Saturday, 24 December 2016

Pregnancy Essentials: Third Trimester: 27 - 40 Weeks of Pregnancy

It's time for my final pregnancy essentials post. I'm over the moon that little Ava Mae is finally here! These are all the things that helped me through the third trimester of my pregnancy!

Pregnancy Essentials: Third Trimester 27 - 40 Weeks of Pregnancy 

Massage Oil - Perfect for those back rubs to help with back ache. I have been using the NAIF Soothing Baby Oil which I picked up at The Baby Show. It is really moisturising and works great as a massage oil. 

Birthing Ball  - I honestly don't know how I would of coped without my birthing ball. I found sitting on it really helped with the back pain, bouncing helped with the discomfort from Braxton Hicks and  sitting rotating around in circles helped to get baby down into pelvis and engaged.

Hospital Bag - Having my hospital bag packed and ready really helped with the anxiety and nerves of baby's arrival. I wrote a list of everything I thought I would need and tried to pack as little as possible not wanting to overflow my little suitcase. I was told to pack enough bits and bobs for myself and baby for five days.

Maternity Pads - I found discharge increased towards at end of the third trimester as well as passing bits of my mucus plug. I starting wearing maternity pads and found Wilko Mum to Be Maternity Towels were not only really comfortable to wear but cheap at 95p a pack.

Facial Cleansers - I started to get outbreaks of acne during the last trimester of pregnancy and found using the Lush Ultrabland Cleanser really helped. This cleanser works really well at removing make up too and is very soothing on angry, irritated skin.

What did you find helped you through the third trimester of pregnancy?

Claire Louise Xx

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Friday, 23 December 2016

Third Trimester Update: 27 - 40 Weeks of Pregnancy

Ava Mae is finally here so it's about time I got on and finished my third trimester update. I never did quite make it to the end of the third trimester as Ava Mae arrived at 39+1 weeks but this is what I experienced. 


Third Trimester Update: 27 - 40 Weeks of Pregnancy

Baby's hearing is fully developed. As she reacts to sounds her pulse increases and she can even move in rhythm to music. Baby can suck her thumb and cry. Her brain waves show rapid eye movement (REM) sleep which could suggest baby is dreaming. Hair on her head is getting thicker and her eyebrows and eyelashes are fully developed. Baby moves into a head down position and drops low into the pelvis ready for birth. In the final weeks of pregnancy baby will gain more than half her birth weight. She will move less as she runs out of room, curling up with her knees bent, chin resting on her chest and have her arms and legs crossed. 

By the end of the third trimester baby measures around 46 - 51 cm (18" - 20") and weights around 3.2 kg (7 lb).

Symptoms: 

Fatigue - The burst if angry I had during the second trimester started to disappear and I often felt extremely tired, taking naps during the day.

Acne - I had been luckily enough during most of my pregnancy to not have any skin complaints but during the last few weeks I started to get a few outbreaks of acne on my face. I found using a good cleanser and having days of wearing no makeup really helped.

Breathlessness - After walking up a hill or the stairs in my house I would become breathless. At around 34 weeks, when baby dropped into my pelvis, this feeling started to subside.

Pelvic Pressure - Once baby had dropped into my pelvis the 'lightening' pains started. At first I would only get the short, sharp pains as I walked around but as I moved further towards the end of the third trimester I found I would even get them when just laying down in bed or watching TV on the sofa.

Frequent Urination - With baby having dropped so low in my pelvis she was now using my bladder as a pillow meaning more frequent trips to the little girls room.

Back Ache - As baby gained weight and my bump grew bigger I started to get pain in my lower back and between the shoulder blades.

Braxton Hicks - I started to get noticeable Braxton Hicks pains contractions at around 36 weeks and these increased in intensity and frequency right up until baby Ava Mae arrived.

Swelling - In the final few weeks of pregnancy my hands really started to swell. This was partly due to pregnancy and partly due to my Arthritis starting to flare up again. Throughout most of my pregnancy my Arthritis went into remission but started to come back towards the end. I was unable to remove my wedding and engagement rings and became really nervous that would have to have them cut off. 

The Best Moments:

Baby's Movement - Baby's movements started to become much more noticeable and I was able to start to distinguish between her different body parts protruding from my belly.


Growth Scans - Due to episodes of reduced movements I had a few growth scans during the last trimester. We were able to get such a clear picture of little Ava Mae's face from one of them. Her eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth and chunky cheeks were all clearly visible.

Baby's Coming - When I found out I was pregnant I knew Ava Mae's birthday would be very close to Christmas and I worried about them being so closed together. You know what I mean, the "This is your birthday as well as your Christmas present". No! Everyone else gets two! As Christmas got closer I started to realise its such a nice time of year to welcome a new baby into the family and I will always find ways to make birthday and Christmases so special for her.

Finishing The Nursery - I was so happy to have the nursery all finished. This simple milestone signified so much for me. It meant we finally had everything ready for Ava Mae's arrival and it also meant that I would soon have a baby in my arms, something I never thought would happen.

The Worst Moments:

Taking Maternity Leave Early - After falling down the stairs at 28 weeks pregnant I decided to take my maternity leave as soon as I could at 29 weeks. I was hoping I would be able to carry on working for a little while longer but after getting so far with this pregnancy I really did not want to risk the complications of her being born too soon.

Losing Mucus Plug - At 30 weeks I lost my mucus plug. I had to go into hospital to be monitored just to make sure I was not going into premature labour. Thankfully Ava Mae decided to stay put!

Kidney Stones - I passed a kidney stone between 12 and 16 weeks of my pregnancy and then again at around 32 weeks. It was difficult not being able to take any strong pain relief due to being pregnant.

SPD - At around 37 weeks my doctor mentioned Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). This is were the ligament that normally keep your pelvic bone aligned during pregnancy become relaxed and stretchy too soon before birth, making the pelvic joint unstable. I needed to use my crutches to walk during the last few weeks as I would often get a sharp pain which felt like my hip was dislocating or moving awkwardly at the joint.

Depression - My entire pregnancy often felt like a rollercoaster ride of many ups and downs. I experienced my fair share of complications, this coupled with the recurrent miscarriages meant it came as no surprise when I started to feel really low about my pregnancy. I just wanted Ava Mae out and to know she was safe as being inside me just didn't feel like the best place for her anymore. Luckily although the depression had been gradually building for a while it soon started to disappear as I opened up to my mental health midwife and Ava Mae was born. 

Most Embarrassing Pregnancy Moment:

I had my first home visit from the health visitor. Ian was able to get the morning off working for the visit and we all sat happily around our kitchen table talking about our family and plans for baby. I sat on my birthing ball happily bouncing and rotating away as the kitchen chairs no longer felt all that comfortable. After an hour the health visitor left and I made my way up the stairs to pop some bits into the nursery. As I was walking up the stairs I felt baby do a huge movement but didn't think too much to it. I reached the top of the stairs and felt a gush down my legs that just kept coming. Ian's face went white as he asked "Is that what we have been waiting for? Was that your waters?" I felt like crying as a swallowed what little dignity I had remaining from the pregnancy and replied "No babe, that was a wee!". Turns out an hour or rotating on the pregnancy ball is great for getting baby engaged but not so great when it means baby then squashes the bladder forcing out all its contents! 

Claire Louise Xx

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Welcome Baby Ava Mae


Ava Mae
15th December 2016
2:07pm - 6lb 10oz - 19" 

Ian and I are over the moon to announce that on Thursday Ava Mae came into the world! Meeting our rainbow baby was such a magical experience and I can't wait to share my birth story with you. These last few days we have been bonding and adjusting to becoming a family of three.  Expect plenty of baby spam on Instagram from now on! 

Claire Louise Xx

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Ava Mae's Nursery Room Tour

I have finally managed to complete Ava Mae's nursery room tour! It has taken so long, mostly because I have not been at home to take any of the photos and partly due to there being the odd few little decor jobs to finish. It feels good knowing that if Ava Mae did decided to make an early appearance then her room would be all finished! 

 
 
 

Amazon:
Retro Flying Swallows Wall Art - £9.59. 
Chunky Knitted Pouffe - £29. 
Cot Canopy - £21. 
Mosquito Net Bed Canopy - £13.99. 

Argos:
Bush Bluetooth Stero Speaker - £29.99.
Apple iPod Touch 6th Generation 16GB - £179.

ASDA:
George Home Chenille Stripe Cushion - £4.
George Rabbit - £6.
George Home White Chimmey Light Shade - £5.
George Home Rope Storage Basket £5.

B&M:
Pleated Throw - £9.99.
Bella Butterfly Boudoir Cushion - £5.99.

Dunelm:
Dorma Duck Egg Regency Wallpaper - £19.99.
Montana Duck Egg Lined Eyelet Curtains - £19.99.

eBay:
Radiator Cover - £37.99.
Rocking Chair - £79.98.
Duck Egg Rug - £25.67.
Cot Skirt - £5.99.
Breathable Baby AirFlow 2-Sided Mesh Airflow Cot Liner - £8.

IKEA:
STUVA Cot - £150.
STUVA Wardrobe - £120.
STUVA Changing Table - £130.

Matalan:
Elephant & Giraffe Changing Mat - £8. 

Mothercare:
Lullaby Moon Bed In A Bag - £70.

Poundland:
Vintage Photo Frames - £1 each.

TK Maxx:
Roca Home Throw Blanket - £14.99.

Wilko:
Wilko Split Wood Laundry Hamper - £10.

I had an idea in my head right from the start on how I wanted my little girls room to look. I wanted nursery decor that she could really grow with and would't just be for her first year as a baby. We are currently renting and saving for a mortgage so I don't want to be spending money redecorating rooms all that often when we are not planning on staying in the house. I'm really happy with how it has turned out. I found the wall paper first and the rest just fell into place from there. Ava Mae has her own little entertainment system with a bluetooth speaker and her first iPod so I can play her music and there is also a colour changing LED light bulb in her light fitting, very spoilt!


I have uploaded a video tour to my YouTube channel where I show some of the ways I have used my nursery storage was well as a walk around the room!

Claire Louise Xx

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Friday, 4 November 2016

Pregnancy Essentials: Second Trimester 14 - 26 Weeks of Pregnancy

It's time for my second trimester pregnancy essentials, all the things I have found that helped me survive the second trimester of pregnancy and made those pregnancy symptoms just that little bit easier to cope with! 


Pregnancy Essentials: Second Trimester 14 - 26 Weeks of Pregnancy 

Pregnancy Pillow - During the second trimester my baby bump seemed to appear overnight and as the weeks went by I found it harder and harder to get comfortable nights sleep. On a trip to Mothercare I picked up the Dreamgenii Pregnancy and Feeding Support Pillow, at £36.99 its the most I have ever spent on a pillow but I justified it as it can also be used as a nursing pillow. I am also planning on taking this pillow with me when I have baby as apparently it can help ease the pain of labour. 

Stretch Mark Creams - I earned my tiger stripes during the second trimester. Luckily I have not got any stretch marks on my tummy (touch wood) but I have started to gain a few on my bum and thighs. I am not too bothered by them as they are only small and in places that I never have on show anyway. Even so to help with the stretch marks and the dry skin on my tummy I decided to give some stretch mark creams a go. Out of the few that I have tried the one I like the most has been the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter. I purchased this from Boots for around £4. Firstly the tub lasts forever as a small amount goes a long way. I also love the smell and the butter is really moisturising. 

Maternity Clothes - I finally caved and bought maternity clothes after bending down and splitting my leggings. Luckily I was home alone at the time which saved me any embarrassment. I headed to H&M after hearing about their reasonably prices maternity clothes and bought my first pair of maternity jeans and a few tops. If you missed my maternity clothing post you can catch up here. I really recommend over bump maternity jeans as the band gives so much support and feels really comfortable, by far the best pair of jeans I have ever owned! 

Notebooks & List Making - Making it to the second trimester meant I could breathe a sign of relief and start to relax a little. I stopped worrying so much about another miscarriage and started to embrace being pregnant. We started making plans for the nursery and what we would need to buy for baby. I bought a notebook and went crazy making lists of all the things we needed to get and do. I found making a list really useful, as this is our first baby the shopping list quickly grew and having it written down meant we could sit down and take off the things that we really thought we needed but didn't! 

Headphones - During the second trimester baby develops the ability to hear sounds from outside the womb so Ian was very eager to play baby music. Headphones designed for the bump can be so expensive so I started looking at what normal over ear headphones I could used instead. I found a cheap pair of over ear headphones that had ear pieces which could be turned outwards and laid flat on my bump. I was surprised at just how much Ava Mae kicks and squirms about when playing her music! 

What did you find helped you through the second trimester of pregnancy?

Claire Louise Xx

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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Second Trimester Update: 14 - 26 Weeks of Pregnancy

I am 33 weeks pregnant today so well and truly out of the second trimester but it has taken me so long to write this post! I have been so busy that I have just really struggled finding the time to blog. I feel like this week has been a total waste too as I have have been spending most of time in bed nursing a viral infection. Hopefully I am over the worst of it now! 


Second Trimester Update: 14 - 26 Weeks of Pregnancy

Baby now has well defined fingers and toes and her eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails and hair are formed. She can now suck her thumb, yawn, stretch and make faces. By this point in the pregnancy the reproductive organs and genitalia are now fully formed making it possible to find out the gender. Baby's skin is a reddish colour, wrinkled with veins visible through her translucent skin. She can now hear sounds from outside the womb and may even respond to them by moving and kicking. 

By the end of the second trimester baby measures around 30 cm (12") and weights around 5.5 kg (2 lb). 

Symptoms: 

Full of Energy - The second trimester has been like a honeymoon period compared to the first. My morning sickness disappeared completely by 16 weeks and I suddenly had loads of energy. I felt like I was finally abled to start enjoying being pregnant. 

Clear Skin - I have always had small breakouts of acne since my teenage years but during the second trimester my skin became the best it has ever been. I received a lot of comments on my 'pregnancy glow' and for the first time in years I felt like I could comfortably leave the house without wearing any foundation! 

The Best Moments:

Feeling Baby Move - The highlight of the second trimester is starting to feel baby move. Looking back I am sure I started to feel baby at around 12 weeks as little flutters but that is nothing compared to the powerful kicks I got towards the end of the second trimester. I even managed to capture a short video of some of her little kicks and have popped it on my YouTube channel! 


Private Gender Scan - At 16 weeks we where able to have a gender scan and plan our gender reveal party. If you missed our gender reveal party blog post you can catch up here. We found out our little bundle is going to be a girl and we have decided on the name Ava Mae. I was not too sure when I first found out I was having a girl. I had always imagined a little boy being a bit of a tomboy myself but now I can't wait to meet her and have truly embraced all the frilly pink dresses.

Arthritis in Remission - I developed Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis at such a young age and at 26 it has damaged a lot of my joints causing problems with mobility and chronic pain. Before becoming pregnant I was on a stack of painkillers and weekly injections. I had to stop my medication to become pregnant which was nerve-racking as we did not know if this would cause problems with painful flare ups. Luckily the pregnancy has caused my arthritis to go into remission. It feels great to have had no flare ups, the only pain I have not is from joints that have been damaged. I'm just hoping now that it does not come back full force after having baby!

The Worst Moments:

Mid-Pregnancy Anomaly Scan - Ultrasound scans should be such a happy time but with my history of recurrent miscarriage I can't help but hate them! My anomaly scan at 20 weeks was the worst, I felt so sick with nerves before the scan because I could not help but think something will be wrong. Luckily everything was fine and we found out that little Ava Mae has really long legs, I'm sure she will make a fantastic ballet dancer! 

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome - At around 24 weeks I started having some really bad pains in my wrists. I knew it was not my Arthritis as it did not feel like it was coming from my joints. I found I had painful pins and needles, could not grip properly and even lifting a glass was annoy. I told my midwife who said it is common in pregnancy to develop Carpel Tunnel Syndrome as fluid builds up in the body and this swelling squeezes the nerves. I was told to dig out the wrist splints I wear for my Arthritis  to support my wrists.

Most Embarrassing Pregnancy Moment:

We decided to visit some of our friends down south for the weekend and I had been suffering with constipation as well as struggling to eat due to my growing bump pushing my stomach up into my ribcage. We sat at the table having breakfast one morning when I finally felt the urge to go. I had not been to the toilet properly in days so this was a welcome feeling. I excused myself from the table and went to the toilet. As soon as I started to go I knew it was not going to end well. It was so painful and with every push I could feel my breakfast being push upward out of my stomach. I had reached the point of no return and had no choice but to continue pushing whilst vomiting up my breakfast at the sometime. With no hope of reaching the sink from the toilet I quickly managed to kick the bathmat out of the way so it was only the titled bathroom floor that feel victim. I felt so mortified as I had to shout down the stairs for someone to bring me things to clean the bathroom with. All I can say is that there truly is no dignity in pregnancy! 

Claire Louise Xx

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Friday, 21 October 2016

Paperchase Scrapbooking

One of my guilty pleasures is stationary and scrapbook materials. One of my favourite shops is Paperchase. I can't walk past without the urge to go inside, there is nothing I love more than walking around in search of quirky new bits of stationary. For sometime I have wanted to start a scrapbook for baby Ava Mae. I imagine being able to give her scrapbooks on her 18th birthday that are filled with scan pictures, photographs and keepsakes to document every moment of pregnancy and her life. A little while ago I found myself browsing the Paperchase website for all the bits I would need to get started with scrapbooking, needless to say it quickly escalated to me placing an order! 


Paperchase
Kraft Square Scrapbook - £8.50.
252 Self Adhesive Paper Photo Corners - £4.75. 
Paperworks Ribbed Kraft C6 Envelopes (10 Pack) - £3.50.
500 Transparent Self Adhesive Photo Corners - £2. 
5 Coloured Cat Highlighters - £4. 

My order arrived really quickly and It felt like Christmas opening it! New stationary never fails to put a smile on my face! I really like the Kraft scrapbook and although Paperchase now offer the ability to be able to add customised messages to the front of their scrapbooks I decided not to. I like that the front of the scrapbook is plane so I can eventually add my own design to the front. I also bought some photo corners to stick in photographs and envelopes to hold any keepsakes. Although I did not really need to cat highlights they ended up in my oder anyway. I have a soft spot for cats and they look so cute! 

I can't wait to share some of the pages with you!  At the moment I have just finished sticking in all her scan pictures and I'm moving onto adding photos from our Gender Reveal Party

Do you keep a scrapbook?

Claire Louise Xx

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Just Not Very Good At Being Pregnant!

I really wanted to get stuck into blogging and being a little more sociable this week whilst starting my maternity leave but yet again things have not gone to plan! During last week my mum came over to help sort out the house ready for baby Ava Mae's arrival. I have gone into major nesting mode and it turns out I did a little too much....


After decorating and going into mass 'clean like crazy' mode with my mum on the Thursday I woke up Friday morning and found I had passed my mucus plug at 30 weeks! Whilst I was home alone, with Ian at work, I didn't think about calling the hospital or my midwife for most of the day as I was not in any pain or discomfort. It was only towards the evening as Ian came home I thought of ringing my mum who insisted I should call the hospital. So after a quick phone call off to the hospital we went. 

Once we arrived at the hospital I started to experience some tightening on my bump and sharp shooting pains on my cervix. I had an internal exam and some swabs taken to see if I was going into labour. Luckily these came back negative but I was kept in overnight to have baby monitored and discharged the next day once the pain and tightening had settled down. 


I was due to have a growth scan in two weeks but my consultant thought it would be best brought forward just to check that everything was okay with baby. Although little Ava Mae is proving to be a trouble maker thankfully everything was fine and she is head down in a good position ready for delivery. Everything was forgiven as during the scan she turned her head and gave us a beautiful picture of her face! Just look at those chubby chops!

I feel so disappointed in myself at the moment its unreal! I struggled with morning sickness and the fear of another miscarriage during the first trimester of my pregnancy. The second trimester felt like a blissful honeymoon period, I felt great and really started to enjoy being pregnant. Now I have entered the last trimester I just feel like I am totally rubbish at being pregnant! I have become really clumsy and accident prone and just feel like Ava Mae is not safe inside me anymore as I constantly worry that something is going to go wrong at the last hurdle. I know all of these feelings are totally natural but it doesn't stop them from getting me down. I'm just really not enjoying these finally weeks. I want her to stay put as long as possible to make sure she is healthy but at the same time I have found myself counting down these last few weeks of pregnancy looking forward to B-day more than ever! 

It was always planned that closer to my due date (21st December) I would spend weekdays, whilst Ian is at work, staying at my mums as her house if closer to the hospital I plan on delivering at and it would also mean not being home alone during the day. After everything that has happened and just with the way I am feeling at the moment we have decided to bring this forward. So I'm currently sat at my mums being pampered like crazy obviously with the occasional "You're not carrying that!" as I'm now banned from going anywhere near the hoover or dust cloth! 

I keep telling myself that hopefully I will be one of those women who is sucks at being pregnant but handles labour like a warrior, I can dream right?

Being at my mums is giving me time to catch up on blog posts but it does mean I won't be able to film or blog my nursery room tour for a little while longer! I do have a few other posts I can be getting on with including some shopping a did for my hospital bag and my second trimester update! 

Claire Louise Xx

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Baby Haul

I feel like I have been so rubbish with my blog over the past week! After a fall down the stairs I had to take some time to rest and decided to take my maternity leave two weeks earlier than planned. Luckily both baby and I are fine. Yesterday was my first official day of maternity leave and I'm going to be 30 weeks on tomorrow so I'm looking forward to resting and getting all the final bits done before baby arrives! I have finally gotten around to blogging my baby haul post featuring the things I have been buying for baby over the past few months.


Amazon:
Shnuggle Bath Tub - £19.98.

Aldi:
Slumberdown Bump & Baby Nursing Pillow - £9.99.

ASDA:
The Gro Company Gro Egg Digital Room Thermometer  - £20.
Kinder Valley Moses Basket Rocking Stand - £20.
Kinder Valley Wish Upon A Star Moses Basket - £27.
Graco Baby Delight Swing - £45.

BabiesRUS:
Tommee Tippee Sangenic Tec Nappy Disposal System - £24.99.
Angelcare Nappy Disposal System - £7.49.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine - £74.99

Mothercare:
Tommee Tippee Express and Go Pouches - £6.99.
Tommee Tippee Express and Go Storage Case - £9.99.
Tommee Tippee Express and Go Pouch Bottle - £7.99.
Tommee Tippee Express and Go Breast Pump Adaptors - £4.49.

Boots:
Babymel Satchel Jumbo Dot Navy Changing Bag - £45 SALE £36.
Motorola MBP26 Digital Video baby Monitor and Babysense Pad - £159.99 25% off £120.65.
Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser - £6.99.

TK Maxx:
Lindam Adjustable Back Seat Mirror - £9.99. 

The Baby Show:
Cybex Anton Q-Plus Group 0+ Carseat (Royal Blue) - £216.
Cybex ISOFIX Base - £99.
Close Parent Pop-in New Gen V2 Big Box Reusable Nappies (Bamboo) - £289. 
iCandy Peach Royal Blue - £1015.
- seat
- seat liner
- Footmuff
- Rain Covers.
- Carry Cot.
- Elevators.
- Carseat Adapter.

I have been saving like crazy and going without so much that I used to enjoy to be abled to afford all these things. I feel really proud of myself for being able to do it all and it feels so good knowing I now have everything I need and the nursery is almost complete! I absolutely love my iCandy and I can't wait to be pushing Ava Mae around in it!

Claire Louise Xx

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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Pregnancy Essentials: First Trimester 1 - 13 Weeks of Pregnancy

I thought it would be good to share little lists of any pregnancy essentials I have found to help with each trimester of pregnancy. Some of these might seem really obvious but honestly until I was pregnant I never knew half of these little hacks existed or what to do to make things a little easier! The first trimester was mostly about coping with morning sickness! My sickness started around 6 weeks, peaked at around 12 weeks and went at around 16 weeks. Thats a long time to be feeling terrible! 



Pregnancy Essentials: First Trimester  1 - 13 Weeks of Pregnancy 

Ginger Nut Biscuits -  Morning sickness for me was awful, there were moments when I thought I could not cope anymore! I was told ginger really helps but the flavour is something I find hard to eat, it can taste so overpowering. Luckily I found Asda's ginger nuts went down a treat and did not leave my mouth tasting of ginger for the rest of the day. At only 60p a pack I could really stock the cupboards with them!

Bucket in the Car - Driving to work with morning sickness was challenging. At one point I vomited over my steering wheel, I never thought it was humanly possible to drive and vomit at the same time without causing a pileup! I bought a cheap bucket which was large enough to aim into but small enough it fit into the front passenger footwell of my car. Cleaning vomit out of the car was no fun and much easier just to clean and empty a bucket!

Fruit - Fruit was my secret weapon against morning sickness. It might sound like the last thing you want to do when feeling so ill but forcing yourself to eat something makes a big difference. I would fill my lunch bag for work with my five a day and then nibble on them throughout the morning. Anytime I felt a wave of nausea I would chow down on a piece of fruit and the feeling would quickly pass, little and often was key. I could rejoice in knowing that even if I had not managed a full meal that day baby had gotten a stack load of goodness from all the fruit.

Sea-Bands - A work colleague told me about see bands and I am so glad she did. These little wrist bands are not only great for travel sickness but help with the nausea of morning sickness too. I purchased mine from Boots for £8.59 and they lasted me throughout the first trimester, I still have them sat in a draw now. They do feel a little tight and uncomfortable at first, pushing on pressure points in your wrist but you get used to them and I could really feel the difference if I didn't wear them.

Water - Being sick often meant staying hydrated was really important. I am rubbish at remembering to drink enough water at the best of times but I made an extra effort once I found out I was expecting. I would fill my water bottle and always made sure I had it with me. If like me drinking water just really is not your thing try adding bits of chopped up fruit to add some natural flavour!

Pregnancy Vitamins - There are so many different pregnancy vitamins on the market it can be hard to choose! I found that the Vitabiotics Pregnacare Plus Omega 3 worked well for me. You may find certain vitamins make your morning sickness worse as your stomach just cannot tolerate them but I found these to be really easy to digest. They cost £15.29 from Boots and to save myself some money I would often wait until I could buy them in a multi buy offer from either Boots or my local supermarket to grab a few boxes at a time.

What did you find helped you through the first trimester of pregnancy?

Claire Louise Xx

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Muskegon Oval Glasses from GlassesShop.com*

I was recently contacted by GlassesShop.com asking if I would be interested in reviewing a pair of their glasses. I jumped at the chance, mostly because my usual pair had just broken and I was in desperate need of a replacement. Note to self: I must take better care of my glasses!!!

Over the past year I started to notice problems with my vision and found I needed to starting wearing glasses all the time. I usually purchase my glasses from the high street and had never really considered ordering glasses online. The thought had always made me a little nervous as I find it very hard to find frames that suit my facial features. There really is nothing worse than trying to pull off full framed spectacles and ending up looking like you are about to enter a Harry Potter convention! 


Muskegon Oval Glasses (Black)*

Finding a pair of glasses I liked did not take long as there were so many frames to choose from and the website was really easy to navigate. There is also a 'Try On' feature which allows you to see how the frames look on different genders and face shapes. You can also find a wide selection of prescription sunglassesThe glasses I choose are the Muskegon Oval in black. I was drawn to the thin black frames and subtle maroon coloured tabs on the sides. I then had to find my pupillary distance (PD measurement) with very helpful step by step instructions on the website. I first thought doing this at home would be really difficult but all I needed was a ruler and a helping hand from my hubby to measure the distance between my pupils. Finally I sent off my prescription information and it took around two weeks for my glasses to arrive in the post. 


My glasses arrived well packaged with a case and cleaning cloth and I popped them on right away. I was nervous that they would be too loose and fall off my face but I was pleased to find my prescription was spot on and they fit perfectly. One thing I really love most about these glasses is they are so lightweight with no compromise on quality feeling really sturdy. I normally opt for thick full framed glasses and have found in the past that these styles of frames can feel really overpowering and heavy to wear. This often means I end up taking them off and placing them on my head for a break, which is not only good for looking after the frames but does not do my eyesight any favours either as I end up bumping into things. Thankfully I have not had to do this once as these frames feel so comfortable. These glasses look stylish and feel like they will last even though they cost only a fraction of what my old designer frames cost from the high street. 

My only little niggle is the reflection on the lenses, trying to take a photo wearing them was difficult as in every shot there would be light reflecting off them. Although I don't notice this in my vision when wearing them it does make me wonder if other people can see it when I am walking around with them on, although my hubby insists they look great!

I have also been given a coupon code to share with you! Use the code GSHOT50 to enjoy 50% off on eyeglasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded). 

Disclaimer: Muskegon Oval glasses provided by GlassesShop.com (www.glassesshop.com). See full disclaimer.

Claire Louise Xx

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Friday, 9 September 2016

First Trimester Update: 1 - 13 Weeks of Pregnancy

I'm currently 25 weeks pregnant so it does feel a little strange writing a first trimester update! I took a break from blogging and have only recently just started back up again. It would take me a long time to catch up on weekly pregnancy updates now I am just over half way through. Instead I have decided to give you updates at every trimester. So heres the first trimester and soon I will be able to share my experience of the second trimester! 


First Trimester Update: 1 - 13 Weeks of Pregnancy

Baby has been very busy during the first trimester growing a placenta, facial features and developing her nervous system including brain and spinal cord. By the end of the first trimester baby is fully formed, looking more like a tiny human, having all its limbs, fingers and toes! Baby can also now open and close her fists and mouth and teeth are starting to form. Many of baby's organs are working including the heart, liver and kidneys. 

By the end of the first trimester baby measures around 7.6 to 10 cm (3 to 4") and weighs around 28g (1 oz).

Symptoms:

Morning Sickness - Morning sickness kicked in thick and fast for me. I first started to feel it at around 6 weeks and it peaked at around 12 weeks then started to gradually subside. I found that eating pieces of fruit little and often throughout the morning really helped as well as nibbling on a ginger biscuit before getting up in the morning.

Fatigue - I felt tired all the time! I would come in from work and jump straight into bed, that was me done for the day! I fund myself stealing naps whenever I could!

Breast Tenderness - By 10 weeks I had purchased my first set of maternity bras! Not only had I gone up two cup sizes in a very short amount of time my breast hurt like crazy. I called into my local Debenhams and got myself properly measured. I bought bras with no underwire which felt really comfy and helped with the tenderness.

Constipation - Even before pregnancy I was never a regular pooper! I could happily go three days without having a bowl movement. Pregnancy however made things worse. I think the longest I went was six days and when I did eventually go it was really hard and painful! Eating fruit helped but one saving grace I did find was using a toddler toilet step. I would put my feet up on the step and could assume and more comfortable squatting position. Lets just say there really is no dignity in pregnancy! 

The Best Moments:

Positive Pregnancy Test - Seeing those two lines appear was a really special moment! I spent the rest of the day letting out a freakish giggle every time I thought of the test. I also got very addicted to seeing those two lines taking a pregnancy test every few days just to make sure!

Private Dating Scan - After having recurrent miscarriages there was no way I could wait until my 12 week scan and there was no guarantee I would be offered a dating scan as I had been tracking my cycles and knew the date of my last period. Ian and I decided to pay £60 for a private dating scan to make sure that everything was okay with baby. I was only 7 weeks pregnant so there was not much to see on the scan but hearing babies heartbeat was so reassuring, I cried with relief.

Pregnancy Announcement - Once I had my 12 week scan we decided it was time to announce the pregnancy, there was just no way I could keep it inside anymore and I had already started to show a small baby bump. I had so much fun looking on Pinterest for ideas and decided that I wanted to include our two cats, Mia and Molly, in our announcement. The cats took some bribing with treats to get the perfect shot but it was worth it!



The Worst Moments:

Fear - Finding out I was pregnant again after three miscarriages was really stressful. I want to do a post sharing my experience of recurrent miscarriages and our journey to try and find answers but at the moment I just don't feel ready. The first trimester was the worst taking everything day by day. Now I am in the second trimester we have started a relax, taking things week by week. I just don't think the fear will completely go until Ava Mae is here and I have her in my arms!

Kidney Stones - This is not pregnancy related but its something I had to deal with in my first trimester. Having kidney stones is no fun at the best of times but being pregnant made it so much harder! I started having a pain in my side at 6 weeks and after the miscarriages alarm bells started ringing so I went straight to hospital. After having baby checked over I was told it was 'baby growing pains' and was sent home. I felt like a failure, how could baby growing cause this much pain or was I just being a wimp? The pain kept coming until finally my mum decided enough was enough. She took me to her local hospital who ran tests and told me I had two kidney stones in my left kidney, no wonder I was in pain! Although I had a reason for the pain there was nothing I could do for it, the high dose painkillers I needed were a no no during pregnancy and I could not have medication to help pass the kidney stones either! My midwife said if I would pass kidney stones with no pain relief then labour would be a breeze...I hope she's right!

Most Embarrassing Pregnancy Moment:

Throwing up all over my car steering wheel! It was bound to happen at some whilst driving to work and I quickly purchased a small bucket to keep in the passenger footwell for future journeys.

Claire Louise Xx

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Castle Rising Kings Lynn

In March Ian and I had a few days away with some friends in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. We all stayed in a little holiday cottage tucked away in the gorgeous Norfolk countryside. The cottage we stayed in was not far away from Castle Rising and we just could not resist a visit.


"Castle Rising Castle is one of the most famous 12th Century castles in England. The stone keep, built in around 1140 AD, is amongst the finest surviving examples of its kind anywhere in the country and, together with the massive surrounding earthworks, ensures that Rising is a castle of national importance. In its time Rising has served as a hunting lodge, royal residence, and for a brief time in the 18th century even housed a mental patient." - www.castlerising.co.uk.

Admittance to the Castle was really reasonable at £4.50 for adults and £3 for children with the option to purchase an audio guide. The visitor center also had a carpark, gift shop and toilets so there was no worry about staying for the full day and there is also a lovely cafe and pub nearby. 

I never leave the house without some sort of device for taking photos be it my phone, a little compact camera of my DSLR. Our trip to Kings Lynn was no different so along with my weekend bag I also had my camera bag. At Castle Rising I took lots of photos as it is such a beautiful place, full of character and history. I loved capturing the detail of the stonework. 

Claire Louise Xx

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Friday, 2 September 2016

Project B Pregnancy Subscription Box

From the moment I found out I was pregnant one of the things I have looked forward to doing is subscribing to a pregnancy or parenting subscription box. Ever since my first beauty box subscription I have loved the idea to receiving a regular box through the post and the excitement of seeing what might be inside. Every month felt like Christmas waiting for the boxes to arrive and it was always a great way of finding new products to try. 

After a quick google search I found Project B (www.project-b.com) who offer seven boxes, priced at £14.99 each, plus the option to buy a mother and baby gift box priced at £30. Each of the boxes are designed to cater for certain weeks of pregnancy and each have a different theme.

The Boxes:
Box 1 - Nurture: 12-15 weeks.
Box 2 - Blossom: 16-19 weeks.
Box 3 - Energies: 20-24 weeks.
Box 4 - Relax: 25-29 weeks.
Box 5 - Prepare: 30-34 weeks.
Box 6 - Nest: 35-39 weeks.
Box 7 - Arrive: 40+ weeks.

Box 1 - Nurture 12-15 Weeks of Pregnancy

Signing up and creating an account was really quick and easy. You simply choose if the box is a gift or for yourself and then select the box that you would like subscription to start from. This is great as it means you can start the subscription at any point of your pregnancy by simply selecting the box for how many weeks pregnant you are. After creating an account and entering payment info its just a case of waiting for the boxes to arrive each month. After I had signed up my box took around five days to arrive.


Inside My Box:
- Information about the products inside. 
- Information cards including your pregnancy this month, maternity clothes guide, the importance of regular exercise and eating well. 
- A card to hold a scan photo. 
- A voucher for www.fittamamma.com who offer active maternity wear (£5). 
- B Magazine Spring 2016 edition (£4.99). 
- Nairns Mixed Berries Oat Biscuits (sample). 
- Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks (50ml sample). 
- Pukka Herbs Three Ginger Tea Bags (sample). 
- Vitabiotics Ginger Pastilles Ginger Root & Blueberry (£6.95). 
- Vitabiotics Pregnacare Original Pregnancy Vitamins (sample). 
- SASS Intimate Purifying Cleanser (£7). 
- DK Pregnancy The Beginners Guide (£12.99). 

After opening my box I had very mixed feelings. What I am about to say might seem like I am being really picking but one reality of subscription boxes I think you have to understand is that the first box you receive either hooks you into keeping up the subscription or doesn't and if I am honest this box just did not do it for me! I felt a little disappointment in the products I had received. Although there was a nice balance between samples and products worth paying the price of the box it just felt a little drab. 

As soon as you have your booking in appointment with your midwife you are often given free samples or information on how to claim goodie bags filled with free samples, in particularly from Emma's Diary and Bounty. The majority of the samples in this box I had already been given plenty of. No joke, I have a draw filled with at least six bottles of the Palmers stretch mark lotion and enough Vitabiotics vitamins to last me until baby is here! I just felt that Project B could of been a little more unique with the samples they had chosen to include in the box so that it offered an opportunity to really try something new. 

My box included a much needed overload of ginger! Morning sickness was at its peak for me during those first 6 to 14 weeks of pregnancy and having anything ginger helped combat the sickness! The flavours in the Pukka Herbs tea were a little overpowering but the Vitabiotics ginger pastilles were a definite win! Pregnancy hormones were causing my skin to breakout like crazy so the SASS purifying cleanser was another saving grace as it was so gentle on my skin. The pregnancy book has also come in handy, packed full of information and tips for each stage of pregnancy and birth. 

In the end I decided to cancel my subscription as I just wasn't excited about it enough to continue paying £14.99 a month when I could spend the money on baby. I am on the hunt for another box to  try once baby is born as I like the idea of receiving a box more focused on products for baby.  

Have you tired any pregnancy or parenting subscription boxes? 

Claire Louise Xx

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