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A Simple Christmas

Another Christmas over! For all the build up, Christmas day really does fly by and because France doesn’t do boxing day, it’s back to business as usual over here. 

This year we had our first Christmas as a family of four and for the first time, we celebrated as our own family unit. No grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or great-grandparents at all! While we certainly missed being with our families at this special time of year, we had such a simple, relaxed Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We didn’t end up over-eating (although Stan made us THE most delicious roast beef and Yorkshire puddings – I contributed M&S mince pies and Paxo stuffing from a box!). We also had time to enjoy our gifts and time spent with eachother as we had no schedule, no commitments and nothing to do other than kick back and enjoy our days

As we head into the New Year, our Christmas experience got me thinking. What do I want more of in 2018? It’s set to be a pretty exciting year work wise for us, we have two children now and life needs to shift a little again to reflect our new addition and commitments. What I want more of is:

  • Space – not physical, but time in our schedules to explore Paris, get out to the countryside more and spend my maternity leave focussed on the boys. 
  • Spontaneity – I really do thrive on structure and routine, but, as usual, the best parties and days are those where plans are made last minute, meals are thrown together and schedule goes out of the window!
  • Simplicity – as always, I’ll be looking for places to simplify. Whether that’s in my home-making, my parenting, my creativity, our living space or my work, I’ll still be seeking the simplest solution.

I hope you had a very merry Christmas, with your loved ones – or without! What are your hopes and wishes for 2018? How will you be using this coming year? 

xxx

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A New Baby

Well I hope you can excuse the radio silence here on Tout Simple for the last month. We are now the happy parents of two beautiful boys and have been navigating these new, exciting, chaotic waters! 

Frederic Henry came fast and furious into this world on November 29th at midday, three weeks early and at a healthy 3.4kg. Despite the worries of every second time mother as to whether she could ever love anyone as much as her firstborn, of course the moment our eyes locked our fates were sealed. The heart has endless capacity for expansion. I should have known.

Arthur has taken to his new role as eldest trouble maker with total enthusiasm, smothering his little brother with kisses, asking me if Freddie’s had enough boobie, checking that he has his blanket. We’re very proud of him.

And now, back to snuggles, nappies and endless cluster-feeds!

A very very merry Christmas to all of you. Tout Simple will be back in force from January and I’m so excited to share the New Year and all it holds with you all.

Sophie xxx

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Minimalist Me: Christmas Lists and Toy Control

Oh it’s really snuck up on me this year but Christmas is truly just around the corner! I’ve been far more organised than previous years – nesting, pregnancy hormones and Christmas planning are apparently a winning combination when it comes to organisation! We are planning on spending our first Christmas as just us three (but hopefully four!) in Paris. This will be the first time that we haven’t spent it with one of our families but we are excited to make some of our own traditions with our own children!

As always when you have young kids, the question of presents comes up early – how many to give, what type of toy, are we doing Father Christmas presents, are we doing multiple presents from everyone? This will be Arthur’s third Christmas and quite honestly, he wants for nothing. I decided, for the purpose of this blog post to take a look at what he already has and loves in the hope of inspiring you, if you’re reading and struggling to buy for your toddler. At the end is a little list of things we’ve bought for this year that you might want to consider. I’ve split it into a couple of categories for ease: Toys, activities, and games.

Toys

  • Wooden animals: these gorgeous, solid animals are always a winner. They’re a brand called Holztiger and I’ve seen them around in a fair few independent toy shops in Paris. They have a few ranges (farm animals, etc.) and they’re just lovely for promoting imaginative play. At this age, any kind of toy animal fascinates Arthur, and he can spend a good hour playing with them.
  • Wooden Cars: we have a set of Janod wooden cars that Arthur is completely obsessed with (seriously – he sleeps with them!) I love them because they’ve proved themselves really really durable, he received them for Christmas 2015 and has played with them practically every day since. Janod is stocked all over France and can be found in most toy stores. 
  • Grimms Rainbow: this classic, beautiful toy from Grimms (pictured below) is one of our more pricy toys, but honestly worth every penny. It has provided hours of imaginative play at our house and gets used as a tunnel, roads, boats, bridges, cradles for baby dolls and everything inbetween. 
  • Brio: self explanatory, if you have a child into trains, I can’t recommend Brio train tracks highly enough. It’s an absolute classic and, happily connects with IKEA train tracks too so you can combine collections. 

Activities

  • Cleaning: most little kids love copying mummy and daddy and last year Arthur received a beautiful wooden broom and dustpan & brush set from Nature et Decouvertes. (pictured at top of page) It gets used every day. Sometimes we pour out things like coloured feathers or conkers for him to sweep up, sometimes he just helps sweep the kitchen but, either way, he loves it. 
  • Sorting and ordering: from six months and up, lots of babies like to sort and order different objects. We have a set of stacking pots from Grimms that Arthur liked to put objects into, and take them out. Now he uses them for counting objects like pegs, conkers, little balls and people. They’re pictured above and you can find them here.
  • Crafts: Generally having a well stocked craft cupboard has held us in good stead, particularly through the winter months when outdoor time is limited. This really doesn’t have to be anything fancy. We keep things like lolly sticks, yarn, coloured paper, glue, paints, chalks and beeswax crayons, play doh, salt doh ingredients and beeswax for modelling. 
  • Dressing up: This is a new thing that Arthur is into and oh, it’s making my heart swell! I loved dressing up as a child and my mum made amazing costumes for us (she also loves dressing up!) if you wanted to read about some great benefits of dress up play you can do so here. At the moment we have a relatively small dressing up selection; bird, wolf, tiger, mechanic – but are looking forward to growing it over the years. The bird costume pictured above is from Okaidi

Games

  • Story cards: I’ve written about these fantastic cards before when discussing our toddler’s morning and evening routine but they’re always worth a mention. There are far more cards in the pack than pictured above and they can be used to make up stories. Arthur particularly loves the one about the tree growing. You can find them at Nature et Decouvertes in their Montessori department. 
  • Lotto: Arthur plays this at his Mamie’s house alot and we’ve got a beautiful set here too. He loves looking at the little pictures and matching them up to the cards. I love that it’s the first game we’ve been able to play together as a family too. Worth a look & you can find our set here.

Christmas

I’ve spoken before about how we try to limit the amount of toys that Arthur is given. We live in a very small space and just don’t have the room. I also believe that it’s not healthy in terms of development for children to be overwhelmed by toys. At Christmas and birthdays therefore, we tend to send a list to grandparents and others of things that we know he will love and play with and ask them to choose one gift each to give. It generally works very well (with the exception of my mum this year who just returned to England yesterday having dropped off SLIGHTLY more than one gift for Arthur…) and we try to work on the four gift principle of: something you WANT, something you NEED, something to WEAR and something to READ. With that in mind, here’s our Christmas list this year.

  • WANT: some wooden beads for threading onto shoe laces
  • NEED: a child size yoga mat so that he stops stealing mine!
  • WEAR: a musketeer dressing up costume
  • READ: the Koala who could (We have the Lion inside and LOVE it)

I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration if you’re feeling stuck. We’re trying to make Christmas more about starting our own traditions this year than gift giving but it is undoubtedly part of making your child’s (and your!) Christmas magical! 

What’s Father Christmas bringing down your chimney this year?

xxx

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The Eighth Month

As I write this I am 35 weeks pregnant. We’re in the home stretch – just waiting for baby to make his appearance now. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this pregnancy has been different from my first and wrote some thoughts on the eighth month:

Anxiety

I was an anxious mess during my first pregnancy. It’s totally normal I think; our bodies are doing something they’ve never done before and even if we’ve read every book, we don’t really know what to expect. When I was pregnant with Arthur I read ALL of the books, googled incessantly, ate very cautiously, went to A&E twice thinking that he’d stopped moving and generally drove my husband up the wall. Honestly I’m surprised that Arthur isn’t a stressed child from all the second hand stress he received from me in utero!

This time around I’ve been MUCH more relaxed. I think just knowing what to expect helped me massively, I don’t like feeling out of control and this time around I knew what was happening to my body and how my baby was growing. I do not google, I have a few select pregnancy books that I love, have eaten with a little less caution and more understanding of the reasons of why to avoid certain things and am generally much calmer and happier. 

Nesting

I get a very strong urge to nest around month six. This has been a little frustrating for me this time as we’ve had literally NO baby gear to buy – we’re reusing everything from Arthur. We never really had a lot of stuff for him either, but we’ve whittled down on what we did have (the baby bath is gone, along with some other things we bought on recommendation but never used.) This time around has been focussed on cleaning! I cleaned last time around too – Stan came home to find me one day having taken all of the blinds down, cleaning every single slat – but this time has been more intense and more long-lived. I’m talking mopping the floors every day, cleaning out cupboards and decluttering like a maniac. 

Labour

Is anyone ever really prepared for labour?! I wasn’t last time, I don’t think I really am this time. I know that everything can change in an instant and even the best laid plans aren’t always what’s best in the moment. I trust my hospital and the midwives there. I am however reading some hypnobirthing books and listing to the MP3s that go with them. Mostly I’m just trying to take it easy, strengthen my body with yoga and enjoy these last weeks of being three. 

Becoming four

This is the part that’s giving me the most trouble at the moment. We’ve had two years of being the three of us – adding in Arthur’s new personality to our family was easy, everything was new! Adding in a fourth personality to our mix will, I think be a unique challenge. We can do all the baby stuff, we’ve done it before but I wonder about this little human’s place in our unit. I know he’ll slot right in and really it will be like he was always there… 

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Our Tiny Home: Laundry

While there are many many benefits to living in a small space, which one day I promise to list for you all, there are times when it can be a challenge. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of a laundry room. You know – like those beautifully designed, lit, and matching ones every mother on Pinterest seems to have. Neatly lined up products, matching coloured washing machines and tumble driers, cute baskets, a ceramic sink for hand-washing clothes, ample drying space (yes, my dreams are pretty boring…but ever so pretty!)

We’ve tried a few solutions over the years. A baby brings a lot of laundry with them – more if you use cloth nappies (we don’t and this is why!), toddlers are generally quite messy and two adults who both work in the food industry makes for a fair amount of loads a week. Keeping on top of it all is the first problem and the second problem is lack of space. I know people living in the same or less amount of space as us who use laundrettes – avoiding the question totally of where on earth to put a washing machine!

Keeping on top of it

  • One load a day, every day. Ugh – I know.
  • A specific day a week for sheets, towels, bathmats etc. I do all of that in one day and then clothes for the rest of the week. Usually when I hang sheets they take about an afternoon and a night to dry. This free’s up drying space for the rest of the week. 
  • Putting it away straight away when it’s dry. When I have a full basket of clean and dry clothes not yet put away next to the wardrobes, it backs everything else up. 

Lack of space

  • We have a washer/dryer combo. It’s honestly not great – the washing machine is fine but the dryer takes a LONG time to dry anything and it’s pretty noisy. Nonetheless I would definitely recommend getting one if you don’t have space for a dryer. It’s great for towels and emergency situations (of which there are many when kids are involved!) 
  • Get yourself some woollen dryer balls (as above – six for €12 on amazon) they speed up drying time, make your towels fluffy and you can pop some drops of your favourite essential oil on them for scent. They eliminate the need for dryer sheets or fabric softener really and I love them. 
  • Our current drying solutions are two wooden drying racks from Habitat (€29 each). In the summer they fit out on our tiny balconies to get some sun on them and in winter we stick them next to our radiators. They’re durable, sustainable material and honestly – I like the way they look. Which is important because they are up practically ALL the time! 

I know that this isn’t very interesting, but I do also know that when you’re living in a tiny space you’re always looking for solutions. Laundry has to get done! As always, when kept simple and attractive, things start looking brighter and more manageable!

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The Power of Good Conversation

With the ever increasing popularity of smart phones, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and whatever other social media we’re using to communicate with each other now, It’s easy to feel like we’re constantly conversing with each other. My phone beeps all day long with messages from my three WhatsApp groups – nearly all of the women on them are other mums, most of them work outside the home, some are in Paris, some in the U.K. I read along, getting news about their days in real-time, sending pictures of my day, Arthur, whatever I’m cooking or doing in that moment. It’s fast, it’s efficient and it’s easy.

I looked up yesterday and realised that I hadn’t had an actual, in person conversation with any of my friends in over a week. So absorbed with my day-to-day of raising a toddler, housework, keeping on top of our admin and just generally keeping afloat, I realised that I’d barely had a conversation with my husband, let alone any of my friends. I had had LOTS of toddler conversations, but since these are mostly about poo or cars, I am not counting them!

So, in a fit of horror (my poor husband bore the brunt of this!) I set about remedying this lamentable state of affairs.

  • I told my husband that we’re going on a technology detox (he was thrilled!) When we have an evening together, which is about twice or three times a week – no phones!
  • I accepted an invitation to breakfast on the other side of the city with a friend
  • I organised FaceTime conversations with my beloved U.K based friends
  • I invited a new friend over for coffee

Face-to-face conversations are so important to our mental health. I know this because the instant my husband put his phone down and started listening to how I was feeling at that moment I felt listened to, I felt respected and that my needs were important. I came away from breakfast with my friend feeling lighter, appreciated and loved. I turned off FaceTime, knowing deeply that I had roots, connections in the U.K that aren’t going anywhere – my friend lifting up her baby to the camera to show me his teeth was INFINITELY better than glimpsing a photo on WhatsApp during a hectic day of back and forth sharing of news. 

Will I be keeping my WhatsApp groups? Of COURSE. But I will also be scheduling in ALOT more face-to-face time with my friends, I will be putting my phone in a drawer more often, I will not be answering messages straight away, I will be playing more card games with my husband, I will be watching Arthur more through my eyes and less through my camera lens. 

I will be more present. That’s my promise to myself.

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Paris Kitchen: Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

There are two ways to make risotto: quick and easy, or slow and long. I’ve always been a fan of the quick and easy version (adding all the stock at once and letting it reduce) but now Arthur can play independently at my feet in the kitchen while I cook, I love the magic of taking a long hour to cook something properly, pair flavours and watch a delicious meal come together. 

What you’ll need

While risotto can seem intimidating, it’s actually very easy, just quite labour intensive. For this one you will need:

  • One medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • One onion, diced
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine (or cooking wine)
  • Olive oil
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock 
  • Knob of salted butter
  • Big handful of parmesan
  • Fresh Rosemary – to garnish

Method

  • Pop your butternut squash into a roasting tray and roast at 180°c for 25-30 minutes. While it’s roasting, start softening your onions in a large pan on a low heat and heat up your chicken stock in a saucepan
  • Add the rice to the softened onions and give a good stir and add the wine. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed
  • Start adding the stock to the rice and onions two ladles at a time, still on a low/medium heat. Stir each time until the liquid has been absorbed

  • Continue adding and letting the stock absorb until you have only two ladles left in your saucepan. Add the roasted butternut squash. It should disintegrate a bit and turn your risotto orange. Add the last two ladles of stock
  • When the last of the stock has nearly been absorbed, stir through your butter and parmesan
  • Allow the liquid to absorb to your preference. Season and serve with more parmesan and the rosemary

This recipe serves around six or you can freeze it into twelve toddler portions! Sometimes I like to serve it as a side to breaded chicken or sausages, or with a side of sautéed kale or green beans.

Around this time of year cooking a meal like this really does feel like a bit of magic – putting warmth and nourishment back at the centre of our kitchen while the world gets slowly darker and colder outside is important. Using seasonal vegetables keeps us connected to the earth and the cycle of the year and taking the time to prepare something delicious has something restorative about it…Enjoy! 

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Toddler Life: Encouraging Quiet Play & a Simple Play Doh Recipe

As it’s getting darker earlier and earlier over here we have less time to spend outdoors. We’re starting to look inwards, spending more time reading, drawing, crafting and playing and much more time turning the living room furniture into a soft obstacle course to jump on. When cabin fever hits during a long winter in a tiny apartment with small people, the best idea is to wrap up and get outside – whatever the weather. 

Sometimes though, this just isn’t possible. Paris can be truly truly awful during winter, something about long boulevards with icy cold wind rushing down them just isn’t appealing. Encouraging a quiet play time during your daily rhythm, especially straight after school or crèche, can really help little ones unwind all year round, but it becomes especially important in autumn and winter when we’re all shut up inside together. 

how to encourage independent quiet play

  • Light a candle. As it’s getting dark earlier, we’ve been lighting candles (keeping them well out of the reach of little hands!) and maybe lighting only one other lamp. Keeping soft light in dark seasons helps us all unwind and relax and encourages a quiet atmosphere. 
  • Create a play-list. I use Spotify to find soft, relaxing music for this time of day. We love the Spotify Autumn Acoustic playlist and the Slow Mornings instrumental playlist by mamawatters of the blog Homesong
  • Have baskets of activities prepared in advance. Arthur loves counting conkers at the moment, so we have a pot of conkers ready to go, which he counts in and out of the pots from his play kitchen. Have the play doh to hand with a bag of accessories etc.
  • Have a space near you where they can play. One of our biggest challenges with encouraging independent play was that Arthur just wanted to be with us, not separated in his bedroom. When we got a toddler sized table & chairs for the kitchen, it was like a revelation. He’s totally happy to sit there engrossed in whatever he’s doing while I cook now. 

play doh

One of the best quiet time activities is Play Doh. Arthur’s at the right age now where he can spend a good hour intensely playing with it. It’s also brilliant because it’s open ended – with some imagination it can really become anything. Arthur makes “food” with it, uses it with his trucks and diggers, makes shapes with it, makes it into “petit poissons” swimming through the sea. It’s nice to see his imagination doing some work and him so engrossed in a game. I like to make our play doh. I find it lasts longer, I can make the colours I want and I can also add essential oils to it, lavender in particular to encourage calm, quiet play. 

recipe

  • 1 cup table salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 table spoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • food colouring
  • essential oils of choice (make sure they are safe for children)

Mix all of your ingredients together over a medium heat until it’s no longer sticky. Tip it out onto your work surface and knead it with your hands quickly to make sure it’s not sticking to your hands. Divide it up and knead the food colouring and essential oils into each part (this bit is a bit messy). Leave to cool for five minutes and store in an air-tight container. 

It’s so quick and easy to make and from ingredients you can find in your kitchen cupboard, so worth making!

What do you do for indoor toddler activities? Do you have a set time for quiet play in your house? I’d love to hear what you do!

 

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Minimalist Me: Pregnancy Essentials

Pregnancy is such a strange and special time in your life. Especially if it’s your first baby, you want to make sure that you do everything absolutely right, not just medically, but in terms of what to buy to make your pregnancy go smoothly, to make sure that baby is absolutely 100% taken care of inside your growing womb. 

Unfortunately, this cocooning need of pregnant women has been exploited by brands. At one of the most financially vulnerable times of our life, we have been convinced that we need every kind of special lotion, potion, pillow, vitamin, book, superfood, clothing item and yoga class just to get through pregnancy. While I am absolutely an advocate of massive amounts of self-care during pregnancy, I think that we are being sold so much more than we need and there really are budget friendly alternatives. 

Books

If you’re pregnant with your first baby and are anything like me, you’ll want to read the most you possibly can on the subject. I wanted to know everything! How to BE pregnant, what to expect, what to eat, how to have an easy birth, what to do with the baby once it arrives…reading anything you get your hands on however, can get a bit expensive. Pictured above are the books I’ve actually bought because I found useful last time around. For the rest, use your local library. You don’t need a personal home library full of pregnancy books that you probably won’t touch again. 

  • How to grow a baby and push it out, Clemmie HooperA really lovely, beautifully accessible guide to pregnancy and birth. Includes great pages on prenatal yoga, hypnobirthing and how to dress your bump. Written by a British midwife, it’s a lovely guide to pregnancy for the instagram crowd. 
  • Expecting better, Emily Oster: Really one of my favourite books, Emily Oster is an economist who uses her professional skills to debunk myths about pregnancy and childbirth, leaving the pregnant mother better informed and more empowered in her decisions.
  • The first forty days, Heng Ou: My only REALLY essential book, Ou’s beautiful book really highlights the importance of self-care for mums in the first forty days post-partum. Her advice is stellar and her recipes are out of this world. 
  • Zen, un jeu d’enfant, Elodie Garamond et Lise Bilien: This one is in my essentials for second time mums. It really has nothing to do with pregnancy and all about teaching your toddler to be zen – which sounds just lovely doesn’t it?! It’s been really helpful for us when I’ve wanted to do some yoga or have some quiet time, as it’s helped Arthur do some simple poses with me or some easy breathing exercises. It also exists in English translation. 
  • Mindful Hypnobirthing, Sophie Fletcher: A very accessible guide to hypnobirthing. Worth a read even if you’re not intending to go “The whole hog” with hypnobirthing for the breathing techniques. I’ve found it really helpful. 

Rest & Relax

Prioritising sleep, rest and relaxation should be top of your list during pregnancy. It get’s much harder the second time around when you’ve got young kids under your feet but it’s still so important, especially as finding a comfy sleeping position gets harder and harder as your baby gets bigger. Do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep: eliminate screens an hour before bed, head to bed earlier than you would normally and make sure you’ve got everything you might need within reach. Some things to consider:

  • Pregnancy pillow: There are some extortionately expensive options for this long sausage-like pillow on the market. Honestly it doesn’t do anything that two separate pillows won’t do and the cheaper options work just as well. Mine is second hand, passed on from another mum and the cover is from HEMA, I think it was about €9. I do love it, but like I say – two pillows work the same way!
  • NEOM Organics Tranquility set: This is my one splurge on this list, but I do use it all year around – not just during pregnancy and I honestly haven’t found anything that works as well for me. I light the candle one hour before I intend to go to bed and spritz my pillow with the mist and then I sleep like a baby. I ask for replacements every Christmas and Birthday, so maybe something to hint heavily to relatives at?
  • Maternity leggings & t-shirt: Comfy sleepwear is so essential. There’s nothing worse than waking up sweaty, entangled in loose pyjamas or night dresses. Simple, fitted, cotton maternity leggings and a t-shirt have been my go-to this time around. I like the brand Mamalicious at Galeries Lafayette for leggings and Monoprix organic cotton t-shirts. 

Everything Else

  • Pre-natal yoga: It goes without saying that exercising during pregnancy is so good for you and your baby. Yoga is a great pre-natal exercise as it’s low impact, stretches you in all the right places and can teach you some great techniques for labour. If you can afford classes, do. It’s much safer to do with a qualified instructor than on your own. However, there are many youtube classes you can take with great instructors for free – you just need to do a bit of research. 
  • Coconut oil: On everything and for everything. It’s a great moisturiser and some of my friends swear they don’t have stretch marks because they used it! Don’t use it on your stomach the week before a scan though, you’ll be told off by your sonographer because it makes their picture harder to see. 
  • Maternity clothes: This is down to individual taste but take a good look at your wardrobe and see what you can continue to wear through pregnancy. It’s exciting to have a reason to shop but I’ve mostly found that affordable maternity clothes are absolutely hideous. I would say leggings, a pair of jeans, some nursing tank tops and a coat are the only real essentials.

What have I missed? What did you find absolutely essential during your pregnancy?

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Self-Care for Selfish Mums

You can’t pour from an empty cup – as every mum ever has been told. How true! What a lovely sentiment! Of course we can’t care for everyone around us until we’ve taken care of ourselves! If only it were that easy. Quite honestly once my day is over, self-care is the thing furthest from my mind. 

The problem is that many mums feel the same way. Taking care of yourself feels like another task on top of all the tasks that already need to be completed. 

Why?

Why do mums in particular need to enter into the craze of self care? Well the simple answer is that it benefits us. Because our work does not end. Ever. How many times after the kids are in bed and you’re lying in yours trying to sleep have you found yourself thinking about their health, their happiness, their school, their activities, their appointments, schedules, night-time routines, the upcoming birthday, Christmas, whether everyone in your family is eating healthily enough? The mental load of mothers by Jami Ingledue, details this wonderfully and is well worth a read. 

Secondly we need self care because it benefits our children. When we have first taken care of our needs, we are more equipped for dealing with the needs of others. We are more present, more enthusiastic and more loving parents. Our children benefit from seeing us like this, and we benefit from having our needs continuously met. 

The joy of taking care of ourselves is that it will look different for every one of us but taking the time to do it will benefit you mentally and physically as well as your relationships with your partner and children. I’ve detailed some ways below in which you can start incorporating self-care into your daily life in ways that won’t feel like an extra task or pressure. Starting small and growing a practice where you know what works for you is ideal. 

Nourish

  • Drink more water, hydrated people are happy people! Start carrying a re-useable water bottle with you and make sure it’s empty at the end of the day. 
  • Incorporate energy filled foods into your day. You’ll feel more full and satisfied after a big bowl of roasted veggies than half a ham and cheese sandwich that your toddler didn’t eat. 
  • Make sure that you’re remembering to eat and drink regularly. Sit down for your meal at a table, take your time – enjoy your food. 

Escape

  • Take every possible opportunity to walk everywhere. It does take longer, but you’ll be getting exercise, clearing your mind and be spending some time outside. All three can give an instant mood re-set. 
  • Take that class/do that sport. Organise a time every week to do something you love. My mum played netball twice a week when we were growing up & I think it probably kept her sane!
  • Organise to see people. There is nothing NOTHING worse than facing a week in winter at home with a baby with no plans to see anybody. 

Rest & Replenish

  • Give your child a busy activity or take advantage of nap-time and sit down with a book, your knitting, a magazine and a cup of tea. Breathe. 
  • I know this just isn’t an option for everybody but; take a day off. Send the kids to grandparents, organise a babysitter and just stay in bed for the day. Sleep, relax and unwind. 
  • Go on a date with your partner. Nourishing your relationship is important! Spend the day walking hand in hand, get some lunch together, leave the smartphones at home. 

Organise

  • Last but not least! Organising my week on a Sunday afternoon means that I spend less time on annoying tasks during the week. I write out our schedules, plan our meals, write the grocery list, fill out any forms that need to be sent off and make any appointments that need to be made (Doctolib for you Paris based readers, allows you to make all your Dr’s appointments on the app.)
  • Stop multitasking. I know it’s our mum super-power but lots of studies have shown that we’re more productive when we focus on one task at a time. I certainly know that this is true for me – so step away from your smart phone! (More on balancing family and tech soon!)

Self Care Sunday

How do I practice what I’m preaching? Self care Sunday. Every Sunday evening, once my son is in bed (with the bedtime routine hopefully completed by my husband!) I roll out my yoga mat & get in a half hour to an hour practice – generally more like half an hour now I’m pretty pregnant. I shower, shave, paint my toe-nails and give myself a facial. I put on fresh, clean pyjamas and settle myself down on the sofa with my diary and plan for the week ahead. Sometimes we watch some Netflix, sometimes we read. I spray my pillow with NEOM Organics tranquility pillow spray & light their tranquility candle an hour before bed and then I go to bed really early. I’m talking 9pm. It feels amazing. 

Hopefully there are some ideas here that you can slip into your life easily. 

I’d love to hear if you’ve given any of them a go.

xx