Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Second Baby Essentials

My nesting mode is in full throttle, and I've started shopping for baby number two. 

These are the big things I knew I wanted this time around - with hindsight on my side.

So I thought I'd share my purchases here, in case it's helpful for anyone else planning for a sibling - or even number one!

1. First stop is the Sleepyhead Deluxe. This cushion has an insane amount of 5* reviews online, so much so that even though I didn't use one for my first born, I've been sold on how great they're meant to be - especially for co-sleeping babies. They're very pricey, so I bought mine second hand on eBay, for £60, and it came with a spare cover too. It's all washable, and the company reassured me that they are completely safe for multiple use. If you do buy one new, you can at least sleep easy too, knowing that they re-sell for at least half their original value if not more!

2. Second is my sheepskin pram liner. Ernie still uses his to this day. So I wanted to get the baby its own one. You can put these anywhere you want to lie your baby down, in the carseat and buggy - for the ultimate comfortable ride. They're really cosy being made of sheepskin - and great at keeping babies warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot - and aesthetically speaking, they look great too.

3. Thirdly the Ergo 360, I foolishly didn't have one of these before. I had an outdated Baby Bjorn sling which did my back in. I've been recommended this one by all my mummy friends. It spreads the weight evenly across your hips and your shoulders. I imagine that being able to wear my baby while I dash around after a toddler will really come in handy!

4. Fourthly, I've sold my old Cosatto travel system and bought this Phil and Teds Vibe (including double kit and newborn cocoon) second hand for £200 on Ebay. It's great because as soon as Ernie decides that he's too big to be in a buggy, I can just use it as a single stroller - and I won't be stuck pushing around two seats.

5. Finally, the bit of new kit I'm most looking forward to using is my Chicco Next2Me co-sleeping crib. We co-slept with Ernie for 18 months, and he stills sneaks into bed with us in the morning, so I wanted to create a safe place for the new baby.  I'm hoping that with this anchored onto the side, plus the protection of the sleepyhead, it will be pretty well protected.

I'll have to report back once I've actually had a chance to try all these products for real!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My Maternity Essentials

My maternity wardrobe is really, really limited. I only have a few key pieces that make the rest of my normal wardrobe wearable.

I have struggled shopping for chic pregnancy and nursing clothing over the years - all that the high street has to offer is poorly made and overpriced, and the high end stuff is sometimes too expensive to justify, and quite frankly, not that stylish.

I've learnt that you truly don't need much, and keep in mind that by the end of your pregnancy, you pretty much want to burn all the elasticated crap you bought, so you're better off saving your money.

Here are my favourite maternity pieces, the only crucial pieces, that you need to make it through a pregnancy:

1. Maternity jeans

I got away with one pair of Topshop maternity Leigh jeans last time - and ended up wearing them well beyond pregnancy - they're so comfortable, it's hard to go back to a normal waistband.

This time I'm at my most heavily pregnant through the winter months, so I bought a blue and a black pair - to accommodate more dressy occasions.

I like Topshop's, because they offer a shorter leg length, but there's loads out there to choose from.

I'm not putting leggings on my list, because the right pair of jeans can be just as comfortable, offer more support, and are WAY more flattering!

Maternity Definitives Moto Black Leigh Jeans, £38, Topshop.

2. Long tops/Shirts

I can wear most of my pre-pregnancy shirts the entirety of my pregnancy by wearing a long vest underneath.

It's also nice to include a long sleeve option too. If you want to save money, and are planning to breastfeed, you might as well buy nursing tops now, as you can wear them during and after your pregnancy - so you won't have to buy them twice.

3. Maternity/Nursing bra

I've recently discovered a great brand called Cantaloop - they offer a wide range of bras, tops, and knickers. I love their nursing bra. It's so soft it's like a second skin, and can be worn through pregnancy, until you need the drop down function for breastfeeding - I love the simple sizing guide, and that it has a bit of fabric that provides some modesty to the top of your breast - whilst feeding.

It's little things like this I wish I'd had last time - but better late than never!

Cantaloop Nursing Bra, £24, Boots.

4. Dress, and tights

If you're enjoying a summer pregnancy, it's all about the maxi dress, and for winter gestation you need to make sure that you've got a good cosy pair of tights. I find the simpler the better when it comes to maternity dresses, and anything you can find that buttons down, or pulls to the side easily - like wrap and shirt dresses - make them perfect for post-pregnancy nursing too.

The Alice Dress, Just Polly, £79.

5. Shawl/scarf

Specifically the Seraphine Nursing Shawl. It's designed to be worn as a scarf, and shawl, a breastfeeding cover, and you can even wrap your baby in it. It's by far my best maternity find.

Winter Grey Nursing Shawl, £42, Seraphine.

My top maternity brands, where I've found the best of all of the above are...

Topshop - best for jeans.

Just Polly - best for shirts, dresses, and work wear.

Seraphine - best for breastfeeding.

Cantaloop - best for bras

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

I loved creating this floral cupcake display in memory of my husband's dear grandmother.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

BumpDate - 21 Weeks

This pregnancy is flying by! How am I past the half way mark already?! Sorry for the iPhone quality pictures - I wish I was better at bringing my proper camera out with me.

Right now I'm currently in the process of going through all of Ernie's old clothes and baby equipment, working out what can be used again/sold/or given away to make space for new things.

My nesting is in full swing!

Anyway on with my update...

How far along: 21 weeks +3 days

Gender: We had our anomaly scan last week, and... we did end up finding out the gender! I'm pretty sure the sonographer thought we were mad - as we couldn't give her a straight answer on whether we wanted to know or not till the very end.
It was fun not knowing the first time, but it's been just as exciting to experience finding out this time around. I can't share the news just yet, as I haven't had the chance to tell any of my friends.

Total weight gain: 7lbs

Maternity Clothes: I treated myself to a couple of new bits, It's trousers that I can't get away with anymore - I'm in desperate need of some new pyjamas too - but I'm struggling to find any that I like online. I'm trying my best to work with what I've got, I'd rather invest my money into some decent nursing clothes for after the baby is born.

Sleep: OKish, I'm staying up later than usual, just to have to have some time to myself after putting Ernie to bed - although I could easily fall asleep when he does, at around 8pm.

Miss Anything: Occasionally I'm jealous that I can't have a glass of red wine - but I made a decision not to drink at all this pregnancy, I barely did last time, and I just don't think it's worth it in the long run. It doesn't feel right for me.

Cravings: My appetite is huge right now, luckily, for the majority, all I want to eat is nutritious, filling 'wintery' food - with the odd treat here and there.

Symptoms: Fatigue - I have zero energy still. Everything feels like a huge struggle. I'm finding it exhausting looking after a two year old whilst pregnant. The worst is pushing the buggy around town - it kills me! I'm not even that heavily pregnant yet, so I have no idea how I'm going to cope when I am.

Mood: I'm generally feeling very positive and excited - especially since our last scan - they always lift my spirits - but I'm still getting the odd bout of anxiety, which is horrible, but thankfully I'm being able to manage that quite well with my new natal hypnotherapy skills!

Looking forward to: Sharing my news with my nearest and dearest.

On My Mind: If I allow myself to think for too long I can't help but feel overwhelmed - at the idea of having two children's needs to cater for - let alone my own, and the bloody cleaning! I'm sure it will all just fall into place - so for now I'm just trying to bury my head in the sand, stop overanalysing, and try my best to enjoy this pregnancy, in case it's my last!

Friday, 9 October 2015


Thanks to sharing this intimate image of breastfeeding on my wedding day, and my wonderful friend Julia Mortimore, who captured the special moment, I was able to allow it to be used on the cover of this magazine.

Being able to - maybe in some small way - normalise breastfeeding, and hopefully help to remove some of the stigma that exists around mothers who feed their babies - and especially toddlers - in public, makes me very happy.

So don't be afraid to share your breastfeeding selfies (now known as brelfies), because speaking from experience, they can be a huge source of comfort, and a great confidence boost to other breastfeeding mothers.

Here's some links to more of my past breastfeeding journey...

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Early pregnancy symptoms

By far the most popular post on this blog is the one I dedicated to documenting my early pregnancy symptoms with Ernie.

So I made sure to make a note and pay attention to every little niggle this time around- as clearly I'm not the only one who becomes obsessed!

We decided to try for another baby, so it didn't come out of the blue, but as you'll know if you read my blog, I'd been tracking my return to fertility - after giving up breastfeeding, and was pretty sure that I was ovulating again.

I avoided trying for the first two months as I wasn't keen on a Christmas baby - way too much going on already.

After that it wasn't a case of really trying, just seeing what happened - and what happened was that it happened. Really quickly!

Unlike last time I must add, and if you're reading this and it's taking you what feels like forever to get pregnant - I feel your pain.

It's funny though, because I actually thought that we'd 'missed' the opportunity that cycle, so even though I did experience symptoms, I convinced myself that I wasn't pregnant, so I was genuinely shocked when the test I took was positive.

Even more so because I used a cheap internet tester kit - I've never really been sure if they work or not, you get quite bad evaporation lines on them, but this was definitely positive, and then I confirmed with an overpriced digital one!

So here goes...

1. Spider vein rash

There are so many changes going on inside your body during pregnancy, even at conception, so look out for changes on the outside too. One of the first skin changes I experience are these tiny broken blood vessels (capillaries) also known as spider veins or naevi.

I got them last time, and this time too, almost instantly.

2. Bumpy forehead

I also went on to develop weird bumps all over my forehead, a place I don't usually suffer breakouts. They weren't like normal spots, there was no inflammation, and they were itchy like a rash, very small, and not particularly red. Thankfully they disappeared at around 3 months.

2. Headaches

Nasty headaches from the get go, which I'm still suffering from. I do find that upping my water intake helps, and trying my best to get enough rest.

3. Itchy boobs

Tingly nipples - to be more precise! This was my very first sign that I was pregnant last time, and wasn't as strong this time. Basically like a tingly almost itchy sensation in my nipples and breast tissue. Supposedly it's down to the surge of hormones in your body which causes an increased blood supply to your breasts, and causes the tingling sensation.

4. Implantation bleeding

Again I experienced this last time, but in a much smaller quantity. Both times I've found it by wiping some clean tissue paper over my cervix - but this time I assumed from what I found that I was starting my period and actually put a tampon in! That's really what led me to take the test the next morning, when there was no real sign of my period.

I also cried over spilt milk the night before, so that would be early symptom number five!

I'm fascinated by conception & pregnancy, and I'm a total believer (through my own experience) that if you're acutely aware of your body, and track all things to do with your trying-to-conceive journey, you will experience symptoms that no one thinks happen that early.

I'm pretty sure that I've felt ovulation, and implantation pain!

But like last time I wrote about this stuff, I have to stress that a lot of these 'signs' are annoyingly similar to pre-menstrual symptoms.

So the only real indication of pregnancy is a positive test, but if you're like I am, you'll be looking for anything that might give you a heads up.

I'm going to leave it there - sorry for the TMI - but I'm sharing all of this to hopefully help some of you with the answers you're looking for.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Autumnal Apple and Walnut Muffins

These muffins are made with 100% whole grains, olive oil, and less sugar than a typical muffin.

You can make these even healthier by leaving out the topping, and if you're making these to share with young children, you can ditch the walnuts if you like - but I must say (touch wood) I've not had a problem.

On that note though, I always make Ernest aware of the fact that they're in there.

Baking, using cups to measure out all the ingredients is the easiest way with a child playing sous chef!

So if you haven't already got some - they're well worth getting.


1 cup (125g) Wholemeal, or whole spelt flour
½ teaspoon Baking powder
¾ teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Allspice
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
⅓ cup (100g) Honey
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (90ml) Olive oil or canola oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
¼ cup (60ml) Plain yogurt
1 cup (180g) Peeled and chopped baking apple
½ cup (57.50g) Walnut pieces

For the topping:
1 Tablespoon Unrefined brown sugar
1 teaspoons Cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a muffin tin with 8 muffin liners. 

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

3. In another bowl, whisk the egg. Add the honey, olive oil and vanilla. Keep stirring until it’s well combined, and then add the yogurt. 

4. Add the flour mix to the wet mix. It just needs to be combined, so be careful not to overmix. Then fold in the apples. Fill the liners with the batter, filling almost all the way to the top.

5. Combine the topping ingredients, and sprinkle over the top of the muffins. 

6. Bake for about 22 – 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

When the muffins are completely cooled, place them in an airtight container and store at room temperature.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...