Saturday, 24 September 2016

My maternity style #2 with Next*

Top-Next*/ Trousers-Next*/ Shoes-River Island (last season)

I was recently sent this gorgeous outfit from Next and I have to say, I'm totally in love with it. I have worn it so much since it arrived and have had a lot of compliments on it. As I said in my first maternity style post, I didn't bother buying any outfits when I was pregnant with Ava but I'm so happy that I'm making an effort this time around and I feel that this outfit very much reflects my personal style.

I love the pattern on this top, I thought it was a simple cotton t-shirt at first but the sleeves and back are made from a lovely sheer material, giving it a much dressier feel. The fabric on the front is partly velvet, which I often find myself absent-mindedly stroking like a loon!

Now the pants, as you can tell, are faux leather, and I am utterly obsessed with them. They are unbelievably comfortable. The over-the-bump band doesn't dig in to your stomach and is made of wonderfully, soft cotton. Something that I find hugely important being that I still feel sick on occasion. There's nothing worse than an over-the-bump band that digs in,trust me! They are so versatile too. I've worn this outfit with flats, heels & even with metallic, rose gold pumps!

Both products are of fantastic quality and these definitely won't be the last pieces from Next Maternity that I add to my wardrobe. If you're pregnant you definitely need to check out the Next Maternity section, you won't be disappointed!

*I was gifted the top & trousers in exchange for an honest review.

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best

Friday, 23 September 2016

Being a guilty, (pregnant) full-time working mum

Before starting my new, full-time job in January I often wondered how other mothers coped. I'd coveted my current role for a long time. I'm still working in the same School, in January it will be 8 years since I started there, but I would go as far to say that this is my ideal job. I work a lot more with the children which I love and I get all of the School holidays and with Ava now being in full-time education this couldn't be more perfect. I feel so lucky to love my job as much as I do and will 100% be returning to it after my maternity leave. The hours are long though, I start at 8.15am which means I have to leave my house and drop Ava off by 7.40am, and I don't finish work until 5.15pm. This means that the weekends are precious and time together in the evenings is scarce.

I've had to become something I've never been before, organised! Her uniform has to be be ironed & layed out the night before. I have to also plan what I'm wearing the night before so that I'm not dithering in the morning. We plan our weekly meals and I sometimes prepare ingredients in the slow cooker the night before so that it's all ready to pop on to cook in the morning.

I never have the time for breakfast so I'll take a porridge pot into work with me and will make myself a cup of tea and some toast to accompany it once work has quietened mid-morning.

But the one thing I can't shake is the guilt. I'm 17 weeks pregnant, and exhausted. Evenings are a scramble of dinner, bath & bed. I rarely have time to sit and play with Ava which always leaves me feeling sad. My favourite time is when we lie in her bed together, after story time, we cuddle and she tells me about her day. I live for the weekends at the moment.  But even then we're incredibly busy, catching up on housework, errands, birthday parties, visiting family and Ava's Sunday morning gymnastics club. Before I know it, it's Monday again and the whole rigmarole starts once more.

I have 5 weeks until October half-term, when I'll get to spend a whole week with my girl, but I do feel like I'm wishing my life away.

On Sunday evenings I end up feeling guilty, did I play with her enough? Tell her that I love her enough? Or did my exhaustion get the better of me as I fear it usually does, and I end up feeling like a snappy old bag.

It never gets easier does it?

Pick N Mix Fridays

Saturday, 17 September 2016

My Maternity Style #1 A/W casual with JD WIlliams*

Dress*- JD Williams/ Boots*- Heavenly Sole @ JD Williams/ Sunglasses- Topshop

When I was pregnant with Ava I really didn't make an effort at all, I bought some maternity tights and a pair of maternity jeans in an awful burgundy colour (what was I thinking?!). I would just buy non-maternity clothes in a couple of sizes bigger, but of course the fit was all wrong! I don't like any of the photographs of me from this time in my life and I told myself that if I ever had another baby I'd make more of an effort. I've found this pregnancy pretty rough so far, so just putting on a nice, comfortable outfit can really make my day.

Now whilst JD Williams don't have a maternity section, they do have an array of gorgeous, comfortable dresses to suit all shapes & sizes. The first thing that attracted me to this dress was the autumnal print and cold-shoulder detail which makes it incredibly versatile. I can wear it to work or just as a casual, weekend outfit. It's made from lovely, stretchy material which will allow me to get my wear out of it as my bump grows and with the cold weather approaching it's easily layered with a pair of tights and a cardigan. The 3/4 sleeves are also slightly flared which I love.

Ankle boots are are an A/W wardrobe staple in my opinion and these black suede boots from Heavenly Sole are perfect. They are so soft and comfortable and the heel is low enough for me not to feel like a weeble, teetering over with my bump. I also like their Western feel.

This is the perfect outfit for the changing season, I can't wait to wear it with my blooming bump.

What are your A/W must haves?

*I was gifted these items in exchange for an honest review.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best

Monday, 12 September 2016

My 5 pregnancy essentials

Now that I'm 16 weeks pregnant I wanted to share some of my essentials with you. I've been finding this pregnancy pretty tough so far. I'm not sure if it's because I've recently gone back to work after a long Summer break but I feel as though I've regressed back to the first trimester and am feeling pretty pants. These 5 things have been making my life a little bit easier, what couldn't you live without during your pregnancy?

1- Dreamgenii pregnancy pillow. I bought this during my first pregnancy with Ava and granted it's a little tatty now but I wouldn't be without it. With bump growing by the day it gives me the support I need to prevent me from sleeping on my stomach.

2- Amoralia nursing bra*. I actually reviewed this set a few years ago, when I was new to blogging and kept the bra with the tags on, ready for my next pregnancy. Nath found my old nursing bras the other day and nestled amongst them was this beauty. Not only is it visually appealing it is so comfortable too. My favourite maternity bra, I'll definitely be getting some more from their range.

3- Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow. One thing is for sure I have anything but a "gorgeous glow" at the moment. I've been suffering with pregnancy acne since before I realised I was pregnant. This product, while it doesn't solve my issue it sure helps it. It smells of beautiful lavender and leaves my skin feeling clean & fresh. I recently bought the full size version after trying a sample. I was hooked!

4- H&M denim maternity dress. I love the H&M maternity range, Mama. This dress is so lightweight and comfortable. It's easily dressed up or down and has been perfect during the muggy weather we've had recently.

5- John Lewis leggings. Now I know these aren't strictly maternity but I absolutely love these leggings so I thought it was worth giving them a mention. Leggings are a staple in a pregnant woman's wardrobe and this £18 pair from John Lewis are lovely. They are wonderfully soft and have a slight band at the top which is perfect for an expanding belly.

I'd love to know if you have any essentials that you think I'm missing out on?

Sunday, 4 September 2016

It's not going to be just the three of us anymore...

For 4 years (it'll be almost 5 years when your new baby brother or sister arrives) it has been just the three of us, you, me and daddy, like the Three Musketeers. It's sounds silly to think, and almost like something that shouldn't be said but when I think about our time together coming to an end it breaks my heart a little, and that sounds like such a silly thing to say as we want this baby so much but it almost feels like the end of an era.

I guess it's because we've been through so much together, so much that you won't even realise until you become a mummy yourself one day. You were my surprise baby, but as I've said before, the best thing that could have happened to me, as when I was 6 months pregnant with you, my lovely brother died suddenly. What would I have done without you to keep safe? My little saviour. Then there were the early days, when neither daddy nor I knew what we were doing and I would spend most of that time on the phone to the maternity ward or Nanna, worrying about you! Worrying about whether I was good enough, little did I know that it's called "mum guilt" and it was only just starting. I learnt so much from you and I'm still learning now, learning how to be patient, how to plait your hair so it's "just like Anna's" and learning all of the names of the Shopkins!

In all honesty I'm anxious about having another baby, about how I'll cope with two, about how you'll cope not having all of my attention anymore and I often wonder if I'll be able to love another child like I love you. That all-consuming love that feels as though my heart is going to burst. I know I will and I know you'll be fine. But it's still something that worries me, I guess it will all come together when the baby is here.

I think that mostly I don't you to grow up, I want to watch your long hair blowing in the wind as you race ahead of me, that little inhibited dance you do whilst pulling a silly face when you're trying to make me laugh, the way you tell me that you love me so much and I'm your best friend forever.

There are so many changes happening at the moment I think I'm finding it all quite hard and my emotions are all over the place. Me going back to work after the Summer break having spent every day with you, you starting school and the big one, that in 6 months time it's not going to be just the three of us anymore. And I'm finding it hard to get my head around that.

Sometimes I just really wish time would slow down! I just want your little hand in mine for a while longer.
Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Saturday, 3 September 2016

My last day of Summer

Bank holiday Monday was officially my last day of Summer. Working in a school I am so lucky to get all of the school holidays off but this summer holiday seems to have flown by in a flash. Nath and I have been saying we want to take Ava to the beach this year, having not had a holiday abroad and it really feels like we left the best until last.

We decided to go to Barmouth which is over an hour away from us, lovely sandy beaches and great fish & chips. You couldn't ask for more! When we arrived after some traffic delays I thought we may have been a little ambitious, venturing to the beach on a hot, sunny bank holiday, but once we were parked up we found a lovely little corner of the beach and were set for the day.

It was such a beautiful day, we were so lucky. I sat & watched Nath and Ava build sandcastles and thought back to the last time we took her to Barmouth. She was so little! I kept think of how the next time we come we'll have two children with us and it was such a strange feeling. After some more paddling and collecting seashells with me, we decided to take a walk down to the little harbour front. There are a few lovely restaurant and cafes and a gorgeous ice cream parlour.

We of course had to take a stop at the funfair first where Ava had her fill of all of the rides.

Knickerbockers Ice Cream Parlour is amazing! They have every flavour you can imagine (even a Minion one?!) I'll definitely have one of their ice cream sundaes next time. I went for a red velvet cake batter ice cream while Ava went for her usual chocolate.

We then had one last play on the beach before I queued for what felt like an hour for some fish & chips! Crazy I know but it was honestly so worth it. You can't go to the beach and not have fish & chips!

We didn't leave the beach until it was past Ava's bed time and I had work the next day but we wouldn't have changed anything, we had such a wonderful day. I want to come back to Barmouth every Summer and create lovely memories for Ava and our new baby.

Is there anywhere that you love to visit year after year?

Friday, 26 August 2016

My first trimester update

As I mentioned in my pregnancy announcement post, no two pregnancies are the same and the first trimester in my second pregnancy really took the wind out of my sails.

As I'm now into my 2nd trimester I thought I would do a recap on my 1st trimester and possibly some weekly updates as I move further along and the pregnancy gets more exciting!

Finding out we were expecting again:

We found out in a pretty unconventional way, in A&E! But I'll start from the beginning, back in December we decided that we would like another child. It was a very exciting time and I was so full of hope. I had all the apps on my phone tracking just about everything and every month I was beside myself with excitement "Would this month be the one?" furiously calculating babies due date on my fingers. Unfortunately the months passed and nothing. I was getting more upset and frustrated with every passing month (and was spending a ridiculous amount of money on pregnancy tests) until I knew that for my own sanity I had to stop stressing about it, which I did. No more tracking apps or pregnancy tests. At the beginning of July we were at my mums on a shopping trip when my mum said I suddenly went grey. I  hadn't been feeling right for a couple of weeks and had started to have an awful pain in my left side. It sounds stupid now but I didn't even suspect pregnancy! My mum whisked me off to A&E with Nath dropping us both off. After a blood test the nurse called us in with a "Congratulations, you're pregnant!" So a slightly different way to find out you're expecting, I actually haven't taken a pregnancy test at all!


First came the exhaustion, like nothing I'd felt before then the nausea and vomiting which lasted most of the day with me usually being sick in the morning and at night, strangely. I've also been experiencing awful pregnancy acne, which I didn't realise was a thing until I started suffering with it. Unfortunately as it's all due to your hormones there's not a lot you can do about it but I have found some great products that I've been using to keep it under control, I'll be sharing those in an upcoming post.


Bitter lemon, more specifically San Pellegrino lemonade and Whites lemonade ice lollies. I was also favouring bland foods such as crumpets and Cheerios when my nausea was terrible.

What I've been wearing:

I've had to buy some maternity trousers already but am loving my John Lewis "Super Soft" leggings. They're so comfy!

I recently bought the top above which is from ASOS maternity and is currently in the sale. I thought it would be perfect for meals out around Christmas time. I'm very much into lace and Bardot style tops so this was perfect.


According to the pregnancy + app baby is currently the size of a peach and is weighing around 43g. I've been thinking that I can feel slight flutters in my belly but I'm not 100% sure yet. We are staying firmly team yellow as we did with Ava but I have a feeling that it will be another girl.
Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best

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