june-firsts-babys-first-year
Baby M's firsts, Mum time

June Firsts

Who can believe another month has come and gone again? The heat has made May, June and now July roll into one, so it’s taken some real thought to remember what actually happened in each month, and what date it was actually a first! I’m blaming this partly on going back to work, so things have been even more hectic than usual, but in reality I should probably just keep better note of things when they happen! However we still managed to get up to plenty of new activities together as a family.

First weekend without mum

So, I braved it. At the beginning of June, I had a girls weekend planned. This is an annual trip we take to Dunoon to celebrate birthdays, catch up and generally have a great stress-free girlie weekend. Most of the girls who go are mums too, so they feel the pain of the double-edged sword that is much-needed me-time and missing your kid(s). We usually go on the Friday and come back on the Monday, but I decided I wasn’t quite ready to leave Trav for that long, so opted to come home on Sunday, with Trav and dad coming to get me. It was a great weekend for me, with some much needed adult-only company, but it has to be said that I did miss the wee man, and facetimed him before we went out on the Saturday night. It was a weird feeling, going back to being my old self for a weekend, not being responsible for anyone else, but knowing that he was at home with his dad didn’t fill me with the dread that I thought it might. Although Travis has spent a night at grandparent’s here and there, I’d never been away from him for longer than that. It’s not something I’d look to repeat in a hurry, but I do think that the break from mum was probably a good thing for him, especially as he would have to get used to going to nursery and being away from mum for most of the day, all week.

First trip to the farm

Making the most of mum’s final few days off, we decided to do and see as much as we could – especially with the weather being so good. One place none of us had ever been to was Ardardan Farm. It’s in Cardross, which is really local to us, and has lots to see and do, so it was a no brainer to head along on 8th June. There are trail walks (some of which weren’t so buggy friendly), a farm shop, cafe, garden centre, and most importantly – there are animals! Travis got to see some wee lambs, some hens and some Clydesdale ponies for the first time. Unfortunately the main attraction, the pigs, had moved on to pastures new, and the farmers were awaiting new pigs in their place. Ardardan Farm also offers loads of activities for kids, families, and even has its own private space to rent for functions and gatherings, so it’s somewhere we will definitely be visiting again!

Mum first: First day back at work

Who can believe the last 9 months have flown by in the blink of an eye?! On Monday 11th June I returned to work with a bang. Craig was off, so the first day wasn’t as hectic as it could have been, and could rest somewhat easy knowing that Travis would be fine with his dad. The first couple of days seemed really long; things didn’t revolve around feeding and napping (boo to the latter!) and I could make tea and coffee, use the bathroom and even check email in peace! After the first few days passed, and the adrenalin wore off, I definitely needed to be fuelled by caffeine. It almost felt like back in the early days when Travis would be up 10 times a night and we were still trying to decipher night from day. But we’re getting there, and although I miss seeing the little fella all day, every day, it’s nice to get back into the swing of things and be around adult company and stimulation during the day.

First Hartbeeps with dad

So as mum went back to work, dad took on the responsibility of taking Travis to his classes, including Hartbeeps. I was unsure how Craig would get on, especially since the class is usually all mums, with the exception of a granny or a dad on haydays and bank holidays. I shouldn’t have worried though, as both of them loved it! The sun was shining so Laura decided to take the class outside for sports day. Travis got a wee photo with his medal (not sure what for, mind you. Maybe doing the most roly polys rather than crawling?)

First day with Auntie Kristen and his bestie

On Day 2 of mum’s return to work, Travis went to spend the day with his Auntie Kristen, and his bestie, Evan. Dad was working and he wasn’t due to start nursery until the following week so Auntie Kristen saved the day and even took the wee man to Bookbug so he wasn’t missing out! They got up to all sorts together – trips to the shop, a ride on the bus, playtime and even feeding too. There’s no denying, Auntie Kristen is a hero and superwoman managing to take care of and amuse 2 kiddos under 2.

First trip in mum’s new car

So my old car was a total treasure and I loved it. I mean it was 12 years old, had 3 doors and had so many ‘quirks’ to it that it wasn’t even funny, but I loved it nonetheless. So it was a real shame to have to get rid of it, but it was getting to the point that there would be something wrong with it every other week. Apart from the fact it was costing so much (and on a maternity wage!) to repair, it wasn’t practical for Travis with only 3 doors, and it certainly wasn’t convenient getting stuck with him anywhere if we broke down! I also drive a 50 mile a day round trip for work, so I need something reliable. So mum opted for a newer version of the same model (I’m a creature of habit), and with 5 doors this time, which meant Travis could get upgraded to a big boy car seat that fits comfortably in the car and is easy to get the wee fella in and out of.

First Father’s day

Last year, I wondered if dads-to-be should get Father’s Day presents, but this year there was no ‘to-be’ and dad got to celebrate his first Father’s Day as a parent! The way it worked out, Travis was actually staying at his grandparents on the Saturday night before Father’s Day, in a bid to let mum and dad get a sleep after mum’s long first week back at work. What that meant was that Travis didn’t actually see his dad till later than usual on Father’s Day, so he managed to get out of making breakfast in bed! We had a good but quiet day, but I’m pretty sure dad enjoyed it.

First full week of nursery

Travis was due to properly start nursery in the last week of June, something which I was quietly nervous about. He had a few settling in visits, and didn’t seem to be coping well with being left at nursery. The first week was definitely a struggle in terms of tears and snotters – not to mention him teething – but the girls at the nursery are absolutely lovely and so reassuring. Travis gets a diary filled in every day, telling me what he got up to, what he’d eaten/drank that day, which is comforting now that I don’t get to share all those moments with him every day.

First illness

With a first full wee of nursery came something we were dreading, but inevitably knew would happen – his first illness! We had noticed a runny eye near the end of his first week, but just put it down to the weather and made sure we kept it clean. However by the weekend it was clear that it was something more serious – conjunctivitis. Luckily we managed to get a doctors appointment and some prescribed antibiotics fairly quickly, but for the few days he suffered, along with teething and the unusual heat, nobody got much sleep!

And here was me thinking we didn’t get up to much in June!

mum life, Mum time

April challenge: the results

In April, I set myself the personal challenge to cut down on my caffeine intake. Note, not completely cut out caffeine, just cut down. This was a big step for me as I basically live on caffeine to help plug the gaps in sleep lost thanks to the joys of a newborn (I wouldn’t change it for the world).

I realised something probably had to change as I was getting headaches or would find myself being overly tired if I hadn’t had a particularly strong coffee or two. Plus, most of the time, I was accompanying my coffee with a biscuit, pastry, cake or something else I probably didn’t need to eat. So for the sake of my waistline, not to mention my wallet, I decided to start weaning off the coffee.

My aim was to trim down to just a couple of cups of instant coffee a day, and easing my bank balance by purchasing just 1 or 2 strong barista coffees a week. Here’s how I got on:

Week 1 (Monday 2nd – Sunday 8th)
I started off lightly in week one, trying to limit my coffee intake at home first. On a normal day I would have 3-4 cups of Azera, in addition to any barista coffees and cups of tea, so my first aim was to knock those down to just 1. I’m happy to report that I pretty much succeeded from this week onwards. By starting in good stead, it became easier later on. There was one day (the Saturday) which I was particularly struggling with lack of sleep from a bad night with the wee fella, so I did have more than one coffee that day. But in all, I made a good start to the challenge.

Week 2 (Monday 9th to Sunday 15th)
Week 2 was all about tackling the stronger coffee. At one point in the winter (the long, never-ending winter) I was getting coffee at cafes or takeout from the likes of Costa at least once a day. Partly to warm up, partly to wake up thanks to an unpredictable newborn, I ended up drinking a lot more caffeine and spending a lot more cash than I probably should on something that last for about 7 minutes. I knew this new habit was going to be hard to break, but that it would be worth it in the end. I definitely found myself wandering aimlessly around shops to avoid going and getting coffee, but I also noticed I had more cash in my bank, and we all know that every little helps when you’re on maternity leave!

Week 3 (Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd)
This week, all Travis classes started back after the Easter break, and we started swimming lessons for the first time (see April firsts for more on that) so I was worried I’d need more energy to get by. Did someone say caffeine dependency? In actual fact I found that because we were always busy in the day, I didn’t have time to go out of my way to get a takeout coffee or even really to think about coffee too much. I’d say this was probably my best week challenge wise, despite having more on and a more unsettled baby this week (he had a bad cough and cold which was tailing off and leaving some nappy issues!).

Week 4 (Monday 23rd to Sunday 29th)
I’d say this was where things started to get difficult again. I’d been on my best behaviour when Craig and I were away for the weekend, even opting for tea after a wee trek up the Nevis Range, but I somehow started to falter a bit. I was trying my best not to get takeout coffee but I most definitely didn’t manage to get down to just 1 or 2 a week. One thing I was proud of however, was returning to work on the Tuesday for a keep in touch day, and managing not to have a single coffee all day. I think it probably played havoc with me though – that and a sleepless night with Travis before work meant I slid rapidly downhill as the week progressed. By the Friday I’d had about 3 coffees (2 barista ones) by lunchtime.

I may not have gotten completely to the target is set myself for my April challenge, but it’s clear I was consuming too much caffeine beforehand and I’m glad I’ve managed to cut that down quite substantially. I found that not only did my bank balance take kindly to the less frequent coffee stops, I also found myself losing more weight than I had done in any month since having Travis. In fact, since my exercise stayed the same (if not less) in April as in previous months, and since I made no conscious effort to make any other changes to my diet, I can only assume it was the lack of caffeine that contributed to the weight loss. With the lighter nights coming in and warmer days, I doubt I’ll crave coffee as much, as it’s not my go-to for a cool-down drink. That said, I did just purchase my first iced latte of the year today so hopefully I manage to keep a reign on that!

lagom-lifestyle-inspiration
mum life, Mum time

Living a more conscious life – Lagom inspiration

I’m really into books that are all about creating the best lifestyle for you, and particularly loved the Little Book of Hygge I received as a Christmas present last year. The one book that really spoke to me though, was Lagom – the Swedish art of Balanced Living. Lagom is often referred to as the Swedish version of Hygge and is fast becoming the new lifestyle and cultural phenomenon us Brits are adopting.lagom-lifestyle-inspiration

As with the Danes and their Hygge, I related a lot to Lagom, as I think we Scots are not too dissimilar to our Scandinavian neighbours. A lot of what they promote, such as spending time in the great outdoors no matter the season, or offering to help out neighbours, are second nature here.

However as the title of the book suggests, Lagom is all about balance. For instance, you are encouraged to go out and explore the countryside, camp, climb, ski or whatever, so long as you don’t disturb or destroy anything. In essence, it’s all about taking a more conscious and balanced approach in all walks of life.

This is what really drew me into the book and the Lagom lifestyle as a whole. Now that I’m a parent, a whole lot of attitudes and priorities have changed for me. Any parent will tell you that they probably didn’t consider themselves selfish, until they had a child or children. Then you start to realise all the things you did or took for granted which either are no longer appropriate, or which you need or want to sacrifice for your little one(s).

For example, do I really need all those clothes? Or, more specifically, do I really need all those Saturday night clothes, when realistically I’ll get about one night out every couple of months, after a good few weeks of strenuous planning. Or do I really need like 8 pairs of black leggings when I only have one pair of legs?

Not only does Lagom preach about the importance of “just enough,” it helps keep your life organised, whether at home, work or at leisure. If I have just enough clothes for each occasion or eventuality, then I won’t need to buy unnecessary furniture, rooms won’t get clogged, and theoretically, I should always be able to find what I’m looking for. The same goes for paperwork, stationery, DVDs, books – heck, even pots and pans! If you don’t overdo it on the material possessions, you find that your home and your life suddenly become less cluttered.

As an organisational freak (to the point where every client at work has their own labelled folder and specific set of matching documents), I am very much a fan of anything which can keep my life in order (more so than it already is. Just ask Craig about the wee man’s wardrobe). So of course that side of Lagom appealed to me, but in doing this, or living a more practical life, you actually end up benefiting the environment. Think about it; if you’re not buying food you don’t need then you’re not wasting it, and if you’re not buying possessions you don’t need you are reducing your own carbon footprint. The Lagom life goes much deeper than this in terms of being an environmentally responsible person, but even by following just one or two of the practices (it feels weird calling it practices, like it’s some sort of set of cult commandments or something) you automatically start becoming more eco-friendly, and certainly more aware of the impact of your actions on the environment and wider world.

This then leads to more awareness in daily life. Now, when I’m doing things like picking new furniture, I don’t just go for the cheapest or most aesthetically pleasing item, I think about things like durability and longevity, and whether, in fact, it’s really necessary to replace the furniture item in the first place. Is it beyond repair, or could we just paint it/add a mirror/change handles etc to achieve the desired effect without wasting good furniture?

Upcycling and reusing things are part and parcel of the lifestyle, but so is a more conscious approach to even basic things like grocery shopping. Whether it’s changing your shopping habits to minimising food waste through better meal planning or ‘deal’ avoidance, or simply looking at products and choosing those with less packaging or which have travelled less miles before finding their way into your basket, we can all become a little more Lagom and help the planet at the same time.

It’s not all about being an eco-friendly warrior, though, as Lagom is also about balance and togetherness with friendships, family and work life. Their attitude to a work-life balance is something which massively appeals, specifically the Swedes attitude to childcare and spending time with your children as they grow up. Fun things like neighbourhood picnics/BBQs etc where everyone contributes something to the party are hugely appealing too.

Already I’ve found myself following many of the Lagom practices subconsciously, and with a little help and co-operation from friends and family, I’m looking forward to making life a little more Lagom each day.

the-missing-girl-novel
mum life, Mum time, Reviews

Book review: The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

I don’t think I’ve written a book review since I was at high school, and even then it was reluctantly written as part of my higher coursework. I absolutely used to love reading when I was younger, and loved nothing better than a book that got under your skin or into your heart. However I didn’t always feel like I could put into words the amount of enjoyment from any given book.

the-missing-girl-novelI’m giving it a go now, as a book hasn’t gripped me as much as Jenny Quintana’s The Missing Girl in a long, long time. Part of that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve not read at this rate in a long time either, but I digress!

The debut novel by Quintana is a mystery, unfolded by Anna Flores, sister of a missing girl. The basic premise is – without giving away any spoilers – that a pre-teen Anna dotes on her older sister Gabriella. She seems well liked in her local village, and is the most beautiful girl ever, according to her younger sister. As the title suggests, one day Gabriella goes missing, simply disappearing without a trace.

30 years later, the girls’ mother passes away, and Anna makes a return to her hometown to bury her mother and hopefully dig up some clues and solve the mystery as to what happened to her sister back in 1982. After a lot of suspicion, possibilities and theories, the mystery is finally solved at the very end.

There are quite a few things I love about this book, both in terms of the actual plot of the story and the way it was written. Quintana opted for a split chronological narrative, with chapters alternating between 1982 and 2012. This adds to the tension as you know that at some point 1982 Gabriella is going to go missing, but you don’t know the how’s and the why’s. Similarly it helps build up a better character picture, as you almost feel like you’re reliving the memories with Anna.

The other thing that I really enjoyed was how the story was completely told from the viewpoint of Anna Flores. This meant Quintana hopped between the thoughts, feelings and understandings of the situation as both an adult and a 12 year old girl. She captures the essence of a pre-pubescent girl perfectly, giving an insight as to how a young girl in the 80s perceives everything from relationships between family and friends to understanding arguments and reasoning.

Considering I’ve not been much of a reader in the past decade (I blame uni textbooks, they were enough to put anyone off), I genuinely couldn’t put this novel down. I devoured it in just 2 weeks, which when you consider I also have a demanding 4 month old baby, is some testament to the author. Completely gripping to the last page, I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a book that keeps you on your toes and guessing every possible theory.

I read the book via Kindle, as it was on a special offer at the time, but the book is also available in paperback, audiobook and hardback. For more about Jenny Quintana, you can find her on Twitter.

mum life, Mum time

Returning to Exercise After Having a Baby

One thing I was really craving during pregnancy wasn’t food related, oddly. Towards the 8 month Mark, when I’d given up my exercise classes, I would have given anything to be able to do a sit up or a burpee. And I bloody hate burpees.

I was craving this and general exercise to the point where I would get quite down if I couldn’t so much as get out for a walk in a day. So my 6 week post-partum check up couldn’t come quick enough for me after baby M arrived.

Quite literally the next day I’d booked myself into an exercise class for that night. Having not been in 4 months, I was apprehensive as to how much my body had changed and was no longer capable of doing, so I decided to ease myself back in with Clubbercise.

Clubbercise is one of my favourite ways to exercise because It’s so much fun that it doesn’t feel like a chore of a workout. You get all the cardio alongside some basic toning, while raving to some top club tunes with glowsticks, whistles and UV lights.

First time back
My first class back was in mid November, and as suspected it was a bit more breathless than I’d been used to but overall it was a lot like I’d imagined it would be. Some of the routines were still lodged in my brain from months ago so that was helpful and reassuring.

One thing I was shocked to realise though is how much your pelvic floor exercises matter. If I hadn’t been squeezing those exercises in (No pun intended) where I could, there easily would have been a mess on the floor to contend with. This is especially true for Clubbercise as there’s a lot of jumping around and raving, and let’s just say I felt the pressure a couple of times on my first day back!

Diving in deep
After I’d done a couple of Clubbercise classes, my instructor announced she was running a new fitness class; Deep Hau2. Full of – you guessed it – deep house music, this workout focuses more on your core and toning, using interval training but at a much lower intensity than something like metafit. I was eager to get back to toning, not liking or wanting to get used to the sagging tummy I’d been left with post-pregnancy.

The only trouble is, this class takes place straight after Clubbercise. Not wanting to back out of my favourite night of the week, I’d signed up to both classes when Deep Hau2 started in mid-December. Oh dear Lord it hurt. Double and even triple classes back to back were a fun challenge pre-pregnancy, and something I felt confident doing even up to around 6 months pregnant. However after only 3 real attempts at working out, the combination of Deep Hau2 exercises (think planks, press ups and other stomach-killing moves) and extended period of workout left me defeated. I tried my best but realistically probably only did about 1.5 press ups and felt like I’d been assaulted the next day.

I love to push myself and know that it’s better to try and struggle than not to bother, but boy was that a reality check on my fitness levels. There’s no doubt about it my body has done some incredible things in the last 12 months but it will take a lot of work to get to the same level of fitness I had this time last year.

New year, new expectations

So going into 2018, I decided to take things a little more gradually. On Wednesday I returned to Clubbercise which was just the cardio boost needed to beat those winter blues. Today I had planned to return to Pound; another one of my favourites which uses weighted “Ripstix” (giant green drumsticks) to help you tone as you rock out to some fab tunes. However it seems the winter flu bug has struck and the class was cancelled. So instead I carted myself off to Piyo at 8.45am on a Saturday. Ordinarily an achievement in itself, exercising at that time on a Saturday doesn’t feel so early when you’ve been up since 6am.

Piyo is a combination of Pilates and Yoga (geddit?) which helps improve core strength, flexibilty and balance. As a bit of a Pilates virgin, I was keen to see what the fuss was about, not to mention try to get back some flexibility post-baby. It was interesting to see how much of my body could still actually bend and stretch, though a bit depressing to find out all the bits I couldn’t do. The most difficult bits were definitely the burpees and anything involving pulling myself up from downward dog/low lunging positions. But I’ll get there, as long as I keep going back and pushing myself that bit further each time.

Next up is Strong by Zumba, on Monday. Related to Zumba only in name so I’m told, this class is more high intensity training in time to the music. I’m not confident I’ll be able to do a whole lot, but I am confident I’ll give everything a try at the least. If there are no more posts after today, you’ll know it has defeated me!

Mum time, my pregnancy

5 Things I’ve Been Doing While Waiting on Baby

When it came to choosing my maternity leave start date, I erred on the side of caution as an unassuming first time mum. I chose to use a weeks’ annual leave, followed by just over 2 weeks of mat leave before my due date, allowing myself time to get organised and to be prepared for a baby that could make an appearance at any point post 37 weeks.

As my due date has come and gone – and everything in the house has been routinely cleaned back to front several times – I’ve been twiddling my thumbs looking for ways to fill the time that don’t consist of continuously re-organising baby’s wardrobe/changing station/furniture arrangements.

1 – Updating my address book

Every Christmas I promise myself I’m going to be more organised when it comes to sending cards. Every year I fail, panic-ask for addresses, and usually end up either missing the postal deadline or forgetting to reach those further away friends. If they are more organised, maybe I’ve got a return address from their card. This has been helpfully torn from the envelope and tossed inside an address book with no rhyme or reason for it. Well not any more! My beautiful cupcake-design address book has been utilised to its purpose. Although friends, if you’re reading this, please don’t move ever again so I don’t need to change this.

2 – Clearing out old coats and shoes

This is probably something most people do at this time of year, out of habit as the seasons change. However I’ve been known to routinely buy new winter coats and boots etc, without throwing the old ones out. I’m not sure if this is due to a hoarders mentality, sentimental attachment to the items or a sheer panic of “but what if I NEED it one freezing day?” but it’s led to the instability of a coat stand and a collection of boots with heels that slope at angles Lady GaGa would be proud of. At any rate, most of these things don’t fit any more so it was satisfying to see them go.

3 – Christmas shopping

Admittedly, I don’t normally need an excuse to be doing this, and in actual fact the end of September is probably when I’d start looking at gift ideas anyway. With a few birthdays close to Christmas, plus the whole family to buy for, planning and budgeting for this time of year has always been something I’ve been cautious of, but even more so this year where I might be too pre-occupied to make the most of the Black Friday sales. Plus, searching for cute “from baby” gifts to grandparents/uncles is so much fun.

4 – General life admin

I’ve always been putting off getting a smart meter as its a fuss of organisation and change. Similarly I’ve been with the same energy provider since we moved here (well they do give us pre-sale to some great concerts…) as well as things like home insurance, banks, TV providers and other things Martin Lewis tells you to shop around for. So now is my chance to get my ducks in a row and maybe see if I can be getting a better deal elsewhere – as those savings will come in handy when my weekly grocery shop doubles to accommodate nappies, wipes and so on.

5 – Trying every old wives tale in the book

Ok so I’ve mostly been using my time productively (sort of). But I’m still disappointed that I don’t currently have a wee sleep thief in my arms to cuddle and care for. So over the past week or so I’ve been trying any advice anyone can give me on how to get this lazy little boy moving. I’ve been for literal walks in the park, bounced for hours on an exercise ball, eaten a range of spicy foods – you name it! Still, he appears to be quite comfy in his not-so-little nook. If anyone has any other unusual labour-inducing tips to share, I’d be only too happy to give them a go!

Mum time

Preparing for post-bump me

As b-day draws closer, I’ve driven myself mad with nesting and making sure I have everything organised for baby Murray when he makes an appearance. But what about me?

Don’t be so selfish, I hear you cry. Mum-life sees your child come first, and you’ll need to just fit your own needs in if there’s time after baby is sorted. And yes, while I’m inclined to agree, there’s also a degree of self-preservation after having a baby. I’m still me. I still need fed and clothed and to be in a good mental place in order to take care of baby properly and to the best of my ability. So I started with some shopping and some goals.

How impractical are regular clothes?

As someone who wants to at least give breastfeeding a go, I couldn’t help but notice that my wardrobe (both pre-bump and maternity) definitely didn’t want to comply. I’ve read around that post-partum bodies are usually the same size as 6 month pregnant bodies for the first little while, so although I’ll undoubtedly have clothes that fit – I’m not sure how many of them are practical for breastfeeding. Stretchy-tummy t-shirts and comfy, empire line dresses are fab, but when I plan to feed in the autumnal/winter months, I worry about the chill factor of having to pull a t-shirt all the way up, never mind the consequences of putting nearby innocent victims off their dinner by exposing my squashy mum-bod.

I’m not one for diving headfirst into expensive “problem solvers” like the breastfeeding tops that cost a fortune just because there’s an extra layer of material for privacy/warmth/convenience (here’s an example of one from Seraphine for about £40 a pop). Queue a trip to Primark and a panic-buy of blouses and vests.

In any event, I don’t see myself making loads of trips out and about in the very early days, but even in my own home I don’t want to be confined to pyjamas or that one vest that fits. Especially when baby Murray will no doubt have loads of visitors and well-wishers coming to see him.

Body goals

pre-pregnancy wardrobe goals

We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look a certain way, and this is especially true for new mums. I don’t fully expect to be able to jump back into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe right away (despite OH’s mum reportedly walking out the hospital in her size 8 jeans after having him!), but as someone who has always been quite active and health conscious, I’d like to be able to slowly build up to where I was pre-pregnancy. In fact, probably even during early pregnancy when I didn’t know bump existed yet!

I know attending 4 fitness classes a week is unrealistic, as is having the time to properly prep meals and snacks, at least in the early days. However if I can manage to try and slowly incorporate some fitness into my daily routine (whatever that ends up being!) I will be happier. I’ve already started to look on Pinterest for some great post-partum at-home exercises I can hopefully squeeze in between feeds, naps, changes etc!

The easiest way to feel, look and ultimately get back to my healthier self is to set some goals and stick to them. A couple of milestones have been set in terms of pre-pregnancy clothing, and while I couldn’t care about the number on the scales, there are a number of milestones set for things like distance, reps, length/time which I want to improve on. It won’t be a mad, manic 30-day challenge, but I’ll get there. And I’m sure bump will thank me for it when I’m happy, energised and full of the right endorphins and nutrients to take care of him properly!

Mum time, my pregnancy

Ooharr Star Glow Face Mask Review

One of the may things I didn’t know about baby showers is how many gifts mum to be gets. I naively thought it was all about playing silly baby games and receiving gifts for your unborn child. However, this unlikely mum was also spoiled with a plethora of pampering goodies ranging from wonderful Lush bath sets to Yankee candles, chocolates and face masks. At a time of serious discomfort and lack of sleep, I’m so grateful for every one of these gifts.

As baby M could make an appearance any day now, I decided to try and get as much use – or sampling – of these wonderful gifts before the only pampering my body gets is the occasional baby wipe to mop up sick/pee/hopefully not poo.

With some time to kill in between cleaning down cupboard doors and washing newborn clothes within an inch of their life, I decided to start with the Ooharr Star Glow skin polishing face mask gifted to me by a former work colleague.

Ooharr-star-glowThis mask promises to make you feel radiant and refreshed – something I’ll confess I’ve not felt since somewhere around the 7 month mark. Its ingredients include vanilla and honey – great smoothers which work well to give the mask a nice, and not overpowering smell. Almonds and Argan oil promise to condition the skin, whilst the Aloe Vera is there to cool and calm things.

The mask itself has a clay-like texture, but with some exfoliating bittiness to it. The mixture glides on fairly easily, with enough in a single sachet to cover your face and neck (in fact, lathering your neck in the stuff is recommended on the instructions). There’s no hot sensation or heaviness like with some masks – I suspect the Aloe Vera has a lot to do with that.

Overall 15-20 minutes is longer than I’d usually have a mask on for, whether that’s down to instructions or general drying/absorption rate on my face. However I found that I needed just over the recommended 20 minutes to allow the clay mixture to set in.

Face-mask-end-resultUpon cleaning the mask off, I found my skin feeling instantly different. Softer and smoother, my face was a bit pinkish but I think that had more to do with the shock of cold water to close my pores rather than the mask itself. Once the skin calmed down, I noticed that not only did it feel better, it also looked brighter and more radiant.

I would definitely recommend the Star Glow Ooharr mask to anyone, as it was so gentle and unabraisive I think this particular one would be suitable for most skin types. Now to find out which retailers stock it!

 

Mum time, Reviews

Beauty Must Have – Nail Polish Holder

Tweexy-nail-polish-holderI’m all for beauty hacks, tips, and anything that generally makes life easier when it comes to your beauty regime.

Painting nails has always been one of my favourite aspects of beauty. Whether it’s my own or I’m painting a friends nails, I love trying out new colours, patterns and styles and dedicate time to taking care of my nails. However when painting nails, there’s always been one thing that’s bothered me – the nail polish bottle always gets in the way!

Minimising time, maximising space

Finally, the solution to this popped up on my Facebook newsfeed recently (thank you targeted ads!). The Tweexy wearable nail polish bottle has definitely come to my rescue. Worn on your fingers like some sort of knuckle-duster, it fits pretty much everyone thanks to the flexible rubber material it’s made from.

Just about any standard nail varnish pot will fit in it too, meaning you can use it with all of the nail polishes you already own. Smaller ones fit too, as you can see from the image above. I’ve even managed to fit in the big, rectangular Tanya Burr bottles I got from her beauty advent calendar. As someone who sits and paints my nails at the coffee table, at work, on a plane, or anywhere I can fit my hand, this product takes the worry off where I’ll sit the bottle. It also avoids the dance of having to try and hold the bottle whilst painting nails with said holding hand, in a minimal space situation.

The way the ring positions the nail polish bottle means you won’t spill any excess anywhere, and you free up your hands to paint or position your nails. Genius huh?