Browtastic!

  

If there was one part of me that I could change, it would be my eyebrows! Well, actually I’d start with my nose (lol) and then my brows. Mine are the brows of beauticians nightmares – over plucked, sparse and they grow downward. I’ve had a consultation for high definition brows and told I was not a good candidate (gutted!). The quest for beautiful brows has been arduous to say the least. Arches were lost, tinting went wrong. I’ve searched far and wide for a brow artist who could tame my wild furrow. And I found a hidden gem in Pure Beauty by Ciara.

  

Pure Beauty is located in Tower, Co. Cork and is a one stop beauty shop for all things pampering – Lycon Waxing, Shellac, Tanning and Make Up. The beautiful Mrs. Sean Óg O Hailpín and her bridesmaids recently visited the salon before her big day – if it’s good enough for the celebs, its good enough for Blarneymum. 🙂

  

So back to my brows – my therapist is the gorgeous Ciara Sheehan (pictured with me above). She is a brave woman to take on my brows! I think some people just have an eye for doing eyebrows and Ciara definitely falls into this category. I’m always happy with the result. Lycon wax is used for shaping, so less ouch for the faint hearted. Ciara then tints mine to make them appear fuller. I do my part by raising my right hand and solemnly swearing not to pluck in between visits 🙂 and I really do adhere to this! (I really do Ciara!)

  

So there you have it, browtastic! And just look at how happy my brows are. 

(Shameless selfie time)

  

Eat Fish!

This will not come as a shock to most of you, but we definitely do not eat enough fish in our diets. It is recommended to have at least 2 portions a week, which is not that hard really, it’s just not a habit that most of us are in. By the way, let’s not count a batter fish from a chipper please 🙂

Let’s take a look at why fish is good for you.

Fish is generally lower in fat than other animal protein. The fast also is less saturated.

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Omega 3 – this is a biggie. Put simply too much Omega 6 is bad and Omega 3 is what balances this out. Because we eat so much processed foods, our bodies are loaded with Omega 6. Fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon and tuna are loaded with Omega 3. Eat it and lower your risk for heart disease.

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Fish is brain food. Eating fish once a week has been shown to improve brain performance. So maybe fish will help to cure the mammy brain?

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Vitamin D. Ah good ol’sun deprived Ireland. We are a nation that definitely need extra help in getting our vitamin D which helps to prevent brittle bones. Our fishy friends can help us here.

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Stronger swimmers! I’m not talking about the breaststroke here. This one is for the boys – yes, eating fish twice a week has been shown to increase sperm strength in men. Ahem, eat up gentlemen!

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Shiny Kardashian hair and glowing skin – this is the Omega 3 at work again. Low fat diets can actually make our hair and skin dull as we are depreived of fats; good and bad. Fish is a source of good fats so get stuck in and swish those locks.

I’m no culinary wizard so when I think “fish” I think “bland”. I don’t have the time to make a nice meal of it so my efforts tend to be a bit boring. To get my two a week, I always keep a stash of tuna tins in the cupboard and use them in sambos, pasta bakes or on a baked potato. And I always have a stash of Keohanes Seafood dishes in the freezer. No excuse really!

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Battle of the Teething Gels

Red cheeked baby, wash basket full of bibs, Mammy and Daddy sleep deprived – just another day in the life of the family with the teething baba. Just when you have them settled and out of the ‘colicky phase’ the next era of grumpy, crying baby begins. And this one lasts a lot longer. We have all heard of the legends of the babies that sailed through the teething phase; it just didn’t bother them says a breezy, chilled out Mum. I have yet to meet one of these mythological, non-teething creatures and so I will side with my scepticism and say that they do not exist.

Luckily, there are quite a few remedies that can be used to help soothe our little darlings as they cut their chompers. Teething gels are often the first reached for and so I have selected three that I currently have in the house to review:

Up first, a classic – Bonjela

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Bonjela is synonymous with all things mouth and gums and Bonjela Teething Gel is a pretty effective pain reliever. It contains Lidocaine Hydrochloride which is a local anaesthetic used to numb the gums. Baby must be over 2 months and Bonjela can only be used up to four times a day – when you have a crying baby, these 4 times can be gone fast!

Next, my preference, Nelson’s Teetha.

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This one is homeopathic and more of a ‘natural’ gel. Also available in powder format which some babies love, and you can actually combine both so long as you stick to the recommended dose. It can be given up to 6 times a day, and is said to help with flushed cheeks also. I find it tends to calm my baby down quickly.

Lastly, Dr. Talbot’s Teething Gel

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This one is all natural, but baby must be over 4 months before you can use it. I tried this one on myself and it is the strongest of the three, so definitely fast acting. However the tutti frutti flavour is very, very overpowering. I gave some to my little girl and she hated it! I can see why – the sensation was very like those lip enhancing lip glosses that make you tingle. Will be storing this one until she is older.

Do you use any other teething gels? What is your experience with the above? Share your experiences and tips with other mums.

 

Post Workout Soreness – the ‘I cannot walk’ syndrome

When you see someone walking like John Wayne, it doesn’t always mean  that they’ve just done their fake tan. With lots of us returning to or starting various exercise regimes, there are a lot of sore bum muscles hobbling about! I’m one of them as I’ve just gone back to training post Xmas and post baby. So I thought I’d share some advice on making the sore muscles go away.

Firstly, the technical bit. What you are feeling is called DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. Basically, your muscles have little teeny tiny tares in them from doing things that they are not used to and are healing. Let’s leave it at that (it all gets a bit sports science from there) and get straight into making things feel a bit easier:

  • Hindsight is a great thing, I know. Be sure to warm up before exercise. Do not stretch when you are cold and always stretch after a workout. Always!!  
  • Water – so many reasons to drink water but post workout, it will help flush any toxins built up out of your system and alleviate the aches and pains. Drink loads of this miracle juice.  
  • Epsom salts – take a bath in this stuff, it’s magic. Reduces water retention, draws toxins from the body…Google the uses for Epsom salts –  it’s amazing.  
  • Deep heat, Tiger Balm or one that might surprise, Vick! Rub into sore muscles.  
  • Hot/Cold Shower – alternate temperature in the shower over the affected area. The variation in temperature causes the muscles to contract and relax, almost like a little workout for them, which will promote healing. 
  • Foam rolling – this is my favourite. Foam rollers can be bought in any sports shops for about 20 euro. There are videos on YouTube on how to use. Best used just after training and always when you are warmed up.  
  • Active Recovery – rest days are important of course. But a good way to reduce soreness is to simply go for a light walk. And have a stretch afterwards.  

Muscle soreness can sometimes be the reason why so many of us become discouraged and give up our new routine. It’s always hardest at the start, your body will adjust so hang in there.

If you want that booty, you gotta do your duty! Move move move Momma 😉

Ah that’s an Old Wives tale!

You’ve all heard them; that thing your mother/grandmother says that makes you roll your eyes. (But you secretly do as they say in case it is true). Some are outrageous, some just make good sense. I’ve rounded up some of the ones I’ve been told over the years from the various, ‘wiser’ ladies in my life….

Knife on the floor, man to the door.

I dropped a knife one day and my mother in law announced this little gem. The postman called alright.

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Itchy feet, walk on new ground.

Or maybe it’s just time for some foot powder?

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If a cat turns his back to the fire, it’s a sign of rain.

This is Ireland. So if the above is true, all cats do this all of the time.

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If a baby has a cough, beat the white of an egg and feed it to them on a silver spoon.

Raw eggs, to a baby. Really?

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Hiccups are the sign of a thriving child.

Im my experience it is a sign that Daddy did not wind the baby as he was asked.

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Bang your elbow – bang the other one for good luck.

WTF???

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You’ve got to love the Irish Mammy 😊😊😊

Toy Rotation – keeping little minds busy

After I cleaned out the hot press (which remains in order so far!) I began using toy rotation for my toddler. My little guy has a very short attention span, and I noticed that a toy was very quickly gathering dust after it had been left in his reach for a few days. Now when a toy is produced that he hasn’t seen in a while, it keeps him quiet for longer.

So what is toy rotation?

Toy rotation reduces boredom. It is what it says really – instead of leaving all toys available to your child at all times, remove them and use a selection of toys at a time. Too many toys can either be over stimulating or practically ignored! Some people do this to a very strict schedule. I am quite easy going with my approach.

 

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How do I do it?

Create a space for the toys that cannot be reached by your child. (My wonderful hot press!) Some people rotate weekly, I do it every two days. I will choose two toys and bring them downstairs for him to play with, then remove them after two days, replacing with two new ones. As mentioned, how often you change is up to you. You can be very scheduled or laid back depending on your child’s preferences and how they respond.

What are the benefits?

Sometimes a little boredom can trigger creativity and imagination, but too much boredom can contribute to negative behaviours and tantrums. Playing is a child’s way of learning, so by keeping their interest you are promoting their learning. Kids interacts with their toys and if the toys are not repetitive, the interactions develop more and more each time.

 

If your kids are stimulated with their toys, parents see less boredom and feel less of a need to go and buy more.

And of course, the playroom/area is much more organised – great for the neat freaks among us!

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This method is free and just takes a little time investment from the parent. But I find 30 mins organising the toys buys me hours of a content toddler afterwards – that’s more than a fair trade off. Give it a go and see what you think.

Put down the chocolate digestive.

It’s that time of year when we all have over indulged. Muffin tops are more prevalent, bra straps a pinchin and the odd biscuit or two makes it into ‘breakfast’. Personal trainers start rubbing their hands together in anticipation of our hard earned cash. Every diet drink and program starts rearing its familiar head. Pressure is on, to lose the weight.

STOP 

Before you succumb to the latest diet fad, let me save you the disappointment. Crash diets, depriving yourself of certain food groups and living on juice does not work long term. Who am I? Someone who has lost baby weight twice. I’m no Kate Moss but I don’t really want to be either. (Sorry Kate).

Let’s get to it – what works. Step by step and really really easy….

  1. Stop eating crap (and you know what crap is. Would you feed it to your kids?)
  2. Eat a little less. Stop mid way through and see if you are full.
  3. Move more than you did before.
  4. Do this for a few months

Easy! Easy? No you say? Well the steps are easy, no degree needed. Following it, not so easy. But it works. It benefits your health, your mind and behind. You will fall down along the way, and that’s ok. Only the runners who picked themselves up and ran again are the ones who crossed the finish line.

So as the many celeb diets and programs grace the magazines,think about this – don’t start something you can’t maintain for life.

Make the change for YOU. You CAN do it.