Thursday, 28 March 2013

Nurturing Mums Postnatal Group - Guest Post

I connected with Elise from Nurturing Mums in February this year via Facebook and she asked if it would be possible to share with you the postnatal group she runs supporting and helping new Mums through those early weeks of motherhood. Like me, Elise dealt with having a new child in a foreign country and experienced the challenges that can bring. Nurturing Mums was set up to help support new Mums and is based in East Finchley, London. I’ll leave Elise to tell you more.

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I am a proud mum of three kids aged 8, 5 and 2. Being a mum is rewarding yet challenging, life changing yet eye-opening, and natural yet difficult. With the three of them, I am able to multi-task like a professional PA – in an afternoon, I can pick them up from school, manage a playdate, cook tea for all of the children, update Facebook, have them practice their reading and violin respectively and get them all clean in a quick bath! Not to mention keep the house tidy throughout. It hasn’t always been this way. 


When I had my first child, I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. I was in a new country without my immediate family nearby, we had constant visitors (including from overseas), my mum was diagnosed with cancer (she is thankfully fine now) and I had a pretty horrendous birth experience by my standards. I had thrush (unknowingly) and had an absolutely horrific time breastfeeding, I lasted 3 weeks only and a specialist told me I was hero for lasting as long as I did. I certainly didn’t feel like a hero though, only a failure.

Without a support network, I felt like I was lost at sea. The highlight of my day was when my husband would come home so I could hand the baby to him and go straight to bed.  I was shattered, physically and emotionally. Of course I had no idea how to manage any of these feelings at the time, and it was only with hindsight that I have recognized how low things had been. My sister’s friend (a social worker) suggested that I might be suffering from postnatal depression, but I was angry at the mere thought and didn’t give it a second thought. I wish I would have.


The idea for Nurturing Mums postnatal groups came from my experience with being a first time mum. I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t warned, I wasn’t ready. I think however, even if I was all of these things, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the day to day difficulties I was facing. I needed some sort of structure, something to look forward to, and something to get dressed for !

That is exactly why I decided to start Nurturing postnatal groups. Gemma and I have a vision of bringing new mums together. The idea is to give them a non-judgemental space to talk about what is really on their minds. In the meet and greet session, we talk about birth stories and whether they went according to plan. We talk about feeding, what worked for you and what didn’t. We talk about highs and lows, what we are loving as new mums and what we are struggling with.

With my first, I had no idea about naps, routines or dream feeds. I knew nothing about combining breast and bottle, or getting through difficult breastfeeding (which I have subsequently managed!). I was in the dark about baby stimulation and what was interesting to babies. My mum suggested I teach my daughter the parts of her body; I had never thought of it until that point, and from there she flourished. I had no clue about what foods to start weaning with, when to progress, how lumpy the food should be. 

At Nurturing Mums, our expert guest speakers are there to help the mums navigate the confusing and abundant information available about weaning, sleep and development. We talk about naps, learning to tell how and when your baby is tired, and implementing a bedtime routine. We also cover nutrition, talking about signs that your baby is ready for weaning, baby led weaning and how to get started whatever method you use. All information I craved to have known when I was a new mum.  We believe that mums can benefit from these supportive talks so they don’t feel like they are going at it alone, they have a sociable network!

Our mums also get a professional photograph to cherish of them and their baby; they get to enjoy a lovely pampering morning, something I wasn’t able to do until my first was at least one!! We had a full house in January, and are hoping that April’s group will be full up as well. The more the merrier, the more we share.



If you would like to find out more about what Nurturing Mums do or to sign up for their April  Nurturing Mums course beginning on 16th April, then pop across to their website: www.nurturingmumsuk.comYou can also find them on Facebook and Twitter: @nurturingmumsuk


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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Organic Surge Mega Bundle of Free-from Skincare Products

For this blog post I’d like to share with you the great free-from products I’ve been trying out from “Organic Surge”.

In the run up to Christmas Organic Surge were offering a “Mega Bundle” of some of their most popular skincare products at an amazing price. I decided this would be a great way to try out some of their products so took advantage of this fabulous offer. What I received were 10 of their most popular products for £24 instead of the normal £60 it would have cost. I couldn’t resist this great offer so I treated myself.


The box of goodies arrived and included the following:
  • Gentle Cleansing Lotion
  • Daily Care Facial Wash
  • Skin Perfecting Polish
  • Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser
  • Overnight Sensation Night Cream
  • Kiss and Make Up Wipes
  • Lavender Meadow Body Lotion
  • Sweet Blossom Shower Gel
  • Lemon and Honey Soap
At the time, I had other skincare products on the go which I had needed to finish before beginning on the Organic Surge Mega Bundle, so I will share with you here the 5 products I have used so far and in another post I’ll share with you my experience of the other 5.

So far I have used the Kiss & Make Up Wipes, Skin Perfecting Polish, Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser, Overnight Sensation Night Cream and the Sweet Blossom Shower Gel.


The Kiss & Make Up Wipes – These natural cleansing wipes are biodegradable, compostable, and made from 100% woven viscose. They are a good size, moist but don’t end up all soggy when you get to the bottom of the pack and clean the skin well. If you use quite heavy make-up then you may find that these wipes are not up to removing everything, but I found that for cleaning off foundation, eyeliner and non-waterproof mascara they coped well leaving my face feeling clean and fresh.


Skin Perfecting Polish – I really liked this exfoliator. It was gentle yet effective. It uses ground apricot stones and walnut shells and wasn’t in any way scratchy on my skin. My face felt deep cleansed after using this followed by my usual facial wash. My face didn’t end up all looking all pink, just naturally healthy. I would definitely repurchase this.


Super Intensive Daily Moisturiser – As you know my skin type is combination so this moisturising cream was just a touch too rich for my skin, but I have used it none the less. It has a lovely creamy texture and it sinks into the skin well. It leaves my T-zone a little shiny when I use it, but this is due to this area of my face being overly oily anyway. I should really be using their “Blissful Daily Moisturiser” instead which would be better suited to me. However, if you have dry skin this moisturiser would be a great purchase.


Overnight Sensation Night Cream - Like the intensive daily moisturiser, the Overnight Sensation Night Cream was a lovely rich cream which sunk into the skin easily. I don’t always use a night cream but I really enjoyed using this one. My skin felt nourished and hydrated in the morning. This would again be great for anyone with drier or more mature skin to add to their skincare routine.


Sweet Blossom Shower Gel - I really loved the Sweet Blossom Shower Gel and would definitely repurchase. I’d also like to try out their other shower gels too as they have 5 others in their range. Enough to stop anyone getting bored in the shower in the morning ! The shower gel lathers up well on my body puff and it smells great. Even my eldest commented on how lovely both myself and the bathroom smelt after using it in the mornings! Always a plus.

All in all I’ve been impressed with the range of products Organic Surge produce so far. I like the fact that they are good quality products at reasonable prices. You would probably place them in the same league as Nivea, No.7, Olay and Garnier but without all of the chemical nasties. Organic Surge’s products are all free from parabens, SLS, artificial fragrances and colourants. They are animal friendly and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

I’m looking forward to trying out the other 5 products I have to use and reporting back to you on those in a later post, but for now, Organic Surge is definitely a range of skin and body care I would purchase again. They are easy on the pocket but still of a quality you would hope to expect from a good free-from range.

If you would like to know more visit their website at www.organicsurge.com, you can connect with them on Facebook and also on Twitter.

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Do let me know if you have used Organic Surge and what your experience has been. I’m still looking for some decent free-from shampoos and conditioners for my very thick hair. So far nothing seems to hit the mark for me, so any suggestions gratefully received please. Has anyone tried the hair care range from Organic Surge? Do let me know if you have.

Don’t forget you can stay up to date with new blog posts by subscribing via the method of your choice or via email and you’ll also find me on Facebook, and Twitter. Until next time x

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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Gluten-Free Baking For All The Family with Naomi Devlin

I feel very blessed to be living in an area of the UK where I still have access to local green grocers, bakeries, butchers, and fish mongers all on the high street with fabulous farm shops in the near vicinity too. That’s rare in this day and age so I’m a very happy bunny indeed to be living where I am.

We are near to River Cottage HQ, 10 mins from the coast and the ability to live a more free-range existance particularly for the children is much more possible here than it would have been if we’d settled back in the Home Counties again after returning from France.

Today’s post is by my lovely friend, homeopath and nutritionist, Naomi Devlin. She has a wealth of knowledge and one of her areas of expertise is with gluten-free cooking. I thought it would be great to have Naomi guest blog here to share with you some of the yummy gluten-free recipes you can do with your children. Gluten-free doesn’t have to mean tasteless.


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When she was 11, Naomi moved to a commune in Dorset with her family. Home-schooled and rarely shod, she spent most of her waking hours digging in the walled garden, milking the jersey cows, tending fat chickens and learning to cook in the warm kitchen. With a garden to plunder, fresh, un-pasteurised milk and a larder stocked with dry goods, she learnt early to enjoy produce and maintained a real connection to the land.

Many years later, after a short career in costume and then fashion, she found herself drawn back to the land, to healing and food and away from the city. One pregnancy, a coeliac diagnosis and a training in homeopathy later – she embarked on a gluten free journey that continues to feed and inspire her.
She writes a blog, teaches Gluten Free at River Cottage, Lectures at homeopathic colleges and bootcamps and has a private practice in Bridport, Dorset. She is currently writing a book on Gluten Free Middle Eastern Cookery and has plans for a baking book.

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Every parent wants to help their children eat well. Developing a healthy relationship with food starts with an awareness of where it comes from. Children can learn to press an onion to find if it’s gone soft, recognise different meats, nuts, fish or vegetables and experience produce in the raw, every time you go shopping together. Even those who aren’t lucky enough to live near a farm, can get a sense of ingredients and what to do with them. Growing food is another great way to get children involved – even just cress in an upturned eggshell, or some radishes on the windowsill. We need to be connected to our food from an early age, to shape our tastebuds and develop a sense of ourselves as people who cook from scratch.

If your child needs to eat gluten free, it’s important to give them the message that the food they eat is every bit as delicious, nutritious and exciting as what their friends eat. This doesn’t mean that you need to give them white bread versions of the foods they miss. Start educating them about the different gluten free flours, nut meals and starchy vegetables they can use for baking and by the time they leave for college, they’ll be able to cook for themselves, stay safe and be well nourished.

I often use ground almonds in my gluten free recipes, as they increase the fibre, protein and nutrient value, slowing down the rate at which starch is digested. You can substitute coconut flour if you have a child who cannot tolerate nuts, or ground sunflower seeds if they can eat these. I always aim to use nutritious wholegrain gluten free flours rather than gluten free flour mixes (such as Doves Farm) because these have very few nutrients and lots of fast release carbohydrate, that can upset blood sugar balance. This is the site I recommend for getting real, wholegrain gluten free flours from:  http://www.healthysupplies.co.uk/

When you’re cooking with kids, step back as much as possible. Set things up so that spills are ok, bowls are hard to break and spoons are wooden! If they can read, let them have the recipe and be there as a facilitator rather than the sergeant major. You will notice their chests puff up with pride at the sense of achievement they get from producing something delicious in the alchemy of mixing bowl and oven. Ask them questions about what you’re doing together, laugh and feel that lovely camaraderie that baking a batch of muffins in a steamy kitchen can bring. Baking is very bonding when you do it right.

My son Finley is also celiac like me. Now 11, (as I was when I first started cooking seriously), he can bake a gluten free loaf, make truffles, cakes, muffins and pastry – inventing his own sugar free mincemeat at Christmas to fill his almond pastry cases.

Below I give you a selection of simple recipes – none of them require much more than weighing and mixing. Just have a cloth ready for the flour and a hand ready to catch any wayward eggs!


Raspberry Cupcakes  (Grain Free – makes 12)

Gluten Free Raspberry Cupcakes
Photo Credit: Naomi Devlin

These can be made as muffins – reduce the sugar if you like and add a couple more raspberries. Or you can go to town and dress them up with whipped cream topped by raspberries - arranged closely together to form a juicy red crown. In the Autumn choose blackberries and add a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon to the mix.

120g Organic Salted Butter (softened)
100g Light Muscovado Sugar
300g Ground Almonds (or half almond / half coconut)
100ml Maple Syrup
2 tsp Real Vanilla Extract
1 level tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
30g Golden Linseeds (crushed in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder)
4 Large Organic Eggs
2 tsp Cider Vinegar
48 Raspberries – approx 220g
Optional – swap vanilla for zest of a lemon and two tsp of juice


Line a 24 hole muffin tray with tall muffin cases. Or cut squares of baking parchment and press into the cavity, forming pleats with the spare paper.

In a mixing bowl beat together the sugar and soft butter until completely smooth and creamy. You can do this with an electric mixer – or make the whole thing in a food processor.

Beat in ground almonds until the mix looks like damp clumpy sand.

Beat in maple syrup, vanilla, bicarb (sieve if lumpy or dissolve in vanilla), & linseeds.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat well between each egg until smooth again.

Finally beat in vinegar and if using lemon in place of vanilla, beat this in now too. Adding either of these any earlier will activate the bicarb and affect the rise.

Half fill cases with mixture and press a couple of raspberries in. Top with the rest of the mix and add another couple of raspberries, pressing them down a little.

If your raspberries are large, you may find that your muffins overflow their cases a little – I quite like this effect, although it does depend on the tray, as to how easy it is to pry the muffins off! A simple way to avoid this conundrum is to make your own cases as above, or line each hole with a strip of baking parchment that acts as a collar for the case – giving you a lovely high-rise cupcake.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 160ºC (fan oven) until risen, firm and golden brown. Cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  


Buckwheat Pancakes (makes 30 small ones) – delicious with maple syrup and butter, banana and yogurt, or even liver paté!

Buckwheat Pancakes
Photo Credit: Naomi Devlin

All you need to do is get prepared the day before and you'll wake up to a pancake batter all ready to go. A true fast food breakfast!

They can also be made, frozen on a tray and bagged up to use as handy snacks. Just sandwich a couple together with some butter and a bit of cheese for a snack on the go, or pop them under the grill to have hot.

I've used gelatin granules here for two reasons, firstly, to help the pancakes have body (in place of something like xanthan gum) and secondly, gelatine helps digestion of carbohydrates - Linseeds are also excellent.

American Cup Measures

1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/8 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/8 cup Ground Almonds (or buckwheat flour or coconut flour to make these nut free)
1/2 cup Live Wholemilk Yogurt
1/4 cup Unhomogenised Whole Milk (preferably unpasteurised)
2 Large Free Range Eggs
Pinch Sea Salt
1 tsp Geltine Granules or 3 tsp crushed linseeds (flax seeds)
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda dissolved in 1 tbsp milk

24 hours before you plan to eat these pancakes, put buckwheat flour, rice flour and ground almonds (or alternative) in a bowl. Add milk and yogurt and give the whole thing a good stir. Set aside at room temperature for at least 12, but ideally 24 hours.

When you're ready to make pancakes, gently heat a heavy bottomed frying pan (skillet) and add a knob of your fat of choice (duck fat, beef fat, chicken fat, goose fat, lard, olive oil) - I wouldn't cook these in butter as it can burn quickly.

To the soaked flours add eggs, gelatine, salt and soda dissolved in a tbs of milk.

Beat well until smooth and add a touch more milk if it seems too stiff. It should be like softly whipped cream - American style batter, not a crepe batter.

Increase the heat under your pan to medium and add spoonfuls of the mixture. Wait until bubbles have risen to the surface and it starts to set (around 2 minutes), then flip gently with a palette knife and briefly cook the other side until golden (under a minute).

If your mix doesn't form bubbles in the pan, increase the heat slightly.

Hand straight onto waiting breakfast plates, or cool on a rack.





Poppy Seed Soda Bread – Slice and freeze so that you always have a slice handy for buttered toast and peanut butter after school.

Poppy Seed Soda Bread
Photo Credit: Naomi Devlin

This makes a very small loaf, double the quantities if you want a larger slice and cook for extra time.

Double line the inside of a small loaf tin or butter and flour it. Preheat the oven to 180C fan assisted, 200C if not.

Whisk the following together in a bowl until frothy.

100ml olive or almond oil
2 large eggs
3 tsp honey (or 2 tbs of maple syrup)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Sift these dry ingredients into the bowl.

2oz sorghum flour (or millet flour)
2oz white teff flour (or brown teff / buckwheat flour)
1 oz maize flour (or more ground almonds)
1 oz ground almonds (or coconut flour)
2oz brazil nut meal (or Brazils ground fine or more ground almonds, or other nuts)
2 tbs poppy seeds
4 tsp ground flax / linseed, or 25g crushed flax
1/4 tsp cinnamon


Sprinkle over the juice of half a lemon and 150ml soda water (plain water will do) and stir everything gently until mixed. Scrape into the loaf tin, level the surface and bake for 25-30 minutes until springy and deep golden brown on top. If you like a crisper crust, take the loaf out of the tin and give an extra 5 minutes in the oven.

Cool on a rack and eat when cool. Slice and freeze any you don't eat there and then, to toast for breakfast.


Soaked version: Put all the flours/nut meals/seeds, flax, cinnamon, lemon juice, oil, honey and water in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside overnight (for 12 - 24 hours) to soak at room temperature.

When you are ready to bake, heat the oven, prepare your tin and mix in all the other ingredients, beating well to get some air in and make sure that everything is well incorporated. Bake as above.


To read the full, original blog post article click here: http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/poppy-seed-bread.html 

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If you would like to indulge further in Naomi's wonderful gluten free creations, then hop across to her fabulous blog, “Milk for the Morning Cake” here:  http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com

You can also follow her on Twitter: @naomidevlin






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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Supersalve Active-Care Balm – Soothing Those Sore, Aching Muscles Naturally

When I linked up with Daisy Green a few months ago they gave me the opportunity to try out 2 products they had; Bio2You Skin Serum and Hand Cream which I reviewed a week ago – see here, and also some Supersalve Active-Care Balm following a tweeting session with Supersalve sharing my interest in trying out one of their 3 products. They put me in touch with Daisy Green and I was sent a 100ml tube of their Active-Care Balm to try out.

Having been an Holistic Therapist for 9 years before moving to France and having the girls, I know how important it is to find natural products which can aid in the relief of tired, sore and overworked muscles, so being given the chance to review the Active-Care Balm was a good choice particularly as hubby is always coming home with overworked, sore muscles from running his own company in the building trade fitting kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. Certain body parts; namely knees, elbows and shoulders can get a battering so he as a prime target for this balm.


Supersalve have 3 products in their range; Active-Care Balm, Skin-Care Balm and Massage Balm. These products were developed in South Africa and are manufactured in the UK. Their restorative balms contain unique, proven blends of honey, herbal extracts and essential oils. Their products contain no SLS, parabens, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, alcohol, lanolin and are not tested on animals.

As described on their website:

“Supersalve Active Care Balm is a deep-acting natural formula that enhances the body’s natural healing processes. It eases tired, stiff and aching joints and muscles, particularly in those suffering with Arthritis and Rheumatism, and soothes strains, pains, knocks and bruises.

Supersalve Active Care Balm contains: Calendula, Camphor, Clove, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, St John’s Wort, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Apricot Kernel, Grapeseed Oil and Honey”

Hubby was the main designated tester although I did try the balm out a few times on my sore leg muscles. I’m currently training for the ‘Race for Life’ in honour of my Mum who lost her fight with lung cancer, so it has been used a couple of times to help relieve my sore aching muscles and I’m sure I’ll be using it some more in the coming weeks as I progress. I’m not a natural runner so it’s all new territory for me !

Hubby used the balm on his elbow for several evenings and noticed that it wasn’t as stiff and achy in the mornings after its application. We both agreed that if we used the balm for several weeks in a row, the benefit would accumulate. Hubby said the balm reminded him of “Dit Da Jow” which is a popular Chinese liniment, used to heal external damage such as bruises, or sore muscles. This is something he has used before as a Wing Chun Instructor.

The balm itself has quite a strong aroma; you can smell the essential oils particularly the clove. It definitely smells like it’s doing some good to your muscles. However, if you are going out for a night on the town, it probably isn’t the thing to be covering yourself in as its aroma does last for a while. I like it though. It’s not as strong as Deep Heat, which I remember as a child my Mum using and it making my eyes water!

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. I love the fact that the ingredients are natural, it is free from those “chemical nasties” and it can be used as and when required. It would also be a good balm to use in between massage treatments, which would have accumulative benefits.

You can find out more about the 3 products Supersalve produce by taking a look at their website: www.supersalve.co.uk

They have a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SupersalveBalms and you can follow them on Twitter: @Supersalvebalm



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Disclaimer: I was given a tube of Supersalve's Active-Care Balm to try out, keep and review for this post. All thoughts, feelings and opinions given are my own and no one else's. I always give my honest feedback.



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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Rainbow Glitter Candle with the Sugar Aunts

Back in October last year when I began Sophia’s Choice and set up my Facebook Page to go with the blog, I started connecting with other bloggers, some of which like me had just branched out into this brand new world. The Sugar Aunts were one of the first and are 3 sisters from Pittsburgh, in the USA. I loved the fact that they were sharing creative ideas for children. Craft, cooking, exploring the senses are all things they cover and they have a great linky called “Share it Saturday”. As I love doing craft with the girls , I asked the Sugar Aunts is they’d like to do a Guest Post for Sophia’s Choice and they said they’d love to. So without further a do, over to you Sugar Aunts ! 

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone x

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Rainbow Glitter Candle 



This is a great use for those empty jars.  Recycle them into gorgeous candle holders!
What is better than something made with glitter?  How about a Rainbow of Glitter?!?!
This lovely little candle holder was inspired by St. Patrick's Day.



We gathered up everything we thought would be needed to make a beautiful candle holder (we didn't end up using the clover stickers...that will be used for something else!)

~One empty jar (I wanted something tall so we used a green olive jar)

~Mod Podge (the kind that dries clear- Gloss)

~Glitter Flakes (sold next to the glitter at JoAnn Fabrics)

~A rainbow of glitter!



We used a Popsicle stick to paint on rows of Mod Podge on the jar.  My daughter helped sprinkle on the glitter flakes. 

Glitter is a fun sensory experience for kids (Yes, messy...but don't stress the mess!)

Once we finished one row of color, we would move up the jar to the next color.  I would hold the jar while she sprinkled.  We talked about the order of the colors in the rainbow. 

"Mom, how did you know I would love this so very badly?!?"


 This is a great activity for preschoolers, working those fine motor skills.  Pinching the bits of glitter really encourages the use of their tripod grasp.  In the preschool age and older, kids will begin coloring and forming letters.  When an awkward grasp on the writing utensil is established, it is often times difficult to adjust.  For improved ease of handwriting and smooth pencil strokes, the tripod grasp is really the most efficient manner to hold the pencil. 

Any pinching activity is great to encourage the small muscles of the child's hand and in encouraging the rounded arches of their hand.  Plus, with a glitter craft, it's just fun to get a little messy and creative!

My daughter LOVES anything that is girly...and sparkles just make her day.








A little (ok, a lot) of glitter ended up on her hands and the floor, but that just made it all the more fun.

There were so many sparkles, I think I will be finding them on little feet for a few days :)





 The final product...my little girl is so proud of this!

 

                     
Add a little tea candle or a flame-less candle.







What a beautiful rainbow!

The Sugar Aunts



I'm sure most of you know the UK equivalents used in this craft activity but just in case; a Popsicle Stick is a Lolly Pop Stick and Mod Podge's UK equivalent is probably your standard craft glue sold by places like Baker Ross or your local craft shop :0) 

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If you would like to find out more about what the Sugar Aunts do, then hop across to their website www.sugaraunts.com. They also have a FB page: SugarAunts and you can find them on Twitter.

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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Babyhood – The Film by Kate Jangra


Many of you who follow this blog will be aware by now that I try my best to parent the girls in a gentle and conscious way. I embrace parenting practices which aim to empower children, show them respect, help their confidence to grow, give them boundaries with the flexibility to push against them and not stifle their growth. I want them to know that as their parents my husband and I will do everything we can to understand where they are coming from and where possible do everything in our power to make sure they feel heard. It’s not always easy, as any parent knows. Throw a few of life’s spanners in the works and it can feel like your “ideal” is being trashed by a disrespectful universe. But isn’t it actually when life does get tough that we need to trust those core parenting beliefs and values more than ever and put them into practice? I believe so and it’s when things go off track and we have to deal with things like death, loss, illness etc that we then need to trust our parenting instincts more than ever to find a way through the darkness following the light we lit beforehand. If we’ve built the foundations correctly, this should stand us in good stead for the rocky path ahead.

As a family unit we have been through some tough times over the past few years. My PND illness with Sophia, which lasted 4 years, family fallouts and then my mother’s diagnosis with lung cancer when my youngest was just 8 weeks old, followed by her passing 6 months later. These unexpected developments completely shattered our world, but one thing that’s helped us through these times is trusting our instincts as parents, knowing that we are still striving to come from the right space with the girls and that despite where we find ourselves, we are still doing our best to respect them, show them unconditional love, and are trying to balance out everyone’s needs amongst the chaos.


Trusting your instincts is really important as a parent and it’s often the one thing we question particularly as new parents. We look to others to guide us, and the new trend seems to be to look to so called “baby experts” to tell us how to parent our children when actually if we just trusted ourselves more, we’d realise that we know more than we think. Many of us now live miles away from our family support network and are often left feeling lost and alone when we become parents. We feel overwhelmed by the whole experience and can lose faith in our instinctive abilities. That’s when a film like “Babyhood” can really empower you with the confidence you need to trust your innate parenting wisdom and immerse yourself in the joys of being a parent.

I connected with Kate Jangra in December of last year (2012) after seeing a blog post from “The Mule” which included a brief overview of “Babyhood – the film” and from the trailer I saw, I knew I wanted to see the full film. Its core message was about following our instincts, and going back to basics with our parenting. It felt good to watch and really resonated with me. I ordered myself a copy and have watched it several times over the past few months, each time getting further insight from the wealth of experts Kate spoke to whilst putting the film together; Sue Gerhardt – Psychotherapist & Author of Why Love Matters, Camila Batmanghelidjh – Director of Kids Company, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk – Developmental Psychologist, Detective Chief Superintendant John Carnochan – Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, Helena Kennedy QC, Sue Palmer – Literary Specialist and Author of Toxic Childhood, Carrie Longton - Co-founder of Mumsnet, Professor Lesley Page – Visiting Professor of Midwifery, Kings College London and Naomi Morton – Midwife, Hypnotherapist, & Hypnobirthing Practitioner.

The film is beautifully interspersed with wonderful, inspiring poetry by Holly McNish which both my husband and I found thought provoking and gave the film a raw, creative edge.


The key message from this film is about the importance of play and attachment with our children particularly in the first 1,000 days of their life – that’s just short of 3 years. The film focuses on the benefits of child-centred parenting and after reading quite a few articles recently about “cry it out” techniques and the like, this film is welcome relief to those of us striving to parent in a more peaceful, responsive way. It made me question our high-tech lives where we give everything to our children thinking that more is better. But what children really want is our time, love and presence in their lives. We are expending less and less of that on our kids at a time when the influence of the media, technology and money is taking over their lives. Our children are directed and controlled rather than feeling the freedom to just “be”, immersed in their own imaginations and creativity. The need to get back to basics is never more needed and felt than now. The one lasting message as a parent I came away with every time I watched this film was from Sue Palmer who said “We give them the roots to grow and the wings to fly and off they go”. What a beautiful message that is.

This film comes highly recommended and it would make a wonderful addition to any new mother or father’s toolbox to empower them along their parenting journey.



Babyhood is being screened in association with Juno magazine and Born on Wednesday 20 March 2013 in Bristol. Tickets are £4 each and can be booked via this link: www.borndirect.com/P3941/Born/Film-Night.

If you would like your own copy of Babyhood, then Kate is selling them at £10 each and you can buy one by emailing her direct at: katejangra@gmail.com.

You can also connect with Kate and find out more about Babyhood – the film from the website: www.babyhood-film.com via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/babyhoodfilm.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read. Do let me know your thoughts below in the comments section. It’s always nice to hear from you x. 

And as always you can also find me on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SophiasChoiceUK and Twitter: @SophiasChoiceUK. Until next time xx


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