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?

Baby Henry’s Room!

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For months I have been meaning to blog about little Henry’s nursery! I wanted to show how we decorated it and what ideas included. It is definitely a work in progress as I am always finding new ideas and styles I like and want to incorporate, but anyhow…here it is!
Whilst I was pregnant I decided that I didn’t want a cream/beige nursery which seems to be the inevitable option when you don’t know the sex of your unborn child. So, after thinking about it I realised that because little one wasn’t actually going to be in their own room for a good few months anyway I could actually wait until we knew the sex and then decorate it…However, I actually think that it’s pretty unisex after all!! But I am still really pleased I waited.
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I absolutely love green, it features in quite a few of our rooms at home, so I decided to instruct Mr J to paint the walls this colour as a base so we could mix it up with pink & peach florals for a little girl or boyish blues for a little boy. We went for white furniture and a dark laminate to contrast with the furniture. After shopping around for AGES I realised I wanted to get normal sized furniture rather than the children’s furniture as I found they came up really small. Because we have a built in wardrobe in the room all we actually needed for clothes storage was a chest of drawers which I bought from Homebase and matched the colour to the rest of the furniture. It had really old fashioned handles so I bought some crystal ones from Ebay and gave it a more modern feel.
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We decided to go with a free-standing change table instead of an over the cot one, and I am really pleased we did as it provides heaps of storage, we got ours from Mamas & Papas. I found these green and white baskets in Tiger which allowed me to organise everything into easy to grab, mid nappy change, sections! It is a life saver for bad backs as you can stand up rather than having to bend over to change the many nappies Henry goes through! A friend of mine bought us the changing mat, also from Mamas & Papas.
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I fell in love with this “Mia” sleigh cot bed from Mamas & Papas, but completely underestimated how huge it was! I think I could quite comfortably sleep in it! It meant we needed to change the layout from what we had planned but now I love it being tucked away in the corner of his room to leave plenty of room for him to play in the rest of the nursery.
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Daddy mid-build.
I knew I wanted to use wall stickers to bring some animation and excitement to the walls for little Henry, and this means we can change them when he grows out of them without having to re do the whole room if we don’t feel it necessary. I really love the look these bring to his sleeping area, I figured who couldn’t fall asleep amongst the clouds?! – Turns out Henry! But that’s for another blog!
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I remember the Owl and the Pussycat from my childhood and I wanted to include this traditional feature in Henry’s room. I managed to find this brilliant wall sticker from notonthehighstreet.com and it is by the Brighton based Koko Kids – which I looooove!!!! It’s a fabric sticker which was so easy to apply and Henry gets so excited when we look at the whales and talk about the rain falling and waves splashing. Take a look at all the other beautiful things they do! http://kokokids.com
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After our 7 months of no sleep we decided on trying a black out blind to help Henry along with his naps during the day, and having already got a blind and curtains I found the Gro Company did a “Gro Anywhere” blind, which we suckered onto the window which is so effective at blocking out all of the daylight. It is absolutely huge and of course, mobile so perfect if you need to take it on holiday or away for the weekend.
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Personally I knew I didn’t want all matchy matchy in terms of the accessories and so I searched loads of different websites for unique things to include in the nursery. I came across this great company who make these prints and they were kind enough to make me one up to document Henry’s birth details. You can decide on your own colours and themes and they are sent on high quality paper and I bought a chunky white frame from Ikea for it. You can get your own – for any occasion from http://www.elliebeanprints.co.uk
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My friend Lucy also had this lovely, 3D birth picture made for us which ties in with the bunting and owls we have in his room.
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This is a horrendous photo but it kind of lets you see most of the room altogether!
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Some homemade bits…
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Bunting!!
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The next thing I want to make are 3D hot air balloons similar to these stickers to hang at the end of the cot amongst the clouds!
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Well, there we have it! I love his room and love adding to it when I find new things and there’s lots more I can’t wait to get. I am making the most of actually being able to choose what he has before he wants the whole thing football themed!!! What did you go for in your little one’s room?

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My quick fix beauty products.

Well, firstly apologies for my absence!! Henry and I have been busy busy!! Life has whizzed by over the past couple of months; he’s now 4 months old and I am loving spending such quality time watching him grow. So much so I’ve not had time to blog! This inspired me to write a post on my quick fix beauty products because I’ve had to really reduce my “me time” during the days as he’s always keeping me on my toes! For any new Mums out there I’m sure you know the feeling, so hopefully you might find some of these useful for your own morning routine when you’re pushed for time.

Bronzer;
It goes without saying we all feel better with a touch of colour to our skin and normally we can’t rely on the good old British weather; although I have to say we’ve been treated so well this year. That said I am more than aware that my ageing skin (Big 3-0 in November!!) needs all the favours it can get, so I always keep my face out of the sun nowadays to prevent ageing and sun damage. I’ve never been one for fake tan as I always end up looking like a patchy extra for Willy Wonker and the Chocolate Factory so I always make sure I wear a quality bronzer to ensure my skin looks glowing even on the tiredest of days! I’m a big fan of Estee Lauder products and I love their new Bronzed Goddess range – personally I think the name needs a bit of work, but the products are fab! I’m currently using the Bronzed Goddess Soft Shimmer Bronzer which comes with a wide brush for the perfect application. At £28 it’s at the higher end of the budget but it lasts ages and the finish is just beautiful.
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Dry Shampoo;
Gone are the days where I can leisurely spend an hour getting ready for the day. Nowadays it’s more like 10 minutes on and off in between feeding, changing and dressing little man and running out the door before he’s sick or explodes the other end and then needs feeding all over again! Sometimes I’m lucky enough to wash my hair, but for the days where I don’t quite get the time I love the Baptiste range of dry shampoo. I have gone back to blonde now after a huge fail trying to go dark while I was pregnant (darn hormones!!) but I still use the dark tinted one which doesn’t come out quite so white on my hair. It also is great for giving texture and aiding up dos.
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BB Cream;
I have always felt that I have terrible skin, and always feel really conscious about it! But when I am having a day at home with Henry I can use my BB Cream and feel much more confident about my skin – even just to answer the door to the postie! I didn’t think I would ever feel happy with only a tinted moisturiser but the Garnier BB cream has great coverage and evens out skin tone as well as covering up imperfections. It’s a really well priced multi-tasker at around £9 and it’s the best I’ve found for this low price range.
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Mascara;
It’s the age old quick fix if you only have a couple of seconds for your appearance and it’s true a lick of mascara really makes the difference, especially to my near on albino lashes. I love Diorshow Black Out, which has an amazing application and great lasting power; although it might be a bit too dramatic for some. For a more natural daytime look I really like the Elizabeth Arden Double Density mascara which has a much thicker brush.
(Try and keep an emergency back up in the car for when you forget to apply before you dash out of the house!)
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Bright nail polish;
I find a bright polish makes me feel glam on days when I don’t even have time to brush my hair – you know the sort! You just have to find 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to paint them for the week! I love the staying power of the O.P.I polishes and have been loving Big Red Apple over the hot summer days we’ve had. (This was applied rushed 4 days ago and is still going!)
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Miracle 10 “It’s a 10!” leave in conditioner;
This stuff is amazing! Spray over towel dried hair and it combs through even the most knotted of hair. It is a 10 in 1 product including protection, gloss, frizz control and, colour enhance. It’s so good for all aspects of hair care. I give my hair a quick spritz and brush through before rough drying to keep my hair in really good condition regardless of how little time I have.
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What beauty products do you use to make you feel “yourself” on days where you don’t have the time to fuss? I would love to hear about them!

The Push Present.

If you asked my husband he would probably tell you that a push present was just another idea that I have made up; like when I told him 2 days before our wedding that we obviously gave each other a wedding present…Something he had never heard of (?!) However, the idea of getting your loved one a present for that 9 (and a half) months of carrying and nourishing your darling child, caring for it from the outside, to the days (week) of pain getting the poor cherub out of you at the end of it, not only seems justifiably present worthy but it has actually long been a tradition to mark the occasion of the first-born child with an eternity ring. The push present being the modern-day version, and who am I to turn my back on years of tradition?!

Here’s a few Push Present ideas for you, or for any adoring fathers-to-be out there who are wanting to mark this celebration for their partner with a gift;

Posh purse;

Now, you’ll need to come to terms with the fact that you will not be using your favourite handbag for a while…You will have so much baby paraphernalia to contend with that an extra bag for all of your stuff will pretty much be out of the question! All that comes with me now is my purse and phone, the rest is all Lord Henry’s. So a purse could make a very good push present as it’ll be your main piece of your old identity you get to take everywhere; Mulberry do a stunning range from around £125 for a small zip purse to the more iconic option at £275 and above. They also have a fab sale on at the moment for some great bargains!!

£125 Mulberry Flame Silky Snake Print Leather Wallet

Eternity necklace;

There are some lovely options out there if you like jewellery, and a necklace can make a different choice to the traditional ring. This one from Links is £150 and I think symbolises the eternal love for your family with its never-ending circle. Or this beautiful infinity style in yellow gold from Etsy; a steal at just £20!

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Tiffany bracelet;

I always always get complimented on my Return To Tiffany tag bracelet which Stuart bought for me one Birthday, and they do several different styles in it depending on your preference; Mine is the small bead plain heart tag, there’s larger bead options, rose gold heart tag, circle tags, I love you tags, there is a pretty one with the pink heart tag and thicker beads, or the Tiffany Blue heart tag perhaps if you have a boy. All start from around £125 from tiffany.co.uk

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Ring;

After deliberating over what gift I wanted to celebrate the birth of my Son I eventually decided on this beautiful 3 band diamond ring from Goldsmiths. I like the symbolism of the 3 bands representing the 3 of us and loved how the delicate ring sparkled. Our wedding bands were also from Goldsmiths so I also liked that connection. Lots more options are available on their website.

http://www.goldsmiths.co.uk/Brilliant-cut-0.34-total-carat-weight-diamond-cross-over-ring-set-in-9-carat-white-gold/p/06070584/

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Welcome to Motherhood – newborn essentials!

Henry is now 5 weeks old and as everyone says, we can’t believe where the time has gone! We’ve had a fantastic month getting to know our beautiful Son who has grown and changed so much already! He has been a hungry boy and the weeks have been dominated by feeding and little sleep!

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Myself & Henry, aged 2 weeks.

If you are approaching parenthood, then I am sure you have lists and ideas coming out of your ears of what you will need to get for your baby’s arrival, so I thought I would share with you a few of the things which have got us through the blur of the last 5 weeks and the items we use all the time.

A compact changing bag;

We don’t leave the house without it!! I wanted something which was unisex for both Stuart and I to take out separately and to suit the sex of our yet unknown baby. After lots of deliberations we eventually settled with this Cath Kidston polka dot bag.

It is not too big and yet holds everything I need, including the endless amount of muslins I collect along the way! It has 3 internal pockets for spare clothes & bibs an additional bag for the changing essentials and an easy to grab change mat on the outside.

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Lansinoh Nipple cream;

Breast feeding was a learning curve for both myself and Henry and he didn’t latch on for the first couple of days making it very painful and sore while we were trying. As time went on he suddenly turned into an expert and was constantly feeding – also sore for me! I was delighted he was feeding ok and was happy to latch him on every hour to begin with and he soon regained the pound that he lost early on. I was so pleased to have been given Lansinoh Lanolin cream by a friend at my baby shower, it was a complete lifesaver and it got me through the pain! I still use it now as Henry has a habit of yanking my nipple around in all directions sometimes and it’s always good to have in the cupboard for his growth spurts and those hourly feeds!

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Baby wipes;

I discovered Derma H2O wipes through a sample and I haven’t turned back! They are almost 100% water so they are so gentle for Henry’s newborn skin, which is 5 times thinner than my own. Henry has very active bowels (probably due to his insatiable appetite!) and we’ve found he has had nappy rash a few times and the wipes really help clean him during changes without putting any chemicals on his sensitive botty! If you, like me, want to use something as gentle as cotton wool and water but want the convenience of a wipe, then have a look at their website for info on their great products www.waterwipes.com

WaterWipe baby wipe logo copy WaterWipes 9 packs of 60 wipes

Gro Bags;

Recommended by so many friends these little sleeping bags help us through night times, available in many different togs they are perfect all year round. The site has a useful chart to help you decide how many other layers to put your little one in. We also love the Gro Egg room thermometer to get us through the paranoid early days of whether the room was too hot, too cold etc! It’s simple but cleverly designed nightlight changes colour to let you know how the temperature is as well as a digital display.

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It’s worth a mention that there are some great swaddle blanket brands out there which can really help settle babies as it keeps them nicely wrapped up and feeling secure.

Selection of vests, baby grows and muslins;

I will write more on clothing as we go along as I have discovered some fab brands already, but for now I will say we have a big selection of soft cotton clothing, sometimes 3-4 outfits a day depending on how many explosions (either end!) we have!! Don’t stock up too much because your little one will be out of it before you know it – cliche but true! Next, Mothercare and many others all have built in scratch mittens with their baby grows which are really handy for those nails which do so much damage with the uncontrolled arms flapping all over the place! Muslins have found their way into every corner of most rooms in the house – and for good reason!! They are perfect for any sicky spills, or dribbles, laying down on the changing mat to stop the cold shock of being laid down on it. How ever many you think you need, double it! (We had around 30 on the last count!)

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Nappies;

By far the best brand we have come across – and this is echoed by so many of my friends, are Asda Little Angels. It’s very rare we get leaks with these ones unlike some other very well known brands, due to their design, shape and material, and they are a third of the cost! Definitely stock up on these, I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

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Olive Oil;

Multi purpose for newborn skin. Try and stay away from lotions and potions in the first few weeks (we still haven’t used them) because no matter how “gentle” they are, they will still contain ingredients which are harsh on your newborn’s skin. Olive oil can be applied to the dry scaly skin your newborn may have (after being in that water balloon for 9 months coming out is a bit of a shock for his skin), massaged on after bath time, and applied to his scalp to help with cradle cap – the sebum glands begin to work from around week 2 and they can get blocked, so adding oil to them really helps clear them.

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Moses basket;

We have a lovely rocking one from Mothercare which shockingly he already looks like he is getting too big for!

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Bare in mind this list is for a newborn, it won’t take long before other things will over take and dominate our must have lists so keep an eye out for the next instalment!

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Bath time for our little boy, 2 weeks old.

Maternity Wardrobe; Top 10 Essentials.

I often get told off by my friends when I talk about what I’ve bought recently, or if I am going shopping – and I can kind of see their point now, with just a couple of days of pregnancy to go 😉 (Or so I hope!) However the truth is, from my point of view pregnancy is a time where you are not yourself, that your body changes in ways you’ve never experienced and you don’t feel in control of what you look like – certainly in my experience anyway! So you need to feel good in what you’re wearing, and if going shopping helps you feel good about your appearance then surely you can’t deny yourself?! Plus, 7-9 months is a long time (when you factor in the weeks after you give birth if you’re not one of the lucky ones to snap back into your pre-preg clothes) and I wouldn’t go 9 months without shopping normally, so why stop now?!

Whether you are of the same opinion as me or not – and after all, these views are only my own ramblings so I don’t expect you to agree, your body shape is going to change considerably and you will need at least a few essentials to grow with your changing figure so here’s my top 10 list of clothes to get you through this exciting time!

Just to note, I found a lot more choice and options online and the selections would be updated a lot more often than in store. I also had a work wardrobe to buy for, so depending on your needs your list may differ from the below. I have also been pregnant mainly over the winter months so I didn’t stock up on summer clothes, although now it seems like it’s just around the corner I would definitely be stocking up on Maxi dresses and mid length jersey skirts to team with vest tops and cut off denim jackets or a leather jacket for cooler days.

Summer Days

A few pairs of good quality jeans – key for so many occasions. I found some great choices from Topshop in a good selection of colours. Dress them up or down depending on what you’re doing, a pair of heels instantly uplifted me if I were going out for dinner or with the girls for a lemonade whereas a pair of pumps or Converse are perfect if you are heading out shopping or for lunch. The waistbands vary on maternity jeans; either over or under the bump. H&M do a good selection which go over bump which I found lasted a little longer than the thicker bands which go under. They also do lots of different colours.

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Long vest tops – wear these underneath shorter tops so that you can get away with non maternity options in a larger size to normal to stretch your old wardrobe as long as possible. Towards the end of your pregnancy your bump will get so big that even maternity tops don’t seem to completely cover your bump and they save having any flesh on show.

Vest topwhite vest top

A sheer shirt – I bought several with lots of different patterns and colours which I teamed with different colour skinny jeans or tube skirt for work. These don’t even need to be maternity while you’re in the earlier months of pregnancy – some I didn’t grow out of until around 7 and a half months due to their baggy style.

Sheer Shirt

Wrap dress – while the crossover style grows with your shape and shows off your waistline the v neck makes the most of your growing bust line. I bought several dresses as I wore one each day for work, but if you don’t need them for the office they are great when you have a night out planned or an event. I actually found these more comfortable than trousers and went mainly for long-sleeved as I had a real complex about my arms! If you only wanted to buy one or 2 you can change the overall look each time you wear it with what you pair it with – a cardigan one day to dress it down, blazer the next for a meeting, or simply accessorise with a scarf or chunky necklace. Isabella Oliver have some beautiful choices in great materials which keep their shape, such as the below;

      Wrap dressDress Isabella Oliver Dress

A smart and a casual blazer – these will go with just about anything and I’m a massive fan of this particular piece; dress up an outfit with a smart choice or go with a jersey blazer to give a casual outfit effortless style. Coloured blazers are great too if you have just the one pair of dark denim jeans to give your outfit a splash of colour. I like the fit of the Zara ones, however even Primark do a large selection! The best part is you can wear these when you’re no longer pregnant so don’t hold back!

Grey Blazer Red Blazer

T shirts and long sleeved cotton tops – Any material which is stretchy will show off your bump without drowning your figure and giving you no shape; great with a pair of jeans. Striped tops – usually tricky to pull off if you don’t want to accentuate your lumps and bumps, but there is no better time to show off your blossoming figure than now, it’s a great print for summer too. H&M or New Look have some really good budget options.

Stripe top Top

A long cardigan – elongate your body with the length – great if you’re feeling a bit frumpy at the moment with your current shape and it will go with so many of your  outfits. These are at Next, however any high street store has plenty of choice for now and postpartum.

Long cardi Long cardiagn

An LBD – Pregnant or not, the staple little black dress is a wardrobe essential! Perfect for me for those black tie events and festive parties. Seraphine or Tiffany Rose had some nice choices.

lbd littl black dress

Maternity tights – for me, working in an office over the winter these were essential and I bought a huge amount of pairs. I went with Mama Tights from H&M which went over my bump comfortably (think just under the boobs!!)

TIGHTS

A pair of black trousers – I didn’t actually ever get around to wearing these myself but they are great if you want to wear them to work with a shirt or cotton top. For staples such as these I found Mothercare had some good options.

I’ve never really been one for wearing leggings outside of the house; but on days where I have wanted to (and taken the opportunity to!) slob around, a pair of leggings are just so comfortable to wear. If you want to wear them out and about you can dress them up with a pair of flat riding or patent boots with a long cardigan and figure hugging top – show off that bump!! I found Asos had some good options (although that’s where my loyalties end with Asos maternity – I felt really disappointed with the quality of their maternity clothing.)

Remember, tight clothes whilst pregnant can actually make you look slimmer than baggy clothes. They will show off your bump and you’re bound to get compliments galore to make you feel great.

As you can imagine, having been pregnant since August I am well and truly ready to ditch (burn!) the last remaining maternity clothes which still fit me, and get back to shopping in my favourite stores, but it’s been a fun adventure trying out new styles and brands during my pregnancy so I hope you find your own style and enjoy the precious times that pregnancy brings.

Maternity fashion

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.

Liz Earle cleanse-and-polish-100ml-pump-starter-kit-medinstant-boost-skin-tonic-200ml-bottle-med

 glow-awards-2012-winner3 uk-beauty-awards-2011-classic-product company-beauty-awards-2012uk-beauty-awards-2011-classic-product style-beauty-awards-2012

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.

Bioderma wash bioderma023_0001-mainProduct

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.

cla_daily_energiser_cleansing_gel-475x475

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.
Dreamgenii
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!