Vileda Windomatic Review

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I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to household chores verging on the obsessive compulsive. I don’t have a cleaner (yet) because in a weird sort of way I find cleaning therapeutic a bit like blogging. My mum is obsessed with cleaning so she’s obviously passed some gene onto me.  Thanks mum. It was therefore a nice surprise to be asked if I wanted to try out the Vileda Windowmatic and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time as funnily enough I had been thinking about tackling our grimy panes with a nifty gadget. The first thing to say is that it is Good Housekeeping Institute approved so that was encouraging.

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Washing windows is generally a job that most people don’t like to bother with, because you have to battle with dirt, dripping water, wads of kitchen towel or newspaper, and annoying streaks. There are many techniques and methods that you can use to clean windows, and it can be difficult to know which one is the most effective. However, when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to look at how the professional window cleaners do it. The quick and efficient method they use involves a bucket of cleaning solution, a cloth/sponge, and a squeegee. On opening the box I found the instructions simple to follow, my only concern was the writing is very small as the instructions are in a number of different languages. The next thing I did was charge the battery for 6 hours.

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The on off switch located on the handle of the Windowmatic only needs the lightest touch to activate and a few times I have caught it and turned the item off but once you are used to this you hold the handle away from it. The finish is smear free and has a nice shine almost all the liquid is removed.

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The windomatic is easy to clean and empty, the head moves so it is not rigid so making it easy to change direction when going up and down the glass.  The battery is adequate and allows lots of windows to be cleaned in one go.  It’s great for tackling window condensation problems especially in the bathroom and this product is great for clearing them quickly. I felt having an extra smaller blade attachment would have be handy for smaller areas as we have a few windows with smaller sections but that’s a minor negative.

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The flexible head comes into play when applying pressure to clean the windows so you can remove water and dirt easily. I think the water reservoir could perhaps be little bit bigger however this is easily rectified by having a bucket to hand.  The Vileda Windomatic is priced at £49.99 which I think is fairly reasonable as it does a super job and best in class against other popular Window Vacs.

“If eyes are the windows to our souls, 
then windows are the eyes into the soul of a house.”
Rose Tarlow

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

*I was sent the product in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

The Power of Affirmations


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The first year of motherhood is just so ridiculously difficult as any mum will tell you.  This morning I looked at myself in the mirror with my every growing dark circles staring back at me that have clearly gone beyond the point of no return.  I often have flashbacks to my early thirties the pre-baby days when I had time to apply face masks and take long soaks in the bath, co-ordinate outfits not to mention the toilet breaks without an audience.

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You get the gist some weeks are tougher than others and it’s hard work that requires well honed management skills, only you don’t get paid for it. It’s “rewarding” people say and there is of course truth in that but I wish we could also be quite honest in saying that some days we just want to run away and drink champagne all day.

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Nearly three years on I believe the best gift you can give to everyone around you (especially your children and your other half if you have one) is the gift of caring for yourself. Easier said than done of course but the reality of motherhood is that you can only share as much love and nurturing as you yourself are receiving.  It is essential that all mothers ask for help and support on a regular basis in order to replenish themselves and to build up their reserves of energy. I have only just got to the point where I have started to do that.

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I write this post not to criticise my 32 months old son because after all he is the reason I love getting up in the mornings and the middle of the night. I am very lucky he is here. Whether you’re a young or an older mum like me watching our little people grow up in front of our very eyes is a privilege. I write this post for the all the hardworking caring parents out there who do their very best daily to raise their mini humans and deserve praise, keep up the good work people and banish those motherhood guilt feelings that have a habit  of creeping up on us.

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At the beginning of this year I wrote about how I started my day reading statements to help my mood. Affirmations are simple, clear and direct declarations that we say to ourselves in order to achieve change in different areas of life. Developing a powerful positive mindset can be hard when you are an exhausted parent. For example the last two weeks have been intense I have looked after my son who has been  poorly and then I sure enough succumbed to the lurgy which meant it was a code red disaster how on earth was I going to cope with everything but of course I did.  It’s all experience ultimately but can’t say I learnt anything new.

Then a nice thing happened.  A beautiful friend of mine called Stacey a fellow Channel Mum Vlogger sent me a gift totally out of the blue on a day when I also received a £55 parking ticket. In the box were these brilliant Yes Mum cards designed by Hollie De Cruz retailing at £10.50.  I was so impressed hence why I’m writing this to urge any parent to get a set or to treat someone to them. There are plenty of other options available too depending on the person and their situation. I do suffer from post natal anxiety and I wrote a blog post called New Year Goals I referred to how carefully constructed statements “rewire” our brains to break negative thought patterns.  Why bother with doing this you may ask the process may seem silly if you’re new to it but the idea is to push negativity and self-doubt away and affirm to ourselves that things are good even if we don’t necessarily feel that way at the time.

If you are reading this and feel like you are in a bit of a lull and need to re-energise your mental state of mind I urge you to try these. I take a card each morning and place it where I will keep seeing it throughout the day. Life isn’t always plain sailing as we know and even the most positive minded people will need a boost from time to time.  I am well aware that there will be sceptics who say this is all mumbo jumbo and everyone is entitled to their opinions of course. This is a small exercise in my view that doesn’t hurt anyone and worth trying, even for me?….pretty please?

Would love to hear from you on this subject.

Thanks for reading

Keep up the good work!

Love

Bella

~X~

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Have you tried Pitapat?

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I hadn’t quite prepared myself for the amount of stuff accumulated when you become a parent, and day to day I am forever picking up toys and books and trying to make the place look decent for those unexpected visitors that actually don’t visit. I do however feel that all items purchased still need to be treated with respect even when they are no longer being used. I am pretty good at culling Jay’s toys that are no longer shown any interest or he’s outgrown.  Recently I came across a wonderful Free App called Pitapat which is great for listing unwanted items you want to sell or searching for items you want to buy all within easy reach of your home.

I do donate a fair bit to the local Charity shops but sometimes I feel like some things are worth selling and I like how this App lets you purchase items closer to home rather having to pay an obscene amount for postage.  I registered with my email and created a password and within seconds I was able to start using the App which is super easy to use.

Listing things may seem like a chore but with only a few details like a photo, description and £price it’s a matter of a minute or two.  The added bonus of it being a localised market place gives it a nice community feel in being able to help people nearby and remember it’s getting to that time of the year when costs start mounting so you might just want to pocket some cash or treat the little humans in your life!

Find Pitapat on

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

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Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

The Lost Stars (Infertility and Miscarriages)




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Not one, not two, not three, not four but five…five lost and much wanted stars that I never got to meet. I write this personal post as writing often is a form of therapy for the soul. It’s partly a way for me to cope through this loss and not fall into a downward spiral.  For those that know me well know that I am someone who loves to smile and laugh and help others. I’m very down to earth that’s just me. I’m by no means Super Woman but I do have a Wonder Woman mug and I love my family and being a mum.  I do feel like I’ve recently acquired extra powers to help me get over losing my babies one by one. It can be a very lonely battle sometimes when I’m left to think things over. Fortunately I am able to get up and get on with my life and won’t let any sadness get in the way of me leading a good life. After all I have a little boy who by some miracle made it through the odds who still needs me to love him and care for him so that’s just what I do.

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National Fertility Awareness Week is Monday 31st October to Sunday 6th November 2016 a movement started to raise awareness of the couples who struggle to become parents. Fertility issues are all too often misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s common for media attention to be focused on stereotypes but this is far from the real picture.  The week provides a time for those with infertility to talk to their friends and families some may not know of the battles that are going on in the background.  I’ve written about how Jay is my miracle rainbow baby, how I still to this day pinch myself that he exists. There are a lot of people we know who don’t actually know what we have been through emotional and financial to get to hold our son. His very name in Sanskrit mean Victorious which I think  suits him well. I am proud being an older mum and although there are days I wish I had started a family earlier I know that every person has a different life story we don’t all meet our life partners in our teens or 20s, we don’t all face infertility but one in six UK couples do and one in four pregnancies end in loss. It’s a lottery.

I discovered surprisingly that I was pregnant with my first baby in February 2011 6 months into marriage, but Mr M and I didn’t have time to celebrate as I lost the baby at 6 weeks. I was then diagnosed with PCOS at Great Portland Street hospital in London and it was the first time I  started to seek treatment as it was apparent that my journey to becoming a mother was going to be a tough one.  Friends stopped telling me they were pregnant for fear of upsetting me but that was not what I wanted I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I would get asked a lot when Mark and I would be starting a family and not to leave it too late. I would struggle to answer that as I didn’t want to go into all of the medical issues. After two years of various treatments including injecting my stomach with medicine and taking Clomid I felt like giving up. I had attended countless appointments and tests which felt like a whole lot of effort and tried numerous alternate therapies like acupuncture and reflexology.  I don’t like meddling with nature but I pursued my dream and eventually on a second cycle of Clomid in June 2013 I saw my positive pregnancy test lines at 2am one morning.  I was incredibly happy and despite a difficult pregnancy gave birth to a healthy boy in March 2014.

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Since September 2015 I have suffered four miscarriages the most recent being last month two weeks after my 40th birthday when I lost a baby at nine and half weeks. Following some intense cramping and spotting I went to A&E one Sunday afternoon but couldn’t be scanned as the department was closed.  This added to my stress of not knowing what was happening inside. I tried to stay calm and not think the worst but deep down I knew I was about to go through it all over again.  The following afternoon I was seen and scanned. I was devastated to hear those words again “I’m sorry but there isn’t a heartbeat anymore”. Little Jay was sitting next to me not knowing just how sad his mummy was as I wept in front of the nurse and took a moment to compose myself leaving the hospital feeling broken.  I turned down the offer to stay in hospital overnight and was asked to hurry home soon after I had taken the medication to let things take their course. The physical pain was excruciating not to mention what I saw.  I had to unravel all my plans return the baby names book back to the library throw away my notes with the names I’d selected, return maternity clothes I had bought in advance and cancel the pregnancy update Apps on my Iphone.  The hard bit was breaking the news to my husband but through it all he has been fully supportive and caring. We were both quiet that evening, Mark made me dinner but I struggled to eat as I sat looking down with my tears falling into my plate, we couldn’t talk and sat numb with grief. It was I felt incredibly cruel especially after such a wonderful birthday. I have questioned my faith in God for the first time ever.

When I think about it incredibly I had managed to fall pregnant naturally all those times without any fertility treatment at 39 years of age and this amazes me as I had such a hard time trying to conceive before. All my test results have come back fine to indicate no health problems but of course this does not take the pain away of dashed dreams.  I watched a video by the Miscarriage association which summed up how Mark and I felt. I’ve made a donation in the hope there will be more research into this area.  It’s important to remember that men also suffer and the impact this can cause on relationships is immense. I read a blog post by Al from The Dad Network who wrote of his experience. My heart aches for all those that are going through the same thing.

I genuinely feel it’s important to talk about experiences and not suffer in silence. It’s a tough subject to navigate alone. I know that I am able to talk openly but for many people it’s not so easy. I guess we all cope with things differently. It’s the way of the World that you start seeing many pregnant women around you and there have been many pregnancy announcements from friends of mine which is of course lovely but I am not angry for I know that each baby is a gift and I appreciate just how precious life really is.  The only time I felt anger was in the days following the miscarriage when I was upset at how my body had let me down yet again, it’s a feeling of failure and nothing can really change that. Even with my positive outlook on life I struggled those first few days especially the next morning waking up and realising there was no longer a baby in my tummy.

I am grateful to the friends and family who have helped me through the darkness I genuinely feel that by them being there for me checking in on me has helped me immensely. I wanted to share something that was sent to me by my beautiful thoughtful friend Nina. She sent me her favourite book The Alchemist all about following your dreams. I also received from her a box of items and a beautiful card which of course made me cry but made me appreciate that even when things don’t go to plan. You must still work on making yourself better.

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Recurrent miscarriages and all the events that have followed are nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. If I hadn’t become a mother at this point in my life perhaps my view would be much different and my mental health would not be well. In the days following the recent event I played and laughed with my son and this was a really good for my mental health Jay has very much helped me cope with our loss.  My son pointed at my tummy the other day and said baby in tummy. I told him there was no longer a baby and he looked at me confused. I didn’t cry.  I am facing the reality and moving on.

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If you’ve experienced infertility yourself to achieve the family you have now, you know how important it is to connect with other people who “get” infertility. National Fertility Awareness Week is the perfect time to think about how you can give back to and help those who are still going through what you’ve been lucky to get through. There are social media campaigns like #fertilityin5 using 5 words to describe how you feel.  There is also The Hidden Face campaign which will use the hashtags #NFAWUK #HiddenFace all illuminating the emotions and the day to day actualities of struggling with fertility problems.

I hope that with Jay’s generation there will be a lot more treatments and help available to men and women so they don’t have to suffer loss like we have.

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Although I do often say never say never I have made peace with my self and accepted that we will be happy as a family of three and I know that’s perfectly fine.  I have moments when I think how could I love another baby as much as I love Jay but of course it’s possible.  I will still think of all my due dates and 29th April 2017 will be added to the list.  Such personal events have made me stronger rather than weaker. I believe in positive thinking and surrounding yourself with good energy. For women who have never experienced infertility, I hope they never do. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t take a moment right now during National Fertility Awareness Week to help raise awareness, spread the word, and make a difference for millions who want nothing more than to be a parent.

#NFAWUK #HiddenFace #fertilityin5

Thank you for reading my story.

Love

Bella

~X~

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Lucky Things Meet Up


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When I think about my closest friends that I have known for many years I wonder where would I be without them helping me navigate through life. I feel very fortunate knowing the wonderful people I know. There is also something quite special meeting new people and starting friendships and I’m all about surrounding yourself with good energy no matter what age you are and how many friends you have.

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I wrote recently about my love for Instagram and one of the nicest thing to come out of it is making friends online.  At the weekend I made my way into the City of London to meet a group of approximately twenty five Insta ladies all whom like me are mothers attending the Lucky Things Meet Up organised by the wonderful Sunita from Lucky Things.

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I am a huge fan of her blog and the afternoon was filled with chat, drinks, hand pamper treatments from Weleda and more chat. Mums can often feel neglected putting everyone else first but when a group of women come together its lovely to see how we do want to support one another by understanding, listening, and talking about the challenges we face in this fast paced World we live in.

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The gorgeous Drift Bar provided the backdrop for the afternoon get together and I instantly felt at ease relaxing in the company of these fabulous ladies. I was able to forget my worries for a couple of hours and focus on me and it felt good! Sunita went onto give a powerful talk on her Time to Shine confidence tricks and asked us to have a think about the following.

“What does confidence mean to you?”

For me it means:

Belief having conviction in your abilities

Strength to power on and get on with the task at hand

Fearless being brave and being prepared to face obstacles

Many women these days are doing it all. Raising kids, working, caring for elderly parents, running a household, and often managing alone as a single parent.

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This is me with the lovely Nina @mummyandnina who’s going to feature on my next Instagram favourites post. She does the most amazing captions and is a real wordsmith in my opinion. We could have literally talked for hours. In an age where technology has catapulted us all into connecting via emails and texts we seem to see people far less. I became a mobile phone owner aged 18 back in 1994. Before then friends would just agree to meet at some meeting point and hope for the best! I do think having a good old chit chat is good for the soul which is why I encourage anyone reading this to pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t seen in ages and arrange to meet for a tea, coffee or something stronger.

I know I am biased but I do think women are all round Super Women and capable of so much. I eagerly look forward to the next meet up and chat to those who also couldn’t make it this time round.  Because I had such a lovely time I have a little video of some of my thoughts which you can watch here.

Let’s take care of ourselves as well as each other.

Thanks for reading

Love

Bella

~X~