How to help children de-stress: The HappySelf Journal

As a mother of two school children, I am very much aware of the pressures that they face nowadays, pretty much from pre-school. With every passing year the demands, targets, expectations placed on them[...] read more

Burrs on children’s fingers: how to deal with them

Burrs, unfortunately, are a common occurrence not only just on the grown-ups hands, but kid’s as well. There are many reasons for them, including lack of certain vitamins, but most commonly they occur when kid’s handcare is neglected or when they bite the nails.

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Biting of the nails deserves a separate post, but from personal experience I can recommend telling your child ( if they already lost their milk teeth ) that if they continue to bite their nails, they can break the tooth and a new one won’t grow in its place. It is a true fact, as I actually know someone to whom this happened at a ‘grand’ age of thirty and required a lengthy and expensive rental work to fix the problem, as the woman in question had no desire to look like a Russian hockey player Alexander Ovechkin.

When one of my kids started getting burrs, we first addressed the issue of biting the nails – sadly we can’t control the habits or traits kids pick up from their friends at school or nursery, but we can try to influence the change in the right direction. My second course of action was to start moisturising the hands better, using Childs Farm hand & body lotion that most kids love using & that gets quickly absorbed, without leaving any residue behind.

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Last, but not least, I was also quite lucky to talk to Amanda Saurin, founder of A.S Apothecary and an incredibly knowledgable plant grower, homeopath, distiller – the list of her skills is endless, but you get the idea .) Amanda kindly made us a cute apothecary pot of the balm for the naughty hands. The smell alone is soothing and calming and it is a good incentive to encourage girls to nurture their nails with it, rather than start using nail polishes from a very young age. Amanda blended the following ingredients when making the personalised burr balm: shea butter, her own bees-wax from the garden, rosehip,  calendula, arnica, plantago, hypericum & stellaria. If we didn’t have the time to apply the balm to the nails and the areas around it, where burrs occurred, in the morning, I made sure we did it with every finger at bedtime ( we also got into the habit of applying it to nails on the toes ). Initially we did it daily, then, as the skin started healing, we switched to every other or every two or three days. This process becomes part of the bedtime routine & creates a lovely habit of looking after one’s hands and nails, making both healthier and softer.  When you do it on a regular basis, burrs actually retreat, much to the delight of a child, who thinks that they did good.

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In addition I would recommend upping your child’s fatty acids intake in their diet, as they will definitely contribute to stronger nails and help improve dry skin. Hemp seed oil is a good supplements but I prefer Bare Biology Super hero fish oil, which kids actually enjoy taking voluntarily,  with no prompting on my part.

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Two months on, there are no burrs and we have a lovely habit of giving each other quick hand and nail massages, pretending to have natural treatments before bedtime. It is a joyful bonding experience, a chance to instill good habits in your child and to make sure your kid’s hands stay infection-free, as burrs can lead to significant inflammation. I say prevention is key and hope you will agree with me.

Family time: combining learning and fun

As mothers we want our kids to enjoy their childhood, often secretly longing for our own care-free days spent outside, with no computers or iPads to keep us amused. Being a child in our day and age is both exciting and challenging and so is the role of a parent when it comes, among other things, to figuring out how to keep our kids entertained and learning at the same time. Below are three things that came on my radar recently and which I hope your whole family will enjoy using, making for even more precious family time.

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Brain-teazer games ( Aly Peli & IQ Link )


My kids were given those by their godmother via Father Christmas and since then they have steadily kept kids & adults[...] read more

Tummy bugs: tried & tested advice

Autumn is such a misleading season-on the one hand you get a wonderful variety of crops ( just looking at the pumpkin fields instantly lifts my mood ) and beautiful foliage and colors, but on the other hand, it signals the change in weather, so most of us succumb to all kinds of bugs and colds, with many more on the horizon until the gentle arrival of spring.

Last week saw the rise in the cases of notorious tummy bugs, bringing with it sleepless nights and children’s misery, so I though I will put together a little list of things that work for my family time and time again. Hope you find it equally helpful!

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-The most obvious: wash your hands. Not every five seconds, but after cooking, cleaning, touching animals, being outside or coming back home from work, school or playdates. Use a good soap and teach your kids that hygiene is very important if they don’t want to have bugs in their tummies. That becomes doubly important if someone in the family actually gets a tummy bug.  

-If you or your child do get the misfortune of geting a tummy bug then the following remedies get my vote:

1. Dioralyte in whatever flavour your or your little one prefers. It helps with replacing essential body water, vitamins and salts that get lost due to vomiting and diarrhoea. Children in particular can become dehydrated very quickly, so make sure that they actually drink something to replenish the essential body fluids.  

2. A Russian paste like gel called Enterosgel, which helps to shift all the bugs and toxins out of your system quicker. If you can’t get your hands on a tube, try Charcoal tablets or Alka Seltzer ( for adults only, not children ) which serve the same purpose and are very effective.

3. A good probiotic to replace the good bacteria that gets lost, once your tummy starts to settle. There are good ones for both adults and children that can be bought at your local chemist or from my favorite online health store Victoria Health ( see the link below ). For children ABD Dophilus from Solgar gets my vote, as well


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[...] read more