Giveaway · Happiness · Health

Seeds Pack the Ultimate Punch (Giveaway)

Any parent of young children will be familiar with those times when you grab for something – anything – that will give you the energy to get through the next few hours without falling asleep on your laundry pile or sink full of dishes. A tablespoon of peanut butter at 9pm; half a baguette at 5am; handfuls of dry cereal as the older kids eat breakfast and you look for your keys, and shoes.

While pregnant we are endlessly mindful about what we eat, drink and breathe. We look after our bodies for the sake of our precious, unborn child and are glowing, buoyant gatekeepers – eating well, taking our vitamins and drinking our litres of water. But once baby is born we all-too-often become janitors – shuffling through the day on just enough empty calories to keep us upright and putting all the focus on keeping the children healthy. Actually the truth is that eating a healthy, nutritious diet while breastfeeding, or through days of little sleep, or while balancing households full to the brim with dependents, is just as important as during those serene, pregnant days. And prioritizing a balanced diet of healthy, whole foods for mum – plate-spinner and family-pivot – is crucial for our health, energy, happiness and mental health.

And here’s where we come to the star of the show – seeds – which really do pack a punch for such a small player. Seeds provide us with a wide range of essential oils and nutrients and fall within the guidelines of most dietary restrictions. Snacking on seeds not only offers fantastic health benefits, providing much-needed nutrients, they are full of slow-release energy, so perfect for long days (and nights) as parents of young children.

Share the Love

And let’s not stop there. Seeds are great for kids too. With so many nut allergies around, seeds are a safe go-to gap-filler. And their slow-release energy is a winner when it comes to being focused. Unlike the peak and crash of a high sugar snack, it’s well documented that eating whole foods result in better application, concentration and stamina for the classroom, pitch and playground.

Don’t know your linseed from your birdseed? Don’t worry. Allow us to shepherd you through the seeds currently topping the pops, how best to use them and their various life-bettering properties.Chia means ‘strength’ and as far as fuel goes, it doesn’t get much better than this. Chia seeds are full of nutrients and, unlike some seeds, come with very few calories. Harvested from a flowering plant in the mint family, these seeds can absorb a lot of liquid – they expand to hold about ten times their dry weight. Chia is a real all-rounder; it’s used in puddings and porridge, added to smoothies and sprinkled on salads.

Flaxseed (also called linseed) is packed full of good things including dietary fiber, omega-3 and vitamin B1 – you can see why it is often referred to as wonder food. You have to grind flaxseed before using it but once you’ve done that labour of love, you can add it to anything from morning porridge to homemade bread.

Pumpkin seeds have long been a favourite for healthy snackers, and they haven’t lost their appeal. Bringing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential acids with every handful, these seeds are seriously versatile. They can be eaten raw or cooked in sweet or savoury dishes – or simply roasted for a super on-the-go snack.

Sunflower seeds are crunchy and nutty and usually eaten plain as a snack or simply sprinkled on salads. Filled with antioxidants, magnesium, copper and Vitamin E, they are top of their game and are even said to bring a glow to tired skin! Filled with goodness that’s drawn straight from the sun, they become the star of the show in recipes such as sunflower seed pesto and homemade bread.

Seeds really do deserve the hype. And there’s family fun to be had growing them too. Summer is around the corner, the sun will be shinning and kids love planting and getting their hands dirty so grab a paper cup, pop a few sunflower seeds and soil into it and get kids growing their own in your own home. And for those of us who don’t have the time to brush our hair let alone grow seeds, there’s 9NINE.

9NINE products celebrate super seeds and are the perfect snack for people who care about their well-being but don’t always have time to prepare snacks from scratch. Seeds provide big tastes for even the smallest occasions – if you aren’t already, it’s time to take seeds seriously!

Nutrients in 9NINE:

Magnesium restores mindfulness with good energy
Fibre boosts your body with good digestion
Copper activates your immune system
Phosphorous looks after your mental energy
Vitamin E gets your skin glowing
Thiamin gets the best energy out of your food

Potassium gives your heart the love it deserves
Manganese maintains strength through healthy bones
Calcium keeps the balance with happy hormones
Zinc gives a natural immune boost
Protein is an essential building block for a balanced life
Iron keeps oxygen moving around the body

To win a collection of goodies from 9NINE, leave me a comment below telling me which of the ingredients you need the most at the moment, be it calcium for the happy hormones, zinc for your immune system or something else!

Winners will be drawn at random on 4th July 2017, no cash alternative will be offered.

Baby

From Schools to Car Seats – Making the Best Choices for your Kids

One of the most daunting things about becoming a parent is the constant second-guessing when it comes to making the right decisions for your kids. When you’re young and single, your decisions largely only impact yourself but once you throw another human into the equation, it becomes all that much scarier! Today, I thought I’d take a look at some of the decisions that we found most overwhelming and what we did to help.

Safety

One of the main things that’s at the forefront of a new parents mind is safety, be that at home, in the car or anywhere else. Husband and I probably wrapped Sausage up in cotton wool to an extent and are definitely more relaxed with BB, but the best advice I can give you when it comes to things like travel is to read a whole bunch of car seat reviews before making your choice. You’ll benefit from the experience of others and ensure a bit of peace of mind for yourself.

Money

When Sausage was born, each kid got a grant from the government to start a savings fund but by the time BB came along this was no longer a thing, but we still wanted to start a savings account for her. Looking online a sites which offer bank account comparisons really helped us to find the right account to give us the most for our money.

Schools

This one was a biggie for us and will be again next year when we have to start thinking about secondary schools for Sausage. In our experience, schools can have great Ofsted reports but this doesn’t always equate to the best school for your child. Speak to parents who have kids at the schools you’re looking at who will be able to give you much fairer insight into what the actual society within the school is like.

Medical Issues

In this day and age, information is so easily accessible online that it’s really easy to think you can diagnose medical problems after reading a couple of webpages. However, this doesn’t take into account years of medical training needed to have ALL the clinical knowledge and context, so Dr. Google should always be avoided! The 111 service is really useful and they can give you an idea over the phone of whether your child needs to see a doctor. Pharmacists can also offer a lot of useful info.

Food

When you become a parent, you’ll realise that pretty much everyone will have an opinion on how you SHOULD be feeding your kids, even if they don’t have kids of their own. The fact is, as long as both Mum and Baby are happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter if milk comes from a boob or a bottle. There will ALWAYS be friends/relatives/health professionals who want to impress their ideas upon you but frankly, their opinions don’t matter!

 

Holidays

Making Holidays Simpler

As you’ll know if you read MTW regularly, we’ve yet to take the girls away on holiday. Having an elderly dog makes it basically impossible, but we’d love to take them away sooner rather than later and are lucky enough to live close to an airport which flies to some really great, family-friendly destinations. I’ve been doing some research on how to make family holidays easier to manage and thought I’d share some of them with you here:

Know the Lingo

I’m not suggesting that you get yourself fluent in the language of the place you’re travelling to, but having SOME knowledge of the language is really important. I find that, here in the UK, language education is woefully lacking and according to a survey conducted by Holiday Autos Car Hire, over a quarter of Brits don’t bother to learn ANY language before they go on holiday, and just under a quarter said that they only holiday in resorts where they know people speak English. It’s all well and goo d until you find yourself lost or in an emergency and completely unable to communicate, when knowing a bare minimum could really help.

Know The Etiquette

When I was 16, I went on holiday to Malta. I stayed in an area which wasn’t really full of holiday makers and I wondered why the locals looked disgusted with me when I left the flat in a bikini top! I was young and naive, failing to realise that this wasn’t really the done thing in a fiercely Catholic country, but had I bothered to read up first I’d have worked out that bikinis should be limited to beaches and touristy areas. This kind of knowledge is absolutely essential in some countries and could be the difference between staying safe and not.

Have Your Papers in Order

When Husband and I went to the Maldives, we didn’t realise until the last minute that we’d need to purchase a visa to stay there once we got to Male airport. All of our money was in travellers cheques and it was only by luck that we managed to change some up to enable us to get our visas. Knowing what paperwork you need to either gain entry, or in case you need healthcare, is vital.

Provisions?

When travelling with young kids, it’s essential to know what you can buy once you get there and what you need to take. Are things like nappies, wipes, formula milk and kid-friendly snacks readily available or do you need to pack these before you go? Getting to a foreign country and realising you can feed your kids or buy them nappies is a huge disaster!

Medications

If you don’t speak the native language, the prospect of finding medications like Calpol or Nurofen to give to your kids can be really daunting. From not knowing what to ask for to the potential of giving the wrong dose, it’s a minefield which can be easily avoided by packing your own. Take a First Aid kid along with paracetamol, antihistamines and anti-inflammatories and you’ll have most of your bases covered.

Do you have a holiday tip you’d like to share? Leave me a comment below!

Money

Three Times When I’ve Needed Money Fast

I have to admit, I’m not one of those people who manages to save money very well. As soon as I get paid and my bills are taken care of, the remaining money seems to burn a hole in my pocket until it gets spent and this means that there isn’t much to squirrel away at the end of the month. However, this approach to money isn’t very useful when an unexpected expense comes along, which is why it’s really fortunate that quick loans are always an option. I thought I’d tell you about three times when we’ve needed to raise cash quickly so that you can see how easy it is to be stuck with a huge bill that you just weren’t expecting:

The £200 Fart

A few years ago, Chuck started acting unwell and was totally off his food. Even when he’s at his most ill, he’s NEVER off his food so we knew that we had to find out what was wrong. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday which meant taking him to an emergency vet and we didn’t have pet insurance as he has so many pre-existing conditions. A few hours and a couple of hundred quid from Husband’s ‘New Computer’ fund later, we found the cause of his illness – trapped wind and an impacted anal gland. It’s got to have been the most expensive trump that ever happened!!

Car Trouble

Just recently, we came to the conclusion that we needed a new car; the old one was limping along and probably wouldn’t go through another MOT but funds were low. Luckily, we found a little Ford Focus through a private dealer that a family member had used in the past and managed to bag ourselves an absolute low-mileage bargain. However, we still had to borrow £200 to be able to afford it, but this small loan gave us the wiggle room we needed to be able to get our new car before the old one died!

Moving House

The last time we moved was a pretty hairy situation – the house we’d been living in before was being sold without notice and we had to be out ASAP, which didn’t give us much time to save. However, the new landlady wanted an extra month’s deposit to allow us to have a pet in the property, which left us about £600 short of what we needed to move in. I was so fortunate to have an amazing friend who offered to lend us the money, interest free and without a repayment deadline, which allowed us to move to our dream home!

Has there been a time in the past when you’ve been desperate for an injection of cash, pronto? Leave me a comment below!

Relationships

Husband and I Take a #CouplesQuiz for Bed Guru @bedguru

This weekend is my 33rd birthday and I realised that this means that Husband and I have been together for a third of my life, which is pretty damn significant in this day and age. We don’t claim to have a “perfect” relationship (is there even such a thing?) but the fact that we’ve lasted this long is pretty damn impressive when you consider how common divorce is these days (and how difficult I am to live with!).

Just recently, Bed Guru got in touch to ask us to collaborate with them and take a Couples Quiz as part of their campaign to show that couples who sleep in the same bed don’t always have the same needs in terms of sleep comfort. Bed Guru is an online bed retailer who are sleep specialists, they understand that no two people share the same sleeping requirements and see it not just as a belief but an obligation to ensure that everybody gets a great night’s sleep!

They sent us a list of questions to answer, which we did independently of each other and here’s what the outcome was! (Husband’s answers are RED, mine are TURQUOISE)

1)      How did you meet?

We met through mutual friends although it turned out we’d been drinking in the same places for years and our paths had never crossed.

Through friends

2)      How long have you known each other?

4139 days, to be precise! 11  years and 4 months – we got married after knowing each other just 6 months.

11 and a bit years.

3)      What do you do to keep the love alive?

When you’ve got kids, it can be hard to find time as a couple but we make sure we do things together as regularly as we can, even if that means going for a walk or watching the boxing together.

We don’t need to do anything to ‘keep it alive’. 

4)      What are your partners pet peeves?

He hates dishonesty more than anything else.

Loud chewing, impoliteness (especially on the road), poor time-keeping, Tories.

5)      What do you love the most about each other?

We have a really similar sense of humour and makes jokes with one another than no-one else would ever get! We like a lot of the same things but also learn a lot from each other. We make a good team and he’s always got my back. 

Kindness. 

6)      What is the most memorable gift you have received from your partner?

That is a hard one for me to answer because he’s RIDICULOUSLY good at buying me gifts! I’m literally typing this out on on the laptop he bought be for my birthday whilst wearing the Pandora bracelet I’ve wanted for months that he also surprised me with. The best gift of all though was the vintage working Teddy Ruxpin that he sourced from America and had shipped over. He knew it was a toy I’d wanted as a child and never got so he went to all that effort to get it for me, which meant so, so much to me.

Not strictly a ‘gift’ but the best thing I’ve ever received is my children.

7)      What is your favourite memory as a couple?

Oh gosh, that’s difficult too! Looking out of the window of the seaplane that took us to the Maldives and seeing the islands dotted through the Indian Ocean…adopting Chuck…having our babies…seeing some of our favourite bands and comedians together, as well as watching Liverpool play at Anfield.

The births of our children. The day we adopted our dog. Our wedding and honeymoon…(the 4-1 drubbing of West Brom we took our eldest to at Anfield, it was her first game).

8)      What is the most key component of your relationship? e.g. trust, loyalty etc

Trust. Nothing lasts without trust.

Honesty, caring nature, trustworthiness.

9)      Where is your dream destination for a couple’s holiday?

Back to the Maldives, maybe?! Or anywhere Scandinavian.

Iceland.

10)   What are your favourite things to do as a couple?

Going to Ikea 😉

Go out to eat, go to the cinema, talk.

I think our answers show that we’re pretty compatible actually, and I laughed out loud when I read Husband’s assesment of my pet peeves because they are SO spot on! The irony is, Husband and I have often said that we’re totally incompatible in terms of sleep because he likes a memory foam mattress and I find them uncomfortable, so we’ve often joked about getting two totally different single mattresses and pushing them together so that we an each be comfortable on our own sides – but with Bed Guru’s couples mattresses we wouldn’t need to do this as their mattresses can be separately zoned.

Are you and your partner sleep compatible? Leave me a comment below.

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