The Wandering Mother Blog

How to order a home delivery meal in Veganuary

A contribution post by Helen Long –

I’ve been vegan since around 2005. Since then I’ve eaten out many times, and it has become easier and easier. In London, you can now get a vegan version of almost anything. Here are a few take- home tips for uninitiated:

Vegan meal delivery services and ready meals 

When our Baby was first born, we became experts in opening organic tins to eat.  It’s surprisingly tasty when you’re hungry, and we’ve carried on buying them.  (It’s best to avoid sugar and salt, but, well, sometimes we can’t be bothered). You can find some such items on offer at: Ethical SuperstoreTheVeganKind or Greenbay.  You can also order a bundle of easy vegan meals to freeze from allplantsor The Book Plant Based Kitchen.  

How to tell a takeaway you are vegan

There is no need to feel embarrassed about expressing your preferences, so long as you are polite about it, the staff will generally be happy to help.  If not, then there are plenty of other choices to try out there!  Some places also let you filter their menu by allergens, which makes life much easier.  Even if they do, write a note in the comment box at the end of the order form and add your own number.  Or better still, phone.  Either check the website for the number.  On ‘Just Eat’ you can find the phone number of the place by clicking the bit of the page which says ‘click if you have an allergy’. 

The Wandering Mother Blog | Food & Drink
Ordering-in vegan food has never been easier! / Photo by Jarek Ceborski via Unsplash

Non-vegan ingredients to check for on menus

Ask if meals are cooked in butter or ghee, contain yoghurt, cream, cheese or paneer.  Eggs don’t usually show up unexpectedly, but check to be sure.  Where dishes include oyster sauce, you can just ask for this to be removed.  Obviously, also avoid meat and fish.  

How vegan dishes are labelled on menus

Generally speaking, ‘V’ on a menu means vegetarian (no meat or fish).  ‘V+’ or ‘VE’ tends to mean vegan (no dairy, eggs or honey), and ‘GF’ means gluten free.  Not everyone is clear that gluten free and vegan are different concepts.  The menu might only label things as vegetarian, in which case ask for clarification.   

Easy types of takeaways for vegans

If you place an order directly from a vegan cafe, this will make it easier!  Find vegan, vegetarian, and vegan friendly cafes with the Happy Cow website and app.  There is also a new website, GetVeganGrub for ordering vegan deliveries.  My website has maps of child friendly vegan and vegetarian places around the country, and child friendly places in London.

South Indian restaurants are great for vegans.  We found one in Plumstead a while ago.  Other Indian, Nepalese, Carribean and Ethiopiean places often have vegan options, just avoid cream and butter (such as in tikka masala, korma, or often with spinach).  We once went to an Indian restaurant which said they cooked everything in butter, but this is rare.  Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai places tend to be fine if you order tofu and avoid oyster sauce.  Nowadays, many pizzerias offer a vegan cheese option if you ask.  

Remember the sprinkles!

Us vegans often sprinkle extra nutrients on our meals, such as: nutritional yeast, ground flax and sauerkraut.

Vegan home deliveries near Greenwich:

Hullabaloo – vegetarian, with branches in Greenwich and Deptford

Vegan masala or korma made with coconut and cashew milk is lovely and mild for little ones.  These are not usually vegan!  You can also try black bean lentil dal, soya chunks with aachari, or vegan ‘butter’ naan bread, as well as the usual Indian takeaway favourites. 

This was the last cafe we visited before I became pregnant.  I later returned with Baby when they were about one year old.  We finished off a chai tea and a meal while waiting for my friend, so ordered another when she arrived.  Baby was very enthusiastic.  I remember the staff as friendly, there was nice music, and you could watch passers by through the window. You can find them on Uber Eats or Just Eat.


Ayurveda Pura – vegetarian, near Blackwell Tunnel

We’ve stopped off here a couple of times for a healthy curry, salad (with fruit) and turmeric latte.  The cafe is part of a day spa, with a philosophy based in ancient Indian medicine.  It has high chairs and baby changing facilities.  Staff kindly ignored me when I borrowed a shower in the toilet to wash baby sick out of my hair… You can find them on Deliveroo


Eat of Eden – vegan, branches in Lewisham, Brixton, Clapham and Shepherds Bush

Organic Carribean mixed platters with plenty of vegetables, proteins and also finger foods.  The Brixton branch of which has nappy changing facilities and step- free access for buggies.  Find Eat of Eden on Just Eat 


The Full Nelson – vegan, in Deptford

Burgers, chips and other pub grub to try if you are missing meaty junk. Find them on Deliveroo 


Vegan sauces and cheeses

You can order vegan sauces and ferments from Walworth based The Omni Collective.  Artisanal vegan cheeses are cycled for free to local postcodes by Peckham based The Odds.


Persepolis – vegetarian, in Peckham but delivers to Deptford

Middle Eastern gooey things to dip chips into. Select the ‘make vegan’ tick box option.  We went to Persepolis for my 30th birthday.  There were highchairs, a children’s menu, and little meze meals to order and share. Many meals were decorated with a vertical cheesy wotsit. Daddy decided not to propose that day because I had a cold.


This contribution post was written by guest writer, Helen Long from Vegan Family Guide – your partner in compassionate, plant powered parenting.

The Wandering Mother Blog

How to stop back pain stopping you!

A contribution post by Michelle McWilliam. 

After carrying your baby nine months, mothers then carry said baby in their arms or a sling or are found carting a car seat about. Then, as children grow you are carrying heavier – and wrigglier – small children. Of course, that’s all part of motherhood and our body is designed to be able to undertake these activities. However, if this coincides with a combination of repetition and inadequate physical fitness, we can develop injuries that cause pain, ranging from a mild backache to serious pain.
And you can’t really be struggling to get around when you have a small human (or more) to care for and enjoy spending time with. So what do you need to consider.

Know how your back works

Knowing how our bodies work empowers us to make the correct decisions on how best to look after ourselves, whether that’s what we choose to eat, how much we exercise or the daily stretch routine we participate in.

The spine consists of a stack of bones called vertebra and sandwiched between each bone is a disc. These discs are the shock absorbers for our spines and are incredibly strong. Imagine a jam doughnut. The jam in the middle is the nucleus pulposus, the dough around the outside is the annulus pulposus. The sugary coating around the outside is the annular ligament. Together these structures produce a disc that can be squashed in all directions to allow movement of the spine. Holding all of this together are ligaments and a complex array of muscles, which support the central column on bones and discs.

The Wandering Mother - UK Family Lifestyle Blog
Knowing your body mechanics can really help to prevent back pain

What causes pain

Different issues with the spine can cause pain. Most common is the overuse of muscles. This can cause a deep, dull ache which gradually builds up during the day. This is due to muscle fatigue and is an indicator that the spine and muscles around it can no longer maintain the work you’re expecting of them. Alternatively, sudden, cramp-like pain can be caused by muscle spasms. This is where the muscles of the back feel the need to spasm as tightly as possible to stop you doing something, in an effort to reduce possible injury.

More severe back pain can be caused by damage to the discs of the spine. Image the jam doughnut between two plates. As you squish the plates together you squish the disc. If you place more pressure on one side of the disc, the central jam can push out towards the sugary coating. In cases of continued pressure this sugary coating can become damaged and the jam and dough can produce a bulge. In the worst cases the dough, or annulus pulposus, is also damaged and the jam, nucleus pulposus, can come outside of the doughnut, resulting in a herniation.

If the disc bulge pushes out at just the right angle it can place pressure on the nerve which can produce pain. This is known a nerve root compression.

The Wandering Mother | IDD Therapy: Relieving Back Pain
Make sure you look after your back whilst working

Avoiding and treating back pain

When neck or back pain starts it becomes difficult to move. Our body becomes stiff and immobile either due to muscles spasms or the pain that restricts our movement. The first stage is to try and reduce the acute nature of the pain. This maybe helped with hot or cold packs, or pain medication as prescribed or through a GP. Once pain has started to reduce, some movement will return as the muscles start to relax. Manual therapy can then be used to try to further reduce the muscle spasm, mobilise stiff joints and improve the movement of the spine.

Exercises are, of course, an important part of maintaining health for the spine. They help not only to prevent injury but also for the treatment of injuries once they have started. Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates are all excellent forms of exercise to maintain the strength of muscles in the spine, your core control. They can also improve and / or maintain flexibility of the ligaments, muscles and joints of the spine and neck.

Posture and manual handling techniques are incredibly important for preventing injury. Lifting incorrectly, especially with an added weight such as a child, can add a large amount of pressure on the neck and spine. If this is added to poor spinal health due to poor posture and declining physical fitness, the chances of injury are increased.

Herniated discs

For disc problems to resolve, the body needs to be given the right environment to help itself. This means that the spine needs to be moving to the best of its ability, with enough strength and control to undertake the activities that are expected of it. Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists are all skilled and able to provide the correct treatment and advice to try to help with back and neck pain.

In cases where the body is unable to heal itself and manual therapy treatment has been unsuccessful, clinics can recommend IDD Therapy. This form of treatment is a specialised form of spinal decompression, controlled through computers to provide the exact amount of decompression to a targeted area for a sustained period of time. The targeted area means that the specific disc that is causing the issue can be targeted rather than a broad traction throughout the whole spine. The gentle nature of the treatment means that the muscle spasms can be eased to improve spinal mobility and, therefore, proves a far more suitable environment for the spine to heal.

The Wandering Mother | UK Family Lifestyle Blog
IDD Therapy treatment with Accu SPINA

As the pain subsides, manual therapy and gentle exercise can, of course, be re-introduced to help get patients back to full health again. Keeping your body strong and mobile is the key to enjoying a long, enjoyable and – importantly – pain free life. However, since over eighty per cent of people will experience back or neck pain at some stage in their lives, it’s reassuring to know that in most cases in can be helped quickly with the right management or treatment.

The Wandering Mother Blog - Guest Post

About the author: Michelle McWilliam

Michelle McWilliam is a highly experienced Osteopath and Acupuncturist and co-owns The Totalcare Clinic in Botley, just outside of Southampton.

The clinic provides Osteopathy for adults and children, Acupuncture, Sports Massage, IDD Therapy, and boasts 48 classes per week of Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi. ‘Intervertebral Differential Dynamics’ or IDD Therapy is the fastest growing non-surgical spinal treatment for intervertebral discs with over 1,000 clinics worldwide and 34 clinics across the UK. Safe, gentle and non-invasive, IDD Therapy helps patients who need something more for their pain when manual therapy alone is insufficient to achieve lasting pain relief.

http://iddtherapy.co.uk
Facebook: IDD Therapy Europe
Twitter: @IDDTherapyDisc


NB. This is a contribution post written by guest writer, Michelle McWilliam who is an Osteopath, Acupuncturist and co-owner of The Totalcare Clinic

The Wandering Mother Blog

Can eating a vegan diet in pregnancy really be healthy?

A contribution post by Louise Palmer-Masterton

There is a widely-held belief that humans are omnivorous (both meat- and plant-eating), so eating a solely vegan-based diet with no meat, fish or poultry cannot be safe in pregnancy. However, I and many others, would disagree with that statement.

I was almost 40 years old when I was pregnant with my first child. At that time, my diet mainly consisted of whole vegetables, small amounts of wholegrain, tofu, lentils and pulses, nuts and seeds. I ate as I normally would throughout both of my pregnancies. I had no morning sickness, no particular cravings, no complications or deficiencies, and was able to deliver both of my children safely at home by home birth. During both of my pregnancies, I took multivitamins and folic acid as recommended by health professionals.

I then started to wonder if my experiences were rare ones, or were there many vegan women out there experiencing the same problem-free pregnancies like I did. So I did some research and found that there were many other new mums who were also vegan during their pregnancies.

My findings:

  • All of the new mums I spoke to adopted a ‘wholefoods natural diet’ during their pregnancies
  • None of them experienced any cravings
  • Two out of the seven experienced severe morning sickness ate plain toast for their first trimester
  • Two were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) in the second trimester which was successfully managed by eating a wholefoods-vegan diet
  • Soups and stews were frequently mentioned as the main ‘go to’ meals
  • Marmite, tofu, tempeh, brown rice, aduki beans, miso soup, and ginger were also popular food options

“When I had morning (all day) sickness I ate a lot of baked potatoes, as I didn’t fancy much else. Luckily potatoes have vitamins in the skin, and so I felt they were better than other bland things. I supplemented potatoes with vitamins and iron. I also remember eating dried mangoes, cucumber, and miso at some points, and drinking orange juice. When I recovered from the morning sickness, I ate a lot of everything.”

Helen, Vegan Family Guide

For mum, Holly (one of the women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes) said nut butters were a life saver for her special diet, thanks to the high-fat/protein and low-carb content in nuts, to sustain her through her pregnancy.

For Danielle, who developed cholestasis in her second trimester, meant she could only eat foods that were low in fats explained that “the vegan diet was great for this”.

Can you get the right nutrition from eating a vegan diet?

All the vegan women I spoke to were very knowledgable about vegan nutrition in pregnancy. They were all well aware of the need to increase protein intakes by 10-20%, and did so with greater attention based on eating good, balanced meals. Not all of them ate protein/rich foods like tofu, with many of them preferring pulses, grains and organic vegetables.

It is recommended in pregnancy for all mothers to take folic acid. With vegan pregnancies, it’s also highly recommended to take vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as these are not found in plant-based products. Half of the women I spoke to did mention they take diet supplements, but the other half only took the recommended folic acid supplements.

Helen, who has been vegan for many years, said: “I always try to follow a balanced diet. Supplements are recommended to pregnant people of all persuasions. I took vegan vitamins and iron before, during and after my pregnancy.”

Angie, who was vegan pregnant then raised her children on vegan diets, said she “just ate sensibly – mainly fruit and veg. I’d been vegan thirteen years before I became pregnant and had never been unwell so I assumed it all was ok…” shows it is possible to be healthy and vegan during and after pregnancy.

This was reiterated by Lee, who has been through two pregnancies as a vegan; “I didn’t even think about nutrition, I just followed what my body craved and had zero nutritional issues”.

Do pregnant vegans feel well?

None of the women I spoke to reported of any nutritional issues or deficienciesa during their pregnancies, and aside from the complications mentioned by some of the women, all of the mum-to-bes said they felt healthy during their pregnancy.

Danielle stated: “I am very strong and the muscle of the household, even when pregnant if something needs lifting, I’m your girl”.

Another mum, Emma said she continued to be vegan whilst breastfeeding and had a wonderful pregnancy with no issues whatsoever.

“I wasn’t sick once, I had no cravings, I felt great the whole time, had energy, my skin was the best it’s ever been and I continued to work-out throughout the entire pregnancy. Postpartum I was told I had great colostrum, since my baby only lost 70g initially and I had a plentiful supply of milk, the health visitor actually said I had too much!”

Emma, new mum

What do health professionals think of pregnant women following vegan diets?

All of the new mums I spoke to remarked on how compassionate and empathetic their health care teams were of their vegan food choices. None of them was pressured or advised to eat animal products, including the women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Emma: “I didn’t tell my midwife that I was vegan because I expected a negative response which I didn’t want to deal with at that time. However, in hospital (after the birth) the team were very supportive in providing me with decent vegan food to eat.”

If you are vegan or vegetarian, don’t let the myth that you need animal products during your pregnancy put you off sticking to your plant-based diet. Eating a healthy and balanced vegan diet during your pregnancy can be good for you and your baby – and as long as there aren’t any vegan foods that are on the ‘no go’ list during your pregnancy, you won’t have to give anything up either.


This is a contribution post from guest writer, Louise Palmer-Masterton – founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Glory.

The Wandering Mother Blog

How to help yourself and your family get more from the rest of 2020

A contribution post by Sid Madge, author of the ‘Meee in a minute’ series of books

Goodness, 2020 has been a challenge so far. Both kids and parents have had a huge amount to contend with. It seems realistic to assume that we will be living with Covid-19 for some time to come. So, what do you and your family do to handle the rest of the year and enjoy the very best you can from it?

Here are three ideas to help you…

1) Developing Your Innate Growth Mindset

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck became obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures and setbacks. Initially her research looked at kids and how they reacted to puzzles they couldn’t solve. She found was that children, especially young children didn’t even consider not being able to solve the puzzle as a failure in the first place. It was just a game – a fun challenge. The outcome of Dweck’s research is now world famous and she proposes that our success and happiness in life comes down to one thing – mindset. According to Dweck there are only two – fixed and growth.

Those with a fixed mindset, have a fixed idea of what they are capable of, believing that what they are born with is the finish line. They tend to be more defeatist. Those with a growth mindset believe that what we are born with is just the beginning. What we are capable of is not determined by anything other than our own aspirations, effort and determination.

Interestingly, Dweck believes we are all born with a growth mindset. We get trained out of it by schools, social expectations etc. We’re taught that failure is unacceptable – even though all great success comes through failure not by avoiding it. If ever we needed to re-assess that growth mindset it’s now.

Take a minute to consider whether you have a fixed or growth mindset? Has Covid-19 made it more fixed as you sink into a gloom? If you imagine you had a growth mindset instead – what would you do? Looking at your life, your family and the rest of 2020 – what could you try? What have you always thought of doing but never got around to it? Lean into the uncertainty and adapt. Use it as a springboard to try things you’ve been putting off. Stay curious, flexible, and open.

2) Changing Today to Change Your Future

What have you done today? Is that getting you closer to your family and life goals or further away? If you want a different tomorrow so you find a successful way through the pandemic, you need to take steps to change what you do today.

Stop for a moment and reflect on how you spend your time. When did you get up this morning? How much time do you spend on social media? How much time do you spend learning something new? Do you spend time with friends? Are those exchanges enjoyable or stressful? How much time do you spend on your health?

Take a minute to draw a circle and divide it up into slices that represent how you spend your time during a typical day. Now draw another circle and divide it up to represent how you would like to spend your day. Identify the things you like or can live with and the things that you don’t like and can’t live with. How can you change the aspects of your day that bring you down?

Often, we don’t need to make big sweeping changes. Subtle little shifts can accumulate to bring about change.

3) Responding to Stressful Times

In 1967 psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a list of 47 stressful events that could impact health and happiness. The assumption is logical – start accumulating stressful experiences such as a job loss, illness or divorce and you are more susceptible to physical illness, disease and depression. Global pandemics and economic uncertainty don’t help either.

However, the fly in their theoretical ointment was the fact that not everyone who experienced really tough life events were negatively impacted by them. On the contrary, some of those people actively flourished. This field of study is called post traumatic growth or adversarial growth and studies have shown that great suffering or trauma can actually lead to huge positive change. For example, after the Madrid bombings of 2004 psychologists found that many of those affected experienced positive psychological growth.

The people in many of these studies found new meaning and new purpose from surviving something terrible. Instead of seeing their situation as a failure or a problem they believed it will make them stronger. How can you use Covid-19 in the last months of 2020 to find new meaning and positive growth?

Take a minute to think about exactly what you are worried about most in your life and identify one thing you can do about it right now. Set that in motion. What positives could you pull from the turmoil? Get creative – think of at least three positives that Covid-19 could give you and your family. It might not be fun but if you can find the silver linings you can often move on quicker.

These suggestions are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work. As parents we can adapt and help our kids and other family members along the way. I hope the ideas above will contribute to you getting the most your can from the final weeks of 2020.

https://www.meee.global

Sid Madge in action / Photo Credit:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.

Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.

The Wandering Mother Blog

5 ideas to help you achieve a new balance for your family by Sid Madge

Covid-19 has affected families in different ways. If we are lucky, we have been able to enjoy staying at home, reconnecting with family and indulging in some serious down time, safe in the knowledge we have still been receiving the majority of our pay. If we are unlucky, we have been anxious, struggling financially and emotionally, or worse we have lost a loved one.

However, amongst the gloomy predictions of Great Depression-like economic slumps there is hope and opportunity. Opportunity for us, individually and as a society to change and create a better tomorrow and greater balance.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle & Travel Blog
Family Time is now more important than ever / Photo Credit: Alexander Dummer via Unsplash

In fact, a recent YouGov survey showed that only 8% of Britons want life to return to ‘normal’ after the virus outbreak is over. 42% of participants said they value food and other essentials more since the pandemic, with 38% cooking from scratch more. 61% of people are spending less money. Two-fifths said there is a stronger sense of community in their area since the outbreak began and 39% say they are catching up with friends and family more. We are being reminded of what is truly important and meaningful in our lives. The only question is whether we will head those lessons and insights and use them to create something better or whether we will all go back to the way it was.

There is talk of a ‘new normal’ which implies that we are going to have to make some compromises in the new reality we find ourselves in. But what if, the compromise was the way we used to live. Compromising our time with those we love to make money to buy stuff we didn’t really need in the first place. Compromising time with friends and family for work commitments and never-ending deadlines. Compromising our health because we didn’t believe we had the time or inclination to cook from scratch or take care of our fitness. And yet these are the little things that have kept us sane for the last few months. The shared family meals, life lived at a slower and often, more enjoyable pace. A bit less anxiety, a bit more love.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Sid Madge / Tony Blake

Let’s forget about normal or new normal and instead focus on ‘New Balance’. Here are five practical ideas to help make this ‘new balance’ a reality in your family life. Please feel free to share these tips with those around you and help them find the space they need to make them into regular habits:

  1. Take time out, every day to get outside, ideally in nature or a local park. Walk, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Don’tcut yourself off by listening to music, audio books or podcasts. Instead, pay attention to what’s around you, notice the trees, listen to the bird song, witness the change of the seasons. Take this time, even if it’s just a few minutes, to just ‘be’. Listen. Think. Spend time in silence.
  2. Master your mornings: Start your day from a place of positivity. Prepare the night before so that mornings can include a shared breakfast. Everyone in the family says what they want to achieve that day and takes a minute or two to share what you are already grateful for in your lives. Use that positive start to get into a positive mindset.
  3. Take ten or twenty minutes out of each day to read an inspirational book. For example, any of the three Meee in a Minute books (life, family and work). Each one has 60 one-minute nuggets of wisdom including life hacks, advice, insights, science, short exercises, and thought experiments to ensure you start the day with positivity and confidence. Another great book is A. C. Grayling’s ‘The Meaning of Things’ which had a profound impact on my life. There are dozens of great books so pick those that resonate with you. Many are also available as audio books.
  4. Eradicate unnecessary activity. Ask yourself does this activity add value and make you feel better or does it detract from your life. Lockdown has taught us what is really important and spending money and endless shopping doesn’t appear to have made the cut. Take some time to consider what’s really important in your life. If something doesn’t add value, eliminate it or seek to cut down that activity in your life. Focus on what matters professionally and personally. Focus on what makes you and your family happy. And make these things the priority.
  5. Connect with people you care about – friends and family. At work seek to find ways to maintain some of the flexibility that became essential during Covid-19. Honour both the human being and the employee. Find ways to maintain a connection and to find a balance that works for all the important parts of your life. At home, talk to each other, eat together as a family and maintain the strengthened bonds facilitated by the pandemic.

Today we have an opportunity to create something better for our families and also for our communities. This could be our silver lining where we truly appreciate that what matters doesn’t have to cost money. It isn’t the nice overseas holidays, the expensive car or the bigger home. What matters are the micro moments of love, trust, gratitude for the simple things.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Sid Madge in action / Photo Credit: Tony Blake

About the Author
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates. Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work- or family-life in 60 seconds.


This is a guest post written by Sid Madge. Images of Sid Madge are credited to Tony Blake Photography respectively and must not be used without permission.

The Wandering Mother | Guest Post

10 Games to Teach Your Kids How to Communicate with Others

One of the most crucial life skills is learning how to communicate. Research shows that children with effective communication skills have a better chance of fitting in the community than their peers. They also learn better and are able to cope with stressful situations. Going through communication kids training can help improve your child’s personal development.

Games to improve communication

Communication is fundamental to kids’ development. It directly impacts your kid’s progress, more so in the information age. According to studies, effective communicators are more successful in life than those who aren’t. Now that you’re at home with your little one all day and night, you need to improve your responsiveness and look for communication games that you can participate in to stimulate their development.

We’re going to discuss some fun games you can engage in to build your kids’ communication skills interactively. You can also check must-have baby items for fun games to help you teach your kids to express themselves better. Let’s dive in.

1.  The Telephone Game

This is a fun-filled game for children of all ages. And no doubt you’ll enjoy the game too. If there are not many children around, you can include other adults in the house to engage in these communication activities for kids. To play the game, have everyone participating sit close together to make whispering easy. Start with the child and whisper a simple message in their ear, then ask them to repeat the same message to the participant on their right. Make sure every participant gets a chance and make the messages complex as you continue with the game. This old school game is an entertaining way to develop your kid’s listening skills.

2. Show and Tell

This is one of the most interesting communication games for kids. It fosters confidence, eloquence, and vocabulary. Ask your little one to speak five lines and exhibit an item related to your topic of choice such as a favorite toy or meal.

3. Emotional Charades

Do you know some people struggle with understanding facial expressions? You wouldn’t want the same for your child. This is one of the communication skills activities for kids that helps them understand facial expressions. They also read body posture and signals that are a huge part of communication. You can write a few things on cards and hand them out, asking your child to depict the indicated emotion. It could be anger, sadness, or boredom. You can reverse the game and ask your kid to draw emotions that they experience daily.

Talking about emotional development, we need to mention that animal communication for kids is necessary to improve their empathy and respect for every living being.

Fun games with mom

4. Pointing Directions

Using communication worksheets for kids can enable your child to improve their written communication. It also helps them in successful navigation. Have your kid write down directions to a nearby place. Once that happens, start the journey with them towards that location. You can make suggestions on what they should have included.

5. Presentation

You can use communication devices for kids to create a presentation. Inform your child that they’ll make a presentation in front of an audience. Topics could be about anything; for instance, a simple poem about something they love. This teaches your little one to present them and can be done with kids of all ages. Research shows that people who are comfortable speaking in public make more money and become more successful than their less eloquent peers.

6. Identify the Object

You probably played this game when you were a kid. If not, here’s how to do it. You can have a few kids around and blindfold one. The others will choose an item that can be described easily. They should take turns describing a feature of the item for identification. They can also take turns with the blindfold. This effectively helps them learn essential skills for communication with kids.

7. Storytelling Using Pictures

You know this by now that kids love telling stories. Here, you present your kid with pictures and ask them to arrange all the photos in a way they tell a story. Using one picture and asking your child to describe what he sees is an exciting game that improves communication for kids.

8. Impromptu

Unrehearsed speech is a vital activity that aids your child with communication. It sharpens their public speaking ability, improves how fast they think, articulate, and organize thoughts. This is one of the most popular communication kids’ activities to build both their quick-thinking skills and public speaking ability.

Games to improve your imagination

9. Change the Leader

This game helps your child recognize and identify body language. Here, you choose one child to perform a few actions, such as stomping their feet, jumping, or clapping. The other kids repeat this action. Through smiling or winking, your little one can choose another child to become the leader and keep the game going.

10. 20 Questions

Does your child struggle to ask questions? This is an excellent game to build this skill. Gather some kids—the more, the merrier. Here, children can stand in a circle with one at the center. The kid at the center will think of a place, and the others have to ask a set of questions to determine what he thought about. The child at the center responds with a yes or no to the questions. If the group fails to guess correctly, the child wins. Simple and fun, right?

The Takeaway

When it comes to communication definition for kids, there are many ways to look at it. However, at the end of the day, you want to have a well-adjusted child able to communicate effectively. Playing games such as pointing directions, presentation, show and tell, using pictures to tell stories, or the telephone game can lay the correct foundation for building essential communication skills. Write to us and let us know about the games that you have been playing and how they’ve improved your kid’s communication skills.

Guest Post by Amalia Liberman


This is a contribution post written by guest writer. Amalia is a wife and a mother of two as well as a novelist and writer, the author has been featured in Women’s Health magazine and also written different articles in lifestyle magazines. Her passions lead her to search out knowledge with all her searching and she doesn’t mind sharing her findings.

The Wandering Mother | Guest Post

Keep Calm & Do Yoga in the French Alps: L’Essentiel yoga and wellbeing festival

The beautiful village of Megève in the French Alps is set to hold the inaugural edition of L’Essentiel later this summer, with the three-day wellness festival already creating a buzz amongst seasoned yoga enthusiasts and those new to the ancient discipline. The brainchild of respected yoga teacher Katy Mission, the programme is being organised by Megève Tourism in collaboration with Satiam™ Yoga and will comprise 17 workshops and experiences spanning the themes of yoga, nutrition, cooking, meditation, and aromatherapy.

1-minMegève

Set to take place September 11-13th 2020, the festival will showcase the discipline of Satiam Yoga, which was devised by Katy and is a practice centred on breathing and posture exercises. Katy, who is the founder of the popular Satiam Academy, works as a ski instructor in Megève during the winter months and is on a mission to bring the benefits of her discipline to the mountains this summer. Satiam, which combines the Sanskrit word for ‘sit’ and the English words ‘I am’, enables those taking part to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Against the backdrop of recent global events, the festival is taking place with a view to helping attendees relax and rejuvenate after, what has been for many, a uniquely challenging time. Drawing on the peacefulness, tranquillity and serenity of the summer mountains, visitors will have the opportunity to get back to nature by taking part in a variety of enriching activities. They include a specially curated well-being breakfast prepared by the plant-based chef duo Wild Seeds, a class with Aria and Gus exploring the virtues of ‘Warrior Flow’ yoga, and an energising yoga dance session with the body movement specialist Angélique Favre.

L’Essentiel will be hosted at Megeve’s Le Palais, the largest leisure complex in the Alps. The centre, which features a vast array of superb facilities including Turkish baths, a year-round ice rink and a state-of-the-art spa, will welcome health-conscious yoga lovers from all over France and beyond, for what is set to be a fun and informative weekend for both experts and novices alike.

2-minLe Palais

At the event, where tickets are priced between €20 and €55, festival goers will also have the opportunity to shop for yoga clothing and accessories, as well as for bespoke and ethically made jewellery.  In addition, vegan food and drink will be available throughout, and for those wishing to celebrate, an array of organic wines will be on offer.

3-minKaty Misson

L’Essentiel is the latest event to cement Megeve’s position as the leading centre for wellness holidays in the region. With yoga retreats and superb spa facilities, the village is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to simply unwind and relax. Beyond the festival, visitors can also choose to get active with a huge range of hiking, biking, climbing, and fishing excursions on offer at this time of year, or opt to play tennis or a round of golf on a world-class course. Visitors can also reconnect with nature through an array of transformative experiences, think horse-back rides to the summit of Mont d’Arbois to admire the spectacular sunset, or taking to the skies over the Alps in a light-aircraft. For more details about L’Essentiel and for ticket information visit the festival website: http://www.satiamfestival.com (website is in French, use Google Translate)

The sound of jazz will return to Megève

Sadly, Megève’s renowned International Jazz Festival was cancelled this year, but organisers are excited to announce that the event will return 2-4 April 2021, when hundreds of artists will descend on the village for the fifth edition of the much-loved event. The sounds of New Orleans will come to Megève with performances set to take place in the streets and at lively venues throughout the village, with the higher profile concerts held at the impressive Le Palais night club. The festival will showcase an eclectic range of performances from domestic and international artists, with past headliners having included Gregory Porter, Marcus Miller and Norah Jones, with the 2021 line-up being much anticipated.

4-minMegève International Jazz Festival

Go There: Megève is only one hour from Geneva Airport, which benefits from direct, low-cost flight access from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds. Return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva with EasyJet are priced from £43pp.

For more about Megève please visit: https://megeve.com
(images copyright of Commune de Megève)

Megève

Set in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, Megève is a stunning traditional winter sports and summer village that has been popular with artists, intellectuals and holidaymakers for more than a century. The traffic-free, cobbled medieval centre features an abundance of artisan shops, galleries, and a beautiful array of four-and-five-star hotels, as well as no less than four Michelin-starred restaurants. But Megève is also becoming increasingly popular with British holidaymakers seeking a charming getaway on the slopes or in the summer mountains without the price tag, thanks to a growing number of chic and affordable accommodation and dining options.


This guest post was written by Tim, Heaven Publicity

The Wandering Mother Blog | Family & Lifestyle: Christmas

How to involve children in Christmas Day preparations

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year and this is even more true when you have children around to share in the magic of it all. The wonder in your children’s eyes at everything from the decorations that are put up at home to the amazing lights that adorn the streets in town is bound to put a smile on your face. Trying to figure out how to involve them in the preparations during the festive period, however, may do the exact opposite. Here are a few top tips on how to involve them from how to get rid of paint smell quickly after a messy afternoon of fun, to quiet ideas to keep them out of trouble while you’re busy stuffing the turkey in the kitchen.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - London Family & Lifestyle Blogger | Christmas

Get them to decorate for you
One of the best parts of Christmas is getting to pop up a Christmas tree and some decorations around your home. Regardless of whether you like a small basic tree with a few baubles or you like to light up the whole house in a really dramatic fashion, getting your children to do part, most or all of the decorating will give you a chance to put your feet up for at least a moment or two.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - London Family & Lifestyle Blogger | Christmas

Get your craft on
If you are not already a fan of Pinterest, now is a time to get involved in it. There are so many crafty ideas available online that will both involve your children in fun activities for Christmas and keep them out of your hair for a while; from creating lolly pop stick Christmas trees to painting toilet roll cardboard white and creating a snowman from it. You need not worry about how to get rid of paint smell once the crafting is finished, because after all it is Christmas time so lighting a Christmassy cinnamon candle is perfectly acceptable!

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | Family Christmas prep with the kids

Get your bake on
Whether you fix up a batch of homemade mince pies and a yummy Christmas pudding, or even a simple selection of cupcakes which you cheat and pop Christmas themed cupcake toppers onto; there are so many ways that children can be involved in baking for Christmas. Rolling out pastry for gingerbread men and egg washing the tops of mince pies will not only involve your children, but also make them feel as if they have really helped you out and they will be so proud of what they have helped create.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Getting kids involved with household chores

Give them easy chores to do
You will be inundated with things to do at Christmas, from wrapping the gifts for your family to ensuring that the turkey is stuffed and basted to perfection. Asking your children to help out doing simple things such as dusting the surfaces around your home, cleaning up after themselves and putting their own washing away will make your life so much easier.

So, whether you were unsure of how to get rid of paint smell after festive arts & crafts, or simply needed a few ideas to involve your children in all of the prep for the upcoming festivities; these tips should help you on your way to having a very merry Christmas!

A contribution post by freelance writer, Joana Teixeira from Cleanipedia
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

A guide to helping your child develop a skincare routine

Looking after children’s skin is very important. For my own kids, they don’t go a day without cleansing with water and a face cloth and moisturising with shea butter/coconut oil whip that I made. I know that when the kids get older I’d have to step up their routine.

Children can grow up so fast. One minute, they’re running around and scattering Lego on the floor, and the next thing you know, they’re spending lots of time in front of the mirror, worrying about their skin and hair. Throughout the changes that they’ll go through in life, it’s important to be there for them every step of the way, especially when it comes to hygiene and skincare.

According to a survey, 81% of young girls said that having clear and healthy skin was very important to them. However, because of lack of skincare knowledge, 45% of girls ages 12 to 14 are choosing to wear too much makeup to cover up their bad skin. It is important to let children know that applying too many layers of makeup can lead to greater skin problems and having a skincare routine is essential to one’s overall health. It’s never too early to let your child know some healthy skin habits, so follow these tips to help your child develop a skincare routine.

Teach your child about her skin type
Most children have healthy skin, but by the time they turn 11, some will experience having acne, oily skin, or even dry skin. Assess your child’s skin and teach him or her about her skin type. If you’re not certain, you can find out by doing this simple test to determine his or her skin type. Have your child wash her face with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. After two hours, observe how the skin looks. If her skin looks tight, dull, and feels itchy, then she has dry skin. Oily skin looks and feels greasy, has large pores, and is prone to breakouts. Knowing about skin type helps you and your child find the right skincare products before he or she starts doing a regular skincare routine.

Cleanse well
The first thing that you need to teach your child is to cleanse his skin well. Proper cleansing can help to clear up acne and prevent breakouts, especially if your child has very oily skin Encourage him to do this at least twice a day—once in the morning before going to school, and once in the evening before bedtime. Your child should cleanse all the way up to the hairline and behind the ears every single time. Choose a mild, pH balanced, milky cleanser with little to no scent. Gentle face washes, hypoallergenic products, and cleansers with few synthetic ingredients are ideal for young skin.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
Source: Unsplash

Moisturise
Applying moisturiser is an essential part of any skincare routine as it keeps the skin supple. Moreover, it is beneficial in improving the skin’s texture, and whether your child has oily or dry skin, it is crucial to use the right type of moisturiser to ensure the skin’s health. A gel-type moisturiser may be more suitable for oily skin, while dry skin will benefit from a lotion or cream formula.

Sun protection
Protecting one’s skin from the harmful rays of the sun should be a priority. Sunscreen prevents sunburn, premature ageing, and skin cancer, so kids, especially those who participate in outdoor sports, should make it a habit to use sunscreen every day. Let your child bring a small tube of sunscreen to school as well so he or she can reapply as needed.

Having good skincare habits at a young age can help a child have healthy skin that will benefit him as he gets older. Try these tips to help your child develop a skincare routine. In case of serious skin problems, consult your dermatologist.

A contribution post by Jane Sandwood
The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | Family Lifestyle Blog

5 Brilliant Ways Mums Can Sneak In Exercise At Home

A new study has found that 75% of women in the UK want to exercise more. But having a busy schedule, taking care of the family’s needs, or fear of being judged at the gym are holding women back from accomplishing their fitness goals. Fortunately, there are ways to workout while staying at home and you can squeeze exercise into your day in more ways than one. To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week and strength exercises at least two days a week. For you to meet the recommended amount of physical activity per week, here are 5 brilliant ways to sneak in exercise while at home.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | 5 Brilliant Ways Mums Can Sneak In Exercise At Home
Time to tune into your domestic goddess vibes

1. Clean your home

Cleaning your home not only gives you a healthier environment to live in but it also allows you to fit in exercise into your day. Mopping, dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming, or cleaning the bathroom can give you a good upper body workout, and it’s even better if you do a couple of lunges or squats while doing any of these activities. However, make sure to avoid using allergy-causing cleaning products as you can end up getting rashes or serious burns and undo all the good that you did to take care of your body. Opt to use natural cleansers whenever you clean your home and move vigorously to make your cleaning workout more intense.

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Photo: Igor Ovsyannykov / Unsplash

2. Hand wash a load of dirty clothes

Instead of using the washing machine, try hand washing a load of dirty clothes to exercise your arms and shoulders. Hand washing your clothes correctly has so many advantages, you get to workout while doing your chores, save on water and electricity costs, and prolong the life of your clothing.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | 5 Brilliant Ways Mums Can Sneak In Exercise At Home
Photo: Christopher Campbell / Unsplash

3. Start every morning with a few exercise moves

After you wake up and make the bed, start your day right by doing some gentle stretching, a few crunches, and as many push-ups as you can. Set aside at least 10 minutes every morning to do these exercises which can strengthen your muscles and core. Doing exercises the moment you get out of bed also helps to make you more awake and ready to face the day.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | 5 Brilliant Ways Mums Can Sneak In Exercise At Home
Photo: Bruno Nascimento / Unsplash

4. If you’re heading outdoors, speed walk or jog to wherever you’re goin

Instead of walking at a leisurely pace, speed walk or jog to the grocery, the bank, or any other place where you need to go. Doing so counts as your moderate aerobic activity for the day. To motivate you to do this, wear running shoes before heading outdoors and bring a small bottle of water with you to stay hydrated.

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Photo: Pete Bellis / Unsplash

5. Walk the dog a little longer

If you usually do just one circuit of your neighbourhood while walking your dog, try doing another circuit to fit in some extra cardio into your day. You can also take the dog to the park and play with your pet so you get to spend more time being outdoors, which is essential to good health.

There are many ways to fit exercise into your daily routine, all you have to do is to turn daily activities into proper workouts. Follow these tips to sneak in exercise while you’re at home for your health and well-being. 🙂


A contribution post by freelance writer, Jane Sandwood. If you enjoyed reading this post, don’t forget to share it with others below.

The Wandering Mother | Guest Post

The importance of children being involved in household chores

There are so many things to teach your children. Whether it’s how to handle money, the importance of emotional intelligence or staying safe in public, parenting has to cover a lot ground. One important area that can sometimes be neglected is chores. While these may be just simple day-to-day tasks, ensuring that your child is both competent in them and understands their importance is absolutely vital.

In this article we give a few reasons why children should get involved in a range of household chores from learning how to defrost a freezer step by step to properly putting out the recycling. And for anyone out there whose children are less than excited about this idea, here are also a few top tips of how to get your kids enthusiastic about their domestic duties!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Getting kids involved with household chores
Everybody loves a mummy’s/daddy’s little helper!

Honing useful practical skills

The first reason why it’s important to get your little ones involved in household chores is so they learn useful practical skills. As a child you are learning everything from scratch so whatever you are doing will contribute to your development. For example, if a child learns how to defrost a freezer not only will they get specific skills in this task, but also start learning about food storage and safety.

Learning the importance of personal responsibility

As over-stressed parents we often think we need to do everything for our kids, but anyone living in a home has a responsibility to contribute it. Involving your kids in day-to-day tasks will help them understand their responsibilities as members of the family. After doing a few chores they’ll probably appreciate all your work a whole lot more too.

Making them better housemates and partners

Finally, when children are brought up as hard-workers, helping to clean and tidy a house from a young age they make much better housemates and partners after leaving home. This is absolutely vital to the maintenance of friendships and relationships in early adulthood when they are likely to be sharing accommodation for a good few years. Teaching good habits early will pay dividends down the line.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Getting kids involved with household chores
It’s never too early to start the children with simple chores like cleaning and washing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Getting kids involved with household chores
Incentivise household tasks to make it more attractive for the kids

How do you get kids involved in household chores?

Incentivise the task: A controversial strategy, but a fail-safe one. If your child is reticent to help out, link their pocket money to their efforts. This will get the average youngster up and cleaning in no time.

Make it fun: Chores don’t have to be boring. If your kids aren’t keen to get involved, make the tasks fun. Turn vacuuming into a dance party, take the rubbish out while wearing funny wigs… Anything to get them enthused.

Give them responsibility: We all know how much more satisfying it is to do a task when we have actual responsibility for it. Give each of your children an area of the house for the week and ask them to take responsibility for all the chores. They will soon learn to take pride in their work.

Getting your kids involved in household chores is a great way to make them responsible, hard-working adults. Find ways to make it fun and engaging and in no time at all you’ll have a few busy worker bees helping with your daily tasks.

Getting kids involved in household chores
Photo via Unsplash


A guest contribution post by freelance writer, Joana from Cleanipedia

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Winter Hair Care Tips

Winter hair care: tips and hacks

It’s #WellnessWednesday!

Looking after your hair is a daily task all year round, but when the winter comes there are a few things you need to pay particular close attention to. You’re under attack outside from the weather and inside from the dry heat so, if not looked after, your hair is susceptible to damage.

Let’s take a look at some of the best winter hair care tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you…

Protect your hair from harsh conditions

Winter brings cold air, rain and plenty of wind, all of which can wreak havoc with hair. Not only with the way your hairstyle looks, but with the condition too. With that said, it’s key to protect your locks from the elements to help keep it in the best condition possible. Whether you go for a hat, wrap or scarf, cover up when you have to be outside in nasty weather.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Winter Haircare Tips & Advice
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Watch your water temperature

There’s no doubt that the temptation is to crank up the heat when it’s cold outside. All you want when you step into your bathroom after being outside is the comfort of a hot bath or shower and that’s fine. However, be careful with the temperature you use to wash your hair as excessive heat can cause damage. Stick to warm or even cool water and your scalp won’t dry out.

The Greenwich Mummy | A Family Lifestyle Blog

Deep condition

Moving on from watching the water temperature, let’s look at treating your hair and scalp. They really will take a battering in the winter and a little regenerative treat is really going to help them stay moist. Consider a deep conditioning treatment once a week to combat the weather conditions and the dry heat that’s caused by having your heating on so much. The final point on washing and conditioning is that it’s important not to overdo it. Stick to two to three times a week maximum.

The Greenwich Mummy | A Family Lifestyle Blog
Photo by NastyaSensei Sens from Pexels

Go easy with the styling

It’s clear that our hair has a lot to deal with in winter and you don’t want to add to the stress it’s under. Something that will make a big difference is if you can lay off heavy styling. Overusing products can cause problems, so when you can go natural do so, or try to keep their use down to a minimum. Steer clear of the harsh heat if you can too, especially intense blow drying and straightening with irons. It can actually be quite easy to style without heat and if you’d like to know how to straighten hair without heat just click here.

Keep it trim

Another temptation in winter is to let your hair grow. It’s difficult sometimes to get the motivation to keep on top of things as we all go into semi-hibernation, but getting regular trims is a good idea. Trimming the dry, brittle and split ends will really help keep your hair in good condition at this time.

Looking after your hair in the winter months doesn’t have to be that tricky. From making sure you protect your hair from harsh weather conditions to going easy with products and knowing how to straighten hair without heat, you just need to follow a plan.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Winter Haircare Tips & Advice

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If so, don’t forget you can share this post with your friends and family by hitting the share button below. #sharingiscaring 🙂


A collaborative post by Joana Teixeira from AllThingsHair.com |

Featured image by freestocks.org from Pexels