Tuesday, 31 May 2011

pregnancy essentials

As promised I thought I would do a roundup of my top ten essentials for the second trimester ... here goes!

2nd trimester

(Clockwise from top left)

1. Gaviscon
Or any other suitable heartburn remedy! I've been getting heartburn quite regularly and during the second trimester as your bump develops and expands it does wierd and wonderful things on the inside resulting in many women getting heartburn. I've heard some old wives tales that heartburn is an indication of the baby developing hair, the amount I get I may gve birth to a wolf baby, the truth of this remains to be seen!

2. Bump Bands
These really are fantastic, especially for that in betweeen stage where you don't quite need to wear maternity clothes but are a little self conscious about wearing your usual tops for fear of bump flashing. I also find they are great for a little bit of extra support around the bump as you get bigger. A friend of mine also recommends them as a tummy cover up for breast feeding. You can pick them up at most maternity sections and are well worth the small outlay!

3. Dream Genii
I know I've mentioned my love for the dream genii before ... but I'm going to mention it again. I think it's a fantastic product, and if like me you suffer from SPD a must have. I use mine every night and even take it away with me whenever I'm away from home. You can also use it as a breasfeeding pillow when the baby arrives so I'll certainly have had my moneys worth by then!

4. Carmex
I'm a bit obsessed with lip balm and always have to have some in close proximity. Carmex is my favourite (in the little pot), shortly followed by the little vaseline tins ... pots are more satisfying than tubes! I've used loads during the second trimester as my lips seem to get really dry ... along with the rest of my skin which brings me to.

5. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream
Gosh! I've used loads of this ... the smell can be a little off putting but it really works on dry skin. I've used it on my hands, elbows and knees and anywhere I get a patch of dry skin. It helps to releive any itching when the skin tightens because of dryness too. I also like to pop some on my eyelids to give a light sheen to them some days ... makes me look like I've had more sleep than I have!

6. Bump Support Belt
I was given one of these by the physio after I was referred because of SPD. I try not to use it all the time but can really feel the difference when I do. I usually put it on after we have been for a long walk or more recently after long DIY sessions! You can buy them online and from specialist shops, I've seen that places like jojo maman bebe also stock things like support pants and tights which I think I'll be giving a go in the next few weeks!

7. Leggings
They are everywhere still, and thankfully pregnancy friendly! I haven't felt the need to buy specific pregnancy leggings, I just bought some one size up and they are doing the job great! I tend to wear them with longer tops or tunics and what is really great is they can be dressed up or down.

8. Accessories
OK it is very general but hear me out! I made the decision early on, rather than spend a fortune on trendy maternity clothing I would buy some really good basics in plain colours and accessorize them. I've been embracing the world of oversized scarves, colourful tribal jewellery and patterned flat shoes. It's a great way to keep your 'look' up to date without spending a fortune!

And some that aren't in the picture ...

9. Forums
Online forums, such as babycentre, are a great place to chat to people who are going through the same things you are. And, as I've found out, you can ask people anything and they always get back to you! Many also have really useful tools such as pregnancy trackers so you can see where you are up to and the development stages. I've even been linked up with a bump buddy who lives in the same area and is due around the same time as me, we have been emailing each other updates and may even meet up for tea and cake sometime!

10. A journal
I've been using this blog as my journal of sorts, its a great way for me to jot down my thoughts and current obsessions. It will also be great to look back on at the end of my pregnancy and see what a long way I've come, the changes I've gone through ... and probably laugh at my obsessions! Pregnancy is such a special time I think we should all take the time to record our experiences, both good and bad.

So that's it from me! I'd be really interested to see what your essentials are/were!


25 weeks!

Bank holidays really mess me up! I'm a day behind my weekly update post ... so I'm 25 +1 (25 weeks and 1 day) into my pregnancy, and what a week!

The baby is continuing to move around and the movements seem to be getting stronger and stronger, if my hand or arm is resting on my bump when it kicks my arm will move with the movement. On the down side, I seem to have heartburn on a daily basis at the moment, I have to carry heartburn remedy with me at all times.

We've been continuing our little experiment of reading to the baby each night, I read that it's a great way to bond and it is possible that the baby recognises the story (or at least the rhythm) outside of the womb. We've chosen big dog little dog as it's a book we both had when we were little, the night time story continues to get a great reaction and it's lovely to feel and see the baby move to the sound of hubby's voice.

Last week we finally got round to using our Christmas present from my dad and stepmum of a dinner, bed and breakfast at the lovely Slaley Hall. It was fantastic! The hotel is lovely, the area beautiful and the service was great. It was so nice just to have a change of scenery and spend some time together as a couple ... we did try to stay away from too much baby conversation but we're so excited it just creeps in!

On sunday we went to one of the NCT's nearly new sales in Durham, I've heard about them from a few people and thought it would be worth a look. It was great! A bit like a feeding frenzy at times with people clambering to get the bargains but we joined in! As the name suggests the sale is for nearly new items, used or not wanted items for babies and children, many of the items were still in their packaging! There was a great rage of toys, clothes and larger items such as travel systems. Given that we have most of the larger stuff we focused on toys and items for the nursery and came away with what can only be described as a haul ... for £15! The next one in the area is on the 16th October ... I have to say I'll be the first in line!

Then on bank holiday monday, we did what most brits do ... DIY! Yes the flooring in the nursery is done and as I type the hubby is painting over the patchwork wall of paint samples and doing the first coat on the ceiling. We have some time booked in to get the rest done over the next week.

I think we'll need another night at Slaley to recover!


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

art for babies

I literally trawl the internet for hours looking at beautiful interior design pictures from blogs and interior design magazines. And for obvious reasons the current obsession is nurseries, which I know I have shared with you before!

I've been looking through some of my favourite rooms and noticed some similarities. Along with the strong colours, many feature simple well designed furniture, plenty of light and space and all have some form of art. Art for babies, why not?! We want to educate and surround our little ones with beautiful things from the moment that they are born, art is just another way in which we can do this.

I love having beautiful pieces around our home, and given my indecisiveness we like to 'rotate' them on a regular basis. I want to make sure that the room we are preparing for the new arrival has equally lovely pieces on the walls. This spurred me on a hunt for some art for our babies walls ... these are my favourite finds so far!

Clockwise from top left, abc wall decoration by isak (£42 and also available in poster form), mister numbers print by sugarfresh (from $13), bunting wall stickers by ferm living (£64.95) and finally abc print by sugarfresh ($20).

On my internet travels yesterday I also found this beauty. A lovely print that Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely had made for her daughters room ... and made into a free download for the rest of us. I absolutely love it and can't wait to hang it in our nursery!


Monday, 23 May 2011

24 weeks!

Today I am 24 weeks through my pregnancy! This is a really important milestone during pregnancy as from this stage forward, should your baby be born early the chances of survival are much higher, thanks to the medical advances that have been made.

I think this is a milestone that I have had in my head for such a long time that the past week seemed to take forever ... not without new and exciting experiences mind!! I mentioned last week that the babies movements and kicks seem to be getting stronger, this week was no exception, I'm also getting more and more kicks towards my bladder (especially during the night) and up towards the ribs, this is one active baby. They are also more noticeable on the outside too, one night while I was in the bath my hubby looked on in amazement as the babies kicks could be seen clearly as my bump moved.

I'm also craving everything sweet, and while I've been doing my best to have a banana or some other fruit, sometimes only chocolate will do. As such, I've been turning to low calorie hot chocolate made with milk ... this way I'm satisfying the craving while remaining relatively good ... and getting some calcium intake to help those little legs grow even stronger! On the topic of hot chocolate, I love this picture from pineapplebun's photostream on flickr, almost too cute to drink (almost!).

Sorry if this is too much information, but the painful boobs made a come back this week. I think I may be in for another growth spurt so more underwear shopping for me. This time I think I'll purchase the maternity come cursing bras that will come in handy after the little one arrives.

I officially have a stretch mark, to the left of my belly button. I'm massaging the sanctuary stretch mark oil in twice a day to try to prevent any of it's friends appearing ... I think I'm fighting a losing battle with that one!

Some sources cite the 24 week milestone as the start of the third trimester, going by developmental stages rather than dates. I thought I would do the same and post what I would class as my second trimester essentials later in the week.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

nursery inspiration

I love interior design and looking on the internet for inspiration is how I have spent a lot of my time over the years, I have to say that is how many of the ideas for our renovation have come about! As such, I've long been a fan of apartment therapy and their family lifestyle blog ohdeedoh. Their kids room tours are where I go for ideas for the nursery that span beyond beige and cutesy. These are some of my favourites ...

As you can see I'm not shy of colour but I like to offset a strong colour against a neutral or white, strong walls white furniture etc. I also love the way that these rooms have included standard (I mean not designed specifically for a nursery) furniture which will grow with the child! Lots of these rooms feature furniture design classics or pieces from my favourite ikea (future design classics) which goes to show you can make the nursery an extension of the style found in the rest of your home!

We'll be getting some of the key from ikea, I know some people turn their noses up at it but personally I love it - I love how clean and simple the pieces are ... and ultimately I treat them like I would a basic dress ... it's all about the accessories!


making a start

This weekend we have officially started work on the nursery ... that is we have completely gutted one of the spare (when I say spare I mean junk storage) rooms in preparation for it's transformation into a beautiful nursery.

The room in question is next to our bedroom, I've always thought that it would be the perfect room for a nursery so maybe subconsciously that is why we've never actually done anything with it ... other than slap on some while paint and store a ridiculous amount of stuff/rubbish in there!

So yesterday we (mainly hubby) set to work, emptying and stripping out everything that was in there. The contents of the room are now either in a more suitable place, in a charity bag, sorted for recycling or at the tip! It was really therapeutic to see 5 years worth of accumulated 'stuff' be dramatically reduced into what we actually use. We've also removed the flooring and skirting boards as we'll be replacing these as part of the nursery.

I've taken some photos of the very empty room but I'll keep them until later in the month so you can see before, during and hopefully after! I'm really looking forward to putting the room together - it's great when you've pictured something for so long.

We've decided to go for a bright and cheerful yellow/lemon on the walls, I want the colours to be vibrant and not washed out. I think it will look great against the modern white furniture and patterned bedding that we have chosen! I'm going to do a post later on with a breakdown of items and sources ... don't want to give too much away at this point!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Monday, 16 May 2011

work it!

The workplace is where I seem to struggle the most with clothing - having to be smart and comfortable all day is a challenge! I've totally fallen for this patterned dress from Dorothy Perkins (£32) and based a whole work day look around it ... add to my basket, how did that happen?!

Working Mama

I know I've declared my love for this season's coral colours already but I can't help sneaking in a few more accessories  this time in more of a red shade and ... I couldn't resist the lovely shade of this nail varnish, something I may need to purchase soon!

My skin is a little dry so I try to keep a lip balm or tin of vaseline nearby, I also have a tube of 8 hour cream in my bag for emergencies, it is great for dry skin a calming down any irritations. I know I have said I'm sleeping better but my under eyes still need a little help to make me look fully ready for the day, I've tried most of the alternatives but keep coming back to good old touche eclat.

I love these shoes - need them in my life and wardrobe ... shame we have to keep the heels to a minimum because these are great, plenty of support for your foot and not too high. Maybe if I keep a pair of pumps to hand?!

This is something I would wear to the office (I actually wore something very similar today!), the shape of the dress is really flattering and if (like me) you are self conscious about your expanding chest you can add a plain white vest top underneath. You could also dress this down just by opting for flats and more discreet jewellery.


23 weeks!

I've just realised that I haven't been doing a weekly countdown/journal, something that I had intended to do. Today I'm 23 weeks through my pregnancy! 17 weeks to go ... yikes!! In one way I'm willing the time to pass so that we can meet our new family member, and in another I can't believe that it is going so fast.

I love being pregnant, I have been really lucky and have got away with very little morning sickness, no strange cravings and few food aversions - except risotto ... long story.

The past few weeks have been particularly exciting as I've really started to feel the babies movements, its amazing to think that there are little hands and feet making all those kung fu moves inside me! I have to say that compared to most I was quite late to feel these tiny little movements, something that I found a little concerning, however I was reassured during my 20 week scan that this was due to the location of the placenta. I missed out on the 'butterfly' sensations and went straight to full on assault at week 21!

The initial tiredness has seemed to subside and I'm more or less back to normal, all be it with an intense desire to clean the house ... hang on I already had that!

My only issue is that I have been diagnosed with SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), pelvic pain that occurs in pregnancy as the ligaments soften. I have to say that the doctors were great and I was referred to a physio and seen within two weeks. I was given lots of helpful advice on how to manage the symptoms, in the grand scheme of things mine aren't that bad some unfortunate ladies have to use crutches just to get around, I've been given a support belt and some yoga like exercises to do. I find that keeping active with gentle exercise, such as walking for 20 minutes, and long soaks in the bath relieve the symptoms. I've also purchased one of the most remarkable products which helps at night - a dream genii pillow - this helps me sleep in the correct position with support in between my legs and also stops me from rolling on my back which makes SPD worse (and requires my hubby to help me out of bed ... not great in the middle of the night when nature calls!). If you have SPD, ever suffered with back pain or are finding it difficult to get comfortable now you are pregnant I can't recommend it enough! As for the claims that it helps to get the baby in the best position for birth ... we'll see.


Sunday, 15 May 2011


I have to admit that as first time parents we are sometimes lost in what you need for a baby, what is a nice to have and what is ridiculous ... some of the products below highlight this point!

Diaper Genie

There are loads of nappy disposal systems on the market, some parents (including very good friends of ours) hail them as one of the ultimate must haves for a newborn, some on the other hand highlight their issues (with quite graphical stories and mishaps). I just cant help thinking that they are a little icky ... some hold up to 30 nappies ... 30 nappies sitting there all wrapped up until the system needs emptying. From what I've heard of newborn poo that can't be a good thing, even with sealing and carbon filtering! I'll be disposing of my nappies straight away thank you very much!

Changing Table

I have to say I was in the for camp for this one ... until I spoke to every other parent I know. Some had made the purchase and used them for around three weeks and others had been put off due to safety issues. Many I know actually change their babies on the floor due to both safety and preference. Also, when the baby becomes too big/wriggly to change on the table you end up with a totally redundant piece of furniture. Most furniture ranges include a drawer unit which incorporates a removable changing top - after weeks of research I think that these are the best option if you are still dead set on a dedicated piece for changing. I think we'll be going for a straight forward chest of drawers and adding a changing mat on top which we can then move when the baby gets bigger - without paying a premium.

Nursing Chair

Now ... it's not the concept of these that I don't get, it's the purpose designed chairs - all the nursing chairs/gliders that I have seen are just plain ugly! I think it's a great idea to have a dedicated chair and area to nurse and soothe the baby, somewhere that becomes familiar and relaxing to baby, and is also comfortable for the parents. I've opted for an ikea poang chair and matching footstool, something that we can move to the living room as the baby grows.

Moses Basket

One of our friends has let us borrow their basket and stand (we'll be getting a new mattress) which is great but from what I've heard they aren't really worth purchasing. Until your little one arrives you're not really certain of their size which can determine how long they will be in a moses basket for (some of what I've read states this as briefly as two weeks), also many babies won't settle in a basket - preferring to move straight to a cot. A friend of mine who splashed out on a M&P basket and stand to go with the nursery decor will openly tell you that they are 'a load of rubbish ...  precarious and not sturdy enough for a newborn baby', when born her son weighed 5lbs11oz.

Wipe Warmer

I don't think I need to go any further!

I realise what some people find ridiculous some people can not live without so, with all this confusion, I've been trying to compile a list of items to purchase for our new arrival, I think I'm on the 18th version ... I promise I'll post version 19 when it is complete!.


Friday, 6 May 2011

bugaboo and missoni collaboration

I have to say, normally I'm not a fan of designer label collaborations with pushchair/pram companies ... actually with most baby products come to think of it. The end results normally come off looking totally impractical or ... cheap (Cath Kidston and Maclaren always springs to mind). That was until now ... Italian fashion house missoni have teamed up with bugaboo to ensure the pushchairs 'earn their fashion stripes'. What is even better is the new pieces aren't being released as limited edition pushchair packages, rather tailored fabric options that can be snapped on to standard bugaboos! And each set comes with a knitted blanket in missoni's famous zig zag stripe ... lovely!

Prices haven't been confirmed yet (gulp!) but pieces will be available from Harrods in June and other selected retailers from July.

Now, I haven't gone down the bugaboo route ... there are loads of them around and to be honest I couldn't justify the cost (who knew there was so much to buy for a new baby!). I do love the bright colours of the missoni collections though and I thought I'd have a look to see how I could add a flavour of the collaboration to my pushchair at (what I'm sure will be) a fraction of the price!

My favourite missoni inspired accessory is this beautiful multi coloured zig zag blanket from etsy. A bargain at (approximately) £15.61 plus postage. This looks like one of those blankets that will get better and better with age and the more it is washed. Also it is a lovely neutral blanket so is a great gift for any team lemon families!

I also love this gift pack from The Organic Baby Company, it contains a romper, hat, bandanna bib and blanket, and comes in chocolate (pictured), duck egg and purple, at £49 it is a little expensive but when you factor in how much the individual items would be I think it's a good price ... and again a really great gift! Pieces are sold individually and range from £7.40 to £24.32.

Mu mum has kindly knitted us a bright stripey blanket, if you can knit (or crochet for that matter) or know anyone who can this is a great way to create something really special for your baby. There are loads of striped and zig zag knitting patterns out there (including this one from knit culture) and the best thing is you get to choose the colours! If like us you prefer bright colours then there are plenty to choose from, but also if you would prefer to stick to pastels then you can! I haven't knitted for years but I'm going to get my mum to give me a refresher ... I think it would be a lovely way to relax and create in those last few weeks!


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

my own sanctuary!

Ok, so I’m a total product junkie, I have to at least try the very latest product on the shelves ... an advertisers dream!
Being pregnant has opened my eyes to a whole new world of luxury lotions and potions, specifically designed for our changing (and stretching) skin. To be honest I never knew brands such as mamamio existed, now I’m greedily obsessing over which product to buy.
Being pregnant is a lovely time, people show how much they genuinely care for us and, if we’re lucky, buy us lovely pampering treats. I was lucky enough to have the Sanctuary Mum to be ultimate retreat hatbox given to me as a gift. I’ve been so impressed by it I thought I would give you all a run through and review of the products.

First Impressions
I’m a fan of the Sanctuary Range of bathing goodies anyway, I love the clean lines of the packaging and how lovely they look in my little bathroom. The ultimate retreat hatbox did not disappoint, it is nicely presented in a dark purple, tall ‘hat box’, topped with a white ribbon. So far a real treat to be on the receiving end of this!
The treats included in the box offer a good range of what we are looking for during pregnancy (and after), the set includes:
·         Supple Skin Shower Oil 75ml
·         Collagen Boosting Body Butter 125ml
·         Stretch Mark Oil 75ml
·         Soft Skin Bath Soak 75g
·         Eye Mask
Each of the products are a good size, not miniature but not full size, which I think is a good thing -  your skin goes through so many changes and new sensitivities during pregnancy, many larger products would end up unused on the shelf!

The main event
Note: I have had the set for around 4 weeks now so each of the products have been thoroughly tried and tested!
The first product I excitedly used was the Soft Skin Bath Soak, I can’t speak for other women but the amount of time I spend wallowing in the bath these days has dramatically gone up, this was the obvious first choice! The soak is a consistency similar to bath salts and contains ingredients to soften the skin and loosen muscles while essential oils and natural extracts are used to help you relax.  This is a lovely product and really does help to relax you, I find that you need to use quite a lot in each go (I have a massive bath) and would prefer to keep these for those entirely indulgent bath times. Personally I love the smell of this and all the other products, rich without being to heavy and feminine without being sickly, however I know many pregnant women encounter aversions to certain smells so as with most products out there I would recommend a quick sniff before you buy/try. If I’m being totally honest I’m more of a bubble bath fan, however as I progress through my pregnancy I’m sure I’ll be wanting more relaxation from my baths – I will definitely give this another go at a later stage.
The bath is usually followed by slathering on moisturiser, any moisturiser! Step forward Collagen Boosting Body Butter. This has the same lovely scent as the bath soak and is an excellent consistency, it’s a rich cream but soaks in beautifully, my skin always feels well moisturised without that heavy greasy feeling. It also soaks in quite quickly which means that you haven’t got ages to wait before getting dressed/jumping into bed. I love this product, it lasts really well and even when using every day it still feels like a treat. I’ll certainly be buying more when this tub is finished.
I’m a shower fiend; I could spend ages in there! If I’m totally honest I prefer them to baths. I was really looking forward to trying the supple skin shower oil. This has the same luscious scent of the other products and promises to nourish your skin while showering. This is the only product of the bunch that I have to say I’m disappointed with, not because it doesn’t deliver but simply because I don’t think that it has been thought through. It is well documented that during pregnancy we experience some level of disturbance to our balance, pair that with an oil to cleanse skin in the shower ... which when rinsed ends up in the bottom of the tray causing a very slippy shower. I’m not a fan, not because of the product but because I’m scared I’ll topple over because of it ... I have nearly a full bottle in the shower. I think it could be used in the bath for cleansing, but I also don’t fancy the idea of cleaning up after it! Not for me I’m afraid!!
I’ve not used the eye mask (yet) so I’ve kept my absolute favourite of the bunch for the last ... the stretch mark oil. Now I’m not kidding myself that applying the oil daily will remove all possibility of my tummy looking like a map of the underground, I know that they are mostly down to skin type and inheritance ... I’ve had some before from losing (and gaining) weight so I know the chances are that I will get some anyway. I just love this product, I don’t restrict it to my tummy and apply to my arms and legs in the morning, a tiny amount really goes a long way. It’s also especially nice to massage gently into the bump, something of a morning ritual for the pair of us now! It has the same lovely smell as the rest of the products, if a little lighter, and soaks in really quickly with hardly any residue. I think this is something I will continue to use long after the baby arrives.

All of the products are lovely and there are some I will continue to buy and use way beyond the gift set runs out. I would definitely recommend this either as a treat for yourself or if you are considering buying a gift for a (very lucky) pregnant lady.