Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Baby-Shower Dress Options: Part 1

I've subconsciously been grudging buying anything maternity, and I literally mean anything. And when I say subconsciously I mean very consciously, I don't want to spend money on clothes I'll never wear again. I didn't have a 9 month pregnancy, I had a 3 month pregnancy, and I'd rather spend money on better things, like cute baby clothes and hats with oversized pom-poms. In saying that though, as I approach 35 weeks, fitting into the old size 8's is a well and truly lost battle (not losing, simply lost), and given the rapid approach of my Baby Shower and my serious lack of clothing options, it's about time I had a look.

I've listed a few different items I've had my eye on from the various high street retailers - main point being that I've been looking for things I can hopefully get wear out of post-maternity. Most of these I've picked with said baby shower in mind, as normally I am strictly a black only kind of gal', but I'm not sure that's acceptable at a baby shower. I've not really gone for much that is actually made for maternity, but rather, things that are in the poplin style that floats over an ever apparent bump, or jersey materials that will stretch regardless of my size.

Let me know what you think of my picks, and where you've found best for maternity wear (that doesn't look like maternity wear). I've split this post into two, so Part 1 features Zara, Topshop and Missguided. 


For me, Zara has been perfect for clothes whilst pregnant. It's very much in the style I'd wear when not with child, and therefore I feel as though I'll get my monies worth if I do happen to buy anything from there. (The first three items are in my Baby Shower outfit quest, the last just looks like the ultimate comfort piece).

1. Low-Cut Jumpsuit Dress £ 29.99 2. Double Strap Wrap Dress £ 22.99 3. Poplin Dress £ 39.99 4. Dress with T-Shirt £ 15.99


Monday, 29 August 2016

Can I Afford Maternity Leave?

Let me start off by saying that ranting incessantly was never the aim of this blog - but recently this topic has plagued me, and I’m better off ranting here in my little corner of the internet, than at the next poor old biddy that unbeknowlingly brings up maternity leave in conversation.

I have always been of the mindset that you don’t bring a child into the world unless you are in a financial position to do so, accompanied by a stable relationship - I’m traditional, sue me. I’ve now realised though that is an idealist approach, and generally, it doesn’t work out that way. My pregnancy was unplanned. In saying that, I’m fortunate enough that both myself and my partner are in full time employment in fairly secure job sectors, and therefore should have steady income as our child grows up. What I didn’t factor in was the lack of income I would have during my maternity leave, and further the lack of support I’d have from the UK government during that time.

I’ve been employed since I was 16, as has my partner. With the exception of our university fees, neither of us have ever claimed a penny in the way of benefits - we’ve never been in a position where we have had to. On finding out I was pregnant, and realising I did not qualify for Occupational Maternity Pay because of how long I had been in my current job, we looked into the help we could receive. NA-DA. Essentially nothing.

I’ve only been in my current job for 6 months, therefore I also don’t qualify for the Statutory Maternity Pay - despite the fact that I moved straight into this job from another I’d been in for years. I’m entitled to Maternity Allowance - which barely covers rent, never mind anything else. I cannot get Low Income Support, as my salary is too high, despite the fact I won’t receive a penny of that salary whilst on maternity leave. The Scottish Government offers a Sure Start grant of £500 for all new parents with their first child, or so they say… Look into it closer and you’ll realise that to be liable for this, you must also be receiving some other form of state benefit… job seekers allowance, low income support etc, all of those benefits we are not entitled to. That baffled me the most. You get rewarded for being unemployed in this country, whilst those of us who pay our taxes throughout our entire adulthood, are given no help whatsoever. It’s simply encouraging a benefit state. Why would people bother working 9-5 Monday to Friday, when they could get the same income sitting on their arse at home? I know we will have no problem raising a child on our combined wages when I go back to work, but I can’t help but be frustrated beyond belief at the fact that I’ll have to go back to work almost instantly to maintain our income, missing out on such important moments with my child, continuing to pay taxes so that scroungers can live lovely lives on the dole. I’ll be the first to admit here that I’m generalising, and the majority of people who do receive benefits are in an amicable position to do so and completely deserve them, but I can’t help but read the news stories of these people who have never worked, and get angry.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Pram Shortlist

Pram shopping was supposed to be fun.
Everyone said so…
Oh how disappointed I was.

Pram shopping for me has been an absolute nightmare. I’m picky, and that has been my downfall. I know exactly what I want, at least, in my head I do, it’s just too bad no-one seems to have brought my dream pram to life quite yet. I’m at the stage where a few have got quite close, so I thought i’d show you my shortlist of prams, on the off-chance anyone else has a similar aesthetic to me and wants the choice of 5 prams that look remarkably similar… (If your that person, no need to thank me!)

For Baby J, we’d been set on a travel system pretty much from the get-go. Pro’s being the ability to move from pram to car easily, and the ability to make 3 big purchases in one go. Our only con for the travel system was that we’d have to buy another carseat in a few months time, but that was far outweighed by the convenience of having a 3-in-1 system.

I’m a small person, so the size of the pram was a big factor for me, I’m only 5’3, and when having a play about in store I found a lot of prams - especially the big Silver Cross traditional models - swamped me. I looked like a child having a go on mums pram! No thank-you! The ones on my final list are all still quite wide, but not as high, so no tip-toes are needed to look in proportion.

I also knew I wanted a neutral colour, and was open to Black/Grey, and that was it. As much as I love the white and baby blue prams, I had to think about practicality unfortunately, so easily clean-able surfaces were a must. Most of the prams I looked at were around the £600/700 mark, which was very reasonable especially for those that came with a car-seat. I am a firm believer that a pram is an investment, as much as I could have bought a pram at the lower-end of the range and been a few hundred pounds better off, I feel like I would have just had to repurchase a replacement in a few months time. On the flip side though, I couldn’t justify the upwards of £1200 for the carrycot prams, how many months will a baby even get out of the first pram, before you have to buy another for the next stage?


Monday, 22 August 2016

9 Things I Wish I'd Known About Pregnancy

There are so many pre-conceptions about pregnancy, the tit-bits that everyone comments on, wether good or bad. The morning sickness, the fat ankles, the irrational pickle cravings... But what about everything else? At this point, I could write a book on the qualms of pregnancy, but instead, I'll stick to the 9 things I wish someone had warned me about before I fell pregnant.

1. You will shop irrationally: Or at least, you will want to shop irrationally. No matter how good you are with money, or budgeting, or how tight your finances may be at the time, you'll always be able to convince yourself on that 40th baby-grow from Next. The urge to buy all of Baby Zara is insane. I am a big shopper as it is, and whilst everyone has told me not buy anything pre-baby-shower (which makes complete sense), I can't stop. I definitely need the 10 pairs of baby blue dungarees he'll know doubt have grown out of by the time I get round to trying them on him. The Ralph Lauren booties he can't even walk in are completely justified. Don't even get me started on the knitwear. And do you know what? I'm allowed to. Because I'm pregnant. There, I said it. Just prepare yourself.

2. Your toilet habits are as unreliable as your shopping trips: Prepare to pee 400 times a day, at this point I spend more time waddling to the office toilet and back than I do sat at my desk. Your bladder is permanently pressed on, peeing is inevitable, if not a bit annoying. Prepare to either be constipated or to poo for Britain: no in between. And there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

3. Not everyone get's a glow: I don't have a glow. I don't even have a glimmer of a glow, not by any stroke of the imagination. Some folk thrive during pregnancy: they look the best they've every looked, not me. My skin is dull and an odd colour. The foundation I've worn for the past year relentlessly no longer fits my skin shade, and I can't seem to brighten up my complexion, no matter how much highlighter I pile on. While on holiday I couldn't tan at all, my skin wouldn't even burn, which was an odd experience, but either way left me feeling drab and pasty. My skins not all that's suffered, my hair has taken a hit, it's all just a bit lack-luster. Limp and lifeless, with no response to product. I think I just have to accept I'm one of those unlucky folk that just don't look very nice while pregnant, but then again, what's 9 months of dodgy appearance for a little bundle of joy?

4. You don't have to be happy about your pregnancy ALL of the time: For me, this is the most important one, and it is such a taboo subject. When you tell anyone your pregnant, I can almost guarantee that an 'Oh, how exciting!' comment, or something along those lines, will be passed in seconds. Pregnancy is an amazing thing, it's a blessing, but it's not always expected, or wanted, and it's OK not to be over the moon all of the time. When I fell pregnant, I cried for a good few days. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my situation for a second, but initially, my world did crumble. It's ok not to feel ready, and to be upset about the things you will have to give up. A baby is life changing, and whilst you may welcome the new life with open arms, your still entitled to time to mourn your old life. An uncomplicated easy relationship, spontaneous outings, last minute holidays... Small things, but it's easy to focus on them at first, and that is OK. You won't always be happy about pregnancy ALL of the time, but it doesn't make you any less of a good mum. The sooner I realised this, the better my pregnancy got.

Baby Bond 3D pregnancy scan 26 weeks full face pregnancy blogger

5. Your relationship will change: It won't ever be the same: sounds excessive, but it is true. That's not a bad thing though. For me, I've never appreciated my partner so much as I have during my pregnancy. I don't show my emotions all too often, and I've never been overly affectionate, but pregnancy has definitely warmed me up a little, and our relationship is in the best place it ever has been. Let's see how happy we are though following the night time feeds....

6.  Everything gets bigger: When I say everything, I mean everything. I'm speaking to my own personal experience here, but so far, just about everything that could have gotten bigger, has gotten bigger. My stomach, my boobs (no complaints there), my ankles... all to be expected. No one told me it wouldn't just stop there though. My nipples are growing with every week, my bum is now equal to that of a Kardashians (an exaggeration albeit, but I've definitely gotten a bit rounder there), your lady bits also swell, much to my horror, and let's not forget about the ever-growing appetite that you can't actually take advantage of... which brings me to my next point.

7. You don't get to eat for two: I always said I couldn't wait to be pregnant so I could eat for two... no one told me that it might not actually be physically possible. I'd love to eat more, but my stomach literally won't allow it. I get full so quickly. Long gone are the days of a 3 course meal; the main is a struggle as it is right now. And the worst part is that I still want to eat everything under the sun, I just can't fit it in...

8. Being a hermit is OK: I'm tired. I don't like the way I look. I hate dealing with the same questions from strangers the minute I'm in public. I don't want to go out a lot. And that is OK!

It's perfectly normal to want to spend a hell of a lot of time on the couch; pregnancy is a valid excuse. I don't know why I had this pre-conceived notion that pregnancy would involve an abundance of lunches, coffee dates, family visits - little did I expect that much of my time would be spent in the comfort of my own home. Provided your not falling into the trap of isolating yourself, alone time is perfectly ok during pregnancy.

9. You might feel alone: This last one was the biggest surprise for me. I'm well supported - I'm in a stable, happy relationship, I have an amazing family and I've had the same 8 best friends since I was in high school, all of whom have claimed an auntie title. Yet, I still felt so alone. I'm the first of my friends to fall pregnant, at 22, I am still young, no one else in my close knit group is at this stage in their life yet, and that is scary. It's easy to feel isolated and like no one understands. This is where I've found the blogging world a bit of a safe haven. I've never used twitter so much in my life! Reading the posts of others who are in similar positions is reassuring, and I'm sure I'll continue to use the blogging world when my baby arrives. Feeling alone is alright, as long as you know that you never really are.

Well there we go, my 9 things I wish someone had told me before I got pregnant. Even with those 9 things, I've never been more excited for a chapter in my life, and I am ready to embrace motherhood with open arms (even if I'm not ready for the sleepless nights...).

Let me know what would be on your list if you could know anything before pregnancy, I'd love to hear someone else's perspective!.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Holy-Grail Holiday Picks

I've recently just came back from my summer holiday in Tenerife, and there were, as usual, a few stand out items that saved me on that trip! At 8 months pregnant, I was worried about how I would cope in that heat, and how I'd keep myself entertained when I couldn't join in with the cocktails by the pool or the jet-ski at the beach. I tried a good few products, new and old whilst I was away, and these were the good old Holy Grails that stuck out to me whilst abroad.

1. Kindle E-Reader
I'll be the first to hold my hands up and say, I dissed the Kindle beyond belief when it first came out. I was a big book lover (geek), and to me nothing beats the feeling of holding a brand new book, the smell of the pages, the ability to stick post-its wherever my heart desires, and a Kindle to me took all of those things away. It was only this summer, when I realised that my pregnant body probably wouldn't allow me to do half of the things I normally would on holiday, and that the amount of books I would need to see me through 10 days by the pool had tripled in size, did I consider an E-Reader. I didn't shop around too much, simply bought the first one I saw in Argos. The latest model that wasn't the Paperwhite. To this day, I don't understand what the Paperwhite possibly does that justifies the £109.99 price tag, in comparison to the £59.99 i payed for the standard model. A back light and the use of 3G doesn't quite add up to double the price if your asking me... Either way, my standard model done the trick just fine. The charge lasted brilliantly, roughly 8/9 days of good usage time before needing charged, and seems fairly durable, as far as I can tell after a few months use. The only qualm I do have with the kindle is the price of e-books... Am I the only one who assumed e-books would be significantly cheaper than paperbacks? Oh how wrong I was! If you keep an eye out for deals though you should be winning, amazon generally have a decent selection on the £1.50 list! 

2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I'll blame Elle Darby for this one! I've been looking into a lot more self-help and motivational books recently, and I came across her recommendation for this in an instagram post she recently put up, which you can find here. I won't go to far into what the book entails, the title pretty much gives it away, but it's a great first read for anyone looking at the self-help realm, or who just really wants a kick up the arse! Everytime I finished a chapter I found myself making notes/plans/mentally preparing my wonderful future, which is what I'm looking for in a motivational read. It is a bit on the pricier side, but it's free on Kindle, and if not on there I'd still wholly recommend it!

3. Ray-Ban Clubmasters
Ray Ban Clubmaster Round vintage stye
I've been umming and aaahing for years (literally years), as to wether or not to buy a pricier pair of sunglasses. Every summer without fail I buy 5/6 pairs of Primark/Topshop/HM sunglasses, that I manage to break or lose within weeks, or failing those, I'll simply never wear them because they don't suit me. This year, I decided to splash out a bit the extra bit of money and get a pair that would hopefully see me through the summer, and that I'd actually be able to use next year. I bought the Clubmasters for £135 from Asos, which I would now say was completely worth it. Not once did I wear  another pair of sunglasses my entire 10 days, I have no dodgy bent legs, the lenses aren't scratched, and my hair didn't get awkwardly caught in the nose pads: what more could you want? I will say though, I wish I'd gotten the polarised version of the Ray Bans, my friend had those on holiday and you could see an obvious difference in the quality of the lenses. Still though, I was extremely happy with these sunglasses my entire holiday and I'm sure I'll get a lot more wear out of them (even if it does have to be in the dingy Scottish weather).

 4. Dove Summer Glow 
This has been a holy grail product of mine from when I was about 15, every year it comes right back out and every year I'm just as impressed as I was the year previously. This year especially I wanted a self-tan product on holiday with me as I was reluctant to try and lie out and tan with oil/accelerators here given the increased sensitivity of skin during pregnancy. There's no point in me doing a full review of this, the internet is saturated with folks who have been just as impressed with it and who will have written comprehensive posts on this tinted moisturiser, and if your in any doubt I urge you to jump to one of them and give it a try. It truly is a diamond in the rough, tinted moisturisers are often so so so bad, but this one is just so subtle and so easy to use, I can't fault it. (Plus it smells amaaaaazing).

 5. Make-Up Revolution Ultra Contour Palette
Make Up Revoloution Ultra Contour Palette kylie jenner discount budget

I'm a big contour girl, always have been (by always I mean since Kylie Jenner made it cool...). I've used many a contour kit, and in turn have shattered many a contour kit - for some reason, I can't keep a bronzer in tact for more than a month or so. In a last ditch effort to replace my Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit before my holiday, I grabbed this one from Superdrug. I had no expectations of this, I just didn't want to spend any decent amount of money on something I would no doubt ruin whilst abroad! I was so so so impressed though. The packaging is initially great, although within weeks the motif has started to wear off, as can be seen in the picture, not that that really bothers me. When your paying £8 for something your not exactly expecting the most durable of items. The product has been fantastic though. All of the colours are so pigmented, especially the highlighter, which truly is light reflecting, and perfect for the summer. It is more warm toned, which means in winter for me this might not be too useful, but for summer this was brilliant, and definitely worth the buttons you pay for it! I'd recommend checking out all of Make Up Revolutions products in Superdrug, some is hit and miss, but for the price range there's quite a few hidden gems!

 6. Chloe Love Story
This was a typical duty free purchase, but one I was so happy about. At £59.00 it was a fairly average price for a good perfume, and this one especially is so long lasting you get your money's worth with every spray! I find it so difficult to describe scents, so I won't say much more than it's a strong floral smell, but with a little extra kick to it. I can't explain it. If your ever in the realm of a Perfume Shop though, give it a smell, I promise you won't regret it! It's my summer fragrance without a doubt.

What's your Holy Grail products? I'd love to hear about them, especially given I'll have a lot of time off in the coming months to try out new things, suggestions welcome.

Till next time,

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

32 Week Update

32 weeks, done and dusted. 

How crazy to think I only have 8 and a half weeks left.. give or take. As far as updates go, I'm not really sure what else I have to update on, as far as pregnancy symptoms go, i'm still relatively unaffected (I do say this with a pinch of salt, I've no doubt jinxed myself and will end up with nausea up to my ears, swollen feet and cravings like no one's business). 

In the 6 weeks since my last update, I started light duties at my workplace, meaning I'm now confined  to a desk for the time being, I've spent 10 days in Tenerife, and we've managed to get a fair amount of the basics ready for the arrival. In term's of the new job, I'm generally pretty uncomfortable throughout the day. There's a persistent dull ache in my ribs, which is probably just them stretching out to compensate, but sitting at an upright desk for 8 hours just mean's everything stiffens up a bit. I've been trying to make sure I go for a half hour walk or so every lunch time to get circulation moving and get some feeling back in my bum! Speaking of exercise, mines is all but non-existent right now. I plan on doing an entire post on this subject, but in short, it's not for lack of motivation. I love the gym, I really do, and there's nothing more I'd rather do than people to work out in the way I did before, but my work-out motivation comes solely from a superficial perspective, I do it to look good and to improve my physique, and I can't do that right now, which is ultimately frustrating. I also find it extremely embarrassing going to the gym at the minute, which is something I've not had in years. I previously found the weights room very daunting, and in the past two years I've really come to my own in there, no issue, but with a bump I can't help but feel the stares, and it's definitely a deterrent. My new plan is to return to Kayla Itsine's BBG program, which can be done at home, for the remainder of my pregnancy, so I'll keep everyone updated on that.

Baby J is still moving a healthy amount according to the midwife, although once again there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to his movement, or at least not one that I’ve noticed yet. While I was on holiday I had been a bit worried as I didn't feel like he was moving enough, watching other blogs and reading blogs about specific movement patterns and visible kicks left me a bit antsy, but quite literally seconds after I got on the flight to come home he started doing what felt like roll-pollies in my rib cage, and hasn't stopped since. My bump measured 26cm at my 29 week midwife appointment, which is slightly under what I am expected to be, but I am a small person, and in the past week or so I've definitely grown a lot, so at my next midwife appointment I'd imagine my size will have rectified. Speaking of midwife appointments, I'm still a bit worried, how many do we normally get? I'll have had 3 by Week 34, and 1 scan, and I just feel completely clueless, as though I've not had nearly enough input. Hopefully my visits will get more frequent as I near the final stretch, if not, i'm going in blind.... 

Baby furniture has now been purchased, and I'll do a full post on that in the coming fortnight, but I'm very excited to get the nursery decorated and all ready for Baby J, it will make it so much more real, although the stress of off-white versus cream paint is already too much, lord help Jordan come the dreaded trip to B&Q. I've managed to resist the urge to buy too much so far, but a few bits and bobs are starting to slip through the net.... 

That's pretty much everything up until this point, from here I'll try and update more frequently as things pick up a bit. Obviously it goes without saying I am still new to this mummy-blogging, and any tips anyone can offer on ways to make pregnancy easier, or recommendations for when Baby J arrives are welcomed with open arms. Until next time,


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