Summer Sun: Green People

As someone with sensitive skin I've always found it hard when looking for a sunscreen that doesn't piss my skin off and isn't factor 50. And then Lil was born and I found it even harder. The thought of putting chemicals on her skin makes my blood run cold and because of her eczema (which has kept at bay for a while now), I've always opted for 'green' products for her. And what I use on her, I use on me too.

When Green People got in contact asking if I'd like to try their organic, fragrance free children's sun lotion, I bit their hand off, not entirely happy with the suncream we were currently using.

Formulated for young skin, this sun cream is not only calming and soothing, water-repellent and suitable for sensitive skin (allergy or eczema prone skin and for sufferers of prickly heat rash), it's also rich in antioxidants and skin vitamins to protect and feed the skin from the outside in with rosemary extract, avocado and myrrh. Perfect UVA (skin damage) and UVB (burning) protection.

With every tube of Children's Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF25 sold this summer, Green People will donate 30p to The Marine Conservation Society, a national charity they've joined forces with that's dedicated to the protection of our seas. A brand with a conscience.

My only concern with this sun cream was that I wasn't sure if it would protect Lil as much as the factor 50 cream we'd been using. Green People answered this question for me: When protecting children in the sun, it's always tempting to go for the highest SPF. A common misconception being that an SPF50 offers twice the protection of an SPF25. This is not the case. Properly applied, an SPF25 lotion offers 96% protection against UVB rays, while SPF50 offers 98% protection against UVB - a marginal 2% difference.

A wedding in the sunshine.

Making the most of the heat (which was short lived, naturally).

I tried to find fault with this cream, really tried, and failed. We both wore it at a wedding we went to and again at the beach the next day and on a hot and sunny Monday. It does what it says on the tin, I can't praise it enough and it's definitely replaced our old suncream which left Lil's skin oily. If you're looking for a sun cream for the summer then I highly recommend this one. And what's great is that they sell a smaller version which is perfect for your bag or for them to take to nursery or school.

They also sell a huge range of other products too, go check them out here.

A huge thanks to Green People for sending us this fab product to review. As always, all words are my own and extremely honest.

Potty Training: when there are haters.

Since Lil was 18 months old I've had people asking me when I was going to start potty training her. When she's ready. Well she's intelligent enough, perhaps you should start now. Perhaps you should fuck off. I got it from everyone. Parents, in-laws, friends, family, strangers.

Then she turned two. We tried it, she was having none of it. Two and a half, no thanks Mum. Three.... nah, nappies fo' lyfe. We'd talk about the potty (Disney Princess, of course) every day. She picked out the pants she wanted, decided on the presents we'd buy her once she started going, she had it all planned out. And then, a few weeks after her birthday she just sat down and did a wee. HALLELUJAH!

I didn't push it, just asked her casually if she needed to go. Sometimes she would, other times she wouldn't and that was fine by me. And then last weekend, after we got back from a wedding, the nappies disappeared. Oh Mum, that means I'm a big girl and I can go on my potty all the time! The deal was no nappies unless at bedtime and if she needed to poop.

It's been five days since she started wearing pants in the day and she hasn't had an accident (yet). Poo's are saved for nappies right now and that's ok, she's doing a great job and I don't ever want to push her at anything (I mean, we don't like being pushed into anything do we?). A few people have voiced their opinions but I've just rolled my eyes and let it go over my head and I like to think my attitude to everyone elses' opinion is why Lil seems to be swimming through this whole change.

I started to panic a bit once she turned three but that was mainly due to others and their judgemental attitudes but both my Nan and my great, great Aunt told me to ignore everyone and just go with the flow. So I did.

I'm no expert on this whatsoever, but here are a few tips I found helpful if you're thinking of starting potty training or if you're starting to worry your child will start school in nappies (1. I had that same worry and 2. it does happen)...

Don't listen to anyones advice unless it's positive. Seriously. Everyone has an opinion that they're entitled to but it doesn't mean you have to listen. You're the parent, listen to your instincts.

Don't even think about trying it unless your child is showing signs of being ready. Looking back, it wasn't until just after her third birthday she was showing signs of being ready. The other times were just stressful and upsetting for both of us. It isn't worth it.

Don't go by others kids. If little Johnny down the road was potty trained at 1, well good for him! And if your niece was dry by two, ain't that lucky. Every single child is different and they will develop at different stages. Some can count to ten by their first birthday (apparently) and others are walking at 10 months. So what, concentrate on your own kid. I know other Mums can turn it into a competition but fuck them. Do not let them or anyone else make you feel like shit.

Bribery works. We have a chart for wees and poos. She wasn't bothered about the small presents for every time she went (kinder egg, smarties, whatever - a friend told me that five small chocolate bars a day are nothing over such a short period of time and she's right) although she was partial to three kinder eggs the other day. She is far more interested in the swag she can accumulate once she hits the orange box. Make it worth their while.

Try, try again. If you think they're ready and you try and fail, leave it a few weeks and try again. It doesn't hurt and you may find that next time they pick it up quickly and easily. And make it fun, it doesn't have to be a chore!

Good luck, don't stress... and fuck the haters.

One of those days.

Yesterday I was tired; a culmination of restless, humid nights... crammed thoughts... a demanding, dictating three year old. I didn't notice my pants were on my back to front until it was time for a bath, I had spaghetti in my hair and I just couldn't muster up the energy to cook. So we got take out... again. And this kind of day always end in tears thanks to my whizzing, whirring brain panicking about what's to come.

As I sat watching Lil play before bed, my thoughts turned to nursery and then school. Up until nursery, as parents, we are semi-lucky. If we stay home to look after the kids, we can be spontaneous in our weekly plans. A farm trip here, a lunch date there. It's the spontaneity that keeps things from dragging. And then it's time for them to start nursery so you're not as free to make plans as and when, nursery days restrict you a bit. And then there's school, leaving you with only after school play-dates, weekend fun and school holiday LOLZ (six weeks of them in the summer?! After all that time without them? Not sure if that's a good or bad thing).

Midweek pub lunches will be a thing of the past.

Without the freedom to plan play dates and boozy lunches with a toddler in tow (for the booze brigade, this has only happened a handful of times and I was never inebriated... except for that one time in Glasgow... I had supervision...), what is left for a Mum (or Dad) to do? Other than go back to work, obviously, but you know where I'm coming from. It's all packed lunches and homework and school fetes. I'm not saying it's a bad thing at all but it's left me thinking perhaps once she starts school I'll pretty much be surplus to requirements as far as the fun bus is concerned.

Morning selfies will have to wait until Saturday. Wah.

That means I have three months left of being completely flexible and just over a year of being in charge of how much fun we have in the week when she isn't a nursery. I don't think I can deal with this. It's alright for Mum's doing it a second or third time round, you get to be in charge of all the weekly fun again (and again). But for the others, the Mums who are sticking with one or whose kids have all started school... Now what?

Obviously going back to work is a (not so fun) distraction but it's pretty shit going from part time fun to being an actual, responsible grown up again. One with a diary and schedules to follow. Zzzzzz.

Are you child free from 9-3:30, Monday to Friday? Is it fun? Was it hard adjusting? How did you cope?

As the days whizz by I find myself more panicked by the prospect of the fun bus departing on a Monday morning and not returning until the weekend. So much so that I'm going to pop to the Co-op and get a bottle of wine (for later, booze brigade).

Etsy Love: Tawnie and Brina.

It's no secret I'm obsessed with Etsy. Most of what I buy these days comes from there! I'm always on the lookout for vintage clothes for Lil, her summer wardrobe is full of vintage goodness after I made a promise to myself to buy as little as possible unless it was from way back when. I'm doing well! I'm also always looking at jewellery and after spotting Tawnie & Brina on someones Instagram feed I was hooked instantly.

They're a no bullshit brand based in hip L.A (naturally) and their 'fuck off' necklace is so perfect... an essential, non?  They donate a percentage of sales to local 'no kill' animals shelters, Panthera organisation and marriage equality efforts. A jewellery brand with a heart.

Buy it here.

I've already started building my collection, their bracelets and rings are perfect for stacking (I always stack and layer in the summer) and I'm never taking my 'fuck off' necklace off ever again.

You can shop their jewels here at their Etsy store or find them here.

Moving Forward.

It's been six weeks since I found myself slap bang in the middle of one of the worst experiences of my life. It's very true that when you can't have something, it makes you want it a million times more. Although my body is pretty much healed, I still have lots to deal with in my head. Unanswered questions, worries about the future, lots of 'ifs' and 'buts'. Before all this happened we booked a break away to The Peak District and, looking back, I feel as though this was some kind of olive branch from The Universe after all the shit she threw at me in April. I just obviously didn't know it at the time...

I came back from our trip a little wiser and with a plan for the future and for now I'm sitting and waiting to see which path I end up walking down. Left or right?

Every Friday I still find myself thinking 'I should be this many weeks pregnant right now', it's still so hard to get my head around it all. But things can only get better. And they will, I'm sure of it.

Creepy Crawlies: A Learning Resources Review

Recently, as the weather has warmed up, we've been spending more and more time outside. But it's started to present a problem... Lil HATES bugs. Don't get me wrong, they freak me out too but I've managed to hide that very well, but she goes crazy when she sees an ant. I've done my best to explain to her that the little tiny insects won't hurt her and that they are probably more scared of her than anything else but it just doesn't seem to work (MUMMY AN ANT WAAAAAAAAAH. Lil, it's a grain of sand.)

She's a curious little soul and likes finding out about these creature that send her crazy (weirdo) and I'm hoping that as she learns more she'll freak out less and less. And when Learning Resources got in contact about one of their products, I thought perhaps it may help. At first, I thought these Bugnoculars would be fab for her but as her love for fishing is quite strong, opted to try this amazing Underwater Explorer instead because even though she likes to try and catch things with her net, she still freaks out once she's caught something.

As you can see, it's been a big hit and she's certainly mellowed to the creatures living in the water as well as those on land. A miracle! I'm still going to buy her the Bugnoculars though, we aren't there just yet! The Underwater Explorer is fab as it has a little ring to wear around your wrist to stop the boat floating away (this river was quite fast flowing so she wasn't wearing it - I was). It magnifies too so you can see the smallest of river creatures, such a great idea. I can see this being a big hit for a very long time...

A huge thank you to Learning Resources for sending us another fab product to review. As always, our opinions are our own and honest!