Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Surviving Parenthood: How To Get a Better Nights Sleep

I know I must be beginning to sound like a broken record but, seven and a half years into motherhood, I'm still waiting for a proper, decent night's sleep!

Admittedly, the girls have got SO much better at sleeping recently; they rarely wake in the night anymore, and our days no longer start before 6.30am. These days my sleep issues seem to be just that - mine. I struggle to fall asleep and then wake at every little noise throughout the night. If, like me, you find yourself lying awake in bed, its probably time to take a look at how you're treating your body during the day.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs seven to nine hours sleep a night. I don't know about you but for years, while the girls were younger, I wasn't getting anywhere near that! Although it was hard, I managed to function (you have to when you're a parent!) and now I'd say around my body needs about six hours.

Here are a few suggestions to help you have the best sleep you can at night.

1. Start with a sleep schedule

As parents, we encourage our children to sleep and wake at a consistent time each day and night, but I don't know any grown ups that follow the same routine! Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each night helps train the brain to understand when it should be tired, and when it should be alert. As with any training schedule, sleep training will take time in the beginning, but you really will benefit from it in the long run. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, don't get stressed. Relax your mind through reading or meditation to allow your mind to fatigue naturally. I've recently started listening to sleep meditation music on Spotify and setting the timer to turn the music off after ten minutes. Every single time I have fallen asleep before the music has stopped!

2. Create a restful environment

Bedrooms should be a haven of relaxation. That doesn’t mean arranging your room into perfectly Feng Shui alignment, but just being conscious of what will surround you as your sleep. I totally believe that a cluttered bedroom equals a cluttered mind and its for this reason that I insist on the girls tidying their bedrooms before they go to bed. Little things like opening the window ahead of bedtime to allow fresh air inside, and getting rid of technology in the bedroom will also have a positive psychological effect and, in turn, improve the quality of your rest.

3. Don’t rely on daytime naps

Naps! Remember those? Me neither ;) Apparently they are a wonderful way to reinvigorate your body and mind during a slump, but taking them regularly really can interfere with your sleep schedule so don't feel deprived if you've not had a daytime nap since 2001. If you really need, and are lucky enough to be able to have a little snooze in the middle of the day, limit it to a 30 minute power nap. Any more than this and there's a good chance you'll struggle to sleep at night.

4. Take a look at your overall lifestyle

If you’re consuming heavy, carb filled meals or sugary snacks within a few hours of your bedtime, then your digestive system may still be processing it by the time you attempt to doze off. I'm already aware that coffee is my problem; I used to drink so much of it! Consuming caffeine past 2pm means that the effects are still in your system when you want to go to bed. I did actually try to cut out caffeine altogether but decided that was a bit extreme ;) Instead, over the last four weeks I have cut my intake to three cups a day; one at breakfast, one mid-morning and one as a pre school pick me up at about 2pm. I am already noticing the positive effects.

If you do rely heavily on caffeine, as a lot of us sleep deprived parents do, try minimalising your intake from the afternoon onwards, and with each tea or coffee, drink plenty of water to help speed up the process of eliminating it from your system.

Joy Richards, a sleep specialist for UK online bed retail store Happy Beds, is dedicated to helping everyone get the most out of their bed,  has this to say about caffeine and the negative effect it has on sleep:

“While most of us (me included) often rely on strategically timed caffeine hits to get us through the day, it can have a very negative impact upon our attempts to sleep later on in the evening. While completely abandoning caffeine is out of the question for most of us, I would recommend avoiding any tea or coffee after 2pm in the afternoon. Drinking caffeine after that time will mean that it remains in your system in the lead up to bedtime. While you may feel physical tired, your body is still trying to process the chemicals and the quality of your sleep will be considerably lower compared to those who have not ingested caffeine after this time.”

You can see other helpful tips from Joy on the Happy Beds website here.

Written in association with Happy Beds.


Monday, 22 May 2017

#TeenTalk with Gabby Logan + Boots UK

As a mum of two girls, I know it won't be long before I have to have 'The Talk' with them both. We're a very close and pretty relaxed family, and I like to think it won't be an awkward conversation for us all, but I know from my own experience of being a teenager that when hormones are raging, sometimes things aren't as easy as you'd hope!

Research from Boots UK and P&G shows that 68% of parents find it difficult to broach the subject of puberty with their teen - shockingly a quarter avoid the talk altogether - and 33% of parents wish they could talk more openly with their teens. To help provide parents with tips and tools to talk about growing up with confidence, the Boots UK #TeenTalk campaign (which is now in its second year) has joined forces with celebrity mum Gabby Logan and her twelve year old daughter Lois.

Together with a panel of tweens, teens and their parents, Gabby and Lois took part in the #TeenTalk experiment where mums, dads and daughters had the #TeenTalk every other day for a week; trying out different environments, topics and formats with each conversation. The results have been published on the Boots website (here) to offer support to those navigating this lifestage together.

Gabby explains, "As a mother of twin 12 year olds, I understand the challenges of communicating with tweens all too well! They suddenly go from wanting to tell parents everything, to one word answers. But as every parent knows, you desperately want to give your children all the guidance, help and support they need and being able to communicate effectively with your teens is crucial to this. What I love about the #TeenTalk campaign is that it helps to give parents the confidence to start and maintain a strong, open and honest conversation with their child through puberty and beyond.... There's no right or wrong way to help prepare a child for puberty, it's just about finding a way that works for them."

Boots are currently running great value promotions on the trusted P&G products shown above to give parents and teens the chance to trial them. Shoppers will also receive a free toiletry bag with each purchase. #TeenTalk campaign expert Sarah Newton has also helped Boots create two helpful guides (one for parents and one for girls) with insight on lots of topics relating to puberty. These guides are available for free with the purchase of any Venus, Always or Tampax products exclusively at Boots or can be downloaded here.

The #Teen Talk campaign runs from 10 May - 6 June 2017 in Boots stores nationwide as well as online at For more tips on having the #TeenTalk, and for further product information, you can visit the Boots website here.

Written in collaboration with P&G


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Mothercare AW17 Preview #WelcometotheClub

My highlight of the AW17 Press events I went to last week had to be Mothercare, and not just because they had the most amazing nitrogen oxide ice cream from Four Winters on offer!

Mothercare always has been (and always will be) my absolute favourite place to go to for kids clothes - and for exactly the same reasons why my mum shopped there for me and my siblings thirty years ago. Mothercare clothes are well made, affordable, and comfortable which, in my opinion, are the three most important factors to consider when shopping for outfits for your kids.

What I like most about Mothercare's range of clothes is that there is something for everyone; from Myleene's monochrome to Jools' bright colours, the beautiful Heritage collection for special occasions and their every day basics.

Here are some of my favourite picks from the AW17 collections:

My K by Myleene Klass

I love the pop of yellow running through Myleene's new range for Autumn - it's just perfect for the end of summer! Also, I TOTALLY need to borrow a baby from someone (Ruth? ;)) so that I can dress him or her up in this mini Beetlejuice outfit.

The Heritage Collection

I don't know about you but I can see Prince George and Princess Charlotte in these outfits; classic and smart, perfect for royalty (or a wedding or party!).

Little Bird by Jools

Oh Jools! This woman can do no wrong.... her collections get better and better, and every season I end up buying two of literally everything (the girls will argue if I buy just one). As always, the new AW17 prints are divine (just look at that striped floral romper with the Peter Pan collar above) and the designs are full of vintage loveliness; timeless and perfect for handing down to younger members of the family.

The new collections will start rolling out in store and online towards the end of the Summer. I'll update you when I know more!
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