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Five savvy suggestions for surviving motherhood

Becoming a parent is one of the most wonderful things in the world, but it’s also incredibly hard work. It can be quite isolating and emotionally tough, which you could probably cope with if you’d had enough sleep, which you won’t have done. Last year my lovely friend Karen from That Lancashire Lass became a mum for the third time. In this guest post, she shares with us her tips for surviving motherhood.

Five savvy suggestions for surviving motherhood

It’s no secret that the first few weeks, months and years of parenting is hard work. The most beautiful and amazing thing in your life just happened, but it’s a shock to your body and your life changes drastically. Sometimes you feel like your kid is driving you up the wall and you need a bit of space, or even just a conversation with another grown up. Sometimes your four walls at home feel like they might start closing in on you and you need to get outside and get some air in your lungs. Other times you might need reassurance that your baby is doing just as well as all the other babies her age. And once in a while, you just need to know you’re doing okay.

I have always had good friends around me. When I had each of my babies my friends were there with gifts, baby cuddles and wine and they were a great source of support for me. The thing is though that once the initial visits wear off you find that your friends are at work, or busy with their own families and commitments. That’s the time you need to put yourself out there. Here are five things you can do to stave off the loneliness, isolation and general blues that can creep in when you have a new baby…

Make time for yourself

Whether it be painting your nails, going for a massage or simply having an early night while dad, sister or your mum watches the baby once a week, it’s really important to make time for yourself. I really struggled with this myself as I find it difficult to hand over the reins, but once I learned to let go a little bit I felt so much better in myself and I was a generally happier person. Which leads me onto point two…

Accept help

I promise you that nobody is going to judge you for letting other people help with the baby. If someone you trust offers to help, to watch the baby while you nap or take a bath, to take him out in the pram while you hoover round (or even better if they offer to hoover!) then honestly, just say yes. It will make them feel good for being able to help and they really wouldn’t offer unless they meant it. People generally love to lend a hand. I’m not saying pack your newborn off to Nana’s for a month but do welcome the opportunity to shower for more than 30 seconds at a time!

Make some mum friends

Since there were 696,271 live births in England and Wales in 2016, I’m certain there are mums with children of a similar age to yours nearby! Using an app like Mush makes a world of difference when you need some contact with the outside world. You can use the app to search for parents with children of a similar age, with similar interests to yours or who are in your local area. Where I live there are several meet-ups per week, all of which started off as a simple connection on Mush. I love the app and have made some lovely new friends through it. I’d definitely recommend it.

Five savvy suggestions for surviving motherhood

Sleep when you can

You know when midwives say ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ and you think it’s ridiculous because who is going to cook dinner, wash the pots and do the laundry? Well you’ll feel much better if you sack the housework off and get your head down. The laundry will get done eventually and nobody will starve to death. Just order a takeaway.

Don’t be pressured

Formula or breastmilk? Cloth nappies or disposables? Routine or baby led days?

It really, truly, honestly doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks you should do. Sure, listen to what they have to say and make up your own mind about it, but when all is said and done you are the one bringing up this tiny human and it is your decision on how to do that. As long as you and your baby are safe and happy, then you crack on. There is no ‘right’ way to be a parent and we’re all different. Ask for advice if you need to, but have faith in yourself!

Are you a parent already? What advice on surviving motherhood would you give to new mums?

Have you ever considered leasing a family car?

If there is one thing any parent can do without, it’s the added pressure of finding, funding, and maintaining a new family car whilst juggling the myriad other responsibilities of parenthood.

But the car has become an indispensible part of family lifestyles, and for parents with a young family to take care of it can make a major difference to the day-to-day routine. Having the freedom to do the weekly shop, pick the kids up from the school, and take weekend trips away without a second thought spent on the practicalities of getting around is a luxury few of us would like to live without.

But not all luxuries are easy to afford, and getting hold of a new family car, whether it’s used or new and paid for outright or on finance, can be difficult both practically and financially.

Used cars are often more affordable, but it’s hard to get a clear picture of their history and the chances of something going wrong are significantly increased. What’s more, there’s usually no warranty left in place so anything that does go wrong is left to you to sort out.

New cars, although they’re far less likely to throw up any problems themselves, are notoriously expensive to get hold of and lose their value quickly. Most people will find that buying a new family car requires a personal loan from a bank, building society, or even a family member.

Cars bought on finance deals eliminate the risks associated with picking up a used car, but they do bring along a whole range of their own problems. The financial implications of purchasing via a finance deal can be great and far-reaching. Most deals will require you to pay around 10% of the car’s value as a deposit as well as ongoing monthly sums, and at the end of the deal you’ll be left with a car worth much less than you’ve paid for it.

Leasing is a middle-of-the-road option that gives parents the best of both worlds; you can drive a brand new car with full manufacturer’s warranty, whilst paying an affordable amount of money each month and only having to pay a few months’ rent upfront as a deposit. At the end of the leasing contract, you simply hand back the keys. At this point, you’ll be a leasing convert and ready to choose the next brand new car for you and your family.

Have you ever thought of leasing the family car?

What else is great about leasing?

It’s reliable: Leased cars are brand new, unused, and with warranties still in place. Nothing is likely to go wrong, but if anything does then it’s not your responsibility to get it fixed. That means no surprise costs and no hassle.

It’s practical: Unlike buying and hire purchase finance deals, leasing is incredibly straightforward. You pay a small deposit, pick up the keys, and pay your monthly installments. At the end of the contract, you hand back the keys and take back the deposit before choosing whether another lease is for you. Additionally, day-to-day practicalities are even easier with all of the smart new functions available in brand new vehicles. Think litres of storage space and fold-away seats perfect for daytrips to the beach.

It’s safe: Every new generation of cars on the road is safer than the last, and with your little ones in tow there’s nothing more important than making sure they’re as well looked-after as possible. When choosing a family car to lease, you’ll get to pick from the latest models with the most advanced safety features on the road.

It’s affordable: We’ve said it once, but we’ll say it again. For parents with a limited amount of disposable income, leasing can be surprisingly easy to manage. A short-term agreement with no long-term financial implications means you’re able to drive the best of what’s available without making a loss when you decide to move on to a new family car. There’s no major upfront cost, no loans or credit agreements, and nothing to lose at the end.

If, after reading this you feel a car lease deal maybe a feasible option, then check out Vantage Car Leasing. They offer an array of car leasing options that you may find are suitable for most family budgets.

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Frozen Donor Eggs – An Alternative Approach to Facing Infertility

Many women have already begun imagining their perfect partner, their ideal wedding, and the blessing of having a child of their own when they are just young girls. So what happens when a woman finds out that these dreams may not turn into a reality? As people, we create an image in our minds of how our stories are supposed to play out; but when things take an unexpected turn, especially when faced with the challenge of infertility, it can often seem like all hope is lost.

Thankfully, however, there are other options to explore when choosing the path towards motherhood.

Renewed Hope for People Facing Fertility Challenges

In recent years, advanced technology has improved medical treatments to help couples overcome their infertility. One such assisted reproductive technology is to undergo IVF using an egg donor. Through the use of donor eggs, women have the opportunity to experience motherhood from the beginning and feel the joy of life growing inside them. We have reached a time where no longer having viable eggs of does not necessarily inhibit a woman from experiencing pregnancy. The benefits that can come from choosing to use frozen donor eggs are undeniable.

When you decide to use a frozen donor egg, you can feel confident in your decision. Women who are interested in donating their eggs must undergo arduous screening processes for genetic, medical, and psychological issues before they are deemed eligible for donation. They must be healthy non-smokers between the ages of 21 and 32. These high standards are put in place so that donor egg recipients can have the best chance of conceiving and giving birth to a child.

Frozen egg banks, offer patients a wide selection of donors to choose from. When choosing a frozen donor egg, couples often seek out individuals with physical resemblances, similar ethnicity, or preferred backgrounds. With nationwide databases of egg donors, recipients are given the chance to fulfil these requirements.

Frozen Donor Eggs

Fresh Vs. Frozen Donor Eggs– What are the Differences?

By choosing to use frozen donor eggs as opposed to a fresh sample, recipients will be choosing a more economical solution to their infertility. While donor egg IVF is typically more expensive than traditional IVF, frozen samples represent a large discount over fresh.  

When choosing to use a fresh sample, donors and recipients have to undergo a painstaking synchronisation process. Along with synchronising the women’s menstrual cycles, their responses to various medications must also be coordinated. The cost for this can quickly become very high. Frozen donor eggs eliminate the need for these extra procedures and processes. Eggs are ready to go once a woman has finished preliminary screenings and hormonal treatments. In order to further help with the costs, egg banks have created financial plans that will refund your money if you have not had a successful delivery after a certain number of tries.

More often than not, once a couple has decided on a suitable egg donation bank and donor, they will only need to worry about their own medical preparation. The bank itself will usually coordinate with the couple’s chosen fertility clinic to arrange the delivery of the sample. The frozen donor eggs will then arrive at the clinic for fertilisation to be used once the woman is ready for her embryo transfer. Frozen eggs can also remain in storage if a woman’s cycle needs to be delayed for any reason.

An article on Resolve.org tells us that in the past, women who suffered from conditions like premature ovarian failure and diminished ovarian reserve didn’t have many options. Our modern world, however, is full of amazing technological advances that give these women choices that they never used to have. No woman should be forced to lose sight of her childhood dreams and fantasies.

Frozen donor egg IVF, along with other infertility treatments, can allow couples to overcome roadblocks that may arise in their quest to have a child of their own and become a family. Even though a woman may not have the chance to deliver her own biological child, that does not mean she won’t have the chance to become a mother.

This is a guest post.

Review: OM Yoga Show Manchester 2016

Yoga is a beautiful thing, something I used to really enjoy but can no longer do, which is a shame. When I was invited to the OM Yoga Show Manchester I really wanted to go but thought it’d be better if someone who would really appreciate it went in my place. My very lovely friend Naseema who LOVES yoga spent a day at the show and wrote this wonderful guest post for me – thanks Naseema!

I visited the OM Yoga Show last weekend as an attempt to learn more about Yoga and its practice since I am a little bit of a budding yogi myself. I had a preconception that this event only included professional yoga teachers doing headstands and handstands but much to my amazement I felt right at home.

The OM Yoga Show Manchester had over 100 exhibitors and was based at Event City in Manchester. The admission price was £7.50 (adult) for one day in advance, £12.50 (adult) for a two-day ticket and £16.00 (adult) for a three-day ticket. Upon entering Event City I felt really uplifted. I was able to purchase a copy of the OM Yoga magazine for £1 and started exploring the booths, speaking to different yoga groups in Manchester and from around the UK.

OM Yoga Show Manchester

I met different yoga teachers who were based around the UK and in Manchester. One to note is Donna Noble who started her practice encouraging individuals of all shapes and sizes to get involved in yoga. Her aim is to create a powerful and open yoga practice where all genders and different fitness levels can feel welcomed in her class. Even though she is based in London she was still able to spread her message at the OM Yoga Show Manchester and even lead her own lotus open class on Curvesome Yoga. I would recommend visiting her website to hear the stories of women who are transforming themselves in their yoga journey. You can find out more on Donna’s website.

Other exhibitors which were at the show included Dru Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda, Yogacampus, Yoga mama, Sports yoga, Santosa Yoga and Meditation, Boxing Yoga, The Yoga Bank, the YogaLife Project to name just a few. One aspect that I really enjoyed the most was the section specifically for kids and the integration of toddlers into the practice of yoga. Yoga groups such as Relax Kids and Yoga Bears gave me information on meditation techniques specifically for kids and kids’ yoga. They combined mindful games and storytelling with stretching exercises, breathing, massage as well as positive affirmations. There were also classes specifically for children which seemed very popular.

OM Yoga Show Manchester

The yoga show also had a selection of vegetarian and vegan hot and cold food, snacks and beverages both hot and cold. The Detox Yogi tea definitely was my favourite with its ayurvedic blend of liquorice, dandelion and cinnamon. My other food favourite was Urban Fruit with their gently baked fruit with no added sugar. I also purchased an all natural Whey Isolate Protein powder from She Protein. This product is aimed for women who workout and need a protein supplement as part of their healthy lifestyle.

OM Yoga Show Manchester

Yoga merchandise was also on sale. Yoga mats were at very reasonable prices. Yoga clothing was also sold by Tiger Lilly clothing, Yoga Goodies, Pul Sera, The Power of Greyskull to name a few. Accessories were also sold in various booths all of them handmade and holistic inspired. The yoga workshops were extremely popular and cost around £5 per session. Each workshop differed vastly and can include one workshop on Yoga Nidra to another workshop on Boxing Yoga. There were also free open classes by various yoga teachers which were suitable for all levels and were on a first come first served basis.

OM Yoga Show Manchester

I really enjoyed visiting the OM Yoga Show and I will definitely be visiting it again in 2017. If you missed out on the show in Manchester, the London show is on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd October! My advice is to get there early and enjoy the positive vibes!

You can find out more about the OM Yoga Show Manchester on their website.

5 helpful hints to cut the cost of your family holiday

Going on a family holiday can be quite an experience, and a world apart from trips you might have made before you had kids. There’ll be a whole lot of laughs, a whole lot of checking up on the little one(s), perhaps a complication or two along the way, and plenty of joy too.

Of course, the added bodies among the travelling party will have one other important impact – the cost of your family holiday will be a good deal higher. It obviously depends how young your children are, and costs for toddlers will be a whole lot less than those for older children. But with things inevitably becoming more expensive, it is all the more important to find ways to get the most bang for your buck, without negatively impacting on the levels of fun and enjoyment.

Here are 5 helpful hints to cut the cost of your family holiday…

Give tours a miss
They’re convenient, they’re all organised for you, and they’re often trumpeted as the ‘only way to see (insert name of destination)’. However, tours like these also tend to have a hefty mark-up on them too, and with an entire family to pay for, it really can get expensive. So rather plan your own trips and excursions. There are even peer-to-peer websites around whereby you can get locals to show you around for a fraction of the price. Chances are, the experience will be more authentic that way too.

Be a proper local
Doing as the locals do is an excellent way to save money, and avoid being caught out by tourist traps. This way you can avoid overpriced eateries, activities and tours, and immerse yourself in local markets and culture too. The best thing to do is to mingle with the locals, make some friends, and find out what the best things to do are. Just put yourself out there – and chances are the whole family will make some great friends along the way too.

Get clever with accommodation
It isn’t a universal truth, but hotels really aren’t likely to be the best way to go as a family. True, there are some good package and all-inclusive deals out there, but booking through Airbnb, or similar websites can save you a truck load compared to booking two hotel rooms. It also tends to be more conducive for family activities and eating too. With a kitchen facility of your own, you can eat what you want and when you want; and you’ll probably get some great inside information about the city or town from your host too.

Get familiar with your destination
The last thing you want is to regularly end up lost in a destination city with no idea where you are, and where to go. The kids will get restless, the stress levels will rise, and invariably an expensive taxi ride will be the default method of getting you from A to B. So put in a bit of time beforehand to familiarise yourself with where you’re going, and download some navigational apps like Pocket Earth to your phone. Getting around by public transport and/or walking really can save a chunk of budget.

Budget carefully
Again, you don’t want to scrutinise every penny to the point that you no longer even enjoy your family holiday. It’s a break you all no doubt need, and it’s important to make the most of it. But plan ahead with a daily budget, taking into account all planned an unplanned excursions, and try stick to it. And if you’re using finance in order to fund the holiday, that’s okay too. But be sure to shop around on price comparison sites for the best-value loans you can find, with repayments that suit you. You don’t want a cloud of expensive debt hanging over you while having fun with your loved ones.

5 helpful hints to cut the cost of your family holiday

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