Activities, DIY, review

Make a Letter-Sound Book

Below is an activity guest post from the lovely Jessica from www.education.com. Their website is full of brilliant and inventive learning resources for reading games which include matching words to pictures, stories, the alphabet, to name a few. There are so many to choose from and they are all so colourful and fun to do! They also have other learning resources such as lesson plans, workbooks/sheets, games etc. I find that the reading/letter games are perfect for mammies (or teachers) to work on at home with their little ones. But there are options for a variety of ages groups and abilities. The activity below is aimed towards younger children. I haven’t tried it yet with Ruby, but I definitely will be as it is right up my ally. I love to do activities like this with Ruby. I will also be a useful one to add to my Montessori class resources!
Enjoy! x

ACTIVITY: Make a Letter-Sound Book

What You Need:

  • Several sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock paper
  • Colored markers
  • Glue stick
  • Small (1×4″) address labels
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn
  • Camera

What You Do:

  1. Lay a piece of card horizontally, and invite your child to write his first name in big block letters across the top. Then glue a photo of your child underneath and let him finish the effect with any border decorations.
  2. Pull out the card stock, one piece for each letter in his name. Have your child write one letter, nice and big, at the top right hand of each page.
  3. Now you’re ready to explore! Take a camera for a trip around the neighbourhood, the local park, or the zoo and encourage your child to point out any object that begins with a letter in his name. Take shots of a school for “s”, a tree for “t”, an car for “c”, a bird for “b”, etc. What you find depends on where you do your exploring. Who knows? You might find something silly, unusual, or exotic! Aim for at least two pictures for each letter page.
  4. Print the photos, and then help your child sort them by what letter they begin with.
  5. Trim and glue each picture down on the appropriate page. For example, if your child’s name has a “d” in it, paste the picture you snapped of the dog onto the “d” page.
  6. Write the name of each object next to the picture. If your child can do this writing, that’s great! But don’t push it; it’s also fine for him to dictate to you. Be sure to read out loud each letter as you write it down.
  7. Assemble the pages in order. Use the hole punch to poke a few holes on the left edge of the pages, and tie them together with yarn. You’ll end up with a gorgeous piece of work that’s personalised just for your child! Read it together to practice his letters and sounds.
Parenting, review

Living with Eczema

Eczema has been in our lives since Ruby was about three or four months old. It started as a little patch on her belly. Being the over reactive mother that I am, I had her straight up to the GP thinking it was something serious like meningitis or something! Felt a bit silly when I was told that it was (thankfully) nothing more than eczema. At that time, it was relatively small and it didn’t seem to be bothering her. So my GP just said to use lots of moisturising cream on it. So I did. But having never suffered from eczema myself or not knowing anyone who did, I didn’t realise that the type of creams that you used and many other factors could effect this condition further. So I went on using a well known baby brand both on her skin and in the bath (of which the public health nurse later told me can irritate eczema prone skin), gave her a bath pretty much every night, continued to use the same washing powder etc and my poor little ladies eczema just kept spreading. The main spots were now her legs (the back of her legs, under her bum, knee creases, ankles) and on her arms in the creases of her wrists and elbows, she only got it on her face the odd time. I was back and forth to my GP and I was prescribed a topical steroid cream for Ruby and a cream and bath product called Oilatum Junior. I used the steroid cream only when her skin would flare up, but I didn’t see this as a long term solution and I didn’t want to have to use it at all if possible. I also used the Oilatum products religiously, but on Ruby’s skin, I found that it had little effect.

20171018_171142So I started reading up on all things eczema. I looked at online in forums and websites, asked for advice, read numerous leaflets and booklets on eczema and I came to the realisation that the treatment of eczema and its triggers differ from person to person. I tried numerous types of creams and emollients, all of which others swore buy. So I gave them all a go. They worked really well for a short time and then the effects just weren’t quit as good as they had been when I first started using them. I tried Silcocks Base (both in the bath* and lathered on her skin), I still find this really good when she has flare ups if I apply really think layers of it. I’ve also tried Epaderm Ointment and although this seemed to be really moisturising, I found that it only sat on top of her skin. Every time I’d pick her up she’d nearly slip out of my hands! I tried Aqueous Cream once or twice, more as a moisturiser than in the bath, not realising that when used as a moisturiser this cream can actually make eczema worse….Oops!

So for months and months I stuck with Silcocks Base, both as a cream and bath product and used the steroid cream only if she had a flare up. In that time I became familiar with some of the triggers and kept an eye out for anything that seemed to trigger Ruby’s flare ups. Some of the common triggers for eczema can include:

  • Changes in humidity
  • Synthetic Clothing
  • Detergents
  • Temperature changes
  • Sweating
  • House dust mites
  • Soap

Not all of the triggers above effected Ruby, and they will effect everyone differently. For Ruby, a change in our detergent and omitting the use of fabric conditioner when washing her clothes (I wash all of her clothes separately to ours too) had a positive effect; and I had already stopped using soap of any kind in her baths. The heat and sweating have an awful effect on her eczema and she always flares up in the summer (I have to be careful with the type of sun cream I use too). Some people have reported an improvement in the summer months and I have been told that the sun* can be good for it, but unfortunately this isn’t the case for Ruby. I also came across some information stating that too many baths, or baths that are too hot will effect the skin. So Ruby gets a quick bath at least three times a week…more if she’s ended up in a puddle of mud or in something else as equally dirty; and I keep her bath water luke warm. This seems to have helped.

20171018_171048Even though I have always sworn by Silcocks base (and still do), I was still eager to try other products that came with the promise to clear up eczema. When purchasing some steroid cream from the pharmacy, the pharmacist recommended that I try the Elave sensitive products. So I brought home the Elave sensitive body wash and shampoo. Up until this point I had just used warm water to wash Ruby’s hair. These products where brilliant for her, no flare ups at all and she could finally have some bubbles in her bath! So I have been using these products for the bath up until a month or two ago. Cream wise I was still mainly using Silcocks, but I was giving MooGoo’s Irritable Skin Balm ago, this cream initially worked miracles. It completely cleared all of the redness on the back of her legs. I was then recommended to follow up with the same brands follow up cream, Soothing MSM cream, which is supposed to keep the eczema at bay. I didn’t find this cream as good and it definitely didn’t keep the eczema at bay for long. So I kept using the Irritable Skin Balm, which was working well. One of the days I decided to use the MSM cream again. The minute I put it on Ruby’s legs she started roaring crying. Her legs went raw red looking. So I whipped her up to the bath and washed off the cream. Needless to say have haven’t used the MSM cream again. I didn’t really go back to the Irritble Cream again either. So I returned to my good old reliable Silcocks Base.

20171018_170941At the moment I am using Child’s Farm products. The sensitive baby range – the baby shampoo, baby bubble bath and the baby moisturiser. I use the hair detangler spray which is suitable for sensitive and eczema prone skin. It smells of grapefruit and tea tree. I just spray a small amount into Ruby’s hair so that there is a nice smell as the shampoo is fragrance fee. So far, all of these products are working wonders. Her skin has completely cleared up. The fact that the products are MUCH cheaper than the other products I had been using is a plus. I will add though, that around the same time I started using these products, I had also tried a range of different nappy brands to see if they might have been irritating her skin. We’ve since settled on a new brand, so this could also be the reason for the clear up in her skin. But the Child’s Farm products definitely are’t irritating her skin.

I have found the Irish Skin Foundation website and there booklets to be of huge help. For further information on treatment and the different types of eczema head over to their site www.irishskin.ie. Here are some of their tips for managing eczema:

  • Establish a daily skin routine and try to stick to it.
  • Don’t stop moisturising your skin when it is clear.
  • Teach your child how to apply their emollients correctly from a young age.
  • Avoid soap.
  • Shampoos should be clear, pH neural and fragrance free.
  • Baths/showers should be lukewarm and not too long.
  • Keep your moisturisers with you at all times.
  • When it flares, treat it at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Use topical steroids for eczema flare ups as recommended by your GP, keep track of how much you are using.
  • Always keep fingernails short.
  • If skin becomes wet, weepy, red and very itchy, think infection and seek medical advice.
  • Wear cotton clothing where possible.
  • These are are only a few tips. To read the full list head over to www.irishskin.ie

I hope this blog post was in some way helpful to anyone whose little ones are suffering from eczema. I had to do a lot of trial and error in order to fins out what worked woth Ruby, as you will probably have to do too. But at last you have a starting point with what products to try and which products to avoid.

Until the next blog.

The Irish Mammy xx

 

*When using emollient creams in the bath, they need to be diluted first. I used to do this by dissolving 1-2 tablespoons of the emollient into a cup/jug of warm water, stirring for a few minutes before adding it to the bath. 
*Always ensure that your child wears the appropriate sun protection and covers up well in the sun. 
** I have not been paid to talk about these products. All views are my own. 
Beauty, review

BB – eautiful Skin

Unlike my post on my favourite mattifying foundations, I am not going to rate these in a first, second or third category. There are two out of the three that I like and use for different reasons and one that I didn’t like at all. On days where I don’t feel like applying a lot of make up or if I just want to give my skin a break from heaving make up, but still need to make my skin look less than deathly pale, I like to use BB creams. I find that they are nice and light with just enough coverage. I tend to use these types of creams  when I am having a good skin day. I have tried three different brands: GARNIER, L’ORÉAL and PS from Penny’s. The two that I really like are the Garniers BB cream – original in light and L’Oréal’s Nude Magique BB cream. And I really disliked the PS by Penny’s Workout Knockout BB cream and concealer.

Garnier – Skin Naturals BB cream

I really like to use this on the days where I still need some coverage without layering on the foundation. I have very oily skin so I need to keep this powered throughout the day – which is kind of annoying. But I love how it feels on my skin and it has a really nice smell. It describes itself as an all in one miracle skin perfecter. The formula has mineral pigments which help to create sheer coverage, blurred imperfections and softened lines. It hydrates your skin and has SPF 15. I love when make up has SPFs in them. It also creates a luminous look to the skin and leaves your skin feeling smoother and softer.

L’Oreal Paris – Nude Magique BB Cream

I like to use this on days when my skin is really clear and needs little to no coverage. I use the light skin tone shade which is dark enough for my skin to add a little bit of warmth. What I really love about this cream is that when first squeezed out of the tube, it looks white and as you apply it to your face it adjusts to your skin colour creating a perfect bare skin look. This happens when the smart pigment capsules in the feather light hydrator transform into foundation on application. It says that it mimics the texture and glow of bare skin and I think that it really does achieve this. It has 24 hour hydration and SPF 20. It is a five in one delivering flawless coverage (not sure this claim is very true – flawless if you’ve very little imperfections to cover in the first place maybe), even skin texture, fresh dewy glow, 24 hour hydration and SPF 20.

PS by Penny’s – Workout Knockout BB cream

I have to say, I really didn’t like this at all. I found it really greasy on my skin and it just melted off my skin pretty much as soon as I used it.  I didn’t like the consistency of it either. It has added vitamin E, which is good and a little concealer hidden at the top of the lid with a tiny flip up mirror – the mirror was the only thing that I liked about it. I went with the light shade but it was a bit too orange in colour for me.

review

My Top Three Matte Foundations

I am always on the hunt for a good foundation that has both good coverage and staying power – but most importantly, it must keep my skin shine free! I have super shiny/oily skin and for a long time I have found it difficult to get my hands on a good foundation. I have come across some ok-ish ones in the past. But for those that have good coverage, they don’t prevent shine or else the foundation does the opposite and looks too caked on my face. However, I have since come across some really good foundations that are up to the job of mattifying my oily skin. I have recently been tooing and frowing between three foundations – two L’Oreal products and one Catrice foundation. All three are excellent. I do have a favourite though.

Here are my thoughts on all three.

1. L’Oreal Paris – Infallible 24H-Matte Foundation

Out of the three foundations this is my number one. I love it and it does exactly what’s it’s supposed to. It has high coverage, and a lightweight feel without a cakey look which is perfect for me. With any foundation that I use, I normally need to set it with power afterwards – which feels like too much make up on my skin. I don’t like this look or how it feels for every day wear. Within twenty minutes or so I am back at it with the power again and usually by the end of the day my makeup has melted off my face with a super shiny look….unfortunately not the dewy look we’d all like. However, I find that with this foundation I don’t need to set my make up with any powder and it stays that way for the day. At the same time, it doesn’t make my skin dry out either.  My shade is number 11 Vanilla which I think is the lightest shade. There never seems to be a lighter shade available. This shade Is fine, I’ve quite pale skin but I can just about get away with it as it adds a little bit of warmth to my skin. But it would be nice if I could get it in one shade lighter.  I am on my second tube and I intend to keep using it. I just hope it’s not discontinued at any stage!

2. L’Oreal Paris – Infallible Total Cover Foundation

This comes in at second place. I like it a lot and if the first one is ever discontinued I happily use this in its place.  To me it seems to be pretty much the same as the Infallible 24H-Matte. They both have high coverage with a matte finish and lightweight feel. However, the first one seems to be aimed at shine control in particular, while this one is aimed at covering imperfections, redness, marks and dark spots. It is definitely long lasting but I feel the other L’Oreal one last just that little bit longer. A definite plus for this one though, is that it is available in a lighter shade – I’ve been using number 10 porcelain which is a perfect colour for my skin. If I could only find the Infallible 24H-Matte in this shade I’d be set!!

3. Catrice Cosmetics – HD Liquid Coverage Foundation

In third place is the HD Liquid Coverage by Catrice Cosmetics. Although in last place, it is still a really good foundation. It’s has a lightweight feel, is non-oily and is definitely mattifying. It claims to last up to 24 hours and it has excellent coverage, but my shiny skin still makes an entrance where it doesn’t in the first two foundations. Again, if I ran out of my favourite I’d have no problem using this, but I know I’d need to top it up with power at some stage. Again, the colour is more suited to my skin than the first foundation and I love that it has a dropper application lid which stops you from using too much product.

Even though I have my favourite, all three foundations pretty much do what they are suppose to. I’d use any three of these over many other top foundations currently on the shelves. But what suits another’s might not suit someone else, so your best bet is to try a few different ones like I did and find what works best for your skin.