Thursday, 11 July 2013

My Favourite Pregnancy Books

Before we knew we were pregnant, I already had a few books about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. When we found out we were pregnant, off I went in search of more books, I was also given a few from friends. It's safe to say I now have a bit of a library on the subject. I've made my way through most and there are only a few that I would say I found particularly useful and will keep, hopefully for the next time.

I loved both Ina May's books, she has the outlook on childbirth that I wanted. To be calm and to trust in your body. If you want to feel calm and confident about birth, these are the books for you. Whenever I felt even slightly anxious I picked up one of these and started reading. There are so many lovely birth stories, not all go smoothly, but the mother is calm in all and all very reassuring.

The Best Friends' Guide is great, you get all the detail you need about pregnancy but in a humurous way. I found a lot of books were very serious about all the things that happen in pregnancy but actually I found that I wanted a funnier, friendlier way to read about these things. I laughed out loud a lot reading this book.

Bringing up Bebe, was part of my parenting selection of books (which may need another post as I work through them). I adored this book and I am tempted to read again now. It is about an American woman's experience of childbirth and baby rearing in Paris. How different the two cultures are in terms of childbirth and parenting. I couldn't put it down I was so fascinated. I would like more books like this, so please if anyone knows of any, let me know. 

HypnoBirthing, I really loved this book. Talk about calming. It is full to the brim of wonderful advice on basically remaining calm. A lot of issues in childbirth tend to come from the mother going into distress, which is why I have worked so hard trying to learn to be calm and relaxed. My birth experience was traumatic but with the help of these techniques I was able to keep calm (the gas & air helped too!). For me, knowledge is calming, so I have done an awful lot of reading, the yoga and hypnobirthing techniques have really complimented that reading. Do not expect to be able to hypnotise yourself through birth with this book - as if! What I took away is a much healthier outlook on childbirth, some great breathing exercises for each stage of pregnancy and again, a confidence. It stresses the importance of not getting stressed! The minute you stress, everything tightens and slows. All your efforts should be on trying to stay calm, this book helps with that. 

You need at least one day-by-day bible, it is really nice to see how baby develops and looks from one day to the next. I kept this next to my bed so every morning I could see what baby was up to and looked like. I really liked the Dr Maggie Blott one but there are lots very similar.

So these books are the selection that I found most helpful to me. Feel free to share if you found any others particularly useful and also if you know of any similar books to Bringing Up Bebe.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

My Pregnancy Essentials...

1. Burt's Bees Mama Bee oil - I tried a few oils and creams, but this one felt the nicest and smelt the nicest. It smells of spring, it's so good. Although I have heard that no cream/oil can stop stretch marks, I only got a couple of small ones at 38 weeks so perhaps it helped a little. Not that I mind earning my 'mummy's tiger stripes'. It is just a nice little routine at the beginning and end of each day, to bond and massage the baby.

2. Burt's Bees leg and foot cream has been a life-saver for me. If you suffer with swollen feet and legs, you need this. It has peppermint extract so it has a lovely cooling effect. It also smells lovely like the other Burt's Bee's products. 

3. Neal's Yard English Lavender Bubble Bath - I have used a lot of lavender oil throughout my pregnancy, when I am reading or relaxing I burn the oil and it has a lovely calming effect, I also burn it now when I put the baby to sleep. The bubble bath smells lovely and has same effect, it also feels lovely on the skin. I particularly like the Neal's Yard products as they contain no parabens or harsh chemicals, which has been important in my pregnancy. They use organic plant-derived ingredients and made in England. Their selection of products are truly beautiful. I have also been using the nurturing rose shampoo which I also adore.

4. As a tea drinker, I really didn't fancy giving up my morning cuppa, I have tried every decaff tea on the market and Yorkshire tea is the best. I have barely noticed the difference. I am still drinking cups and cups of the stuff now while breastfeeding.

5. Another lovely selection of skin care, Liz Earle. This stuff has been essential for my face. Again, free of parabens and harsh chemicals, filled with plant-derived goodness, this stuff has felt beautiful on my face. My face has suffered slightly in pregnancy, from dry patches, to oily days and almost acne for some periods. My Liz Earle cleansing regime has helped managed this a lot. The clean and polish is amazing, which comes with muslin to help exfoliate, it is so kind to your skin yet really does polish it. The moisturising creams soak in beautifully and leave your skin so lovely and soft.

6. I am a bit gutted I found these so late in my pregnancy but have no doubt that they have been an essential item with a newborn. I hate face wipes in general as they just do not clean and are full of awful chemicals. These Heaven wipes are different, they contain apple pectin, honey and peppermint extract and are made of organic cotton, they are also a nice large size. The apple pectin helps dissolve dirt and exfoliate, the honey heals and the peppermint helps balance oily areas. Perfect for those nights where you just have to get straight to bed.

7. Trail Mix. The perfect snack, full of nuts, dried food and a cheeky bit of raw chocolate. Nuts and dried fruits are great for you full stop, but particularly during pregnancy. I packed a huge pack in my hospital bag and it has also been serving me well when breastfeeding, I have a huge jar in the kitchen so I can grab a handful when needed. Packed full of essential fatty acids, minerals and energy. The raw chocolate is bursting full of antioxidants and also provides you with that treat feeling. Make your own to avoid added sugars and salts. 

8. Yoga has been a lifesaver for me. I have so enjoyed it and found it to be hugely relaxing and comforting. The active birth yoga that I did while pregnant, really prepared me for labour, the breathing, stretching and positions of labour. I felt much more prepared and found a confidence in my body that I didn't have before. Whenever I feel anxious or nervous, I do some yoga breathing and stretching and I calm right down. 

It's weird, although my beautiful baby boy is here, I still miss my bump. Being pregnant was such a lovely time. All those of you with bumps - enjoy every second! 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Mummy-to-be Shower

I hadn't planned on having a baby shower but my dear friend Amy, who I work with, threw me a little mummy-to-be shower - an afternoon of spoiling for mummy! The theme being vintage children's toys - she knows me well.

The spread was amazing, all my favourites; finger sandwiches, scones, lavender shortbread, brownies, banana loaf and red velvet cake! All homemade by the girls. We played an American 1950s game of Stork Bingo which was really good fun. We drank watermelon punch - another fave of mine. I was spoiled with lovely pressies for me and baby. Such a lovely afternoon and I'm so grateful for lovely friends. 

['the baby loves red velvet']

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Mollie Makes Handmade Wedding Magazine

How thrilled was I to find out that Mollie Makes was making a Handmade Wedding magazine?? So excited. I love this magazine and my sister is getting married next year so my head is back in wedding inspiration mode. If anyone should be making a wedding magazine it is these guys. So imagine my joy when I had an email from Mollie Makes saying they would like to feature our wedding! It almost sent me into early labour.

When I received my copy from lovely Jane (Editor-in Chief) I was overwhelmed. The magazine is beautiful and if I were a bride again this is what I would have wanted. Cover to cover inspiration, full-page images and lots of fabulous ideas from real-life brides. The weddings featured are stunning - the one from California was breath-taking. I am overjoyed that we are featured in the first edition. I so loved revisiting our wedding and remembering all the detail that went into it and looking at all Emma Case's beautiful photos. It really was so much fun and I would advise all brides to resist the urge to get stressed out and just enjoy every second of the planning, crafting and making.

I really hope there are more editions of the Homemade Wedding and the Mollie Makes Home as that was another great publication that I thoroughly got lost in.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

37 weeks - we went swimming!

Baby is now full-term! Amazing. The first 12 weeks dragged, I was so desperate to reach the relative safety of the 12 week mark and to be able to tell everyone. Since that point, the weeks have gone so fast and here we are. Incredible really how quick a human being is made. I am at the point of bursting with excitement to meet our little man. Only slightly anxious, I just hope that all will go well and that he'll arrive safely. I'm weirdly excited and curious about the birth in that I really can't wait to get in there and see how I handle it, however it happens.

I have been plagued with all sorts of symptoms the last couple of weeks, swollen hands and feet, carpal tunnel and oily skin being just a few, am just grateful they have arrived at the end. It's manageable knowing that it they will not be around for much longer.

We went swimming this week and wow, it felt so good to be weightless in the pool. So nice to comfortably exercise too, I was able to use all limbs pain-free.

I have been busy this week buying advance birthday presents and wrapping for the next few months, making up dinners and freezing, making lists and generally getting us as organised as possible so that all our attention is on settling our boy in. I think I have emptied and reorganised nearly every drawer and cupboard in the house, which has had it's benefits as I have found some things I'd forgotten about, some vintage crockery and more excitingly a christmas pudding I'd made and forgotten about. We'll be enjoying that in the garden later today -never had christmas pud in the sunshine before!

Last weekend just gone was spent weeding, gardening and updating all my pots and baskets in the garden, really wanted to get it ready for the summer days sat out there with the baby and looking at all the colours. Dan made me a makeshift potting station so I could sit and have everything in reach as I am so unwieldy these days. It was so nice to be in the garden working with the soil, plants and being entertained by the dog and the chooks.

We are ready for you little one...

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My Summer Drink....

This is my summer drink, not only is it the prettiest of pinks, it tastes amazing too and ridiculously easy (apart from the watermelon deseeding!).

Simply blend all these ingredients together (you will need to deseed watermelon unless you have a Vitamix in which case you can sieve afterwards) and pour over ice. So yummy and so refreshing. Watermelon has been my biggest craving in pregnancy and having it this way is mess-free. Watermelon is rich in antioxidants, and vitamin C, it's also a great source of vitamin E for healthy skin. Watermelon is also rich in citrulline, which is an amino acid that converts to arginine in your body - necessary for healthy cardiovascular and immune function (source: So not only delicious but super healthy. I have also made this with honey instead of sugar syrup which works well. I am sure it would work well with Agave syrup too but have not tried, would be interested to hear from anyone that has tried it. 

Enjoy ...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


This year we are focusing our efforts on the garden, the first job being replacing our rotting shed. We have decided on a shed/garden room. The garden room will house a little potting station for me, our garden furniture and an old rocking chair I picked up from a car boot that I will be given a little makeover to. Who hasn't dreamed of a little house at the end of the garden to go and hide in, drink tea and read a book??? 

I have been searching online for inspiration and came across all these beautiful images and I thought it stupid not to share. So inspiring. My shed unfortunately will not look anything like these but hoping to take a couple of little aspects from some of them - I definitely want to paint the interior white and love the colourful drawers in the top image, the hanging baskets and hooks. I will also need some shelves to store my growing collection of tatty terracota pots (my favourite things). I want to also incorporate my apple boxes and vintage beer boxes in there. Hope you enjoy the images as much I do.


Source unknown






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