Monday, 30 April 2012

Flying with the kids

Image: Vlado /
I do a fair amount of flying, and  having travelled over the holidays and watched parents struggle with their children in confined spaces think it's about time I offered some of my expertise and experience. It's worse than hard for's a nightmare!!  On many of the flights I do, parents cope admirably, but here are a few tips I can offer that would make your journey all the sweeter and help you enjoy your journey.

Travel light.  It's all very well being laden like a pack horse, but do your self a light! Take a light weight pushchair. The cheap telescopic ones can be pushed right up to the aircraft door. The larger your pram the less likely it will be loaded into the cabin. If your child is awake on disembarking, you can use the pushchair as a luggage cart, and if they're asleep...well, you have your pushchair.

Bulkhead Seats.Very often when you're travelling with an infant, under 2 years you may be able to book a bulkhead seat.  These seats are prime position for many of the frequently travelling public, as they have plenty of leg room and access is easy in and out of your seat.  My advice, if you them..  If your airline of choice has an online booking facility which many do these days, do it the minute online check in starts.

Board First  Saves the aggro of fighting your way through the hoards to get to your seat, and gives you the chance to settle and find space for your bags.

Book the "Child meals".  The meals are often delivered  prior to the other passengers, so you can get the babes down to sleep before you eat.  These are not available on the day so it's best if you book them at least 24 hours before you go.  Better still, bring some food with you, as long as it's not liquid. I make sandwiches for my lot (which are usually munched on, the minute we get in the car!), but if you can pack a few goodies for the plane, all the better.  I also take empty water bottles, so that they can be re-filled once on board. Take a few items to keep them occupied.  Lightweight, or stuff they can use and leave on-board.  "Trunki's" are amazing for holding all the little bits and pieces they may need and they can pull them along themselves!

Car seats.  Most airlines allow car seats, but as these have to be placed in a seat you may have to pay the full fare for them.

Cots and seats.  The ones provided by the airlines aren't suitable and are not safe if the seat belt signs go on.  I know it can be a hassle to take them out if they're asleep, but really, would you be happy leaving them in them if it gets bumpy.  I know I wouldn't.  Babies, fall asleep quickly especially if it's bumpy, and if you do it quickly they won't even noticed they've been moved. Don't be tempted to cover them totally in a blanket, to block out the light. They will sleep...I promise!

Don't stress!   This is really important.  If you do, it's likely that your kids will sense it and kick off! If they do, stay calm.  It's very rare that babies and kids cry through out the flight, and if they do...tough!

Make sure you take nappies, and dried milk.  Find out which toilets can accommodate you and your children.  Some are larger than others and some have a baby changing table.

If you're really concerned about anything, just ask the crew.  They'll put your mind at ease and are generally good for a chat. 

And....enjoy your flight.  It's easier and less hassle than you think it may be!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Beauty on a Budget - Homemade Cleansers

Right, you lot, I'm on a roll here!  Here's another couple to try.

Most of the cleansers on the market these days are made mainly from water.  The other stuff printed on the label I have no idea about, but it all looks pretty dodgy to me!  I have a drawer full of cleansers but rarely use them as sometimes, something in them makes me break out in all kinds of skin allergies.

I've started using my own recipes now, and for the most part they're easy to make and I soak them in cotton wool and leave them in the fridge. Lovely and cool to use when you need them.  They seem to make a difference and clean off most of the make up, although I'm going to have to try and find one that removes the dreaded mascara. 

If you're a vegan or have an allergy to dairy, you could use almond milk, or any of the non-diary products you normally use in your tea!

Homemade Cleansers

Herbal Cleansing Milk

2 tablespoons of elder flowers
1/4 pint buttermilk

Slowly boil the flowers in milk for half an hour.  
Cover and leave to soak for about 2 hours.
Strain and leave in the refrigerator.

Yogurt and Lemon Cleansing Milk

1 tablespoon of natural yogurt
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mix together and use.  Make fresh for each use.

Oatmeal Cleanser (scrubbing cleanser)

1 tablespoon of oatmeal
2-3 tablespoons of milk or cream

Grind your oatmeal  to a powder (don't use instant!) 
Add the milk or cream to make a stiff paste - you may need more than stated.
Rub on...then rinse off.

If you try them...let me know how you get on!

Photo credit: Image: chrisroll /

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Beauty on a Budget - Homemade Hand Cream

When I was a kid I would be found either plucking all the petals from my Ma's prized roses or breaking off huge swathes of blossom from the most fragrant bushes I could find and mixing them with pond water in an attempt to preserve and bottle their scent. I would crush the dandelions and buttercups into pastes and mix them with flour and pummel the fallen apples from the trees to make apple juice.  As I grew older my Nan would share her tips with me, and as she was from an era of austerity, her "make do" regime stood her in good stead.  Even in her eighties her skin was creamy, with very few lines and she swore by her natural remedies.

Sorting through my old notebooks and papers from days gone by I found some old skincare recipes that I had collected. The plan was to collate them into some kind of book.  Well, they've been sitting there for donkeys and I still haven't shared them and I think it's time that they saw the light of day.

Most of the thing you need to make the lotions and potions can be found in your cupboards. All of the recipes are old, collected from my nan and from old magazines and hopefully some of them will be of use to you. 

Use clean utensils, jars and bottles (that goes without saying!).  Use wooden spoons for stirring.  The products won't look like commercial ones, and won't last as long, as they lack the usual preservatives, but they'll save you a fortune, and that's got to be a good thing!

 Hand Cream

Potato Hand Cream
2 Potatoes (medium)
1 tablespoon of almond oil
1 tablespoon of glycerin
1 teaspoon of orange flower water

Cook and mash the potatoes, add the oils and lastly the orange flower water.  If the mixture is too thick add some extra orange flower water.  It will make more of a paste rather than a cream.  Leave on your hands for an hour, then rinse off.  Keep in the fridge. 

Almond Day Cream

85g ground Almonds
1/4 pint milk (or any substiture such as soya milk, almond milk etc)
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of almond oil.

Simmer the almonds in the milk until it has all been absorbed. Beat the egg yolk and stir it in.  Bring the mixture to the boil for a couple of minutes.  Allow to cool, then fold in the almond oil. Keep refridgerated.

Other Tips:

Lemon: A slice of lemon or it's juice will remove any stubborn dirt.
Cucumber: Mix the juice with an equal quantity of witch hazel for chapped hands.
Sugar: Mixed with an equal quantity with sunflower oil will clean stained hands
Bran: A substitute for soap. Wet hands, dip in, rub and rinse.
Milk: Soaked in warm milk for 5 minute will help chapped rough hands.

I have lots of other receipes for home made moisturisers, cleansers, soaps and  will post when I can't think of anything else to write!!!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Silent Sunday - 8 April 2012

Hmmm...These boxes held two beautiful handmade Easter eggs....the boxes look empty....take a closer look...the bleedin' chocolate melted!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Am I gawjus? Yo betcha yo ass!

That Samantha Brick is a girl, isn't she?  I don't mean girl as in "girl" (but you know that, don't you?) but as in a girl who likes to stir up controversy.

She's got the whole of the nation gabbing about her bit in the Daily Wail;  her follow up piece clearly written in haste (not!) and I wonder why the nation can't see that this has probably been one great, big PR stunt?  The Daily Wail had warned of the backlash (mentioned on This Morning), yet it wasn't tempered to suit the readership but to ensure that a campaign followed that would ensure her theory was proven correct and her profile elevated. And....reading between the lines I know it was more to provoke a reaction...the girl ain't that stupid....surely?

In another of her pieces she's spoken of her agony of acne and how it's blighted her life and lost her a chance at success, so it strikes me as a bit odd that her current popularity (or unpopularity) is concerned with why women dislike her. I feel for those with acne, and I don't hate them. Putting two and two together (possibly making five), I'm suspicious and I'm cynical and I think she's achieved what she planned....notoriety!

Now me?  Will I suffer the dreaded backlash, because I'm gawjus? 

  • I've had men following me down the street (whilst I've dropped various items of food - mainly chicken nuggets and peas). 

  • I've had men and boys buy me my train ticket (probably because I've begged them as I scrabbled around in the bottom of my bag and only coming up with dust).
  • I've had men let me in the queue in front of them (because the kids were screaming blue murder in their lug 'oles).
  • I've had men queuing up to buy me drinks (as I drop  to my knees in panic as the change in my purse has done a shotgun scatter whilst the men were dying of thirst!).
  • I have boys and men give up their seats on the tube (I do topple over a bit and tread on their feet with my spiked heels).
  • Men wolf whistle (from behind it all looks peachy....but when I turn round...whoa!!!) maybe she's got it all wrong. Maybe women dislike her so much because she's irritating? Like me? The difference between us both, is that I see trees...she see's the woods.
Don't hate me because men chase me...I've probably left without paying for something!

Photo credit:  Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigital

Friday, 6 April 2012

My Top Tips For Slovenly Mother's Wardrobe

I really would like to explore the virtues of having a slovenly mothers wardrobe and at the moment I'm finding it difficult to find any!  There are plenty of options available for slovenly mothers and it doesn't take too much work to find something that would resemble something that you wouldn't make you look like a yummy mummy or a MILF (heard recently at the school gate but not in my direction!! ).  I mean, who wants to look like a scrummy mummy, or a lovely mummy?  Despite your best efforts to remain slovenly, you will find on occasion that the attire you are wearing will elevate you to the position of "neat mummy" or "smart mummy" but in a few short hours your real self will shine through....dirt an all!

Here are my top tips for maintaining a "Slovenly Wardrobe"

  • Make sure all item of clothing have been kicked around the floor a few times.  Get the baby to wipe their nose on your shoulder, and ask the kids to wipe their hands down the front of any white shirt.
  • Take the dogs for a walk in your smartest jeans.  Mud will be displayed at the bottom of the hems and paw marks on the fronts will ensure that the dirt will become engrained on the thighs if they jump up at any time.
  • Clean the windows in your cream merino wool long sleeved jumper.  The grey water from the windows will transfer onto the cuffs of the jumper.  It will never wash out properly and that expensive woolen item will remain for ever a "slovenly mother" item.
  • Paint the hall way (or anything for that matter), in your black linen trousers. Ensure you either brush up against the newly painted white woodwork and make sure you wipe your hands on your backside. Black T-shirts are also very handy as a method for cleaning hands.
  • When cooking, DO NOT WEAR AN APRON.  This is to make sure the grease splashes and baking mishaps are transferred onto all items of clothing...never to be removed again. 
  • Brush your hair...once!  Apply make-up in the morning (before 6 am) to ensure all traces have melted by  9 am or at least to look like you've applied it the night before.  Even better, don't use a mirror! You should have mastered the art of applying it by now without even looking! 

So...a few simple tips to keep you in slovenly mummy's tip top shape!  I mean, who wants to look perfect all of the time?

Photocredit - adamr from


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