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?

Maternity photography.

As the time went on, I realised more & more that I wanted to capture my pregnancy on film before the baby arrived. Despite feeling pretty fat and unattractive I knew if I didn’t then I would regret it. A close friend of mine has a fab hair and make up business and also offers wedding and maternity photography and I knew she was the only person I wanted to (quite literally) bare all to! She made me feel at ease with the camera and knew exactly what shots to take to show off my bump and not my insecurities, giving me prints which I could look back on and cherish.
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I decided to have my shoot at 8 months, so my bump was big enough, but I wasn’t feeling too ginormous and suffering from water retention – even if I felt like I had a few too many chins!! So make sure you choose the right time to suit you. Confidence is key for a happy shoot, so you don’t want to be worried about stretch marks or water retention; your photographer should make you feel at ease and work around your insecurities rather than highlighting them.
Stripy Bump
Lighting in photography really makes the image, and it’s especially true for pregnancy photography. A good photographer will use the light to reflect the emotion and theme of the shot you require. A soft natural light will create a flattering image and if you want to show off your bump in underwear for example, using a sheer, voile type material to cover you will create a soft cover for any insecurities whilst showing your bump off.
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Before your shoot have a think about any props you might like to give your photographer to incorporate – do you know the name/sex of your baby? Can you create a sign to include this? Or post IT notes with all your name choices? Maybe a balloon with the sex or name written on it, or a chalk board with the due date? Have you already bought your baby’s first toy which you could incorporate? Or some tiny baby shoes? Would your partner like to be involved? Do you have other children who you could include? Maternity shots with siblings make for wonderful pics.
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Have you got a favourite outfit – if any of your clothes still fit! Depending on what you have pre-organised take a selection of options with you to change into on the day. There are so many options, so if you want to have creative input then have a think about them before hand and share with your photographer at your consultation.
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It’s really important to mention that even if you categorically think a maternity shoot isn’t for you, in 10 years time when you look back you may really wish you had put your insecurities aside and have captured your blossoming self – even if you don’t show any one I bet you will pleased you did it and your photographer will bring out the best in you, even if you feel tired, fat, nauseous or terrible so you are sure to be pleasantly surprised at how good you look! When your children are all grown up they will love to see you carrying them all those years ago too!
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If you want to capture your pregnancy similarly to this then contact Emma either on her website, http://www.emmatrotman.co.uk or on her Facebook – Emma Trotman Photography. She is based in Hampshire and will discuss your options and give you a consultation to make sure you are given a package to suit you, to make sure you get the best images for what you are looking for while making you feel at ease and happy on the day. Let her know that you found her details via my blog.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!)

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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.

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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!

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 🙂

Where are the trumpets??

For me it felt a little surreal. I had wanted to be pregnant for so long; not that we had been trying, but we wanted to get married and travel the world together before we started a family. So when we realised that the 4th positive pregnancy test couldn’t be wrong it all felt a bit strange, this was actually happening to us?! In fact even now, 7 months on I still find it hard to believe we are having a baby. I think that no matter how long you have been waiting, planning or trying, when you first see that 2nd little blue line you realise life will never be the same again! (And take it from me, even the faintest line is a positive!!) 

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We had booked to go on holiday and it fell just 4 days after we found out we were pregnant. I spent pretty much 70% of the time we were away sleeping…and the rest eating! I was so exhausted I couldn’t stay awake for more than a couple of hours, my poor hubby! It was great to be able to just relax and let my body do what it needed to do! I had a couple of middle of the night scares where I would rush to the bathroom in agony and just sit praying that everything would be ok whilst in the most awful pain. This was to be the beginning of months of worry, naturally.

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When we arrived home the nausea set in. 

As I am sure any ladies who have been pregnant (and long suffering partners in some cases!) would agree, the term “morning sickness” was probably coined by somebody who was either very lucky, or whom had never actually experienced it! More accurately, certainly for me anyway, it would be called “The Worst Hangover I’ve Ever Had That Makes Me Want To Crawl Under A Rock For 3 Months, Sickness” 

I tried a few remedies to help ease the discomfort. If anyone reading this is in the same boat, I hope they help you in some way!

  • Travel Sickness bands – recommended by a friend who used them when pregnant with her twins. They helped sometimes, but I looked more like I self harmed more than anything else! 
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  • Nairn’s Stem Ginger Oatcakes – Sometimes a little too dry for someone with the world’s driest mouth in the first place though.

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  • Biscuits, and lots of them. I should have bought shared in McVities for the first few months!

 

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  • Polos, Extra Strong Mints, Fisherman’s friends, Softmints…You get the idea.

 

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  • Water – lots of it. Most of the time it would be the last thing I would want to ingest, but your worse enemy is dehydration. If you can’t bear the thought of plain water go for a squash, but steer clear of fresh orange juice as the acidity will do you no favours – especially on the way back up! (Sorry!) 

Unfortunately, for my ever expanding waistline, the most effective (if not short lived) relief, was eating little and often. And in my case it was usually crisps or something equally unhealthy! 

I hope you find your own relief…If it helps you get through it, for every race to the work toilet or queezy moment just think it’s that new little life inside of you making you feel so rotten and who could be mad with that darling baby you have created?!