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Archive for November, 2009

Although mumzine have posted a few shopping items lately (it is christmas after all) we know that lot of us are trying to cut back on unnecessary spending and waste.

So, if you would like a bit of help, check out Dr Will Powers on twitter.  A reformed shopaholic, he has dedicated his life to helping shopaholics across the world. Anytime you feel the need to buy anything you don’t really need, reach out he’ll be there. – William Powers M.D.  Just tweet your temptation and he will respond with some sage advice on how to resist.

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We have just discovered this lovely brand of natural skincare for mum and baby – Bloom and Blossom, its prices are reasonable for the quality of the products.  Their USP is that they use minimum number of ingredients to achieve the maximum results.

All products are made in the United Kingdom and ingredients are of the highest quality.  On top of that, the packaging is fully recyclable and the cardboard is from FSC certified, carbon neutral and controlled sources.

The mumzine favourites are the Revitalising Leg and Foot Spray (£9.00)  and this gentle scalp oil (£10.00).  What is brilliant about the brand and the site is that each product is clearly marked with a big number indicating the number of ingredients – and they are refreshingly few.

Bloom and Blossom promise to use:

  1. No PARABENS
  2. No PETROLEUM
  3. No SODIUM LAURETH
  4. No SODIUM LAUREL SULPHATE (SLS)
  5. No XENOESTROGEN
  6. No PHTHALATES
  7. No ARTIFICIAL COLOURANTS
  8. No SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE
  9. No PETROCHEMICALS
  10. No HARSH DETERGENTS
  11. No ANIMAL TESTING
  12. No TOXIC INGREDIENTS

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Most mums-to-be feel confused at the number of books out there to help you get to grips with being pregnant so we asked the UK’s first independent midwife, Melody Weig, of Birthrites to give us her top reads.

NB: We know this is a long list so we would suggest just buying a few and hitting the library to avoid getting a fat bill.  There are also lots of these available second hand books through amazon to soften the blow.

Overall top books:

  1. Pregnancy and Birth by Sheila Kitzinger
  2. Baby and Child by Penelope Leach
  3. Baby Wisdom by Deborah Jackson
  4. Bestfeeding: Getting Breastfeeding Right for You by Renfrew, Fisher and Arms

Pregnancy

  1. The Encyclopedia of Pregnancy and Birth by Janet Balaskas and Yehudi Gordon
  2. A Child is Born by Lennart Nilsson
  3. Natural Pregnancy by Zita West

Water Birth

  1. Water Birth Unplugged by Beverley Beech
  2. Choosing a Water Birth by AIMS
  3. Waterbirth – An Attitude to Care by Dianne Garland

Labour

  1. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
  2. Every Birth is Different by Pat Thomas
  3. Birth Reborn by Michel Odent

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We love these funky and original Christmas stockings. We love them even more because they’re handmade from 100% recycled materials and appliquéd with vintage fabric, buttons and hand stitched with your choice of name.

Each one is individually designed and handmade to order exclusively for you- there will never be another one like it. They measure approximately 47 x 34cms, cost £55 plus p&p and take a week to turn around – so you can still get them in time if you order now from Alice and Emma.

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Mumzine Homeopath and Nutritional Advisor, Jean Branch from Branch Health discusses the pros and cons of the much debated soya.

“As a pulse in our diet, soya beans are of particular medical interest.  They are one of the only plant sources of complete protein* which makes them great for vegetarians.  Research around the world has shown that soya may have additional health benefits.  Soya beans contain phytoestrogens**  which can help to reduce menopausal and post menopausal symptoms in women and is important for osteoporosis which has been linked to depletion in oestrogen levels in women.

Some research has also shown that the soybean and its products may have cancer fighting powers, this is linked to a protein called genistein, which reportedly retards tumour growth by preventing the growth of new blood vessels to feed the tumour.  It appears to be particularly effective against prostrate cancer, but also works against breast cancer in women and colon cancer in both sexes.

Soya bean products also have a reputation of helping to lower blood cholesterol, thus helping prevent heart disease (depending where you sit on the Cholesterol debate – but that’s one for another day!).

It all sounds great – everyone’s a winner seemingly!  But as with all things, not quite so simple.  Inevitably if something has an effect on our delicate hormonal system, one will impact on the other, and concerns have developed that soya could disrupt thyroid function.  However, the assumption here is that soya inhibits absorption of iodine and therefore thyroxine production, but if you have adequate iodine in your diet this shouldn’t present a problem.

Some argue that western soya products are so highly processed that they lose valuable nutrients and plant hormone content (isoflavones) could increase.    In some animal tests a link was identified between soya based infant formula and problems with reproductive development.  Although cause for concern, there is currently no evidence of adults that have been fed on soya products as children, having suffered any hormonal side effects.

To conclude (although I know most of you will always do your own research), take heed of my nutrition standard: All things in moderation!  Athough highly processed food, (including soya products) are not as good for you, soya milk and soya products are regarded as safe as part of a general and varied diet for children and adults, and can be beneficial.

For more information on these issues I would recommend safety of soya and food revolution.

Care should also be taken that the source is from non genetically modified soybeans.”

* they contain all eight essential amino acids which make up protein.

** naturally occuring oestrogens

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I love Christmas and bringing out the advent calendar always sparks excitement in our house. Last year I filled the calendar with activity ideas on some days and chocolate on others. However, Bella threw a complete strop on the days there were no chocolate. Frankly, this took all the enjoyment away  so this year I’ve got a no chocolate advent calendar policy.  It’s all about getting in the Christmas spirit and here’s some suggestions.

  1. Write a letter to Father Christmas/Santa
  2. Put up Christmas wreath
  3. Hang stockings
  4. Buy a Christmas tree
  5. Decorate Christmas Tree
  6. Make mince pies
  7. Donate old unwanted toys to charity or children’s hospice
  8. Write cards to friends
  9. Make grandparents special Christmas cards
  10. Listen to favourite Christmas songs
  11. Watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ together
  12. Make Christmas cookies
  13. Read the Nativity story (Luke)
  14. Watch The Snowman
  15. Go to a Panto or Christmas theatre production
  16. A trip to visit Father Christmas
  17. Go and see some Christmas lights
  18. Go to cinema and see a seasonal film
  19. Read The Angel Visits Mary story
  20. Share hot chocolate with marshmallows
  21. Go ice skating
  22. Christmas songs sing along
  23. Attend some Christmas carols
  24. Leave a mince pie and drink for Father Christmas and some carrots for the reindeers

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I know, I know its the 30th November so we’re cutting it fine with this piece. You’re probably all over this already but you can always save any ideas you may take from it for next year. However, if not then you’re in luck.

1. Marilyn Scott-Waters, The Toymaker, can bail you out with her free printable Advent calendar.

Just grab the two PDF files from Marilyn’s Christmas web page, and fire up the ol’ colour printer.

You’re going to print out one copy of each page. On the page with the Christmas tree picture, cut out three sides of each of the numbered doors.

The second page is glued on behind, with tiny seasonal pictures to be revealed as each door is opened day by day through December. Easy-peasy!

The Toymaker’s design has real old-fashioned charm — like all of her paper toys — but all the speed and convenience that a busy modern parent could hope for.

2. If you’re not worried about delivering your calendar a little late and you don’t mind spending a bit more time try the baby sock advent calendar.

I loved the look of this, it would definitely last you a few years and use up all those unpaired socks in the draw.

3. Or, again more time consuming but very creative , these numbered paper cones. The creator, Lisa Tilse has hung them on branches but you could thread or clip them onto some gorgeous festive ribbon and hang them down the bannister.

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