This Is Me Review: Skinfix Gentle Baby Regimen

Skinfix

Dry, sensitive skin is something I have been battling all my life, lucky me right? When I was younger I used to suffer from horrendous eczema, I remember the backs of my knees would be red raw. Now that I’m older (boooo), I still get the odd patch, and my hands are really susceptible to dermatitis. Because of this, I’m really aware of what I use on my skin, and because I know it can be genetic, I’m even more careful about what I will use on the boys’ skin – Finn because he’s a newborn and Reuben because he’s already shown signs of allergies and skin sensitivity (sorry son).

When the team at Skinfix got in touch to offer me the chance of reviewing the new Skinfix Gentle Baby Regimen – free of fragrance, steroids, tree nut and peanut ingredients, dermatologist recommended and paediatrician tested – I jumped at the chance.

The range launched in Boots on June 17th, we were lucky to get a sneak peak and have been using the Skinfix Gentle Hair & Body Wash (236ml / £12.99), the Skinfix Nappy Balm (60g / £6.99) and the Skinfix Gentle Lotion (236ml / £12.99) for the past month.

The first thing we tried was the Nappy Balm, normally we use Metanium as we find it’s the best product for clearing up sore bottoms quickly, but it does smell chemically and I find it leaves a stain if you get it on a baby grow. The smell of the Skinfix Nappy Balm is lovely, formulated using sunflower and jojoba oils, it is just so much nicer applying it to sore bottoms. I’ll admit I was sceptical about it being able to do the job as quickly asMetanium does but was surprised at how effectively it worked. This is now a staple product on our changing station and I feel so much better about applying something far more natural to Finn’s tiny bottom.

I have been using the Skinfix Gentle Hair & Body Wash on Reuben for a few weeks now. It’s the first time I’ve switched from Dentinox shampoo as even at three he’s quite prone to ruddy cradle cap! I’ve had no issues with Reuben suffering from a dry, flaky scalp, and I love the fact it is a tear-free formula. Hair wash days can be particularly stressful in our house, but he was excited to try a new shampoo, I told him it was magic and wouldn’t sting his eyes, and it was a hit! I’m also a big fan of it being a body wash in one, the less “stuff” I have cluttering up my toy-filled bathroom the better! It also makes the whole bath time routine easier using an all-in-one product. Again Reuben suffers from patches of eczema, but in the four weeks we’ve been using the product there hasn’t been a patch on him, so it’s a thumbs up from me!

The Skinfix Gentle Lotion, made with 98% natural ingredients has been the perfect treatment for the little patches of dry skin on Finn that newborns seem to get. Also, I have been using this one myself! After years of using steroid-based ointments I try to use lotions until I absolutely have to switch to a hydrocortisone cream. I find some creams can sting a bit on my skin but I’ve had no trouble with this one, and it’s left me feeling moisturised. There is an Eczema Balm available, which I am keen to try for my next ‘flare up’ and they also do a hand wash, which given how often I wash my hands currently I think is definitely worth trying out.

I’ve really enjoyed trialling these products, as mentioned I can be wary of putting anything new on my skin for fear of a reaction, I much prefer the idea of putting something natural on my skin, so this range get full approval from me!

Skinfix is available to buy from Boots online and in-store now.

S xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent Skinfix Gentle Baby products free of charge, but all opinions are my own.

West is Best… Things I Love About the West Country

When we made the decision to relocate to the West Country two years’ ago, for me, the decision was easy. I was born in Wroughton (ok, Swindon), but grew up in a small town between Bath and Salisbury. I went to university in Bournemouth, and after a couple of years in a PR agency in Southampton decided to take the plunge and move to London. Returning ‘home’ was always on the agenda, but it had to be when the time was right. I had a ruddy good time in London, I was very much a country bumpkin in our capital city. There was the time I asked someone on the Central Line which carriage the toilet was in, and then the time I was sent to an event by the River Thames only to return to the office two hours later having not been able to find the River. The less said about that better. If I’m being really honest, those two snippets are just the start of my seven years in the Big Smoke.

After having Reuben, the time felt right for us to move back, so we have settled in a small town between Bath and Bristol. From walking through the door two years’ ago it’s always felt like home. Ben is originally from Buckinghamshire, he is adjusting well to West Country life, although I think he is both amused and bemused by the West Country culture. Here are some of the reasons why I love the West Country:

  1. The people – and I include myself in this. The people here are so friendly, although I think a rabid dog is probably friendlier than London commuters. We say things like “good morning” when we pass each other in the street, we thank cars with a polite wave who have stopped to let us cross a zebra crossing (one of the things that amuses Ben). We know our neighbours, not just next door either, but we know the name of everyone who lives in our street, sometimes we even hang out.
  1. Driving – I only ever did a couple of driving trips in London, that’s all I needed to do to confirm I should leave it up to the experts, and took cabs or the tube (the carriages don’t have toilets you know). I don’t blink when we’re stuck behind a tractor on an A road, I even tolerate what I think is a very West Country thing whereby if a car has to give way at a junction, a car with the right of way stops to let the car that has to give way out. That has blown Ben’s mind.
  1. The language and accent – where we live is a real mix between posh West Country (a Bath accent with a mild twang, usually when someone says “alright”) and broad Bristolian. When I went to university and subsequently London I was very aware of my accent, so worked hard to try and sound less bumpkin, more London PR dahhhhling. I’m not sure if I ever convinced anyone… However, now I’m back, the old twang is becoming more broad with Ben shouting “turnip” at me every time I say something or drop a consonant (which I am forever correcting Reuben on as it goes e.g. wheresat – where’s that. Whassat – what’s that).
  1. The view – while I am aware that other areas of the country have fields, I stand by my belief that none of them look as nice as the rolling hills of the West Country. There
    balloon spotting

    Hot Air Balloon Spotting

    are areas surrounding Bath that I love driving through just to take in the view, and smell the lingering smell of manure. We’re fortunate where we live that we’re surrounded by fields where hot air balloons land and take off from, particularly ace during the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

  1. Cider – I bloody cider. I don’t mean the cheap stuff you get in 2L bottles that I played Power Hour with as a teenager (why, just why). In fact, I am quite snobby about my cider choice. I am not overly keen on the Irish or Swedish stuff that you drink with ice, that won’t do. I prefer a nice cold glass of the West Country stuff – proper job. In fact, Somerset company Brothers recently sent me a cheeky tipple to try out. Brothers has just launched Brothers Hop Cider 4% ABV, which is a blend of apples and pears. I’ll
    brothers

    Cider I Up!

    admit I’m not hugely keen on pear cider after overindulging at Glastonbury one year, it all got messy during an Orbital set and ended up with me being told off by the Green Police for weeing in a hedge. However, it was a good few years ago, so I thought I’d give pear cider another go, with everyone else’s’ best interests at heart, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t have that horrid overly sweet taste some of the other fruity ciders have. The ones that tend to give you a headache after a bottle following the sugar crash. It’s a refreshing drink, best served cold, you can put it over ice if you like, but I do judge people who do that. Brothers Hop Cider is definitely going to be featuring in my summer drinks selection. Thanks guys!

 

S xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent some Brothers Hop Cider free of charge, but all opinions are my own.

 

Father’s Day Feels

Ben is without a doubt my rock. Since Reuben was born and particularly the past few weeks since Finn came along I’ve realised just how much he does for us all. 

When a new baby arrives there’s much fuss about the baby and the mum, who are both showered with gifts and support. While all these are lovely (and always welcome) behind the scenes in my house Ben has been a tower of strength, the most patient person and a super dad to both children in what has been an understandably bonkers few weeks with a newborn and a near three year old.

He’s helped me get dressed, made me laugh/occasionally grimace, cooked, cleaned, entertained children / visitors, bought me “feminine products”, given me cuddles, dealt with my hormones (medal deserving on its own), ensured there’s always chocolate in the house, done all of the washing, cleaned bottles, changed nappies, helped with night feeds and kept a cool head in the process. 

When both children were born he told me how proud he was of me and I don’t think I’ve told him that I’m just as proud of him. The boys are lucky to have him as role model, he’s Reuben and Finn’s hero and he’s also mine. 

Thank you for being brilliant Ben. Can you pop the kettle on?

S xxx

Welcome Little Finn!

We welcomed Finn into the world on Tuesday 31 May, he weighed in at 6lbs 15oz (take that “are you sure it isn’t twins?” haters!).  


Finn was the name I had actually chosen for Reuben but Ben preferred Reuben. However, three years of nagging seems to have worked. That and Ben’s reluctance to pick up a baby name book (quite common I hear).

Finn was born early by an elective c-section that was quite late in being decided but actually I’m really pleased with how it went and we made the decision to go ahead with it. Reuben was born by an emergency section and the two births, and subsequent week after, could not have been any different. 

Finn was born into a calm environment, within five mins of surgery. After delayed cord clamping I  got to hold him skin to skin – I didn’t hold R for the first hour after he’d be born and having had the contact this time I really believe it makes a difference having that early bonding opportunity. 

The atmosphere was so calm, and I felt really looked after by the whole team who kept reassuring me it was going well. My main concern was bleeding to death so they were good at keeping me informed that I wasn’t, although I did lose more than normal so I get to take iron tablets for a while. (Black poos are a little weird if I’m honest).

We stayed overnight for the first night and they allowed Ben to do the same, again something that didn’t happen before but it really helped us all to bond. Primarily it meant that Ben could help me with Finn as I was still bed bound until around 7am when they got me up. Wowzer. Then they gave me some more painkillers and life was good again.

We were discharged 24 hours after Finn was born and have been enjoying some time as a family of four. Reuben is besotted with his new baby brother, he won’t stop kissing him and offering him toys. Long may that continue… Ahem. Reuben seems to be punishing me a little which is fine, it’s all change for him and he’s quite an emotional boy. I just keep offering reassurance and bribes. Grade A parenting.

So far Finn seems pretty chilled but I know this can change. I’m certain it’s to do with his birth being so relaxed, which in turn has made us all relax (well the painkillers have made me relaxed if I’m honest). I’m just so happy he’s with us and although it’s only been four days it feels like he’s always been here.


S xxx

Date nights after children: The reality

Now before I begin I need to fess up, although we do use the term ‘date night’ in this house, I don’t like it. I like the premise, but I do wonder why we stopped saying “’let’s go out for dinner/drinks” and instead turned it into date night.

Anyway, we actively embrace date nights in our house, usually after prolonged periods of arguing due to lack of sleep or realise we’ve not had a conversation over dinner for some time that hasn’t involved catching a plate a toddler has thrown or watching Hollyoaks (what? I like it).

Nowadays our date nights are just a bit different from the childfree days, when we used to go out for dinner (when we had a three course meal and ate it slowly and shared a bottle of wine without feeling like people are staring at us for having a bottle of wine and a child), or when we used to go out for drinks (get sh*tfaced). These days they take careful planning, and usually go a bit like this:

Me: “I’m done, I’m not having anymore kids, I’m so tired, I don’t even look like my mum anymore I look like my dad I’m that tired. I never get any time to myself, I can’t cope.”

Husband chirps in: “Let’s have a date night.”

Excellent, seems like a massively good idea. What more could two tired, angry people want than a night out to rekindle their love for each other? Bring back the memories of the good old days. Relight those fires.

We need a babysitter, shit. So then you have to find a babysitter “we can’t ask mum again we asked her last time” “true”, *looks through list of Facebook friends*, “I’ll ask mum”.

So there you go, all booked in and ready to go. I’m even excited. Until…. WTF am I going to wear? All I have is Breton stripes and old leopard print H&M cardigans. So then I go on ASOS, the “new in” section to make sure that what I buy is so on trend. “Why the eff are they all cropped tops?”. Scrap ASOS, I’ll have a look at Warehouse and Oasis, reliable, safe, sometimes sexy, because that’s what I need to be. “Why is it £75 for a dress?” Shit. I’m going to have to go to New Look and buy something potentially flammable but that doesn’t say “mum that can’t coordinate a wardrobe”. Just need to fit the time in to go shopping, with a toddler, and get undressed in a changing room with a toddler. Sod it, I’ll just go with jeans and a black top, I’ll throw on a fake gemmed necklace and it will be brilliant.

Then it comes to date night, I get my mum over late afternoon to have a play with Reuben and sit down to dinner with him while I go and have a relaxing bath, paint my nails (toenails and fingernails), we’ll take him up the stairs, kiss him goodnight and off we’ll go. OR, mum will arrive as Reuben is mid tantrum, one of many that day. He’ll refuse to eat dinner, scream in the bath, and won’t go to sleep. So we leave the house stressed, smudged nails, barely on talking terms. But it’s fine because WE ARE OUT.

And thus begins an evening of talking about Reuben, his development, and am I too strict? Am I too soft? Do I spoil him? Did you see that thing he did earlier with the crayon? He’s a genius, he’s definitely advanced…. And then onto which room we are going to decorate next in the house, which requires a gin chaser, before realising it’s 10pm and if we’re not home soon we’ll really pay for it in the morning.

On the way home we dream about a lie-in in the morning, and a nice family day at the park. And then Reuben spends half the night waking up crying before insisting on a 6am get-up, which we both pretend we can’t hear until one person relents  and gets up. And thus begins the cycle: work, parenthood, work, being a zombie until the next date night.

Magic.

Me and him

Here we are loving life and each other….!

S xxx

 

 

Hospital Bags- What’s in Mine?

I have FINALLY got myself together a little bit (still not 100%) and organised hospital bags. When I had R, I only took one bag which had enough supplies for both of us for an overnight stay. When we had to be in hospital for four days it became apparent this was an error. Poor Ben had to endure me barking orders at him to bring everything from pants to sleepsuits – in the correct size.

This time I have decided that two hospital bags, one for me and one for H2 will be best, and I’ve filled them with enough clothes for a two-week all-inclusive in the Med, which is pretty much what the labour ward will be like, am I right?!

H2’s bag is new, I picked up in T K Maxx a couple of months ago. I’ve gone for leopard IMG_6971.JPGprint, which I think Ben will look very fetching carrying around for me. I did almost pick up a rather sensible neutral bag, but it’s just not me, I’m a big leopard print fan so this one will get lots of wear.

IMG_6979I have no idea how big this baby will be, R was 8lbs 12oz and was straight into size 1 nappies and 0-3 months’ clothes. I have included
a couple of newborn-sized vests and sleepsuits just in case, but I’ve mainly gone with 0-3 months.

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on a baby’s ‘going home outfit’, it’sIMG_6977 not really something I considered with R, and one of my learnings from him was that sleepsuits really are easier to keep them in rather than fussing with vests, tops, bottoms and socks – especially if/when they’re sick. Most of the sleepsuits I have are plain white, but I have picked up this cute star print suit with matching hat from Jo Jo Maman Bebe, just to make some effort.

IMG_6974I’ve also packed some muslins, including these fab extra large muslins from toTs by smarTrike. I found muslins incredibly useful with R (he had reflux) so I’ve really gone to town on making sure I have enough to wrap around the house twice and then some. Always be prepared! The toTs by smarTrike muslins will also double up as a swaddle blanket too, just in case little one prefers to be snuggled up for his naps. I love the grey and the bird design, they’re not overly ‘baby-like’ which isn’t me, and they’ll be handy to use in the carrycot (also grey) of his pram. Top tip: pop a muslin over the sheet wherever baby sleeps so you can whip it off and replace that if they’re sick, rather than washing sheets constantly.

I also took R on a trip to choose a teddy for his baby brother, he chose the smallest little rabbit, it really made me chuckle, he was not budging on size. The lovely team at Bump PR also sent us this toTs by smarTrike comforter, which is super soft and the perfect match for the bunny chosen by R!

I’ve also included essentials such as a small pack of nappies, WaterWipes (these are a fab alternative to cotton wool and water, and suitable for newborn’s skin) and these bibs from Tommee Tippee, I found these to be the best with R so I’ve stocked up again. I’ve also included a couple of nice soft blankets, one is from GAP and the other is a cellular blanket from Mothercare.

 

For myself, I won’t harp on, but I’ve packed:

  1. Full-sized briefs, not sexy, but it’s not a sexy time, pack for comfort and these bad boys are heaven, I’m already in a pack. Bow-chicka-wow-wow.
  2. Snacks: I’ve packed for myself and Ben, I’ve gone with healthy dried apricots, malt loaf, almonds and topped it up with Mini Cheddars and Mars Bars – for erm, energy.
  3. Wash bag: I’ll decant my own shampoo and conditioner into mini bottles as I’m a huge snob when it comes to these products. Also included is shower gel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, make-up wipes, moisturiser, hairbands, hair grips and dry shampoo.
  4. Nightdresses, I’ve packed a couple of dark ones.
  5. Flip flops for the shower, a requirement at my hospital.
  6. A thin dressing gown, for when I’m hobbling around the ward.
  7. Snugglebundl – an absolute godsend with R, so useful for holding baby and transferring from car seat to the crib etc. It really helped with my previous C-section recovery as well as it doesn’t put so much pressure on the scar area.
  8. Post-partum lady toiletries: breast pads, maternity pads.

Still to go in….

  1. Make-up, I don’t plan on going full face but a bit of rouge for the cheeks, mascara for the eyes and concealer will help towards me feeling human.
  2. A couple of bras.
  3. iPad and headphones, because it’s 2016.
  4. Phone charger.
  5. My incredible sense of humour and positive mental attitude…

S xxx

Disclaimer: We were sent the toTs by smarTrike extra large muslins and comforter free of charge, but all opinions are my own.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is fast approaching (Sunday 19 June), and while I shall be giving Ben the gift of another son (I can totally get away with that), I thought I would share some nice bits and pieces I’ve spotted, usually during my middle of the night online shopping sprees that I forget about until I sign for them from the postman. “What’s this?” I always ask him, smooth Siobhan.

I’ve tried to keep it as broad as possible and reasonably priced, so here’s what I think would make a nice gift or two for those superstar dads:

  1. T-shirt, Parenting Apparel, £26

Mens_BREAKING_DAD_Tee_light_charcoal_largeMens_DADASS_Tee_navy_large

2. Personalised Barbecue Tools, Notonthehighstreet.com, £30

original_personalised-barbecue-tools

3. The Beer Chocolate Hamper, Hotel Chocolat, £25

father's day hotel chocolat

4. Weber, Grill Academy Courses, Nationwide, from £69

meat

5. Clarins Men Essential Grooming Set, Allbeauty.com, £29.95

clarins

6. Brewdog Mixed Cases, from £23

Brewdg

7. Framed Instagram Pics, nowframeit.com, from £10.95

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8. Socks, John Lewis, £12

socks

9. Whisky Wedge, Oliver Bonas, £15

whisky wedge

10. daddy cool mug, big tomato company, £12.95

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Happy shopping!

S xxx