into how my own clothes are produced. The prices are similar to that of the higher end high-street budget but perfectly reasonable considering the production values, materials used and fantastic cut of the clothes. I decided not to take any photos of the women's range but to show you some photos from the me&i website. You really need to see these clothes worn to appreciate the style and ability to flatter any figure type. Laying on the floor just didn't do these pieces justice. Here are a few of my personal favourites. (Photos by me&i)
The Twisted skirt and Penguin top. I love this skirt, the cut is so flattering and individual. It's almost fluid in the way it wraps around you and flows with your body when you walk. Plus, it's HOT. You can go evening with a loose fitted top, heels and statement necklace or just as easily rock it up with a leather jacket, thick tights and DM's. (Photos by me&i)
I'm a huge fan of Boyfriend jeans at the moment, I find the cut extremely
flattering for most shapes and again these are no exception. A real staple for any wardrobe, especially teamed with a funky t-shirt such as the Pirate v-tee shown here. What could be better suited for the upcoming festival season?!
There are also pants. Cloud pants! (photo by me&i)
These are so cute and their design reflects their feel, soft as clouds! Not
only are they totally sweet in design, the cut is also extremely comfortable and well suited for cloth pad users. If you'd like to know more about ethically produced and safe re-useable cloth pads, please take a look at the wonderful Fit and Fluffy Mama blog for more information and inspiration.
me&i also produce a small range of toiletries (body lotion, hand cream
and perfume) which are paraben free and produced in Sweden. The light floral and melon smells are a delight and would leave anyone feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Buying these items is a little different. me&i products are sold via
parties, fronted by a local rep. I have always been slightly worried by these kinds of thing as you think automatically it's going to be the hard sell and pressure to buy. Reality couldn't be further from that misconception. me&i reps are passionate about the clothes they are selling because they love them. Mari was genuinely excited to show me each item we looked at and loved wearing the brand on herself and her beautiful daughter. This wasn't just for the sell, it was from a respect and passion for the clothes and company itself.
Parties are usually held at your own house, with a group of your friends.
Although me&i reps are happy to discuss different events and places such as fun coffee mornings or pamper days too! The host (you) gets either a free item or an amount off of purchases depending on how many people come to your party. That has nothing to do with purchases, simply just the amount who actually turn up. So even if it's just you and another friend and you don't buy a thing, you will still get a bonus. Mari explained she prefers a more adult-based party as although we all love our children and toddlers, it's a little difficult to properly concentrate with a tribe of smalls running about the place, I have to agree there! But of course any children are welcomed too. As is wine. Mmmm wine.
Mari also explained that, especially with women's wear, it was so much better to try on clothes rather than just browse the racks, as you really get a feel for the items and fit of the different cuts that possibly you wouldn't have thought about trying before. So basically a heap of your friends with some snacks and drinks, with a personal shopping experience for you and your kids for free, no pressure or nastiness... much like the clothes themselves!
I'm really loving the me&i brand now. Talking to Mari and doing my own
research into how clothes are produced has opened my eyes on many subjects I hadn't ever thought about as a consumer. Please check out the official webpage at www.meandi.se/en/ for a more detailed explanation of what goes in to their clothes and items, how each piece of clothing offers longer durability, what their fabulous ethics are and of course how to host your own party!
You can also follow me&i on Twitter @meandiUk
and on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/meandiuk?fref=ts
Mari is on Twitter too @MariMeandi
and also has a Facebook group which you can request to join here https://www.facebook.com/groups/marimeandi/?fref=ts
All views and photographs (except where stated) are my own. Please note this is not a paid endorsement or advertisement, I have received no payment for this blog post.
I couldn't let today pass without writing about Peaches Geldof-Cohen - the sad news hit us that on Monday 7th April, a few short weeks before her younger son's 1st birthday, Peaches died 'suddenly and unexpectedly' at her home. I am completely floored.
Of course, I didn't know Peaches. I'd seen her and her mama Paula around when she lived in Hastings, I followed her on Twitter and Instagram, I even talked to her through the latter (much to my excitement!)... but that's the thing... none of us really knew her but we felt like we did. She was an open soul on social media, she chatted about her love for her pets, her beautiful boys Astala and Phaedra, interspersed replies and debates with her fans next to chatting with her husband and best friend, she shared her home, music, date nights, ghost-hands, good times and bad times. So yes, to all the people criticising that none of us have the right to grieve because none of us knew her - you're wrong. And grieve we will.
Peaches became somewhat of a spokeswoman for 'Attachment Parenting' over the last year, taking on the likes of Katie Hopkins and trying to break the taboo tied to a more instinctive and responsive way of raising children. She was supportive of co-sleeping, bedsharing, breastfeeding, babywearing and had an active dislike of the 'Cry It Out' method to get children to sleep. She was very vocal about these issues which gained both positive and negative publicity. She handled some stuff wrong, sure, she was no hippy perfection earth mama. But that was ok, she was always true to herself. I'm sure most of us were young, passionate and opinionated at some stage (and hopefully, still are!), being in the media spotlight should make you think about stuff before you say (or retweet it) but we all make mistakes.
The thing is, Peaches loved her boys, so much, that's what shone through everything. That's what so many of us took from her in her recent years, we enjoyed parenting with her, shared the love for her kids through her many videos, pictures and escapades. We related to her and the boys. Now, those two little souls don't have their mama to cuddle up to - who can explain that to a 1 and 2 year old? How can you comfort a toddler and baby who are used to sleeping with their mama every night, cuddling and playing with her every day... that she's not there anymore? It's just so heartbreaking. Peaches had a vibrant and unsettled past but consistently claimed that marrying Tom and having the children was the thing that turned her into who she was meant to be all along.
I don't want to speculate on what happened today but I'm sure we will have some answers soon. No matter what the situation, this wasn't deserved. The boys do not deserve this. Peaches family and friends do deserve respect and quiet in their time of grieving.
So, I started this post with the title of a Smiths Song, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, I believe the light Peaches has left with her husband, her sons, her family and friends will never, ever go out. I will end this post with another musical link, a song called Needle In The Hay by Elliot Smith, one of her favourite artists and my absolute all time favourite song of his.
Rest in peace Peaches. Thanks for being you.
Who is Julie?
30 something, mother of two gorgeous boys, lover of one gorgeous husband, perpetually living in a dream world full of wine, chocolate and artsy crafty things.