Fit To Fly

Posted by Alyse Webster on

Okay, so I was thinking this would be more…Top 10 tips on flying with a small child – a miracle post on how you could go on a carefree summer holiday with your child. But I quickly came to the conclusion that (in my experience), no matter the top tips and the tropical trips, it can still go t**s up.

So instead I will share my (and Jo’s) top 5 disaster stories of flying with a baby, in the hope that – in some small way – it gives you some faith that if we have survived all this travel baggage, then you will too.
1. When Jo weed into a nappy during a flight.

Following a frantic dash to board, excess fluid consumption and 2 hours of a (heavy) 6-month-old breastfeeding/asleep on her lap, the need to urinate was denied by both the seatbelt light and the sleeping elderly passenger in the aisle seat. Luckily her ingenuity performed better than her pelvic floor. Nothing a giant muslin and a bit of concentration can't fix. "It's surprising how much one of those things can hold" she says. I suppose that is a tip of sorts.

2. When someone told me I needed to take my child to the hospital because he was so loud.
Yes…he cried and screamed THAT much on a flight that the woman behind us – trying to be helpful – approached me and said, “I don’t want to interfere, but I haven’t heard a child scream like that in 40 years and that was when my son had a double ear infection. I think you need to take him to the hospital when you land.” "Yes, I think you're right", I said politely. I couldn't bring myself to explain that he is just always that loud.

3. When an air steward remembered my screaming son.
It was only a 4-hour flight, so relatively manageable if it weren't for the scream-fest. Calyan was LOUD. The next day –glad to be back in the comfort and relative calm of home – I walked passed a neighbour and thought: “God, she looks familiar”, so I stopped to chat. It turns out she was the air stewardess on our flight. “THAT was the baby that screamed all the way?!” um…yup.

4. When Jo's food poisoning kicked in mid-flight.
Jo was so ill on her way back from Mexico that fellow passengers suspected she might be an Ebola victim. Luckily her partner and parents were flying with her and took care of her son while she lay on the floor in a space at the back of 'Premium Economy'. As the passengers queued for the nearby toilet, air steward – Liz Taylor – mopped Jo's brow and supplied a constant stream of sick bags. Nothing Premium about that.

5. When energy healers felt the need to step in.
When my son was just under a year old, he screamed all the way to America. All. The. Way. A woman approached me and wanting to help find the 'cause' of his distress said, “I am an energy healer and I am trying to 'scan' him to find out what’s wrong, but I'm not picking anything up.” Yeah. I know. There's nothing actually wrong. He's just very...vocal. 

Happy holidays folks! Share your travel baggage here:

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BPA-Free Teething Necklaces. What is BPA?

Posted by Alyse Webster on

What is BPA?

BPA is a common chemical, it is mainly used in combination with other chemicals in the manufacture of plastics and resins. Reusable water bottles, compact discs, beverage containers, auto parts, toys and eyeglasses all may contain BPA.  La La Beads teething necklaces and jewellery are certified BPA-free,  which is incredibly important to us, here's why.

I've recently been reading loads about hormones - particularly what happens to a woman before, during and after pregnancy. A critical part of the human function, hormones impact physical and emotional wellbeing and can wreck havoc if out of balance. It's a topic I am passionate about, so will likely blog about it in the future. Many things that can be done to balance hormones naturally - removing BPA out of your environment is one of them.

The issue is that BPA may mimic hormones and interfere with the endocrine system of glands, which release hormones around the body. Some scientists think that if it interferes with sex hormones, this could affect puberty or the menopause or cause cancers that are related to hormones. Alongside other modern toxins, BPA is a factor in a rising numbers of human illnesses, such as breast cancer, heart disease and genital birth defects.  

Whilst studies are divided on the subject, I suspect that in the next 10 years we will see a UK issued ban on BPA.  Just like tobacco companies in the 50's and 60's producing 'studies' that proved that smoking was healthy - I believe that the big food manufacturers have had a hand in the science behind BPA's supposed safety. It's a product used to line tinned cans, take out food containers, baby formula tins and many other day to day products.  However, the evidence against BPA is so convincing that many mainstream organisations have taken notice.

Breast Cancer UK is calling for a complete ban of BPA in the UK (check that out here).  Canada has outlawed BPA in babies bottles and sippy cups entirely and in the USA, bans are being activated on a state by state basis.   Children's products are in focus because of the potential disruption BPA creates during the critical developmental years.

Although the UK hasn't issued any formal bans, companies are being pressured by consumers to have transparent policies regarding BPA. Tommee Tippee, for example, has withdrawn the use of BPA on all of their feeding products.  

There is a wealth of information on the internet and in the public domain, so that you can read, evaluate and make an educated choice regarding BPA for yourself and your family.

But in the meantime, La La Beads teething necklaces and jewellery are proudly BPA-free. We hope that you are able to enjoy them with your little one, worry free.

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Party Time - The Baby Shower!

Posted by Alyse Webster on

As an American, it goes without saying that I love a baby shower.  They can be a few close friends or the entire extended family. Traditionally just for women, I've been to co-ed baby showers with kids and dogs in tow - that were loads of fun.  Being American, the 'birth'place of the modern baby shower - I've been excited to watch the trend grow year on year here in the UK.  

There are two things that make baby showers fun. The first is that the expectant mum gets to spend time with her nearest and dearest all in one place - when else is she going to mix with her work-mate and Great Auntie all at one time?  

The second best thing is that the shower can be tailored to the expectant mums taste.  Lush afternoon tea at posh hotel? Done. Backyard picnic with homemade lemonade? Done. Sunday morning brunch? Done.  As they say... anything goes!

However, the logistics of planning a baby shower can be daunting. Here are some top tips to make the day go smoothly.

1.  Invitations.  

For me, everything is digital these days.  While paper invitations are lovely -- sometimes they feel a bit too formal. Instead, opt for a beautifully designed digital invitation instead of plain old email. has a great selection of beautifully designed invitations.  I love this one!

baby Shower Invitation

2. Flowers

Fresh flowers really do make a difference and don't have to cost a fortune. Using a wine carafe, milk jug or bell jar with a monochromatic colour scheme is a good way to achieve this.  Although the picture below shoes a dinner party, the neutral colours and simple flowers are simple and thoughtful.

White Flower Arrangement 

3. Games 

I love quizzes anyway, but I think they are particularly nice at events where people of different generations are mixing. The questions can cater to everyone, so all feel involved. Play single or in teams -- depending how many people you have. This website has some nice downloadable quizzes and games ideas. 


4. Gifts

The idea of the baby shower is to give the expectant mother all the things she may need for her upcoming arrival. Baby clothes, nappies, toys - it's no secret small humans require a huge amount of Kit.  Of course La La Beads teething necklaces make great gifts, because they are something for the mum instead of just for baby, which is always nice. A friend of mine had a baby shower where she asked only for second hand baby things.  Of course some people bought gifts, but it was a nice way to get some hand-me-downs from friends that had children and might be a little tight on cash.

Hope you found this helpful and enjoy the Par-tay!


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Baby Sleep - The Journey to a Good Nights Sleep.

Posted by Alyse Webster on

My sons infancy is a blur. Now that he is nearly two, I remember those first months as a haze of baby groups, cups of tea (the only time in my life I drank tea), breastfeeding and daytime TV. One of the only crystal clear memories from those first couple of months the obssesive, reoccuring, pressing question. "Why won't this child sleep?"

Awake Baby In the Middle of The Night.

Photo: This is the middle of the night. Why are you awake?

From my sofa or from bed the middle of an endless night, I was glued to my iphone, begging the internet to answer my question. I had to believe there was a solution - I was certain I wouldn't survive unless there was a solution. Someone, somewhere, somehow must have the answer.

I read all the blogs and bought all the books. I was an expert on babies sleep. A 45 minute sleep cycle that needs to be linked together to achieve a full nights sleep.  Brain waves, deep sleep, light sleep, waking hours, melatonin, hormones, I read about it all.  The advice was contradictory, conflicting and confusing.  Don't let a baby sleep to long during the day, but let sleeping babies lie.  A baby should never cry they are afraid and need to be comforted, but sleeping is a learnt skill and crying doesn't always mean fear it's expression. Babies settle eventually, my baby is 2 and still doesn't sleep.  What to believe?

At about 6 months, I felt like the walls of my sanity were about to turn to sand and melt away.   I had to do something, so stopped breastfeeding between the dream feed at 10ish and the early morning feed at about 5. I wasn't a method or a choice really --- it was gets some sleep or loose my mind. He was eating loads in the day, was healthy growing and gaining weight as expected. The only thing wrong was his aversion to sleeping.  But as soon as I got consistent, he adapted really quickly. Really quickly.

A lightbulb lit over my head and I remember something my mom said to me.  She said, "Honey, this is really more about you than it is about him.  He's ready to sleep, you just need to give him the chance."

In my case she was right - I was so afraid that I was leaving him, that he needed me, that I wasn't doing it right. Everytime he cried, I jumped...sometimes LEPT out of bed to go over to him. Even if he slept, often times I couldn't for fear of being woken.  I was more unsettled than he was. 

Becoming a mother has been the hardest, most joyful thing I have done, without a shadow of comparison. It has been a crash course in self realisation and humility I have ever had. If I made a list of all the things I have learnt in the past two years, it would be infinite. But through this particular challenge I learned two important things.

1. It's not about me.  He is growing and changing so quickly -- I need to make his transition into the next stage as easy for him as possible. I needed to let go of my comforts and securities and give him permission to evolve.  He needed and wanted to sleep, I just needed to teach him how to do it without me. I had to be a parent and lead the way.

2. I can't be afraid to be the kind of parent I am.  I was aware that other parents, other mothers would disapprove of how I dealt with my child's sleeping. I thought about the mothers I admired that were successfully co-sleeping and following attachment parenting techniques.  But, that wasn't right for me and I had to be okay with that.

Okay, enough from me for now. He's going to wake up from his nap now and I still need to quickly unload the dishwasher. Reality strikes again.


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Welcome to La La Beads

Posted by Alyse Webster on

Right now, my mind is a whizz with a million La La Beads ideas.  Designs, colours, collections, marketing, promotions.  Focus, I must focus.

La La Beads has come together at long last, the idea was formed in the summer of 2014 and took months of discussions and brainstorming before we got to the point where we could launch.  It seemed so simple at first, but the more thought the project was given it was apparent that we had one chance to make our brand imprint and that it had to be done right.

So much of LLB's branding has been because of my bestie, creative mind extrodinaire - the fabulous Jo D.  She has been a major part in creating this vision and it was a sad day when she stepped away from the project to focus on her own, exciting life changes.  But when I put the website together, I realised that I needed to give her some major cred. I am sure her finger prints will be on many future collections and who knows what the future will bring...

But now we are here, launched, ready to dazzle our audience and put our print in the market. La La Beads has an incredible growth plan, vision and plans for the upcoming year.  Luckily, LLB's has incredible mentors with experience starting businesses and bringing products to market, that are on board to help us achieve our ambitious goals for 2016!  But the most important thing is to create designs that mums adore!

If I am honest, Silicone teething necklaces and beads aren't a new invention - they have been around for a while and are paticularly big in overseas markets like America and Australia. But we evaluated the market carefully and saw some real gaps here in the UK.  My personal opinion was that a lot of the designs looked like childrens toys (colourful, blocky) and not fashion pieces. It was really important to me that LLB was a product for mothers that they WANT to but - not another baby product.  In fact, I would go so far as to say, I want woman that AREN'T mothers to think the designs are awesome and wear them!   

There will be loads more from me - with all my thanks!

Alyse x.

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