Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Find YOUR perfect skincare routine!

Hi Ladies,

I am always getting asked for advice on skincare routines and what products to use at home to suit your skin. It can sometimes be hard to get impartial advice so my aim today is to give a few pointers on how to find the right skincare for YOU, A lot of which is trial and error. What works for one persons' skin may not work for someone else's or a review for a product that may be brilliant but may not necessarily suit your skin type. My aim today is to give a few simple pointers to help you on your way.

I have a lot of experience working as a facial therapist and over the years have seen it all with regards skin so I thought I would share some tips and tricks to get the best skincare routine for you!

Your skin type:
This might sound a little obvious but a lot of women aren't actually sure what there skin type is. It is key to use products that are suited to your skin. Skin types may be Normal, Oily, Dry or Combination. Skin conditions can be classed as Dehydrated, congested or sensitive. You may have a combination of any of these. 

So although you may get breakouts along your jaw, you may not be oily. Breakouts can be caused by stress, hormones, allergies etc as well as oiliness. For an in-depth skin analysis having a facial with a skin expert is a good place to start. This way you can really get to know your skin.

Cleansing is so important (I'd nearly say most important) when it comes to a skincare routine. Regardless if you wear make up day to day, but more-so if you do. Start with a separate eye cleanse to remove eye make up and mascara. I use my trusty old coconut oil or No7 eye make up remover is also very good.
I recommend a cream cleanser if you wear makeup and to cleanse twice. If you are partial to washes, keep this for your second cleanse or for in the mornings ( as they can be drying on the skin). To cleanse simply massage a euro coin size amount into the skin and remove with warm damp facecloth. 
Tip: Bulk buy cheap baby muslin cloths to save your nice facecloths. click here to find.

Toning your skin is also very important but often overlooked. It removes excess oils/ cleanser residue and prepares your skin for your moisturiser. Unless you have excessively oily skin avoid using toners containing alcohol. Simple natural toners such as rose water are perfect. Or again No.7 have some nice mild toners

Finding a moisturiser that suits your skin and makes an impact can be quite trial and error. For drier skins try to opt for a water-in-oil mix (heavier) and for normal skin oil-in-water tends to sit better. With oily or very oily skin try opt for oil-free and non-comedegenic moisturisers (won't block your pores). I will try to do more reviews on products with tags on suitable skin types but as I said it is quite a personal thing! From late 20's onward you will want to start introducing some anti-aging into your skincare. For oily/sensitive/ congested skin check out my review on La Roche Posay skincare

Eye care:
Again from mid 20's an eye cream is something you might want to consider using. They are lighter in consistency than your facial cream so better suited to the delicate eye area. It also targets fine lines/dark circles/puffiness.

If you get this much done, your not doing too bad!

Exfoliants help remove any build up of dead skin cells. This in turn helps your moisturiser to better penetrate to the living cells.( I hold my hands up, I do slack on this sometimes/ alot). If your skin is sensitive try use a mild exfoliant and limit it to once per week. Otherwise 2-3 times per week is recommended. 

Serums, masks, oils and elixirs are all add-ons really. If you can nail the basics down and then gradually build up your products you will be more likely to stick with it. I hope this helps. Any questions or tips please feel free to share.



My skincare fave's at the moment!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Babycook Review

When I was growing up there were only one or two well known brands of baby food and most of you are probably familiar with those little glass jars that they came in. When we started weaning Ollie onto solid foods we looked around at the nutritional value of these jars. I tried a few myself, they looked bland, smelt funny and tasted like cornflour... which surprise surprise was a main ingredient! I found it hard to get Ollie to eat much if any of these jars and who can blame him really so I had to look at other options.

Today I am reviewing the BEABA Babycook food processor that I used to make most of Ollie's food.It's a bit of a strange thing to review but if my mum hadn't told me about it I would never have even known there was such a thing on the market! I fell in love with this the first time I used it. It is so simple and handy to use to make healthy, nutritious, fresh meals for your little one. BEABA is a french brand that has been around for the last 20 years. The babycook has 2 main parts. The main body, the power source, has a compartment that you fill with water. The second part is the food processor. Inside this is a little basket. Your chopped raw fruit or veggies go in the basket in the processor and you turn it on. Simple! They are gently steamed and cooked to perfection every time. Once done, then you simply tip the basket of food into the processor, turn it on and you are left with a smooth puree- perfect for weaning babies. 

It comes with a cookbook with ideas of different recipes. Surprisingly one of Ollie's favourites was Broccoli, Pear and Peas! The purees can be made in advance and frozen (v. handy!) The steam cooking helps to lock in all the nutrients and any leftover water makes a perfect drink for a weaning baby as it contains more veggie nutrients! Once baby can handle chunkier food the steaming function alone is the perfect time saving way to cook and lock in all the goodness. I still use mine all the time even for cooking my own veg!

This would be a great gift for a family member or friend with a newborn that you are looking for that something special for. The retail at about 122 EURO and can be ordered online or boots online. For more gift ideas check out my previous post on more gifts for mum-to-be here Hope this review is helpful.

Rachael x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Some things new mothers cannot prepare for

Leading up to the birth of your first child is an exciting time. You've decorated the nursery, read all the pregnancy books and been to the pre-natal classes. Every second person you meet has some nugget of wisdom to bestow upon you about your impending motherhood but there are some things that new mums just cannot prepare for and do not expect!

  1. The smell of nappies.
When I was in my last few weeks of pregnancy myself and my sister went shopping one day and found ourselves strolling around the Yankee candle shop. As you do, I spent ages smelling all the different candles trying to decide on which one to take home to put in my bedroom, where Ollie was also to be sleeping. My sister suggested the Baby Powder scented candle and I replied that " the room will already smell like baby powder" ha ha WRONG! A newborn needs a nappy change every 2-3 hours in the first few weeks, will spit up milk and the inevitable "poo-nami's". So if you don't keep up with the soiled clothes or nappies your room will most definitely not smell like baby powder!
How did someone this small make that much mess :)

     2. Baby hairs.

Some women are lucky enough not to experience these. I had never even heard of baby hairs. I had heard that during pregnancy your hair loss slows down leaving you with beautiful, thick, healthy hair. Lovely. Then about 4 months after the baby is born you loose a lot of your hair quite quickly as it makes up for lost time. Not so lovely but it was expected. What I failed to realise however that the mass of hair that fell out must grow back and painstakingly slowly. I only realised in my first week back at work when Ollie was about 7 months old and I had tied my hair up into a casual bun and I had what looked like fluff all along my hairline. Now nearly 9 months later this fluff is only about an inch long. On me they tend to stick straight out at a 90 degree angle to the rest of my hair (Whyyyy!!!) Oh and Do not attempt to straighten them- this only makes matters worse! This knowledge doesn't really help you in any way, so if you are unlucky to be one of the few that d get baby hairs, just sit back and enjoy the show! :) 

(haha) baby-hair sufferers unite!

   3. Your priorities completely change.

When I was in the hospital ward after having Ollie a woman opposite me was in having her fourth baby and was said to me " Motherhood is a full time job. No holidays, No lunch breaks or No such thing as calling in sick". To be honest I kind of rolled my eyes, thinking she was being overly dramatic but she could not have spoken the truth more. There are days when you spend so long making sure baby is fed, dressed and clean before you go out that you will end up leaving the house hungry, without showering and wearing a jumper with babies breakfast all over it. But it doesn't matter any more. You learn to survive on 4 hours sleep and still greet baby with a smile in the morning. The household chores will wait and some days I still need to remember to stop stressing over the full laundry basket and instead tip over the toy box and play together. My mum printed me this poem one day I was particularly stressed over the mountain of cleaning that had built up and I try to remind myself of it on the busier days. When I lived in Australia my lifestyle was weekends at the beach and cocktails on rooftop bars, now my days are filled with singing nursery rhymes, bath times and teddy-bears picnics. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Swapping this

For this?... definitely! :)

Lots of love,

Rachael. x

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Facebook page

Just a quick post, if you have been following my blog and want to keep up-to-date with new posts you can now add me on Facebook at I will be using this a lot more regularly and posting links to my blog posts from here! :)

Hope you're all having a lovely day,

Rachael x

Friday, 9 January 2015

Oliver's BCG Story.

(I just want to say that the purpose of this story in not to scare anyone from inoculations I simply wanted to share my experience and to see if anyone had experienced anything similar.)

It all started when Ollie was about 4 weeks old and I brought him to our local health center for his BCG injection (against tuberculosis). I was sent the appointment in the post and thought nothing of it and off I went. The injection itself was fine... in fact Ollie slept through it! In the weeks after a tiny red mark stayed on the injection spot which is quite a common reaction I've heard. 

In the months that followed the skin surrounding the injection spot changed and became quite inflamed and irregular. The skin was bumpy and about 1/2 centimeter thicker than the rest of his arm. It also had a red line around the border. It seemed to spread and then retract occasionally. Every time I saw the nurse for further inoculations (which are done on the legs) I would show her and each time she assured me that it was perfectly normal reaction and could take months to clear.

I did my research and the only thing I could come up with was that it was the tuberculosis itself affecting the skin and the skin condition was called lichen scrufulosorum.

As Ollie reached 15 months old and his arm continued to get worse I decided enough was enough. Although it didn't hurt him I was nervous Ollie was going to be left with a large scar on his arm. I rang my great-aunt to ask her advice and she suggested I try mixing bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice to a paste and applying it to the scar. 

I did this daily and I was amazed at how after only a few days the difference it had made. First it went bright red, over about 3 days ( like it was detoxing the area). Then it started cracking and looked very dry and whiter while the red line remained. By day 5 the texture of the skin had completely evened out but the red line remained. 

I couldn't believe how 2 simple ingredients could make such a huge difference in just a few days after 14 months of trying everything. A few days later I went to the doctors with Ollie and he finally prescribed a medicine that i had to give him for a few days to help finish clearing it up. Now the texture and colour are back to normal, after 14 months it only look a week to clear up! Just a faded outline is all that is visible- Its amazing!

I am so relieved as I was worried that Ollie would have this scar on his arm for life. Although I was brushed off so many times I brought it up to the nurse I am certain now that if anything like this comes up I will be more assertive as 15 months is much too long to deal with this.

If anyone has any similar experiences I would be eager to hear them. Now as I said at the start the purpose of this story is not to scare people from injections, I would still bring Ollie for the injection. The lesson I learnt from this experience is that when it comes to our children if you have any concerns, don't let anyone brush them off. If you feel you are not being listened to then ask for a second opinion- Mothers know best! 

Get in touch please if you have any similar stories or insights to share.

Rachel x
Day 1; Starting the treatment today
Day 3

Day 4
Day 7

Day 10 (at present)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Gift Ideas for a New Mum!

At some point in 2015, you are sure to know someone who is expecting a baby. Depending on how well you know the person and your budget it can be tricky to figure out what to buy for the new arrival.  No doubt any new mum will be gifted with lots of adorable tiny baby clothes but if you really want to think outside the box here are a few gift ideas:

  • Sangenic Nappy Bin:

Not quite as cute as teeny-tiny baby clothes but she will definitely thank you for it. The bin helps to eliminate the smell and bacteria associated with dirty nappies! The starter pack will have everything you need to last at least a few weeks. I got mine from mothercare. Look here.

  • Clevamama keepsake suitcase:
There are lots of variations of keepsake boxes but I think this one is very cute and big enough to hold a lot of things. It comes with a record book where you can fill in all special dates, add photos of special first occasions and a note from mum and dad to baby. It also comes with stickers to personalise it! Look here

  • Baby Carrier or Sling
This is something that most mums would love to get and will, no doubt, get a lot of use for a few years. There are a few different types to get. I have 2. The first, a stretchy wrap, I got when Ollie was a newborn and was amazing for bringing him around the zoo or park while he could sleep or feed.
 The second, a soft-structured carrier, I got recently. Now he wants to walk everywhere I find I spend most of my time pushing an empty buggy so having this instead of a buggy is a lot less hassle and a lot lighter to carry around! I found a great range here at where they can also do consultations to find the right one.

  • A Treat for Mum or Dad:
You can be sure that any new mum (or dad) would appreciate a voucher for a Day Spa where they can get a relaxing massage for a pedicure for their aching feet and just take a few hours off to rest. Failing that for a new mum some luxurious Bath or Body lotions would go down a treat.I personally love Spa Sanctuary brand at Boots as they have lovely gift sets. Their body butters and moisturisers are incredibly hydrating and smell so good. Another favourite is Soap and Glory at Boots. Their products are really cute and smell amazing. I love the Sugar crush range. It smells like zesty lime and the moisturiser is so hydrating it leaves skin feeling so soft. See products and gift sets

2015 is sure to see more than a few baby announcements so I hope this helps if your struggling to think of gift ideas for the Mum-to-be in your life. :)

Rachael x

Friday, 2 January 2015

New year, New Ideas!

Firstly I just wanted to say Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you all had a lovely relaxing Christmas!

Now I know gift idea posts are usually done before Christmas but Myself , Billy and Ollie got a few gifts over the holidays that I think are so original and personal that they would be perfect as gifts for newborns, new parents, engagements, weddings or birthdays! ( Which I'm sure there will be plenty of in 2015!)

My brother came back from London for the first time in over 6 months and he  really spoiled us with gifts. One in particular that I really loved was some Personalized Building Blocks. Four wooden blocks engraved with anything you want. Ours had Ollie's name, Birth weight, Date of Birth, and place of birth. Definitely a keepsake I will cherish. Find similar here at

The next gift I got was a beautiful pendant, Billy tells me it is a Nepalese pendant and something to do with Buddha's face. I really love this. I am not a huge jewellery wearer and only really wear sentimental pieces and I have been wearing this every day since I got it. I love it because it is something very thoughtful and personal. If anyone has any more information on this symbol on the pendant I would love to hear it :)

Then lastly Myself and Billy got 2 tickets to a Mindfulness and Meditation afternoon workshop. This is something I have always been very interested in and I am so excited to go to it. This particular course is for parents of children of all ages. Practicing mindfulness helps us to foster an appreciation of the joyful moments of parenting and to cultivate self-compassion for the difficult times. I will write a post when we do make time to go to the course. I think this is a fantastically original gift for any new parents! Look up courses here

"Being a parent is one of the greatest mindfulness practices of all"- Jon Kabat-Zinn

I'll keep you all posted on how it goes.

Rachael x