Monday, 22 February 2016

Menarche ~ How to help our daughters

Today's guest post is brought to you by my dear sister, Jane Legge, of Woman's Wheel. All photographs provided by her.  

Menarche is the transition between girl-hood and woman-hood. Of the three main stages of a woman’s life - menarche, menstruation and menopause - menarche is perhaps the most significant, yet most underprepared and overlooked phase.

The word ‘Menarche’ pronounced men’ar’key comes from the Greek words ‘Moon’ and ‘Beginning’. At menarche there are many subtle changes to a girl’s psyche as well as the more obvious bodily ones, often the young woman feels permeable, vulnerable, unsure. I can certainly vouch for that from my own experience of Menarche.

Whether we like it or not we still live in a Patriarchal culture, and the messages received through our media and societal conditioning are frustrating to say the least, making us believe that the natural involuntary process of menstruation is somehow negative and something to be hidden away – but there’s hope!

The way we act towards ourselves in front of our children at different times in our cycle is something we do have control over. We can build a relationship with our own menstrual cycle and then use this knowledge to help our daughters through theirs. This can start when children are young - changing sanitary pads/rinsing our cloth pads openly in front of our children. All this takes the taboo and secrecy out of menstruation.

Learning about our own menstrual cycles and how our energy levels/emotions change throughout it; trying out a few positive self-care techniques, like giving ourselves small gestures of kindness during bleeding time, like a bath, ‘time out’... Sleeping more pre-menstrually, booking less things into our diaries at this time.

If there’s one time in the month where the children are allowed to watch a little more TV and eat quick easy food (leaving you to rest and stop for a while) surely it’s during your menstruation!! In my experience women quickly become experts in getting themselves ‘space’ during bleeding, when they’ve had a taste of the benefits of it. All this knowledge you can pass onto your daughters…

According to pretty much everything I have read on this topic so far, I have seen that Menarche was once a respected and celebrated event by many of the world’s cultures – rituals were held to mark the importance such as green-tea celebrations in China, Moon Lodges in Native America, body painting in Aboriginal Australia, feasts in India with gold jewellery given to the girl.

We can do that for our girls! We can celebrate her coming of age with a cake, a gift pack with things like bubble bath, special dark coloured towels and underwear, delicious chocolate, a journal. Imagine what you would have liked most of all ‘that day’ and go from there! Even speak to your daughter about what she would like to do to mark this special day. Let our girls grow up feeling different, positive, empowered!
For many more ideas and information about menarche go to:

And for more information about the menstrual cycle try visiting:

Friday, 22 January 2016

Fruity Beauty - Three of Your Five-A-Day

As many of us have fallen off the "Eat More Fruit and Veg" New Year's Resolution wagon by this time in January, I thought I would let you know about some fruity beauty products. Since they all smell good enough to eat, perhaps their lovely fruity scents will encourage you to get back on the straight-and-narrow.

1. Apple
Superdrug's range of skincare for those of us over 35 features Malus Domestica (the humble, but effective, apple) in combination with Myramaze and Argan Oil. The Optimum Apple Serum (shown here) has been created to support the vitality of the skin’s stem cells, protect its lipid matrix against damages caused by oxidative influences, and nourish and hydrate the skin. I found it to be an excellent addition to my before bed skincare routine, as it absorbs quickly after application, leaving the skin moisturised, soft and smooth.

I love the bright, fresh smell of apples which is why I am also keen on their Optimum Apple Day Cream, which has an added bonus of SPF15, so need to add that separately. Although it is a day cream, you can apply both morning and evening, which means there's no need to splash out on a special night cream. Both these products are in the BOGOF promotion at Superdrug right now.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Sew Something from Nothing

Something from nothing is my favourite equation so I was excited to find 50 Nifty Thrifty Upcycled Fashions by Cynthia Anderson, which promises to be a guide to creating a fun, stylish new wardrobe from tired old pieces and found treasures.

I have recently re-discovered jumble sales, which appear to be undergoing a resurgence in our locale, so now and then I am able to source garments far more cheaply than even at charity shops or on Ebay. Having a book like this, I thought, would encourage me to buy those too-big but great quality pieces and alter them myself, as the author would show me how to transform any old thing into unique, eco-friendly fashion.

However, although the author says readers only need to have basic machine and hand-sewing skills, it does also require a huge amount of confidence and general flair. A lot of projects need you to "draw four arches on the garment with chalk - one centre front, one centre back and one on each side just under the bustline". I really need a diagram to show me exactly what this means before I get the scissors out. In addition, the sewing steps are put together in a paragraph and I need bullet points. Photos or sketches to explain each new technique would have been very helpful.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Discreet Post about Bladder Sensitivity

Ladies, bladder sensitivity affects one in three of us, so I know some of you reading this, like me, may have some bladder problems. Who persevered with those Kegel exercises when they should have done, after all?! Even if it is common, it is something we rarely talk openly about, and I apologise if this post makes you feel awkward too!

I have been given some Always Discreet products to try and also have some money off coupons and bladder health tip sheets. I got them free off Proctor and Gamble because I am a member of their savvycircle, in exchange for honest feedback. I haven't tried them yet but will post a review on Mumtopia when I have done so.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Desperation Crafts #5: Turn a sweater into a slouchy beanie.

Slouchy beanie. So THAT'S what they are called, these attitudinal, hands-in-pockets all-season hats that are somehow reminiscent of Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Not necessarily worn for warmth, more for a cool, skater look, slouchy beanies can be easily made from old knitwear. Favoured by twenty-somethings who should know better, they nevertheless look quite sweet on primary school children. Secundus often becomes quite attached to clothes, but the zip-up jumper shown left is three years too small for him and even he accepted that the cuffs were at his elbows rather than his wrists. However, he didn't want to get rid of it so I offered to transform it into something else wearable.

Apart from some outgrown knitwear, all you need is the printable pattern featured at seekatesew, which is free and comes with a tutorial here. I suppose you could felt the knitwear by washing it at a very high temperature, but we were stuck indoors on a rainy afternoon, and we wanted a project to do NOW. You may need to adjust the width according to the size of your child's head, as this pattern would fit me. The best way to work it out would be to compare the paper pattern with a hat that fits them well.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Five Fabulous Recipes for Autumn #2

There’s something about that nip in the air that affects our culinary psyche and finds us craving cosy, comfort food. Barbecues and salads become long forgotten and soups, stews and sticky puds enter our recipe repertoire.

Al fresco eating needn’t be the preserve of summer; pause for a cuppa with buttered Cheddar and Chorizo scones during a walk through the autumn leaves. And enjoy sticky toffee apples on Halloween or while sitting watching the Bonfire.

Find new inspiration for the season in the brilliant 2016 Dairy Diary, which features a plethora of superb recipes – one for every week of the year – so there’s something to tempt anyone and everyone.

Each and every delicious dish has been triple-tested and has easy-to-follow instructions to ensure perfect results every time.

Today's recipe is  Chorizo and Cheddar Scones

Time 30 mins, Makes 8, Calories 151, Fat 7.3g of which 4.3g is saturated
Suitable for freezing

Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
Butter 50g (2oz)
Cheddar cheese 50g (2oz), grated
Chorizo 40g (1½oz), chopped
Milk 150ml (¼ pint) plus extra to glaze

1 Preheat oven to 230°C(210°fan)/450°F/Gas 8. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

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