HELLO BELLO #ProductReview

Since becoming a MAMA to my sweet little girl, I have become obsessed with all things baby – like that is a surprise!? I love all researching + finding new baby products I can use for my daughter; such as body care, diapering, clothing, and the list goes on.

BABY DIAPERS – One of the things I get most excited about these days!

Ever since I learned about and started using the brand Hello Bello I have become the biggest Hello Bello fan! To be honest at first I was a bit hesitant with ordering diapers from them; the mentality was basically – how much better can they be from regular baby products? Also, do I need to spend that much on diapers? Let me give you the details here…

So once I decided I liked what this brand stood for and created, I decided I would give the Diaper Bundle a try. Each of these Diaper Bundles comes with 7 packs of diapers, 4 packs of baby wipes, and the option to purchase other products from their collection with a discount of 15% off!

The first Diaper Bundle arrived within 48 hours of my ordering it – WOW! I was so excited to open the pretty yellow box that arrived on my doorstep! This brand really knows how to excite and bring joy to their customers!

The unboxing of this first bundle made me so happy and excited that I actually made a IGTV Video of it to show you all the details of what was inside! {there’s also a discount code on your first bundle}! Basically, as the brand states, #GoodbyeBadStuff !!

DIAPERS

First things first, THE DIAPERS! These are thee softest and cutest diapers I have ever put on my daughter. The brand markets its diapers as being totally plant based, free from lotions, fragrances, phthalates and latex. These are all things that, to be honest, I didn’t even think about before – but now are pretty important, seeing as babies wear diapers 24/7! Now that we have used these diapers for a few months, I can confirm that they are totally leak proof, super soft, and do not cause any irritation to the skin.

Now the fun part! With each diaper bundle, you can pick out different diaper designs. New designs are added each season, and sometimes for different occasions limited editions are also released!

WIPES

Ah wipes, the next most important thing we use for our babes after diapers! As a new mom, when I first heard “water based wipes” I wasn’t really sure what the difference was. Now, after using different type of wipes, I know what I want in my wipes. I want HELLO BELLO WIPES! In my opinion, these wipes are not only healthier and safer for my baby’s bum, but they are also gentler on me! The wipes are fragrance free, 99% water based, have aloe and chamomile extract, AND premium quality cloth that is durable! I also love that I can use these for anything – from hands, to face, and of course BUM!

Since that first bundle we have been using our Hello Bello products religiously!

Every next bundle I get, I add in something new; the most recent bundle came with the Diaper Rash cream which was just recently introduced in Canada! I also picked up some more shampoo + body wash products, lotions, and the hair detangler {this is for Mama for now}.

Everyone in the family uses these products now!

Not only do they smell delicious, they are all made with ingredients I can understand -such as “organic jojoba seed oil and a blend of organic botanical extracts”. In general, I have always been intrigued with plant based products, and have tried to implement them into my family’s daily routine so this is a great start.

SO OVERALL

I feel comfortable and satisfied using Hello Bello products! I can confidently say that I know what I am putting on my daughters delicate baby skin or in her bath. I know that these diapers will be gentle and soothing on her bum; especially because she wears a diaper all day long! I know that the wipes are made from quality cloth and are water based, which will eliminate rashes/burns.

Yes, maybe the diaper bundle is a bit more expensive than other diaper brands offer, but with knowing the facts of the ingredients I feel okay with purchasing these for my daughter. Also, once you take into account the wipes and extras you can get with the bundle, plus a “discount code” it’s pretty much almost the same price!

I should also mention, that with this subscription, you receive an email right before your next bundle ships, which gives you an opportunity to customize your bundle by changing diaper prints, sizes, and extras you want. This was something that was important to me when making my purchase.

Nonetheless, I want to say I LOVE this brand!

“***Now, I always want to stay honest here, so I want to tell you that we do not solely use Hello Bello diapers + products. That would be misleading when I talk about all these other brands we use {Pampers, Mustela, Aveeno, Live Clean, etc}. We mix it up, every day; depending on the days events. For example, when baby Z has an eczema flare up we switch over the Live Clean body wash and Mustela Stelatopia body lotion. This doesn’t mean that the Hello Bello products aren’t good for babies with eczema (I’m not in a position to state that), I’m just being honest in what works for us at this point.”

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE DONE! #OOTD

Jacket – Zara

Jeans – Zara

Bag – Michael Kors

Sunglasses – Dior

I’ve had a blog for about 10 years now. It hasn’t always been “The Prettier Life”; maybe some of you can recall previous blog names!? Well, the main idea on one of my favorite previous blogs was OUTFITS! I used to work in retail so fashion was L I F E for me; non stop! I played around with my outfits and had so much fun with it!

SURE! There are days when I think back to those years and miss it. Those were some of the best young years of my life! But that’s how it should be right?

I definitely do not post as many #ootd photos as I used to anymore, simply because my style has evolved so much from those days! I now have classic pieces I revolve in my closet and I don’t get too creative – to be honest. I’ve found what I’m comfortable in, and I stick to it! I have staple items which I rewear, repurchase, and if I’m feeling crazy, buy in different colours. But THATS JUST IT! I’ve found what I’m comfortable in, and I find ways to adjust these staple items!

Honestly, this is one of the best things I’ve done!

This photo was taken a few weeks ago with the purest intention to write a post of the details. So, here it is! My heart wants to do so many more of these – it’s incredible!

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POLISH ROGALIKI WITH RASPBERRY + STRAWBERRY JAM #HOMEMADEBAKING

During these last few months we have taken advantage of the fact that we are able to spend more time at home + more time together! As we aren’t really able to take on any bigger projects; cooking + baking has become our go-to family activity. My husband loves cooking, I don’t mind baking, and our daughter loves watching! Win – win – win!

As you may recall from an earlier post, my husband is now the bread baker in the family – spoiling us with a freshly baked loaf at least twice a week. I, on the other hand have tried my luck at Polish Croissants- “ROGALIKI”. My husband has been asking me to make these for some time now, as they’re a childhood memory of his. I finally found the right recipe and made the perfect batch for us!

They turned out absolutely PERFECT and, as you can imagine we ate them all within two days! No Regrets – not even one bite! I’ve shared some photos on Instagram with you all and now want to share the full recipe, so you can try your hand at some Polish Rogaliki as well!

Ingredients:

500g flour
250g of butter
2 eggs
1 yolk
125g of sour cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
70g of Fresh Yeast
Two bowls
Choice of filling – I used raspberry and strawberry jam

Directions

  • In your first bowl, mix together the yeast and sour cream. I used a teaspoon to create a creamy consistency. Once mixed, set aside.
  • In your second bowl pour in the flour, dice up the butter, add it as well. Use a knife to mix the two ingredients together. Basically, slicing through the mixture with the knife until it is all mixed together.
  • To your second bowl of now mixed flour and butter, add the yeast + sour cream mixture from the first bowl, as well as the remaining ingredients.
  • Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together. Mix in a circular motion, working your way from the bottom of the bowl and bringing/mixing the ingredients up. Do not mix too long – mix only enough for the ingredients to blend together. You will have a chance to work the dough more later.
  • Once mixed, cover the bowl with the mixed dough, with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 2 hours (or a bit longer).
  • After the 2 hours, or so, take the dough out of the fridge. Prepare a workspace for yourself, sprinkle flour on surface, take a chunk of your dough and roll out the dough to about 2-3mm thin (this is approximate, it can be personal preference how thick you want your Rogaliki to be). Try to roll the dough out to a circle.
  • Once desired thickness is achieved, cut the circle into 16 slices.
  • On the widest part of the slice, place a teaspoon amount of your chosen jam/marmalade. You can use more or less jam, as per your own liking. Keep in mind, if you use jelly, it may become runny in the oven and spill out. Thicker consistency of jam/marmalade is recommended.
  • Once you have filling on each of the pieces, begin to roll them inward to create the croissant/Rogalik shape. Be sure to roll in the ends of the dough to help the filling stay in.
  • Prepare an oven tray, lined with parchment paper. Place each Rogalik on this tray about 2-3cm apart.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Note, each oven may be a bit different – convert the temperature as needed.
  • Once oven is at the right temperature, put your tray with the Rogaliki in, and bake for about 20 minutes. The idea here is for the Rogaliki to turn a golden brown colour – at this point you know they are done. It is a good idea to check the inside of one of two first, just in case they need a few extra minutes.
  • Once baked, remove from baking tray, place on a cooling rack or (my favourite) wooden board, let them cool a few minutes, make yourself a beverage, and enjoy!

It may seem like a long recipe and process, but it really doesn’t take that long – and it’s definitely worth it! These Rogaliki are DELICIOUS!

Well, I hope you get the chance to try them out, and let me know what you think!

BECOMING MAMA – MONTHS 4, 5, 6, AND LEARNING TRICKS!

It’s hard to explain – these last six months have gone by both quickly, but also very slowly. Either way you look at it, they have been the most magical six months we could have ever imagined we’d experience. Let me tell you about months four, five, and six with Baby Zuzannah!

Hello My Four Month Old!

Everyone told us that once you reach that 4 month mark, things change – baby changes. Baby is no longer such a baby anymore. This in fact proved itself correctly – our little Zuzannah started showing her character, becoming even more interested in things we were doing or eating, and she started grooooooowing!

Right at four months we started solids – rice cereal and oatmeal. Since we gave her formula for sensitive tummies, we decided it was only right to start on a lighter solid. We searched for cereals that were dairy free, and ones we could add either water or formula to. I figured this would I give me the option of making her meal more filling or not. We purchased a few different types and tried them out one at a time. In the end, there was really just one cereal that checked all our boxes and that made our daughter happy – Baby Gourmet! As she was just four months old, we started with the Tasty Smooth Oatmeal. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind eating this! She absolutely loved it!

Another big thing that happened during this month was the four month sleep regression. Early in the month, everything was going well and I was sure the regression wouldn’t hit us – until it DID! HARD! I’m pretty sure we went for an entire 3 weeks of basically waking up every 1-2 hours at night to soothe her, put her pacifier back in, and in general just get her back to sleep. Oh, and all of a sudden we were back to many feedings at night! BUT we got through it; I must add though, our little girl isn’t really a fan of sleep in general – she would rather be playing!

Hello My Five Month Old

Somewhere between month four and month five Zuzannah began understanding that she could sit on her own (even if for a second – she realized it was possible). She grabbed at our hands and tried to pull herself up at every chance she got. This became such a fun + entertaining game for all three of us.

We continued with trying solids; mostly the cereals and jarred foods such as carrots, pears, and apples. We also let her try a fresh banana, baked potato, and avocado. Generally speaking, she seemed like she was really interested in what we were eating. She even opened her mouth when we brought food closer to it only seemed natural that she was ready to start trying these things. You should see her eyes when I drink coffee or eat cereal in front of her!

At 5 months, we went in to see our paediatrician for Zuzannah’s four month check up and shots. Yes, this should have been done at the 4 month mark, but due to the pandemic, our doctor told us to hold off a few weeks. All went well with the vaccinations, as they were just a second dosage of her 2 months shots. I’m already scared for the next set which will be a whole new collection of shots. Our little Zuzannah was very god though, and only screamed at the top of her lungs for a few minutes. At home it was like nothing ever happened! #ThatsMyGirl #ProudMama

HELLO MY SIX MONTH OLD

I can’t believe she is almost one – I mean, we are halfway there. Every single day we see huge improvements in her development, and we catch her learning and seeing new things. She now has to be sitting at the dinner table with us, and basically expects that we will give her something to eat from our plates. She reaches out and tries to grab our plate and fork each time – most recently, she has managed to successfully grab a piece of steak, a pickle, and a piece of bread.

We are so excited for her to start trying more foods now – as many baby foods say “from month 6” and now we are there, I feel comfortable offering these things to her. She loves eating with a spoon and sometimes we have trouble feeding her from her bottles during the day. She now says “ammm-ammm” instead of the traditional “eyo-eyo” when she wants to eat. It’s absolutely the CUTEST thing ever.

I’ve turned into one of those moms that is obsessed with their child and can’t stop staring at her all day long. I am just so amazed at everything she does because she is learning so many new things. I can see her thinking, analyzing what she’s seeing, and sometimes she even tries to say something – mouthing something and then blabbering in her own little language, which is mostly just sounds right now. For example, we have a Gun singing elephant. Whenever I turn it on and say, “Okay Zuzia, let’s sing” she starts making sounds to the song, as the same time as I sing the words. I don’t know, I’m finding all of this very fascinating and loving every moment of it – but hey, isn’t that a part of motherhood?

Well, I cannot believe that we have a six month old already – where has the time gone! I’m enjoying all of this, and truly feel so blessed + happy to be on this journey.

BABY BEAUTY – BABY SKIN CARE THAT I LOVE AND USE!

Being a new mom means learning everything from scratch; for me anyways. I had no experience with anything to do with “baby” before I became pregnant, so literally everything was (and still is) new to me.

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I started researching was top products that I would need for my baby and life as a new mom. Of course, there were THOUSANDS of product recommendations, and essentially, I became lost in all of it. I asked friends and relatives and everyone shared their favourites, but it was still all a little bit too much. I had no idea where to start – there were just too many options. Talk about overwhelming!

Eventually though, after many hours online + in the store examining products, I picked out what I thought would be best for my baby and decided that it was at least a good place to start – for now. I anticipated the fact that once baby arrived and we go to know her needs, I would most likely be adjusting my product choices – and I was okay with that.

Now that we are five months in, I have a better, and pretty good understanding of the products that work best for my daughter. Although some things have changed since birth, I have a list of go-to items I feel comfortable recommending and sharing with you – these are products that we have been using either since birth or shortly after and have loved.

Since I now have a collection of products from bath, body, clothing, and food to recommend, I’m going to bread down these products into separate posts so it’s not too overwhelming for you, and to give myself the time to write each of these posts (time is one thing I lack these days).

First off though, BABY BEAUTY – also known as, baby bath and skin care products I love and use and always have a surplus of.

AVEENO BABY ECZEMA CARE WASH – Eczema or no eczema we bath our baby in this most nights. When we first learned our daughter had drier, eczema prone skin, we were told by our pediatritian that this was the best product to try out. So we did, and it worked like a charm. Her baby soft skin came back. It doesn’t necessarily have a scent to it; its more of that natural oatmeal almost scent. To be honest, I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. BUT it works for baby so its perfect.

LIVE CLEAN BABY TEARLESS SHAMPOO AND WASH – This is my favourite product for many reasons – for starters, the product of harsh ingredients and is 97% plant derived. It also smells so delicate and baby-like that I have a tough time not wanting to use this on my daughter each night. We use this product on her hair once in a while when we don’t have any eczema flareups. I do plan on starting to transition to this product slowly; now that her eczema is getting much better and we have it under control.

SUDOCREM – When Zuzia was born, this is one of the first products we started using for her bum. Eventually, as she was a little bit older I though, maybe I can switch to vaseline instead – give something else a try. WELL, that didn’t last long and within a few days of switching over she developed a rash which actually caused her skin to tear! Imagine seeing that on your baby as a first time mom – PANIC MODE ON! Luckily we had a doctors visit that week so we go it cleared up shortly after and were reassured it was just a diaper rash. Sudocrem to the rescue and back to our changing table. Like the magic cream it is, the rash went away just as quickly as it appeared. I swear by this cream now, and am stocked up to make sure we never run out. NOW, having said that, if there’s no rash or irritation (redness) I only put it on her twice or three times day – not with every diaper change. Mainly in the morning, sometimes mid day, and of course after her bath for bedtime.

MUSTELA STELATOPIA EMOLLIENT FACE CREAM – This is THE ONLY thing I will put on her face. I am not worried about this product getting in her eyes because it sinks in momentarily; it’s so easy to apply and leaves her skin instantly smooth. Currently, we are fighting dry skin around her eyes, including her eyelids – and again, this is THE ONLY product I’ll use for her eyelids.

AVEENO ECZEMA BALM – At about two months old, we learned that our daughter has quite sensitive and dry skin, which caused quite an eczema discovery and flare up – this was news for both of us since neither one of us has had eczema or sensitive skin. Again, I popped open handy Uncle Google and started researching. From all my research, and from speaking with our doctor, friends, and family, Aveeno Baby Eczema care creams were the top recommendation to try first. WELL, let me tell you, from the day we started using the creams we’ve never looked back. First we tried out the cream, and quickly switched to the balm once I found it. We use this every single night after her bath, on her entire body (minus the face). I love Aveeno products so seeing the results on her skin with this product was no surprise.

HELLO BELLO BABY OIL – A few weeks after my daughter was born, we started noticing cradle cap coming on. Of course this worried me and I automatically ran for the laptop to start researching ways to clear it ASAP. In the end, I didn’t try any “special” methods. I simply washed her hair /head twice a day, and applied a lot of this Hello Bello Baby Oil to her head. About an hour after applying it (during the daytime) I would brush her hair through for a few minutes, as the oil softened the cradle cap. Thats that backstory, the truth about this product is that it’s also plant based, made with great ingredients, and does not contain any mineral oils. They package says its fragrance free but in my opinion there is a bit of an earthy scent to it – which is totally fine.

MUSTELA HYDRA BEBE BODY LOTION – After using Aveeno for a couple of months, and feeling comfortable with Zuzia’s eczema situation, I felt ready to branch out and try a different product. At this point, her eczema had gone away for the most part; there were no new flare ups and her skin was looking and feeling so delicate and soft. I wanted simply a moisturizer for her skin, but still something that would tame the dry skin and basically prevent her condition from coming back up dramatically. Mustela was my second choice in Eczema care so naturally I reached for it next. We use this lotion every morning when we change her out of her PJs, for the day. The scent is so refreshing and delicate, I love the way her skin smells with this on.

As I mentioned at the very beginning, if you are a mama-to-be or a new mama and are still figuring out your “baby product game” don’t stress it. Try out different products as you feel suits you best and eventually you will find the ones that work best for you and your family.

Good Luck!

FRESHLY BAKED HOMEMADE BREAD – SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS

Like many others, my husband and I have taken on a new hobby during this quarantine – bread baking! It has honestly changed our morning routine, and the way we look at our bread now. First off, it’s SO SIMPLE. Why have we not done this before? It’s not even THAT time consuming – but I will admit this is not your typical work day breakfast; for us anyways – it does take about 30 minutes to prep and an hour to bake!

Anyways, I posted on my Instagram about this bread a week ago, and received a lot of comments back asking for the recipe – so I figured I’d share it on here, where I can properly write it all out and make it accessible for anyone who’s interested.

Here goes; your new favourite BREAD RECIPE:

Ingredients:

500 ml of warm water
25g of fresh yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of oil
750g of flour

How to make it:

Take all of your ingredients, and mix them together. Once mixed, put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 12 hours (we basically make the dough around 8pm, and bake it around 8am the next day).

After the 12 hours, or the next morning, take it out of the fridge, and work the dough for a few minutes, using some flour for the stickiness as needed. Place back into bowl and set aside for 30 minutes in room temperature. We have found that using a plastic bowl works best for this part, as the dough doesn’t stick to it.

When the 30 minutes is coming to an end, turn your oven to 440 Fahrenheit, and put the dish you’re going to bake your bread in, into the oven to warm up (we use a glass dish with a cover). Once it’s warmed, take dish out, put the dough into the hot dish, and cover with the glass cover. At this point, reduce oven to 410 Fahrenheit, using the “bake feature” if you have it. Now, bake 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.

So there it is; if you decide to try it out, let me know how it works out for you!!

BECOMING MAMA – THE FIRST THREE MONTHS WITH BABY

December 1, 2019 will now be one of the most precious dates in my life – this is the day my first child was born, and this is the day my life changed forever.

Our daughter Zuzannah Rose was born at 9:24pm, right here in our nations capital; Ottawa. Sharing her birth story is very personal and emotional for me so for now, while I’m still working on writing it, I’ll tell you that even though some things didn’t go as planned, I’d say I had a very good labour and delivery adventure.

Once she was born, we were in the hospital for two days; no complications, just procedure. But honestly, we just wanted to get home already – to the comfort of our own bed, to our kitchen, and just in general out of the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, we had a private room and AMAZING care (thank you to the nurses at QCH), but as we are very self sufficient and independent, we just really wanted to take our baby home and to be home ourselves.

STAGE ONE: THE FIRST FEW DAYS

The first few days being home with baby were something totally new for us – neither of us really had ANY experience with this type of thing. Yes, we read books, took classes, and listened to advice from others, but honestly, every baby is different and every home/lifestyle is different. ALSO, did I mention that we were on our own – entirely. No family, no mothers, fathers, grandparents, or siblings around to help us. Although my husband took a few weeks of parental leave, he still had to go into the office a few times to complete some year end things, leaving me by myself from, sometimes, even 9am-9pm. It was all quite the learning experience though, and I don’t think I would have changed it anyways.

I was just moving at a romantic Venice gondola sail pace while he was the Eurostar

Although I had a natural birth and everything went smoothly, I was EXHAUSTED and so weak – mainly everything fell on my husband. Now, that’s not to say I was out of the picture; we were doing everything together, I was just moving at a romantic Venice gondola sail pace while he was the Eurostar. We managed to organize ourselves and the routine the best we could. Now that I think about it, although this “more difficult” time felt like an eternity, it maybe lasted about two weeks before we fell into our groove and I was back to feeling more like myself.

Now, it’s important to note here, I started feeling more life myself because I (we) made a pretty big decision at this point. The breastfeeding and pumping needed to stop. After much discussion between ourselves, and with other professionals, this was the best decision for baby and I. AGAIN, this is my personal story and opinion, but unfortunately this was not doing us any good; I was going downhill – fast. Since we made this decision, things started looking up for me on a both mental and physical perspective. It actually breaks my heart that this is the direction we had to take, but I also feel almost a sense of relief – it just wasn’t right for me, for us. And THAT’S OKAY!

Now the choice of formula and bottles started – although we had an idea of what we wanted that wasn’t necessarily what baby needed! At the hospital we were given Similac Formula – unfortunately after trying it out for a bit at home we found out that our baby just wasn’t enjoying it. We went on to trying Nestle Good Start – this worked out well for a bit too, but then we noticed it wasn’t sitting right with her either. At this point I was getting nevous – trying all these different formulas; what if we never find the right one? Next we tried Enfamil A+! It worked; she liked it, and it seemed like it was okay for her tummy. After trying one box of this, I asked my Instagram community for advice on formulas. Many moms basically had the same situations as us, and many opted for the Enfamil Gentlease Formula. So; that was on my list right away. Ta-Dah – Zuzia loved it! It was easy on her tummy, and it seemed like she enjoyed it too! {we have been using it ever since}!

In terms of bottles – before she was born we had a set of Natural Glass Avent bottles. I was determined to only use glass as I wanted to stay away from plastic/BPA etc. WELL, we used {and continue to use} our glass bottles and I love them very much, but we ended up getting some plastic ones (from Avent as well) and think they are just as great – especially at night when it’s easier holding a lighter bottle!

STAGE TWO: ONE MONTH IN

By January 1 (we had a one month old) we were PROs in the mommy + daddy business – or so we thought. WE GOT THIS. Yes, yes we do – but HELLO COLIC! Zuzannah cried, I cried, and I bet my husband cried (in the other room of course). Seeing baby in pain is something no one wants to go through. Of course, plans changed, and we ended up giving her drops for the colic. Before this I was determined to stay away from any sort of unnecessary medications, etc. Well, this was NECESSARY, and it actually really helped both baby and mama! Lesson learned. Make sure you add a few bottles of Infacol to your baby medicine cabinet – just in case this happens!

During this time, my husbands parental leave ended and he returned to work full time – his full time is probably the equivalent to two individuals full time. Thats the power of a demanding job as well as a workaholic personality. All good though I thought, I GOT THIS. Well, January was a very gloomy and COLD month – the days were so short and my night+day started blurring into one. Since baby was eating basically every two hours, and her milk came up sometimes after eating, I wasn’t able to lay her down right away after a feeding – this meant that we cycled through feeding, burping, cuddling, and sleeping on repeat in my arms. Weekends were my time to shine – and by whine I mean, get some sleep! Hubby took nights so I could sleep without waking every few hours! It helped, but I found that sometimes when Monday came around it just got more difficult to get up again and get used to the “system”.

STAGE THREE: GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER

January rolled into February, and February into March. Just like that we had a three month old on our hands. Her personality started coming through, and we started noticing specific little things about her that make her HER. It’s truly a magical to watch your child and see all the new faces and expressions their learning – it’s beautiful.

By this point in time, I’d say we had a few more things figured out and were starting to become more comfortable and used to all the different changes in our lives. We now had our first vaccination experience behind us, we knew how to tackle the colic, and we had learned her favourite positions to sleep and play in.

Also, most importantly by this point we had learned what her favourite formula was (and by favourite I mean one that didn’t upset her stomach), and we had figured out a bottle washing/filling system – or how we like to call it; “bottle service”.

Looking back on these first three months, I’d say we have come SUCH a long way from what we planned and anticipated. I read a number of books during my pregnancy, watched videos, spoke with other parents, but in the end (or the beginning) its never what anyone else said exactly. Sure, there are bits and pieces of information that I’ve pieced together to create one big picture for us, but not once was it solely one situation that I could entirely relate to.

The moral of this story is; yes, take all the advice you can get, read all the books you can read, but remember that things don’t go as planned with children. There are thousands of scenarios that you can experience and you honestly won’t know which one you’re about to enter until you get there. So yes, plan ahead, discuss your options and wants, but remember to keep an open mind; because starting the day you become pregnant – “plan” is only a word you will use once in a while – other than that; just enjoy moments as they come.

Stay tuned for the next post, once we reach our next milestone of month 6.

BOOST YOUR BEAUTY REGIMEN #NeutrogenaBrightBoost

Scrolling through my emails at 3am in the morning, holding my just fed/now sleeping daughter, I came across an opportunity to collaborate with Neutrogena on their newest product line, the Bright Boost Collection. My first thought was SURE, let’s give it a shot – I’ve tried a few Neutrogena products before and really liked them, so why not give this one a shot too.

So, the products came in, and I gave myself a some time to test them out – basically following doctors orders, or in this case, the instructions from the company. I used the products religiously, and not just because I promised I would. But, keep reading to find out WHY.

Let me start by telling you about each of the products, one by one. I really believe they deserve a full review! (*hint hint* I LOVE them)

STEP ONE: PREP with the Resurfacing Micro Polish

Directions:+ Use 1-3 times per week
+ Apply to hands and gently massage onto wet face
+ Rinse with water
+ Pat dry
My Review:+ Tiny bead like texture helps with exfoliation and polishing effect
+ Delicate and fresh scent – almost floral like
+ Good amount of product comes out when squeezing
+ Face feels very refreshed and clean after drying off with towel
Price:$10.97 cad @ Amazon

STEP TWO: BOOST with the Illuminating Serum

Directions: + Use every morning and evening
+ Apply 4-5 drops only fingertips and massage onto face
My Review:+ Delicate cream-gel feeling
+ Light and fresh scent
+ The dropper is not the easiest to use – the pump only pulls in
enough product for 1.5 drops. This is a bit inconvenient.
Price: $34.99 @ Amazon

STEP THREE: MOISTURIZE with the Gel-Cream

Directions:+ Apply twice daily to cleansed face and neck
+ Smooth evenly until fully absorbed
My Review:+ Light and fresh scent
+ Great application because of gel-cream consistency
+ Does not streak or leave any white residue
Price:$34.99 cad @ Amazon

STEP FOUR: PROTECT with the SPF Moisturizer

Directions:+ Apply as needed
+ Can be worn under makeup
+ SPF 30 and moisturizer
+ Lightweight and sheer moisture
+ Not only does it provide protection but it also lifts dullness and
uneven texture for smoother skin instantly
My Review:+ Great product as it’s a moisturizer with SPF (so important)
+ Reliable SPF spectrum
+ Does not have the typical sunscreen scent
+ Works well under makeup too; but it’s key to let it dry
entirely before applying any makeup
Price:$27.97 cad @ Amazon

In summary, all of the products are fantastic quality; have a lovely delicate scent, and when applied, they feel soft, do not streak, are not greasy, and therefore feel comfortable on your face. All of these products are dermatologist tested as well. This is always something I look for when shopping for skin products – just knowing this makes me feel more confident with using the product on my skin.

Finally, as you can see from my photos – these products have the prettiest packaging. I might be a bit biased because I am a pink girl at heart, but I mean, that ombre effect on the Resurfacing Micro Polish – give me more!

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?

Washing your hands is SUPER important; now and always! BUT what happens to your hands after you wash them many times a day is just as important. It’s great that when we wash our hands properly {at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap} we wash off and away bacteria, but we also wash away a thin layer of our skins natural barrier which actually protects our hands!

By all means though, WASH your hands thoroughly and often – we can work on the saving and rebuilding of your natural skin barrier with a few easy steps!

Since by this point we all {hopefully} know how to wash our hands properly, I’ll skip through that part and go right into the next step.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO PROTECT YOUR HANDS AFTER WASHING THEM?

My answer to that is simple – moisturize! It’s really {usually} that simple. Moisturizer seems to be the answer to all our skins needs – especially during the colder winter months when our skin is more prone to dryness!

I’ve worked through my collection of hand creams and lotions to bring you a shortlist of 4 that I highly recommend; specifically for dry hands.

EUCERIN+ very dry hands
+ complete repair
+ dermatologist tested
+ medium richness
+ gentle feel / strong coating
+ light and refreshing scent
+ non-greasy
$10.50 Cad / 75ml
NIVEA+ 3 in 1 / anti-age / Q10 Collection
+ anti wrinkle, smooth, even tone
+ classic fresh Nivea scent
+ medium richness
+ dermatologist tested
+ normal to dry hands
$6.50 Cad / 100 ml
CERAVE+ therapeutic hand cream
+ normal to dry hands
+ prevents against cracking/roughness
+ relieves itching due to dry skin
+ water resistant
$15.49 Cad / 85 ml
AVENE+ cold cream/severe cold protectant
+ concentrated cream
+ dry and damaged hands
+ formulated to reduce allergic reaction
$10.00 Cad / 50 ml

The key is to find a good hand cream that works for what you need it too – because they’re not all the same. Sometimes {and most often} the one in the prettiest packaging with the most beautiful scent, is not the one that will truly protect your skin as needed. Don’t get me wrong though, I have a collection of those pretty ones as well. Nevertheless, that also means that if one moisturizer works for me, it actually might not work for you; and that’s okay! Just keep looking!

I hope this little hand cream guide can help you with your next hand cream purchase. If you already use any of these or have any other great recommendations let me know! I’m always looking for the next best thing when it comes to hand creams!

HELLO 2020

Well, where to even begin? 2019 was definitely very eventful for us. First off, we had a BABY! Even though our little bundle of joy was born in the last month of this year, the 9 months of pregnancy basically made it feel like it was the whole year. This little girl has changed our lives; I didn’t know I could love any stronger!

The next big thing that happened in 2020 was that we bought and moved into our dream family home – which in turn means, we can finally settle down! No more moves, no more house hunting – I can actually unpack everything, paint the walls, and design the interior knowing we are here for the long run!

Looking ahead into 2020, I know it will be quite eventful as well. Not only do we have our little bundle of joy with us now, but we already have a few projects in the works that I know will impact our life and keep us busy. I am very excited to see what this year will bring for our family and will try to share as much of it as possible with you! Life is such a journey – the ups and the downs, and everything in between.