Cosmo Fash Fest 2014

Last week, to mark the end of London’s Autumn Winter Fashion Week, Cosmopolitan Magazine hosted London’s FashFest. It was held in a giant Marquee in the middle of Battersea Park (for those of you who go next year, it’s right by Battersea Children’s Zoo!) My friend Anni and I ended up walking through half the park before finding it. It was a beautiful sight though :)

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Apart from featuring the best in high street fashion, it was every woman’s dream evening. Upon entering we were presented with vouchers for free sparkling wine, cosmo cocktails and Baileys. Cosmopolitan really know how to spoil a girl…they had set ups by Aveda offering free massages, self tanning booths, Headmaster’s offering free blow dries, Urban Decay offering free makeovers, Barry M offering free manicures, American Dream offering free hair extensions (yes, free hair extensions!) and Dermalogica offering free skin mapping analysis.

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As you can imagine there were long queues for each of the services and so Anni and I split up for a bit. I put my name down for the hair extensions and then headed over to Dermalogica for a skin analysis while Anni headed over to Headmaster’s to have her hair glamorised!

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Around 9pm we grabbed a bite to eat and headed into the main hall to watch the fashion show which highlighted the best of the Autumn Winter Collection on the high street. If all that wasn’t enough, on the way out we received a goody bag worth £55 with some fantastic surprises as well as lot’s of discount vouchers! Thanks Cosmopolitan for spoiling us, it was a fantastic evening!

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Our red carpet moment!!

I have 2 limited edition Cosmopolitan Autumn Winter Fashion bibles to give away, click the link to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sugarless banana and blueberry muffins

I gave up sugar almost a month ago…when I say gave up sugar I don’t mean that literally…I still have the odd drink, juice and eat bread/cereal (which has small amounts of sugar in it) but no biscuits, desserts, chocolates, soft drinks or sugar in my tea or coffee. I thought it’d be really difficult but it hasn’t actually been that bad so I decided to keep going until the end of the year.

*I did have some cake during birthday week though.

The last week there have been soo many birthdays!! It started off with mine, then S’s headmistress on the 18th, my aunt’s 60th on Saturday the 20th, his friend’s birthday party yesterday (21st) and his other teacher’s today (22nd). At every party he’s had a little bit of cake. For those who know me, you can imagine the torture I’m internalising!!! I don’t think it’s a good idea for 2 year olds to have that much sugar and I can get quite militant when it comes down to it.

So last week I decided I’d look into sugar free cupcake/muffin recipes. I came across a few and went with this one. It looked great but tasted awful! So this week I decided I was going to chop and change the recipe slightly and give it a go. Here’s mama duck’s own recipe for sugar free banana and blueberry muffins. They look good, they taste good and there’s no added processed sugar.

If you’re worried about how much sugar your child eats but would still like to give them treats from time to time, this one is for you.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes

2 ripe medium sized bananas mashed
1 egg
150ml apple juice
125ml vegetable oil
250g flour (I used half wholemeal flour and half white flour)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 handfuls of fresh blueberries (high levels of antioxidants, great for your kids!!)

In a bowl, mix the flour, egg, apple juice, vegetable oil, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Once mixed well then add the banana and mix through. Lastly fold in the blueberries.

Put a big dollop of the mixture into 12 muffin cases and bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.

Voila!

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AMTOGG – Genevieve Simperingham

Today’s mom on A Mother’s Time Out Global Gathering by Micheline Green was Genevieve Simperingham.

Genevieve was born and raised in Ireland. She was 1 of 9 children born into a life of struggle and tough times. Her father was very volatile and violent and she grew up very fearful. Her experiences during her childhood led her to become a very cynical, hurt, lost and troubled teen who got into the wrong company and wrong habits. It was only when she met a couple who were running a course for people like her that she had her Aha moment.

She got into meditation which really helped her focus and eventually started running parenting courses (even before she became a parent herself).

In her opinion, a big part of peaceful parenting is having good listening skills. And that’s not just pretending to listen and be interested but to actually “listen” to our children. It seems like a very basic and simple skill but it’s affects are profound. There are endless ways that we can shut our children down but there are also many creative ways we can open our heart and actually listen to our children, creating a safe space for communication.

The biggest misconception that moms have now adays is that everyone else is doing a better job than them. You see kids being dropped off at school and happily going in and think Gee, I wish my kid was like that. But perhaps you haven’t seen the struggle the mom went through earlier that morning just to get her kids clothes on or get him/her to eat breakfast or even get into the car.

Parenting is a really tough 24/7 job of juggling needs. It’s about equiping people with support and offering them safety. *Parents, specifically moms, need a space to offload their struggles without feeling guilty.* They need someone to normalise their struggles and the everyday stress that they feel.

Genevieve ended by sharing some relaxation techniques. One was music – choose a track that relaxes you and listen to it when to calm yourself when all around you is manic. When your child is throwing a tantrum or testing your patience. The second was to use visualisation techniques. At the end of the day, when all is quiet, imagine a moment earlier in the day where you’ve been really stressed. Visualise the moment and remember your hands, jaw, heart rate, how you felt. Then acknowledge it! Say out loud…”I’m really stressed and this is really tough”. Then out your hand on your heart and say “My needs are important as well, my feelings are important as well. Somehow I need to slow down and take the pressure off. I’m choosing to slow down. I’m choosing to take the pressure off”.

By centering yourself and accepting your feelings, you release that pressure valve. You have to name and validate your feelings before you can move on. And this is a technique we can teach to our children as well. Providing them with a healthy outlet will lead to far fewer chances of them lashing out, hitting someone else or taking it out on their siblings/friends/you.

AMTOGG – Shelly Lefkoe

I’ve been participating in “A mother’s time out global gathering” (AMTOGG) this week and one of the talks I listened to was by Shelly Lefkoe.

Shelly believes that we can eradicate violence, aggression and bad behavior if we raise a conscious generation of children. The beliefs we instill in our children at a young age (specifically until they are 6-8 years old) are the beliefs that they will live with for the rest of their life.

She works with a lot of people who have self limiting beliefs and when she digs a little deeper, most of the time she finds out that the beliefs stem from a person’s childhood and most likely came from their parents. Parenting and specifically being a mom is a tough job. As mom’s we are responsible for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development of a human being! That’s a tall task!!

If our child comes up to us to show us something new and we repeatedly say “I’m cooking now, I’ll see it later” or “I’m trying to iron the clothes, I’ll look later”, eventually the child will start to believe that what they are doing or showing you is not good enough. Our children only want three things: Our acception, attention and acknowledgement.

The best piece of advice she offered was this: Tell your kids that they are not here to live up to other people’s expectations and what other people think doesn’t matter. The best question you can ask your child and instill in them to ask themselves in any situation is: What are the consequences of my actions?

Teaching our child to ask themselves this question from a young age will allow them to make better judgements as they grow older.

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You can listen to the conversations for up to 48 hours after each one. In case you don’t catch it, I’ll be doing a short summary of some of the speakers here.

A mother’s time out global gathering

A mother’s role is probably one of the toughest in the world. Trying to juggle work, home and play. Constantly worrying about your children and family. Keeping abreast of the needs of your child while constantly wandering if you’re doing things right.

If you’re feeling tired, stressed out or in general need of a time out then join Micheline Green in “A mother’s time out global gathering” here.

It’s a series of talks by 15 different speakers from around the world who invite you to take a time out from the stress and worry of being a mom and move towards being the mother you want to be.

Starting young

S and I were walking to our local Tesco Express yesterday when we passed a pub along the way.

S: Mama, I want go in there.

Me: We can’t go in there S, let’s go to the supermarket just here.

S: No mama, I want go in there.

So we peeked in the doorway and he says:

S going inside, I want lollipop!

Thank god that’s all he wants!