Mustela Baby Skincare Review & Giveaway

For the last few years, a trip to the Pharmacie was always a highlight of my French holidays. Caudalie, L’Occatane and Vichy are some of the brands I usually look out for, but now Violet is here my love for French skincare has extended to her too, having recently discovered lovely French brand for babies and expectant mothers, called Mustela.

When I was pregnant their Light Legs Gel got me through the night with my horrific fidget legs, but today we will be talking about their extensive baby range, plus I have a few goodies to giveaway at the end of the post too, so keep reading!

A couple of months back, Violet was sent this amazing care package of products for us to try out at her bath times. It took her a while to enjoy bath time, so having some lovely products that smell gorgeous and relaxes little ones really helps. We have since fallen in love with the Mustela baby range and use it daily.

Mustela was founded in France 60 years ago and over the years has grown a great following – they have now become the number one baby skincare brand across Europe, which is pretty incredible seeing as they aren’t the most common over here in the UK! They cover all skin types for your little ones – such as normal skin, dry skin, very sensitive skin and atopic prone (eczema) skin.

I’m sure you know by now that I am a firm believer in only using natural products with Violet and more importantly products that are free from nasty chemicals. Mustela’s new baby skin care range is just that – natural and free from parabens, phthalate and phenoxyethanol.

Among our care package we received:

  • Hydra Bebe Facial Cream – This is the first facial specific cream I’ve seen for babies! It’s ideal as I wasn’t sure with other baby lotions whether they should be applied to the face or not, so knowing this created purely for the delicate facial skin is ideal.
  • No Rinse Cleansing Water – A really handy product, gently clean the face, body and nappy area with no need for water, just wipe away with a cotton pad. This was extra useful on our recent weekend away where we were without a baby bath but can be used any time for a quick clean and freshen between baths.
  • Hydra Baby Body Lotion – Soft and delicate body lotion that gives lasting hydration to the skin, perfect after bath time.
  • Gentle Shampoo – We’ve just started using this and it’s a no-tears formula that can be splashed about in with no worries about getting in little eyes, it also cleanses without drying the skin out.
  • Baby Massage Oil – I love to give Violet a baby massage before bed, this oil is just perfect for this as it’s a dry oil, so it doesn’t leave her all greasy to the touch afterwards. The Avocado oil helps restore and protect the skin’s natural protective barrier too.
  • Vitamin Barrier Cream – helps to prevent, soothe and recover the skin from nappy rash also comes in a handy tube, perfect for the change bag.
  • Hydra Stick – ideal for targeting spots of dry skin, Violet gets little patches behind her ears so we’ve been using this here.
  • Cleansing Wipes – these aren’t just any wet wipes, they are soft and luxurious to the touch with a lovely gentle scent too!
  • Plus the lovely Mustela team kindly sent an amazingly cute, plump, pink teddy bear, which Violet LOVES and plays with all the time!

We’ve been loving trying the Mustela range, there hasn’t been a product I wouldn’t recommend. For babies skincare the products feel higher-end and much more caring on delicate skin than a lot of products I’ve tried so I’ll certainly be re-purchasing each product as they start to run out and sticking with a brand we know and trust.

GIVEAWAY!

Now for the exciting part – I have a little goody bag of treats from Mustela to giveaway to one lucky winner! The winner will receive all the products in the picture below, plus the CUTE teddy bear (honestly, your baby will think thats the best bit) – and don’t worry, I’m not taking Violet’s teddybear away from her, I have two!

Enter below to win:

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to UK Residents Only

Violets Seven & Eight months update!

Ok – bad Mum alert as I’ve just realised that as Violet is days away from being NINE months and I have failed to write her seven AND eighth month updates. I feel a bit rubbish about this as out of everything on my blog my pregnancy and baby update posts are the ones I really love to look back on. I also wanted to do them all in video form as I think that is nicer to look back at – but if you have been following my social media, you’ll know things have been a bit tough round here recently so moments where I have time to film a video (plus feeling cheery and confident enough to film it) have been few and far between. So, sorry Violet, here is your update – a mega two months worth, in writing – but at least we got there in the end! I did also take around 1000 pictures and 200 video clips during that time too, so I think we covered documenting it! 🙂  Onto the update…

Violet is turning in the SWEETEST little character known to man. I would say that as I’m her mother, but others always comment on her sweet nature too, so it can’t just be me. She is so happy in her own space, to play with, examine and ponder over toys. Her mind is analytical, she’ll examine everything in detail, turning things over in her hands to work out how it works and what it is – rather than just bashing it about. At baby groups, she will be social but also loves her own space, she’ll socialise but soon go off in another direction where she’ll be sitting on her own with some toys singing to herself. She’s just like me, an extroverted introvert – enjoying the company of others but needing to be alone to recoup and recharge too.

MAMAMAMAMAMA!

Yep, that is Violet’s favourite word. I’m not sure if we class it as her ‘first’ word, but whenever I walk away or leave her she will say ‘MAMAMAMAMAMAMA!’ and it’s so cute! I think she is putting together what the word means and when to use it. I also think I heard her saying ‘AYO!’ for hello and ‘yeah’ in response to something, but I can’t be sure. She does definitely wave hello to people though (and her favourite characters on the TV)!

She is on the MOVE!

So, on the day of her 7th month birthday she was on the MOVE! She crawled across her bedroom floor as we were putting her down to bed and life hasn’t quite been the same again. I spent most of my day running around after her, stopping her from pulling wires, touching things she shouldn’t and picking up anything left on the living room floor. You don’t realise how many hazards you have in your home until you have a crawling baby! We had to do a bit of emergency baby proofing, our first purchase being a stairgate as our living room has stairs down to our bedroom so we needed to put a stairgate up there ASAP.  In her eighth month Violet’s crawl has become so quick, she can get across a room in an instant and often follows me room to room through the house, especially if I’m hoovering, she loves chasing the hoover for some reason! She can get up onto one knee totally unaided and if she’s found a suitable ledge or piece of furniture, she’ll pull up to standing. She loves standing up and will literally climb me like a climbing frame to get upright! I think it won’t be long until she is wanting to try standing unaided too! I can’t believe she is so on the move already, where has my tiny newborn gone who couldn’t even lift her head during tummy time!

Weaning

I’ve been writing a whole series of posts on weaning, so check those out if you want to know more about our weaning journey – but Violet is getting along so well with solids and different flavours. In her seventh month, I worried she would never want to eat actual solid foods as she would only eat purees, however as time has gone by her confidence has grown when it comes to ‘actual’ food. She’ll have a good munch on any solid foods I give her, the only problem being that she doesn’t have ANY teeth yet, so things like toast just get gummed to pieces and a lot of it spat out.

Some of her favourite foods at the moment are: Baby Porridge, Banana Puree, Omelette with cheese, Grated Cheese, Grated Apple, Carrot Sticks (the melty puffs that look like wotsits!) and peanut butter.

I’m getting a lot braver with weaning and also worrying a lot less about it. I’ve tried to give her little bits of what I’m eating now and again to see how she gets on and she always surprises me. She will eat more if it’s something she’s seen me eating. The other day I was eating a Marmite Crumpet with cheese and she grabbed a handful and shovelled it in! I didn’t expect a baby to like Marmite, but she loved it and couldn’t get enough. Obviously, this isn’t something I’d feed her all the time as it’s very salty, but a little try didn’t hurt at all.

Sleeping

Aah, the favourite topic to be discussed as parents! SLEEP. Between the ages of four-seven months, Violet slept like an angel, I really thought we had cracked it. Then everything just fell apart and now if we sleep through the night, it’s usually a fluke. We seem to bob from one thing to another – teething, colds, tummy bugs etc. When one thing finishes, the next starts. We’ve also been in the 8 month sleep regression for a couple of weeks now and that one is TOUGH. No one warned me of this! Everyone talked about the 4 month regression, but the 8 month one is like a dirty secret no one wants to admit to.

Well, I can confirm it’s alive and kicking in our household at the moment and I believe with Violet it’s all down to separation anxiety as nothing else seems to be wrong. She just wants to sleep ON me, not next to me, not with me in the room, it has to be ON me.  The best solution seems to be sleeping on sofa cushions in her room with the Sleepyhead Grand next to me. When she’s fast asleep I can usually slide her across, then she has a safe space next to me. Usually I have to lay with her on my chest into the wee hours though before she’s in a deep enough sleep to move. I’ve spent many an hour with a clingy baby on my chest recently, although I think secretly I quite enjoy it as it’s like having a cuddly newborn again. She won’t be this little long so I don’t mind.

Just whilst we are on the topic of sleep –  we are STILL struggling to actually get her to sleep. She needs a lot of rocking so we usually spend our evenings taking it in turns (until our arms ache) rocking her. We’ve tried a bit of gentle (no-crying) sleep training but with her separation anxiety at a peak we’ve read this isn’t a good time to do sleep training. We have decided to ride it out for the time being until the regression finishes. It’s not the worst in the world, the cuddles are lovely and I usually put on soothing music and slow dance around the room with her.

She’s in her own room!

Just following on from sleeping – I realise when I did Violet’s 6 month update, we hadn’t moved her into her own room! She is now fully in her ‘big girl cot’ in the nursery! I thought we’d have a big emotional ‘final night’ with her in the Snuzpod in our room, but one night she fell asleep in her cot and instead of bringing her down with us at bedtime, we just left her in her own bed. She never came back – I think it was me who was the emotional one to be honest! She loved it.

I felt quite sad to start with, especially when V packed up the Snuzpod, leaving an empty space next to the side of the bed, but now we are in our groove, I admit it is working so much better for us all. We don’t have to sneak around her all the time, afraid to wake her with our ever move. Equally, she isn’t waking us with her snuffling and snoring in the night too! She is in her own space and sleeps much better.

Two products that have really helped us with the transition have been:

  • The Sleepyhead Grande – the bigger sized sleepyhead has helped her feel secure in such a large cot. It’s soft and squishy and she sleeps so well in it. She’s had a couple of nights without it (due to it being in the wash!) and hasn’t slept as well by a long shot. She’s also bumped herself on the bars during those nights too, so the sleepyhead keeps them really safe and snug all night. I did worry about it at first as she likes to sleep on her tummy (face down too!) but they are fully tested and breathable, so she’s fine sleeping that way too.
  • The ErgoPouch Winter Sleep Suit bag – it’s the first I’ve seen where the legs come apart to make it a little suit, which Violet much prefers now she is on the move. She used to get so frustrated with her legs zipped into a bag so this has been ideal for a safe way to keep her warm at night! It’s so snuggly and soft, I want one in my size!

Out & About

Now Violet is older she is SO MUCH FUN to take out and about. People in the street laugh out loud at her singing as I’m pushing her along in her pram, blowing raspberries and trilling at the top of her lungs. In the last couple of months we’ve had lots of days out and family trips. I try to take her out of the house a lot more now as I feel she’ll get bored if we sit in all day. She is still enjoying Waterbabies and has just finished Chapter 2, plus we now do Music Bugs on a Monday which she really enjoys too.

I’ll wrap up this HUGE post with my usual little month-by-month update:

MONTHS SEVEN/EIGHT: 

Feeding: Weaning – mix of puree and solid foods. Month 7 she preferred puree, moving onto solids towards her 8th month. Still formula feeding with Aptamil first milk but she’s dropped a bottle or two a day.

Weight: Not sure as I can’t get to her red book  (she’s asleep in her room!) but I know she’s gone from 2nd percentile at birth right up to the 50% now which is pretty amazing!

Sleeping:  Up and Down – you never know what you are going to get. Separation Anxiety and the 8 month sleep regression are upon us, but we do get the odd full night here and there.

Skills: Crawling everywhere, kneeling on one knee, pulling up to standing. Examining toys to the finer details, shaking shakers/bells, waving hello, saying Mamamamamama!

Favourite things: Eating sweet things – like fruit, pancakes, blueberry wafers. Standing up, bouncing, swimming

Hated things: Being babied in any way, cradled or held like a baby, being put into her cot awake, being passed around to other people she doesn’t know well

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I am just bursting with excitement about Christmas this year. Maybe you can tell by the fact this is my third Christmassy post and it’s only mid-November. In fact, being the soppy wreck I seem to have turned into since childbearing I could almost well up at the fact this is our first Christmas as a proper family. I have been dreaming of this moment so long and I cannot wait to see Violets face on Christmas day as we sit by the tree opening our presents – the reflection of twinkly lights in our eyes. In the background Christmas tunes jingle away as the smell of the roast drifts through the air. Could we just skip December and make it tomorrow!?

So, being the ball of irritating festive enthusiasm I am (verging on Buddy the Elf standards here), I’ve been planning ways to start some of our very own Christmas Eve family traditions. Quite honestly before now, we didn’t really have any and our previous Christmases have been most un-festive! Last year we didn’t even have a tree up, V was working long shifts and I was a heavily pregnant beached whale who was too busy stuffing mince pies to put the tree up. I’d only knock the baubles off with my giant belly every time I walked past, so why bother?! The Christmas before that, we were on a Nile Cruise and didn’t even notice Christmas slip by – so traditional, we are not – but this year all of that will change now we are a family.

Christmas Eve to me as a little girl was when the magic started. I know Violet only be 10 months old and won’t totally understand it, but it’s never to early to enjoy the magic of Christmas. Waiting to go to sleep, knowing that in the night, Father Christmas will come down the chimney leaving presents at the end of my bed. I remember waking up and wiggling my toes to hear the crackle of wrapping paper, feeling the weight of my stocking pressing into my quilt before I had even opened my eyes. I think Christmas eve was the only time I ever wanted to go to bed early! This year we’ll be getting ready for bed nice and early – turning our phones off for the next few days, cosying up for the evening in front of the open fire in with Violet, snuggling up in our warm Christmas pyjamas, only the best from Marks & Spencer, of course. I might even crack open the Quality Street tin, we shall see.

Violet loves books and I’ve already started to read her Christmas stories, both about Father Christmas and The Nativity Story. I enjoyed both as a child and I want to pass onto her the meaning behind Christmas and that it’s not all about the twinkly lights and presents. We also have a Nativity Set that we bought on our trip a couple of years ago to Bethlehem, which I can’t wait to set up with Violet –  I think she’ll be really intrigued by the animals in the stable the most this year. We bought it as a family decoration we could use every year – it’s beautiful and means so much to us that we bought it on one of our trips too. One day I’m sure she’ll want to set it up and arrange it all herself, I’m sure!

A newer tradition to me is the Christmas Eve box, I’m not sure this was ‘a thing‘ when I was growing up as I certainly didn’t open any presents until Christmas Day, but embracing both new traditions and old – I am going to make Violet a little Christmas eve box to open. As she’s only little it’ll just have a few little toys in there for her to enjoy as well as some keepsakes like this little Violet’s First Christmas Mug, a first christmas bauble for the tree and a Santa plate for her first Christmas meal too.

My final tradition is once we are all off to bed, I will make sure we all put a mince pie and a carrot down for Father Christmas. I used to always leave him a small glass of sherry too, but seeing as that’s not something we have in our house, maybe he’d like a gin and tonic instead? That we can do. We’ll have to leave it up high though, as I’m sure Robbie will think his luck is in with all those tasty treats being left out overnight!

How do you like to spend Christmas Eve as a family? I’d love to hear your Christmassy tales in the comments below! 

Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster

Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster

With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to buy for Violet – it’s been a hard one to plan in advance as a first time Mum as I have no idea where she will be in her development and what her interests will be –  it literally it all changes month-by-month at the moment! Now Christmas is not far off I think I’ve got to a point where I can buy her something that will fit where she is at – she is crawling, pulling up and just generally on the move as much as possible so toys that move and help her with this are ideal!

We were recently sent the Fisher Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster, which is a great Christmas present idea for a baby of Violet’s age (she’ll be 10 months on Christmas Day).

Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster

The Zoom n’ Crawl is a monster with five brightly coloured balls, which spin round and spill out as he moves around the room. Violet was captivated by his bright colours and movements, although when we first turned him on, she wasn’t sure what to make of it all as she doesn’t have anything quite like this!

The Zoom n’Crawl has two main ways to play:

  • Sit & Play: Fill the monster’s mouth & see the balls spin!
  • Crawl & Chase: Balls spill out as the monster zooms around—encouraging baby to crawl

This means he’s perfect for babies who aren’t quite crawling yet, or if they are like Violet and into absolutely everything then they’ll love chasing him round the room too. With over 15 phrases, sounds and songs he is noisy, fun and cheerful (without being annoying) which keeps them entertained too.

I think one of the best things is that you don’t quite know which way he’s going to go, he even takes me by surprise! Zooming around in all directions it really holds little ones attention as they can’t wait to see what happens next! If he bumps into a wall, he’ll spin and turn to go back the other way, so there is no need to keep repositioning him which is really handy, he will just roam around the room. Violet crawled all around the living room chasing after him for ages! He kept her attention way longer than a lot of her toys – plus with all that moving about she was knackered afterwards, always good to have a toy you know is going to totally knacker them out when you are having a tired day – right?!

Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl MonsterReview: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster

The act of putting the balls into the top of the monster or batting the coloured bar sets him going again, Violet hasn’t quite mastered this yet, but loves to put her hand into the monsters tummy where she can see the balls spinning around. I’m sure she’ll get the hang of the other ways to play with him soon too.

The Zoom n’ Crawl is perfect for developing their gross motor, sensory and thinking skills, so you know it’s a toy that is helping them learn as well as being fun too!

Review: Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster

We have loved playing with our bright, colourful monster! I’m sure he will keep Violet entertained for months (maybe years) to come too! I think he’d make a lovely Christmas gift for a baby of similar age to Violet!

The Fisher Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster is suitable for ages 9 months + and is priced at £34.99, buy yours here.

A Family Day Out at Drusillas Park

Drusillas always reminds me of happy memories of my childhood – I’m not sure I could count the amount of times I’ve been there when I was very small, so going back as a Mum with my own little girl was definitely a special day for me.  I’m sure it’s changed a LOT since my last visit (maybe 20 years ago?) as I didn’t seem to remember as much as I thought I would, but that was good as it felt like a brand new place to explore all over again and hopefully Violet will hold the same magical memories of family days out too, just like I do.

So, we decided to head to Drusillas Park on Monday this week. It was the perfect day for a family day out as it was gorgeously sunny but cold and crisp too. We wrapped up warm and headed out – meeting Violet’s bestie Liv and her Mummy too as we thought it would be lovely for the babies to hang out and do something fun together with not just boring adults for company!

As you arrive at Drusillas, you are greeted by the sound of monkeys in the enclosure right by the carpark, Violet was already looking all around to see what the strange noise was, I couldn’t wait to show her!

We headed through the entrance to the first section – The Zoo. It’s clearly marked and signposted all the way around, plus we had a map and guidebook as there is just so much to see we didn’t want to miss anything along the way. There is a large array of animals to see at Drusillas. They are known as the UK’s best small zoo and I can see why as the variety of species is extensive! There is something to surprise you around every corner, with every inclosure immaculately clean (even the stinking bats, they are so smelly!) and creatively constructed to keep animals entertained, protected and comfortable, yet allowing a good view too. It’s not just like a zoo where you walk around each animal and look at them befhind the glass either – some enclosures have ‘secret viewing areas’, little bubbles where you can pop-up and view the animals from eye-level and see-through tunnels for the animals to run through before your very eyes. I imagine for children this must be so much fun and I’m sure Violet will love exploring all the different tunnels when she’s a bit more mobile!

Another thing that really struck me was how many activities, animal facts and interesting displays there were as we went round to accompany the animal enclosures. Violet is a little small for animal facts, but when she’s bigger I can see her being facinated and the trip being far more educational than your standard zoo trip. There are also activities like the Animal Spotters book with little stamps to collect as you walk round and Zoolympics, where you can try and match yourself to each animal in speed, sound, ability to climb etc. Hours of fun!  After a good mooch through the entire zoo section, the Mummies all needed a well-earned coffee break whilst the bubbas both had their mid-morning nap. They were so good and both had at least 30 mins sleep, we couldn’t believe it – must have been all that fresh-air and excitement looking at all the different animals. The Explorers Cafe also serves Starbucks coffee too, so that was a nice touch and much needed!

We then entered the play & rides section of Drusillas. As it was an off-peak day the rides were on a rotation basis so we just had to check the timings and make sure we were in the right place at the right time to hop on, I believe the rides are on constantly in the busier times though! They have a couple of massive play areas that the little ones were a bit too small for yet, like the Go Bananas Adventure Playground and I’m sure by next summer they’ll love the Get Wet! Splash pad too – but we skipped these bits for now but I’m sure on visits to come we’ll get lots of enjoyment out of them! We headed down to the Hello Kitty Secret Garden. Ok, I’ll tell you a secret – I’ve been wanting to come here for YEARS but it felt a bit silly coming without a child – so my inner 15 year old Hello Kitty/Sanrio fanatic was screaming with excitement inside. The Hello Kitty area is suitable for all ages as the little ones loved the bright colours and characters, plus there are two rides you can take babies of any age onto as long as you hold onto them on your lap. So, of course we had to go on them – multiple times so everyone got a go! (Luckily Violet!). You can also visit Hello Kitty’s house and on certain days meet the lady herself, but on the day we went she must have had another commitment! 🙂

The last ride of the day for us was the Safari Express. Running only once on the hour in off-peak season, make sure you check the timings of this one before your trip as you don’t want to miss out! Luckily, we were standing right by the station as boarding began so we hopped on. The babies absolutely loved this bit – maybe more than the other rides, the music and scenery captivated their attention, plus they are able to sit together and even held hands on the way round – so sweet!

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Drusillas, there was way more to do than I’d realised – for all ages. I’m sure it’s a place we will return to over and over again as Violet grows up, especially as we are only 20 minutes away.

There are lots of exciting Christmas activities at Drusillas too if you fancy a visit, we saw them all being set up and they look magical! A Winter Wonderland, Santas Cottage, Meet the Reindeer and a Husky Cave, just to name a few of the activities over the Christmas season – we will certainly be taking Violet back for a festive visit – I can’t wait!