Saturday, 12 November 2016

No More

Hi Guys!

Just me here stopping by to let you know that I've moved house to - come and find me to see all of my new posts!


Becka xo 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

John Frieda Forever Smooth Blow Dry Spray | Review

It seems to be a bit of a running theme at the moment that I've gone from never used anything in my hair pre-blowdry to now trying something new almost every week it seems! I've now tried three different blow dry sprays and it comes with a heavy heart that I must say this is my least favourite. It reminds me very much of their Go Curlier Heat Activated Spray, except it's not targeted at just curly hair, but the feeling of it is extremely similar. This is essentially what it says on the tin, a spray for your hair that you apply before you blow dry it, claiming to reduce frizz and ease styling. As with all of the sprays that I've tried recently, I'm not convinced that they make my hair go from wet to dry any quicker but some of the other benefits do speed up my time from shower to out the door, so it's a win in a roundabout way! I will state here and now that it does definitely reduce frizz, which is why I can now leave the house without absolutely having to run my straighteners through my locks to calm them down post blow-dry. If I blow dry my hair properly (i.e using a brush and drying it in sections) then it dries sleek and smooth, it could probably be even smoother if I pushed the boat out and bought myself a new hairbrush (N.b, I have never bought a hairbrush, ever. I have one that's over 15 years old and two that were pr samples and that's it!) that would do the job much better than the one I've genuinely owned for as long as I can remember. What I don't like about this product however it just how it feels, it basically feels like hairspray in my hair which is fine when I want to use hairspray but not so much when I don't. It's all just a bit.. sticky. I first realised when I went to check my phone mid blow dry and noticed that it seemed to have a layer of product over it which felt slightly tacky, again as though it had had hairspray sprayed all over it. I then teased my hair with my hands and noticed that it too felt as though it had a lot of product in it although I'd been careful not to spray too much. You should all know by now that I hate washing my hair and do so once a week (and now I have a baby, even that's begrudgingly) so I'm always careful not to use products that will need to be washed out again and I hate to say it, as soon as I finished drying my hair I was already itching to wash it again. I think it's the hairspray feeling to it (I'm not sure what causes that, sorry) that basically makes my hair seem frizz free as it holds it down more and thus makes it smoother, and it does feel considerably worse when it's wet compared to when it's dry. I did forget about it later that afternoon so it didn't bug me for too long. I think that this would be great if I were styling my hair straight away, it seems to give it a bit of hold and grip that would be fantastic if paired with trying to curl my hair. Also it would be fine if I were washing my hair for a special occasion and then having an "up-do" that would be washed out fairly quickly, but for everyday use it's just not for me. I recognise that I am super picky when it comes to my hair (read: super lazy) and loathe washing it early because I've overdone it on the product and this just makes me nervous that if I don't use is sparingly enough I'll have to start all over again, but use too little and you might as well not have bothered at all. It's still in my haircare drawer and will come out for special occasions or when I know I'm curling my hair straight away, but that's all I'm afraid folks! 

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Monday, 30 May 2016

Life Update

I cannot quite believe that I have been a Mother for over one month now, where has that time gone and how do I slow it all down?! I wanted to write a bit of a rambly post, kind of to get things off of my chest and kind of to update you all on where I'm at and how I'm feeling. It may go some way to explain why my blog posts and videos are so sporadic or it may just become a waffling mess that I'll delete before I hit publish. 
Being a Mother is infinitely hard in an infinite number of ways. The pressures of social media only add to wanting to create that "perfect lifestyle" for both my Baby and my Man, all whilst still finding time to show the Dog that he's loved and not neglect the rest of my family and friends. It's almost as if overnight every part of selfishness within me evaporated and I'm now in a spiral of comparing myself to everyone else and trying to make sure that every Tom, Dick and Harry is happy before me. That even includes you, yes you, reading this at home, I feel an immense pressure to keep up this blog after three long years and make it the best documentation of my life and loves for you to read and for Sophie to perhaps one day look back on. 
When I first found out that I was pregnant, alongside the worries of the pregnancy being viable and the baby being healthy, my biggest fear was that I would suffer from post natal depression. I'll lay my cards on the table here and say that my mental health has never been great. I'm what's known as a reactive depressant which essentially means that I cannot cope with things in the way that most people do, small things that most would brush off can pull me under for days and traumatic events haunt me for years. It's nothing that I can control and there's nothing that can really be done about it other than the correct therapy as and when something substantial does happen and I really begin to struggle with everyday life. It doesn't mean that I'm depressed constantly or even consistently and I know that James had his own battle with getting his head around my mental state and struggles to this day to rationalise it in his head. Him changing our plans last minute can ruin my entire day and will often feel like the end of the world at the time, liken me to our child, the smallest thing can have the biggest impact and I can literally feel helpless purely because we didn't set off for a shopping trip early enough. What's possibly worse for James is that when it's happening, I can be fine, but once we get out on the road and I've had time to whirl around my head the repercussions of us being an hour behind schedule I can easily slip into a foul mood and feel as though my entire day or week is a complete disaster. I don't wear my mental health like a badge of honour and I keep quiet during the many twitter debates about varying mental health issues because that's just not my style personally, I can be a fairly private person and to be it's not a label, it's something I've genuinely had since the age of 8 and will probably have all of my life, but it does not define me. 
I never told anyone this and I'm not certain that I even told James but my Midwife said that I experienced pre-natal depression. Much like it's post-natal sister but quite obviously it happens before the baby is born. It's hard to distinguish between raging hormones and deeper routed demons but I suppose the crux of it came to the fact that simple niggles lead me to genuinely believe that Sophie and James would be better off without me and that once she was born I should leave him with her and disappear. A feeling that I still get now she's here although I couldn't bear to be parted with her. If she ever does read this know that I have always loved you more than anything but I genuinely had times during my pregnancy of feeling like I'd make the worst decision of my life and that I should never have been allowed to conceive a baby, that I wasn't mentally mature enough to deal with all that came with being pregnant and a Mother. That I wasn't ready to give everything up, that I should have got married first as now it meant I couldn't have the wedding I wanted, that we should have bought our first home beforehand so that we didn't have to worry about saving for a deposit and paying for a baby. The list of "should haves' were endless and I often felt like I was drowning in a whirlpool of things I should have done before conceiving a child. It was never that I wanted rid of Sophie, I just sometimes wished I could pause my pregnancy and have her, exactly her, a little bit later. 
This all obviously made me even more convinced that she'd be born and I'd struggle to bond with her and suffer from post-natal depression. The first time I saw her I felt absolute love but also worried in the back of my mind "Am I sure I really love her?", "Is this love that I'm feeling?" "Do I love her enough to not have PND?". Luckily I managed to brush those queries aside and trusted myself that yes I did love her, really, truly and unconditionally and from that moment on I've never questioned my absolute adoration for my baby daughter. Without a shadow of a doubt she has completed me and enriched my life in a way I never thought possible. Even now as I'm writing this she's gazing up at me with her Daddy's eyes (whilst pooping) and my gosh, she's perfection personified. She is love. Because of my feelings towards her I felt as though I'd "escaped" PND, my daughter is my world therefore I'm safe of Post-Natal Depression, right? Wrong. 
James and I had quite a frank few days recently, he basically gets three days off in a row and they started with me admitting to him that I felt as though we were on the verge of splitting up because I just didn't feel as though I was making him happy any more. He did the obvious of telling me I was being silly, that he loved me more than anything and that he'd never leave me but come the end of the three days we were sat on the sofa and I admitted that my feelings hadn't changed. That isn't to say I wanted us to split up, I don't, I love him so much. I struggled to comprehend how I would love anyone more than I love him once Sophie was born because my heart felt so full already, and it still does. It baffles me that I have room for the both of them as I love them both so much individually. But I just feel so, different. I feel quashed and somehow like less of myself. I feel like a mother, a milk-pumping, bum-wiping, baby-cuddling Mother. I used to earn my own money and spend my own money, I used to put my foot down and demand I got my own way on big decisions. I was assertive, bordering on spoilt and made sure that my opinion was always listened to and considered. Despite my demons inside, I've always been my own person however now it's like I'm an extension of my daughter and nothing else. I feel as though James see's me at the Mother of his child, not his Fiancee, that everyone see's me as Sophie's Mum, not their friend, daughter, sister or colleague. In some ways that's also how I now see myself. 
Obviously we are yet to get married, the other day I was sat in the car thinking how I'd really like us to set a date over this summer and get at least the venue and church confirmed. But I didn't feel confident enough to say that to James because I knew he'd be adverse to do so and wants to completely put the wedding planning off until next year at the earliest. Before Sophie was born I was dragging him around Open Days and Wedding Fairs, now I daren't even buy a Bridal magazine in case he thinks I'm pressuring him. I find being selfish impossible now, I can't justify paying to get my hair cut even though it desperately needs a trim, and I have the money spare. My Grandma's given me a few pennies here and there to spend on myself but I've put it straight into Sophie's bank account without giving it a second thought. I will kit Sophie out head-to-toe in Next and John Lewis but begrudge buying myself new clothes from Primark or eBay even though my existing wardrobe is no longer fit for purpose. I don't feel as though I deserve anything anymore. I don't deserve to say I really don't like the house James wants us to buy, I don't have a right to spend money on treating myself and getting my hair done. 
Take today as an example (I'm writing this in advance FYI). The house is clean and tidy, a load of washing has been done, Sophie has been fed, winded and changed all day and is perfectly happy, the dog has been entertained and I've sorted out my blogging game. I've even managed to freeze some surplus breast milk. I really want to go to the gym once James gets home, but for all that I have achieved today, I haven't sorted anything for dinner and so in my mind right now, how dare I ask him to solely take care of Sophie whilst I swan off to the gym for two hours when I haven't even sorted him dinner? I won't ask him if I can go, I've got my outfit ready on the bed but unless he questions why I won't even bring it up. It may sound like I'm making him out to be an unapproachable monster but he really isn't, he would probably let me go without batting an eyelid and have a yummy dinner prepared for the both of us upon my return and be happy to do so. But I don't feel as though I have any right to ask that of him when he's been at work all day and I've not even produced a decent tea for him. 
My Mum wanted to come over today, and it took everything in me to say no. It's the first time I've said no to anyone since Sophie was born over 5 weeks ago. I think she's probably furious with me and I feel awful, especially as I'm going to see my Grandma tomorrow. But I don't want company today and I desperately needed a day to get sh*t done so I plucked up the courage to say No, she couldn't come over. If I'm being truthful I didn't even say no, I said I wasn't sure and I'd text her to let her know today but have just failed to grow a pair and say it wouldn't be happening. 
I've made no secret of the fact that I don't want to go back to work part-time, but historically my work don't let you go back on anything less than the full time hours I was employed on and working from home isn't an option either. They haven't actually said this to me, it's just what I've been told and I daren't query it myself for fear of being told no and p*ssing them off for even asking in the first place.  I desperately don't want to leave Sophie five full days a week, it genuinely breaks my heart thinking that I know I'll have to come next March, I've had actual panic attacks when forced to admit it to myself because I so badly want to be her primary carer whilst she's so small and achieving so many milestones. But will I have the guts to actually put my foot down with either work or James and demand that I only work a few days a week? You and I both know the answer to that without me having to type it. 
The crux of this post is to kind of highlight that no matter how much you adore your new baby, you can still be suffering from post-natal depression. It doesn't have to be angled towards your newborn, in this instance it's far more internal and if aimed at anyone, it's poor James. I simply feel as though I am just a Mum now, one with no grounds to want/wish/demand anything and not even a very good one at that...

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Friday, 27 May 2016

toTs by smarTrike Muslin Squares

 I remember sending a tweet out a few weeks before I was due saying that I had around 4 Muslin Squares, was that going to be enough? Needless to I was very nearly laughed out of Twitter-town and told to get my bum down to ASDA to stock on up! Now Sophie is here I've realised that I could have a thousand Muslin Squares and it would still never be enough (they're a bit like socks, you buy loads but only ever seem to have the same two to hand) and when it comes to Muslin Cloths, bigger is most definitely better.
The uses for muslin squares really does know no bounds, from cleaning up sick and protecting her and myself during burping sessions, to laying over the top of her changing mat to stop her from the shock of the cold plastic and even to wrap her up in quickly if she wants to be snuggled up but it's too warm for a blanket. I even keep one on hand when I'm expressing in case for some reason there's a spillage (that darned dog barking at the postman makes me jump out of my skin and can leave me with a rather soggy lap!). The recent summery(ish) weather took us by surprise and made us realise that we weren't quite prepared for the sunshine in terms of how to protect Sophie from it. It hadn't occurred to me that she couldn't just sit out in it like I can (I'm one of those people who takes a lot to burn and only has to look at the sun to get a bit of a glow) but, of course she can't be exposed to too much direct sunlight so we were struck with a bit of a problem when it came beaming into her pram. In came these handing muslin squares which were more than large enough to drop over the gap in her pram to give her some much needed shade and keep her cooler. Yet another victory for the handy muslin square!
These ones from smarTrike are bigger than the average muslin square at a metre square each meaning that you can either get more than one use of them (if you remember which corner you used last!) or can use them more easily for things such as a sunshade or to swaddle your baby up in. They're also softer than your run-of-the-mill supermarket muslin cloth and most importantly, they wash really well too! The little bird design makes them a bit more special than a plain white muslin square and I love to use the striped one to cover her pram mattress (after someone mistook her for a boy, it has to have a pink cover at all times now) so that I can easily replace it should she spit up on it.
The uses for these really are endless thanks to their generous size and fantastic quality. As I'm writing this post I'm constantly remembering other things that we've used them for such as play mats, a make-shift towel and even a blanket for my legs at one point! Sophie is a "proper little girl" in the sense that she likes to be clean and cleared up as soon as she's sick and she cannot stand being left with a wet collar. She also loves a good snuggle and to be tucked up in something so these are perfect for maintaining her high standards! Even in the hot weather she was able to be swaddled up in one of these and I always have one on hand for any emergencies. I'd hate her highness to have a bit of spit up on her chin for longer than absolutely necessary!

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Little Butterfly London Bath Time

One thing I have always wanted for Sophie is to enjoy bath time, I'm not sure why but from the day I found out I was pregnant I started to look forward to splashing around in the bath with Sophie and giving her funny bubble hair-dos. I have great memories of bath times with my Sister at my Grandma's house washing the manes of My Little Pony's and the Trolls and I can't wait until Sophie is old enough to appreciate the toys that I've prematurely bought her for bath time. That being said, she isn't even two months old now and apparently doesn't need to be bathed more often than once a week, as it's something that I enjoy doing with her we tend to try and bath her every other night and wash her hair once a week so that she gets used to it and eventually has fun. For now the bath is more for Mummy than Sophie and so I love using luxury products for bath time. Not only do these two from Little Butterfly London look beautiful in Sophie Bath Time Basket (where we keep all of her bath things), but they feel so lovely too. 
Sophie has had quite dry skin from the day after she was born and so the Bedtime Bath Milk is perfect, we'd read that bathing her could make her skin even more dry so it's been lovely to use this in her bath and know that she's getting squeaky clean and her skin is staying moisturised too. The Mother & Baby massage oil is a wonderful luxury for after bath time that replaces her usual baby lotion. I love after bath cuddles with my little bundle all wrapped up in her towel and finishing off with this oil really makes the experience all the better. Not only is it super nourishing for little Sophie's skin, leaving her super soft (well, softer than she is already) and smelling delicious, it's great for my hands too. I could use this on myself too but I try my hardest to reserve it for my baby girl. 
I've found since having Sophie my hands are really feeling the brunt of all of the washing up, sterilising and general cleaning that comes with having a newborn so I love massaging the oil into Sophie and then sneakily adding a little extra just to nourish my hands once I've finished. The brand itself is made for Mums, by a Mum, meaning that you can trust that only the best ingredients have gone into everything to get the most gentle results. It's also made exclusively in the UK so that's another big tick if you're into home grown brands. The list of ingredients that they purposely don't put into their products is almost as long as those that they do, meaning that it's full of natural goodness rather than nasty chemicals, perfect for that sensitive baby soft skin. 
They also have Body Lotion, Top to Toe Wash and a Nappy Change Cream that I cannot wait to get my hands on, I'm aways nervous to use big brands with even bigger lists of ingredients on everything I put on Sophie's skin so to find a brand that I trust is really important to me. Their entire bath range is geared up towards being relaxing and calming, not quite the mini hairdressers that I have memories of but that's for when she's older, for now we relish the time with her in the bath and the sleep snuggles afterwards whilst we (occasionally) manage to feed ourselves and maybe cuddle on the sofa just the two of us!

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Monday, 23 May 2016

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

One thing that I need at the moment is low maintenance beauty treatments, something that I can prepare in an instant and that will leave me hands free whilst it works it's magic. I first tried these Biore strips a few years ago after picking them up whilst in London, you can see my first impressions of them here if you like. Admittedly a pack of these lasts me for ages as I'm really lucky to live in the middle of Lincolnshire and regularly enjoy the fresh countryside air and so my skin doesn't suffer too much with toxins. That being said I must hold my hands up to my skincare regime slipping massively at night since having a newborn, gone are the days of meticulously removing my makeup and having a luxurious cleanse, tone and moisturise before slipping into bed. Now I'm lucky to find two whole minutes to clean my teeth in between preparing her dream feed, keeping her dummy in and trying to get set up for the night ahead of me that no longer involves any beauty sleep.
One area of my face that has always slightly baffled me is my nose, I know that probably sounds strange but I get bumps on it that I can't really explain. Nothing seems to improve or get rid of them, they're flesh coloured and as such not blackheads or spots but exfoliating doesn't shift them and no matter how strict I am with my skincare routine they seem to reappear with no rhyme or reason. One thing that I've found that will keep them at bay is using these Biore Pore Strips, it must be a kind of clogged pore as the area where they are always leaves the most residue on the strip once I've taken it off. I use these around once a month (but I think you're meant to use them much more regularly, I unfortunately just don't have the time) and usually before an event where I want my skin to look as perfect as possible.
Honestly, my favourite thing about the Biore Pore Strips is a bit gross... I love seeing the results! Nothing gets me more excited that seeing a used strip with oodles of yuck that it must have pulled from my face (I think that's why I do them so infrequently, so that I get to see more gunk on the strips!). The other great thing is that it fits the criteria I explained earlier, I can simply wet these, put them over my nose and almost forget about them completely and get on with something else. Admittedly Sophie gives me a few strange looks to begin with as if she's unsure why Mummy is wearing some sort of mask over her nose (I've not yet presented her with my face covered in a proper face mask, don't want to traumatise the poor child!) but other than that it doesn't restrict me from doing any of my everyday mum chores whilst I'm giving my skin a good old clear out. No making sure my hair doesn't stick to anything or that some form of cream doesn't rub off onto Sophie. Simply wet, place and pull off to reveal some gross but fascinating results!

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Friday, 20 May 2016

The Breastfeeding Diaries Pt 2 | Going Handheld

 One thing I feel as though I am constantly repeating both to myself and on this blog is the need to be adaptable when dealing with both your newborn and your new life. Ask me a month ago what my essentials were for expressing successfully and I'd have admitted to you that the Medela Harmony Handheld Pump had only made it's way out of the box for photos and was yet to even be used. Now one month on this is constantly either in use or in the steriliser to be prepared for next time. Don't get me wrong, the Swing Maxi still gets it's fair share of use on a daily basis but the Harmony seems to have overtaken it in the favourites stakes for the moment.
If you don't already know from following this blog or my YouTube channel, we are almost excluding expressing for Sophie for a number of reasons that you can read more about in my post "The Great Express Debate" here. The key to being successful for us is twofold, finding a routine that works but is flexible enough to adapt to James' ever changing shifts (so that I can make the most of him coming home in the middle of the night, of course) and also having failsafe equipment to make the task of expressing as quick and painless as possible, quite literally.
The Swing is brilliant if I'm trying to do something else at the same time such as blogging or endlessly scrolling through the ASOS app as you only really need one hand (and there is a bustier available if you want to go completely hands free!) which is possibly it's main upside over the Harmony however here's why the manual version actually trumps the electric version on this occasion...

1. Noise complaints - James made a rookie mistake of complaining about the noise that the Swing makes right when we first started expressing and it's stayed with me ever since. Although I don't personally mind the sound that it makes and can easily switch off from it once I'm concentrated on other things, it's nothing short of a godsend for my confidence that the Harmony is pretty much silent. There's a tiny sound of the air moving around the pump to create the suction but that's essentially it meaning that if we're just sat watching TV or I even want to express in bed before he's really woken up, I can do so without worrying about disturbing his Lordship. (N.B he has since retracted his statement as it adamant that the Swing is not noisy and he doesn't mind at all but, hormones and all that means that I'm still conscious of what he's said)

2. Trip hazard - I hope you realise by now that the titles of these bullet points are dramatisations, obviously the Swing is not actually a trip hazard but if you were to know the layout of our lounge in terms of where our sofa is in relation to the nearest plug point, it does mean that James has to step over the lead when I'm expressing, luckily the dog is small enough to duck underneath too so it's not actually an issue but it's nice that the Harmony is just the pump itself and is easily portable to wherever I may wish to be sat and doesn't turn out living room into an obstacle course for the men in my life!

3. MpH - No, not miles per hour but in fact Mls per hour. I was convinced that I'd get the most effective results from the electric version in terms of how fast I could get a full feed for Sophie (she has 4oz per feed and either 2 or 3 feeds a day of expressed milk) but when I chanced using the Harmony one morning because I basically couldn't be bothered to set up the Swing upstairs, I was shocked. Not "pleasantly surprised", shocked. I can get around 8oz in just half an hour with the harmony when that amount would probably take me twice the time using the electric version. I was more than happy with the time it took me to express using the Swing and continue to use it every day for reasons I'll share in a moment but if I need to quickly produce a feed for Sophie then the Harmony is absolutely fantastic for getting results fast.

4. A Gentle Touch - The final thing that has the Harmony winning over the Swing for me is that I don't feel as sore after using it. It's not so much that it hurts after using the Swing, it more itches for around 10 minutes or so afterwards and my nipples feel tender for a while longer whereas with the Harmony there is no pain, itching or soreness whatsoever meaning I can get dressed and on with my day ever so slightly quicker.

Obviously none of the things above are absolute deal breakers and to be honest with you I was perfectly in love with the Swing Maxi until I used the Harmony for a few times. To me, having both is literally have the best of both worlds. The Harmony is hard to do anything else with as I find that I need both hands, one to pump and one to hold it in place. It's rather difficult to express one handed (which is surprisingly important when you're doing it at least 3 times a day and twitter is like another limb to you). It's also remarkably easy to slip and detach yourself from the pump itself meaning that you lose any milk that's in the funnel at the time (which can leave my lap surprisingly damp when I'm holed up in bed at 7am, not nice). As I've said a few times, I still use both as and when it suits me, the Swing is all set up downstairs and is great if I want to keep one hand free to cuddle Soph or do some writing (or change the TV channel, eat a biscuit etc...) and the Harmony is fantastic for when I need a quick, quiet fix to restock the fridge.

Overall the expressing scenario is going well, we're in a good little routine and Sophie tends to sleep well through the night now. Our routine has changed slightly since my last post, I feed Sophie using the shield at 6am, the express straight after and get enough for her 10am and 2pm feeds. I'll express again at some point throughout the day but tend to use a shield again at 6pm, I love the closeness that it brings and it takes the pressure off of me no end. At 10pm she now has a formula feed of around 5oz and that usually sees her through under 5am the next morning when she's easily soothed by a cuddle until it's time for breakfast and to start all over again. It wasn't an easy decision to give her a formula feed but if I'm honest the pressure of expressing enough for all of her feeds was getting too much. I was managing but just skimming the surface and no longer enjoying any part of the feeding process. The way in which we operate now means that I can relax and even miss an "expressing session" if I really need to. It also enables me to freeze one feed whenever I'm able to use the shield at 6pm so we're getting quite a supply!

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Neal & Wolf Haircare Regime

I have always loved Neal & Wolf from pretty much the beginning of my blogging career, I was introduced to the brand via the blogging world a few years ago now and have honestly loved it ever since. I do savour the products that I have from them for special occasions (as I'm stingy with my haircare!) and whenever I bring them out I feel as though my hair thanks me for doing so. Their Super Shine Spray is still one of my firm favourites for giving my hair that extra something after I've styled it but recently I've tried some of their more "everyday" products. 
First up is of course their Daily Cleansing Shampoo & Conditioner* which is great for me to actually use once a month on my hair, completely the opposite of their purpose but as I only wash my hair once a week then nothing gets "daily" use from me and this cleanses my hair so well that I like to use it once a month to really get rid of any product build up and almost start a fresh for my hair ready for the next month. I don't use too many products in my hair as I like to limit my use of dry shampoos and hairsprays but I can definitely tell when it's time to get these out and really refresh my hair. It's always left feeling light and weightless which for someone with thick, long locks is nothing short of a miracle. If you were to wash your hair more regularly than I do (ya know, like 99% of the population) then I'd recommend this to be used once a week as I find some shampoos and conditioners can clog my hair up over time. If you regularly use things such as dry shampoo, hairsprays and mousses then definitely do as it says on the tin (bottle) and use this every time you wash your hair to keep it squeaky clean!
I've started to use blow dry sprays almost every time I dry my hair now and I can definitely tell the difference, I actually was under the impression that they were meant to dry my hair really quickly and that's it but now I realise that there are so many different benefits to using blow dry sprays. The first one is that I find that my hair dries in a much more manageable way, usually it goes frizzy and wavy underneath no matter how much I try to dry it straight but when using this blow dry spray it will dry much straighter and sleeker. It does speed up the process of me blow drying my hair but if I'm 100% honest I think that's due to the fact that I don't have to faff around straightening it so much afterwards.  I also find that if I do want to style my hair after (especially curling) then it holds far, far better. Usually I have to wait until the day after washing my hair to style it in any way other than straight as it just will not hold and slips out straight away whereas now it seems to have more grip and I can curl it or put it up right away should I so wish. 
Over the years I've obviously used numerous hair sprays and hands down this is one of my favourites. Being someone who only washes her hair once a week, I seem to get a little obsessive over preserving it as best as possible so if I use products that will make me need to wash my hair sooner I can get a bit grumpy! This hairspray however brushes right out so easily and doesn't feel as though it's left any residue behind either. It holds my hair really nicely in either a ponytail (I have awful baby hairs that usually fly around all over the place!) and it elongates the time that my curls stay tight too, all without making my hair feel sticky or stiff. 
Neal & Wolf have actually set me a challenge to revamp my hairstyle (as I always wear my hair one of three ways, up/straight/curly) but I'll admit since Sophie arrived I just have not had time to sit down and really focus on my hair to recreate something different. We have just booked her christening however and the style that they've challenged me today will be perfect for a day such as that so watch this space for a YouTube video on me trying it out soon! 

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

MiTi Paradise Collection

If you know me in person then there's a good chance that at some point over the last 6 months I've tried to push a MiTi on you, from the moment I popped one of things in my hair I was wowed that finally I'd found a product that truly didn't leave kinks in my hair or give me a headache. I've been wearing these ever since August and if I ever wear a normal hair-tie then I can tell the difference by mid-afternoon. My hair will feel tight and I'll start pulling it out and adjusting it, and if I'm wearing it in a bun then you can bet your bottom dollar I'll have to take it out and put it back up completely at least once over the course of the day. A MiTi, however, is another thing entirely. Offering much, much more grip than the ribbon-elastic-esque ties that I used to use that boasted leaving no kinks in your hair and working a lot better too. One thing I cannot stand is my hair feeling loose, it will annoy the hell out of me and I just can't leave it alone however too tight and I'll give myself a headache so to find a balance can be kind of tricky!

I'll admit that with the MiTi you do have to twist it more times the more than you use it (as with a standard hair-tie I guess) and after a few uses it is near impossible to get it as tight as the first time I wore it in my hair but it's still secure enough for me to feel satisfied and not want to play with my hair all day. The other thing that they are really handy for is when I want to wear my hair in a bun, due to the layers in my hair it can be a bit of a nightmare to get it all in and then, more importantly, to stay in but the coil design of the MiTi means that I can just tuck any random bits in throughout the day and not have to worry about taking it all down and starting again.

Obviously the main purpose of the MiTi (I think) is to leave your hair without the tell-tale kinks the day after you've worn it in a ponytail. I used to have to wash my hair after wearing it up as the only way to get the huge kink out but now I can put it down again that evening or the next morning and style it with ease. I wouldn't say that it stays poker straight or beautifully curled but that's more due to the fact that I generally wear these to bed and obviously sleep on my hair, causing it to lose it's style more than the fault of the MiTi itself. If I pop this in to go to the gym (obviously something I've not done in a long, long time) and then take it down after then it's just the way I left it. Perfect!

The new Paradise collection from MiTi excites me for summer, at the moment I only have block colours so these are more subtle in my hair and the colours are so cute. I'll be honest I don't really care about things being noticeable in my hair, the hair-ties that I used to wear would usually match my hair colour but that wasn't a particularly conscious choice and more of a happy coincidence but you can also get clear MiTi's if you wanted something more discreet. I, on the other hand, am loving wearing these colours in the sunnier weather and find that they match my new spring wardrobe perfectly!

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Friday, 22 April 2016

The Breastfeeding Diaries - The Great Express Debate

 When I wrote the post "Becoming a Medela Mum" I made no bones about the fact that we were wanting to express after around 6 weeks so that James could participate in Sophie's feeding so when I was told in the hospital that I'd have to start expressing for her "just in case" and to begin with she was syringe fed as she just wouldn't latch on. I'm not ashamed to admit that breastfeeding hasn't worked for us. I know that it's early days etc and perhaps we should have persevered a little more but the main thing to us was that she was taking in Breast Milk, how we got it inside her is kind of irrelevant.

Obviously I'm no expert on breast feeding as my daughter is not yet even 2 weeks old but I've already made up my mind with regards to her feeding and feel as though I know what's best for her and our family. I understand that in many people's opinions "Breast is Best" and whilst I want her to carry on exclusively having breast milk, if it came to it that she had to be topped up or even completely fed on formula then so be it, as long as she's healthy and happy that's all that matters to me. Sophie will take to the breast if she (I) has a nipple shield however it was becoming exhausting having to wash and sterilise one every time she needed a feed. Plus I'm not scared to admit that I would not faff around with a nipple shield in public or in front of anyone who basically wasn't James or my Mum. I'm not one of these confident Mummy's who doesn't give two hoots about what people think, I'm shy and reserved and know that it would ultimately put me off going out with her if she was due a feed which wouldn't be fair on either of us.

I'm also a huge worrier and although many Mum's exclusively breast feed and trust that baby will stop when they're no longer hungry, due to the fact that Sophie had mild jaundice and let's face it not a nice entrance into the world, I like to be able to monitor how much she's taking in. Therefore the decision that we have made is to pretty much exclusively express. At present Sophie has two feeds a day using a shield at 2am and 6pm but obviously the first feed to be dropped completely (as and when she's ready, of course) will be the 2am and then 6pm is a time that James will rarely be able to step in to feed her so it makes sense for me to feed her on that occasion. However the rest is entirely made up of expressed breast milk, she takes around 2/3oz at each feed and I can express enough to last her the day in two sittings.

Our routine is generally:
2am - Feed with the shield
6am - Feed with the bottle and then I express up to 6oz
10am - Feed with the bottle (James usually does this one whilst I shower and do chores)
2pm - Feed with the bottle
6pm - Feed with the shield and then I express another 6oz.
10pm - Feed with the bottle.

I know that people have expressed their concerns about my supply diminishing but I essentially produce something 4 times per day and since day one have had no problems with expressing good amounts. If things change in the future then I can express again at one of the other things of course or as a last resort top her up with formula. The one thing that I'm determined to be is adaptable to mine, Sophie's and our family's needs and I really feel as though this plan will work for us. Obviously the amounts will have to increase as she gets older and needs more but at the moment I'm actually producing more than she needs and we could easily start storing some in the freezer to top us up should we start to struggle.

I've never actually heard of anyone exclusively expressing and although that's not 100% what I'll be doing, it is a large part of it. A part that I could not do without my Medela Swing Maxi pump, it enables me to express both breasts at once for maximum output and is super comfortable. On many an occasion I've forgotten it's there and looked down to see a wet patch on my trousers! It isn't exactly quiet but again, once you're engrossed in a conversation or the TV you don't notice it. I also have the harmony manual pump which I don't use as often but if I need a tiny top up then it's handy to whip out last minute. The results from my expressing are good too, I've never spoken to anyone about what to expect in terms of amounts but I follow the New Contented Little Baby Book's guidelines on feeding and we are able to match that using just two pumping sessions a day. I was worried that exclusively expressing would mean I was always attached to a pump and never able to actually enjoy Sophie as I was either feeding her, changing her or pumping ready for her next feed but I can quickly get enough for two feeds and then spend some much needed quality time with my Bubba.

I can't say I'm hugely heartbroken that I'm not breast feeding in it's most common form, I was slightly apprehensive about doing so in public and was worried about it hurting so I actually think that what we do is a perfect mix for our family. In terms of the bond Sophie and I share, well it's no secret that I adore her and she seems to find me hugely comforting. My mum never even breastfeed me and neither did James' to him and we both turned out fine and at the end of the day, succumbing to pressure to conform to what you think you "should" be doing could be far more detrimental than going with the flow and doing what's tailor made and best for your family.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Our Birth Story...

It feels as though I haven't blogged in forever even though it was only the beginning of last week however since then my entire world has changed. In case you don't follow me on social media, you may not be aware that at 4.33pm on Sunday 10th April 2016, my darling daughter Sophie came into the world and made my heart swell. It may take me a few attempts to get this story out and I apologise now if I ramble on but needless to say things did not go to plan. We went in with a fairly open mind and no strict birth plan as essentially baby will come when they want to and we wanted to stay as relaxed as possible due to my cardiac anomaly. After weeks of meetings with consultants and obstetricians we had been given the all clear for a natural birth and although had agreed on an epidural from the word "go", we wanted things as laid back as possible.

I'll admit we tried every trick in the book to get Sophie to arrive on time, I had a stretch and sweep on Thursday 7th April which was the day before my due date followed by a spicy nandos-esque dinner, a long walk and some alone time with James (if you know what I mean!) and then we waited, perched on my birthing ball desperately crossing our fingers that she would make an appearance. I woke up on Friday 8th April with what felt like the worst period pain of my life. Occasionally James will try and "cuddle" me by way of basically putting his elbow into the small of my back so at first I thought it was just that I'd been uncomfortable and shoved him off but by 6.30am I was still no better and knew that something was different. I went to the loo and it was confirmed that things were progressing as my "show" was there to greet me and I padded downstairs to tell James the good news. My waters hadn't broken yet so we weren't getting ahead of ourselves but I spent a good few hours on my birthing ball before going out for a drive to distract myself. My car has a handy journey timer on it and it was using this that I noticed that my pain was coming and going at just over 10 minute intervals. I made my way home and got back on that trusty birthing ball!

We decided that it was time to send the dog off on his holidays to Grandma's house and at around 7pm dropped him off for his stay, thinking we'd probably see him the next evening or Sunday at the latest and made our way to our local Chinese to get me the spiciest dish I liked. By this point I was getting uncomfortable every time a contraction came around and having to breath my way through them but they were still around 8 minutes apart and only lasting around 30/40 seconds. We figured that things would progress and we'd be woken up in the middle of the night. Come 1.30am I was awake and in agony every time a contraction came, they were still varying between 6 minutes and 9 minutes apart but were lasting longer and getting more and more unbearable. James came upstairs to join me at around 3am (He'd been on the sofa to get as much sleep as possible whilst I tried to catch some shut eye between contractions) and I rang the labour ward to warn them of what was happening, they advised a hot bath and some paracetamol however the paracetamol did absolutely nothing and by 5am I had to have James run me a bath.

By 6am I got out of the bath and managed to do my hair and makeup (don't ask me how, I've no idea) and ponder downstairs to go between the comfort of my sofa and the birthing ball. We rang the labour ward again at 8.30am as I was convinced I couldn't do it anymore, it took us over an hour to get ready as I had to leave the house looking spotless for when my daughter came home with us and we didn't arrive until 10am however upon examining me I was only 2cm dilated and they advised us to go home at 12pm otherwise we'd have to wait on a ward. They tried to give me some codeine however I threw it straight back up again which they assured me was a good sign...

When we got home we put on a film (I can't remember the name of it for the life of me) and I managed to sleep through it for around 2 hours and then had another bath at around half past 4. I didn't last as long this time and had to get out was out of the bath and lay on my bed writhing in pain with every contraction. I couldn't even bare to have my pyjamas on as I was convinced that they were making it worse. By 8.30pm my Mum was on her way to me as I couldn't cope and James looked to be fast running out of ways to comfort me which broke my heart. She had to turn around and meet us at the hospital, however as no sooner had I put the phone down to her I had decided that enough was enough and I needed to get to where I wanted to be. Needless to say the house was not left spotless this time and we left in pretty quick time. We met Mum in the carpark of the hospital and I couldn't even speak I was in so much pain and had to stop to lean on a lamp post with my passing contractions. They let me stay in as I think they could see that I was extremely anxious and needed to be in the right place for me however we were warned that we had a long wait ahead of us.

Mum's job was to rub my tummy where Sophie was laying inside me (she's always been on the right hand side of my tummy) and James was to stroke my hair and guide my breathing through each contraction. I got to the point where I couldn't keep still when my contractions came and at 2am Mum pressed the magic red button to call them to come and intervene. Luckily at this point I was 4cm dilated and officially aloud my epidural. They had this all in place by 3am and I felt so much better, I was able to completely relax and James and I both got some sleep whilst Mum sat watching over me (she really should have got some shut eye but now I'm a mother myself I understand why she couldn't'!). By 8am I was 8cm dilated which they were extremely happy with and they advised that they didn't think she'd be much longer. At 12pm they broke my waters as they still hadn't gone. By half past 12 I was starting to feel an immense pressure like I needed to push but was advised not to until they'd examined me and confirmed I was 10cm which luckily, I was. I started to just push using my instincts as and when the feeling came but by 1pm the midwife was helping me with different positions and techniques.

At half past 1 she was just a fingertip away from crowning but unfortunately stayed that way until 3pm when they called in the Doctor to intervene. They attempted a forceps delivery on the labour ward but I was too tense and tired and so I was advised that they needed to up my epidural and take me into theatre to perform a forceps delivery however I needed to sign the caesarean disclaimer in case the forceps didn't work. It was all a bit of a blur and a case of "do whatever you need to get her out safely" and before I knew it I was in theatre with a screen to protect me from seeing anything and James was in scrubs by my side. Needless to say on my next urge I was to push and them pull her out but she just wouldn't budge. They gave me two attempts but discovered that I have a tilted pelvis and as such there was no way in which she would come out the way nature intended. They had to perform an emergency caesarean. I have never been so terrified in my life and James looked petrified too, he stayed with me the whole time even though I could tell that it was torturing him and he kept me as calm as humanly possible. She was presented to us at 4.33pm and I was given the chance to kiss her before James went to "trim" her umbilical chord. She was given the all clear from the doctors and weighed at 6lbs 9 (and a half!) oz. I was aloud a cuddle for a short while before they cleaned her up and James took her back to the labour ward whilst they sorted me out.

I can remember asking random members of staff in the theatre inappropriate questions such as when do I restart contraception and will I ever give birth naturally. Some poor guy had to hold my hand as I no longer had anyone in there and I was still extremely scared. It took them a long time to put me back together due to the amount of trauma it took to get Sophie out (apparently they were literally on top of me pulling her out and were trying to get the bed to go lower and lower for more leverage) and it took around an hour and a half for them to finish with me. All of the staff in that theatre were amazing and they all came to congratulate me before they left the room. I was taken back to the labour ward and was greeted by the sight of James cradling our precious Sophie and Mum looking on adoringly. I was aloud a cuddle and James went to get changed whilst I tried breast feeding. At first she took really well but I'll go into our breast feeding journey more in another post.

Mum had a cuddle and then left to get some much needed sleep before James' parents arrived to meet her and then we were whisked up to the Maternity Ward to start our life as new parents. I stayed in until 11pm on Tuesday 12th April but again, that's a whole other story as Sophie was absolutely fine (I essentially had lost too much blood and had to have a transfusion). But let me end this post on a high, after days of stress, panic, confusion and agonising pain I am now left with the best present that anyone could have ever given me. I have never felt love like this both towards Sophie and also towards James. We are such a strong little unit (plus Max too!) and I couldn't be more proud of all of us. Let me officially introduce you all to Sophie Charlotte Wood, born 10th April 2016 at 4.33pm weighing a precious 6lb 9oz...

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Monday, 18 April 2016

Schwarzkopf Osis+ Professional Range

 Haircare is one of the only things that has remained a priority to me since I first found out that I was pregnant, if my skin was going to become dry and patchy and I could no longer go on the sunbeds to maintain a nice tan, then dammit my hair was going to look it's best even if the rest of me was falling apart! A fair few people have actually commented that they don't know how I still have the energy to blow dry my hair and curl it so regularly but honestly, it's time to myself that I really enjoy and boosts my confidence no end. I could spend hours on my makeup but if my hair is scraped back into a ponytail then I'll still resemble an egg. The new Osis+ Range from Schwarzkopf has me more than covered in terms of haircare for the foreseeable, there's three different product types to the range, Style, Texture and Finish and they all have a "control" grading so you can choose the right product for the style that you want to achieve. Sometimes I like to gently spritz hairspray through my curls to give me a bit of hold without making them too stiff so I'd know to reach for their Freeze Hairspray with a control rating of 2, however if I want to create a quiff then the Mighty Matte Putty would be more beneficial. My personal favourite from the entire range though has to be the blow dry spray, it made my hair so unbelievably shiny and my blow dry was so much smoother after using this. I'm trying to only use one or two products at a time so that I can see how they work on their own but you can certainly watch this space for the individual reviews of my favourites!

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Friday, 15 April 2016

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat | Review

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat £25 - I am umming and ahhing about whether or not to take the plunge with the Touche Eclat all over Christmas of last year. I had heard that it doesn't really offer any coverage but simply brightens your under eye area and as someone who was used to the By Terry Touche Veloutee (which offers a fair amount of coverage whilst also highlighting) I was worried that I'd be disappointed. It's a lot cheaper than the By Terry offering (now £38.50) and I found it in the January sales in this Christmas gifts for only £16 so I decided to give it a go and pick one up. I chose the lightest shade (01 Luminous Radiance) as I figured that I am fairly pale these days and need all of the luminosity I can get. I've had it used on me before but only also when I was trying out a new foundation so it's hard to tell the effect on it's own so I was still a little nervous that it would do enough for me but I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised. Admittedly if I've had a particularly sleepless night or am feeling under the weather then I use this alongside my Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer as it doesn't offer quite enough coverage for my liking but on a day where I'm wearing less makeup or just need a little pick me up under my eyes then it's absolutely perfect. If I'm going for a more "made up" look then I also use this along the tops of my cheek bones, just above my brow bone and down my nose to give me a long lasting highlight. As I bought it in a gift set then I got a nice little mascara free gift with it, I've said before that I'm looking towards more high end mascaras these days to see if they're worth the money so I was excited to try out the Luxurious Mascara for False Lash Effect. This is one thing that I was disappointed in however, it just seemed to separate my lashes and give them no volume whatsoever. I don't need length adding (which in it's defence, it did do and would be perfect for someone who wanted that) but what I do look for is volume and a nice curl which I just didn't feel this delivered. I love that I had the chance to try it out before I bought it though and that's one reason I love buying Christmas Giftsets, especially in the January sales. 

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation | Review

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation £33 - I first tried this way back in January 2015 when I was in Barcelona, when in Sephora I made the most of their sample policy and grabbed as many as I could and have to say I particularly fell in love with this straight away. I'd never tried a "velvet" or matte foundation before and as someone who likes to keep things dewy you would have thought I'd have hated it but I remember catching glimpses of my complexion all day and not quite believing that it was really my skin. Then came the launch and release of the Clarins Everlasting+ Foundation and I didn't feel as though I could then justify purchasing such a similar foundation however when January of 2016 came around I was decidedly more pale than I've been in years and quite frankly needed a new foundation as everything else in my collection made me resemble an oompa loompa. I actually went on the hunt for two foundations, one to wear every day that was easy to apply, didn't need building up too much to achieve the coverage I wanted and would last me all day, also for a more "heavy duty" one for evenings and special days out. I honestly thought that the Chanel would be the latter of the two and that I'd end up with a BB cream for everyday use however after applying the Chanel again I decided that this was The One. The texture of this really is like velvet and it makes my skin appear so too, it's a water based foundation much the same as the Vitalumiere Aqua so you have to shake it well before use but it seems to make the product go further somehow and means that it is super easy to blend. Although I use this as a day to day foundation and it has a fairly light coverage, I still sometimes have areas of redness or sallow tones and this really is nice to blend and achieve a perfect overall skin tone. I've also warmed to the fact that it is more matte than most of my foundation collection, it means that I don't have to powder over the top of any of it if I don't have time (which will come in useful with Little One) and that it generally lasts longer on my skin. My skin type is combination and can get extremely oily on my temples but I haven't noticed this at all when wearing this foundation. I do tend to powder under my eyes still but that's more to fix my concealer in place and try and get a touch more coverage for my dark circles. I do wonder if it will be suitable in the summer months as I may well get sucked back in to a nice dewy look but I can see myself happily alternating between the Velvet and the Aqua all year round. Chanel have well and truly got me covered in the complexion stakes!

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Monday, 11 April 2016

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation | Review

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation £32.50 - I've said in a previous post that I recently went on a hunt for two new foundations, an every day one and one for special occasions. I'd heard a lot about the Touche Eclat foundation from Yves Saint Laurent and seem to have a small obsession with their brand at the moment so was instantly drawn to try it out. As soon as I walked up to the counter I saw a colour that I thought would match me perfectly (as it happens it's a fraction too dark but that's not a rarity for me and as it's for special occasions you never know, I may have also bothered to fake tan) so I waited around to have it applied just to ensure that I liked it. I would say it's definitely a medium to heavy coverage which means that it's getting neglected a little now that it's a shade too dark, if it were a lighter coverage then I'd be able to make it work but it's just a touch too obvious at the moment. It's a dewy finish that without looking too "wet" as I've found often happens with many full coverage dewy foundations and it's lasting power is phenomenal. I'll admit that I only use this with a primer, again because I only reach for it when I'm putting in a lot of effort into my makeup and making time to do everything properly, but I've found that it lasts all evening without budging. It doesn't seem to like having my NARS Copacabana placed over the top of it too much but mixed in together it works beautifully, that could also be down to the full coverage that it just seems to separate from a liquid highlighter rather than blend. Any of my powder products however look beautiful on top of this foundation and altogether I'm able to create a really polished look, perfect for when I need a pick me up on a crappy skin day or for a rare evening out with my FiancĂ©. I am slightly gutted that I'm not currently getting more wear out of this due to my mistake with the colour but that's the problem with big department stores with no windows and me thinking I'd already found the perfect shade before the poor girl had a chance to match me, however I'm hoping come summer I may get some form of tan or at least a hint of colour and then it'll be used much more often. 

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Batiste Marrakech Dry Shampoo | Review

They're back and they've done it again, Batiste have come up with yet another fragrance fit for spring and it seems to once again be right on trend. I noticed when prowling around my local Primark a few weeks ago that vibrant, bold colours seem to be in the in thing this summer and the design of the latest Dry Shampoo from Batiste seems to match this perfectly. I know that Dry Shampoo is going to be my best friend in the upcoming weeks with a newborn baby to contend with but it's also fantastic for styling your hair too (something that is actually news to me). It creates more "grip" and can hold curls, ponytails and back-combing brilliantly so I've actually started using this on clean hair when I want to style it. The fragrance is beautiful too, I always find when wearing Batiste Dry Shampoo in my hair that I can smell this over and above whatever perfume I've got on that day as the smell is so strong and every time I move my hair I get a delicious "waft"! Having this in my hair is becoming part of my daily routine now whether my locks are greasy or not for more reasons that I think batiste intended and I love enjoying their fresh and new scents that they bring out every season! 

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Friday, 8 April 2016

Getting Back To Me

One of the things that I have undoubtedly found the hardest about being pregnant is how much it changes you from the minute you make that decision to start trying for a baby. I know it may sound extremely obvious in terms of drinking, smoking, extreme sports (none of which I partake it whether I am with child or not, may I add) but also just in your general mindset and rather quickly into being pregnant, your appearance.

I remember really clearly James and I going on a dog walk almost the day after we decided to start trying for our baby and getting tiny twinges in my tummy. Immediately I thought it was pregnancy related, was it a sign that things were already working, was something already going horribly wrong?! My mind raced instantly and it took James being the realist he is to tell me to stop being so silly and even his troopers are quite that effective (TMI to our families I know but you come here for the truth). Of course it was nothing and probably more down to the nerves and excitement of officially starting to try for a baby but as I'm sat here now all of these months on, it occurs to me that even then my way of thinking had completely changed already.

Needless to say it did not take us long after that to actually fall pregnant and obviously the worry only intensified. Now I know that this worry will only change as it already has done from the viability of the pregnancy, to her chances of survival at each passing week if she were to be premature and will evolve into her well being once she's here in the world and that due to my nature I will never, ever stop worrying about her.

Physically things didn't take long to start changing either, I was extremely glad to actually have a real cleavage for the first time in my life as I've always been somewhat shorted in that area however with that almost simultaneously came my hips widening and eventually my tummy growing too. Obviously having a bump is in no way "getting fat" and personally I often pat myself on the back that in terms of size unless it has to fit me across my chest or bump then I can still wear the same shirts and my yoga pants still fit me perfectly. I wrote a post way back when in my pregnancy about dealing with my ever changing shape and essentially that there is nothing you can do to stop it which you can read here. But as I reach the end of this magical journey that has been pregnancy, I cannot wait to just get back to me.

I've already started to trawl through ASOS mentally making a note of all of the things that I wish I could buy but my maternity pay just won't allow and it gave me real inspiration to throw myself in to my wardrobe (not like, narnia style but metaphorically) and have a good out sort through everything. I came away with two bags to put on eBay of things that didn't really fit me comfortably pre-baby so I'm not going to pressurise myself to get into them now either but it also reminded me of things that I had forgotten about that I cannot wait to wear again.

I thought that becoming a Mummy would mean I was all frumpy cardigans and "mom" jeans and that my previous wardrobe would null and void however I've since changed my mind. I can dress exactly how I used to (body shape and size permitting) and I don't have to restrict myself to looking like I'm old and past it before my time just because I've chosen to have a baby whilst I'm still quite young. I feel as though I'm in a strange period where I'm not really a "young Mum" as I'm by no means a teenager and am well and truly into my twenties, but neither am I particularly mature in the way in which I dress. I wanted to buy some Nike Blazers before they sold out everywhere and was nervous that I'd look like I was trying to be a teen mom if I were to take baby out in trainers. So it's hard not to feel as though you're going one way or the other.

It's hard finding a balance in life and essentially you have to be comfortable in whatever you wear but I've come to the realisation that I can just go back to wearing what I wore pre-baby and expand on my wardrobe from there. I needn't conform to anyone's idea of how a Mum should dress (not that I was daring in any way pre-pregnancy with my fashion choices) and if I want to wear trainers then I just have to accept that I need to do so in a way that I don't look like I'm 13 years old.

Overall, I'm really excited to get back the gym and regain my self confidence and be able to use my entire wardrobe again rather than the 4 or 5 tops that still fit me now. It may sound really, really selfish but as I near (or reach by the time this is published!) the end of my pregnancy I am well and truly fed up of feeling as though my body doesn't really belong to me and having no power over how I look. Gym, wardrobe, trainers. Come at me.

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Lipstick | Review

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Lipstick £26 - To say that I went a bit High End Lipstick crazy over Christmas of 2015 would be an understatement and it seems that it can be rather addictive! Now I've managed to string out these reviews for a while so I haven't actually purchased anything new since January of this year however I am still so glad that I did. This particular one was inspired by Anna Saccone of the Sacconejolys as she's worn it in a number of her own YouTube videos and just generally whilst on the vlogs and it looks so sophisticated. I'm quite conscious that I'm about to become a mother and that I still look rather young for my age so don't want appear as though I'm trying too hard, instead I'm embracing the nudes and the reds in a bid to make myself look more mature. I was a little hesitant with this formula as usually if it's not 100% matte then it won't stay put on my lips but this lasted through three straight YouTube videos not long ago and can cling on all morning. It does need topping up after lunch or any other meal but that's perfectly fine with me. The description says that it should be silky in texture which I think is the perfect way to describe this lipstick, it's not so sheer that you can barely see it but also isn't matte either. I rarely purchase sheer lipsticks as I just feel like they do nothing and come off way too easily but then my collection was becoming 99% matte so I needed a change. The colour (01 Nude Beige) is a really pretty nude colour, it has slightly blue undertones so really suits my skin tone and goes with every outfit imaginable. The thing that I love most about this lipstick is that with the combination of the colour and the formula, I can quickly slick it on and not have to worry about having to apply it too perfectly or whether or not it will match the rest of my look, I know that I can pop it on and go and still look nicely finished. 

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Monday, 4 April 2016

Clarins Multi-Active Day & Night Cream

Clarins Multi-Active Day & Night Cream £42 & £44* -  It's no secret here that I adore Clarins, they are my favourite brand of all time and if I had to choose one to take with me on a desert island, it would be them. It's only fair to say then that as soon as they release something new, I jump at the chance to try it out and 9 times out of 10 it knocks whatever I was currently using out of the park. The Multi-Active Day and Night creams aren't brand new to Clarins but they have been reformulated and I *think* repackaged. In case you're ever like me stumbling around first thing in the morning then you really can't get these two mixed up as the pretty pink is for the day and the darker blue is the night cream, easy peasy! Myrothamnus is the new addition into the day cream which offers supreme hydration, great for the colder months or if your skin is slightly on the dry side. The night cream has had California Poppy added which apparently is proven to compensate for a lack of sleep - perfect for life with a new baby hey! 
Fancy sounding ingredients may be all well and good but obviously what really matters is results, unfortunately I hadn't tried the previous versions so I can't comment on the differences from then until now however as stand alone products they're both brilliant. The day cream is light yet feels like it does really benefit my skin, I'd been using Origins GinZing Moisturiser before this and whilst it's wonderful for good skin days, they are a thing of the past now and I need something a little more substantial. That being said, although the Clarins is thicker, it doesn't take much longer to soak into my skin and my routine is usually cleanse, micellar water, brush my hair, apply my moisturiser, style my hair (I say style, I mean put into a ponytail, straighten or curl it if you're really lucky). Then I'm good to apply my makeup as normal so it's a winner for me in terms of how long it takes to soak in, which is actually one of the most important things to me in a day-time moisturiser. Pre-pregnancy/baby I didn't have time to wait around whilst my face felt wet let alone now! It makes my skin feel beautifully soft and hydrated all day long, if I'm having a no makeup day then it's hard to resist touching my face because of how smooth it feels and I no longer get any pesky dry patches on my forehead. 
The Night Cream is just as impressive, understandably thicker in texture and takes a little longer to fully soak in but I don't mind this at night. I wake up feeling radiant and although obviously I'm not wearing makeup first thing, I somehow don't feel as self conscious about how tired my skin is these days. It gives me a nice boost overnight that is most definitely needed these days and sets me up nicely for the day. I'll admit that compared to my Elemis Marine Night Cream, the Elemis will always come out on top however it is twice the price tag and I'm not sure that it's that much better. It doesn't clog my pores up and I can't feel it still sat on my skin the next morning or by the time that my head hits the pillow. I've found some night creams quite uncomfortable to wear before as they just sit on the top of my skin rather than really soak in and give me any benefit so whilst this luxuriously creamy and smooth, it actually does it's job too. 

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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Queen Tea Black Tea Body Scrub | Review

Queen Tea Black Tea Body Scrub* £16.50 - One thing that I have been keen on doing recently is taking care of my skin, I feel so much more glamorous when I've had a good exfoliate and have even treated myself to a spot of fake tan recently. It's so easy when you're pregnant to just slob around and let everything fall by the wayside but in these last few weeks I've really tried to up my game in the body care department. This body scrub from Queen Tea is made from, you guessed it, tea. Black Tea to be precise along with Olive Oil, Sugar & Salt and Bergamot Oil so it's super natural. I've never actually had a product where I've known what all of the ingredients are (probably because the list is so long that I give up ready it) so it's wonderful that this has so few and they're all vegetarian. The company themselves are Cruelty Free which I know is a big bonus with a lot of my beauty loving friends out there. Within the tin, it comes in a pouch so it's not super messy and the only thing I would say is that it would be nice if this was resealable, although obviously it can be kept within the tin so as long as it's upright you should be fine. They recommend using this once or twice a week which I'd say is pretty much how often I do reach for a good scrub, either to rid myself or any lingering fake tan patches or just to give my skin a little extra something. I've had a problem with my legs for a few years now whereby they are uncontrollably itchy to the point that I scratch them in my sleep leaving myself with both scabs and dry patches so I like to exfoliate them at least once a week to keep any pesky dry skin at bay. It's another reason that I love how natural this product is as I've found that the more different things I try to apply the worse the problem gets, I'll have to keep you posted on whether or not this helps things completely as it's early days yet but as a body scrub this stuff is seriously winning! 

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