Thursday, 30 July 2015

Say 'moo!' to dry skin

As you may know, for the past few years I have suffered with a skin condition called psoriasis, which causes red patches to develop on your skin which can then turn white as skin cells reproduce too quickly (within 2-3 days).

It started on my head, then went to my ears. I then had a patch appear on my tummy when I was pregnant and within six months of Ethan's birth, my psoriasis spread to my chest and legs, with my arms to follow not long after. You can read with how I have stuggled in the past here.

This time last year, I began my first course of light therapy having tried various lotions and potions (none very pleasant) prescribed by the dematologist to help treat the symptoms for ages with minimal success. 

There's no miracle cure. Doctors don't fully understand the causes of the condition and sufferers can struggle to see any patterns in their own flare ups, with over the counter treatments basically relying on steroids to help reduce the build of skin so patches are less itchy and unsightly.

The light therapy really helped and after 30 sessions, three a week, my skin was pretty clear.

It didn't last much more than a couple of months.

With a wedding coming up and increasing patches developing in some of the old places and in a few new ones too, I asked to be recommended again for phototherapy and a few weeks ago, I began the treatment cycle again. Picture a giant sunbed and you're not far off.

So far, I have had 19 treatments and my arms are clear and my legs have improved, but they are a particularly stubborn area to treat. I am waiting for sign off for a further 10 sessions, which they will probably give me due to the results not yet achieving what they could.

To help keep my skin soft and nourished, even more important with my phototherapy treatment in mind, I have been putting a specially developed, natural cream to the test.

The nice people at MooGoo got in touch a few weeks ago to say that their natural creams, which feature natural dairy cream modified for human use, might be able to help my skin.

I started using them straight away, to compliment my treatment.


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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Eat clean - pea guacamole


I have a thing for avocados. I love them. In salads, on toast, blended in smoothies.

And I loooooove guacamole.

Not the shop bought kind, it's just not quite right. No, the homemade kind. Made as chunky as you like, served up with crisp, salty tortillas and tucked into with gusto.

And according to Buzzfeed, and Batchelors, peas are having their moment and make a great addition to guacamole.

Really?

Well, I was definitely up for giving it a go!

You can make the same recipe base then decide what type of pea suits the type of guacamole you want.

There's mushy, for a smooth consistency, marrowfat 'bigga' peas if you like more texture or garden peas if you prefer chunky guacamole. They're all high in fibre, low in fat and half a can counts as one of your five a day.


I chose marrowfat this time around - my avocados were over ripe so good for mashing - and the results were pretty delicious indeed. Trust me.

So, I adapted my recipe for guacamole and made my take on pea guacamole...

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Monday, 27 July 2015

The Week That Was Captured #27

Hello! This week's round up is a little twist on my 'The Week That Was' series as I've only just realised that a linky exists on this very theme, called 'The Week That Was Captured' no less, by the lovely Hannah at Make Do and Push (just one of my regular blog reads and one that's convinced me I need to write a sequel to my 'blogs I'm reading and loving' post as there's so many worth mentioning).

This week, I worked through the week but it means I carry a day over to the week ahead so I get two days with little man now, which will be great. And I'm going to enjoy every moment as from August, I will be a full time working mum, instead of four days a week. So the week ahead has to be extra special indeed.


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Sunday, 26 July 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday - 26.07.15 - Toes

#MySundayPhoto this week is a simple one. Just an ordinary moment, captured.

Sofa. Four legged friend. Little boy. Pooh.

Chubby legs and knees.

Relaxed.



OneDad3Girls


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Friday, 24 July 2015

Plans for summer and picnics at the park


Whilst Ethan is still two years away from school age, I'm still thinking of how to make this summer special seeing as the holidays are upon us.

Ethan knows more, can do more and can express more every day and I want to enjoy as many experiences, both current favourites and new ones too. I also only have one more week left until I start full time hours as opposed to four days a week, so every moment has to count.

Something about summer just makes you want to get out there and take it all in. Sitting still isn't allowed, particularly when kids are involved, unless you have a cool paddling pool set up and a chair nearby to recline in.

I'm always looking for new places to visit and fun days out. Come rain or shine, we do our best as a family to enjoy different activities together and summer just seems to make this more possible.

So, what does our summer have in store?


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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

My top Cath Kidston Autumn / Winter 2015 picks


Even if you've only stopped by my blog once or twice, you'll no doubt have spotted my love affair with Cath Kidston and judging by the response to my last 'pick of the prints' post, there's plenty of CK fans out there too.

Well, brace yourselves... hundreds of new Autumn / Winter 2015 collection items have just dropped. All in one big, fat, beautiful go.

It's called the Library Collection and it's time to get yourself acquainted with the new modern vintage style for next season.

Voilà! A whole new collection, teased for a few weeks with an Instagram pic here and an odd launch there, has arrived. Whilst school holidays and sun tans might be the first thing on your mind at the moment, the new Cath Kidston collection is already welcoming us with warm, cosy arms into the charm of autumn.

There is so much to take in, I don't know where to start. When I saw there were 23 pages no less of new arrivals yesterday on the Cath Kidston website, I had to rub my eyes. Perhaps they've made an error? Surely there can't be so many new products to introduce?

It's no mistake and it's no dream. Well, in a way, it is if you are a Cath fan. It's a beautiful, embellished, quirky, patterned dream that you're going to love.
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Monday, 20 July 2015

The week that was #25 & #26

So, I missed a week with my weekly life and loves round-up. Oops. Some weeks, there's lots to share, other weeks, not so much. This time last week, I came to write my 'week that was' post' but just needed a quiet night and decided to catch up with you all this week instead.

That's not to say there hasn't been plenty going on, on here or in 'real' life.

I also decided to make these posts shorter and sweeter. I was finding they were getting longer and longer, as I can never seem to wrap things up quickly but I realised some things deserved a post in their own right.

Going forwards, my weekly round-ups will be a little briefer in words - more of a snapshot into what's been going on and sharing some of my favourite pics, which also often sum things up pretty well.


This past week or so, I've been overhauling my routine, my diet and my fitness. It really is baby steps but I have a goal in mind and I'm always much more motivated when I have a definite target to work towards.

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Blogs I'm reading


Once Ethan has gone to bed, I've been making a conscious effort to make more of 'me time' and not simply go to bed myself. I do something active, I catch up on some blogging or I enjoy surfing social media or catching up on some of my favourite blogs.

I like to read a wide range of blogs and find that Facebook groups are good ways to find new people and interesting topics to read about but I am a creature of habit and like to regularly follow certain bloggers. 

I know that Bloglovin gives you the chance to browse all recent posts of all the people you follow from one place, but I'm old school - I like to have pages bookmarked or saved on my iPad so I can quickly find my favourites.

So I've been taking a look at some of the blogs I've seen or read, old and new, so I always have a blogger library to flick through when I'm waiting for Ethan to drift off or I'm treating myself to a cheeky Pimms, curled up on the sofa on a school night.

Here's just few of my current favourite reads - to share the blogger love, I've added their logos with links below so you can take a look too if you fancy it (hope they don't mind!):

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Friday, 17 July 2015

'Eat clean' food swap ideas - Cauliflower Rice

It's been a little while since I posted a recipe on here and seeing as I have been making more of an effort to a) cook from scratch and b) try actually making some of the recipes I keep bookmarking, I thought it was about time I share something new with you.

You've probably heard about clever veggie substitutes that make meals healthier, such as courgetti ('spaghetti' you make from courgettes instead of pasta), right? They seem to be breaking through from 'clean eating' fans to the mainstream and just a couple of months ago I saw related recipes in the Asda magazine.

I'm on a bid to eat better, move more and generally take better care of myself from the inside out. I deserve it and I need to make some changes for my general wellbeing.

And I'm doing well so far, with recipes like these helping. Full of flavour and packed full of good things, I'm enjoying experimenting and seeing what I can make and how to combine different ingredients to make every mouthful count. It's less about calorie counting, more about eating education and picking and choosing when to be good and when to have a treat.

First up to share with you is cauliflower rice.


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Thursday, 16 July 2015

The search for the perfect red pout


I am a big, big fan of lipstick and have made more of an effort to wear it more often. Who says you can't try to look your best every day? Why just save it up for 'special' occasions? I'm sure Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn famously said something about how we should all feel special every day and Dita Von Teese has one or two things to say about this too.

Source

I love red lippie in particular but know that some people are really scared of wearing it. Yes, it's bold but it's oh so beautiful and there's so many shades out there that everyone can find the perfect red pout for them.

My Sister-in-Law's wedding a few weeks ago had a fifties twist for us bridesmaids in particular so I was determined to find the perfect red lipstick to help me with the glamorous, pin-up inspired look. I had a few in my collection already but also tried some new contenders; I wanted the right shade and one that would last all day, with minimum worry over whether it was fading.

And I thought I would share the results of my search with you.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Dinosaurs before dishes

Being a mum is a full time job, of course, and it can be full on. Finding time to run a household, do all those daily tasks that need doing and take care of a little one too, let alone yourself, is quite a challenge and one I write about and reflect on just as much as any other mum, blogger or otherwise.

Then there's work.

I love what I do and I knew I would always be a working mum. It's just something I knew would need to happen, to keep us going and give us the chance to do what we need to, long before Ethan was a bean in my belly. I had worked for almost eight years developing my career at the time I went on maternity leave and it was always in my plan to return. To keep busy. To put food on the table. To give me a chance to play another role, with big people in the big wide world.

It doesn't mean it was an easy choice. In many ways, it was a decision made for me; financially, it was a necessity. But when Ethan came along, and those maternity days just starting slipping away, it was a hard choice to make.

You can never know how you will feel or how things may change but you should be prepared for the unexpected and if you can have a choice, then take it. Being a stay at home mum isn't an easy option; it's demanding, tiring, draining but so rewarding too. To be devoted to your child and their development, day in and day out, 24 hours a day. Incredible.

Some may say that this is what being a mum or a parent is all about. Should be all about. After all, we decided to be parents, to bring our bundle of joy into the world. We should be the ones to bring them up, surely?

Well, that may be the case for many and for those that can make it work, great - good luck to you, you're doing what's right for you. Unfortunately, if you have to work to make ends meet and to lead the life you want your family to lead, then working is the only answer. And if you've worked hard for your career, then why shouldn't you want to return after having a child?

Life today isn't black and white, we have choices and we have to come to our own conclusions and feel satisfied with the choices we make. Having a family or having a career shouldn't be an either / or situation.

As parents, we know this. But it doesn't make either choice any easier to take. It always seems like anything we do, we need to make a sacrifice somewhere. Money. Time. Being there. Staying sane. No matter which way you decide to go, you'll be playing many different roles at the same time. And it's hard but you can make it work.

I am about to start working full time hours at work, having worked four days a week (whilst being available and doing work when needed on a Wednesday) since Ethan was eight months and one day old. On the one hand, I feel sad to say that I only have three more Wednesdays with Ethan.

Three more Mummy-Ethan days.

It's been so nice to have this mid-week break from work to spend with my little man but needs must. Ethan loves nursery and is so well developed and so social that I believe that if I had been at home with him every day since the day he was born, he wouldn't be quite as advanced and adjusted as he is now. I don't have the skills or professional qualifications. My qualification to bring up this amazing little boy is biological - I didn't have to sit any tests or go through any selection procedure. He was my blessing, given at birth, and I've had to learn on the job. 

From day one and for every day since, I'm learning how to become mum and whilst I'm sure that I would have found a way, giving Ethan the chance to grow and flourish at nursery was the best decision for us and for him.

So we will have a new routine come August where Ethan and Mummy are full time in their day jobs. Our time in the evenings and at weekends will be even more precious and the only way to make it work it to make time for everything we need and to really appreciate every moment.

Ethan, I promise to be present, both in person and in what I do. Spending time with you is my favourite thing and if we are together now, I promise to do all I can not to be distracted by anything else.

There's an advert at the moment foNescafé, about little everyday moments, which says 'dinosaurs before dishes'. And in our house, this is particularly relevant but it's something I will try to hold close to heart.

I will find a way to get those dishes done, but if I'm at home with you, Ethan, I will make sure that it's always dinosaurs before dishes. Because you're the best job I could ever have.




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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A birthday retreat to Hoar Cross Hall & Matthew Curtis Salon

The week before last was my birthday and what better day to do a bit of pampering? Every birthday girl needs a treat, don't they?

Well, this year, I enjoyed not just a treat but a retreat - to Hoar Cross Hall, near Burton-upon-Trent. 

Source
Hidden in the Staffordshire countryside, Hoar Cross Hall is a beautiful hotel (just Google it, the place is stunning) with a spa wing, perfect for spa breaks or days and now, an exciting new hair salon concept has opened.


Matthew Curtis (a leading British hairdresser who you might recognise as the face of TRESemme and who also owns a popular salon in Stratford-upon-Avon) has collaborated with Hoar Cross Hall, a spa I've long known about having seen many a friend or friend of a friend enjoy a break there, to launch the Hair Retreat; what your 'do has been waiting for.

It's certainly what me and my 'do had been waiting for!


I was excited to be visiting Hoar Cross Hall at last and was greeted by the lovely team and along with some other visitors, I was treated to a tour of the spa facilities. I loved the different areas to the spa, which includes several new rooms that are being furbished ready for some new treatments (the Egyptian Trilogy sounds A-MAZING, combining three treatments through three rooms - I hope to return once everything has been completed), plus a grotto within the main pool, the salt water swimming pool and the detox area.

I left my phone and camera in my locker as I didn't want to take photos where people were relaxing, but trust me, it's pretty lovely

Once I had left my items in the large and welcoming changing room, I headed straight to the detox experience, following the instructions to get the full effect. Going from the steam room (always a favourite of mine) to the cold shower to the sauna and so on, it was a great way to relax and unwind.

Just what I needed.

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Monday, 13 July 2015

To become Mum, to be me


This blog has been a place for me to document my journey into mummyhood for almost three years and I've learnt that the journey to become mum never ends - there's no final 'destination mum', it's several stops along the way.

There's always something new to learn and new stages to get to grips with and because of this, my blog title of 'to become mum' feels like it will always be relevant. It's about all the things I needed to learn to become mum and all the things that I now know or enjoy as Ethan grows.

But it's also about me, about my journey and my growth. I spend a lot of time looking ahead, thinking of how I'd like our life to go, what I'd like to do and who I would like to be.

Too much time.

It's good to have plans and look to the future but I don't want to live for 'one day' - I want to live for and be present in 'today'. There's no point in putting things off, delaying new ideas or activities or just giving yourself a 'get out of jail free' card because it's easier to do nothing than to try.

Now is the time for doing.

I'm going to use my positive nature and give my self a good push to start putting some of my thoughts into actions. Using things that inspire me to inspire a difference. More action, less procrastination. More changes, less comparing. Just doing what I want and need for my family and for me.

And this blog will be my virtual pinboard, full of ideas and encouragement, for me but hopefully a bit for you too.

I've always shared my interests on here, be it beauty, days out or home and lifestyle, but I've been playing with my blog design for a while as I want its look as well as its content to reflect me, as Mum to Ethan and as an individual, more.

So, To Become Mum is still here but with a fresh new look and a re-focus if you like. I've always said this blog is about being Mum and being me, and the balance between the two and I hope that I can use my blog to share more of myself and help me grow too.

If you're looking for family related posts, milestone stories, letter updates to Ethan and finding out about things I learn and love as being Mum, then hopefully they'll be plenty for you to read and enjoy. Likewise, if you're interested in topics from wellbeing to beauty and style, I'll have this covered too.

I'm on a journey to be the best mum and the best 'me' I can be, and I hope you'll join me on my way.

Kelly x




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Sunday, 12 July 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday 12.07.15

I have always loved animals and have had many pets, including at least two cats, my whole life. Now, we have a dog called Watson, a black and white cat called Sherlock and a tabby cat called Moriarty (Arty for short).

Arty isn't always around the house a great deal, as she has a friend she likes to go visit and comes home late at night to sleep in our lounge, so we like it when she is at home and Ethan has a sweet spot for her, calling all cats Arty for the most part.

I managed to take this photo of her before she realised, got in a huff, and moved to sit somewhere else. I only had a couple of seconds but think I captured her general expression and personality perfectly.



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Friday, 10 July 2015

Our routine - a typical day in our house

We all have our little quirks and certain ways we need or like to get things done and I love reading how other families manage their time and keep everyone happy.

So, I thought it would be interesting to share a bit of a snapshot into my own family and how a typical day looks in our house...


6am - alarm goes off. One press of the snooze button, and I'm up.

I plod downstairs in search of tea and feed the cats, check my phone (which I've taken to leaving downstairs overnight to avoid distractions before bed) then head upstairs to shower.

6.30am I then settle myself at my dressing table, put the lamp on, and get myself ready, doing my make up whilst watching Good Morning Britain on my iPad, followed by drying my hair and getting dressed. At some point during this, hubs emerges and starts his morning routine.

7.10am Once ready, it's time to let the dog out and fill his bowl with fresh food, pack our lunch bags for the day and, if I have time, make a smoothie. Usually banana, peanut butter and oats with almond milk. I drop everything into the car then head upstairs to wake the little monkey.

These days, Ethan greets me with a 'no Mummy' or 'BED!' and I busy myself picking him out an outfit for the day and get his things together before finally having to grab him out of his slumber to start getting him ready for his day at nursery. He quite often bursts into tears at this point, refusing my offers of a cuddle or one of his toys just to make a point. Silly monkey!

I change his nappy, get him dressed, comb his hair (which he loves - note the sarcasm) and then try to get a toothbrush in his mouth between sobs and before he realises it's that time again. A wet wipe to mop up the tears and toothpaste dribble, and we are on our way downstairs (turning around again as Mummy has forgotten to put shoes on his feet, again).

7.30am (if we're lucky...) We all scramble in the car, Ethan often now says 'Sorry Mummy' after a sudden fit of tears or frustration, and the car journey to nursery, all of four minutes away, is generally calm whilst we try and talk to Ethan about his day ahead.

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Monday, 6 July 2015

The week that was #24

This past week was one that I had looked forward to for what seems like forever. Nothing huge planned, more a case of a much needed and long awaited break. I haven't had a full week off work this year so the prospect of one made me very happy indeed.


DOING Following my Sister-in-Law's wedding, we began our week off with a couple of days pottering around the house, taking it in turns to tackle chores and various tasks. It might not sound exciting but it felt great to finally get some things sorted. We've had a busy time recently and things were just starting to mount up, but gradually through the week, we washed up, hoovered up, cleaned up and sorted different areas of the house.

Ethan, on the other hand, just put his feet up...


I cleared my wardrobe, sorted by dressing table, packed away winter clothes and Ethan's old clothes, tidied his playroom and hubs tackled the garden with help from his trusty Bosch garden tools.

My make up needed a big overhaul and a new vanity case helped me to bring order to the chaos.


Less clutter, more organisation, happier me!


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Sunday, 5 July 2015

#MySundayPhoto / #SilentSunday 05.07.15

This week, I've chosen a photo I took of Ethan playing in his new paddling pool this week. I like to snap away whilst he's playing, and less conscious of me doing so, and I love how I've captured his dishevelled hair, big baby blues and those awesome, long, damp eyelashes.

I may be biased, but he's a beaut.


OneDad3Girls

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Friday, 3 July 2015

Summer Splashy Fun

Just a quick post to say I hope you're all getting some of this lovely weather and that you get a chance to enjoy it too. Knowing our luck, it won't hold through the weekend but we have been off work this week for some much needed relaxing time at home and so we've been able to make the most of the warmer weather.

Today, we opened up Ethan's new paddling pool, which was a birthday present from Ste's parents.

This is the one, from Early Learning Centre (it currently has £5 off); it's shaped like a whale! It also doubles as a ball pit and doesn't require inflating (brilliant, if you ask me), plus it comes with a 50SPF sun safe canopy.

Ethan couldn't wait to have a splash around, after we warmed the cool water from the hose with some hot water from the kitchen tap to take the edge off.

I joined him on a picnic blanket and just watched as my little fish enjoyed his new paddling pool.





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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The week that was #23

Last week was a good one. Work was busy, as per, but we were looking forward to a week off that would start with my sister-in-law's wedding, so excitement was in the air.

Here's a run down of the week that was...

DOING There's not much else to share from last week other than counting down to the wedding and enjoying the big day itself.

And what a day it was.

I woke on Saturday morning with a tummy full of butterflies and felt much the same as I did on our wedding day (which you can read about here if you like), almost five years ago.

All the bridesmaids were getting ready at my Mother-in-Laws, with the hair preparations starting at 6.45am. The bride was pretty calm by all accounts and over the course of the morning, we all transformed ourselves into 50's style bombshells. Victory rolls, red lippie and these amazing dresses from Lindy Bop, complete with frilly petticoats.

That was the aim, and by all accounts, I think we all looked pretty amazing.


The bride then came down the stairs, dressed in porcelain, with a stunning lace top over her dress. She looked beautiful. And still oh so calm!

We had classic 1930's cars to take us to the church and us bridesmaids were all a bundle of nerves.

When we arrived, I saw the two handsome gentlemen, below left, for the first time in their wedding outfits. Spiderman has also decided to join us for the day.

Ethan was joining the groom's son Sebbie as page boy and they led the bridal party to the alter. He was an absolute star throughout the ceremony, sitting with my Mother-in-Law, calling to Erin and waving at the congregation and saying 'Hiiiii!'.


After the ceremony, we travelled to the reception at Moxhull Hall.

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