Thursday, 12 November 2015

New Mum Questions Pt 1

 Although it was a conscious decision to start trying for a baby and we both felt 100% ready, I've still found myself overwhelmed with different questions. Some of them ridiculous (asking if babies needed jabs before they went outside like a puppy was a particular low point) and some of them truly terrifying. I'm very lucky to have some magnificent mummies follow me on twitter and instagram and I often post a question and get so much support back but after deciding this weekend that we really need to crack on with some of the bigger purchases, I found myself sat in the coffee shop with my head swirling full of questions that could prove costly if I got it wrong! I've already named this post "Pt 1" as I'm sure it won't be my last one but these are the questions that I've been pondering so far, so if you know the answers or can direct me to any books or website that will help me - please do!

1. Grobag vs Blankets - We think that we'll be using a co-sleeper for the first 6 months during the night, and although I've seen babies in cots with Grobags, I've never actually seen a baby in a co-sleeper (probably because I've never been in the room when a new mum has been asleep next to her baby...). Can I use a Grobag with a co-sleeper or will it be too big to fit in?

2. Co-Sleeping with the Co-Sleeper - Something I've seen a few Mums that I know have trouble with it getting their little one to transfer into their own bedroom after 6 months in a Co-Sleeper, something I want to try is having the baby in the Co-Sleeper whenever I'm also in bed, but for their naps during the day have them in their cot, in their room. Is this a terrible idea?! Or might it help my baby differentiate between night-sleep and day-sleep and hopefully help with the transition later on?

3. Expressing into the "wrong" bottle - I'm fairly set on expressing once the baby is here. As much as I can't wait to breast feed, I don't like the thought of James missing out on essential bonding time. I want to use the Dr Browns bottles as I've heard really good things, but they only seem to have a manual breast pump and I want to use the Medela Swing Electric Pump, can I mix and match bottles to pump?

4. Car Seat & Prams - I think this may have been answered on my Instagram however - do I need to have the matching car seat to my pram? James is keen to use the base and only have to take the car seat out with him (I'm less so, I think Carrycot's look cuter!), so do we have to have the right one or do they all clip in to each other?

5. High-Chair-Gate - Essentially, we can't decide on a high chair, I long for a Tripp Trapp but James wants a more modern Joie Mimzy. It's the only thing we really disagree on so do we have to decide now? Surely the baby won't start weaning for a good 6 months so do we even need one until then? It may just give us some extra breathing space (and time for me to convince him that Tripp Trapps are a fab investment!)

6. Nursing Chair vs Arm Chair - When we found out we were pregnant and started planning our nursery, we instantly said that we'd source most of it from Ikea and in particular, have a Poang chair for nursing and reading. We've since been warned that it'll be no good and you need a specialist nursing chair with high side, is this true or will it be okay with a nursing pillow to support baby?

7. Books Books Books - I've always been a bit of a swot and love learning, so if anyone can recommend any good books for after the baby is born (I'm good with pregnancy books but beyond giving birth I'm clueless) then I'd really appreciate it, I think we'd lulled ourselves into a false sense of having loads of time but we're nearly half way through already and neither of us know what to expect in those first few days!

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Travelodge #Bloggerslodge | Review

When my sister announced that she would be getting married in Oxford, my bank balance instantly groaned and panic set in about where I was going to stay for the entire weekend. We live just over 3 hours away from Oxford and the hotel that they chose to get married in was pricey to say the very least so we knew we couldn't afford two nights there and there didn't seem to be many more reasonably priced hotels within the area. Luckily, this blog never fails to surprise me and I was so kindly offered the chance to spend a night in the Oxford Peartree Travelodge* the night before the wedding.

The Oxford Travelodge is ideally situated (for us anyway) as it was straight off of the road we took into Oxford, meaning that we didn't have to hunt around for it at all. We did end up going round the roundabout three times as no word of lie, it is the very first turning, blink and you'll miss it. But that could well be because it was gone 8pm and James had done a full day at work before driving for three hours. I was slightly worried that getting into the City Centre the next morning might be a nightmare but James took it upon himself to go for a hunt around very early in the morning whilst he let me sleep to find his bearings. We were literally 10 minutes away from the venue meaning that whilst it saved us valuable time the night before and meant that we didn't have to faff around in a city centre in the dark, it also wasn't so far out that we then felt we have a massive journey onwards the next morning.

In terms of quality, it was a Travelodge. They've improved over the past 5 years since I started using them for training courses (I'm still haunted by a cracked mirror with what looked like blood on it in the Milton Keynes branch back in 2011) and the bed was comfy, however "breakfast" was a bit of a stretch in that it was a breakfast box with essentially a yoghurt and some cereal in, not really what we were expecting and certainly not enough to last us until the Wedding Breakfast at 3pm. Similarly it meant that we had to leave the hotel to feed ourselves that night however, like most Travelodges, it was surrounded by a service station that luckily had a KFC, M&S and Starbucks in, or there was a restaurant in the neighbouring Holiday Inn.

It was clean, the staff were friendly and the bed was comfortable. The pillows were far too soft but that's a matter of opinion so I never hold things such as that against a hotel. What more do you want from a hotel really? Travelodge's are a fantastic choice if you just need somewhere to get your head down for the night either before a flight or holiday, or if you're away on business. I wouldn't necessarily stay in one for a romantic weekend away purely because they're not overly stressless in terms of then having to find other places to eat and I think it's a general rule of theirs that they are never placed centrally, they're usually found on the outskirts of a town or city and for £50, you can't go far wrong.

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

18 Week Bump-Date!

How far along: 18 Weeks + 2 Days
Days until due date: 151 days
My bump: Growing nicely and looking more and more like a baby bump every day!
Weight changes: We've decided that I'm going to step off of the scales, the hospital and midwife will weigh us when they need to.
Stretch marks? Nothing new so far!
Cravings: I still crave eggs all of the time but James has made me take a step back from eating 2 a day!
Sleep: I think today I'm going to invest in new pillows and I have a Dreamgenii pillow on the way to hopefully help me sleep better and not keep kicking James out of bed. 
Symptoms: I still can't eat as much as I used to and my mood swings are becoming terrible. I'm also getting ridiculously crazy dreams.
Best moment this week: Feeling lots of movement in the second half of the week, after feeling so poorly and a scary Tuesday afternoon, it's a welcome feeling to know that they're wriggling around in there. 
Worst moment this week: 4hrs in A&E! When I went to my Doctors about my stinking cold (which I had to basically curl up and power through with no medicine, not fun) I mentioned that I hadn't felt baby move in four days which was unusual, after speaking to my midwife on the phone they advised that I go to hospital but as I'm only 18 weeks the labour ward refused to see me and A&E didn't have a scanner or doppler on hand so it involved a 4 hour wait for someone to finally decide who was going to see me! Luckily all was okay and they were possibly being lazy due to my feeling so poorly but I'll be glad to turn 20 weeks and know that then, the labour ward will just accept me up there and scan me should I have any concerns. 
Miss anything? Wearing whatever I want! Eating big meals
Maternity clothes: I think I definitely need to invest in some maternity jeans as my trusty black leggings from Dorothy Perkins are now a tad uncomfy to say the least! 
Movement: The movements are definitely getting stronger and I'm sure that they feel more like kicks than just butterflies now. I just can't wait until James can feel them too, pregnancy can be quite tough on the guy sometimes, I hate feeling like James is being left out!
Gender: Unknown as of yet but we've received the date for our second scan and we can't wait to find out! 
Belly button in/out: In
Mood: Still not completely settled but definitely better, I'm forcing myself to go swimming today and I think it's going to really help me feel more positive. 
Looking forward to: I'm still (not so patiently) waiting to find out the sex of the baby so that I can do some serious shopping, I'm also looking forward to James being able to feel his little bundle of joy kicking away too.

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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Newborn & Pregnancy Wishlist

I am a serial shopper at the best of times and what better way to celebrate the expectant arrival of my first child than to go on a good old shopping spree! I've managed to keep it fairly tame in terms of actual purchases for these first four months as we've put ourselves on a ban until we find out the sex in terms of clothes and want to wait until after Christmas to buy the bigger items. That hasn't stopped me looking though and every spare minute either at home or on my lunch break is spent trawling through various websites lusting after items for when they make their appearance!

1. Birds on a Wire Curtains - John Lewis - £55 - I actually wanted these long before I found out I was pregnant as I generally love the design of them. I had heard a few bad reviews that they're not great at blocking out the light however a friend of mine has them and has assured me that they'll be fine, especially as we have a blind as well.

2. Angelcare Video, Movement & Sound Monitor - £165 - We agreed when we got pregnant that we wouldn't be spending fortunes on unnecessary products and gadgets however one thing we want to splurge on is the Angelcare monitor, James is keen on the video aspects as our floorboards are quite creaky in our spare bedroom so it will save us having to enter the room to check on them and my feelings on the movement mat are - why wouldn't you have the technology if it's available?

3. Dr Brown's Deluxe Electric Steriliser - £58 - One thing that I need help with is sterilising, there's so many different ways of doing it that I'm not sure which is the most efficient. Also, do I have to use the same brand steriliser and the bottles I intend to use?

4. Sleigh Cot Bed - Kiddicare - £249 - J is adamant that we don't need an extravagant bed however I think this is one thing I'm going to put my foot down and pay for on my own if needs be, it looks so sweet and I'm happy to invest a bit more if it'll last them to being a toddler.

5. Dr Brown's Starter Kit - £17 - I've heard through so many Mummy friends on twitter that Dr Brown's bottles are the best for stopping colic, I want to breastfeed however plan on expressing enough for at least one feed a day so that James can have some vital bonding time too.

6. Dr Browns Microwaveable Steriliser Bags - £7.99 - We spend a fair amount of time at James' parents at the moment and I can see that it'll only ramp up more once the baby gets here, I can see that these will be useful to have in our changing bag for any emergencies.

7. GroBag - £27 - I think the jury may still be out on whether people love or hate these but I think that they're a great idea. You can ensure that they can't kick their covers off (one of the main reasons a baby can be disturbed other than needing a feed, so I've read) and you know they'll stay snug all night. I would like some more opinions and reviews on them though so please do send them my way!

8. Dreamgenii - £48 - Fairly pricey for a pillow however I think this is getting more and more necessary by the day (or night!). They're so versatile to keep you comfy in every way possible and can be used after the baby is born to help with feeding too.

9. Meleda Swing Maxi - £180 - Never in my life did I expect to be writing a wishlist and include a breast pump but when I think about James missing out on feeding our child I feel so guilty. Expressing was something that made me feel uncomfortable personally however I'm getting more used to the idea now and I've heard fantastic reviews about this.

10. Mamalicious Skinny Jeans - £40 - If someone wants to give me an unlimited discount code for Mamalicious then I will love you forever, it's the only site where I have loved almost every single piece and the clothes look like they're for young women rather than brooding hens. These jeans are also discreet enough to be able to wear with long tops after the baby is born.

11. SnuzPod Co-Sleeper - £169 - Co-Sleeping is something that's really important to us as a couple, the preservation of my sleep is something that will be vital and I've read such wonderful things about these SnuzPods, it'll also match our bedroom furniture perfectly so will look stylish whilst providing us with a wonderful solution to night feeding.

12. Silvercross Wayfarer Pram Set - £695 - I've had my heart set on a grey pram for months now, don't ask me why but no other colour seems to match up. I'm adamant not to buying any big items that are gender specific as this is hopefully our first child of at least two, although this is limited edition and slightly pricey, I've fallen in love. I pity anyone who tries to part me from this pram.

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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Stila Custom Contour Duo | Review

Stila Shape & Shade Custom Contour Duo £31 - I first had a play with this product back in March when Stila launched it in the UK, I immediately enjoyed trying different things with it but I'll admit that it wasn't as easy as it looks! I personally use this after I've applied my foundation as I just find it easier to then blend it in with my just used foundation brush to even out the colour, but I know that others prefer to do the contouring before and then use their foundation to blend it all in together. Doing it in the latter way I found that I ended up with too much product on my face at one time and it was all too easy for me to get in a complete muddle. When doing my foundation first and contour second, I always end up with around three or four different brushes on the go so I'm glad that I stocked up on buffing brushes recently, I bought the One Step Complexion Brush to accompany it specifically, it's not strictly the one that Stila would advertise (they do a Custom Colour Brush, but it's larger and I found it harder to control where the product went) however when I worked on the counter I found this easiest to use with this product. The large end still comes to a nice, neat point meaning I can really get in the hollows of my cheeks (or what hollows I have on this round face of mine!) and the smaller end is perfect for down the sides of my nose or to further define my chin.
In terms of the colour, you have to be conservative with this. I immediately reached for the medium when my samples arrived at the counter however it was laughably too dark for me and the "highlight" part was darker than my actual skin tone. Stila are quite good usually in catering for all skin tones and I've always been impressed by the range that their foundation covers, however they could probably do with bringing out an even fairer version for those paler than myself (I'm no tanned goddess however I'm also certainly not the "fairest" of them all, so anyone paler than myself may struggle). When I purchased this last month I opted for "light" and I still don't feel that the highlighter really makes a huge difference and I often opt for an alternative to highlight my cheekbones. The bronzer element is also quite warm toned, which again may be an issue if you're on the paler side, or if you're like me and are quite yellow toned naturally. I can get away with it, but my contour isn't as deep as I'd perhaps like it for fear of looking orange as opposed to chiselled. 
Price wise, my opinion is that if it's the perfect colour for you, then the £31 price tag is worth it, you get a considerable amount of product for your money so if you know that these are the only two colours you're going to need for your desired contour, then you're set for a long time. However if you're like me and your skin tone changes considerably throughout the year and you could possibly do with a few other options, you may want to opt for one of the many multi-colour palettes out there for this price. The reason I purchased this over any others was two-fold, 1. I'm a sucker for a brand name that I know and love, and although my head told me this wasn't the best value for money, I'd tried and tested it and knew that I'd get on with it, and 2. I couldn't find a high street cream contour palette, and all of the others were just as pricey, so I decided to stick with what I knew. Would I recommend this to you? Yes, if you could try it out beforehand. If you have a Stila counter near you then definitely check this out, it's got a beautifully creamy consistently that's not too wet but still super easy to blend and it will last you way longer than you should probably keep it for. However if you're taking a bit of a risk on it or you're not sure what colours you'll need for a contour, I'd possibly urge you to go for a bigger palette with more colours in. 

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Monday, 2 November 2015

Weight gain during pregnancy - fighting my demons.

There's a chance that I'll be alone in writing this post and I suppose that's always the risk you run when blogging, however when I was writing my 17 week bump update, having to write down my weight gain struck a chord with me. I've always struggled with my weight and it's fluctuated quite a lot over my adult years and has always been something that I've had to consider.

If you know me personally then there's a chance you'll know that I battled with an eating disorder during my teenage years, I dropped down to a size 6 and my dog ballooned from essentially eating all of my meals to avoid me from doing so. My poor Mum did everything she could to get me to eat but I was a typical sneaky teenager and in the event that the dog didn't even want my food, my en-suite toilet would always help me out. I never got to the point of making myself sick but the food wouldn't pass my lips in the first place. I survived basically off of one jacket potato a day and a few mini rolls, I won't exaggerate and make out like I had the worst case of Anorexia known to man, I lead a fairly "normal" life and it was only because I have a heart deficiency that I become poorly.

Fast forward to my turning 20 and I was in an unhappy relationship and turned the opposite way of eating too much and steadily gaining over three stone in weight. I've never made it a secret that whilst working my way back down to 10stone (a distant dream now after just being generally lazy for a few months), I've had to fight some demons and maintain a healthy diet and gym regime rather than skip meals and make excuses again. I think it's in my genetics to struggle with my weight as my Sister leads an extremely active lifestyle in order to stay a size 8 and the moment I step away from the gym the weight will all too easily pile back on again.

Skip ahead again to being the grand old age of 23 and pregnant with my first child. My first trimester wasn't easy and from around 6 weeks I was floored with fatigue and food aversions, my gym regime was halted instantly when my heart defect reared it's ugly head again and James and I agreed to adopt an approach of letting me eat whatever the baby let me keep down, which wasn't a lot. Now, I don't eat unhealthily by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of eggs and fish and I like my potatoes in almost any form, but I'm also not a salad eater so needless to say it's inevitable that now my appetite has returned, so has my weight gain.

For the first time in my pregnancy, last Friday I gained weight. 3lbs in two weeks, which is a fairly rapid weight gain in my eyes, and although I know it's probably the baby (or that fact that my boobs are quite frankly, massive!), I just can't shush the demons in my head that are telling me to cut back on the calories again. I don't actually eat any more than the recommended amount for someone at my stage in pregnancy but I can't help but feel guilty for putting on weight. I compared myself to some other bloggers and I've actually not put on a lot compared to most at my stage in pregnancy but seeing those scales worryingly close to that 11st mark is quite frankly, terrifying me.

I'm desperate to get back into a gym routine and I'm hopefully starting with some swimming and building it back up to some treadmill and cross trainer sessions here and there. I have overwhelming Mum guilt that I don't want to be one of those Mum's that uses pregnancy to eat themselves out of house and home and then has masses of weight to lose once the baby is born, but at the same time the ghosts of my past means it's hard for me to find a balance. I desperately want to do what is best for my baby which means that I will obviously gain weight, even my extremely slight Mother In Law told me that she gained two stone whilst pregnant, but how do I silence the niggles that tell me I should cut a few meals out here and there to stop those scales from creeping up?

This is a totally rambling post and I'm not sure it even has a point other than, being pregnant is hard no matter what your background, but being pregnant and being terrified of gaining weight is a complete head-****, I feel guilty for wanting to lose weight because I know that would be so detrimental for my unborn child but how do you silence nearly 10 years of bad eating and dieting habits when nothing can stop those pounds from piling on? Even if this post helps one person to realise that they aren't alone in feeling like I do, then it will be a success and if you think I'm the worst Mum in the world then please keep it to yourself because just like every first time mother, I'm trying my very best.

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

17 Week Bump Update

Happy Sunday everyone, I've just checked back through my archives and I'm really sorry to see that this is my first ever bump update. I'm so sorry that I've been so rubbish at keeping up with my blog, time moves so quickly when you're pregnant and weeks have passed by in the blink of an eye! I'm hoping to get into a routine of posting these every Sunday for you however I think I may have to knock YouTube on the head for now. As much as I adore doing it, I can't do both and I want to focus my efforts on my original passion, my blog.

How far along: 17 Weeks + 2 Days
Days until due date: 158 days
My bump: As you can see above, my bump is definitely starting to form. I've actually opted for wearing tighter jumpers just to highlight my bump and stop me from looking like I've just had a big dinner but it's nice to have a bump that doesn't disappear every morning and grow throughout the day!  
Weight changes: Pre-Pregnancy 10st 8lbs, now 10st 11lbs so +3lbs! 
Stretch marks? The ones that I already had on my hips are starting to hurt a bit and get worse so I've stepped up my game with my Clarins Tonic Oil and Stretchmark Cream, however nothing to report on my tummy just yet. 
Cravings: Eggs, Eggs and more Eggs! I have two dippy eggs practically every single day and I can't get enough of them. Some have criticised me for it but honestly, they're safe as long as the chicken has been immunised. Unfortunately James has banned me from eating the ones we were getting from his Dad's chickens just to be on the safe side but now we buy Happy Eggs from the supermarket that are all red lion stamped. 
Sleep: Sleep is still a huge issue, we had our 16 week Midwife appointment last week and she seemed a little concerned that I'm struggling so much with my sleep so I'm to keep an eye on it for another week or so then maybe be referred to a Doctor. 
Symptoms: Feeling full, I find that although my appetite has returned, I feel full so much quicker. I used to be able to polish off a roast dinner and still pick over the leftovers however now, my portions are half the size and then I can't eat for hours! Poor sleep as mentioned above however the headaches are seeming to get better. 
Best moment this week: Listening to the heartbeat. I hadn't got my hopes up that the Midwife at my Doctor's surgery would let us listen to the heartbeat as I know not all Doctor's are the same, however she was able to and it was so strong! James only recorded 4 seconds of it but they are the most precious 4 seconds in the world. 
Worst moment this week: Mum guilt! I've only been to the gym once in the last 12 weeks and I'm starting to feel really guilty, I had totally planned to get up and go swimming today but I seem to have been hit by a cold so that's out of the window too. I'm also struggling with gaining weight but I think I'll do a post on that exclusively. 
Miss anything? Sleep, still. I love my sleep and I love sleeping next to my Man, we've had two full nights sleep next to each other in about 3 weeks and I miss him terribly. 
Maternity clothes: More so with trousers than tops, as I said above I'm actually enjoying my tops looking stretched and making it obvious that I'm sporting a baby bump however my work trousers are really uncomfy by the end of the day so I have invested in a few maternity pairs for the days when I'm feeling particularly bloated. 
Movement: Oh yes, they can be quite the wriggler when they want to be. I had a spa day at Forest Pines on Friday and they were wriggling about the entire way through my massage. 
Gender: Unknown as of yet but we've received the date for our second scan and we can't wait to find out! 
Belly button in/out: In

Mood: Erratic, I love this little baby more than anything in the world but it's safe to say that I am sick and tired of the smallest things seeming like the end of the world. I think a lack of sleep and an overload of hormones are contributing to me not knowing whether I'm coming or going. 
Looking forward to: Still seeing my bump grow and finally finding out if we're pink or blue! I'm making some fabulous Mummy friends and over the past two weeks some fantastic ladies who I already considered friends have announced that they're also expecting so I feel so lucky to be in fantastic company!

So that's 17 weeks, I can't believe it's been 5 weeks since I announced my pregnancy already and how fast it's all going. I've got a few ideas of some different posts coming up that I hope you'll enjoy and my target for this next month is to keep up with my blog and get back on my fitness wagon! 

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