The Mummy Tag.

The Mummy Tag.

Thank you to the lovely Lucie for the tag on this post to get to know our fellow mummies! Hope you enjoy, but remember there’s no obligation for my tagged Mummies to continue the post, so just read and enjoy if you like!
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1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum, or a Working Mum?
I’m on maternity leave until May when Henry turns 1 and I return to work.
2. Would you have it any other way?
I have begun the process of looking for nurseries and returning to work for a day here and there to “keep in touch” and it depresses me! I keep thinking how nice it will be when the warmer days arrive and then realise I will be stuck in the office and not out playing with Henry!
3. Do you co-sleep?
No we don’t. I have no problems with the idea of it, I just know I wouldn’t ever sleep properly myself! After a lot of time, trial & error we luckily have a very good sleeper (in his own bed!!)
4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
For out and about it has to be his carrier! We have the Bjorn Active carrier and it is amazing. Perfect for food shopping, country walks or a trip to town. (start him young!!) Although he is getting so heavy which is becoming a problem for my back.
5. How many kids do you plan on having?
To be completely comfortable financially we’d say 2…Although that would depend if he next one is another boy of course!!
6. Date nights? How often do you have them? 
We aim for once a month to go out and do something different.
7. Your child’s favourite show?
Henry pays absolutely no interest to the TV! The only thing (annoyingly!!) which remotely grabs his attention for 5 seconds is the football!! He is definitely his father’s son!!!
8. Name one thing you brought before you had the baby and never ended up using?
Hmm. I guess I’d have to say his Bumbo! He borrowed a friends for a few days and loved it, so we got him his own one…and he used it for about a week before he got totally fed up with it and stuck in it every use!! (despite being well in the age range!) So into the loft it went…
9. Your child’s favourite food?
This boy can eat. Literally…eat everything!! He really loves anything you put in front of him. Faves would have to be something like banana, pear, cottage cheese, chicken or pork Casserole…but not fish pie (no matter how many times I’ve made it from scratch!!)
10. How many cars does your family have?
ThreeOne each for Daddy and I, and Henry has one of his own which he scoots around downstairs in tormenting the poor cat!!

11. Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now?
I totally ballooned when I was preggo!! I put on over 4 stone!! Thankfully I have lost it all and have now got down to my pre-wedding weight. (Thank you breast feeding!!)
 
12. Dream holiday with your kids?
We always like to holiday places we’ve never been, where we can explore and discover new cultures and scenery. However this may not be quite as practical with children! So probably something like a cruise where they could have loads of entertainment on board but loads of culture each day as we explored the countries we docked in. Or Disney World of course!! (Can you tell I’ve never been on holiday with children?!)
13. Dream holiday without your kids?
Having travelled most of the world I’d have to say America, every time.
14. How has your life changed since having kids?
Hmm. Well, I have more worries and less relaxation…more wrinkles and less money…But, I have so much more to look forward to each day. Sometimes, no matter how hard my day has been at about half 4 in the afternoon I think oh no, I only have a couple of hours left that day with my little prince! There’s really no negatives, even when you get no sleep!!
15. Finish the sentence “It makes heart melt when…”
Stuart and Henry have their little conversations!! They are adorable! Especially the bath/bedtime ones!!
16. Where do you shop for your kids?
Mamas and Papas, GAP,  Mothercare, H&M, Onliners & most supermarkets.
17. Favourite make-up and skincare products?
I  personally think I have terrible skin (see my previous posts!!) So I use absolutely loads of skin care products, still haven’t quite found one to fix my poor skin!! Make up wise at this moment I have Dior, Estee Lauder, Bare Minerals, No 7, Mac, L’Oreal, Clinique & Urban Decay in my make up bag.
18. Huggies or Pampers?
Erm, I have actually had a great experience with Asda’s Little Angels!! Pampers at the current size are doing well too (4) (although I found the smaller sizes really poor.)
19. Have you always wanted kids?
Absolutely. Even cutting trips around the world short to get going on beginning a family.
20. Best part of being a mum?
Despite the eye bags, constant smell of sick on me, tiredness and being scared most of the time that something tragic is going to happen, being a Mum is pretty damn wonderful. And I am grateful for every moment.
Hope you enjoyed my answers. I tag the following yummy mummies…
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Today, was a good day!

Today was one of those pretty darn awesome days where everything goes so well it makes one feel all warm and fuzzy inside! After a mammoth lie in I ventured downstairs and played with my little prince until Daddy J took him out to the shops. With all this free time on my hands I decided to channel my inner Mary Berry and bake! A couple of weeks ago while we were watching one of my cookery programmes Stuart said to me that he “remembered when I used to make him treats” ha! It occurred to me that it had been ages since I’d actually found/made the time to bake, so I figured there was no better time! And here are the fruits of my labour;

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They were so quick and easy to make so I thought I’d share the recipe;

250g self raising flour

2 eggs

100ml olive oil (or veg if you have it)

4 squishy bananas

100g caster sugar

teaspoon of baking powder

100g fudge pieces & dark chocolate chips.

– Mix the 2 eggs together and add to the oil. – Mash bananas in one bowl. – Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar in another bowl. – Add in the egg mix and whisk together (I used an electric whisk but you could do so by hand if you have the time or patience!) when it’s all mixed up and looks like cake batter, add the fudge and choc chips. And you’re done! Spoon into 12 muffin cases and pop in a 200C oven for 20 or so minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Et Voila! Now, pop the kettle on and enjoy.

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So this afternoon comes along and Mr J springs a surprise on me…an afternoon at a near by spa! To my warm and fuzzy delight he had booked me in for a facial, back, hand and foot massage and it was uh-mazing. Pure luxury. If any of you reading live nearby, I would most definitely recommend The Courtyard in Basingstoke. (http://www.thecourtyardhampshire.co.uk)

The Courtyard

Now, due to my self-consciousness over my bad skin, I’ve had quite a few facials in my time. But I have to say, this was definitely the best I have had. The Courtyard use Clarins products and my therapist Stacy explained to me each of the products she would be using throughout my treatment. As I lay down under the soft, warm covers with towels in all applicable places I let myself drift off on a dreamy massage induced cloud. There is just something about the way each move feels during any treatment like this. The hot towels on your face, the cool eye compresses, the way each movement doesn’t leave the body until the next is initiated. Stacy’s delicate, warm fingers worked a certain magic on my knotted shoulders and it melted away all the strained tension I’d gathered along my way.

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Tonight the hubbo has gone for an Indian with the NCT boys, so I am going to treat myself to a glass (or 2) of wine whilst watching ancient episodes of Carrie and her friends! If Carlsberg did Saturdays…

My February wish list!

It is so true that when you don’t have the money to spend, you want everything in the shops! And when you go to the shops with specific plans to buy something you need you can never find it! With this in mind, and my statutory maternity pay finished my wish list is of course, huge!! Luckily for me Valentine’s day is just around the corner, so hopefully Mr J might just tick a couple of these off!

  • I have been coveting the Mama Mio skin post pregnancy range over the last couple of months, as I have been a huge fan of their products throughout my pregnancy and beyond. There’s just so much I want to try! Next up I really want the “Get Waisted” and “Boob Tube” which always have rave reviews throughout the blogging community. I have finally started feeling like I’ve got my pre-preg body back, but could definitely do with the skin on my tummy feeling tighter. Have a look here for their amazing products; http://www.mioskincare.co.uk/mama-mio.html

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  • With such dreary weather outside, I am yearning for the bright and fresh spring sorbet prints. Not quite warm enough for skirts and feeling a little more confident about my shape, I’ve been looking at some big print trousers to brighten up my look.

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  • I am a huge SATC fan; Carrie’s adventures just never get old! Team that with my shoe obsession you can imagine how upsetting I found it when I saw how uninspiring SJP’s very own shoe range is! With lots of events on at the moment I want to add to my shoe collection and have found some absolute bargains at Matalan of all places! A friend Instagrammed these shoes and I just love them! I also had to buy these Topshop beauties in the sale last month as a parting gift to my shopping addiction.

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  • I have the Clinique Chubby Stick in Plushest Plunch, but it’s just a bit too bright for me for every day wear so I really want to get a more natural shade of this super moisturising lip balm, something like Mighty Mimosa. It’s £17 and perfect for just whipping out of my bag and applying quickly and keeps my lips really soft in this horrible cold weather.

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  • Speaking of keeping my skin soft in this weather, I find my hands get so dry and cracked, especially when pushing the pram around all the time. So my final item for Feb’s wish list is the ultra moisturising, rich, Shea Butter Hand Cream.

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Although not strictly for me, I absolutely love these Cath Kidston children’s food trays so wanted to include them on this post. I most definitely want to get one for little Henry for all his different finger foods – although currently I know it would immediately be thrown overboard with his flapping little arms, so perhaps he can enjoy it from afar for the moment!

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What items are you longing for this month?

Woohoo! January is done for another year!

I for one am so glad that January is over and done with. It’s like month full of Mondays and it just keeps going and going and going…For me it was a dreary, post-Christmas slump of a month and I couldn’t wait for it to be over and to move on to Feb, a month closer to spring!

It was my first month without my measly statutory maternity pay (It’s not much, but you miss it when it’s gone!) I think it rained & stormed pretty much the whole month, I had to start thinking about work and nurseries and dreaded Aunt Flo came to visit me for the first time in 18 months!!! (TMI?!)

But we all made it through, and I celebrated at the end of it with one of my oldest, bestest friends 30th Birthday. (and reminded myself just why I do not do shots any more – ouch!!)

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February is already off to a great start with our little boy finally finding his way to put one hand in front of the other and crawling!! It is true what they say…now the fun really starts!! Trying to get ready with a very inquisitive little boy who finds mummy’s make up and hair styling wires far more interesting than the smorgasbord of bright coloured toys I lay out in front of him is proving to be very tricky indeed! He seems to have developed so much over the past week or so, making lots of conversation with new sounds and syllables, pulling himself up in his cot, spinning around happily in circles on his bottom and of course, crawling.

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This month I want to take Henry to a lot more group activities as he is now mobile and less likely to be squished by bigger babies. My NCT friends and I went out to the under 18 month session at Active Tots in Stratfield Saye last week  (http://www.activetots.org) and loved how clean it was and Henry got so much more enjoyment out of it than I thought he would. He loved freely sliding down the soft slides and playing with the babies in the ball pit. This week I want to take him to Bouncing Tots which is in Basepoint, off of Wade Road (http://www.bouncingtots.co.uk) . We’re also going to be independently taking him swimming again more, after having had to cancel his swimming lessons due to them falling bang in the middle of his morning nap time. As hard as it is with this weather it’s so nice to get him out every day to one thing or another.

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I love sites such as http://northhantsmum.wordpress.com and www.mumsintheknow.co.uk/basingstoke for finding out all the fun things to do with little ones week by week. I also vow to go to more Sure Start stay and plays which are government funded as I hardly ever go to them and Henry loves to play with the other babies and get filthy at the messy plays! 

I’d love to know what things you’re going to be doing with your baby this month and what ideas you have to keep them entertained!

Skin Saviours.

Well, with just 1 week to go before my due date (although my money is on Monday!) I thought I would write a little on the products which have helped get me through the hormonal turmoil my skin has been subjected to! I have always felt I have had poor skin, with blemish after blemish haunting me, but with the joys of pregnancy also comes more of those wonderful side affects; in my case even more spots! It is said that if you are carrying a girl they can “suck the beauty out of you”… As we don’t know the sex yet I can’t blame that reason, but what I do know for sure is that when pregnant our skin produces more sebum to keep it as supple as possible (think of the help with stretch marks!) and this sebum can block pores and cause all manner of problems. You may have noticed your skin is more greasy than usual? It is also more sensitive than normal; so approach a new beauty regime with caution so you don’t bombard your skin with too many new products at once.

My first product on the list has to be Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish – £15, in my opinion a must have staple of any girl’s bathroom regime, and I am sure most of you are already aware of its existence! But in case you haven’t been introduced to it, here’s the lowdown – Containing all natural, plant based active ingredients it is so gentle on your skin, however the hot cloth muslin gives a real feeling that you are getting deep down cleaning action. Using Liz Earle products is pure luxury, from the moment they arrive in the post in their hand wrapped parcels to the excitement of finding what this month’s free mini included in the box is. Followed by the Instant Boost Skin Tonic £13 it refreshes and brightens your skin making it feel loved and smooth with no tightness often felt with some toners. It’s no wonder these products have won so many awards.

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Next is the Clearing Skin Wash from Dermalogica – £24; a foaming cleanser which breaks down the oiliness of my skin helping relieve breakouts. It also contains an antiseptic ingredient which cools inflammation and clears blocked pores. I also have the PreCleanse product – £19, which lifts debris from your skin before using the cleanser, however it bought my sensitive skin out in a dry rash so I have put that on hold until I get my non-pregnant skin back.

Clearing skin wash                   Precleanse

Whilst in Paris, I picked up a few products from BioDerma; a brand I learnt of from a fellow blogger. I went the whole hog whilst up against the language barrier and bought about 100 Euros worth of product (ensuring Stuart was aware of how it was half the price in France than it would be at home of course, and therefore an essential purchase!) but for this post I will talk through just a couple of products; 

Sebium Purifying and Foaming Cleansing Gel – Around £14; it balances out the skin, and reduces sebum secretion, therefore in theory reducing breakouts. It’s a soap free formula which lathers up and really feels like it is cleaning my skin deep down. It doesn’t really have a particular scent to it so you know it’s not coating your skin with perfumed chemicals but leaves you feeling refreshed and clean. I follow up with the Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner Corrective Concentrate – £16, which refines the texture of my skin, tightening dilated pores and mattifies their appearance – over time reducing the size of the pores which are creating this extra oil causing me such dismay.

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Finally the Clarins Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel – £12. A fresh and zesty foaming cleanser which lasts quite a while and gives my skin a feeling of being clean. In honesty, I think my skin has grown out of this product since I’ve been using it as I am not as impressed with the results any more; I also found the Energizer moisturiser cream was a bit too greasy for my already greasy skin, and the fragrance was a little too much for my sensitive skin. That said I do love the Clarins products and will re-visit this and other of their ranges once my skin regains some normality.

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I, for one, am still waiting for the “pregnancy glow”…with just a week to go I take it it’s bypassed me altogether! Luckily, I have so far escaped the puffy water retention stage – maybe there is something in all that water I always talk about drinking after all 😉

I hope you find these products useful if you feel you have similar problem skin. It’s important to mention that like the weather, your skin also changes with the seasons, and any other factors in life – such as pregnancy. So what works for now, might not work in a few months – which is great for someone like me who will jump at any excuse to try new products!

Back and rib pains.

As my pregnancy progressed, so did my back pain. In fact from 23 weeks I
have suffered from intense rib and back pain on the right hand side, and it
has not gone away. I wanted to write a blog in case anyone has
suffered the same as I have found a few remedies which really helped me so I
hope if you are suffering they could help you also.
Most days I would feel that I had been beaten up from the inside – not from
the plentiful kicks, but from the skeletal movement and inflammation of the
rib cartilage. At 23 weeks the uterus is nowhere near that high up, so I
knew it wasn’t the baby, but all of your organs are pushed up to the top of
your torso from their original lower down, spread out locations and of
course those pesky hormones have a part to play in this by altering the
ligaments and muscles in between your ribs by changing the shape and
position.
Me at 34 weeks
No matter how I sat, stood or lay I would have this stitch like, aching, stabbing pain. I personally decided not to take any paracetamol, however it is perfectly safe to take throughout pregnancy; although I was a little shocked that my doctor prescribed me to take codeine every day – I wouldn’t even do that not pregnant! So I needed to find another remedy to help ease the constant pain.
By the end of the working day it would be pretty unbearable, so a nice warm shower with the jet of water in the localised area or a bath would bring an instant feeling of ease.  (not too hot remember!)
It is also worth trying a pregnancy support belt. I liked the Nexcare, available at high street stores, or online at Amazon. It helps to lift the abdomen & take the pressure off of your back and is fully expandable – just like your waistline!!
Nexcare support belt
JoJo Maman Bebe also do a fab one which is really comfortable and gives great support. Make sure you buy the right size for your shape so you don’t cause more problems than you began with.
JoJo Maman Bebe
Of course, at night the support of your pregnancy pillow will help ease the pain and take the weight onto a different area. As you know, I am a real fan of the Dreamgenii which just helps in so many ways, especially taking the pressure off of my back, ribs and pelvis.
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If your partner is able to, a massage around the area I found would really help. Plus it gives you a sense of him sharing some of the pain you’re experiencing!
Exercise will also help, so try a pregnancy pilates DVD to really stretch off the area – mine is STILL in the wrapper…I really must stop being so lazy! Try going on all fours and letting the pressure of the baby fall away from your back breathe in and then as you breathe out pull your belly button in. Or stretching one arm up and over your head with the other hand on your hip and feeling the pull of your side, alternate sides for 5 seconds each way. Swimming is also a fab way to ease the pain as it takes the pressure off of your joints – if, unlike me, you can bear to put on a swimsuit that is!
If I knew I would be spending the day walking around I would invest in some self heating patches, I found the Cura-heat ones lasted the longest time and were large enough to cover a good sized area – they were a blessing when out and about.
Cura-Heat
My ultimate relief was to be found in a dog wheat pillow that a close friend loaned me from her little girl…Popped in the microwave for 2 minutes it heats up and can be placed directly onto the painful area – well worth all the jokes at work about me carrying around my teddy bear! I tried several wheat pillows (as I managed to cremate doggy no. 1 by getting him stuck at the back of the microwave) but this one maintained the temperature for a good 2 hours and was the best by far – made by Intelex and purchased on Amazon they come in a selection of furry animals and my trusty little dog has not left my side for months!
Intelex Heat pillow
It’s important to say that if you are worried about your rib pain then don’t feel you shouldn’t visit your GP – especially if it worsens after you eat as this could be a sign that something more ominous is occurring and they may wish to screen you for gall stones – bought on by the extra oestrogen your body is producing.
I hope you find your relief!

Slept like a baby??

As I am sure any parent or Mummy to be would agree, sleep is precious – and sometimes rare! For me, I haven’t slept properly since about 20 weeks and over the past 10 or so weeks getting more than a couple of hours is a complete treat. Yes, I know it’s preparation for when the baby arrives and yes, I am “making the most of it” But it still doesn’t make going to work like a zombie every day any easier!

No Sleep

In fact I seem to sleep best in the morning stint between 5am and when the alarm goes off at 7am which is typical as when I have to get up for work I feel like I’d be able to sleep for hours – roll on maternity leave!

It’s said around 8/10 pregnant ladies have insomnia and sleeping difficulties and it is down to a plethora of reasons;

  •          Physical Discomfort – your body has changed shape and you have to find a new way to get comfortable (is there such a position?!) in between the leg cramps, heartburn & restless leg syndrome.
  •          The constant need to empty your bladder – every couple of hours! I try to drink most of my few litres during the day so I don’t have too much in the evening which helps combat this. (Or reduces it to just 2 or 3 times per night – this will get worse as the time goes on regardless of how much you drink!)
  •          Too hot or too cold – That internal hot water bottle doesn’t help when it comes to regulating your temperature. Wear loose fitting clothes and have an extra blanket to hand in case you wake up freezing cold.
  •          Anxiety – thinking about all the changes coming your way and the many to do lists can often keep you awake. Try to make a list during the day to save doing it in your head at night. Clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing to help calm & relax yourself.
  •          Kicking and shoving from the little cherub inside of you doesn’t make it easy to drift off, and unfortunately there is little you can do to stop this – your baby is in tune with your own heart rate and stress levels, so enjoy those movements and relax knowing they are perfectly happy in there practicing their dancing/football skills.
  •          Vivid dreams – and boy are they insane these days! Strange, disturbing, erotic, scary…You will probably encounter them all, they are down to the increased Progesterone and REM your body is experiencing and the all of the extra worrying bringing a new life into the world brings.
  •          Hunger or queasiness – try to have a little snack before bed to stop yourself from waking up hungry – or not nodding off because you feel sick. Make sure it’s not a high sugar snack though, so stick to a rice cake or piece of wholemeal toast.

 

Try to have a warm bath or shower before bed, listen to some music and turn off electrical devices an hour before you get your head down; swap your phone, TV, iPad etc. for a magazine or book. If you haven’t drifted off after around 20 minutes of trying take a little wonder to another room and then go back to bed, sometimes this really helps. Some of my friends swear by a white noise app on their phone such as Relax Melodies or Sleep Pillow Sounds so maybe give one of those a go if you’re really struggling?

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My main piece of advice when it comes to comfort at night would be to invest in a good quality pregnancy pillow. My ultimate recommendation would be for the multi award winning Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow.

Dreamgenii                        Dreamgenii

It costs around £45, although some stores such as Mothercare often have £5 off; whatever you pay for it, it is worth every penny! It supports your back, knees, hips, pelvis and bump and encourages you to sleep on your left side which is recommended by professionals. It also promotes the best position for your baby to adopt which gives a better chance of a shorter and less painful labour. I have not heard a bad word said about these pillows, so invest early, I am sure you wont regret it!

 Dreamgenii                                   Dreamgenii Cherry

Sweet dreams 🙂

Wait, what was I saying again?!

So this morning I poured my apple juice over my cereal…Just one of many things which I now do daily which frankly are a little bit weird. It inspired me to write this blog as I am constantly doing something insane, and I can only attribute this to the famous “Baby Brain” or “Preg Head”, and I know I am not the only one!

Apparently, there is no scientific proof surrounding this phenomenon, with the evidence showing that the capacity of the brain is not altered; in fact an Australian study gets pretty hot under the collar about women blaming pregnancy for any memory loss. However I can vouch; as I am sure certainly most pregnant women can, that there definitely something afoot that happens to all expectant Mums.

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It is said that pregnancy doesn’t alter your IQ, but it can affect the way your brain prioritises activity. You will also have a lot of extra knowledge and information in your brain, which takes up more of what you think about – meaning your short term memory may suffer. For me it wasn’t just my memory which was affected, I would even have trouble getting my words out sometimes.

I remember in the early stages I would be in a meeting at work and would literally stop mid-sentence and have to get my colleague to finish it for me as I’d completely forgotten what it was I was talking about! Or walking over to talk to one of our sales guys about something important and in the 7 seconds it took me to get to them I would have entirely forgotten what it was I was going there to say. Often I would ask Stuart what my plans were for that night or what we had that very afternoon for lunch.

Nowadays I am more likely to be found refusing point blank that I was told about that important event Stu had booked in for us, or losing my keys in the fridge or some such place. Owning a diary has never been more important!

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So is there anything we can do to help ease the symptoms?

Well, lack of sleep certainly doesn’t help, so make sure you are getting enough Z’s at night (easier said than done, I know!)

Eat right & keep hydrated – lack of essential minerals and vitamins can lead to poor brain function.

Make a list – not only did it help me remember essential things, but also made me feel organised.

Don’t take too much on – you’re adding to your day to day activities such as going to work, looking after children, doing the shopping etc with a whole load of baby related jobs and info, so make sure you get support from your partner or friend to run those few errands you need not do yourself or take a back seat with the paperwork at home.

Exercise – this will increase oxygen in the blood helping your brain work better, and is a great stress buster. (Or so I’m told…that pregnancy yoga DVD I bought 4 months ago is still in the wrapper)

And if all else fails, cover everything with post it notes!

Post it notes

So, although scientifically we can’t blame pregnancy to account for all the missed appointments or messages you never managed to get around to replying to, I think there’s enough of us out there to at the very least not make us feel like we’re losing the plot entirely. I am reliably informed that it gets no better once the baby arrives either! So if you see me at the school gates with my child on the lead, whilst waving off the dog with his packed lunch, then you’ll know why!!

I’d love to hear your anecdotes of how the dreaded “mumnesia” has affected you!

Back to School.

With so much to learn about our upcoming adventure in parenthood, we decided to book on to do an antenatal class. Following on from many recommendations we opted to go for the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) option which was split over 6 sessions and cost around £250, rather than one 8 hour NHS class.  Knowing there was so much to take in we decided it was the right decision for us to split it into bite sized chunks so we didn’t leave the course feeling more bamboozled than when we began!

We were really impressed! Our course had a really informal feel to it and we were able to cater it to what we wanted to learn as a group (of 10) at the speed that worked for all of us. We also got to meet some really nice people who we are still in touch with now. I think that’s half the charm of the NCT option; that you get to spend a lot of time with the other people on the course. You get to know them and they go from being complete strangers, to possibly the ones you call in the middle of the night when your baby just wont go to sleep, or when you can’t get them to latch on. You know they will be going through the exact same things at the same time.

NCT logo

NCT have about 50 years of experience, and we found out so much extra info to help us feel prepared for the big day, and of course beyond – when the real work begins! Our teacher was fantastic and made everything very simple to understand whilst including answers to every question or extra piece of info we asked for. We covered numerous subjects, such as;

Complications of pregnancy – Back ache (don’t I know about that one!) breathlessness, heartburn, constipation, headaches, swollen hands/feet, cramps, CONSTANT weeing, sleeplessness (again, one of my specialist subjects) as well as more serious complications such as pre-eclampsia, Group B strep and Obstetric Colestatis.

Birth options – Active, water, positions, Caesarean, assisted delivery, induction, breathing techniques.

Pain “management” (because as it happens not even an epidural is guaranteed to block out all of the pain!) – TENS, water, Pethidine, Meptid, Epidural, gas and air, massage  techniques (i.e. not a rough rub leading to pretty much just a friction burn!!)

Feeding – breast/bottle, (with a dedicated girls only breast feeding class) and lots of information about support groups and drop in centres for anyone struggling to breast feed.

Signs of labour – period pains, pressure in bottom, constant backache, waters leaking, a show, bleeding, nesting, diarrhoea etc.

Care for the baby – changing, winding, holding, sleeping, feeding, etc.

Preparation for the birth – what to take with you to the hospital (maybe that suitcase full of clothes isn’t necessary after all?) Getting the essentials bought and set up at home, what to include on your birth plan.

The list goes on and on, we certainly felt that we came away equipped to deal with what was thrown our way on the big day…Well, in theory at least!

It was great for Stu to learn so much as it means he feels in a better position to support me on the day and he knows what to expect. He also knows that when I get to the stage just before I’m ready to push (transition) and I begin to regress into a primitive cavewoman and tell him I’ve had enough and I am going home out via the window, that we’ll possibly have a baby within the hour.

What ever option you go for, I hope you find it informative and helpful. If nothing else, do it for the biscuits 😉

Annnnnnd Stretch!!

Way before my first scan, I was showing…It seemed to pop out of nowhere and just kept getting bigger each day! (Making it particularly difficult around the office, let me tell you!) My thoughts turned immediately to preventing the dreaded stretch marks. They say these are hereditary so unfortunately destiny may have already decided whether or not you or I will get them, but I thought I would give as much chance to my poor skin as possible as I knew it was about to get a lot more stretched as the weeks went on.

Baby J at 25 weeks.

So what are stretch marks and why do we get them?? They are caused by the dramatic changes your body goes through when the the skin is stretched suddenly and the middle layer of your skin (the dermis) breaks in places;  making room for the the new life growing inside of you. They start red, pink, dark brown & can even be purple, and as time goes on after pregnancy they will fade to lighter red or silvery, but unfortunately they won’t ever go away without laser surgery (and that isn’t always guaranteed to work). At least half of pregnant women will get them and they won’t just be on your tummy, they can be on your thighs, bum, boobs & hips too – lucky us!

I know I always go on about it, but water really is such a super help to so many functions of our bodies – Make sure you keep hydrated and try to drink 2 or more litres of water a day as this will really help your skin. (I know those loo trips every 20 minutes are annoying but it’s a small price to pay when it can help with water retention, swelling, stretch marks, nausea, constipation, bladder infections and even to help prevent preterm labour caused by dehydration) I already feel my bump is massive at 33 weeks, and I have no idea how it is going to keep growing – especially as the baby will put on half its birth weight from now until it is born!

Here are a selection of some of the best oils and creams I have come across over my time being pregnant, are there any you have tried which you can recommend to me?

  •          Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Cream for Stretch Marks 125g

A moisturising cream which I found helped with general dryness. It helped make my skin feel more supple although I felt I needed something a bit more heavy duty to feel like I was combatting the threat of stretch marks. It is only around £3 which made it a great budget buy.

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  •          Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter 125ml.

A pricier option at around £23, which I found was incredibly thick and nourishing. It has a great fresh citrus scent to it and doesn’t leave a greasy residue like some creams.

mama-mio-tummy-rub-stretch-mark-butter-125g-3006254-0-1348496220000

  •          Clarins Stretch Mark Control 200ml

This lighter consistency cream rubs into the skin really easily. It is around £30, but you get a lot more for your money and it seems to go quite far. I would say this cream is more useful for the fading of stretch marks, rather than the prevention so I will definitely be stocking up on some more for after if I get any!

Clarins Stretch Mark Control

On to some oils…

  •          Cowshed Udderly Gorgeous Stretch Mark Oil. One of my faves!

Before I write anything, it’s important to mention this should only be used after the first trimester due to some of the botanical formulations which are in it. I found the oil felt really lovely and moisturising, all the while feeling like I was having a pamper morning and night. Cowshed also do a fab Balm which is gorgeous and smells divine!

Cowshed Udderly Gorgeous Stretch Mark Oil

  •          Bio-Oil 200ml.

I have added this in because it was the first thing I used, and I know it is very popular – However…I didn’t find it suited me at all. The greasy formula sat on my skin and sank into my clothes once I got dressed, making it difficult to apply in the mornings. I also found I was always really itchy after a couple of hours where it felt like it hadn’t moisturised; it just felt like it was coating my skin rather than sinking in. That said, many find they get on really well with it & it’s also on the low end of the budget scale at £8-£9. Maybe one for after to help heal stretch marks.

Bio Oil

  •          Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil – My every day potion!

I had this recommended to me by a friend who has 2 children and I have to say I have not looked back. It is around £10 and admittedly I do go through a bottle every 6 weeks, but it is so lovely to use. It has a lemony scent which doesn’t disturb even the most sensitive nauseous noses! It soaks in quickly and leaves my skin so soft and supple. They also do a lovely Belly Butter which feels lovely all over my body.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil

  • Neals Yard ‘Mothers Balm’

I am yet to try this one, but I wanted to add it to the list as I love the brand and know that this will be as luxurious and gorgeous as their other products. Definitely one to try next!

Neals Yard 'Mothers Balm'

Whatever you do, try not to get down about them, there are lots of websites out there where people share stories and photos of themselves which can help if you are feeling down about them – you’re not alone, it is normal after all! And remember, they are testament to that miracle your body went through to give you that beautiful baby at the end of it.