Supporting the Early Years Nutrition Partnership

Having worked in early years for 15 years, the issues surrounding the best outcomes for this most precious age group has been forefront in my mind. It went part of the parcel with being a mum, so you could say I had a very close and vested interest. Which is why I am supporting the launch of the Early Years Nutrition Partnership C.I.C; an independent social enterprise created in partnership with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, British Nutrition Foundation and Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, that will provide ‘hands-on’ support for early years settings aiming to improve their whole approach to nutrition practice, to help support improvements across the sector that will contribute to positive health outcomes for the current pre-school generation.

The Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYN Partnership) has brought together a unique network of self- employed, registered nutritionists and dietitians, each with extensive experience in the early years. They will work alongside and within early years settings, to help them achieve accreditation with a new EYN Partnership Quality Mark. The support provided by the nutrition professionals will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each particular setting and community in which it operates.

Early years settings that sign-up to the EYN Partnership will also be able to upskill their team with opportunities for professional development. The EYN Partnership will provide study places for a Level 3 CACHE award in nutrition and hydration in the early years, and early years setting chefs and cooks will be able to study for a Level 2 CACHE award in the preparation of meals to meet relevant nutritional standards in an early years setting.

If early years settings choose to do so, they can also access additional services from their EYN Partnership nutrition professional, such as the delivery of bespoke classes for parents, children or practitioners.

Integral to the EYN Partnership model is a commitment to support settings with the highest social deprivation needs, with an ambition that in the first year of the programme at least 10% of the settings registered with the EYN Partnership will benefit from subsidised access. A measurement framework and evaluation strategy has been developed to analyse the success of the programme in delivering demonstrable and sustainable social change.

tackling childhood obesity with the early years nutrition partnership


According to the National Child Measurement Programme, one in every five children starting reception in England is either overweight or obese.1 Obese children and young people are more likely to become obese adults, and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood.2 Amongst other issues associated with poor nutrition in childhood, twenty five per cent of five year olds are reported to experience some tooth decay.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive Officer of the Pre-school Learning Alliance and Chair of the EYN Partnership Board, says: ‘Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, and we know that eating a healthy diet during the early years has a significant impact on health outcomes later in life. Early years settings have an essential role to play in helping to establish good eating habits and positive learning about healthy eating. The Early Years Nutrition Partnership model, with its frontline help for practitioners from registered nutritionists and dietitians, offers a more collaborative approach to change at the local level. The Early Years Nutrition Partnership will bring about significant change that will have an impact on the future health of a generation.’

Please share this post with anyone who works in the early years sector as well as parents and carers of children under 5 



Improving my sleep with the S+ by ResMed

It’s probably no surprise that these last few years have been some of my worst for getting a good night’s sleep. Pregnancy, (although I was permanently tired I suffered with frequent night wakings thanks to being the size of rhino and SPD) then the usual new baby phase where sleep just goes out of the window and you grab what you can, whenever you can. And more recently,starting up 2 new businesses, burning the candle at both ends to get everything done and current events in my personal life leaving me buzzing with thoughts at 2am.

I’m a statistic, I know. A classic example of times when you just don’t get in the zzzz’s you need to function normally. I’ve been aiming for 6 hours unbroken stretches. Not a big ask, but that’s what I read to be the minimal amount. 8 would be bliss, but I’ll settle for 6.

But now life’s settling down a little, it’s high time I tackled the issue of sleep. I needed to understand exactly what’s going on and practice some relaxation and mind clearing techniques. I needed a gadget, I (love gadgets, the adult word for toy!) And I’ve found one.

Positioned by my bed, the S+ by ResMed is a device which monitors your breathing patterns and records the light, noise and temperature conditions, as well as features to help you sleep more easily. It’s linked up to an app on your phone which you set each night before you settle down for the night.

I’ve become a little obsessed by checking it as I wake each morning. Aiming for the ultimate 100/100 sleep score. (which I’m hoping will happen one day.) But aside from that, there’s some extras which will help you achieve it.

Starting with  Mind Clear

Specially designed sounds synchronize with your breathing, gradually slowing it down to help you fall asleep more easily. Our “Mind Clear” feature offers simple text and voice tools for recording tomorrow’s to-do list so you can go to sleep with a calm, uncluttered mind

This is most definately the root of my night wakings, when something’s niggling in the background which needs addressing at stupid o’clock. (that time when you can do nothing about it, and everything seems worse.)

I’ve also been making use of the Relax Day time setting, a choice of calming sounds which I pop on for 5 minutes timeout and to calm my breathing; something which was recently picked up at during a reflexology session. Once I’ve taken a few long deep breaths, I’m ready to go again.


My favourite feature, other than my constant need to score my sleep and improve my deep sleep time, is the smart alarm. You put in you time, then give your self a buffer period either side to find the optimal waking pattern. It then gently wakes you rather than giving you an awkward jolt, where you struggle to work out which day it is, where you are and if you’re dreaming.




Lets Talk About Your Oooops Moments…….

I’m not going to beat around the bush (s’cues the pun!) I’m sure you’ve seen the advert below already. I just love the approach that lights by TENA have taken in sharing some oooops moments!

C’est la vie, it happens!

With 1 in 3 women having  light bladder weakness, there’s a chance that many of you reading this will be one of them. It can be the result of many things but for many it’s (one of ) the dreaded side effects of pregnancy.  Childbirth isn’t called labour for nothing, it’s bloody hard work, the hardest thing a woman will probably do and caesarian sections aren’t by any means any easier.

So I guess the point I’m trying to make is that pregnancy pushes your body through momentous changes and what ever way your baby enters the world, you’ve carried round a water melon for many (ok, not so much of the many, but when you’re pregnant if feels like forever) months. All that weight is going to have a effect on your muscles, surely.

And did you do your pelvic floor exercises religiously? (hands up who’s actually doing it right now) If you did, great stuff. You can probably leave it here and head off back to Facebook as the rest of this blog post is aimed at those who forgot, the ladies who were thinking about how life was about to go belly up rather than practice a few squeezie exercises (keep squeezing) which wasn’t going to give them a flatter stomach, bust their bingo wings or tighten up the junk in your trunk.

Because you can’t really see what’s going on can you? And is one of those exercises that you wish you’d done in hindsight, when it’s too late and when you know exactly what I’m on about when I talk about Oooops moments and when trampolines and running races are definitely out of the question! (keep squeezing)

The C’est la vie advert lets women know that light bladder weakness is not something to worry about and something they should be able to say C’est la vie to. And that lights by Tena (the liner which you can use to deal with those moments) is now 5 times drier than before and contains FeelFresh Technology™ to lock in moisture and controls odour.

Lights by TENA are currently hosting a Facebook competition inviting you to share their own Oooops moment for a chance to win up to seven prizes. (The prizes include six £100 Debenhams voucher and a grand prize of a spa break for 2. Winners will be announced on a weekly basis.)

This can be a clothes mishap, forgetting lipstick on your tooth or light bladder weakness. (mine was sitting through a whole midwife appointment with a Gavison tell tale smile, but if you ask my husband there’s probably a whole book’s worth! )

Then after you’ve shared your Oooops moments on the lights by TENA Facebook  page, you can scoot gently over to get your  free samples over at their website.

(You can stop squeezing now. )


This is a sponsored post 


Lost Your Mojo? You Need A Plan!

I’ve been planning, always a good sign for me but a nervous one for my husband.

Ever since studying for my degree during for which  I had to evidence short term and long term goals, I’ve applied this idea when mapping out my ambitions for family life as well as professional. As a mum I plan our family meals, appointments and holidays. My life is all about lists, even my lists have lists.

But when life got a little hectic recently and I felt I swimming against the tide, a little reminder from Michelle at The Joy Chaser ( you can find her how to prioritise when you’re overwhelmed post here) got me reaching for my planners once again.

Notice I said planners as in plural. I have 2, it’s not gluttony or me succumbing to a hankering for stationary (although it does support that indulgence to a degree) By having 2 planners I can keep personal and professional compartmentalized. A tactic I learnt from a previous profession where I needed to keep all elements of my family and private life separate from anything work related to preserve some sanity & optimism.

Making sure you never run out of printer inks and one less job for mum! with HP instant inks

You see Mum in a Nutshell is my profession which takes a big element of planning to keep things on schedule, to stick to deadlines and make sure it’s running at optimum capacity. It’s all too easy to let other things slip though when you’re planning so stringently in another area of your life and that’s where things got a little messy at home. Mainly housework & missed appointments.

So it was back to basics and plan, plan, plan. Not just the week ahead, I needed to go back and work out my short, medium and long-term goals for me, my family and my business. I needed my mojo back!

I have plans, big plans, but it’s the little plans, the foundations of you like, that cement those big plans and if I’m going to aim high then I need to build that road to success.

Everyone needs a destination. Somewhere where you see your self in 1, 5 0r 10 years time. It helps keep you focused and when life gets a little crappy, which it has a tendency to do now and then, going back and revisiting those plans for your destination helps you reboot and get back on track.

It doesn’t have to be huge life changing plans, just a vision for something to aim for. Take little ambitious me for instance. At 24 I was pregnant, not by surprise, it was a planned happy pregnancy and within my plans to be a young mum. What took me by surprise however was the urge to make a better life for myself once my son was born.

I worked in a factory prior to this moment of enlightenment. I hated it, it was boring but at the same time a means to an end to pay my rent and fund my party weekends. Each week I counted down to the weekend, it was like trawling through toffee to the finish line. I wasn’t proud of where I ended up after 5 years of grammar school education and I knew deep down I was wasting opportunities, that I should have gone to university and I should be starting a profession.

So while on maternity leave I rebooted my life and I planned. My destination was a career and so my first short-term and long-term plans were cemented. I needed to study to get to where I wanted and I had to gather experience to travel to the right destination. 4 years studying for an Open University degree later and I was heading in the right direction. It was by no means easy juggling a young family, working and even learning to drive half way through.

But I got there.

And from there I plateaued  I cruised along for 5 more years, slowly loosing that ambition and mojo.

So why am I sharing this with you? Well mainly to give you hope, to let you know it’s never too late. After the late arrival of my third son I took the opportunity to reassess my life.

Was I going in the right direction?

How could I make it better?

What was my destination?

So at 40 I got out my planning hat once again and listed my short-term and long-term goals and in the process, found my mojo once again.

So if you’re still reading this as you’re feeling like life’s got a little monotonous, get planning. Sit down with a pen and paper and work out your destination, how you’ll get there and what you need to do first.

Reboot and take a different path to a bigger better life.

creating a multi use workspace in a bedroom

This post was sponsored by positive thinking, vitamin D and an enthusiastic conversation! 

Pin me to come back to this when you’ll need it.

Planning short term and long term helps get you on the right path to getting your mojo back, here's how I do it.;

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Finding a Cream For My Toddler’s Dry Patches | Review

Baby soft skin, silky smooth to the touch. I remember it well, those first few moments enjoying skin to skin with my newborn son. It was always a sure-fire way to soothe him when he was fractious. But as he adjusted to life outside the womb, I started to notice that now and then he’d grab at his thighs, scratching always in the same spot. Thinking that it was just a coincidence, an involuntary movement, I didn’t worry.

I knew he didn’t have full control of his arms and legs yet so thought nothing of it. But as time went on, it became apparent that whenever he was naked, he’d grab and itch in the same spot every time. If I wasn’t vigilant with nail cutting, he’d leave scratch marks. There were no visible redness or sore patches so I just distracted him away from hurting himself and that  was that.

However, it was starting to niggle me a little. Not a lot, just a little, not enough to warrant a visit to the Dr’s ( mum of 3 here,  I’ve become accustomed to trusting my gut instinct over the years.)  There is eczema in the family, I’m a mild sufferer myself, and I knew that this was more than likely to be a case of dry skin. I’ve been using a gentle moisturiser after his bath as well as sensitive bath products to try to alleviate his discomfort which seemed to make a slight difference but recently I’ve switched to using a medicated honey based cream from Comvita.

Finding a cream to treat my toddlers dry patches

A rich, honey coloured emollient cream, with a delicious  but very subtle honey smell. It contains a medical grade Manuka honey as well as Aloe vera and Chamomile . As it’s quite thick and rich I didn’t have to use much a lot, i’d  gently rub it onto the area where the Toddler would grab, and he seemed to enjoy the relief it brought.

treating my toddlers dry skin with Comvita

It’s suitable for babies from 3 months, so I wasn’t too concerned about overloading his skin with chemicals and have been using it for 5 days now, each time after his bath. I’ve not seen him tug at his thighs once and the tell tale signs of his irritation are no longer there, so it appears that what ever was bugging him, as slight as it was, has disappeared. I’ve had a great experience with using this Medihoney derma cream and even used it on the dry patches on my hands where my latest eczema breakout was healing as a welcome change to the harsh steroids I have to use.

At £10.99 a tube, it’s a fair investment to bring relief to eczema prone skin as a little seems to go a long way, just don’t leave it with a little one’s reach as my cheeky chap seems to like the smell (and taste!) a little too much!



I was sent a tube of Comvita Medihoney Derma Cream to try out on the Toddler’s dry patches, these are my own words and photos.