Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas!

Mummy Confession: I’m all for sappy, cliche, lovey-dovey things!

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So, I figured I would compile a list of suggestions for Valentines Day. Take note, these can be used Year-round anyways, but I know that many people buy gifts for Valentines as well. And, just in case you leave it until the last minute, check out this compiled list of last minute gifts.

Even if you don’t do “the Valentines thing” then keep these in mind for birthdays, Christmases, and other gift giving occasions!

This post was not sponsored by or paid for by any of the following companies, but it does contain affiliate links (see disclosure policy). If you prefer not to click the links, please be sure to use a Cashback website to purchase online for a little back in your pocket!

Subscription Boxes
Some of the gifts I’ve been checking out a lot lately have been the monthly subscription boxes, and it seems as good a time as any to consider purchasing a once-off subscription or ongoing subscription!

The Loot Crate is possibly the top box I am interested in- solely for the fact that my husband is a self-professed geek. He loves all Marvel, DC Comics and associated topics, so this seemed like a great pick for him! I just got the original Loot Crate, BUT there are a ton of choices for this box! From Anime to Gaming, Marvel to J.K. Rowling, and even Pets. Search all of their boxes to find the one you love for the one you love! You will not be lacking choices with this gift. Use the link provided for $5 off your first box!
Ships Worldwide

jkrowlingcrate
J.K. Rowling Crate photo credit: LootCrate.com

The Dollar Shave Club is another subscription box, and as it may appear solely for men, I assure you women could use this, too! (But maybe not a great Valentine’s Gift for her unless she has hinted for something of the type.) Subscriptions range from $4-$10 per month for 4-5 razors and you are free to stop at any time! What a bargain for razors!
This club is available to Australia, USA and Canada.

BellaBox is a woman’s beauty sample box with 5 or more beauty samples. (Right now, subscriptions are open for $12.95, and they are nearly sold out!)  For the men, there is Bellobox. This is a men’s quarterly box filled with men’s personal care products. And, if you know someone expecting, they even have a BellaBaby with varying baby products. These all contain surprises that vary box to box delivered straight to your door! Right now, they have a deal going for $5 off your first box!
These subscriptions are available to Australia only. (Search Google and I’m sure you can find something close.)

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BelloBox Photo Credit: Bellabox.com.au

 

Wrappable Gifts
Ok, so if you prefer to have something to wrap up that’s a little more than just the typical card, flowers, and chocolates, here are some alternatives. I, however, love flowers and cards, too!

Yellow Octopus is a place to find unique gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life. They have ideas in all price ranges. How neat is this scrabble magnets set?
Yellow Octopus does ship internationally, but the shipping rate is quite high (flat rate, $69)

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Photo Credit: YellowOcotpus.com.au

Frank Body for all your body pampering needs! I recently stumbled upon this site and thought it a great idea for coffee lovers! Why? Their body scrub is coffee based! How cool! Definitely something different! They also have lovely kits with a variety of products if you aren’t quite sure what to choose. This has to be my top pick personally (hint hint hubs)!
This one is available worldwide, so get shopping!

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The “Mix and Match Kit” Photo Credit: Frank Body

For a fitness-inspired gift, how about the Jawbone Up-Move or Up24 for under $50, or the Garmin Vivofit for under $100! I know fitness trackers can be pricey, but these ones are generally affordable! Shipping for these varies from country to cohntry

Need a little something for the kiddies as well? The Amazon list is lacking for the tiny ones, but my little loves picked some of their favourites! Obviously, use toys according to their age recommendations.


Do you want to have something simple or more personalised than the suggestions mentioned so far? Check out my Pinterest Board for more Ideas (oh, and there’s some cute craft ideas for the kids to do as well)!

Whether your budget is big or small, or even if you don’t do anything at all, I hope these suggestions help with your gift giving (even if it’s a non-Valentine’s deal)!

What are your traditions for Valentine’s Day? Do you give gifts, cards, or something else? What do you like to receive?

Teething: Where Sleep Goes To Die.

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Mummy Confession: I despise teething.

With every ounce of my being, I abhor the teething stage. My poor, helpless child, who has no idea about what is going on, is in pain. He can’t tell me about it. All he does is cry. No apparent reason for this, but as I open his mouth, I peer in and see them. It looks different than yesterday, and two spots are starting to resemble parking spots for his first pearly whites. Surely he is too young for this treachery?

Teething is the bane of existence for any infant or toddler and their mother. It turns our sweet cherubs into psychotic beings. Some are lucky to have a child barely effected by the milestone, but I have never been in that position. Below, I have compiled a bit of my tool belt for teething essentials for the soothing of baby and the sanity of mum (and anyone in baby’s life).

The following contains affiliate links. (See disclosure policy.)

1. Washcloth, damp and frozen.
Give baby this to chew on and help soothe those sore gums. Everyone has to have something like this around the house, so no need to buy. (Obviously just make sure it is clean and monitor use.)

2. Kids Munch Mitt
Now, I haven’t personally used this one, but I have heard from mums first hand that this is an excellent product. Especially for the littles who can’t quite grasp toys as easily, this if perfect. It’s available on Amazon and even ships to other countries!

photo source: Amazon.com

3. Teething Toys
These are a no-brainers, and the range for these toys is endless! From the Nuby Teething Keys to the Banana Teether to the infamous Sophie the Giraffe (just keep this one out of water to reduce risk of mould), you can find these fairly decently priced in many stores. Heaps of mothers I know have used these specific toys, and if you look for others, just be sure they are made by a reputable brand, and preferably have a high recommendation from others. (I check Amazon for reviews on everything!)

4. Munchkin Fresh Feeder
Not just for weaning and solids! This is an excellent tool for a teething baby! If your baby is eating solids, pop in a cold or frozen fruit or frozen yoghurt. How to freeze? Use an ice tray. Simple! For the babies not on solids yet, freeze a cube of breast milk or formula And put a bib on baby and let them have at it! Just be sure to monitor any consumption of food, especially the frozen things, using them only for short periods of time.

5. Bibs . Lots of bibs.
The dribble is real for a lot of babies! None of mine have had it quite as bad as my current tiniest! Thicker or plastic-backed bibs are your best bet for avoiding soaked clothing! The Nuby teething bib is also an excellent product, as it has an attached teether at the end of the bib, so it’s easy to reach and use for baby!


6. A sense of humour
Poor little bubs, and poor mama! A little laugh has a lot of power in dealing with the stress of teething, and will help take your baby’s mind off of the pain! Look into some funny YouTube videos, memes, or Pinterest boards. Put a hilarious movie on after a long day.

7. Teething gel/tablets
There are so many options for various gels, tablets and elixirs for teething! Many are natural. So much more than just a smudge of whiskey on the gums for relief!

8. Baby Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
Desperate times call for medicine! If bubs is truly inconsolable, use a pain reliever in accordance with the instructions. If you would take it for the pain, these little ones need it more!

9. Nappies and Nappy Rash Cream
Teething can see nasty rashes and explosions of epic proportions. Be sure your nappies (diapers to you Americans) are stocked, and find a good rash cream and barrier cream. I highly recommend Sudocream for Aussies, as its thick and stays on! From Americans, I have heard good things about Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

10. A nice bath
If your child enjoys baths, they can be an excellent way to calm down and distract from teething. They are also a helpful way to wind baby down for the night and help them sleep.

11. A good wind-down for mum and any associated party
A good book, a glass of wine or hot cocoa, or whatever you go to is for relaxation- do it! Take a nice bath, or just get out into the fresh air to take a minute to breathe! Make sure anyone else who is under the same roof has something for them, too. Teething is rough on everybody in baby’s proximity! Chocolates for the kids to help out and give peace for a minute is well received (like there’s any doubt).

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Honourable Mentions include a Amber teething necklaces and essential oils. It’s best to consult a professional first and use only as directed. Refrain from using necklace while baby is unattended or sleeping.

I really hope this helps someone out there, as these products have had their place in helping me or people I know. What products, tips and tricks do you have for teething babies and toddlers?

6 Magic Sleep Tools

Mummy Confession: I do not cope well with broken sleep. I am probably a grumpier person since having children for this reason.

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My kids have all been horrendous sleepers. My first finally slept through the night at two years old- yes, you read correctly, two years. Until that point, I was waking somewhere between 2-8 times a night (obviously more when she was a newbie) and running on a total of around 4 or 5 hours of very broken sleep. By the time she was sleeping through, though, there was another baby, which meant more hours of lost sleep.

With each child, there was always some helpful tool that made it a little easier to get them to sleep. With my first, it was zip up swaddles. The Love to Dream Swaddle and Ergo Cocoon were lifesavers well into the double digit months. It helped to calm her when she was overtired and nothing else was working. My second was a little easier to calm, and usually just needed a pacifier (but the right one took ages to find). My littlest at the moment seems calmed by a series of lullaby like tunes, but very specific ones. He also needs to be held in a very specific way before he will succumb to the land of nod (rocked in my right arm while I hold his hand and elbow still.) Below I list some of the ways I have known to calm babies. They may not work for you or your baby, but anything is worth a shot, right?

Before getting into it though, just a notable thing that these are not a guarantee, but suggestions rather. It is also best if you try these when baby (or toddlers even I’m sure) are showing first signs of tiredness, and not overly tired. It was always harder to calm my baby if he has reached the screaming phase (and it escalates pretty quickly here).

1. Routines
Start them early and you may see beautiful habits developing. I know this helps my toddlers, and we even have a routine chart for bedtime on their wall. Establishing a routine helps bubs know when it is time for bed, and they learn fairly early. I found this on Pinterest!

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2. A calming bath
This probably goes in hand with a routine. Now, if you baby gets worked up and excited like mine, this may not work. But, typically it seems to soothe babes to have a nice bath and settle down for the night. (And no running around like a headless chook afterwards also helps!)

3. Sleep Swaddles, Sacks, and Sleeping Bags
It can be a simple muslin wrap, or a one step Velcro or zip up swaddle assistant, but some babies respond better to different ways with these. In the very early days it was the best way to calm that pesky startle reflex that jolted Baby awake at every noise. Some babies prefer to swaddle arms up, and others with arms to their sides. There is even a product called Sleepy Wings that just hold the arms, and you are able to insert pacifiers on either side (how handy)!
In the same category are sleeping bags/sacks/wearable blankets/sleep suits. These either have no sleeve or long sleeves and come in a variety of thicknesses. I have found these can run pricey, so if you aren’t keen to spend a ton, check out your local Buy/Sell Facebook Pages!

4. White Noise or Music
Believe it or not, there’s an app for that! I am currently utilising my Apple Music free trial to find my babe’s favourite hits. Soft lullaby songs and nature noises seem to be his favourites so far. It even puts my husband to sleep! You can easily find music on Apple Music or YouTube, and once you pinpoint favourites, download a playlist for your convenience. My other less technological ways for accomplishing this include a hairdryer or the oven fan. Apparently the noise is soothing to my baby. And Apple Music has albums with some of these noises, too!

5. Rocking, Patting, Walking, Bouncing
Any movement seems to help. In addition to these, low light and noise may help, or the white noise/music suggestion above. I usually “shush” while doing this one, because it is when baby is most unsettled that we get to this!

6. Swings, Bouncers, Rock n’ Plays, Car seats
When using any of these, please follow the safety instructions and don’t leave the little one alone. I understand these may be the only way babies will sleep at some point, and I was one of them apparently. My parents’ only hope was a swing for my sleep. At the worst points for us, a car trip at 3AM was our last shot. Thank goodness for modern technology!

Noteable mentions would also be essential oils and other natural methods, but I cannot give testament to these, because I have never tried them before. Definitely worth looking into!

I hope these suggestions help out in some way! How does your baby prefer to be put to sleep? Do they have a unique way for you to help them sleep?

…and after you get them to sleep, decide what you do with that Window! Here are some suggestions!

 

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Express and Go Starter Set

Mummy Confession: In my journey of motherhood, I have tried too many brands of bottles to count. None of those bottles were accepted by my babies like the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature line.

(This post is in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Tommee Tippee and all opinions given are solely my own.)

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As a part of their giveaways, I managed to win a Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Express and Go Starter Set this Christmas. (Yesssss!)

I was stoked to hear this, as I love free stuff, but even more so because it is Tommee Tippee! I have loved their products since my oldest was itty bitty, so to have new things to try was exciting!

Their Express and Go Starter Set come with quite a few things!

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Firstly, the express and go pouches are such a great idea! They easily hook up with many breast pumps, as you are provided with three adaptors. I have a Medela Swing pump, and found no issues. Pre-sterilised pouches mean no need to wash and clean. Just hook it up, pump, and store in the refrigerator or freezer with the included milk storage rack unit! So simple!

There is no need to transfer and lose milk with the easy Express and Go Bottles! Just click the pouch into the top of the provided plastic bottle adaptor, screw on the top with the nipple (matches up with other tommee tippee bottle tops), and you’re ready to feed!

The Express and Go Bottle Warmer is so great! I used to have an older version of the bottle warmer, which was good to warm to a certain point, but this one is so much more!

In addition to warming the water to an extent, like the last warmer offered, this one has specific settings to warm milk from various bottle and bag brands (with the handy grey insert to warm the bags)!  Always make sure to put water in before starting this process, and avoid touching the water during and after heating!Bottle warmer, Tommee tippee

There are three selections you choose from for warming the milk for baby (these can also be used for formula as well): Temperature- for frozen, refrigerated, or room temperature; Bottle Type- for regular bottle, pouch only, or glass bottle; and Volume of Feed- 2-3oz (60ml), 4-6oz (120ml), or 6+oz (180ml+). This makes it so much easier to warm to a proper temperature! Obviously, you test the milk to see if it is ok after warming to avoid burns.

I found every component of the Express and Go Starter Kit to be extremely useful for my baby! Now, hopefully mummy can get an afternoon away more often!

Thank you Tommee Tippee for this great product!

The Wubbanub and Avent Pacifiers

Mummy Confession: I’ve always been jealous of the adorable pacifiers the United States has on offer. 

(This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with Philips Avent and other products mentioned and all opinions given are my own.)

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My children were all very picky with their pacifiers. My first found one that worked for her fairly quickly, but this was not so with my second. We sorted through round, orthodontic, and oval shaped soothers, but every one was rejected. After nine weeks of trying to find something to soothe her apart from me, I was ready to surrender.

I decided to put out one last desperate plea for help in the form of a Facebook status update. I requested a friend send the ever popular Avent Soothie Pacifier to my house half a world away, in hopes that maybe one last attempt would calm my child. A week later, I received this pacifier and after a good wash, my babe tried it for the first time. She immediately took to it and I  was overjoyed.

Even more awesome, this iconic pacifier has a super adorable line of animal friends called the Wubbanub. They help to keep the pacifier in for littler babies, and offer a source of comfort for the older kids. They do not come unattached, so it is a lot easier to find a missing paci (or stop the eternal rolling when it drops to the floor)!


I highly recommend both the pacifier itself and the Wubbanub as a companion piece if you babe takes the soothie. If not, there are other options if you love the amazing accessory that these animals are to keep in place or help locate that ever-disappearing apparatus. Various brands have created pacifier holders similar to the Wubbanub in cuteness and handiness. It’s always helpful for those babies who can’t be without their soothers!

What have you found to be the one thing that helps soothe your child when nothing other than mummy (or daddy) will usually do?

Real mum. Real life. Real confessions.