Friday, 30 December 2016

Why I'm choosing hypnobirthing with Natal Hypnotherapy*

So far at 31 weeks pregnant I have put the idea of labour into a little box and pushed it to the back of my mind. But as my due date approaches, I know that it is something that I need to start thinking about.

My labour with Ava was pretty straight forward. I unfortunately couldn't have her at our local midwife led unit as I wasn't dilating and due to not being able to deliver the placenta last time I'm considered "high risk" this time around and need to deliver my baby in a hospital 40 minutes away, as the hospital where Ava was born no longer has a labour ward! You can read more about Ava's birth story here.

When asked about any fears that I have for this birth, it isn't the labour itself that worries me, although the pain relating to it is also something that I have tucked away in the back of my mind, it's the fear of not being able to deliver the placenta again. For me having had a relatively easy labour and then having to have an epidural and a manual removal was pretty awful. I am truly keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't happen again.

Over the past year or so I have heard the term hypnobirthing being used and have become increasingly intrigued. Hypnobirthing is for those looking for a positive birthing experience and those who want to learn to let go of any worries and fears surrounding childbirth. I have recently started an online hypnobirthing course with Natal Hypnotherapy, founded by Maggie Howell who has had wonderful births with the help of hypnobirthing and reading the testimonies from other women who have completed the course I am confident that hypnobirthing will also be able help me have the positive, happy birth experience that I'm after. So far I am very much enjoying the course, it is broken down into modules that you can come back to whenever you please. These modules contain multimedia, quizzes, downloads and worksheets (amongst other things) to teach you all about the wonders of hypnobirthing and it's benefits. I am currently learning about how hypnosis works and am looking forward to downloading the pregnancy relaxation track onto my phone to listen to as my due date approaches.

I am hoping that hypnobirthing takes away the current fears that I have surrounding childbirth, I am hoping to be able to grasp the true concept of hypnobirthing and to, if possible, have a drug-free birth. Although this is not at the top of my priorities, as we all know, there are no medals in childbirth unfortunately, I do think that a drug-free birth would be a fantastic personal achievement.

I have high hopes for my Natal Hypnotherapy course and am very excited to learn some more and more importantly to have a positive birthing experience when the time comes.

I shall be giving you some more information about the course itself and how I am prepared for hypnobirthing once I have completed the course.

*I am currently undertaking the Natal Hypnotherapy course free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Finding my Pregnancy Glow with Mama Mio*

During pregnancy one of the things that people go on about the most is your "pregnancy glow" I've seen it in others, so I know that it exists. Your skin just becomes luminous and dewy and you just look radiant.

Unfortunately for me, this wasn't the case. Not long before discovering that I was pregnant with our second baby I started developing awful spots across my cheek bones, they were so sore and no matter how much I tried, no amount of make up was covering them up! I tried all sort of lotions and potions, to no avail. It seems silly and shallow to admit but it honestly affected my confidence so much. I could no longer wear fake tan on my face and being fair skinned this left me looking so pale, I looked ill! I didn't dare to venture out of the house wearing no make up and I would have days when my spots were just so sore I would cry!

Of course it soon became apparent that these were no ordinary spots, it was pregnancy acne, caused by the increased hormones in my body and something that I never experienced with Ava. I honestly googled everything I could to do with pregnancy acne, I even tried home remedies, nothing worked! I then discovered Mama Mio, a brand that I had previously heard of but never tried. Their Gorgeous Glow face wash peaked my interest, it had fabulous reviews online but after testing and trialling so many different products that didn't work I wanted to be sure. I ordered a sample of the face wash and kept my fingers tightly crossed that this was the product that I had been waiting for. As soon as I tried it, I was hooked. It left my skin feeling refreshed and clean whilst still feeling soft. Not to mention the gorgeous lavender smell which is just amazing. I then went on to buy the full sized version and to my amazement my skin started to improve. The angry, red sores started to reduce and scab over but more than that, I started to get my confidence back, which was huge for me. Since then I have been using the face wash twice a day. Don't get me wrong my skin is still not 100% back to it's old self but it's a lot better than it was. It's also go to the point where I am able to use fake tan on my face again which has boosted my confidence some more. I'm certain that I'll be using this product beyond my pregnancy, I'm in love!

I was thrilled to be contacted by Mama Mio and was asked to be a brand ambassador, after falling in love with one of their products I was so excited to discover what else they had to offer pregnant ladies.

I was sent the Pregnancy Boob Tube bust cream and the Lucky Legs, cooling, energising leg gel.
Pregnancy Boob Tube is designed to protect, soothe and cool new mummy boobs, I breast fed Ava for the first 3 weeks of her life but unfortunately had to stop due to mastitis. I'm planning to try to breastfeed this baby too and I know that this product will become a holy grail for me as it's completely safe to use whilst breastfeeding. If only I had know about this product the first time around, things may have been different.

Their Lucky Legs product is also a must have for mums-to-be. It smells of glorious peppermint and is so refreshing to use. After standing up for a while, doing some ironing one evening my feet were completely swollen and my toes were like little sausages. I quickly grabbed this gel and lathered some on and it really did feel amazing and made a huge difference.

If you're a mum-to-be you must check out Mama Mio's products, they have such an exciting range which cover all of your pregnancy skin concerns. I can assure you that you'll be as hooked as I am!

*I was sent the products free of charge as part of an honest review.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A bump update and the Christmas break so far

As I type this I am now 30 weeks, I have said it before but I can't seem to get my head around it! It has FLOWN by. I think it's a combination of working full time and already having Ava but I'm starting to panic thinking that nothing is ready for this little babe, not even the hint of a hospital bag! I managed to pick up the pram that I wanted in the black Friday sale, (Silvercross Chelsea Wayfarer, if you were curious). It had the car seat thrown in for the price of the pram which was a deal that couldn't be missed. I am thrilled with it and am so happy with my choice, although Ava will be a month off her 5th birthday when the baby is born I'm thinking of getting a buggy board for the pram. They say they are suitable for up to 5 year old but to be honest Ava is such a little dot, she still fits into age 2-3 clothes, that I'm sure she'll thank me for it. She's ruddy lazy too!

We were all set to go all guns blazing on the nursery, which is currently Ava's playroom. Unfortunately in order to get the nursery ready we need to move the toys into Ava's bedroom, which requires getting rid of her 3/4 bed which takes up most of her bedroom. We thought we'd found her a solution and bought a lovely single bed with storage. We waited 2 months and the bed never arrived, just a mattress. Turns out it was out of stock and the useless folk didn't let us know when we forked out for it, neither did they know when they'd next have any in. So we asked for a refund and ordered her another bed from Next, a trustworthy source. Unfortunately this one takes 11 weeks to be delivered so we're (hopefully) looking at mid-Jan time. Bedroom saga has been put on hold until then which makes things a little stressful!

As for me, I'm feeling quite well, tired but with a child who wakes pretty early in the morning that's was pretty much going to be a given. I'm feeling quite short of breath as everything becomes even more crushed, I'm looking forward to no longer having to take Gaviscon and for my pelvic floor to be back to normal-ish.

My bump is pretty neat and all in the front but I do feel bigger than I did with Ava, no new stretchmarks from my pregnancy with Ava and I've still avoided getting any on my stomach, I think that this is down to my Secret Saviours products. I'm still thinking that this is going to be a boy!

With 4 days to go until Christmas I think I'm pretty much ready, I still have gifts to wrap and Ava's Christmas Eve box to put together. It's been quite hard to keep Ava entertained, with her being at school I think she's used to being simulated all day and for a pregnant mama this is quite a hard feat. I want to rest but she wants to play so we have to compromise!

On Monday we went to one of our local National Trust properties to see Father Christmas, we went with my dad and his lovely dog. With Nath being a postie it's such a busy time for him and we've been like ships in the night this week, which has been hard.

The Father Christmas experience was magical though and I think it was so nice for my dad to be able to come with us to see the wonder on her face.

We had to go through a magical wardrobe which was very Narnia and into a waiting room complete with snow covered pines and fake snow.

Ava was SO excited and almost ran off without us when they said it was her turn! Father Christmas was in a big study and Ava came over all shy but did tell him what she would like for Christmas, a purple Furby, which is her main present! Winning! She was given a present, some gaudy plastic jewellery which she was made up with, and we went for tea and cake.

We had a little walk which was spoilt by the rain but we did have such a lovely afternoon, I love visiting National Trust properties and we're lucky enough to have some lovely ones near us. It's definitely worth checking on the events on the National Trust pages as they do put on some lovely things.

Today we're having a lazy day and tomorrow we're off to the panto with Nath and out for tea. I'm really looking forward to a family day.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Ava wears The Essential One*

Ava was recently sent some beautiful clothes from The Essential One, a brand that I have loved for a long time. They are a family owned business who produce some gorgeous clothes. They have you covered from bump to baby. For someone like me who is firmly team yellow, it can be hard to find lovely, unisex clothes but The Essential One have a fantastic range which leaves me spoilt for choice!

They also have clothes for boys and girls up to 6 years old, these are equally gorgeous and beautifully well made.

Ava was sent the Champagne Satin Corsage, Special Occasion dress. It reminds me of a little fairy dress with it's satin & chiffon fabrics. The colour is so Christmassy too! She told me that she felt like a princess in it and has asked to wear it on Christmas day, to which I happily obliged.

We also received this beautiful, pastel coloured blouse. I'm such a seasonal dresser myself and tend to wear darker colours in A/W and brighter, pastel shades in S/S and Ava's wardrobe is usually a reflection of that. Saying that this blouse was such a welcome addition to Ava's A/W wardrobe and I think it suits her complexion perfectly. We teamed it with some beige Next leggings and her brown Chelsea boots, it's an outfit guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of Winter days.

It's such a lovely versatile item that can be layered up with a chunky knit in the colder weather and worn as it is during the warmer months,

Baby wasn't left out either, the very generous people from The Essential One sent along a gift set of three white babygrows which come in their own little drawstring bag, these are currently stored away, ready to be popped into my hospital bag (I know, at 30 weeks pregnant my hospital bag is still unpacked). There is just something about a newborn baby in a pure white babygrow that just makes me so happy. They are made from 100% supersoft cotton too, perfect against your baby's skin.

We were also sent one of their beautiful, bestselling, unisex snowsuits. We were sent the navy one with grey fur trim and it really is the most adorable thing I have ever seen! I'm bracing myself for cold weather in February/March so it will be perfect when baby arrives to keep them nice and snug.

I've been so impressed with the quality and style of The Essential One's clothing range. It's all super affordable and they have a wonderful range of choice. You certainly won't be disappointed!

*We were sent the items free of charge in exchange for a review

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Beating stretch marks with Secret Saviours*

Time seems to have completely flown by, I'm conscious that I haven't posted a bump update in so long, but I can confidently say that I feel huge and will be 30 weeks on Saturday! I am now on a well deserved 4 week Christmas break and only have 3 weeks (!) left in work until I begin my maternity leave and 11weeks until my due date! Holy moly! I feel so unprepared this time around. We have a few outfits, a pram and a carseat...but if baby decides to make an early appearance it might just be sleeping in a cardboard box.

 One thing that I have discovered during this pregnancy is brands aimed at pregnant women. I didn't do my research the first time around and seriously missed out. One of the fantastic brands that I have been introduced to is Secret Saviours, whose products are clinically proven to prevent stretch marks. I have to admit that I only got a few stretch marks with Ava, mainly on my hips, but I was eager to prevent the apparition of any more with baby number 2. Now that I am in my third trimester I am noticing the changes to my body, the skin around my stomach feels tighter and much more uncomfortable as my bump grows and becomes heavier.

I have especially enjoyed wearing my bump band, which is lined with soft pads of various sizes, designed to stop the skin from straining and forming stretchmarks. I've also found it fantastic for supporting the weight of my bump and elevating some of the pressure from my lower back. If I don't wear my bump band, even for a day, I notice such a difference.

You use your bump band with the Anti Stretch Day Gel, which allows your skin to grip the pads on your bump band. It made my skin feel so soft and it smells amazing. At night, once I've removed my band I love to slather my bump in the Anti Stretch Mark Night Cream which is a beautiful rich cream and feels like such a treat to apply.

It's been wonderful to discover a brand that has such great benefits. I can hand on heart say that I have not noticed a single, new stretch mark since using my Secret Saviours package and I would recommend it to any mum-to-be.

Secret Saviours also sent us a fun parcel which included some glitter and face paints for a "Colour my bump" project. This is something that I have always wanted to do and Ava was extremely keen to get involved. We loved painting my bump together (not current sized bump as this was done a few weeks ago) and it was such a lovely, bonding experience for Ava and the bump. She's already taking on the role of protective big sister and I couldn't be prouder of her. She's going to be wonderful when this baby arrives.

*We were gifted the Secret Saviours Anti-strechmark package in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

toucanBox review*

This weekend ended up being a dramatic one, I collapsed in a restaurant on Friday night during a meal out with Nathan and our friends. A combination of a big meal, exhaustion and feeling too hot I think. Luckily, everything is fine but it meant that Saturday needed to be a slow, quiet day for me. Which was the perfect time for us to put our toucanBox to use.

toucanBox is a flexible subscription box for 3-8 year olds, delivering craft boxes to your doorstep. Ava loves crafting so I knew that this box would go down well. We were sent the fortnightly box which is the perfect letterbox size so it just pops onto your doormat, addressed to your child, which adds to the excitement. The "petite" box, as it's called, contains one activity for your child which has been specially created by an educational specialist. The box costs £3.95 + 98p postage. The "Grande" box is a monthly box which contains two activities and costs £9.95 + £2.95 postage. Or if you wanted to go all out, you could subscribe to the "Super" monthly box which costs £16.95 + £2.95 postage and contains 4 activities.

With us being so close to Christmas, Ava's box contained a festive theme and we were asked to make some beaded ornaments for our Christmas tree. This was right up Ava's street as she loves anything girly and fiddly. The box contained, 4 packs of beads (red, clear, blue & snowflake shapes), some pipe cleaners and some ribbon. We also received an activity book, a sticker and some leaflets for mummy to sift through.

The educational focus of this box was physical and fine motor skill development. Ava very much enjoyed these activities, although I was on hand to help knot the pipe cleaner, which was quite difficult, and sharp, for little fingers.

Ava barely needed my help to complete the tasks and it was a lovely, calm activity for her to do, which was exactly what was needed. She enjoyed completing the activity book afterwards which was brimming with colouring and puzzles.

I'm not sure that the box would satisfy Ava for 2 weeks until her following box arrives, as she is the type of child who wants to get it all done right away. You could however do the activity in the first week and the activity book the following week as this even contained a recipe which looks fun to make.

All in all I thought that the toucanBox was a fantastic idea and great value for money, not only are the activities fun, they are educational and help to develop your child's skills. As the days are getting colder, these are the perfect idea for those who like to hibernate a little during the Winter months.

For those of you who may want to try a toucanBox for free follow this link and use the code BLOGGERSTREAT to receive your free taster box. Order your box by the 15th December and you'll receive limited edition Christmas crafts.

I know one little girl who will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of her next toucanBox! For more information visit the toucanbox website.

*We were sent the toucanBox free of charge for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

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