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Mother Distracted

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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Bad Mother's 21 Point Guide To Knowing When To Send The Kids Back To School

1.  It says term starts on a day in September somewhere on a piece of paper that has been in the bottom of your bag since July.  You will obviously have to check this rumour with all the other mums via Facebook.



2. Vast swathes of Valencia filtered holiday photos featuring happy children in water parks have started to appear in your Instagram feed.  Each photo is accompanied by a minimum of 20 hastags #OhPants.

3. You have watched every single episode of Horrid Henry and Mr Bean and now wince when you hear the opening music.

4. You cannot face another kids' meal containing battered cod or chicken.

5.  You have resorted to making rude faces with the sweets that come with the kids' ice cream - in the kids' ice cream.

6.  The kids have actually just read a book voluntarily

7.  You've put on 10 pounds from snacking with the kids - elevenses, three'ses and that strange half hour before tea where you know you shouldn't feed them but CAN'T TAKE THE MOANING ANY MORE.

8.  Having failed to deliver on 90% of the promises you made before the holiday started (yes we will canter through white capped waves at dawn before frying our own breakfast on a camping stove), you cave in and agree to take them to the local cinema for the latest kiddy flick and a £15 bag of pick 'n' mix.

9.  You are happily referring to red wine as "mummy's special squash".

10.  The bottom of your handbag is a sticky morass of spilt brown sugar from coffee shop packets which have combined to create a caramel so strong you could stick yourself to the ceiling with it.

This makes finding the bit of paper with the term dates on even more tricky [see point 1]

11.  Rather than Mary Poppins, you now resemble a woman on the edge after 6 weeks of terrible PMS and the only thing that is cheering you up is the fact that you'll soon be able to spend more time with adults somewhere that doesn't have a ball pit or carry the risk of deafness simply by entering the building.

12.  Reading weepy posts from mothers missing their children before 9 am on the first day back is making you question whether you accidentally took someone else's children home from the hospital.

13.  Your book "30 minutes to a cleaner home" is now buried under a pile of school shoe boxes, crisp packets and guarded by Shopkins.

14.  Shopkins are everywhere.

15.  They are starting to look at you with their little evil eyes, particularly Linda Layercake which was apparently named after you.

16.  You develop an unholy terror of Claire's Accessories.

17.  Along with your terrible case of "Lego Foot".

18. You start to feel uncharacteristically wistful and even tearful at the thought of sending the kids back to school.

19.  Combined with an unearthly sense of jubilation that you have survived!

20.  You unearth your Ugg-alikes just to see the horror on our husband's face and you practise the 'mum bun' for the right degree of dishevelment.

21.  Weirdly,  you feel compelled to work out how many days until half term because, if you're honest, you don't mind the kids really, plus having them home is an excuse to eat crisps.

Celebrate your maternal feelings I say!  Have a great new term.
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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Review: Wicked Uncle Toys - Devilishly Easy To Use

When I was young, shopping for toys involved perusing the shelves in your local department store throughout the year or, come Christmas, dragging your parents around the overheated, fake snow and glitter filled grottos for Santa.

It's the heat I remember mostly.  There was always a pensioner having a fit of the vapours parked precariously on a chair just outside whilst the staff fanned them with a towel.  Air conditioning was just a distant dream.

As my sister Sarah and I got older, our relatives just gave up trying to guess what we liked and gave us vouchers.  Now fond as I am of a voucher, it's just not the same as being given a present which tugs at the heart strings because it's just what you wanted and it's right for your age.

Today, more than ever, matching the toy to the child's age requires a mathematical equation not dissimilar to getting the Hadron Particle Collider to work which is probably easier sometimes than finding a child's gift what will keep them entertained for more than 2 minutes.

So I was intrigued when the devilishly named Wicked Uncle wrote to me and suggested a solution. They have a website filled with an amazing mix of gifts for children of all ages, sorted by age, category or gender.

This is not only useful for buying presents for your own and other kids in the family but a very useful solution to that bane of parents' term-time lives - deciding what gift to give at a children's party, what budget is right (without being considered mean) and whether that gift is suitable for their age.

I frequently ask Caitlin and Ieuan "but what does so-and-so like?" to be greeted either by a shrug of the shoulders or 'Shopkins' (the modern day equivalent of the Tribble from Star Trek).

Wicked Uncle kindly gave us a budget of £40 to road-test their site and so Caitlin and Ieuan were given £20 to choose their own gift.

There was, in fact, so much choice that Ieuan was quite overwhelmed with it all and I had to choose for him.

The website is really simple to use -


Simply select the relevant criteria for the child you're buying for to be taking to an appropriate selection of gifts.


Then choose the category of gift you think they might like.  I particularly liked that the girls' gifts included as many science / maths / experiment gifts as the boys'.  Whilst there are enough 'traditionally girly' gifts to delight your average pony / kitten/ pink loving girl, there are equally plenty of gifts to stimulate their minds and help with the school curriculum.

Caitlin chose Shadow, a Lavish Lanky Cat  (£12.95) which is a gorgeously soft, floppy toy cat with baleful green eyes.




She also chose the My Very Own Fairy & Unicorn Torch & Projector (£6.95).


The latter is a fun torch that projects images of fairies and unicorns around your room. It has 24 colour images to project on to your walls and ceilings including fairies, unicorns and their magical homes.


The images project up to one metre wide and come on three slide discs you simply slot in. You can also use it as a normal torch without the slides in place and is useful for keeping on bedside tables to give comfort to children during the night.

I chose for Ieuan and got him the Night Goggles Spy Gear (£19.95).  These have tinted blue lenses to enhance night vision and a switch on full mode which gives directional beams of bright LED light, leaving both hands free to explore.

You can also flip out the scope with it's 2x magnifying lens to spot targets from greater distances.




Needless to say we have had to promise to take him to the woods at dusk so he can scare the living daylights out of any dog walker out for a pleasant evening stroll.

Our gifts arrived really quickly (within 48 hours) of ordering and were securely packaged.  There is even a rather cute postcard included in the box addressed to the gift-giver.


And, as for the acid test, both kids are still playing with their toys 3 days later and Ieuan has not managed to break his Night Goggles yet.



I was impressed by Wicked Uncle and I think their site will be a godsend this Christmas for choosing presents for kids which will pique their imagination without emptying your purse.

You can find out more at www.wickeduncle.co.uk.

*We were given £40 to spend at Wicked Uncle for the purposes of this review.
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Monday, 29 August 2016

Review: Necta Perfecta Beautifying Mask By Bee Good

When I was much younger, we used to holiday in Dolgellau, mid Wales and the gift shops used to be full of gorgeous smelling creams and lotions made from local honey.  I can still smell that wonderful warm and comforting honeyed scent now.


Fast forward a few (cough) years and I haven't managed to find anything that captured the same home-grown, organic, good for you, honey-scented luxury cosmetic feel until now.

In fact, I discovered Bee Good's Necta Perfecta via a review by one of my favourite bloggers, Rachel Montague-Ebbs (LadyM) and Bee Good were kind enough to send me a sample to try for myself.


Necta Perfecta is a 4-in-1 face and body enzyme mask which you can use

- as a weekly scalp treatment to promote overall hair and scalp hydration

- as a facial complexion booster to refine, hydrate and visibly improve skin suppleness whilst actively targeting the signs of ageing

- as a hand rescue remedy to moisturise and restore vitality to hands and cuticles

- as an SOS mask for sore, dry or challenged skin on areas such as elbows, knees and feet to soften and gently remove dead skin cells.



It's made by awarding winning company Bee Good who launched their range in 2013 inspired by Simon, their expert beekeeper.  They are encouraging everyone to plant a meadow, even if it's a few bee friendly flowers - and my package contained a bee-mix seedball containing seeeds of Birdsfoot Trefoil, Red Clover, Wild Marjoram and Echium.

There was also a little package of very cute bee chocolates which did indeed taste of honey.

Necta Perfecta contains:-

* natural alpha hydroxyl acids from 5 fruit enzymes
* wheatgerm oil, rich in Vitamin E
* a blend of British honey and beeswax with three natural waxes, jojoba, mimosa and sunflower
* British Propolis and the wonder ingredient Bisabolol which is naturally found in Chamomile

I tried the product as a facial mask and left it on for 20 minutes.  I was expecting it to smell divine (it does) and to soften my skin (certainly does), but I was surprised to find that it left my skin firmer, clearer and had removed the dry skin from the two annoying small patches that have been troubling me around my mouth.

This is one of those products which, though luxurious, is the kind of go-to you can rely on when all else fails. I am rubbish at sticking to a consistent skincare routine (I have two kids, did I mention that?) but it's good to know that there are products you can turn to that will work.

I also love that Bee Good has a great ethos without being preachy and it's British - the beeswax, propolis and honey used in all their products comes from British bees.

I'll certainly be trying Necta Perfecta on my feet and hands and I may even try it on my scalp.  Lots of the 'performance' shampoos seem to be incredibly drying.

Plus,  I'll be doing my bit for the bees. Bee Good actively supports our British bees with charitable donations and by a support programme which includes the education of young beekeepers, supporting apprentice bee farmers and the planting of wildflower meadows across the UK.

Find out more at www.beegood.co.uk

*A PR sample for received for the purpose of this post.

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