Wednesday, 25 May 2016

REAL MUM REVIEW: Microsoft Band


Now that our little babe is 6 weeks old its time to get this big butt moving and hopefully in turn shifting this baby weight. It’s about that time after you have your baby when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realise that you still have a long way to go before your back feeling great in your “own” body again. Exercise has always been my way of sanity too, it releases such good endorphins that give you that boost which gets your through each day as well as keeps you motivated to do more. 

I have always lost the baby weight in time after my first children but it’s always taken a while and I have always seemed to put pressure on myself so this time I want to do things a bit differently. I just don’t want to stress, I don’t want to make myself sad about NOT losing the weight quickly or put a stupid amount of pressure about it not happening fast. I want to enjoy my baby, I want to enjoy my other kids and I want to just all round enjoy this time of of being a mum. I want to feel encouraged, I don’t want to put crazy amounts of pressure on myself to do impossible workout schedules, I just want to be active in every day living and feel good about it. 

My goal is eating less and moving more, pretty simple right? Starting with simple achievements like reaching a certain amount of steps per day, walking, lots of walking. Building up to fun, active games and building core strength to heal my post baby body and then slowly build up to workouts to bring me up to my peak over time, theres lots of time. I do want to get there, but I want to do it stress free. 

Recently I have been introduced to the Microsoft Band, which is really helping me with this. I highly recommend it for any mum, it’s simply a smart band created to enable you to live healthier and achieve more. Microsoft Band tracks your heart rate, exercise, calorie burn and sleep quality. I love that it counts your steps and even when you feel like you haven't done much over the day you get encouraged by the number of steps you may have taken so far and it helps you to stay motivated to move more, thinking I want to get to a certain amount of steps by the end of the day. It's great. What's more and a very cool thing about it, is that it provides notifications about your emails, texts and calendar alerts so you don’t have to be glued to your phone. I love this part as sometimes I feel like I’m checking my phone all day long and its not a good look for any child to be watching them mum watching a screen all the time. I am working super hard to distance myself from the phone when I’m in mum mode so its nice to get a quick notification on a watch. 



When I’m ready to build up to a bigger fitness regime, it has advanced sensors track data specific to running, biking and golfing, and technology from Microsoft Health gives you actionable insights based on your data. Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health let you share your activity data with your favorite fitness apps, and give you access to experiences developed with premier sports and lifestyle brands. 
Just quietly, my husband and I have been secretly fighting over who will wear it each day, he is loving it for the fitness aspect as well as the email and text notifications. He's been running full workouts through it and loves documenting his progress. The text and email notifications are hard not to love right? The amount of times he looks over at me while he's wearing it and says; "look, look, a text just came through". Haha it's pretty mind blowing, it's just so cool, we love it! 


Top Features and Benefits
  • Live healthier. Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health help you live healthier by tracking your heart rate, exercise, calorie burn and sleep quality. Microsoft Health is available as a universal Windows app, a dedicated app for iOS and Android devices, and via a Web Dashboard, enabling people to set wellness goals and receive actionable insights.
  • Get fit. Reach your fitness goals with Guided Workouts and custom tracking whether running, biking or golfing. Your perfect workout companion, Microsoft Band not only tracks speed and distance with a built-in GPS but even elevation gains with its built-in barometer.
  • Be productive. Stay connected at a glance with the notifications that matter most to you right on your wrist. Easily check email previews, calendar alerts, calls or text messages, and view social updates. Stay organised with personal reminders you can set with your voice using Cortana.
  • Advanced technology. Microsoft Band’s curved screen makes it comfortable to wear. The vibrant, full-color AMOLED display is bright and easy to read, and is protected with durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3. Its 11 advanced sensors track your daily activity, exercise and sleep quality. And with built-in GPS, you aren’t tethered to a phone to track your data — it’s stored in the device itself then uploaded to Microsoft Health once Bluetooth® kicks in. 
The Microsoft Band retails for $379.99 and is available in Australia at the Microsoft Flagship Store in Sydney, JBHIFI, Harvey Norman, select Rebel Sport stores and online as well as Microsoftstore.com.

I highly recommend checking this new smart watch out. For more information about Microsoft Band visit Microsoft Band at http://www.microsoft.com/band

Disclaimer: I was so excited to be gifted the Microsoft band that I wanted to share it with you as its such a fantastic product for busy mums. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

How Sleep Affects Weight Loss

“How Sleep Affects Weight Loss”
By Belinda Reynolds IsoWhey Dietitian 

When it comes to losing weight or improving your general health, diet and exercise are certainly a high priority, however there are a number of other factors to consider. The amount of sleep you achieve each night can also have a significant impact on your metabolism, appetite, and ability to achieve and maintain a healthy weight (not to mention your overall wellbeing!).

Do you wake up craving sugar or caffeine?

Ongoing stress (whether it be severe emotional stress or mild, persistent stress) has been shown to have multiple negative influences on our hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals control many functions in the body, including (but not limited to) mood, sleep, blood sugar control, blood pressure, sexual function and immune function. 
When the brain and body are unable to relax in order to achieve healthy sleep, this then perpetuates many of the imbalances in the body that stress has caused. As a result we can find ourselves looking to artificial pick-me-ups such as sugar and caffeine just to get through the day. In reality, the body would benefit more from protein, fibre, good fats and lots of nutrients, to provide it with the nutrition it desperately craves.

Imbalanced stress hormones can contribute to weight gain

Imbalances in hormones caused by stress and sleep deprivation may lead to complications such as blood glucose imbalance and slowed metabolism. Furthermore, whenever you eat the high-sugar foods you’re craving, the spike in insulin can increase the storage of fat in the body, and leave you fatigued an hour or so later. Cortisol imbalances can also impact your exercise performance and recovery, meaning that it is also impacting your ability to get the most from your workout. 

Less sleep = More stress

The average adult needs roughly eight hours (7-9 depending on the individual) of optimal sleep per night; the type of sleep that is deep and uninterrupted where you wake up feeling refreshed and super charged for the day.  During this type of sleep a large number of processes occur which include repair and recovery throughout all areas of the body (this includes the muscles and brain). When this healing process is hindered, your brain is left “inflamed”. Put simply, stress and lack of sleep is making your brain sick. This contributes to brain fog (i.e. difficulty thinking/concentrating), and also a reduced ability to cope with stressful situations and calm down after a stressful situation has occurred. Many people, when stressed and foggy-headed like this, will reach to band-aid “pick-me-up” solutions which are often unhealthy and not supporting their wellbeing (and weight) in the long term. 
When you start sleeping more, and fill your diet with nutrient and antioxidant-rich foods, your brain will start to heal, your in-built coping mechanisms will improve, your motivation will then often follow, and so too will better habits.

Experiencing difficulty sleeping? 

Consider the following;

• Ensure that you are not consuming too much caffeine close to bed time, and remove any refined carbohydrates and sugar from the four hours before you’re due to retire for the evening. 

• Caffeine and sugar each play havoc with you body’s normal hormonal rhythms that control the sleep/wake cycle.

• Try dimming the lights for the hour before your head to bead and try to avoid the temptation to stare at your phone, iPad, laptop or other electronic device.

• The light emitted from electronic devices are very stimulating for the brain and will impact your sleep.

• You can also try a quick meditation or a few calming yoga poses before bed.


This content includes extracts of the new IsoWhey Weight Management program e-book, free to download. 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Why baby showers continue to thrive

 

Why baby showers continue to thrive
By Leanne Hall, Clinical Psychologist and mum 

When you decide to begin a family or have another baby it’s a magical time in your life and it is a 
milestone that should be celebrated in your own way with the people you care about. The feel-good factor of being around friends and family in a time of uncertainty but immense excitement can provide emotional and psychological support by reminding the expectant mum that she is not alone. So it’s no surprise that a baby shower is the leading source of celebration for motherhood and an important fixture on the milestone calendar for expectant mums. 

One in two Australian mums held a baby shower for their child, according to fresh research* released by comfy nappy brand, BabyLove. The survey of over 1,000 Australian women revealed first time mums were the most likely to have a baby shower. If new to pregnancy, you’re going to experience the life changing transition to being a parent for the first time. This is one of the most significant transitions we experience during our life span. It’s a big deal! This is one of the main reasons why first time mum’s are likely to make more of a fuss. Also, they are typically starting from scratch and so need all the support and guidance they can get! 

When I had my first baby shower, it was organised by my sister and sister-in-law. It was an opportunity for the women in both my family and my husband’s family to come together with my closest friends to provide support and reassurance as I mentally prepared for the transition to motherhood. They didn’t let me lift a finger! 


It’s not hard to throw a baby shower. Keep it simple and use the internet for tips. I love the NEW BabyLove baby shower hub which includes everything new mothers or friends of expectant mothers need to throw a fun baby shower. The hub includes content related to party theme ideas, food and drink recipes, decoration tips, digital invitation templates and fun games. Most importantly, give your friends and family the opportunity to show you their support by letting them do most of the organising. It’s good practice for being a mum and learning to lean on loved ones for support from time to time.

Being a mum is one of the most important roles we will ever have. With that pressure comes apprehension and anxiety, as well as anticipation and excitement. It’s very normal to experience a roller coaster of emotions during this time, especially when you also consider the hormones running through your system! With that in mind, always remember to practice self-care by taking time out and by seeking the support of others. After all a healthy happy mum equals a healthy happy baby!




Wednesday, 18 May 2016

5 CHORES BUSY MUMS SHOULD OUTSOURCE FOR MORE FREE TIME

5 CHORES BUSY MUMS SHOULD OUTSOURCE FOR MORE FREE TIME
By Katie Hume from Airtasker

Being a mum is one of the most demanding jobs out there. When you’re juggling family life with work commitments and other responsibilities, downtime is almost unheard of. 
If your to-do lists are starting to take over your life and you can’t remember the last time you had a weekend off to relax, it’s time to seek out a helping hand. Outsourcing chores doesn’t make you lazy – rather, it helps you to work smart so that you can do more of what you love.  
Here are 5 chores busy mums should outsource for more free time.

HEAVY DUTY CLEANING JOBS
It might not be feasible to outsource ALL your cleaning, but you should definitely consider delegating the heavy duty jobs. For your next spring clean, hire someone to take care of the tedious and time-consuming chores like deep cleaning the oven, BBQ and stove vents, washing curtains and cleaning window screens. The benefits of outsourcing far outweigh the costs when you consider the amount of time and energy saved.

PRESENT SHOPPING
We all want to give thoughtful and personalised presents but sometimes life can take over and we simply don’t have the time. Instead of spending your weekends frantically running from store to store to purchase gifts for upcoming birthdays and events, why not outsource the job?  At the beginning of the month, review your calendar and note down all the gifts you need to prepare for and allocate a budget accordingly. You can then hire someone to do the shopping, gift wrapping and write a personalised card too. 

LIFE ADMIN
Ever spent an entire Sunday dealing with boring life admin tasks? Things like paying bills, making appointments, collecting dry cleaning and filing receipts don’t seem like much but they can pile up and before you know it, you’ve exhausted your entire weekend. Make your life easier by delegating these admin tasks to a ‘personal assistant’ for the day, so that you can focus on what’s important – like spending quality time with your family.

HOME PROJECTS
Most households have an ongoing list of home projects or home repair jobs to tackle – whether it’s to build an outdoor deck, install fly screens, paint a new room or mount TVs. If you don’t have the handyman skills required to do the job effectively and efficiently, it may be worthwhile outsourcing it to an expert handyman instead. Always ask for certifications, references and reviews to ensure you’re hiring the best person for the job.

GARDEN MAINTENANCE
Keeping a garden well maintained is no easy job, especially when you don’t have a ‘green thumb’. From general maintenance tasks like watering plants and mowing the lawn, to specialist gardening labour like pruning and mulching, the checklist of things to do can add up quite quickly. If you’d rather spend your free time enjoying the garden than working in it, outsource the job instead.  


ABOUT KATIE HUME
Katie Hume is the Marketing Communications Manager at Airtasker, a trusted community marketplace for people and businesses to outsource tasks, find local services or hire flexible staff in minutes - online or via mobile.







Saturday, 14 May 2016

The wonderful powers of a bandage with Nexcare™

This post is supported by Nexcare™

Anyone with kids knows the wonderful powers of a bandage. The application of a bandage seems to take away tears and heal scratches. It's a funny thing, right? A bandage just seems to stop tears immediately so they are a useful tool when your child has a spill and cries. How many mums have you heard say; "Do you need a bandage? Ok, all better now!" Hah I really do love the concept and it really does work, even it is all a placebo effect. Bandages just seem to fix stuff.

Since having our baby, Mr 3 has been having a whole heap of extra falls, extra tears and needing extra attention. We've needed to draw at different ways to keep him entertained; with his sister back at school and him being stuck with me, he's getting a little bored and literally climbing the walls. I'm not joking when I say he's a strong thing and he would find anything to climb or jump off. With that, comes falls, scratches and a bit of blood. The perfect situation to offer the wonderful bandage.

Recently we've been reviewing the Nexcare™ Waterproof Range of bandages, which includes but is not limited to Nexcare Blister Waterproof Bandages, designed to comfort painful blisters, which I am loving and the Nexcare Waterproof Bandages ideal for any cut, scrap or graze, which Mr 3 is giving a great workout.



The Nexcare Waterproof Bandages are amazing. They stick so well and truly are waterproof. You can see them in action over on the humorous Nexcare Nana content series. Get ready for a laugh as Nexcare Nana takes you on adventures, test driving the Nexcare Waterproof Bandages. It's a hilarious series consisting of 5 videos; Meet Nexcare Nana, Nana vs. Car Wash, Nana vs. Dirt, Nana vs. Water and Nana vs. Germs

You can view one of the videos below.

My favourite product though, is the Nexcare Blister Waterproof Bandages which actually won the Product of the Year Award in the Wound Care category for 2016 as voted by a survey of 14,422 household consumers by Nielsen Australia. 

There's no doubt why they did as they are great. I've been using them on a few blisters I've gotten on my feet recently from slowly getting used to wearing my "nice" shoes again after pregnancy. It's nice to wear a heel again sometimes but my feet are really not used to them, living in Birkenstocks for the past 10 months of fluid retention. The blister bandage is super comfortable and effectively safeguards against water, dirt and germs while cushioning the blister comfortably. What is most effective is that the blister bandage features a cushioned hydrocolloid gel pad which not only provides added protection to minimise discomfort, but also absorbs extra moisture from the blister helping the wound heal quickly.


I've loved being introduced to this product as I've never seemed to be able to find a good bandage for blisters, even during my greatest partying days when blisters all over my feet from wearing high heels out all night was a given. I would struggle with the horrible bandages that never stuck properly and would rub off during the night and give even worse blisters; it wasn't good. 
These bandages from the Nexcare brand are a real winner as they are ultra-thin, waterproof and latex free, and the clear breathable bandage’s diamond shape ensures 360° seal around the pad and minimises edge lift. 


I highly recommend trying the Nexcare Waterproof Range of bandages. As a busy but also very clumsy mum, I know how easy it is to get a scratch or kick your toe (just ask my husband, I'm good at this one) so it's great to have a product on hand that does the job well and helps us get on with our jam packed filled lives. 

Go to http://www.nexcare.com.au to view the Nexcare product range. 

Our little Hippy Chick


When life all seems like it can't get anymore perfect, a little curve ball needs to be thrown into the mix to give us a bit of excitement... It wasn't the excitement we would of hoped for but that's just how life goes right?

At one day old, we were told by the paediatrician that our perfect little bubba seemed to have a clicky hip but it was nothing to worry about too much and that he would come back again in 2 days to check again.  2 days later, her little hip seemed to be still clunking around and the doctor recommended that we get an ultrasound in 2 weeks time and be prepared that she may need to see an orthopaedic surgeon and be fitted with a brace. He said NO to using certain baby carriers that let the legs hang down and instructed us to only wrap her very loosely around the hips and legs.

Doctor said we would see him after the ultrasound but things could just sort themselves out in the coming couple of weeks,  it's just best to get onto these things early. In my true great denial style, I brushed it under the carpet believing that at the ultrasound things would come back clear and we would be on our merry way back home that afternoon not having to worry any further.

So at 3 weeks old, I took the trip back to Sydney to see all the important people; after a hip ultrasound and an appointment with an orthopaedic surgion, it was confirmed that our little one definitely had a dislocateable hip and should be fitted with the pavlick harness as soon as possible. We will have weekly and fortnightly check ups with an orthodist and physio, then in four weeks time, see the surgean again with another ultrasound to check if the harness is doing what it's supposed to do and if it is, it will stay on and if it isn't, we will have to discuss surgery (my biggest fear for any baby or child).
That night came and I gave little miss a nice long bath, emotions flooded in an out that this would be the last bath she would be having for a while. We saw the paediatrician the next morning and he weighed her and took her height down, telling me how well she is progressing, he gave me reassurance that we were in the right hands and that we must just do every right and things will be perfect long term. Once again, told this wasn't just a mild case and could take a while. Off to the hospital we then went to get the brace fitted with a short lesson on what not to do, how to hold her, how not to hold her, issues to look out for, etc. Wow, how emotional it all became then, watching them fit the full body harness on my fresh little girl was when I seemed to fall apart, knowing how her little life would be changing for a while. Though, what a trooper she is, not caring, not being phased by them pulling her around, such a legend, I am proud.

Then back on the road we went, home again, home again. She slept, content and happy as ever.. I cried because I did what mums do best...worry!

I know this isn't uncommon and people keep reassuring me that it's an easy fix.
But I'm not worried about the result, we know it's all going to be ok...she is going to be fine. She is fine. But it's the process; the process wont be fun and may be long. There won't be any bath time, cuddles aren't easy, holding her is awkward, breast feeding is a different ball game, dressing and changing nappies is harder and driving long distances is not recommended. It just makes life right now a little tricky and with 2 other bouncing kids that need my attention, it is all very overwhelming and let's face it, it's just sad looking at your fresh new little baby all braced up and restricted. It's not something you want them to have to go through, you want them to be able to snuggle up and stretch out as they wish.

So for now, we are learning but we are ok and she is ok. Actually, she is awesome, going along for the ride.

We'll keep you updated on the process. If anyone has any tips to share with us to help us along with the process or experiences, I would love to hear from you.

Cass x

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Working out this whole new newborn world with the MyMedela app

This post is supported by Medela AU

Only 14 days ago I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. We have spent the last 2 weeks in a big newborn baby bubble, our little baby is perfect, and she’s living in a simple cycle of sleep, eat, poop, repeat…She’s doing everything she’s supposed to and getting gold stars from her doting parents along the way. The days are going along fast and each feed feels like it blends into the next. It’s really nice to have a newborn in the house again, we’re all filled with love with a side order of chaos. The big kids are loving her and she perks up when she hears their voices, it's beautiful. But we are tired and it all feels like a bit of a blur. It can be tricky to keep up with when the last feed was and when the next should be coming up. 


A couple of weeks before our bub arrived I was gearing up ready for her arrival and I was introduced to the new MyMedela free app from Medela for new mums. I can let you know now, that it has been a total life saver. 
As a new mum, we are told by our midwives to document all feeds and nappies to make sure that our babies are eating well and their little digestive systems are working their magic. It's also a great way to keep track of how long we fed for and what side we fed from last. 
When I had my other babies, I would have to note all this down in an exercise book with pencil and it would be a nice big scribbly, tired mess that could be lost in translation.

This is where the MyMedela app comes in; imagine having an app on your phone to document all this stuff.  MyMedela is your personal digital companion, providing practical advice, tips and tricks from experts on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. It really is as great as it sounds.



With the new myMedela app, you can document all this important newborn activity with ease and everything is even placed on a pretty graph giving you a daily overview. The best part is that you can keep track of what's happening whenever you want, with your personal MyMedela diary including when and how long you breastfeed and express milk, evaluate your progress and get tips from experts. The app even has a timer that you can press when you start a feed and this times how long you feed from each side and saves this information, meaning that you don't even have to time yourself and document the info manually, it is really cool! 


I also love that you can track your baby's size, weight, sleeping patterns and nappy changes 24/7. It's nice to check the graphs to see how our baby is growing and changing and it gives us confidence that we are doing everything right. 


The app also provides a comprehensive guide to breastfeeding and answers to frequently asked questions about pregnancy, breastfeeding and Medela products. This is a great addition as breastfeeding isn't always easy and it's super encouraging to be able to have this support during such an overwhelming but exciting time. 


I highly recommend checking this new app out when you can and sharing it with any of your friends that have babies or babies on the way. It is a really great addition to any new Mumma's life and they will thank you for it. The MyMedela app is available free on the Apple Store & Google Play Store.

It really has helped me get settled into this whole new phase of motherhood. And the encouragement and motivating little messages along the way give any tired Mumma a boost! 


    • MyMedela app is available free on the Apple Store & Google Play Store



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