23
Jul
2014

Conor’s 1 Month Update

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Conor has been in our lives for 4 weeks already! In a way it feels like time has passed by so quickly but in other ways it went very slow – like at 4am when he’s whinging and won’t sleep! It’s been a complete roller coaster of emotions and a huge learning curve for both myself and Chris.  There have been times where I’ve cried from frustration, cried from happiness and cried just because I’m goddamn tired but you know something? Give me 30 mins away from my little baby and I’m pining for him like crazy. That’s the insanity of motherhood – this little person keeps you awake every night, places demands on you and your body, prevents you from doing most usual daily tasks and yet when they do fall asleep, you kind of want to wake them up just so you can have a cuddle or see them smile.  Craziness.

1month

Milestones: Conor has been holding his head up pretty much since week 2 – he is such a strong little boy! He has definitely been responding to my voice and when we lie on the bed for breastfeeding, he gets the biggest smile on his face! ha ha. I took him out for a day trip for the first time on week 2. It was so great to get out and about because I was beginning to feel like a hermit! Every day his hair has been getting lighter and so have his blue eyes.

Sleep: This has been the hardest part of having a newborn in the house – the lack of sleep! In week 1 and 2, I was only getting about 2 hours of sleep a night which was so difficult. I wasn’t even able to nap during the day because he was generally being so demanding when it cmd to feeding. Into week 3, he seemed to start sleeping for slightly longer but it was so difficult to get him settled at night. I could be going to bed at 10pm or 1am, depending on when Conor settled down. Week 4 has been a little better in that he is now sleeping for longer periods of time. For the last couple of nights he has gone to sleep at about midnight and slept through until 4am, which believe it or not is great! At least it means I get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep and he tends to sleep well in the morning, giving me an opportunity for a bit of a lie in. I have had trouble getting Conor to fall asleep in his cot – he seems to much prefer sleeping more upright in his bouncer chair so I’ve had to compromise by letting him fall asleep in the bouncer, then VERY carefully transferring him over to the cot!

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Best Moment: Seeing his cute little facial expressions – seeing him smile is the best thing ever and the faces he pulls when he is upset kind of make me laugh too…does that make me a bad mother? ha ha.  He pushes his bottom lip so far out, you can’t help but giggle. He also makes the cutest noises when he’s sleeping and he sometimes quietly laughs as if someone is whispering jokes in his ear. I could seriously stare at him for hours – every mother out there reading this will know how captivating your own child is.

Worst Moment: My worst moment DEFINITELY came in the very first week of being a mother. My community midwife came out to check up on us and to weigh Conor halfway through week 1. It turned out that he had lost 12.2% of his body weight – so about 1lb. It all came down to the fact that I was so low on iron after losing so much blood during the labour that my body was still struggling to produce enough breast milk to sustain Conor’s weight. I had no idea I wasn’t producing enough milk so naturally I had a complete emotional meltdown, went to the bathroom and burst into tears. I felt like it was my fault, that I was starving my child and the midwife had said if he had lost 0.3% more then he would have to go back to hospital. That devastated me. I felt like a failure as a mother – that I had to have my child taken away from me because I wasn’t caring for him correctly.  However, after some time to collect myself and think rationally, I realised it wasn’t my fault. I was new to this and that’s what the midwife is there for…to educate you and put you on the right path. We got a feeding plan in place for Conor and decided to top up his feeds with Aptamil until my body had fully recovered. Once we had spoken about that, I felt so relieved and much more positive that there was a plan in place t get his weight back up.

conorcol

Health: As I said, things weren’t great in the first week with regards to the weightless but once the feeding plan was in place, Conor quickly put the weight back on! He has a very healthy appetite…I would go as far as to call him a greedy baby! He did go through a spell of being sick after each feed for a couple of days but that soon passed. It seemed like he had an upset stomach which I’m told is very common in newborns. Other than that, he is a really healthy baby which I’m so grateful for.

Eating: I’m still breastfeeding every day and expressing whenever I can.  I have actually found breastfeeding relatively easy now the volume of my milk has gone up. He latches on easily every time and the fact that I top him up with Aptamil sometimes doesn’t seem to have put him off breastfeeding. Many people told me that he would go off the boob and become confused but that’s never happened luckily. I am going to keep using the Aptamil in small amounts because he can be so demanding, I want to make sure he’s getting enough. I plan on breastfeeding until the 6 month mark all going well.

Things I want to remember: I definitely want to remember those little whimpery sounds he makes when I hold his head against mine. I want to remember the feeling I got the first time he focused on my face and looked me straight in the eyes because it was incredible. I also want to remember how I felt when he was born and they first laid him on my chest – it was a moment that changed my life forever.

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* I am incredibly lucky that Conor seems to love the car and the pushchair – any kind of movement just sends him into a deep sleep within seconds. He loves being in the carrier we have from BabyBjorn which is so handy to put him in for walking the dogs in the countryside. He also ALWAYS sleeps when I take him out in public which is just absolute perfection because it means I can nip out and have lunch or a coffee with friends without worrying if he’s going to scream the place down.

* I have found these first 4 weeks extremely demanding physically and emotionally but I know that just the norm.  No one ever said this was going to be easy and there’s a reason why they say it’s the most difficult job in the world! I felt like I was floundering a bit in the first couple of weeks and really had to rely a lot on family to help out with housework and just taking the pressure off by minding Conor for half an hour while I had a nap. But in the last couple of weeks I’ve felt my confidence building. I am much more comfortable taking him out and about, I’m getting to know all the signs of knowing what he wants and I’m generally just becoming more relaxed.

* Having a baby is something that is so challenging for your relationship with your husband/partner because those sleepless nights and baby crying spells can cause both of you to be crabby and impatient.  It’s tough at first when you realise that you never get any time alone together. You really have to work together like a tag team and make sure you’re both giving each other time out to decompress. It’s important to remember that you’re not just parents, you’re lovers and taking time out to enjoy each others company is so very important.  I’m so lucky to have my parents, my brother/his girlfriend and numerous friends living nearby who are chomping at the bit to babysit. We will definitely be taking them up on their offers so we can have monthly date nights, get our glad rags on and spent some romantic time together.

23
Jul
2014

Bargain Alert! Nude Eyeshadow Palette

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Yes you heard me right! Today I’m talking about a nude eyeshadow palette with 12 shades for just £4! Pretty unbelievable right? Well this new brand which launched in Superdrug has been making some waves across the blogging world for the past couple of months mainly due to their super affordable, great quality products. It’s no secret that nude eyeshadow palettes have been d’rigueur with just about every beauty junkie out there so naturally many of the more affordable brands have been offering up their take on the trend. Although in my book, nudes and natural looks will always be a go-to look for me regardless of what the current trend may be.

Revolution Iconic 2 Eyeshadow Palette

“Makeup Revolution launched in London in March 2014 delivering revolutionary performance and quality, in every product at revolutionary prices. Made with the finest ingredients, the range starts at an amazing £1, with a range of professional and must have products with limited edition collections – you can finally afford them all! A revolution in offering a comprehensive range of foundation and face products for all skin tones – from fair to dark, from yellow to pink tone – every shade has been covered, there is a shade and formulation for everyone at a price everyone can afford. A revolution in offering the VERY latest trends and NEW fast. With 300 affordable and desirable products in the range (so far!) collect them all, shop the trend and ensure you have the essentials from the range.”

Revolution Iconic 2 Eyeshadow Palette

This particular palette, the Iconic 2, is a mixture of pearl, shimmer and matte shades in warm and cool tones.  This eyeshadow palette pretty much has everything to take you from a natural daytime look to something more smokey for evening.  The texture of the pearl and shimmer shades are great and they have fantastic pigmentation for the price.  I would say the matte shades need slightly more work to build up the colour and blend, particularly the black on the far right hand side.  However, for £4, the quality is pretty amazing.  The packaging is basic but functional. The eyeshadows have good staying power when you apply them over a good eyeshadow primer or cream/liquid eyeshadow.

Revolution Iconic 2 Eyeshadow Palette

I personally hate those sponge eyeshadow applicators so I wouldn’t even bother using that if I were you.  There are far too many affordable makeup brushes out there for you to even think about using those sub-standard sponge ones. There are some really lovely shades in this palette, including a rose gold which is gorgeous for summer and some really pretty taupe-mushroom shades that would make a great brown smokey eye look.

Revolution Iconic 2 Eyeshadow Palette

So if you are on a budget at the moment but have been lusting over the plethora of nude eyeshadow palettes on the market from the likes of Urban Decay, Too Faced, Bobbi Brown or Smashbox, then definitely give this a go.  It’s a fantastic budget buy and for £4, you really can’t go wrong!

They have some fantastic blush palettes which I have my eye on at the moment so I think I may do a haul at the end of the month to try out some more products from this new brand on the block!

*PR Sample

17
Jul
2014

Drugstore Hauling

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I only went in for formula and bread…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! The beauty aisles in supermarkets never fail to draw me in and before I know it, I’m hauling! I just can’t help myself when it comes to the lure of shiny new products so I thought I’d do a quick blogpost with an overview of what I picked up – you can expect full reviews in the near future.  This is all about first impressions…

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I have never heard of the Quick Fix brand but I’ve been suffering from dry skin patches since giving birth so lately I’ve been on the look out for a cheaper alternative to the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask which is brilliant but on the expensive side. This Mega Moisture Gel Mask contains Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E and collagen to act as a quick fix for parched skin. I used it for the first time last night and I have to say that my skin felt immediately plumped and hydrated afterwards. Stay tuned for a report on the longterm benefits…

I have used the Garnier Oil Beauty body moisturiser before and absolutely love it, especially the fragrance! I picked up the body scrub from the same line and used it last night in the bath together with my exfoliating gloves. My skin felt INCREDIBLE afterwards, coupled with the body moisturiser. It has the same gorgeous scent too. I seem to be on a Garnier roll because I also picked up two of the Moisture Match creams – one designed for radiance and the other for intense hydration. I’ve used them both once and I have to say I really like them! The Light Softening cream is especially lovely as a night time treatment.

After seeing Zara from MouldyFruit raving about the Rihanna Nude perfume, I spotted a 30ml bottle for just £20 and decided to give it a whirl.  Zara has said it smells SO similar to the Viktor & Rolk Flowerbomb and I have to say she was spot on with that! It’s a really lovely fragrance with guava, mandarin, pear, gardenia petals, velvety Sambac jasmine and creamy orange blossom. The base consists of sandalwood, vanilla orchid and ’second skin’ musk. For being a cheaper perfume, it really does linger nicely on the skin. Ive never been a fan of celebrity perfumes because they often don’t last on the skin or can be too sickly sweet or artificial-smelling but this is definitely an exception for me!

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L-R: Barbara Daly ‘Over The Moon, Loreal 210 ‘Shocking Pink’, Barry M ‘Sugar Apple’, Rimmel ‘Too Cool To Tango’ and Rimmel ‘Lose Your Lingerie’.

No matter how many nail polishes I own, I will always want more.  I think I have a variation of every colour of the rainbow but the lure of summer shades is all too much to bear.  I picked up the above colours recently and I’m really loving them all – especially the creamy baby pink for an everyday shade. They all need two coats to achieve an opaque finish but the best performance can be expected from the Barry M shades.  All the Gelly Hi-Shine ones just rock. Full stop.

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I bought the Maybelline Fit Me concealer as a sort of experiment to see if it was similar to the Nars Creamy Concealer and I think it’s a pretty good drugstore alternative. It has reasonable coverage, has a lovely creamy blend able texture and is perfect for the under eye area. It could do with a wider shade range and that always seems to be the main drawback of drugstore foundations and concealers. Going onto another Maybelline product, the Master Shape Brow pencil in Dark Blonde which I got in the hopes that it could be an affordable option following my love of the Smashbox Brow Tech To Go.  I think the Maybelline pencil has a drier formula so I’ll play around with it for a few more days and report back! Lastly I have been using the Maybelline Dream Terra Bronzing Powder in Golden Tropics which I really like. The matte bronzer is the perfect natural shade whilst the blush shade gives a healthy glow to your cheeks – a fantastic product for when you’re on the go or going on holiday because it combines two products in one thin compact.

17
Jul
2014

Post Pregnancy Update #2

I’ve recently been getting a few emails asking for some advice on how to lose weight after giving birth.  First off I just want to reiterate that you shouldn’t be in a rush to lose weight after you have a baby because your body has been through a traumatic event and it will need adequate time to recover.  There’s no magic quick fix for losing weight after giving birth and you certainly shouldn’t be trying any diets or extreme exercise.  Saying that, there are things you can do to make sure you’re looking after your body and setting a good foundation for steady and healthy weightloss over the longterm. I thought I’d put together some handy tips and advice for all of you new mummies out there who are also beginning your journey back to being fit and healthy.  I’m by no means perfect when it comes to my diet and exercise…lets face it, who is!? But I’m committed to getting back to being a fit, healthy and active person. I put on 30lbs whilst I was pregnant and ‘lost’ 23lbs within the first couple of weeks following the birth but that includes the weight of the baby, uterus, extra blood, amniotic fluid, placenta, water retention…the list goes on.  That leaves 7lbs to lose to get me back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m trying not to concentrate too much on the numbers though as it’s more important to me that my body feels strong again.

pregnancyupdateThink about your calorie intake

You want to aim for around 2,000 calories a day.  If you’re breastfeeding it’s especially important to make sure you’re eating enough (and eating enough of the right things) because you won’t be able to produce as much milk if you cut down too far.  Many women make the mistake of trying to take their calories down too far, in the hope it will help them to lose the baby weight faster.  All that will do is make you feel exhausted and weak. The lack of sleep with a newborn is bad enough without adding that on top! You owe it to your baby to nourish your body and be as healthy as you can be.

Make sure that you’re choosing your foods wisely

Don’t succumb to eating processed snack foods just because they’re ‘there’. This is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face because it’s all too easy to eat something that seems more convenient.  Buy in healthier snacks with your weekly shop so you can grab them on the go. Focus on whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and lean protein from meat products. I do allow myself some treats but I try to balance that out by eating healthier for the rest of the day.

Eat regularly

Being a mother (especially a new one!) is a hard work and it’s all to easy to binge. To help combat this, make sure that you are eating regularly throughout the day.  Avoid having just three square meals a day – you should be snacking throughout the day, having between six and eight mini-meals over the 24 hour period. This will keep your blood sugar levels even and stave off the exhaustion.

Do light/gentle exercise initially

Taking care of your new baby is exhausting and will no doubt drain most of your energy so you will really struggle to have time to go to the gym, look after baby and spend some time with your partner too! I’m currently 3 weeks post partum and the general advice is not to undertake any serious exercise plan until you reach the 6 week mark.  This is basically just to let your body recover fully from the birth and it gives the muscles and ligaments time to strengthen which will reduce the risk of injury. At the moment I’m just doing gentle exercise like taking the dogs for a walk. That’s enough to get my body moving and introduce my body back into exercise at a more gentle rate. I will be able to slowly build my fitness levels so when I do reach the 6 week mark, I’ll be more prepared to go at something more intensive. I will post something at that time to let you know what exercises I am doing.

Monitor your progress

It can be a great incentive to monitor your progress – however slow and steady it may be. I find it really helps to take pictures of my body so I can see my progress, however small, because it reminds me that I am headed in the right direction and gives me the confidence to keep doing what I’m doing. Some weeks you’ll notice a change in your physical appearance but it may not show on the scales.

progress

Be realistic about your expectations

Having a baby changes your life and it changes your body. Some changes will be irrevocable, a permanent souvenir of the pregnancy and birthing process. I like to be philosophical about it so every time I wince when I see my stretch marks, I think about the incredible thing my body has achieved and the beautiful baby boy I have to show for it.  Post-baby bodies aren’t always quite the same but it’s so important that you learn to love the new you. Of course your confidence will take a knock and it will take time for you to feel 100% great again but remember that it really is a small price to pay for being a mum – a privilege not everyone gets to experience. The new celeb mums in the glossy magazines don’t paint a realistic picture for the rest of us. They have staff on hand to help look after their babies – nutritionists, trainers, surgeons etc. After the birth of her daughter, Victoria Beckham reportedly ran six times a week and worked out strenuously with a trainer, what ‘normal’ woman can realistically do that?

Don’t compare yourself to others

Some women can lose weight very quickly without trying after childbirth – yes it’s unfair but that’s just life. Maybe they’re breastfeeding and you’re not or maybe they’re just blessed with good genes. Everyone is different and it may take you longer to lose the extra weight.  It’s so important not to compare or compete with other new mums. This is your journey so don’t belittle your achievements but comparing yourself to someone who has snapped back faster or lost more weight than you.

Keep hydrated

This is just common sense but it’s really important to make sure you’re drinking enough water.  You’ll no doubt find yourself necking coffee to stay awake so you have to be careful not to get dehydrated from all that caffeine. It also fills you up so that you don’t eat as much, and some research has found that it may speed up your metabolism so drink up! Aim for eight glasses a day or 2 litres. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that flavoured waters are the same thing as they often have sugars or sweeteners in them.  Stick to good old plain water for the maximum benefits.

Get some sleep

This is easier said than done! It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a demanding newborn but being sleep deprived could make it harder for you to shed the baby weight. When you’re tired, your body releases cortisol and other stress hormones that can promote weight gain. When you’re tired you’re much more likely to eat ‘bad’ foods to comfort you and give an immediate carb or sugar hit. If you’re finding it difficult to get sleep at night (like I do!) then try to snooze during the day when your baby is napping.  This will top up your sleep, give your body the rest it needs and it will also reduce the chance of you choosing the wrong foods.

15
Jul
2014

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm

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Everyone and their sister seemed to be raving about the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm so naturally it peaked my interest, being a skincare junkie and all. Now, I have my skincare favourites that take pride of place on my bathroom shelf but I’m always up for trying the latest hyped product in the hopes that it will blow my mind even more than my current favourites. This particular cleansing balm has been described as a ‘game changer’ so lets see if it can live up to that title…

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“Perfectly balanced daily cleansing for skin that craves clean.

Benefits of Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm:
- Thoroughly cleanses and moisturises the skin.
- Helps to purify and minimises the appearance of open pores.
- Calming for sensitive skin.
- Revitalising for dull and mature skins.
- Can be used as a rescue balm, i.e. on dry elbows or knees, or as a lip balm.
- Doubles as a soothing mask if left on the skin for ten minutes. “

The thick paste-like balm melts into your skin with ease and feels like an oil as you massage it in.  It transforms into a milky solution when you add a little water and you just remove it with the face cloth provided. The balm has a pleasant herbal scent with hints of citrus, bergamot, jasmine and rose. I tend not to use balms to remove my makeup – preferring to wash the majority of my makeup off with dove soap first, then apply the cleansing balm as a second step.  I have found that the wash cloth/muslin stays a lot cleaner using this method.

This balm is touted as a great product for all skin types and it’s worked really well at clearing up some dry patches I had on my skin after giving birth. It left my skin nourished, soft and smooth.  However, I can’t help but think that the Soap & Glory The Ultimelt Hot Cloth Cleanser is a better all-rounder because it clears up blemishes as well as hydrating, softening and promoting radiance. Given that it only costs around £10, you’re getting better value for money and in my humble opinion, it’s a better product. So if you’re on the hunt for a really great cleansing balm, give the S&G one a go before shelling out £36 for the Emma Hardie one. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

*PR Sample